Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Little Pumpkins Grow Too Fast

The recent happenings . . . 

Another weird week and other thoughts

(A really long time ago now) Karis had her first sick day . . . the perfect amount of not feeling well, enough to cuddle and yet be active. Savored that time with her (and an afternoon viewing of Aristocats). We also made it (miraculously) to Best Buy for a dishwasher. I'm scared to think of what the guy thought of us - maybe "whoa, here's an easy sell, a highly distracted mom . . . ". The kids were hilarious and lost parts of their innocence watching James Bond and listening to Tom Petty while I finalized the decision.

The real stuff that I know I'll look back on and think "whoa, that was SIMPLE" . . .Trevor's been working long and hard and under frustrating circumstances. I've realized part of the trickle down is that I'm a thermostat (up and down according to the temp of those around me). Harder still is that I love to help, and I feel so helpless. So much growth, and I so pray to grow well. My attitude is not always stellar (huh, Trev?). He's a man of character and loyalty, I'm thankful for him and also for the work he's been given.

And not so long ago, we had a week of croup that timed so perfectly (right before Thanksgiving). Steroids, I am a believer. And mercy, the timing was so perfect and I feel so grateful (and yes, often undeserving) of the health we usually enjoy. This same week, a dear friend has a friend who lost their 8 month old daughter . . . started with croup and ended as a sad story - and yet filled with triumph as the family testified to the hope of Heaven and One who loves Ivy in a way we can't comprehend.

Which reminds me of the lesson here lately that I've been pondering: solid ground. Learning to find it no matter what is going on around me . . . these are the days, I know that, and I don't want to miss them by standing on sinking sand. See quotes from the Happiness Project below -  enjoying today and building good habits in the good times that will help us be unshakable when circumstances swirl.

Aside from all this, I often wonder what my kids will remember about their growing up years. That mental/heart filter helps me to set the atmosphere in the home. Not going for perfection here, but there's nothing like these littles to expose and refine. Loving it, really.

Whoa, a whirlwind and wonderful weekend of celebration for my parents' 40th anniversary, mom's 60th birthday and D & M's "reveal" that they are having a boy and a girl. Hot Plate, Arboretum, YUM, together. What a sweet season.

Cousin & aunt and uncle & framily time with the dear Dierkers made this holiday hilarious and refreshing. Lots of elk for dinner , lots of candy, lots of kids running around. Karis was Mary Poppins (spent the day making her own hat), Judah was in Mickey Mouse halloween jammies and a minion hat, I mimicked him and put on my pajama pants, Trev rocked being Trev. A little trick or treating, lots of catching up, moms "cleaning up" while dads took kids around the 'hood', some watching Over the Hedge. Just right.

Baptism Birthday
Verses, pictures, books, candle lighting, burgers. What a reminder to us all, being welcomed to the family with joy.

Sneaking Candy
Pic right below, Karis and I snuck up to my room while the boys were occupied downstairs - picked out a piece to have right before her baptism birthday dinner. Selfish motives (hello, Reeses) help me remember to have more fun. Why not?

Writing Books
Laura books. Barbie books. Books about school. Books about family. Karis loves to write. Her first sounded out/spelled sentence: "We wint to dsny wrld" (or something like that, I tragically can't find the paper).

Girls' Weekend/Boys' Weekend
Judah and Trev enjoyed some quality time while I played with the girls . . . here for a baby shower and some November birthday bliss. Refreshing, for all I think. And hey, the "other boys" got their elk - hooray!

Judah's. At naptime. Hilarious. Picture below. The picture I can't post is of when I went in a different time and he was completely naked - with all his clothes/diaper put back in their proper places . . . and saying, "I want a new bed!". This happened a couple times and then the antic disappeared. Oh that boy.

Karis and I found the perfect book for her - to articulate her wish to stay young: I Like to Be Little (Charlotte Zolatow). It's articulates us here entirely, you need to go read it. The little girl explains why she wants to stay little while the mom keeps asking her why and affirming her thoughts. At the end, the mom explains how when you're older and have your own little daughter you get to be little again. YES. Love.

Basement reno (a start)
Oh bless my friend Becky, who I think maybe was tired of me complaining about our basement and offered to help stain the floor. So simple, so satisfying - a Saturday morning with gal pals, donuts and paint gave us a toy room. Hooray!

Car Rides
Essential now to every night when Trevor comes home. CAR RIDE DADDY! They sit in his lap and he does a little lap around the cul de sac. I love watching these memories in the making.

Star Gazing
First with neighbor babysitter Chelsea and forever more whenever she can - love this. Children remind us to take time for magical things (in our yard now we end up watching a lot of airplanes along with the stars).

Watching the lamp post turn on (Christmas lights too)
Karis hilarious loves to watch the lamp post in our cul de sac turn on. I love watching what she loves.

Mustache man 
Trev had a good run with his fall mustache this year. After a Sunday morning of stares at church and the anticipation of meeting a new boss-man, well, he decided to let it go. Well done, Trev.

We're always glad to go to Bis - I mean really, we take over the grandparents' houses, makes tons of memories, eat lots of good food, run zero errands, connect with lots of family and enjoy our home land. Fulfilling and filling gatherings, a date night, finding out J & C are having a little girl, meeting a dear friend's baby girl. Thankful. And writing this the day after returning:  holiday hangover - like, crabby and tired and back to full responsibility. I think it's a real thing - SO wonderful in the moment with zero regrets . . . and then, the next day . . .

And now, Advent
Simple. Trying to be simple and quiet and anticipating. Searching inward and reaching out. Memories, meaning, waiting, hoping. Started it off today with snowman making (named Crystal), nativity setting, hot chocolate consuming, candle lighting. Ahhhhhh.

Recent reading quotables . . . 

From In This House of Brede (quote reminds me of motherhood as a calling):
"The silence Dame Catherine had found so fruitful must be continually broken in upon; worst of all, she, to whom it was still an ordeal to take a solo part in choir, or to act as the reader in the refectory, meet strangers in the parlor - though she had successfully hidden all this, too successfully she could have said - must now always be solo, leader in everything, unmercifully prominent. An abbess cannot lift a little finger but it is seen and marked by her nuns, she must lead, inspire, and every hour of the twenty four hours of each day until she died, bear that awesome responsibility of souls and, in her own monastery, be the representative of Christ"

From The Long Winter (Little House)
"'We eat when we get hungry', said Royal. 'That's the advantage of baching it. Where there's no women-folks, there's no regular mealtimes'". (as Pa ate their bacon and pancakes with glee)

From The Count of Monte Cristo (the last page of the book, which became like a dear friend to me after at least 5 months of reading it!)
"There is neither happiness nor wisdom in the world, there is only the comparison of one state with another - nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness."

