Friday, March 27, 2009

One more before I take off: E.'s haircut.

Officially, my internet fast begins Sunday. I didn't think I'd have anything to write about between now and then, but today...
Elijah cut his hair!
I was on the phone in his room. One minute he was in there with me, playing, and the next minute he was gone. I didn't think much of it. He's free to roam the house.
But, then I noticed, things were.... quiet.
Mothers of toddlers know to leap into action when things get quiet.
I saw the pile of hair first. Then him.

I know it happens to the best of kids, maybe all kids at some point during childhood. Either they cut their own hair, they get gum stuck in it or something.
A drastic haircut is almost a rite of passage.

Elijah has beautifully curly hair. At the mall today, 2 different people commented about his beautiful curls. Its not uncommon. Here's a good shot of what his hair typically looks like. Cute, right?

I just gave him a great haircut last weekend. You can see in my "humility fail" post his hair had just been cut. A day or two after those pictures were taken, his cute little curls returned.

I have to admit I was bit emotional. I didn't cry, I didn't even come close, but I am sad. I tried to even it all up. It is so short, so uneven, a terrible haircut. It hasn't been this short since he was less than a year old.

I told Gabe he looks like an orphan. He said, "I don't get that... what is that supposed to mean?"
I just meant it looks like no one loves him enough to be bothered with a proper haircut.

I tried not to make him feel self conscientious about the whole thing. After the repair cut, I took him to the bathroom. I said gently, "E. are you ready to see your hair?", trying to prepare him for the shock. He's never seen himself this way, hair so short, curls gone.

I lifted him up to the mirror.
"It's all gone!", he said cheerfully and turned away from the mirror.

He could care less.
My goodness, the total un- self consciousness of this age (or this child, I don't know which).

What he looks like, is so the least of his concerns.

I could learn from him.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Resting my Mind

Just wanted to say that I am taking a brief break from blogging and the internet, in general. I will be back when the time is right. For those who email me, I will still be checking email once a day, after the children are in bed.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Don't mind us, we're new here: Humility Fail.

First sad, then mad about the news that he is not in charge.
Anybody else concerned about this child's need for power, of late?

Have you ever visited the Fail Blog ?*(see note at bottom)*
I find myself thinking in terms of this blog all the time now. Forget to Iron Gabe's shirts? Wife Fail. Burn the chicken? Dinner Fail.

We went to church this morning. It's a church we have been visiting for a few months. We really like it in so many ways, but we are still trying to determine our place there ( or where?).

During the children's teaching this morning, Ms. Sue, the children's leader was teaching about Proverbs 3:5-6--
Trust in the Lord with all of heart. Lean not on your own understanding,
In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

She was particularly emphasizing the "acknowledge" part; trying to teach the children what means to acknowledge God, to give Him the power and authority in your life over all matters.
She was doing that by teaching them that we should allow God to be "in charge", because He really is, anyways.

Numerous times throughout the teaching she mentioned God being "in charge".

"So kids, who's in charge?", Ms. Sue opines, trying to teach about humility and trust.

Each time she said it, E. would announce loudly, "I'M IN CHARGE!"

Me, blushing and looking around at the patient smiles from our fellow church goers, would whisper, "E. please be quiet. No. You are not in Charge."

"I'M IN CHARGE!", E. announces again and again with gusto.

Later, I tell him, you know, "Really, Mommy and Daddy are in charge."
Daddy says, "Really, I am in charge."
I say, "Really, God's in charge."
E.'s response?, "I wanna be in charge of God."

Great. Just great. A little insurrectionist in out midst. Humility Fail.

Is it okay that I find (a little) humor in this.....if I promise that I will work with him on this until he understands that he can't be in charge of God, or me or Gabe?

*(View at your own risk: can be sort of questionable humor at times. Sometimes totally innocent, too. If you're worried, there is a G-rated section, look for that.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gone too far.

We have many parenting challenges.

One in particular stands out as a real issue for concern- E.'s penchant for running away in public places.

