Thursday, April 26, 2012

A not to do list

I stumbled on this blog post a while ago, and I just loved the idea of it . . . making a "not to do" list! I need that in my life. So many things I'd love to do, but just aren't part of who I am. Interestingly, most of the ones on this author's list would be on mine too. Gardening always comes up this time of year. April showers bring may flowers, but those flowers seem to need to be planted first! I so badly want to be a gardener, but besides putting tomatoes and cucumbers in containers and planting my annual pots I just can't bring myself to figure anything else out. So, I just might have to add expanding my gardening skills to my "not do do list".

Add to it: sewing. baking things with yeast. deep cleaning my house every season. doing piles of art projects. keeping up photo albums. creating homemade cards.

Note: I do still want to try these things . . . which leads me to my other revelation lately that I can get discouraged and even debilitated by all or nothing thinking. I have to bake ALL our bread or not try at all. I have to have a HUGE garden or not do one at all. I have to sew EVERYTHING in our house or not even take the machine out of the box. I have to clean out ALL the drawers or not even start. I have to do a craft with Karis EVERY day or not do any at all.  It's been illuminating and also freeing to realize I can just attempt some things and if they flop, whatever. Actually, this isn't a new thought to me, I just seem to forget my struggle with this and need to come back to practicing a balanced approach. Life is too short for such black and white thinking.

Another phrase that keeps going through my mind is one from my cousin (who is graduating this month with a master's in counseling): "Don't get so excited!". Ha! Isn't that the best?

- Outside yesterday I was standing with my hands on my hips and one foot out. Karis walks right beside me and imitates my pose. We were laughing so hard.
- At dinner one night she had to eat her taco just like Trevor, bunching up her tortilla and stuffing it into her mouth. Also had to eat dinner right beside Trevor yesterday.
- In her bath she has taken to pouring and serving "tea". So fun. She also loves to wash her little people with her washcloth.
- Before her nap one day she had to remove her socks, open the door and put them in the hallway.
- I love watching Karis talk on her "phone" (a calculator). She can be overheard nodding her head and saying, "So. Okay? Yeah? Sounds good."
- Or watching her with Lukas or her babies, saying, "You okay? Ohhhh."
- Or when she meets people and shakes their hand while saying, "Nice to meet you".
- When our neighbors get home, she watches them (read: stares) until they get out of their vehicle. Then says, "Welcome home!" and runs in circles around a tree in our backyard.
- Tickle monster is a new favorite. She curls her index finger, waves it in the air, gets a surprised look on her face, says, "tickle monster gonna get _____", and tickles whoever is in sight.
- "We'll do that soon. Later."Written down just doesn't capture how convincingly she says this . . . to an array of things (like, watch youtube, eat candy, go somewhere she wants to go).
- "Laura book - see the cheese?". There is one page on one of the "Little House adaptation" books that shows Laura, Mary & Ma making cheese . . . Karis loves this page.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter celebrations

(written Easter Sunday) Well, our home is home again - we were so thankful to welcome Trevor back on Friday afternoon. I just love that fresh-off-a-trip buzz, it seems like even after interminable travel and extreme exhaustion there is this vibe of excitement and relief and reunion. It brought back memories of when I used to travel (in my former life) and I guess I felt I could experience the adventure vicariously through Trevor. He had a tremendous trip, he said it went from one highlight to the next (except for the parts that he didn't feel well . . . which wasn't too often, thankfully).

I found an analogy for how I deal with Trevor being gone for any extended amount of time: I'm like a baby in daycare - I remember reading about how infants in daycare will often hold it together the whole day, they play and are happy and interact. Then the parents pick them up, and the babies sometimes fall apart. Well, I don't think I quite fell apart when Trevor got back, but I definitely crashed. I think I was on high all week, and then he got back and I felt so wiped out.

Trevor was doing so great he made it to Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday service, one birthday party, and a dinner out.  We enjoyed the start of catching up, it's hard to know where to begin.