"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget htat until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these to words: 'Wait and hope.'"

From The Happiness Project
"'I am happy, but I'm not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more - and live up to it better . . . I complain too much, get annoyed more than I should. I think if I felt happier, I'd behave better'" . . . "I wanted to prepare. I was a very fortunate person, but the wheel would turn. One dark night, my phone was going to ring . . .one of my goals was to prepare for adversity - to develop the self discipline and the mental habits to deal with a bad thing when it happened . . . I didn't want to wait for a crisis to remake my life."

From The Exact Place
". . . it was here, in the midst of glory and brokenness, where I found a miracle - or at least, pretty near to one: it was the thread of redemption even through the dark hours after midnight. If I had been fat with well being and contentment I believe I would have missed the love of God that still tracks through the wilderness heading me toward Home. I am, I was, in the exact place I needed to be."

Also recently loved reading Longing for ParisHeidi and For the Love. Adored all.

- "This chicken noodle soup doesn't really have any chicken?" (hello, Campbell's)
- "How much did the dishwasher cost? Do you have enough money?"
- "I have a fever - like Frozen Fever!"
- "Think we should get right to the good stuff?" (said when wanting to skip previews before a movie)
- "Momma, how do you spell 'twins'?"
- "Mom, do flowers have funerals?"
- "You're the best best best best _________"
- "Did the time change yet?"
- "Momma, it doesn't LOOK like the time changed?!"
- "Can you believe there are GAMES with the catalog?!" (Toys R Us trip where an employee was instructing my kids on i phone apps for their catalog. What?!)
- "Here dad, you can look at this and find things that YOU want to buy!"
- "Oh mom, sorry our plan didn't work out, but can we go to Target and eat popcorn soon?" (said while whizzing to French Park with daddy)
- "Can I help you?" (after I explained it was going to be one of those days where there's a lot to do)
- "Daddy, we can clear out part of the basement and when you retire from all your jobs you could have a nice little office!"
- "We got to see the lamp post come on!" (she LOVES this)
- "It gets dark so early, I just feel so invisible"
- "Maybe Judah should go to home school?" (when we were talking about him not going to preschool anymore. Oh wise Karis)
- "Yeah I have an elephant memory" (she's heard me say this one a lot, and it's so true)
- "Well, we could just go to Caribou for a bit to chat and connect?" (while driving to airport to pick up the grandmas)
- "Well, we'll have to hang Judah's bike up occasionally" (I adore her vocab)
- "Daddy, can we please talk about stars instead of serious things?"
- "It's like a tv on way more bigger" (said while stargazing)
- "Mom, do crocodiles have meat on them?"
- "This might be the worst croup yet"
- "Do you know what I wish for Judah? I wish he'd grow up and be a farmer"
- "Judah! Grandpa Kirk shot an elk with a gun and now we get to eat meat!"
- "Mommy, do you have a star? Do you know where it is?" (found out later that the John Henry fairy tale at school talks about this)
- She constructed her first words (alone) this week: "We wint to dsny wrld" (needs some vowels but I was super shocked). And in writing a thank you note, "Fank yu". Love it!
- "I need to go check on Crystal!"
- "I'm going to the parlor"

Judah Jibes:
- "Man in car eating sucker!" (said when he can see people smoking in their cars)
- "I'm funny!"
- "Go to school! Play play-dough"
- "That go in the garbage"
- "I watch James Bond movie!"
- "Timmy go to bed. Read God Book!" (recently loving the Eloise Wilkin stories I got for Karis when he was born)
- "I'm farmer boy!" (he IS. Farming is in this little boy's blood . . . planting, plants, flowers, tractors)
- "I'm awake!"
- "I wanna take a break!"
- "Little man fix dishwasher! TWO little men fix dishwasher!"
- "Mommy gave me pinecones!" (translate: waffle cones)
- "Look at that!"
- "Look, it's a house! Ahhhhh, no, actually it's a library!" (on the way to preschool, seeing a huge Honeywell building)
- "I went to zoo! I saw bear dig sand!"
- "Grandma Carole tongue fell out!"
- "Congratulations!"
- "Drangonfly in here! Get out!" (there was a stick in the bath he thought was a drangonfly - and he was scared. That dang bee sting continues to play out in a fear of bugs here)
- "I go houses! I get bag. I get candy!"
- "Mmmmmm, coconut"
- "Ahhhh, I think read rhymes!"
- "Go uppa mommy"
- "I'm gonna do forks" (helping Karis unload dishwasher)
- "I can have it . . . " (while taking something of Karis's while she's not looking)
- "I love your outfit!" (repeating me, but still adorable)
- "I go get new dress" (after taking off his pants, came down in star wars jammie pants and vikings jersey)
- "Ahhhh, I think read Yak and Gnu!"
- "Look, it's a triangle!" (said in a store, and correctly - I credit the book Mouse Shapes)
- "I'm not screaming mommy!" (when he's screaming I tell him he's screaming. He notes when he stops)
- "Read Hickory Dickory Dock!"
- "Ohh la la!" (a little saying he and Nancy have with each other)
- "Mommy go in car too!" (when we're driving separately and I'm not with him)
- "I go on pootsie hunt" (when we're looking for his beloved lovey)
- "Noooo, I no poopie, I'm dry"
- "Grandpa in Colorado! Grandpa go elk hunting!"
- "I have to eat my green beans!"
- "Uppa Karis!" (loves being held by Karis, ADORABLE)
- "Where are you mommy?" (love this)
- "No mommy glasses!" (can't stand the sight of me wearing glasses)
- "Hop to mommy!" (he does this all the time)
- "Engine turtle jammies!" (ninja translated)
- "How about RACE!" (he and Karis go back and forth with ideas of what to play)
- "I want tomato apple sauce!" (the costco squeeze applesauce - he thinks the apple on the front is a tomato)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Huge Can of Pumpkin =

Because some thoughts are swirling, I'm writing a sentence or two so I can look back and remember that I DID think about some ideas:

It's just on my mind, the whole idea of responsibility. Sometimes I just feel like I want none, and in those moments I just seem to get more. I think this is a normal thing.

It's kind of like this quote I see flying around, which tells me I'm not the only one who wants someone to DO the cooking, READ the books, DRIVE the errands, SING the songs, PUT ON the movie, TUCK IN to bed: "I can't adult today". Feelings come and go, thankfully, this one passes and it helps to just SAY it.

Also on my mind. Just being aware of the responsibility of using what we've been giving - specifically, not striving after other's gifts/callings, living out our own with joy. Appreciating others' calling. Encouraging them in it. Being comfortable in our own. Instilling the idea into our children feels important to me, the sense of purpose and unique giftedness.