Our concerns are obvious, I'm sure, to any sound adult...
he could run too far,
I might lose sight of him
or him of me,
into traffic,
off a large precipice,
someone could take him, harm him.

As his mother, who loves him beyond all measure,
I will not rest, I will not be satisfied until I know that when I say "STOP",
the child will do so, not run headlong, giggling, in whatever direction I am not.
Can you relate?

If he begins to stray too far while we are out and about, I chirp: "Too far. Stay together."

If he ignores me and runs on, when I catch him,
I will stress with fervor that
God gave me a job when he put you in this family
and part of that job is:
"to do everything in my power to see you to adulthood safe and sound. It is my job to keep you safe and
if you are not with me, you are not safe."

My good friend J. posed an interesting question to me today: What is the Lord trying to teach us through our current parenting challenges?

I asked the Lord to show me and ....

He tenderly moved my heart and in my mind's eye
I saw E. running from me,
I was calling after him but
he ran on and I feared for him:
Why can't he understand that I only want the very best for him? I love him and I want him to in be in perfect peace. Not hurt, lost, scared, confused or worse.

I was convicted...
I am running, I've gone too far.
My Lord, My Good Father
is calling me.
I am dashing, giggling away.
I hear Him,
Come back, child.
If you are not with me, you are not safe.
Come back, child.

I need Him to bring me back, to find me. I am out there, kind of lost.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek your servant;

for I do not forget your commandments.
Psalm 119:176
I know I have a Savior who not let me remain lost.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

"This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21
He loves me and wants me to be in perfect peace.
You will keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3
Despite my utter faithlessness, He will always be faithful.
But You O Lord are a compassionate and merciful God,
You are patient,

always faithful and ready to forgive.
Psalm 86:15

Like a child, I am trusting that He will find me right where I am...
kind of lost out here somewhere.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I wanna be a leader.

We took a family outing to Lowe's this afternoon. Elijah, ever the independent toddler, wants no part of a cart, preferring to walk everywhere. This is fun, and at times, trying.

I admit that after redirecting him many, many times Gabe and I began to be a tad impatient.
After being asked to come this way or that, he told us, one too many times, "No. Follow me."
(He likes to go his own way, bless his soul. And, hey, most of the day, at the park or at home, we are happy to say, "Okay, where are we going?")

But today, we had a plan that we were sticking to and Gabe very politely but firmly told him, "Elijah, you are not the leader, you are the follower. You do not lead, you follow, understand?"

For some reason, as I heard Gabe say these words, I felt very sad for my little man, rather, I think I felt his sadness over these words. Let it be known that, I am not criticizing Gabe, he is an amazing, amazing father, loving and devoted and in all ways, a super dad. AND I know that Gabe was doing the right thing; Elijah needed to be reigned in.

But sometimes,
often times,
a mother's heart is uniquely tuned to the melodies her child is making.
This was just one of those times, I knew something more needed to be said.

I felt a strong need to encourage E.. I needed to let him know that:
One day, he
would be a leader.....
but first.....
he has to learn to lead...
and to do that..... he will need to follow sometimes.
I told him...
"Just keep following in Daddy's footsteps" and "You Will Be A Great Leader."

We continued to talk on about this for a few more minutes as we strolled through the store. And I thought, "Wow, what an awesome topic for us to be discussing. I pray that it makes an impression." This was the first time that we have had this sort of conversation, about what it means to be a leader, what it takes.

Fast forward to bedtime, tonight. Dinner, bath, PJs, books... all done... and now, it's time for sleep. Elijah was resisting and spiraling ever downward towards, what seemed to be, an inevitable meltdown.

Exasperation and exhaustion battled to rule over him.

I leaned into his beautiful face and, not expecting any answer to this comment and said, "It's hard being two, isn't it?"

He looked at me with sweet eyes, and a sad little voice then said, "I wanna be a leader. "

Heart flutters.

I wasn't expecting him to understand what I meant when I said that it is hard to be two... I meant... always being told what to do...shuffled from one thing to the it or not.
He obviously got it.

