Monday, January 30, 2012

One Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed

We have this thing in our house called "Monkey Mondays", for some reason monkey-ish things seem to happen on Mondays. Climbing, running, screeching, crawling, jumping. Today when Karis woke up I asked her, "Are you ready to be a monkey?!". She loved that and continued to repeat the phrase all day.

And now Monkey Monday is coming to a close and I'm enjoying listening to Karis talk herself to sleep - wouldn't it be funny if we all lay in our beds and just chattered to ourselves as we fell off to slumber? These days my head hits the pillow and I'm sawing logs within minutes. We are quite a sleeping family, it works well for everyone.

There's one memory from the weekend that will be a freeze-frame in my mind forever: we were at our church's annual meeting/potluck, and Karis shocked me by actually wanting to go to the childcare. About a half hour later, our good friend (and babysitter) Rachel brought Karis back to us . . . she had bitten her tongue, poor girl. She was okay and nothing a little hug couldn't fix, but the precious part is what she was wearing - a sparkly sequence butterfly costume (WHY didn't I take a picture?!). She stayed with us for the rest of the meeting and mostly sat on my lap until the last few minutes when she busted out jumping up and down, talking about her "butterfly outfit". Sunday morning we offered the nursery option to her again, she went for a few minutes and when Trev picked her up she told him she had bit her tongue again. Funny honey.

Random Karis-isms from the week that I want to remember:
- Singing "All Things Bright and Beautiful" before bed, stomping around her room doing some quite elaborate and amazingly consistent interpretive dance. Someday I'll learn how to upload videos here
- Helping Trevor shovel
- Barreling up and down the sidewalk on her tractor or bike. The girl can FLY
- Calling the bookshelf at the end of the hallway "mommy's house. daddy's house". Needing to stand in it right before she goes to bed, then giving Trevor a huge hug and then going back to her room for bedtime. Kind of ready for bed, she then proceeds to run back and forth between me (sitting on the rocker) and her closet while I read a few books. Exuberant energy until the very last minute of wakefulness. We started telling her she can talk all she wants while she falls asleep, and then she can go ahead and sleep through the night . . . so she's taken to beating me to it as I put her to sleep: "talk all I want. sleep all through night."
- Jumping on our bed
- Saying "all done mommy, all done daddy" to basically whatever we are doing when she decides we shouldn't be: singing, talking, playing the piano, reading, eating a banana (yes, just the other day Karis told me "all done mommy eat banana"!?)
- "I want some decaf!"
- Brand recognition: Chipotle, Target, Trader Joes, and most recently, Starbucks.
- The way she goes into her room to take care of "kitty bear": bedtime routine, diaper, wipes. She closes the door just enough so I can't peek in . . . one time I went in and I saw why - she got hold of the diaper cream and was slathering it on her little stuffed animal.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Growing up

Get real, right? I was thinking about my DIRL post, and realized it's pretty utopian in its perspective. This blog is where you're mostly going to see the "baby book" version of our lives. I want to be real (as in, more than Dan in Real Life real). In case you need to know, it is not all roses here all the time, but this just doesn't seem like the place for the thorns. At least not most of the time.

The thing is, I sometimes feel like we are living a rather utopian life right now - we are in the middle of a precious season of life. For that reason, I feel a sense of guilt if I'm ever found less-than-positive about any number of things . . .

The thoughts the author expressed resonate with me - and I guess you could say that most of the posts here capture the "kairos"moments we have. I don't usually want to re-hash some of our more chronos moments that include meltdowns, discipline decisions, self-doubt, thrashing on the floor & screaming at friends' homes or feeling exhausted after a night of nearly no sleep (notice I don't ascribe these behaviors to any specific people in our family - they might be said about any of us at different moments!). Maybe if I write more often, some of the chronos will sprinkle itself throughout, because we sure have plenty of them to go around here.

In weekly news: we had a Friday full of highs and a couple lows, it was one of those memorable days. The morning began with me winning a book from the AM station I often listen to . . . "if you're the first caller, you'll win this book" and I gave it a shot. I need to start listening to a station that offers a chance at an all expense paid trip to Hawaii.