Slow growth
And adding to those things, I've been thinking about how growth into responsibility and calling is so blessedly slow! We don't all of a sudden have school age kids. We're not all of a sudden helping them with calculus. They're not all of a sudden soccer super stars (a tangent, I think cross country sounds like the perfect sport). At this I think slow growth is how it's designed most of the time - I guess there are plenty of seasons of phyiscal/emotional/mental/spiritual growth too (usually more painful, I think. And, that's life too).

And of course some of the recent memory-making moments: 

Bus ride 
Momma Beth & Eliza invited me and Judah to ride the bus from their house to YUM. It was a cozy Friday morning adventure, Judah sucked his thumb all the way there and on the way back chatted to anyone within earshot about the man driving the bus. Love that boy. And we sure love those people, sweet friends who enjoy sweets with us.

New School
We found a different hourly preschool place 5 minutes from Karis's school, also attended by some of Judah's friends. He's only been there twice, but it's been great. I have a whole 2 hours a week to myself (HA!). I never love dropping my kids off and despite feeling like I need this break, I feel sad for a wee bit . . . and then I read For Me and My House in a coffee shop, run a couple childless errands, make necessary phone calls . . .and the time flies and is satisfying and productive and good. I love his huge smile at pick-up.

Apple Orchard
Petting zoo, corn maze, TRAIN! IN THE TUNNEL! DONUTS! MORE DONUTS! (Judah loved it all and screamed all the way out). Most fun was celebrating Liam's birthday there, sweet friend.

Pay attention!
Sometimes things just pop up over and over. Might I remember . . .

Three times in one day: "Let your yes be your yes - your no your no" (two books and one scripture reading). Crazy.

Twice another day: The Golden Rule. Mentioned in a book and a reading.

Weirdest week (a few weeks ago now), that started with a can of pumpkin:
Should've known it was going down when I opened a huge can of pumpkin . . . it's kind of like putting gingerbread men on my list of things to do. Bad idea! Because inevitably I'll feel compelled to use every bit of the pumpkin, scouring for new recipes that hit the spot of whatever craving I can't name. Not. a. good. idea. (results: pumpkin banana muffins that no one really likes and pumpkin butterscotch cookies that came out a little doughy). It reads like a "give a mouse a cookie" book: "If you give Andrea big can of pumpkin, she might need to look at recipes. If Andrea looks at recipes, she might want to make them all. If she makes them all, she might be tired and frustrated . . . "

Judah got sick - couldn't suck his thumb (congestion) and had the worst night of his life. Poor baby. As always kicks into gear, when my kids are ill the purpose is so clear and in some ways it's easy to just call everything off, leave the house however it is and just BE. And interestingly, Judah sick leaves him with little energy to exert his . . . two-ness. He was markedly pleasant to me! I knew he was feeling better when he started his usual little antics. Like sitting in my lap whining for me (advice, please).

Dishwasher broke. Humidifier broke. No big deal, just . . . weird.

Trev had a day trip to Dallas. DAY TRIP TO DALLAS. My background is in the non profit world, so this kind of thing is still foreign to me. Getting up at 3:15 am - both of us - uff da. He got home at 12am. How, Trevor?! I sacked out after a good day with the kids topped with a friend giving us homemade mac n cheese and tomato soup. Seriously?! Grace. I'd already promised the kids Wendy's and so there was enough left to share with Trevor, perfect.

The week ended with Trev's race: which included a little uncertainty in the sleep deprived fog of Friday as to whether it could happen. A good night of sleep, a morning bleary eyed bowl of oatmeal and coffee and he was on his way. In the past it's been quite a run around to just see him pass mile 7, so I didn't plan on even trying. But I woke up feeling like I HAD to see him cross the finish this year. So, dropped K off at a birthday party (blessedly right on the way to the race). Judah and I drove to Theo Wirth and found the finish line and drove around for about 30 minutes believing someone would leave and we could snag a walking distance spot. And sure enough - boom - front row, right across the street from the finish (this at a place where people park and take a shuttle to the finish). Halleluia. We even found a friend waiting for her hub. And hooray, he made it! So thankful and proud to watch Trev and his mustache cross the line. He said it was a tough race and that he might not have made it had we not been waiting for him . . . and so, as Ma says, "alls well that ends well".

CONGRATS TREVOR! Proud of you. I admit my horrible attitude about the race this year. I'm glad you ran it. I had a bit of a revelation about being really together on "marathon-ish" life events. I felt really tired from your race, but didn't run it - helped me understand how my giving birth made you so exhausted/back ache/headache. Love you!

And that afternoon - Scaredy Bats . . .
After Trev's race while the boys slept, Karis and I headed to our outdoor reading spot . . . and as I raised the umbrella and Karis came to join me, she exclaimed, "Mom, there's a bat!". Whoa, sure enough. AHHHHHHHH. Karis ran around and came in through the front and I ran in the back door. Eesh.

And then looking back on that funny week, I felt God's love and care in such specific ways. And I really thought about it, because I don't expect things to just get better or fixed or go the way I think they should. But I really did ask Him to help me trust, and I really did feel that deep trust. And I fully realize our "woes" are small - so, so small. And yet, I remembered He cares. He really, really cares. And His comfort and even restoration of our creature comforts . . . well, they just made me smile, made me feel connected to the Giver of all good things, made me thankful. Made me want to remember the weird week that had such a cover of Grace. I wonder if these little things are practice for growth, because it's not "when" more will happen. It's "if". And I want to grow and learn now and always. To trust now and always.

Wonderful trip Home to Bismarck . . . because it IS home 
Pretty good ride ("how long do we have to go" turned into "Karis, I will give you updates once in a while" turned into "is it time to update me yet?!") and a whirlwind weekend making lots of memories - baby shower for Hope, best duck hunt ever for Trev, and a day on the prairie watching Karis live in her Little House on the Prairie imaginative world. Watching Wonder Woman under the grandpa built tent, eating pizza in the pantry, attending grandpa day care. Togetherness. Fabulous.

Fall Break
Refreshing with tons of park play (enough to make Judah a bit ill on Friday, it would seem - thankfully quick bounce back) and a random Friday morning trying different outings: library, had to leave with Judah screaming (probably not feeling great but I didn't realize it yet). Playground, had to leave it was freezing. McDonalds, almost had to leave the movie playing (Smurfs) was frightening Karis. A random bakery stop where a man gave us free cookies, winner.

We loved an evening visit from Grandpa and Grandma, passing through on their way to a Canadian vacation.

We loved having a family over for an afternoon of outside play and dinner, fully enjoyed this new phase of not having to hover over safety or meals for children!

The boys kayaked, me and Karis ran girl-y errands, met up all together at a park, pizza and Pooh . . . oh these are good days.

