Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Encouragement

jesus storybook

Forgive the terrible quality of this picture.  I took it on my phone straight out of the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

I was reading through parts of the storybook Bible the other night while Andy was bathing Liam (Liam isn’t quite old enough yet, so we stick with the Jesus Calling Storybook Bible and Tiny Bear’s Bible for him), and I nearly came undone. 

Because in spite of everything, God loves his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Oh Lord, that you would create in me a heart that yearns for a heavenly home.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weddings are important, but anniversaries are better

This is a little different for me, but I’m going here.  I have been thinking about this for a while, and in honor of my own 6th anniversary and my sister’s upcoming wedding, I had a few things to say.

(Please note that exactly nothing I am about to say applies to my sister…she is probably the very first bride I have ever in my life met who has a right and true perspective on her own wedding day and isn’t taking anything too seriously.  Me six years ago could take a lesson from my sister)

Weddings are important.  Weddings are awesome.  They are an incredible day, and a fun time for all.

But then they are over.

And I feel like we might forget that.  A wedding is a day.  And I think some people might think too highly of their own weddings.  I think it’s cultural.  It’s become a phenomenon, this outdo everyone else’s wedding competition.  This need to have the best, the most, the greatest of everything.  The need to have a dozen showers and an entire bachelor and bachelorette weekend getaway.  It’s reached a level of crazy.  Andy and I sat down and tried to calculate how much we had spent on tux rentals, bachelor parties, dresses and shower gifts since we’ve been married.  The number was pretty ridiculous….and our friends tend to be more on the conservative side.  I know a couple who between the two of them probably spent close to five grand on bachelor/bachelorette weekends alone last year…with the same group of people over and over just for someone else’s wedding in their circle of friends.

Weddings are important.  Weddings are awesome. 

But they are one day.

I think anniversaries are getting the short end of the stick.  Anniversaries are important.  Anniversaries are a thing to be celebrated.  Anniversaries are awesome.

You want to know why?

Anyone can get married.  Not everyone gets to the anniversaries.  Even fewer have fun and happy anniversaries.  Look at the Hollywood portrayal of weddings.  Then look at the Hollywood portrayal of anniversaries.  We have a real problem.  Weddings are fun and fantasy like…anniversaries are treated like a waste of time, or made into a joke….”Oh look, this man forgot his anniversary again.  Slap to the head…D’oh.”

But anniversaries are so much more than that.  An anniversary is a celebration of the year you just lived together.  Some years, it might feel like a celebration of a year you survived.  Others, it’s a toast to the best time of your life.  Often, it’s both at once.  But it’s a celebration all right.  A celebration of what you have done together.  The battle scars you have gained together, the joy you have celebrated.  The ways in which your marriage has grown, and changed, and molded, and shaped everything.  You, your spouse, your family, your lives. 

Anniversaries are important.  Anniversaries are awesome.  Anniversaries celebrate everything.

So let’s hear it for anniversaries.  Because they rock.

I started writing this the day after my own anniversary, back in May, but it got lost in the shuffle, so I’m posting it now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For 15 to 20 years from now

Dear girls who might want to put their mouth on my son’s mouth in fifteen to twenty years,

First off, if you are putting your mouth on my son’s mouth, you had better hope I like you.  I’m just saying.  I went through hell when that boy was born, and I fully intend to vet any girl who has the nerve to put her mouth on his mouth, because I’m his mama and I can.  So remember that.  Crazy mom.  Are you sure you want to put your mouth on his mouth?

If you’re still around, and still trying to put your mouth on his mouth, then I have something to tell you.  Liam ate a worm.  Just bit it right in two.  Also, he drinks dirty water from his water table and I think I caught him licking a car bumper recently.  Also, he eats dog food.  So think about all that before you put your mouth on his mouth.

But, if you still want to put your mouth on his mouth after all that, you might be all right.

And bonus, he is likely to have a great immune system.