Shortly after the book jackpot, Karis decided to sit on her little port-a-potty. In front of the kitchen stove, so you know, she could look at herself (she loves mirrors, this girl). I was listening to her happily singing "Angels we Have Heard on High", when she stopped abruptly to say "pee in potty!" I ran to her spot and wouldn't you know, there was "2" in the potty! So, we had a little dance party, washed our hands, and she got a green m & m and carried it around saying "I got a treat. I found a meatball" (she calls anything round and chocolate a "meatball"). We kept the party rolling by traveling to NE Mpls. for a playdate with another baby Charis. Chraris's brother Jonas kept Karis well entertained and the mom and I managed to have a nice chat while Charis slept on my shoulder. Precious.

The other fabulous Friday occurrence was that Trevor got a new work computer. A big deal, trust me. Top off the day with a quick trip to Trader Joes (with only one mid-store meltdown for Karis) and a viewing of this week's Parenthood episode, I'd call it a fab Friday.

We proceeded to a mostly normal Saturday, with some super happenings. The day began with Karis running around the house in her swimming suit and sun hat, and ended with Trev and I getting a nice meal out while Karis played with her fave friend, "Dee".  Trevor and I enjoyed talking about our words for the year, chatting with the waitress, trying to not inhale our food and make the meal last. A theme of our talks this month is how this is the year we will grow up. We'll both be 30 after all! This fancy meal was part of that plan, for sure - really, probably the nicest we've had (just the two of us, that is) since our honeymoon.

So, there you go. Some days just have more kairos than others.

Other random Karis-isms this week:
"Wear hair like mommy's!" (and then spending an unreasonably long time checking herself out in the mirror)
"My nose is cold"
"Happy Day, Dee!" (i.e. happy birthday, Lukas)
"I be back" (i.e. I'm going to the basement and will be right back)
"Mommy Andrea" and "Trevor!" (i.e. scary! I'm not ready for Karis to know my name yet)
"Hellooooo, we're home" (while walking in the door)
"Whoopsie daisy!"
"Feed Kitty Bear lunch" (while preparing a tray of fake food for her favorite stuffed animal)
"Wear swimming suit"
"Mommy sit" (while directing me to sit in whatever place she thinks I should be at that moment)

Books in our lives lately: Praying for Strangers, You are Your Child's First Teacher, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, The Shadow of His Wings. Trevor is being uber ambitious in tackling Les Miserables. Karis is hopping around from Apricot ABC's to the Foot Book, and our absolute fave, what we call The Polar Bear Book.

That's it for now, I feel like every day has a million things I want to write down and remember . . . and then of course when I sit down they all escape my mind. We went for a walk in the snow this morning and it dawned on me that Karis is 2 and a HALF. That half just feels so significant all of a sudden.

Just minutes after waking up, hair goes into a ponytail and blanket becomes a cape

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Phrases you might have heard in our home a week ago (from Karis, then repeated by us - because, you see, our tot loves for us to repeat what she says so she knows we understand her):

"Let's go to Colorado"
"Bring backpack to Colorado"
"Pack noise machine, Colorado"
"Pacifier, pack Colorado"
"Airplane, bring us, Colorado!"

Any guesses on where we went last weekend?

Let me tell you, this 60 hour trip is one we've been anticipating for a few months: tickets, check. Snow boots, check. Snow pants, check. Toddler sunglasses, check. I admit, that was Trev's checklist and his careful preparations were such a gift to our family. My packing list was the standard: pajamas, socks, distractions for the plane ride, camera, diapers. Karis's list was easy: her Mini Mouse backpack that included goldfish and a little person (you know, the "little people" toys? She knows the singular and plural in their appropriate uses, cracks me up).

Honestly, we had a blast anticipating the trip as a family - I probably shouldn't be surprised, but Karis really understood it all, and when we woke up Friday morning she knew we were going on the airplane that day. Let me tell you, this was one epic journey to the final destination: drop off bags, Karis, and Andrea at shuttle station. Trevor parks car and walks to shuttle station. Shlep all our bags onto the shuttle. "Ride bus to airport!". Shlep bags again. Check in, check bags. Spend 30 minutes in the security line. Get through. Arrive at gate just as they begin boarding. Fun plane ride. "We're in Colorado!". Claim bags. Another shuttle to rental car. Load rental car. Meet Drew & Mike, transfer luggage and groceries. Drop off Mike's car. Sit in traffic. Get in line at Wendy's alongside an ex-con with ankle bracelet who spent $41.00 on a fast food meal. Pick up snowshoes. Drive up the mountain. Arrive at the final destination, a house on the mountainside! Phew. We enjoyed the journey, but wow it was epic. There were admittedly about 20 minutes (the ones when Karis was screaming in the car) that I thought "What were we thinking?!". Not bad for such a day!