NOT perfect days. Let me cast no illusions here. There are ups and downs for ALL of us. Foot stomping, screaming, hitting, grabbing. All of it, people. I try to be careful with my attitude, which can be a bit, well, in need of adjustment.

Recent Rhythms:

Saturday backyard picnics - Karis begs to eat dinner outside on the grass on Saturdays. Love it.

"Chores in the leaves" - Trev trimmed branches (he's such a good homeowner) and the kids had a blast playing among them for a day.

Boys' kayaking outings (while Karis and I enjoy girly things like haircuts and errands and connecting with friends)

Watching a Chef's Life (Trev and I), dreaming of a vacation to North Carolina someday.

Afternoon friend meet-ups at Schmidt Lake Park (huge slide!). Thank you A, for the introduction. So grateful for dear friends who happen to be neighbors. Bliss.

Collecting ladybugs as pets. Having little brother sabotage big sister's efforts at pet-caring. Lots of screaming.

Reading outside. The afternoons have been so glorious Karis and I take our tea and juice outside and settle in for what is my fave part of the afternoon. She sits right in the middle of my lap and lays her head on my chest and we get wrapped up in our stories. And a random intersection of literature and life - we're in the middle of The Long Winter (Little House book 5) and ironically we've been reading chapters that take place during an "Indian summer" (probably not politically correct anymore, but that was truly the chapter name) in October. So very fitting as we've been soaking in the October sun while we imagine we live on the prairie. I'm also finding a little intersection of Laura and Karis - Laura is going to school and we read Laura's thoughts of being scared to be in town and around a lot of new people. And yet on the outside she is brave and fearless. That is my Karis! So brave and outgoing, people don't believe when I tell them how nervous she is for Fridays (chapel buddy/sitting by a high schooler) or that she clings to my legs sometimes and begs me to stay with her until class starts. Precious season. And I'm grateful to that wise and deep Laura for helping me understand my daughter.

Recent reading quotables: 

From The Count of Monte Cristo:
Albert: "But why need this annoy you?"
His mother, Mercedes: "You know, Albert, women are singular creatures."

". . . for in the tacit relations which maintain the bond of family union, the mother, to maintain her ascendency over her daughter, must never fail to be a model of wisdom and a type of perfection" (Madame Danglars thoughts)

From The Quiet American:
"Find me an uncomplicated child . . . when we are young we are a jungle of complications. We simplify as we get older."

From By the Shores of Silver Lake (Laura Ingalls Wilder):
"Oh, drive dull care away,
For weeping is but sorrow.
If things are wrong today,
There's another day tomorrow.

So drive dull care away
And do the best you can,
Put your shoulder to the wheel
Is the motto for every man."

"These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves - they're good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em." (wisely stated by Pa and sooooo true at the time of the reading our dishwasher had its final kaput)

From One Tough Mother:
"We are an obsessed mothering culture scared to death of being perceived as anything less than utterly and totally conscientious. It's not enough to believe and know we did the best we could as a mother despite obstacles . . .  but settling for nothing less [than extraordinary] day after day and year after year can make one very weary."

"Little else rattles our confidence and ability to trust in our . . . . maternal common sense quicker than . . . inordinate attention to details that don't really matter. And little else falls quicker to the wayside in the midst of those details than the soothing and raucous relief of laughter and pure unabashed enthusiasm for life as it is right here, right now."

- "You know what I had after you left momma? Another toaster doodle" (as in, toaster strudel, delivered to us by Asher and his parents. Adorable)
- "Introducing the amazing and incomparable Karis!"  (also said to Asher's parents)
- "Momma, I'm so sorry to tell you - William Shakespeare died. BUT congratulations! We found two new worms!"
- "Let's have a quesadilla picnic! . . . now it's time for picnic games! Anyone who has a leaf invitation can play"
- "Daddy, why do you go potty for a long time?"
- "Momma, I know William Robert Tennison has zero teeth" (our friends new baby)
- "Okay, this is the end of all our nursery poems" (she loves dictating poems to Trevor, they are delightful. Lots of "hum dee dum didelee dum" and many are about holiday dinners prepared by her grandmothers)
- "Look at our life savers!" (light sabers bubble wands from cousins)
- "WHY are there so may AIRPLANES?! Do you think there's a world fair or something?"
- "Me try an onion? No thank you!" (when Trev offered an onion ring)
- "Momma, I never knew fall was so HOT"
- "Momma, all these pants have HOLES in them!" (wandering clothing section at Target)
- "Well, thanks for keeping supper hot for me!"
- "Boy am I so glad I don't go to boarding school!"
- "I wanna be a pioneer when I grow up! Except I can't because I didn't live 100 years ago"
- "Judah has a river of snot!"
- "Looks like it's a Star Wars year for Kohls!"
- "Can you please not pat my toosh?"
- "Daddy, don't talk about the Hobbit when it's past my bedtime!"
- "Winnie the Pooh . . . ewwwww!" (singing in such a punny way as we drove through some pig country)
- "It just makes me cry when I think of how the years have passed!" (she is SO my daughter. She can be moved to tears looking at pictures of Judah as an infant)
- "You just CAN'T cut his hair yet, it's so beautiful!"
- "So mom, where are the bathrooms in this country?" (said as we approached the Old Country Buffet)
- "I LITERALLY almost fell off the haystack!"
- "Mom, Judah just shoved me, but it was a love shove"
- "Mom, 4 is the perfect number for our family, dontcha think?"
- "I would never ever travel the sea unless I HAD to" (after watching "Savior Pilot Me")
- "Pray I'd have dreams about make-up parties and baby showers" (before bed)
- "I gotta watch for the frost!" (she's so excited about frost)
- "I could tell that you needed a hug"
- Some fave picture books and also chapter ones: Nora's Ark, Somebody Loves You, Mister Hatch, Whingdingdilly, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Potter

Judah jibes:
- "They're so pretty!" (after putting on his Star Wars jammies from Lukas. Precious)
- "Daddy like it" (spitting out an onion ring)
- "I WANT DADDY!" (when I'm saying something he doesn't want)
- "I WANT MOMMY!" (when Trev is saying something he doesn't want)
- "Judah likes play with Jo Jo" (when I picked him up from the nursery one day)
- "There's a HUGE garbage man truck!"
- "Mommy go lake way!" (loves to drive by Medicine Lake)
- "Mommy go get Wendy's!"
- "NO Mommy eat!"
- "NO Mommy sing!"
- "Going to other one Fargo" (his way of describing Bismarck)
- "Go back Grandma's house!" (crying as we drove back to Plymouth)
- "I don't like it" (said to much food)
- "I want _____" (insert whatever he wants at that moment, remember to use a very whiney and insistent tone)
- "I want a SUCKER!" (said at Old Country Buffet, spying the cones of cotton candy)
- "I want CHOCOLATE WATER!" (aka root beer)
- "Read Baby Brains!" (new fave)
- "Grandpa Bobby has a GREEN tractor" (heard through the monitor after he was in bed)
- "Read Little Boy Drummer! Rat a tat!"
- "Baby in momma's belly? no no no no no! Baby in Judah's belly? no no no no no. Baby in Karis's belly? no no no no no. Baby in Melanie's belly! Baby in Cassie's belly! Baby in Sarah's belly!"
- Or, he just randomly assigns anyone a baby belly. Like, asks us in front of random acquaintances: "______  have baby belly?". Only a little awkward
- "Ducks go waterskiing!" (literally - they watch ducks do this while on the kayak)
- "Go get gas car" (while riding in his coupe)
- "Car wash with daddy!"
- "Mommy go wrestle!"
- "I toot!"
- "I have appetizer applesauce!"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It Happened

I feel a bit relieved that fall rhythms are on the way here, I think I had some underlying anxiety at the thought of the changes around here - I mean, school!

