Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Word of the Year

Around the lunch table with Trev's parents recently, I was reminded about the Word of the Year. 2013 for me is: PRAISE.

Last year's word was "Grace", the meaning of Karis's name. Judah means "praise", and that meaning is what sealed the selling of the name to us, and feels quite appropriate for the way these months have begun for us.

The thing about Praise is that it's a posture that I do have to choose. Even when things are smooth and easy, it's easy to neglect to praise, easy to get caught in the dragging details (like, dragging-on coughs for everyone, that's the deal this week). Our nights around here are not the most restful, and in those moments I can feel just so tired and whiny - and it hit me the other day that it's about 1 hour a day that's like that. The other hours are really pretty amazing. Then I got to thinking about expectations, and how I can so easily expect perfect days . . . what would make a day "perfect" and feeling frustrated when it's not. Good grief, time to change that mind set. I always struggle with wanting control and this is a season of continually learning to let go. My mantra lately is "nothing is a big deal". Because thankfully, lately, nothing really IS a big deal. So yeah, praise. Lots of it. On an opposite note, sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with all for which we have to get praise, that it can be hard to receive so much during this season, to rest into the blessings, to let them spill over and hopefully bless others.

And there are my random thoughts.

We're in the midst of Holy Week, and it's been amazing to listen to Karis start to get it, to ask questions and talk about Jesus dying on the cross. Here's a song if you have time to listen.

I was blessed to celebrate my birthday yesterday - how different than a year ago! I'm loved celebrating the day with my children . . . Karis was quite underwhelmed that it's my birthday, which I think is kind of funny. We met my bro for coffee and then I whisked the kids to the doctor - mostly for Judah's cough - and discovered K has an ear infection. And I'm under directions to monitor Judah's cough. On the drive home I called Trevor to whine, he wasn't available, which is probably good, because I had time to realize that: a) we're not THAT sick, really, b) we have a fabulous clinic, c) this just fits my "managing expectations" mode right now. Sometimes in the midst of sniffles, priorities are clearer. To top it off, Karis also didn't nap, had a major meltdown when our friends came over this afternoon (which was such a blessing to have them here, to talk and watch our children play), then fell asleep on our way to dinner. Precious child of mine. We enjoyed Potbelly's sandwiches, Trev & K went back to Teavana, both kids went to bed peacefully, we got to watch an episode of Call the Midwife, and then both kids (and subsequently, me) had a fabulous night of sleep. This life is a gift.

I realized after my last post that I've been neglecting to include any Judah updates!

- He smiles and coos and squeals and is just completely delightful!
- He now sleeps at night in his crib . . . which for me is a significant step in separation and feels odd and sad. Actually, with Trev on Karis's floor these days, our bedroom is pretty lonely
- He has one blowout a day (at least), Karis loves when I get hit with the yellow stuff
- He slurps his hands, and it's the cutest sound ever
- He gazes into our eyes and lights up, his eyes even smile
- He loves when we use the "snot sucker" on him. Hilarious
- He continues to be mellow and loves to sleep. And I love to hold him when he sleeps.
- He's getting baptized this weekend at the Easter Vigil. Every time I think about it I want to cry

- "Mommy, we got you tea! Do you want to open it now? You're gonna be so SURPRISED!"
- "I don't feel well, I have a bad cough. My ear hurts. Can I go to sleep until it's better like daddy did?" (then proceeds to lay down in a fetal position, just like Trev when he was sick in bed)
- "Daddy, can you help me sleep?" (and then in the middle of the night, when he's on her floor: "Daddy, can I lay on the floor with you? Do you want to lay in bed with me? It's really comfortable. There's lots of room")
- "Mommy, I'll give you choices. Which one do you want?" (said while clothes shopping, she's going to be such a great help to me in this area - well, she already is)
- "Can I smell it?" (loves to smell anything, and come to think of it she's always been able to identify smells very well, which leads to . . .)
- "Mmm, it smells like a restaurant!"
- "Mommy, you're having a coffee date, I'm having a water date" (said at Panera, true statement)
- "Can you do the snot sucker on me?" (she watches us do the 'nose frieda' on Judah)
- "Mommy, when can I watch doctor?" (she found the Call the Midwife DVD, and I told her she can watch it when she's 22)
- "Where's my coffee?!" (said in the middle of the night, waking up delirious with a fever)
- "Mommy, should we write a thank you note to the nice man at Osaka for cooking our food?"  (for not liking it there, I thought this was sweet)
- "Mommy, when I'm bigger I'm going to drive you to the Mall of America and we're going to get chicken wings!" (cousin Caroline was telling her about eating chicken wings at MOA . . . I'm excited to make this one happen!)
- "I wrote you a birthday card! It says 'daughter loves you'" (melt my heart)

Some media I've been loving the past week:

A Chuck Swindoll series on parenting. I could listen to his voice all. day. long. One of the best points I've soaked in is to get to really  KNOW our children.

Bringing up Bebe. An account of an American raising her children in France, there are some quite applicable observations.

Parenting with Love and Logic. An interesting approach to letting natural consequences be the main discipline in parenting.

Call the Midwife. Pure delight and also quite emotional to watch as I hold a sleeping Judah.

I loved this blog post.

And this one.

