Monday, June 24, 2013

Small Town in the Big City

Something I've always loved is random human encounters - meeting people, making connections, being surprised by what a small world we really do live in. Just last week, Trev ran into a classmate from junior high. Crazy - the guy was a server at a small restaurant he went to. The next day Karis and I were sitting in Target (okay, at the Starbucks in Target, caught me) and a kind woman asked if she could peek at Judah, then told me she works with babies all the time. I asked where, she replied, and I recognized the place as one at which Trev's former boss (and now family friend) volunteers. So I asked if she knows Diane, and sure enough they're fabulous friends. There's just something that surprises and delights me when these things happen in this metropolis. It made my day a few weeks ago when I ran into one of my best friends at the grocery store. Simple things.

Other simple delights lately (a.k.a. a big week in the life of a little girl):

- "School" with Momma Beth and Lukas (Beth does crafts, I do snacks. LOVE this, and so does Karis). Last week was all things birds. This week was The Napping House.

- Scavenger hunts. I told Karis about a scavenger hunt at my sis-in-law's bachelorette party, and so now we have indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts. I make a list, then Karis "writes" on the list, then proceeds to find everything and put them in a big empty popcorn kernel jar. I love watching her scavenge and proudly return with her full jar and list. 

- Father's Day. Trevor, you're the best! It's been a joy to watch you grow in this role the past 4 years. Your gentleness, balance, creativity, and compassion are evident as you shepherd our children. I'm so thankful for you. We celebrated the day with a bbq in our backyard, all the "Pope's from Bloomington" plus some others. I'm so thankful for MY dad, Happy Father's Day, DK! You're the best. And to Trev's dad, Bobby, too - we are both blessed with such fabulous, faith-filled fathers

- Movie on the lawn. Karis and Trev were invited by dear friends to go to a big family event at TCF stadium. Bouncy houses, bottomless fruit snacks, children's flick on the big screen. Kid paradise. I got a little Judah date, which was a blast. He is just so smiley and sweet and I savored having him to myself.

- Okee Dokee brothers concert. This beloved "kindi" band can be heard in our house weekly . . . so when the dear Dierkers invited us to join them for a picnic and concert, we jumped (I'm always so glad other people keep us in the loop on things going on around here). Karis danced the evening away with Lukas and Eliza, precious.

- Bowling. Trev and Karis joined cousins Lee and Caroline to introduce Karis to the lanes. K wanted to know if there would be "Karis sized" bowling and was a little confused as to why we wouldn't just bring her strawberry shortcake bowling game.

- Laying on the grass watching the clouds go by and figuring out what shapes they are. We often find holes in the clouds, and Karis often says she sees Mickey Mouse.

- "Skateboarding". Karis slides around the floors on her toy stroller, hilarious. I love watching what she can come up with everyday, her imagination is wondrously wild.

- Water in our basement. Not a delight in itself - but the community we experienced because of the inconvenience is humbling. First, we are so blessed that it's just water. Next, we are amazed that some friends who were without power helped trouble shoot and figure it out. Then Uncle Steve descended to coordinate the fix-it solution. Then other friends arrived to help finish that and do the demolition. And to boot, the wives joined and so the kids and I had company and positive distraction. And we had a good reason to have an impromptu pizza party.  We feel like God's provision is so intricate.  Thank you, all. 

I've found that "big house things" make me anxious - spinning my wheels taking care of the kids, completely out of control . . . so, these are good growth opportunities. Also good chances to practice gratitude. Such as: so amazing that it was the weekend. That we caught the water. That people were around and willing to help. That the weather cleared long enough for them to fix things outside. That there's not a tree on our roof or vehicle (such as is the case in our neighborhood).

Things that make me cry lately:

- Reading Love you Forever. We finally unpacked the rest of Karis's books . . . and as we sat down to read this one, I told Karis how I used to read it to her and Lukas and sometimes it would make me cry. I was confident I would not cry this time. Foolishness, the last few pages had me sniffing and trying to explain to Karis how thankful I am for her and how someday I might be a grandma and . . . sweet Karis cuddled up to me (which honestly doesn't happen very often).

- Listening to this Bebo Norman song. For some reason, as I listen to this, I can envision our kids growing up. I think of all that is ahead of them . . . and just pray God's grace to cover their precious lives and each step of their journey.

- Watching Modern Family. First time an episode has brought me to tears, and ironically I thought it was the most off color episode in a long time . . . but the end was so beautiful to me.

The above leads me to think I'm both tired and hormonal.