But first.

Because we could this year, we did. Usually Trev & Karis go (read: the other two nap/get a break). Glad we did, and maybe I'll go again in another 8 years. The first hour was beautifully quiet and donut laden, the next two were an increasing volume of music and smells and sights and vendors. We knocked it out in under four hours: donuts, huge slide (loved by all), pretzel, birthing barn (pig in labor: "pig-a-let!"), DNR fish pond, K-Fan, ferris wheel, caffeine, carousel (had to PRY Judah off with all of my strength), corn dog, kids karaoke viewing, hot sticky walk back to the car. Good memories, major nostalgia and missing the ND State Fair with my parents/grandparents.

Summer winding down weekends included some cousin time at the lake & a get together here with Uncle Jordan/Aunt Cassie in town (more on that later), a daddy-kid date to a birthday party for cousin Micah. We rounded out the last week of summer with a much-planned-make-up party (impetus was a long ago play date, the girls begged to put on make up and we said how about we do a make up party sometime. They didn't let us forget). The girls had a blast upstairs alone for over an hour, they came down with quite tasteful work to join the boys for pizza and outside play and pink rice krispy hearts. So sweet to watch them all make those memories together.

We threw in some play dates, a refreshing night out at Copper Hen, school orientation and a wonderful weekend distraction from visiting grandparents and a 1st birthday party for cousin Asher.

And then it happened. School: 

Day before Kindergarten . . . 
"I don't want to go to school"
"I'm so excited for school, I can't wait!"
"I'm going to miss you guys too much"
"I can't wait to get a break from little man!"

Morning of Kindergarten . . . 
"I don't want to ever move away. I want to stay here forever and never get my ears pierced. . . unless Judah moves somewhere else, I'll go live with him"

She was up and dressed before 6am. The morning flew, we squeezed in some time together on my bed opening up her gift and cuddling - blew me away how important this time turned out, more for me than anyone I'm sure. She was all dressed in her best and cradled in my arm, I read a letter I had written a couple days earlier and it was amazing how the words that at the time just seemed normal made me choke up, and then sob just a bit. Karis is used to me being "happy sad" at different milestone-ish moments and usually just smirks at me and waits for it to quickly pass. This time was different. This time she choked up and sobbed right back, melted in further and said, "I'm gonna miss you" (I can't even stand it just writing this a week later, good grief). I will always remember that time of connection, a slice of time that will always taste sweet. And then we were okay, finished opening the book and pencil bag and gummies and went to get Judah and the morning flew in a normal-but-hyperspeed morning way - breakfast,  pack snack, buckle in, go!

A not random reading at breakfast:

She walked in with her dear friend Julia (what a grace!), we found her room, her cubby. Judah had to have his little brother moment of wanting to stay in the classroom and quite flailing/screaming in my arms out the door: "Karis-EYYYYYYY! Karis-EYYYYYYY!" I so wanted to stay for the morning assembly but thought there was no way - until oh merciful pootsie was retrieved from the car and we were able to sit in the chapel and have another round of weeping trying to sing this hymn. 

Judah and I met friends for park play, the hours felt slow and long at the same time . . . pick up was smooth-ish and it was so good to be together again.

In the hours after . . . 
"I'm just spelt out. Do you know what that means? I'm tired from four hours of school"
"I missed you at recess, I didn't know the games they were playing. So I went and sat by Mrs. Dykstra" (said with her head in my lap - oh sweet little girl)
"I made you a Karis to have in the car while I'm not there"

At the end of the week . . .
"I wish I could just stay here with you. It's a lot of sitting"
"Do I have to go to chapel? I'm shy of sitting with someone older"
"Momma, I know some Spanish, wanna hear?"
"Music was really fun today"

Things continue to spill out about her week in excited tones, I think overall she enjoyed it and will soon settle in to this new routine. She's been refreshingly vulnerable and tender, I've soaked in these times of closeness.

And, then. Judah: 

I can't even stand it. I'm writing this sentence before 5am on Thursday, Sept. 10 - Judah's first day of preschool, Karis's second day of Kindergarten. I just can't stand it. I feel like the au naturale mother from Away We Go (have you seen it?) is chiding me: "Why would you want to PUSH your child away from you?!". Judah and I have had a great week together, and I'm feeling like I simply cannot walk him into Oak Knoll with his Elmo backpack and polo shirt. I was tired of hearing myself say I need a break so decided to give myself a couple hours/week in this way and now I'm wondering WHY. Bless Trevor, he took the day off to do drop offs and pick ups (and breakfast date in between, wanted to do that forever). My little man will love playing and I can't wait to hear what he chats about.

The day ended up being salty and sweet. We all dropped off Karis and stayed for the short daily assembly. We had time to grab little man a bagel on the way to preschool. Drop off was smooth (same place Karis went, he was chomping at the bit when she went there to stay and play). But still, he looked so small when we dropped him off! He got busy with play-do and there was no looking back - "bye mommy!". The couple hours with Trev were quick, but we made the most: Tiny Diner breakfast outside, Sunstreet Breads for treats, zoned out and got sun soaked at the sculpture garden. Savored.

Wonderfully last week I happened upon a chapter in a ridiculous book I picked up at the library called Naptime is the New Happy Hour (good for a laugh). Her thoughts on preschool: "Having children changes your circumstances. Even the most self-reliant of us become vulnerable . . . don't fool yourself into thinking you can do it alone . . . I fully believe mothers, with all we give, deserve a guilt-free break as often as possible." Good words for the moment.

Because it's really for the mom: 

Seriously, it is, so much for the mom. A few friends who have older kids even told me this and I was relieved to hear it's not just me. The week has been bigger than I thought - but then again, I'm gifted at making a big deal of anything. So yeah, big deals here, my little school children. I didn't have expectations for these days, and I want to capture it here for Karis and Judah to read someday.

