Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Advent Post that is "la" instead of "blah"

The Happenings:

Elk hunting . . . . success! We all survived, except for one Elk (good job, Drew!)

Lefse making . . . helped make Elk hunting a success, we loved our week in Bis with lots of family - including a cousin-night with lefse and meatballs.

Thanksgiving-ing . . . always delightful and we love the traditions. I don't know many people who just get to show up with their kids and contribute only noise and messes (delight and entertainment and joy too, I know). We are so blessed.

Duck hunting . . . where they didn't even really hunt ducks, but carried on a 14 year (or something like that) tradition of camping out in Bismarck (at a house) and watching their mustaches grow. And then shaving them off (yay!).

Cousin-weekend-ing . . . which made the duck hunting weekend so fun for me and the kids. What a treat to have extended time with my sister-cousins. Staying up late, and watching them play with the kids endlessly and getting to actually talk. What a treat.

Old Fashioned Christmas-ing . . . while the cousins shopped, sister Kate came over to watch Frozen (for the first time in forever!) and then go with us to an Old Fashioned Christmas. Lo and behold, we got to meet 3 reindeer, be by a bonfire, listen to a choir sing carols and play on a sweet playground. SCORE.

De-mustache-ing . . . it happened. I love kissing Trevor's smooth face.

Well-seek-ing and cuddling . . . lots of ickie sickies here. Judah's feet didn't hit the ground for a full two days, and by some grace of God I really savored getting to call off life to hunker down with my littles. Karis got it next, and I sure did enjoy those cuddles too. Memorable is how jealous they each are of my lap. I'll take it.

Water park-ing . . . Judah got better just in time for us to carry out our Christmas celebration plan to go with friends to Waterpark of America. A winner for sure, maybe a tradition (please Groupon do that one again). Memorable was that Karis wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole, so my vision for togetherness and fun was re-adjusted. Also Judah lost it every time I handed him to Trev. I did manage to go down all the big ones, with glee. And Karis had a blast, so fun to watch her joy.

More Lefse making . . . thanks to Stevie & Debbie, Karis got to roll some more and make marvelous memories dancing around to Chipmunks Christmas music. They topped off the time by gifting her with a belly button thrower, a huge hit.

Pizza party-ing . . . some more festive family time with an out of town aunt and uncle, and nearby cousin/wife/baby Asher. Love.

Christmas Program-ing . . . with our dear little daughter as Mary! What a special honor for her to represent this beloved mother. I thought we might have some stories from this one, but wouldn't you know - she put on her dress without a fuss, and said on the way there: "Momma, at first I was shy to be Mary, but now I'm just really excited!". Despite being tired and recovering from a nasty cough, she was so precious and sweet. She was especially tuned in to Judah, waving to him and whispering to Joseph while pointing out Judah to him. Sweet memories.

Engagement-partying-Dinky-towning-Lights-Looking . . . our last day in MN before traveling we got to go to a friend's engagement party at a quaint spot by the river, then hit up Potbelly's in Dinkytown and swung around Hopkins looking at ridiculous lawn/light displays. Memorable.

Some quotes I'd like to remember from past months' readings . . .

St Teresa of Avila
Let nothing upset you, 
Let nothing startle you, 
All things pass;
God does not change, 
Patience wins all it seeks
Whoever has God lacks nothing. 
God alone is enough. 

From Pilgrim's Inn: 
"Holding a child in your arms gives you much the same feeling as pushing your fingers down into the earth when you were gardening, or having your horse nuzzle the palm of your hand for sugar. Quite suddenly you felt that your life was not an isolated thing, but existed in all other lives, as all other lives existed within yours. There wasn't anything anywhere to which you could say, 'We don't need each other'"

"You could awaken response in children just by giving them love, she'd found, like putting baking powder into a cake"

From Happier at Home:

"Yet even though I stood in my own kitchen, with my family in the next room . . . suddenly I missed them terribly"

"It's hard, so terribly hard, to please yourself"

"I thought how breathtaking, how fleeting, how precious was my ordinary day. Now is now. Here is my treasure."

From A Year of Biblical Womanhood (by Rachel Held Evans)

"The Proverbs 31 woman is not a star because of what she does but how she does it - with valor. So . . . . do what you do with valor"

"It has to get messy before it gets clean"

"It's not what we wear but how we wear it . . . and like clothing, modesty fits each woman a little differently"

"Okay, I'm going to just come right out and say it: A lot of women secretly dislike Christmas. Oh, don't get me wrong, we love the picturesque moments. . .  we just hate the anxiety disorder we developed while attempting to produce it. By the time December 25 rolls around we're all out of fight. Drained of our humanity, we have more important things to attend to: dishes, returns, disappointed family, and a mild addiction to whatever holiday-themed coffee product we were pumping through our systems that year"

Hinging on that last quote, I have to say with joy that this year I have prayed (and seem to have received the ability, not always by my own effort) to keep the simple choice in whatever is in front of me - no gingerbread rolling (just dough making, and friends rolled!), no significant crafts except what Karis requests (painting baby cribs with fun glittery paint, playing with dried beans and coloring them as her "treasures", drizzling chocolate and sprinkles on pretzels, making tons of coffee filter snowflakes), very little coupon/deal grabbing urgency. Staying home more and cuddling up instead of trying to do all the festive things to offer around here (which sound fun, but just not right for these ages/stages). I'm grateful. I've mostly been able to replace the hurry with reading with Karis by the Christmas tree, lighting the Advent wreath candles at dinner, not seeing events/ideas as "all or nothing". Some is okay.  It's liberating to be "enough". We've had fun thinking of gifts and the joy we can find in giving people things that bring them delight, talking about the gifts God has given us that we can share, small ways we might show love to those around us every day. My year for the word is/was "present" and I hope this is so in the final days of this year.