I glimpsed my son two year old a man.
As a man, who knows his place as a leader, not a follower.
His heart already longs for it.

I grasped ever more clearly that our role as his parents is to nurture it,
to encourage it
and to teach it.

Because for now.... he must follow.

And now, I know I must be even more aware of who and what he is following after.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mama said...

....let there be order! And Daddy agreed.

We could take it no more. Elijah's toys had to be corralled. I wish I had a "before" picture, but, come on, you can picture it... toys everywhere. We had nowhere to put them, no way to clean up other than piling the toys into random containers and shoving them against the wall.

And now look! Thanks to Gabe, we are fully organized.

He whipped up this little jewel yesterday during the lovely spring-preview weather we are having. For my part, I am enjoying a greater sense of clarity and calm that infuses my brain every time I look in E.'s room and see... ahhhhh, deep breath... order.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adventures in Eating

Little Adah is an eager eater. But only for whole foods. She staunchly refuses mush. She will hold the mush in her mouth, never closing her lips ( I think for fear she might accidentally swallow the mush) until the mush runs, all slimey and liquid-y, back out her mouth and down her face. Yuck.

What to do? I did a little reading up on baby-led weaning. For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with this, basically, we skip the mush and go right to finger foods; allowing the child to lead the way with eating solids rather than vice-versa.

Adah has responded to this with aplomb. She attacks the food on her tray, literally lunging at it and pouncing on it with her fat hats, then shoveling into her face. She only eats a little. She still mostly sucks what I give her, tasting it, gumming it, then spitting it back out. It is an awful mess and not for a parent that cannot tolerate cleaning up after true disaster-style messes.

I think it's hilarious and I am happy to make her happy. And truth be told, I feel freed from the annoyance of spending months coaxing her, spoon in hand, to eat mush.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daily Practice

The picture above was taken by Elijah.
I keep it to remind myself that I am still 15-20lbs overweight.

All of a sudden I have a glut of ideas to blog about. A bunch of pictures and a thousand thoughts. But the one that seems the most pressing in my mind is the issue of daily practice.

I've been troubled by the lack of daily routines that enrich my life. I have several activities that I need/should/want to incorporate into my life. But for some reason, I cannot get it together. I start and stop in fits and never achieve the fulfillment that comes from making something a habit, a practice. What I want to know from you, my 5 regular readers, is--

If you have a daily practice of any kind, something that you do strictly for the purpose of bettering yourself in someway, (brushing teeth and other activities of the like, don't count, okay); what is it and what gets you there each day?

For me, these are the top priorities:
  1. I want to read my bible everyday and spend time--dedicated time-- in prayer. Not that I don't pray daily, I do. But they are prayers muttered under my breath or cast up in desperation, usually for patience for one child or the other. I want to have the blessing and nourishment that comes from daily spiritual practice
  2. I want to exercise regularly, maybe not everyday but at least every other. I need this, I want this and yet it is soooo hard to make it happen. Enough excuses!
  3. I miss writing in my journal, sketching and chronicling my day to day highs and lows through art. That seems a far fetched possibility these days. But why? There are certainly mothers/ artists who somehow find the time to create while parenting, such as my dear friends Kelcey at Sweet Mess and Naomi at Naomi Layne Studio.

Do any of you struggle with getting it together like I do? I guess my main gripe with myself is, that I spend too much time wasted each day ( on the computer, watching tv, etc. ) that I could be spending on these other goals. I know I could carve out the time, so what's the problem? Motivation? Determination? Other?

Monday, March 2, 2009

First Snowman!

It has been VERY snowy in Asheville this Winter. My Northern friends may scoff-- but for Asheville, we've had several days that brought a little bit of snow. It's really something special in the South. This latest brush with the white stuff was by far the biggest and best (about 4 inches!).

It was enough to build a snowman-finally! Elijah asks to build one every time we get the barest dusting of snow and up until now, it just wasn't possible. Gabe and Elijah built this one as Adah and I snuggled by the fire.

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