Books Karis is loving lately:

- Fancy Nancy
- Bread and Jam for Frances
- Blueberries for Sal
- Henry & Mudge
Books I'm going through lately:

- Silas Marner (love this book)
- Oh Pioneers! (read this years ago, even better the second time around. I've realized I'm a huge Willa Cather fan)

- A short biography of C.S. Lewis
- Remains of the Day (Interesting, glad I read it, but probably wouldn't recommend it)
- Life Together (for small group - fabulous)

Routines I'm savoring lately:

- Karis waking up, saying "mommy, mommy!". Then we read a letter I wrote her a while ago, reminding me of what our days should focus on, reminding her of my love and God's. She can recite it back to me now. Really, it's reminding me Whose Karis is, that she is a gift to me, that I have to be intentional in our days. I find it easy to think Karis is older than she is, to expect too much from her.
- Karis helping Judah when he wakes up: she turns on his light, unwraps his arms from his swaddle, sings "Rise and Shine".
- Sitting on the front step when Judah naps, Karis runs across the stones, draws with sidewalk chalk, strolls her babies up and down the driveway
- French toast and Freeziac Fridays. Also Fun Family Movie Fridays. I love Fridays.

- "Mommy, is this Mickey's sister?" (talking about Minnie, who is on a mirror she has)
- "CHEWWWW- DAAAAA" (this is what it sounds like when she affectionately/aggressively comes up to her brother, grabs his hand, puts her face right next to his. About 200 times a day)
- "Mommy, can you put that down so you're modest?" (Thank you, Karis, for reminding me to put my post-nursing shirt down before I walk outside)

Judah Updates

- He continues to go where no man has gone before . . . bridal showers, bachelorette party, book club, ladies' nights, work dinners. And really, he is so easy to take to these places, calm and content and full of smiles and bubbles and raspberries. I treasure these little memories with him, the time goes so fast. 

Rockin' out to Okee Dokee brother's with her best friend, "D"

Gone fishing with Uncle Jordan

Happy Father's Day, DK - love you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

9 at Midnight

Where I was at 12:30 am this morning:

Karis's floor. With Trev in between me and Karis's bed. Watching Karis try to fall back asleep, because apparently daddy being on the floor just isn't enough at the moment (can you tell by my tone that this development is not evoking enthusiasm - from anyone but Karis, that is. I am open to rebuke or advice).

Things I was thinking about at 12:30 am this morning:

- It's our anniversary, 9 years today. I'm so thankful! Oh Trevor - you're the best. I'll save the moosh for a card, but wow are you a gift from God to me.

- Trying to remember where we were/what we were doing on our anniversaries the past 4 years. (I have this to help me remember all the ones before that). Pregnant with Karis 4 years ago, we were at a B&B in Stillwater. Last year we enjoyed a picnic by Lake of the Isles. The years before that I'm going to look back on our calendars to remember

- I was thinking about my friend, K, who had many sleepless nights when her daughter was 3 and her son was under a year

- I was thinking about the Laura Story song, "Blessings" (which aforementioned K referenced in a Christmas letter after a year of sleepless nights)

- Remembering the concept of "soul fever", very aptly described in the book Simplicity Parenting. We're both coming off of a wonderful 10 day excursion to a lake-side reunion and then a week in ND. We were lavished with love in beautiful ways, and Karis didn't even get the opportunity for a rest time the whole trip. She was a champ! But I do see the same look she had shortly after we moved (crazy tired eyes, nail biting, floppy movements). Laying there last night I was thinking that maybe the mid-night outbursts are her sideways attempt at reconnecting with me - I try all day long to cuddle, read books, welcome her into what I'm doing. But maybe those are ways that serve me instead of her. Anyways, I was thinking about how I can respond to these little unexpected and rather unwelcome interruptions (sleep, precious sleep) with grace and love. What kind of "middle of the night mom" do I want to be - am I called to be right now?

- I'm  not sure how Trevor has slept on her floor for months, but I'm sure thankful for his willingness to do so

Karis was asleep by 2am - yes, 2am. Judah up at 12, 4 & 5:30. Sigh. K, are you reading this? Are you caught up on sleep a couple years later?!

I opened this empty page yesterday, feeling like I had nothing to write . . .  and then wouldn't you know, something good came out of being up from 12 - 2 am last night.

And wouldn't you know, Jesus Calling this morning talked about blessings from trials, just like the Laura Story song (and trust me,  I realize my trials are small. So very, very small). 

And wouldn't you know, today really did feel special. I'm realizing the moments that spur growth are so worth any momentary discomfort (ask me if I feel that way in the middle of the night. Not so much).

Today's celebration was sweet, we hit another milestone in leaving both kids with neighbor teenagers while we went for dinner to the Sunshine Factory (a place we visited probably 12 years ago on a trip to the cities while we were in college. Ah, memories). Everyone had a great time, even the teenagers. Please let me remember to make this date-thing a habit.