It hit me this week why it's such a huge deal for the mom when their kids go to school. It's SCHOOL. She will be IN SCHOOL for the rest of her time in our home. Duh, right? I loved denial until now.

And then, do read this if you get a chance. Yes, yes, yes. I read this Friday night, literally after thinking about how BRAVE the kids were last week. Captured exactly my sentiments. Especially that in the grand scheme this might seem like "just school", but I so value capturing the moments, processing change, entering new chapters with a freeze frame of thoughtfulness and filtering through emotions. That's what writing is right now.

There were many moments in this week that I could've never planned or expected, I felt very taken care of. Because yes, it's the kids going off, so brave. But also, it's the moms too, so vulnerable and hopeful and happy sad.

There was the morning of and just having her melt in to me for that moment of mutual "I'm gonna miss you so much".

(She has the letter propped on her desk, and that just melts me. I recently finished reading about the 5 Love Languages of Children, so I'm in the pay attention mindset to what makes her feel loved - I think she's all of them: words of affirmation, service, gifts, touch, quality time)

Another unexpected gift was at a play group the day after K's first day - and the day before dear friend L's first day (our godson, the precious babe I watched a few times a week the first couple years of his life, who quickly became more like a sibling to Karis). His mom is the most faithful woman and a friend so dear, we had a chance to catch up and swap hearts and tears and thoughts and emotions about this new stage - wow, haven't cried with a friend that much in forever. What a unique slice in time, watching our firsts go to school, these wee big ones who have grown up together. I'm grateful beyond expression, that time of connection and mutual understanding helped put the week in its right place of processing. Some sad. Celebrating.

New season, ready or not, we are in it. It happened. I'm grateful.

And before I wrap up this post on the "new stage" here, I gotta share the joy of some other new stages - we're going to add to our niece/nephew blessings by 3 newborns next year! Two of our sisters are having babies. Wait, you think the math is off? One of them is having twins! We're over the moon excited for our sibs and their growing families, the gift of life is around us. It's been the sweetest to watch them all share the news with our kids, they (and we of course) love their cousin Courtney so adoringly and they (and we of course) look forward to knowing & loving these precious cousins .

- "I just can't wait for 4 weeks to pass!" (anticipating trip to Bis for Hope's baby shower)
- "We should play a hide the honey pot game!" (for Hope's baby shower. My little party planner!)
- "I wish the weekend would never end. I wish it could go on forever and ever. And me and Judah are going to grow up someday and I'm going to be so sad. I'll be 9, then 10 . . . "
- "Oh mommy, you just go take a rest" (read: please leave the room so I can be alone and do whatever I want. Lately said while we were watching some friends here)
- "To make matters worse, daddy was there so Judah didn't get into my little house"
- "Mom, is God IN the Bible?"
- "I wonder how Melanie is going to hold two babies?"
- "Mom, I made a carol singing map for when we go back to Bismarck for Christmas"
- "I'm ready for a moosh, momma" (what we call hugs now)
- "Where's the rest of the stuff?" (when I served only one thing at dinner without a side)
- "Momma, can I help you?" (after dinner on a night when Trev was working late. Love her)
- "Oh nooooooooooo! Judah got into my treasure spot!" (her room is a constant evolution of collections, which she tries to partition off so Judah can't reach)
- "Daddy, is it 6 yet?" (as in 6am. 6 is the new 7 these days)
- "I feel like I'm gonna have a baby, but I just have to cough!" (what?!)
- "Mom! Judah's spitting inside" (he loves to spit, such a guy)
- "Look at my pet worm! I'm naming him William Shakespeare. Can I keep him in my room?" (latest fave book Will's Quill)

Judah Jibes:
- "No mommy dance! No mommy sing!"
- "Miriam's feet in the water!" (Hug a Bible)
- "Baby has a pootsie!" (in a book)
- "Judah have ice cream cake, daddy" (they shared cake at a birthday party)
- "Read Napping House again!" (latest fave)
- "Judah have hairspray!" (indeed, he likes a squirt)
- "Judah touch fish!" (touched a lobster at Stella's)
- "Find doodle doo, get a sucker! After shopping . . . " (said while sweetly nodding his head - the tradition at Trader Joes)
- "Bye, mommy! Judah going shopping! See you later! Get blueberries!" (I think I've mentioned this one before, but his imagination just gets deeper and it's so fun to see)
- "Judah wet hair! Judah YELLOW hair!"
- "Lady Gaga!" (what he wants to chat about before bed, because it makes us both laugh. This guy loves to laugh)
- "Little man eat huge Brueggers!" (his name for the bagels)
- "Judah paint ladybug with Miss Angela. Judah play with friends" (school)
- "Mommy drops things in the house!" (all the time, I made it funny one day and he loves it)
- At bedtime when I go to cuddle in Karis's room Judah commands Trevor, "Go to sleep! Go to sleep!" and they lay on the floor together on their bellies, facing each other, and chat. It's beyond precious. What's more, when I try to do this with Judah he says in distress, "Wake up Mommy!". So unfair.
- "Treasure!" (see above, getting into Karis's space)
-  "Baby eat fries!" (likes to say this before bed, I have no idea why)
- "Congratulations, baby belly!" (see above - not me, aunt Melanie & Cassie!)
- "Wear camo coat! Wear tractor coat!"

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Birthday Girl

I don't know how a birthday could spread out any further. Why not? For the record, Karis is already talking about her 7th birthday. 

But, just so she remembers 6 in journal form, here is the tell is as it is (hoping that someday Karis will enjoy reading this). 

The party started with a Perkins breakfast with the Pope/DeKrey clan in Duluth where we were gathered for a wedding weekend -  sprinkle pancakes & a candle-lit cookie and a shy, tired girl just getting into party mode.

(a week early) Friend party! Little Mermaid. Pink cupcakes with green frosting/pearls. Capri Sun and candy and chips and grapes and cheese sticks. Simple. Laid back (no, not laid back - just, not scheduled with games or anything) time of play and treats and outside running around. Lovely time of connecting for all ages, it was special to see what amazing friends Karis has and how they fully entered into the joy of the day - not to mention the awesome moms who appreciate her for who she is. So much love. And also generous gifts, I was really amazed and grateful for all the expressions of gracious hearts. Oh, and the forecast was for seriously almost guaranteed rain - it cleared off in time to load up the plates and have all 17 kids and their mommas outside. Amazing. Special to the occasion was that cousin Courtney was there.

That week ended with a gma/gpa visit - a morning arrival with sweet & generous gifts, received a yum and gorgeous cake from Bis, then a trip to Millenium Gardens, Big Bowl/Lunds, rest in front of Anastasia . . . breakfast the next day at D & M's, dinner all together at The Old Spaghetti factory (cotton candy drink! Ariel balloon! Tummy ache!). Countless memories made, savoring every one.