Trevor has been to this house-in-the-woods (owned by his distant cousin) a couple times and has been talking since last year about wanting to bring Karis and me there. He described the cabin as "nice, but rustic". Um, this nice and rustic cabin FAR exceeded my expectations. Try, "Country Living Magazine" rustic. Gorgeous, spacious, cozy, leather couches, soft lighting, relaxing woodsy decor, comfortable beds, beautiful bathrooms, rock fireplace. I mean, down to the cuisinart coffee maker, this place was a dream. Karis must have agreed, she settled right down for a full night of rest. Trevor and I followed later, I will always remember the bedroom's huge picture window with no blinds, the moon and the snow and the trees and the mountain our backdrop for sleep. Be still my soul!

Before we retired for the evening, we welcomed the rest of the weekend gang: Trev's bro and his fabulous fiance, and two other marvelous mutual friends arrived shortly after us and we all sighed contentedly and settled in for this weekend we'd all been waiting for.

For me, not only the place but every aspect of our time in CO exceeded my expectations. Here is the best way I can describe the two days: DIRL. 

DIRL: Dan in Real Life.

In case you didn't know or have forgotten, I have this favorite movie obsession with Dan in Real Life (please, if you haven't seen it, watch it. Now.).

So yes, it was a real life DIRL weekend, and to me that is bliss defined. Togetherness in everything from activities to rest to meals to clean-up. The picturesque backdrop, wonderful weather, and snazzy house. Genuine enjoyment of the people, the place, creation. Zero traces of technology, disconnection, semi-isolation. Health, humor, honesty. Looking out for each other but giving each other space. Deepening relationships, random conversations, asking questions, opening hearts, sharing meals. Times of chatter and others of silence. A soundtrack playing in the background that included Ray Lamontagne and Alexi Murdoch. At least two generations (at one point, 3), games of "sardines" while dinner was cooking, people in different stages in their relationships in a safe place to all be themselves - family, loved, accepted, encouraged, appreciated. DIRL.

Oh, and did I mention the crew of weekend planners decided to give me a break . . . I didn't plan a single meal, make a grocery list or do any shopping. THAT is like a movie, nourishing feasts just appeared out of nowhere. Delicious ones. Thank you, everyone.

Other highlights included watching Karis latch on to her new Aunt Cassie, snowshoeing up the side of a mountain (and watching Karis enjoy being carried on Uncle J's back - pictures to follow soon). Rare forms of rhubarb alongside a man-meal of 3 kinds of meat and about a gallon of baked beans and lionized potatoes; crackling fires, hot showers and sweatpants. The sound of the wind and nothing else. The half moon lighting the house when the day was done. These verses come to my mind as I picture the weekend in my memory:

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth. 

I better give Karis a chance to tell her side of the story, partly in pictures: 

I loved sleeping in the same room as mommy and daddy, I don't remember that ever happening before! I got to get up before everyone else and loved having the house to myself. I ran in circles singing "Hot Cross Buns" in the quietest voice I could manage. Mommy drank a lot of coffee.

I loved the mountains! Daddy did such a good job of preparing the perfect gear for me to be comfortable on the ride up the mountain. I had the best spot and didn't have to move a muscle (thanks, Uncle Jordan and Daddy). Someday I might like to try those snowshoe things and give the hike a go. Everyone seemed pretty tired and the hill was very steep, so maybe I can get away with being in the backpack for a couple more years.

Uncle Drew took a turn carrying me also, so glad these guys were in shape so I could be part of the adventure.

Can you guess what's in my mouth? I'm so excited to be with my "new aunt", my favorite place this weekend was wherever she was

Other thoughts from Karis: I loved being around so many people all weekend, I found some great cozy cupboards to crawl into, beds to jump on, stairs to climb. I colored and chatted and ate breakfast on daddy's lap. I wore my sunglasses like a champ and put my hands under daddy's hood to keep them warm. I walked around in my snowpants and boots up on the mountain . . . when it got to be time for my nap, mom and dad took me back early and I got to chew gum all the way down the hill. Actually, I found that if I fussed a lot at certain times, I could get a piece or two of that delicious minty stuff. I ate a lot of goldfish crackers and cookies and strawberries. I loved the journey - riding the bus and the airplane were so much fun and I think I was very well-behaved (mommy said I was, too). I said "Hi people!" to anyone who would look my way, and I loved seeing all the pretty nails that women had on the flights. I looked out the window and pointed out lakes, blue sky, and lights. I was very relieved to get back to my own bed and have been sleeping a lot this week . . . I'm still wearing my pink backpack, hoping we can go back to Colorado soon.