Liam’s mom (the crazy one).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our day in moments of grace

I have been in a super contemplative (and admittedly emotional) mood lately, and I wanted to record a few moment from today.  Mostly they were moments when I bowled over with grace.  I have been trying to take a step back and examine lately, instead of allowing myself to flit about and end the day with little recollection and very little grace or kindness.  I have been struggling a lot lately, for a variety of reasons, and have been trying to refocus and see the blessings God has placed in my life.  So here are a few of those moments from today:


At a little after 7 this morning, I heard the door across the hallway slowly creak open.  It was followed shortly by a tiny giggle and the pitter patter of our sweet boy coming to join his mommy and daddy in bed.  He crawled in on Andy’s side (as usual) and snuggled in tight between us, taking a minute to give each of us a kiss.  He discovered Ollie with his feet, and lifted the blanket to give him a kiss.  He curled up in my arm and we started to watch Mickey Mouse on Netflix on my phone so I could have a few minutes to stretch out and wake up and smell his sweet head.  He put his hands behind his head and crossed his ankles…the exact position his sweet daddy watches tv in.  It was lovely and perfect and the nicest way to start a day.


We spent most of the day outside, the way summer days are meant to be spent.  Liam spent his time filling cup after cup from his water table, and racing to new parts of the yard to water it.  He is in a helper phase, where he tries to do what he sees adults doing—dishes, laundry, watering, vacuuming.  It’s so sweet.  I love watching him race with his cup and watering can, spilling half his bucket on the way there.  The look of utter joy and pride and satisfaction in his eyes makes my heart feel like it’s going to burst into a million pieces.  There are some moments when his independence makes me utterly crazy, and I need to remember this feeling in that moment. 


After dinner, the day was winding down. Liam had bathed, and we were in the last little patch of time between bath and bed.  Andy had out his guitar and was singing praise songs, I was singing with him as I put away the toys that got pulled out in the forty minutes we played indoors today.  It wasn’t the sweet magical moment I envisioned when we were dating, or even the one I thought of when people talked about family devotions or singing together.  Because only Andy was still, and focused.  I was moving and cleaning, and Liam was running through the living room shrieking and flying his airplane while my mother-in-law pretended to be an airplane chasing behind him making whooshing noises.  Every time she stopped, he shouted “Eemie, shwooosh” (Eemie is the way he has begun to pronounce Grammy…and I love every bit of it.  It wasn’t what I imagined, but I loved it.  Our wild boy, our imperfect little family, is way better than the serene cookie cutter I imagined.  I’m sure some day we will all be still and sing together, but I bet when it happens, as much as I enjoy it, I’ll be nostalgic for now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Liam turns 2

This picture is Liam on his second birthday.  I wanted to remember what we did for his actual birthday, then his party later.

On Liam's birthday, we had his 2 year checkup.  He and I drove to the Castleton office of his pediatrician by ourselves.  After waiting 45 minutes for our appointment, we finally saw the doctor and everything looked great.  Liam weighed 30 pounds and was 37 inches tall.  His alphabet and number/color/shape skills were closer to meeting the standards for a 3 year old than a 2 year old.  She was super happy with everything.
After his appointment, he and I played outside for a long time.  We did sidewalk chalk and bubbles and rode  his tricycle.  Then he had lunch and a nap.  Mariah was supposed to come visit, but she got sick, so I took a nap with Liam that afternoon.  We had dinner, and cupcakes with dinner.  After cupcakes, Aunt Lauren came down from Chicago.  She and Liam played together for a while, and he stole her dinner.  When it was time for Liam to go to bed, Lauren and I went to Target to start preparing for Liam's party...and we shopped and cooked until 11:30 that night to be prepared.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Letter to Liam at 2