Next was the pre-birthday party at Uncle S & Aunt D's to celebrate all August Pope birthdays (there are 3!). Super fun, Karis felt very celebrated and I hope Steve & Kate did, too.

THE day was a gorgeous (hot) one, and all went according to plan with some sweet surprises thrown in.

- Breakfast in bed (lucky charms, flowers and a pack of gum on the side)
- Face-timed with grandparents, so fun
- Harvested her first yellow tomato (on the plant that she considers "hers")
- Received a recorder, little tambourine, Pippi Longstocking
- My parents found a crazy deal on coffee(and are going to share the bounty here - oh, thank you), because moms needs birthday treats too
- While playing at French Park with some pals, ran into the wife of a former coworker of Trev's. Fun to catch up
-  Karis wanted to read Runny Babbit, and we stumbled on an apt story (picture below)
- Lots of watermelon and cake
- Cousin Courtney dropped off a card and stayed for some coffee and chats
- THE EXPO! Met dear friends for an epic event in Plymouth for National Night out. They kids went in a: helicopter, firetruck, school bus, SWAT vehicle, held a firehouse, filled a bag with goodies, and gathered material for lively conversation for years to come. So special.
- Bummer, Trev home sick/working in bed. Upside, he was home . . . and able to join us to have Q Doba at home
- A random read of Becky's Birthday by Tasha Tudor, a super story set in August. One of my fave parts is when Becky picks flowers for her parents (I do think birthdays are also for parents, after all)
- The week continued in celebratory spirit with a Parker's Lake playdate, extravagant birthday picnic provided by our dear neighbor friends at Weaver Lake (swimming included), and a little adventure to Westwood nature center
- And the post-party was when more Gma Gpa love arrived for partying and gifts and even a special talent show led by our very own Special K (with a "REAL microphone!" at Steve/Deb's home. It was very impromptu, well done, confidently delivered, engaging and invigorating)

Karis - you are a joy bringer! I love who you are. Your name means "Grace" or "Gift", you live those words every day. Your expressions of love are pure - you run up to me with hugs, you treat your brother with the fruits of the spirit, you are thoughtful and vibrant and kind to everyone you meet. Your imagination is deep, and you welcome others into your creations. You often talk and sing to yourself and seem so comfortable with your own company. You engage others with insightful and relevant questions, you make others feel loved and special. You love to have people over any time of day, you greet the neighbors any chance you can, your zest for life is contagious. You're eager always to hear our plans for each week - especially when they involve friends. You're quite the party planner and your ideas evolve and happen and make memories for many. 

I wish I could go back and see you at every age and stage . . .  I LOVE that you are growing, learning, thriving. And yet what I would give to hold you again for the first time. It's one of life's most humble gifts to your mother, to get to spend the days with you, to watch who you are becoming. You are special, beautiful, loved. The rare times that I put you to bed (lately this is your special time with daddy), I whisper into your ear gifts you've been given, ways that you are special - I will never run out of things to say. I pray you'll always know you are the one and only ever you - and that YOU are dearly loved and deeply beautiful just as you are. Always and forever. No matter what.

Recent images of Karis & a day in her life:

Watching her set out her clothes for the Duluth wedding . . . carefully behind the rocker in her room: polka dot dress, zebra tights, toms shoes. A little bowl with water and a washcloth ready to wash her face when she woke up.

At her six year well check, chatting with her doctor with enthusiasm and receiving shots with hardly a flinch.

She sets up little stations in her room that are ever changing. A recent delight is two "beanie balls" from Grandma Carole that she takes good care of - they have telephones through which she can reach them at all times (empty toilet paper tubes with Lisa Frank stickers on them). Ozzie & Owlie have play dates and food, take naps and talk. I'm grateful she's let me enter this world and consults me on their care - ha! 

Crying for about a half hour when Trevor left for a weekend bachelor party. I love seeing her feel deeply, she has a lot of love in her heart.

Her passion for party planning - recently an end of summer make up party she and some dear friends have been dreaming about for many months. 

She talks about Christmas almost every day, and has been crafting gifts for all the grandparents. 

She is beyond sweet and patient with Judah. Recently we woke him up from a nap and he went to give her a hug - the look on her face, she just melted. 

Karis, a day in your life is pretty sweet. You wake up around 6:15 and you love to have time in your room until seven-zero-zero (usually we're together by 6:45, getting ready in the bathroom). Sometimes I bring up a little cup of Lucky Charms for you to enjoy, you love that. We cuddle in your rocker and read from Jesus Storybook Bible and pray for the fruits of the Spirit before getting Judah up a little after 7 (we need them). You either pull a stool into his room or play in your room while he slowly adjusts to the day in his rocker/my lap. You and Judah go down the stairs on your bellies for breakfast (you love hot buttered honey toast) and "morning work" (helping unload the dishwasher). You lead Judah in playing many games . . . "slip slide in your socks", jump in the trampoline with legos (it's loud), play in cozy corners behind chairs, go in the backyard. We usually have an outing/play date from about 9 - 11:30, when we get home you zip up to your room to organize whatever treasures you gathered on our outing (such as random cardboard from Costco, stickers or little trinkets friends pass along to you). We get lunch ready and eat outside on the deck steps while I sit between you and Judah and read books (you love cheesy rice, nachos, quesadillas, melon of any kind, milk, green beans - you eat most anything). While Judah naps, you: have "work time" where you usually paint or draw or create crafts. Then we read together for about 45 minutes in the wing chair - you want me to put my arm around you. We read from "the reading book", which is sometimes fun and sometimes not but you always want to do it (you're learning so much, it's amazing to watch it all click). Then we "read Laura" (whatever Little House book we're on, you love this) and random picture books like Milly Molly Mandy, Babar, Frances.  You next enjoy movie & treat time - usually licorice or some other sweet treat while watching Mr. Rogers or Creative Galaxy or Winnie the Pooh. We often squeeze in a game of bingo before getting Judah up. Lots of outside time (your recent fave is the kiddie pool) or another play date, bath, dinner (you love meat and potatoes, noodles, corn on the cob and dessert of any kind), "first vitamin", time upstairs with daddy and Judah, bedtime routine (you and me in the rocker for our little routine, then daddy lays and reads with you and lays there for a few minutes). You seem to love the rhythm of the day and knowing what's coming next. We still cuddle at bedtime and I trust you will be in my lap for many years to come, you love to snuggle (you're increasingly cuddly). 

Some non birthday inner stuff: 

In one day I read 2 such similar things in different places that I guess I need to pay attention . . . 