Waiting for Birdie. A dear friend sent this my way, hilarious and holds many truisms. Such as, "Maybe you just can't warn people about the real things (about parenthood). 'Oh, good luck with the baby! Enjoy eating out while you still can! And, you know, enjoy your mind, before it liquefies. In fact, enjoy your whole life, before it turns into a disorienting blur of love and crushing anxiety.' Nobody mentioned the way my heart would be brought to its knees, a thousand times a day, by my love for the baby . . . "

I agree with her - in a good way. And we surely enjoy everything . . . our lives and restaurants and our liquefied minds.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moved and Moving

Moving and moved in musings . . .

Well, we moved. It happened! I sometimes still walk around our house wondering if this is all truly real . . . we love being here, and are slowly settling in. I was thinking about our moving week and in some ways it felt like a wedding: lots of people working together for this one event, so many people blessing us in various ways, God providing just what we needed when we needed it. I also likened the last couple days before closing date to a marathon, and even said out loud to my mom: "It's like approaching the finish line, sometimes you p**p your pants but the feeling of joy and relief when you cross the line is still awesome". There was no p**p involved, but we did have quite the week of last minute shopping for a washer and dryer, Karis up for hours in the middle of the night after not wanting to go to bed, last minute packing boxes.

And really, there were specific gifts to each day that week: a friend brought a new CD and danced and laughed with Karis while I packed a couple boxes. A family had us over to their lovely home for dinner and playing with their dear daughters, a friend gave us enough soup (like, best soup I've ever had) to last through the week, friends came over one morning to help clear out our fridge and listen to my Karis-not-sleeping woes and offer empathy and suggestions, Trev's aunt and uncle came and helped us with final packing details - AND helped with Karis while we closed AND helped us move in. My fabulous new sister-in-law-to-be (congrats to D & M!) had the kids and me to her place on moving day so we could stay rested and safe. Myriad friends helped on moving day and they got it ALL in one trip. Crazy! It was all truly beautiful. Trevor planned the work and worked the plan, I'm so proud of him. We're so grateful.

We've already loved having my mom and grandma visit (and help tremendously while Trev traveled, wonderful to make memories here with 4 generations of females taking over the casa. We had a blast), many friends over to run around, and Trev's parents were here last weekend and lightened things up greatly here.

Now Trev's getting over pneumonia and Karis croup. We are SO excited for spring.

Parenting lately has been humbling and interesting - I read a quote recently that "families are God's classroom." Yup, we're learning a lot. About letting go of expectations, being flexible, letting a lot of things go, living in the moment, claiming joy. Karis is delightful, and she has endured lots of little-world-rocking change: brother, house, lots of people coming and going. Trevor now sleeps on her floor, which is what gets us all rest. Well, it gets them rest, ha - Judah and I are up quite a bit! But in the grand picture, wow, these things are "the small stuff" and I was glad for a reminder from my dad to "not sweat the small stuff". Takes discipline to do that, and that's okay. I feel like I need to lighten up, which takes some intentionality. So, for today, my lighten up effort will be to: go into Karis's room for Monkey Monday acting like a monkey. Dance with her in the play room. Get something messy and try to not care.

Parenting consumes my thoughts and actions twenty four hours a day right now. I took K to the pediatrician last week to make sure she didn't have a lingering ear infection (really, I was probably looking for a reason for the acting out, and the screaming in the middle of the night!). Super healthy girl (thankfully) and the doc gave me some good prescriptions: time for myself one night a week (i.e. be gone at bedtime), alone time with Karis in the evening . . . yes, please, to both! It was good to just chat with someone and receive some affirmation about the things we're trying. The thing I'm realizing is that we're establishing habits all the time, some good and some bad. And when I realize the bad ones, the change has to start with US as the adults. Humbling, challenging, growing. Thankfully there's a million chances a day to try new things. Thankfully there is loads of grace for everyone. I believe these are God's children, entrusted to our care. Putting that belief into practice by sincerely trusting and letting go, that's a bit more difficult.

I took my couple hours out alone (well, with Judah) last week to run an errand and then get coffee. A cashier looked at Judah and said how excited she was to have kids - to which I'm still analyzing my reaction: almost started crying, gushed about how amazing parenthood is . . . then found myself wanting to cry (mostly in a good way) about how absolutely life changing it is. I mean, I was on my "break" but all I could think about was Karis: are they having fun? Will she go to bed all right? Does she know she's safe and loved and that we want the absolute best for her? Are we setting the right limits between grace and boundaries?

So yeah, I almost cried in front of this sweet cashier, and then went to have a cup of coffee and try to read a fun book but continued to think about my children and parenting. Eventually these thoughts lead to prayer and surrender - maybe eventually I'll arrive at that solution sooner. All in all, it's so amazing to know the beauty of life through these experiences, to know my limitations and weaknesses, to know God's grace and strength and perspective.

- "I don't want him to do the hot burn again!" (at Osaka, a hibachi grill place where they cook in front of you - flames included)
- "If I eat all this rice, I might be full and get a headache"
-  "This is my winter modesty dress. I needed one!"
- "Mommy, should we take an airplane to Bismarck and have dinner there tonight?"
- "Mommy, let's play airplane!"
- "Look at my tattoo!"
- "Daddy, read about the sheep!" (every night, she wants Trevor to tell her the parable of the lost sheep)