Dear Liam,
I was just reading the letter I wrote to you last year, and it’s amazing to me how much has changed, but how much has stayed the same.
A year ago, I told you that you were a study in contrasts, and that still holds true.  You are either an absolute delight or an incredible terror.  There is little middle ground.  There are days that my heart feels so full it could burst, and days when I cry in defeat.  You are an incredibly bright child, and your dad and I love you so much.
When you were just a little over 1, we moved to Indianapolis.  We have been living with your grandparents ever since, waiting for our house to sell.  Whether that was the right decision or not remains to be seen, but I will say that your grandparents love having you here.  Your Pop (your name for Grandpa…we think you shortened it to the last syllable…you call Granddad “ANNDAA”) had a very, very major surgery at the start of April, and if nothing else, having you here when he came home from the hospital was really wonderful for him.
You are walking, talking in single words and short phrases (mostly commands—get up, get off), running and climbing.  You are a rough and tumble boy.  You are constantly covered in bruises and scrapes.  You regularly needs band-aids.  You love being outside and on sunny days will think nothing of spending 3-4 hours or more a day outside.  At Grandma Jo and Granddad’s, I think you would spend every waking moment outside—their yard is just so much fun to explore.  You love your bicycle, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and running.  You like to go for walks up the side streets (you do not like your stroller, you prefer to walk yourself).  You love dogs, not just Ollie and Keegan, but every dog you see.  When the school bus drives by, you scream, “BUS” over and over again.  You got to get on a bus at Tamara and Perry’s house a few weeks ago, and you were thrilled.  You love goats, kind of randomly.  They are your favorite at every petting zoo, and you love the goats at Grandma and Granddad’s neighbor’s house. 
You are a big fan of computers.  You like YouTube (specifically any video with Pete the Cat and the Pigeon from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and a select handful of music videos) and you like to watch things on Netflix.  Your favorite tv shows are Sesame Street, Sofia the First, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, and Word World.  Sometimes you like some of the other shows on Disney Jr, but not always.  You pretty much get to watch 1-2 tv shows a day, so sometimes you go weeks without seeing one of your shows, which makes you more excited when you see them.  You have figured out how to use the Kindle Fire and my smartphone.  You have 3-4 apps you play with on each.  Your favorites are a coloring app and an app that teaches counting.
You know your alphabet (not singing it in order, but you recognize every letter) and regularly count to five.  You know a few shapes, and you can name several basic colors.  You like to read your books—you still love Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  They have been favorites for several months.  You like books that have lots of pictures, like the “100 First Words” or “100 First ….” because you can practice naming things.  You love your alphabet puzzle.  I caught you tearing the flap out of a lift the flap book last week, which I really thought you were over. 
You can throw a walloping temper tantrum.  Like whoa crazy.  You have an ear-splitting scream and a mind of your own.  You are starting to respond to correction and time outs, but it’s a long process. You obey your dad far better than you ever obey me.  You respond to him quickly and obediently, after fighting me for a long time.  We have been working on being consistent with you, and I think it’s helping.  It’s also super important for you to sleep well…your sleep very much dictates you personality.  You are exploring you world, and testing your boundaries, and doing the very things that a 2 year old is supposed to do. 
Sweetheart, we love you so much.  I cannot even begin to explain to you how much fun we have with you.  I want for you to know that Daddy and I love you so much.  Baby, just know that we aren’t perfect parents.  We mess up a lot.  We try our hardest, and pray for wisdom…and forgiveness.  Liam, I just want you to grow up to know Jesus as your Savior.  I want Him to be the most important thing in your life.  If we do nothing else, I pray that we, through God’s grace, are able to point you to Him. 
We love you,
Mommy and Daddy too 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Robot Birthday Inspiration

Tomorrow is Liam’s second birthday.  I have no idea how that happened…I mean, I do, but it’s crazy to think that my sweet baby is now a two year old.  Of course, his attitude is totally that of a two year old (terrible, anyone?), but in so many ways, he’s still just a sweet squishy baby too.  Does that make any sense at all?  I didn’t think so….moving on.

For his birthday, I had watched Liam and observed and tried to figure out what would bring him the most joy.  Three months ago, I would have guessed that we would be having a train party…or Sesame Street.  Then he got really into Super Why.  But in the past month or so, it’s been robots that have made up the bulk of my boy’s obsession.  Or bots, as he calls them.  There are two Sesame Street episodes that have robots on them, and I cannot tell you how many times we have watched them.  I was trying to pull up Amazon Instant Video on our Roku using my phone the other day, and decided to try the voice feature.  As I was saying, “Amazon Instant Video,” Liam reached in, grabbed my hand, and pulled it down to say, “bots,” in his sweet little voice.  I could not stop laughing…and in that moment, I decided bots it was for his birthday.  So I did what any modern mother would, and turned to Pinterest.  The following are a few of the pins I found to help guide me in my robot party planning:

This robot head cut out is super cute.  My sister and I made a robot to use for Liam’s party on Saturday, I just need to find a box to wrap it around.  The blog this came from had a super cute robot party that I loved.

I loved this—Pin the battery on the robot.  This party looked like it would be awesome for an older child…so if Liam likes robots when he’s six, I will definitely be coming back for more ideas.

And you had better believe I planned my party menu around what I could come up with robot sounding names for, like this picture from Celebrate Magazine

I also hadmysisterdraw made some robot coloring pages, and found some cute stuff for favor bags.  And I found some seriously sweet, bright things to use for Liam’s decorations/plates/etc.  I tried to not go too over the top, and to keep costs down, but to keep it cute and fun too.  I will try to post on Monday the details from the party…I am looking forward to it!