"Don't be a victim of the urgent. In the long run, much of what seems so pressing right now won't even matter. What you do with your children will matter forever . . . " (from The Five Love Languages of Children)

"Said the Robin to the Sparrow, 
'I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and hurry so.'

"Said the Sparrow to the Robin, 
'Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.'"
- Elizabeth Cheney, 1859 (quoted in Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing)

There must be a metaphor here somewhere . . . 

In May a friend brought over a plant with beautiful pink flowers - so I potted it in the backyard, and it keeps looking like it's totally done and then I water it anyway indefinitely and sure enough flowers appear at random times. It's gone through a few cycles of this, and it's just beautiful to me and has been a small delight this summer.

Moms need assistants, or something  . . .

It's been a bit of a self-care summer here. Small things, such as I hadn't been to the dentist in a really really long time and finally did. We crossed of physicals, dentist, dermatologist, hair cuts. Satisfying. I've been reminded recently (in some reading, yes) that parents ideally should set the example of "my kids aren't the center of the universe" . . . and "our kids need to see that we respect ourselves and have boundaries too - to take care of ourselves". I doubt I'm the only one who finds this harder than it seems it should be. I read in two different places this week the reminder of balance and self care being for parents setting an example for children to follow/respect. I hadn't considered that view in a while - to set the example of self-care/self-respect for the sake of my children. That they might learn the same for themselves someday. Hmmm. Makes me feel good about this season of going to bed early/getting up early (for the quiet, the caffeine, the endorphins) and then doing some mommy lay down time in the afternoon. The idea of self care always feel so - selfie - but is increasingly necessary. 

A random quote from a big summer read, The Count of Monte Cristo . . .

"Ah, maternal love is a great virtue, a powerful motive - so powerful that it excuses a multitude of things . . . "

A couple little reminders this week: 

"If you catch yourself becoming frustrated because your toddlers are being naughty and won't allow you to check them off and move on to other important tasts, it's time to pull out the most lethal punishments. This could mean tackling them and kissing them all over their bodies, pausing long enough to particularly persecute them on their tummies. Or it could mean tormenting them with a good dose of Tickle Torture. Or you may just have to grab them and hug them until they beg and squeal for mercy. Above all, thank God for the prividlege of being a parent . . ."

"God can use our weaknesses, whether or not we feel we're being effective parents. But that still doesn't make the process easy . . . " (Creative Correction)

I love when friends tell me back things I've told them. That happened this week, and I am re-instituting my mantra that we are all the ones we need in each other's lives: I am the mom my kids need, the wife Trevor needs. He is the husband I need, my kids are the ones I need. To live in a safe place together where we make mistakes and learn, where we laugh and cry and repair and rejoice. We are not perfect, we are iron sharpening iron, and we are all on this journey together. I am truly grateful and humbled-every-day to be experiencing life in this way. 


- "I can't wait to watch the cul-de-sac fill up with cars!" (for her friend b-day party)
- "I hope I feel special and loved" (when I asked her what she hoped for on her b-day)
- "Well . . . I won't really turn six until this afternoon"
- "Am I six yet?" (asked at the exact moment of her birth time)
- "Mommy I think I like the cards the best . . . because I can see if there's money in them!"
- "My favorite part was watching everyone eat their huge blow pop suckers. And the presents"
- "Oh, that wind must be from the north!"
- "I bet there are pink cats in Disney World"
- "Look! I'm strong like Pippi Longstocking!" (while carrying her bike)
- "Oh don't worry, mommy, we DID plant something I like to eat. I just LOVE basil" (that sweet girl)
- "Yeah, she said she even takes a little bit of your pee and tests it - I do NOT want to be one of those, that sounds like a disgusting job" (talking about my cousin who is a phlebotomist)
- "I'm drawing a duck and those bubbles above her head are her thinking about her babies" (so sweet, pic below)
- "Daddy Andy says he uses the yankers to pull teeth out!" (i.e. pliers)
- "What's all the cryin' about?"
- "Sorry Ozzie, I can't bring you sweet corn right now" (reference above telephone activity with beanie balls)
- "Can I take a toothpick upstairs so I can give Ozzie a shot?"
- "Momma, I like brothers, but sometimes they're just so crazy around me"
- "I heard you telling Judah that I'm a good big sister"
- "Mom! Last night I dreamed about Laura and Mary, that we went to McDonalds with them and had french fries and burgers!" 
- "How exactly do people die?"
- "Why exactly can we not put plastic bags over our head?"
- "Mommy, what's your favorite part of Winnie the Pooh?"
- "Look mom, I made my sweater into a leash for my lion!" (so inventive)
- "Yeah mom, pirates eat cardboard!" (playing with cardboard in the kiddie pool. Whatever makes you happy, kids . . . )
- "I love winning, momma. It's my favorite thing"
- "I don't know why they call them cowboys, they ride horses so they should call them horse boys"
- "I wish I was in a land where I could sew all I wanted and didn't have to thread my needles"
- "Mommy, what do you think Ozzie should have for dinner?" I answered "tomatoes". She replied, "I don't have tomatoes I only have chicken and corn on the cob" (the only play food she had relocated to her room)

Judah jibes:
- "Two HUGE fingers! Mommy, Judah both have FINGERS!"
- "Other one crabapples! Put in the car!" (new game, finding crabapples and putting them in the trunk of his little coupe)
- "Probably throw it!" (a new addition to bedtime routine, he throws his blanket when I turn out the light and then says "Mommy get it!")
- "Hold mommy's make up!"
- "Little man make Judah HUGE puppy balloon!" (Old Spaghetti Factory)
- "Little man jump in the POOL!"
- "Tiger ride!" (nightly tradition with Trevor)
- "Dinnerrrrrrrrrrr!" (as he literally skips to the table for dinner. He and Karis sit on stools beside each other, love it)
- "Other one Corduroy music! Other one Caps for Sale!" (books on tape we continually listen to in the car. Continually)
- "Judah like a baby!" (wants me to carry him like a baby)
- "Read Thank you God! Read Rhymes!" (latest fave books)
- "There's no bee, mommy"
- "Pretend bee on the box"
- "It's a boat potato! It's a boat graham cracker! It's a boat cheese!" (pretends his bitten food is a boat)
- "No eat cookie in bed!" (and he didn't - the cookie I gave him on the way to nap stayed half eaten on his night stand)
- "Close it far as it goes!" (when zipping up my sweatshirt)
- "Friends came Judah house make up party. Pink krispy bar!" (he quite enjoyed a movie and outside time - and did want to put on a dress at the end of it all)
- "Hi Mommy" (said so sweetly when I went in one night when he was banging on the door with his feet . . . his way of saying "please come in here and change my dirty diaper before I go to sleep")

Weaver Lake
Fire hose

Westwood Nature Center

Zoolander face at well checks