Monday, August 20, 2012

Children raising (and praying for) parents

Last week Karis came with me to a meeting at church, she soaked in the time playing with her friends . . . interestingly, though, for the first part of the time she sat right by me, completely attentive to the adults and everything they were saying. Sometimes I feel like I have an "old" young girl, and I appreciate the various situations to watch her personality and thoughts evolve. After each person gave their little update, we prayed for each other - which included standing up and putting our hands on that prayed-for-person's shoulders. Karis would come over and join the prayer-ers, and I was so blessed when she laid her hand on my shoulder and joined the others in praying for me. When we were all done, she asked that we pray for her, and made sure that we stood the exact same way. Ah! It was precious.

I recently saw a book title to the effect of "how children raise their parents" - suggesting that children really shape parents' characters and personal growth. How very, very true. And now I am reminded that  children also pray for parents. I find it easy to think that such things are so one-sided, filtering from parent to child. Not so. Our (amazing) Children's Pastor said something to me that I will remember for a long time - she was saying how sweet it was when Karis prayed, but that it's more than just sweet. We forget that they can be very sincere at this young age as well . . . a humbling reminder of the beauty & purity of the child's heart.

Anyway, Karis is definitely still a young girl, she did go play with her friends during much of the meeting and around the 60 minute mark started parroting the other children with chants of "mommy, can we goooooo?". And don't get me wrong, our moments aren't all sweet - you just get to read about the good ones here.

Speaking of book titles, I recently finished Raising Your Spirited Child. And speaking of children teaching parents, the pages and thoughts of this volume reminded me that I am a spirited adult! I told Trevor he should really read this book as much for marriage as for parenting . . .

In other fun news, we had our 20 week ultrasound today. It was fabulous to be there as a family, Karis did well sitting on Trevor's lap and her favorite question was, "What is the lady doing?" to which Trevor always replied, "Taking pictures of the baby". She also wondered often, "Does it tickle, mommy?" She was curious where the baby's eyes were, that made me laugh - she finally did get to see them, probably not quite the look she was expecting.

The miracle of seeing this baby was just as astounding as it was with Karis (we even had the same tech, so it was a bit deja-vu-ish). This baby is truly "knit together in its mother's womb" . . . little feet, hands, spine, organs. Creation leaves me breathless and in awe. We love this little being to its very core, and it's thrilling to think that soon we will be family of four.

Just like Karis at that stage, this little bean was snug as a bug, comfortable to remain in a curled up (and frustratingly modest) position . . . I went in knowing that we might not get to find out the sex, and really when I saw the beauty of its form I realized that would be okay. However, the tricky tech got a good view at the very last minute (JUST like with Karis - maybe she's a tricky tech who likes to keep people in suspense?!). Clear as day, we could see that Karis has a little BROTHER! WOW. We would have been thrilled either way, of course, but it's beyond wonderful to start talking about and envisioning our SON. WOW.

As Karis and I were driving home after the ultrasound, I heard this radio blurb about "what the unborn tells its mother". Check it out - fascinating. And such perfect timing for our day, a gift. I really loved this quote from the article: "How wise of God to design the process so that when the baby is ready to be born, the mother's convenience must give way to the baby's need. Nor does the baby's birth time depend on the mother's limited understanding of the developing infant."  True, true. 

Karis holding the shirt she picked out on clearance for her baby brother - such a shopper, this one. Ha. 
At the Carver County Fair. Karis's favorite part was the dum-dum sucker she got in a commercial building.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Birthday Bash(es)

How can you possibly celebrate a 3 year old birthday in one day? Especially when the  mother of the 3 year old comes for a line of thinking where every conceivable activity in one's birthday month is "for your birthday"? We started the party-ing on August 3rd and we're still going strong . . . I think I am having as much or more fun than anyone involved! 

I feel like memories really start at 3, especially when jogged by pictures and videos. Karis's delight in daily things and her wide eyed discoveries are so amazing now, it's been delightful to introduce her to some new adventures on her birthday week. 

We started on a Friday morning with a first-ever (well, since she was a napping-all-time-time-in-the-car-seat infant) trip to the Mall of America. I'll always remember walking around the first floor (after finding awesomely on sale replacement crocs), she would turn to me once in a while and say, "Mommy, we're at the Mall of AMERICA!" Legoland left her speechless. The amusement park rides, courtesy of Trev's coworkers, left her completely enthralled (and left Trevor a bit green, such a sport of a dad!).

We planned out the whole "actual birthday" and Karis seemed to enjoy every minute . . . a brunch of bacon, donut muffins, and watermelon star-shaped cutouts fueled us all (my parents, brother and his girlfriend joined the whole day) for our first stop: Hyland Park, aka "Chutes and Ladders". She walked up over the hill and said, "It's HUGE!". She got played out and soaked, just in time to head to Chipotle for lunch. Then nappers (of course), grandma painted her toenails, and then we headed to Snuffy's for burgers. The evening ended at gma and gpa's hotel with some pool time and then popcorn in bed while watching the olympics and playing with her new dollhouse. Whoa, life is good.