Easter memories from this year:
- "No picking my nose in church" To which I say, "Good idea". This was Karis's temptation all through the Good Friday service. Shockingly, she really seemed in tune to the somber nature of the service and was quite observant. Most meaningful to this momma was walking to the cross with her, kneeling beside her, praying with her for repentance, renewal, rightness with God through the Cross. Then receiving a special blessing from our pastor. Later before bed, Karis was practicing kneeling. 
- "Your Grace is Enough . . . " Karis sings this along with Larry the Cucumber as we drive in the car. Cutest thing I ever did hear.
- "Bones!" For some reason, during the Easter vigil on Saturday, this is the one word from the many, many readings that Karis latched on to and said over and over.
- "Emerson getting baptized!" Karis has a fascination with her friend Emerson and she was enthralled watching him get baptized at the vigil
- "I have candy, I have candy!" said while dancing up and down our walkway outside after discovering some Easter eggs from the neighbors on our way to the car on Sunday morning. After church she ate some of the chocolate and made the most hilarious little slurping noises
- When I went up to read prayers of the people Sunday morning, Karis started screaming/crying. Trev took her to the basement where not even pretzles or snacks would calm the poor girl . . . oh Karis. I forgot to explain I'd be doing that, not sure if an explanation would have helped? Also not sure if I'll be asked to do prayers of the people again!
- "I want nappers!" said through tears an hour before naptime. She is still sleeping as I write this three hours later, I think Easter is tough on toddlers (at least it is when you go to two evening services that make for late bedtimes . . . but I think so worth it to have her there experiencing it all with us . . . )
- Trying on shoes at DSW. Yes, we went to DSW in the afternoon - didn't you? Karis found some hilarious bright pink-and-orange heels (women's size, of course) and tried them on
- "Christ is Risen!" (hard to decipher, but said with zeal)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


It's been a significant week in our little world here. Our little family of three took some much-anticipated adventures. Around the world. Trevor to China (so amazingly thrilling, I wonder about a hundred times a day what he's doing, seeing, experiencing, thinking). Karis and I took this chance to vacation in Bismarck, our favorite place to find refreshment and encouragement. To laugh and lounge and think and connect. It's simply the best, full of history, memories, family, beauty. Every corner, every road, every landmark has meaning. Karis is starting to make lasting memories in my hometown, and I just know that Bismarck will forever be a special place in her life.

I'm thinking about home tonight, I just watched a movie where the characters are on a journey to find the perfect home to raise their yet-to-be-born daughter.  I love the characters' search for home, their reflections on life, their perspectives on parenthood, reflections of memories from childhood. Most powerful to me this time was the reminder that (cheesy as it may sound) home is where your heart is, where memories are, where memories can be made. I feel so thankful to have many homes . . . pieces of my heart deposited in different places, in different houses, with different people. As I sit here and miss Trevor in the home we share, I'm remembering with gratitude that he is an integral part of the heartbeat of this home (read the Karis-isms to see that she realizes this also).

And this Holy Week (well, any week really) it is good to acknowledge that ultimately, Heaven is home. C.S. Lewis is known for writing about the concept of joy and of yearning - that the joy we experience in life offers fleeting glimpses of the deep ache in our heart that only Heaven can fill.  That we yearn for constant joy, that we yearn for "something more", and that hole in our heart has only one place to find fulfillment. A good reminder for me as Lent draws to a close.

Speaking of Lent, this blog post is one I found to be so full of truth. I have blamed my lack of Lenten discipline this year on the weather (so unseasonably warm), but really this sense of lack is a reflection of what Lent IS. It's not about me, my efforts, my striving. It's God, grace, growth.

From the mouth of my babe lately:
- "Uppa daddy" (when seeing him on skype - so beautiful)
- "Go see daddy in computer?"
- "Go see daddy in picture!" (when looking at pictures of him)
- "Daddy's home!" (said with a hopeful note in her voice whenever we're driving home - you notice the theme here, she misses her daddy)
- "I have nails!" (painted nails continue to be a hot topic)
- "Bear. Scary" (my dad had a bear hide in the garage that she saw right before we left . . . she continues to process that experience)
- "Can you believe it?!" (I must say this a lot)
- "Remember that one?" (again, I say this often, Karis says it when she finds an old toy or book that we haven't used in a while)
- "I had fun with my cousin Courtney" (precious)
- "Go the fun way?!" (with pleading in her voice, asking to go around the block to the alley when we arrive home - as opposed to going straight to the alley. Why?)
- "Lukas don't take away my bike!" (said with a fierce voice and stern expression)
- " (insert dog name) not going to jump on Karis"
- "What IS it?" (pointing to anything she can't identify - latest fascination was the air freshener contraptions in some of the commodes in Bismarck)
- "Come on in!" (when she sees neighbor Bonnie anywhere near our house)

I write all these down, and I fervently hope that I can always remember her voice and inflections and expressions while she says all these things - the girl is chock full of personality and cracks me up all the time.
This pic would make more sense if you could see that she is eating dinner at her picnic table.