And now, we're home (after, of course, the same kind of epic and many-stages-journey to get here. However, the return trip instead of "we're crazy" my thoughts were "all these steps are part of the memory-making and so completely worth every bit"). Karis quickly caught on to the shift in location and exclaimed, "We're in Minnesota! Minneapolis!" 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy 12th Day of Christmas

 I've been enjoying some extended Christmas celebrating - which means the decorations are all up, the Christmas music is still playing, and we try to light a candle at night while doing some kind of reading together.

I'm also engrossed by a book that explains the history of various Christmas songs, I will go so far as to say it is a must read.

It's also been enlightening to read up on the twelve days of Christmas.

And last but not least, here is what you might hear playing over and over in our kitchen this week . . .
a new fave song.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Our church has a tradition for the closest Sunday to New Year's: the sermon time is open for anyone to step up to the altar microphone who would to share what they're thankful for from the year before. As I sat and listened to stories of beauty from ashes, people who have suffered immense grief and all the same time the healing presence of God . . . I was humbled to the core, thinking of the things I get wound up about and realizing there is so much more going on around me than I realize. To see people's hearts that were broken but are finding restoration through the feet and hands of Christ in the community of believers was a beautiful inspiration to expand our perspective and open our eyes to what surrounds us. I read a quote this morning that I thought was fitting:

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad" - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who, by the way, wrote the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". Some trivia for your new year). .

Two stories yesterday I hope will remain with me through the year:

1. Trevor stood up and shared his thanks to God for the restored relationship he (and we) have been experiencing with one of his brothers . . . the past is the past and is too much and too tender to publicly blog about - but let it be said, this is an amazing report and an answer to prayer.

2. A father stood up and gave the most touching talk through a story. He talked about parenting, about how he heard once that parents are a reflection of the Heavenly Father, how our children will see Christ through our actions. Then he spoke about how a couple weeks ago he was feeling down about his parenting, thinking he was a poor example, that he was failing to be the father he wished he could be. He was driving his 9 year old daughter somewhere during this time of regret, and out of the blue she said, "Dad, you're a great dad." To which he humbly replied something to the effect of, "Sweetheart, sometimes dad isn't really a very good dad." His daughter gently, sincerely assured him, "No dad, you're a great dad all the time." This dad's voice broke with tears as he talked about receiving God's grace through his daughter, who gave him a reflection of Divine Love that forgives all, endures all, lasts forever. That his daughter sees the good in him, no matter what his actions. That her love is unconditional. He ended by simply saying, "I thank God for my daughter".

I don't have words for how this hit my heart. I feel like this dad put into words what I would think many crave (it was sure something I needed to hear) . . . that we don't have to be perfect, that we will make countless mistakes, suffer regrets, offer apologies, beg for forgiveness from God and our families. And God's grace covers all, and so many times children are living vessels of the gift of absolute, unconditional love.


The stories from Karis hilarious are hard to keep up with - this picture was taken many months ago when she discovered a pair of sunglasses laying around.

Some of the random things in Karis's life this week are:
- Her nails. Cousin Siennah painted them Christmas day and she loves to show people: "Hey daddy! Nails!"
- Singing along to our Pandora Sufjan Stevens Holiday station while holding a "songbook" (that happens to be a spiral bound cookbook)
- Wearing socks on her hands as gloves
- Wearing her boots around the house (in her pajamas, of course)
- "Lips!" Karis-speak for chapstick, she loves to apply it any chance she gets
- Talking about herself in the third person:  "I help you!" means "you help me!". "Your cookie" means "my cookie". I don't have the heart to correct this yet, the misplaced pronouns are pretty precious.
- Calling anything small and chocolate covered (raisins, peanut butter, truffles) "meatballs". ??? Not sure where that one originated, but I love it.
- Elongating bedtime in any way possible: "One more kiss! "One more Jesus Loves Me"! Mommy sit! New diaper, please! Light on!"
- Vegging out on the couch during the recently rare mornings we have at home . . .