Advent listenings and readings: 

"Prepare the way of the Lord" has been our focus

This broadcast had me choking up while driving around one morning with Judah

This friend's blog  I find myself re-reading, trying to soak in her beautiful memories and wisdom

This book has been so meaningful during the past few weeks and will carry on into the 12 days of Christmas/Epiphany

This Advent song

a quote from St Teresa of Avila
Let nothing upset you, 
Let nothing startle you, 
All things pass;
God does not change, 
Patience wins all it seeks
Whoever has God lacks nothing. 
God alone is enough. 

As I write this paragraph at the day of hitting "publish", today's Advent reading was about Mary - which means we're getting so very close to Christmas. Karis and I sat down to read Christmas in the Barn and I found myself a puddle of tears through most of it. I was remembering what it felt like to have my children on my chest right after they were born, and was wondering what it felt like for Mary? To hear the angel, to trust and grow large with baby and then give birth. What was it like to be His mother? She treasured all those things in her heart.

I hope to remain present and treasure many things in my heart the coming days. Karis and Judah are at such sweet, special, hilarious, wondrous ages and I know we'll look back on "these days" before long - and with longing.

Karis's Christmas books (many of which have made me cry and helped center me on the reason for this season. In fact, it's been my favorite part of Advent . . . Karis now looks up at me with any pause to see if I'm crying. The STORY is just so powerful, and beautiful when explained in so many creative ways in children's literature):

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
An Orange for Frankie
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Christmas Tapestry
The Christmas Eve Ghost 
Great Joy

- "Well, I'll just sit here and figure out life"
- "I love being busy!"
- "I love being at my grandmas' houses because they let me do whatever I want"
- "Mommy, did the governor say we can't go outside in this weather?"
- "Judah, hugs not shoves!"
- "No way, Jose!"
- "Grandma knows what you don't like, because she's your mom!"
- "Well, there's not enough time to work and play!"
- "Let's just enjoy the drive"
- "Momma, you can't LIE about the fire!" (said when I told Judah the fire didn't work at the grandparents' home)
- "The Mexican citizens!" (mimicking NPR, seconds of listening before I switched the station)
- "Momma, is the Governor's rule to be quiet during naptime? I know it's his rule to be quiet late at night"
- "So daddy, [some friend of ours] want to go to college, so they're putting coins in a deer and then they bring it to the bank. Hey daddy, should I go to college?" (we ended up deciding she could live here and go to college. HA)
- "Judah, I don't have time to answer your questions right now" (I swear I've never said this!)
- "Judah, let's go take care of our pet flies!" (that were in the bathroom. How?!)
- "Daddy, what did you get an award for? Did you win money?!"
- "Mom, I'm giving Judah Epiphany gifts for his room!" (a drawing of a Christmas tree and a spice bottle filled with small jewelry-making pieces)
- "Kids kinda are in the mood of getting things more than sending things" (!!!!)
- "Momma, do artichokes make you choke?"
- "On the twelfth day of Christmas, my grandma gave to me" (she was serious)
- "I'm having my suck vitamins" (cough drops)
- "Mommy, when I was 3 years old, at rest time I used to sneak . . ." (and then she goes on to confess all sorts of things she did during rest time when such a thing existed)

Judah Updates:
- We were at Trader Joe's one morning after preschool drop off and Judah got so excited and kept telling me "Ee-ah! Ee-ah!" and then peeking his head around a corner. Sure enough, his sweet friend Liam was there with his mom (my friend) Nina. Judah recognizes his friends now and gets so excited to see them (just like his sister)
- He walks up to garbage cans and says "Ishhhh"
- When we get ready to go anywhere he says, "Go, go, go!"
- He loves to say "ho, ho, ho" (his mouth makes the perfect "o" shape)
- He loves vacuums
- He needs all the lights on
- He cannot help but jive to music
- We think he said "Hi daddy" when Trev walked in the room
- He's starting to enjoy books, especially ones with dogs or birds in them
- The best transitional term for Judah is for him to say "Bye!" to things he can't/shouldn't have
- The tantrums have lessened, he's mostly a jolly little fellow
- I love watching this guy run around the yard in his snowpants
- He loves to turn his noise machine on, and has started carrying it around and lovingly placing cloths and wipes over it. I love watching his little mind work
- He loves the snow and being outside, he'll come find me to put his gloves back on if they fall off
- "Hugs not shoves" continues to be something we teach around here, but Judah practices "shove, then hug". It's actually kind of cute, and also quite frustrating
- He loves to "name" everything in his room when he wakes up (which means pointing to them and saying something and waiting for us to say what it is): noise machine! humidifier! monitor! noise machine! light! diaper!
- He loves to put on his boots and walk around (sometimes just one boot and then limps around)
- He likes to sit on things and scoot on the floor
- He traded toothbrushes for water bottle caps and fuzz balls and chap sticks
- He loves apricots and saying "ah-cah"
- He loves to color and lately insists on having the crayons broken in half (???? Funny human being)

Gearing up for some sliding

Judah's roughest day, he couldn't stay awake

Ironic to meet sven 30 minutes after watching Frozen


4 stellar generations
The one that didn't get away

Mary & Bright

Getting suckers while I paid on an errand to our fave restaurant