- "I want to get out of the broken traffic"
- "I'm thankful for daddy . . . ." (proceeded to list of things that I do for her, but thanking Trevor for them. What?! Trevor asked her "Karis, are you thankful that daddy makes you dinner every night, too?" We laughed pretty hard)
- "I work at the Mall of America. At the Build a Bear Workshop"
- "I'm going to work!" (armed with her crayola lunchbox)

Judah updates:
- He sometimes laughs at Karis when they're both in their carseats. LOVE this
- He sometimes blows raspberries. DOUBLE LOVE this
- He can talk up a storm and can seem so serious in what he's trying to communicate
- He is still my squishy baby, just a little marshmallow love
- His naps are awesome, he goes in his crib fully awake and falls asleep quickly
- His eyes are on Karis at all times if she's in the room

Post anniversary date, successful on all accounts

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Bugs

In random news (written last week . . . sometimes it's hard to hit that "publish" button - such a commitment!):

Since last writing, we planted flowers and tomatoes and a pepper plant, drove to Home Depot and back in 100 degree weather in rush hour traffic with broken air conditioning in the vehicle, enjoyed a morning with my sister while Trev and a friend worked on house projects, made pheasant tacos and pheasant nuggets that turned out well, had a lovely dinner with my brother and almost-sister-in-law, inaugurated the deck with some play dates, I slashed my finger on the top of a can (uff da), had a family date to Potbelly's, celebrated our brother's golden birthday with a patio bbq, watched the crab apple and sugar maple trees blossom and bloom, started a gratitude journal. Some of our dearest friends, true couple soul mates, were here last weekend and it was bliss to catch up. And so deflating that they're gone.

Deep thoughts:

- Not flowing right now. Or, I'll try: I'm forcefully struck lately by the innocence and helplessness of babies, and how instinctual it is to want to meet their needs in a gentle way. I suppose it might be the contrast of looking at Karis who is innocent in many ways, but not so dependent and definitely can be crafty and intentional in both sweetness and deviation. Naturally, I'm not always inclined to handle crying/tantrums/whining in the same way as I respond to Judah. And then I wonder how Karis sees/processes these responses? When I watch her respond to her brother with similar gestures, I think at the least she's learning how to treat children younger than her. And this is one of the many the many gifts of siblings, and I'm so thankful they can have each other.

- I'm so thankful to recognize how much more calm our little family is now. Nail biting has decreased. Eyes look rested. General contentment has replaced exhaustion (most of the time). For all of us.

- I'm thinking lately about the standards that are set for children's development - the rate at which they "should" do so many things, from rolling over to reading to . . . anything. I read recently a plea to let our children be ordinary. I liked that. I also read a thought about having ordinary days, and what a blessing that is. Indeed! I'm savoring ordinary right now. Watching Karis imagine outside, listening to Judah "talk" while he falls asleep, the anticipation of seeing Trevor walk through the door at night and the way Karis runs to him (unless she's watching a video, in which case she asks him if she can "have special time with her movie". Oy!)

- An ordinary milestone: Trevor and I occasionally sit on the couch together, for more than ten minutes.  Sometimes we even hold hands. It's pretty amazing. Ordinary.

In media:

The Office finale (watched the last ten minutes . . . alone . . . Trev sleeping on Karis's floor, Judah blissfully in bed). A couple things rang true to me.
- Andy's parting lines about "I wish you could know they're the good old days when you're in them"
- Pam's parting thoughts about living life NOW, making decisions, taking risks

The end of an era, for sure! Back in the day (pre-children), we'd retire to the basement nightly to catch up on many seasons of The Office. It was good for our marriage, actually. You know, something to talk about, laugh about, quote back to each other. Interesting.

From Jesus Calling (May 18)

"Do not blindly follow your habitual route, or you may miss what I have prepared for you"

I'm in the middle of reading Silas Marner, I Shall Not Leave You Comfortless, and Life on Planet Mom.

Finished watching Call the Midwife, season 2. Loved all but one episode.

- "Mommy, is Judah sensitive right now?"
- " . . . and I asked Mommy lots of questions" (as she replayed her day to Trev)
- "So daddy, tell me about your day! How was work?"
- "Me and Marissa were giving birth to our babies" (oh my goodness!)
- "Mommy, when I have kids will you be their grandma?"
- "Is Jesus a man or a baby in our hearts?"
- "I'm thankful for summer. And that my daddy sleeps with me every night"
- "So, can you can tell me about last night?"
- She loves to read to Judah while he's in the exersaucer, especially The Three Little Pigs (a side note, Trev and I have commented on the real-ness of this story: eating wolves for dinner, you know, things like that. Reminded me of a great book called Tending the Heart of Virtue that talks about the value in reading these classic-though-sometimes-greusome tales. Time for a re-read of that one). 
- "When my kids are napping, I watch Midwife. And their daddy watches Star Trek" (she has us figured out, and here we thought we were sneaky about our TV viewing)

Judah updates
- He rolls from his stomach to back!
- He takes naps in his crib!
- He takes naps at regular times!
- He giggles! (especially when he's tired)
- His entire body responds when you talk to him, he lights up and starts kicking and waving his arms. This boy is social, and he reminds me so much of his sister at this age
- He loves his pacifier
- He stands in the exersaucer
- He's still up almost every two or three hours at night . . .
- He loves to suck on his hands and blanket
- He's realizing that his hands and feet actually belong to him
- He can go an entire day without crying (seriously, is that normal?!)

 Little gardener