The party continued the next day with parents and my bro's girlfriend's family, we had a blast at M's pool with her 2 nieces and 2 nephews and their families - Karis is still talking about it every day. They even put candles in her post-pizza brownie. The most exciting part of that evening for Karis was sitting by her friend Maize, they stayed at the table for over an hour! 

Monday found us at the hotel again with popcorn in bed, and that evening included pizza again courtesy of our amazing neighbors. Tuesday was a neighborhood block party, Wed. a birthday-ish bbq with friends. Thursday really "cut the cake" as they say: we went to an outdoor concert in downtown Hopkins that was an Elvis impersonator. Karis: "There are a LOT of people here!" Indeed, and many of them were donning Elvis t-shirts. Karis got comfortable after a while and got up to dance a bit - priceless! Friday found us driving to Carver County Fair (love fairs, brings back such good memories of the ND State Fair). Karis was surprisingly not interested in the animal barns ("go back out"), but loved her 10 minute turn on the bouncy house . . . and the ostrich burger we shared for dinner. Yes, ostrich. Oh, and the highlight was perhaps the dum-dum sucker she got in a commercial building. Oh, if only it would always be this simple. Soon she will be asking for the cowgirl hat and to play the games where you spend silly amounts of money to try and win stuffed gorillas. 

This weekend we kept the party going with Trev's family who came to town . . . bodies in motion stay in motion . . . we are still going . . . 

I definitely had some emotional moments, just thinking about the miracle of life and that we have this gift of intricately watching Karis's unfold. 

Psalm 139: 13 - 16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderful made; 
your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, 
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

How can it be August 2nd?! How is it that I will have a three year old in 2 days?! We've had great fun anticipating the "Happy Day", and have squeezed in some more summer fun the past couple weeks. 

Last weekend we had the first birthday party - a combined one for Trevor, and Karis's b-day buddy, uncle Steve. Karis was thrilled to sit right between her birthday buddy and Aunt Debbie for dinner, it doesn't take much to get her into a celebratory mood. 

On Saturday we had a morning adventure . . . we three walked to the nearest bus stop (not far) and hopped on for a buzz to a fun area close by. Got off, had breakfast outside, took a walk, visited a park, hopped back on the bus for home. Karis has been interested in buses for some time, and it was hilarious to watch her eyes widen with elation as we lumbered down the streets. Her favorite phrases on the short trip: "What color is the bus? Mommy, the man is driving us!" A great memory. 

More mothering musings:

- When she knows Trevor is going to grill, she gets her little froggy fold-up lawn chair, unfolds it right under our sugar maple tree and waits for Trevor to grill. Oh, and don't forget the beverages! She has to have a little pink cup of water that fits into the chair's cup holder. Love it!

- "Thank you, mommy, for the ______ (meal, breakfast, taking me potty, anything)". Oh goodness, melts my heart - can three year olds really know gratitude? I'm reminded that habits start so early and sometimes feelings follow word or action choices.

- "Mommy, is it going to be my birthday?! I'm going to be three years old! On August 4th!"

- "Are the raspberries getting bigger, mommy?": said every time we drive by neighbor Bonnie's raspberries - because you know, we can't eat the raspberries until they get bigger!

- We took Karis to Kids Games (our church's VBS) last night. It is amazingly open to pre-schoolers . . . and it took me a full month to get her there after I realized KARIS IS A PRESCHOOLER. What?! Anyways. It was such a joy to watch her in a new environment . . . singing, dancing, running, mingling, praying, listening. The leader asked Karis if she would like to sing. Karis thought for a bit, and replied, "I think not".  Ha! Someone asked if she's been watching a lot of Downton Abbey.

- Karis continues to ask about our day's agenda (many times a day): "Where are we going in the morning? Where are we going after nappers? Where are we going after dinner? Who are we going to meet there?" We've had fun exploring new parks (including a behemoth indoor one with a bouncy house - about gave me a panic attach, so many tubes and twists there is no way to keep track of your child in such a place - not to mention every day camper within 10 miles was there that rainy day). Karis finds friends wherever we go: "What's your name? Mommy, she has earrings!" 

- Karis has these purple crocs shoes that she wears Everywhere, seriously. They are the most comfortable, she can run like the wind, put them on herself, kick them off quickly. I discovered a hole in the bottom yesterday! So, Happy Day Karis, we're off this morning to find their replacement.

We have much to be grateful for. Last night Trevor said how excited he is for #2, his phrase was "Double the fun". I agree . . . 

The grilling chair. Not sure what kind of face she's making?