I originally said all of these thoughts out loud when a friend of mine was about to get married. Is that not what you do at your bridal showers? It’s a thing we do. Someone gets up and speaks and reminds all of us in the room about how we should be living while giving the future bride a heads up. I didn’t write down what I said word for word then, but the bride asked for my thoughts, so I’m doing that now. I hope she finds it helpful and I hope you do too.
My friend is a runner and I dabble in doing the same, so I thought that would be a good illustration (albeit a frequently overused one). Here’s most of what I said, kind of. I never remember exactly. It’s the Message version.
I thought I’d pretend to know more about running that I do and use it as an analogy for marriage. I always tell people that to find a spouse you should start running toward your goals and then look around and see who’s running next to you. It’s an idea I borrowed from Tommy Nelson and I think it’s a solid one. Friend, you’ve already done that and found the person to run alongside until the race is over, so now your days of having a permanent running partner begin. It’s not a crazy idea that this is going to take some work, so here are three tips to keep running well together.
First, training helps but your attitude while you run is the most powerful determining factor in how well you run. The daily routine of life will be most influenced by how the two of you approach each day. There are so many reasons we can have bad days, but our minds don’t have to be controlled by the circumstances that come our way. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “ Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” This is your duty to each other: be merciful, show kindness, and defer to one another. You’re going to get it wrong. He’s going to get it wrong. In those moments, give each other grace. We’ve been given so much grace from God. Be a conduit of it to each other.
Second, find a sustainable joint pace. Right now, you are running hard. Your life is like a giant hill these days where you keep hoping you can see the top but are nearly too afraid to take your eyes off of the next step you need to take. Thankfully, there is an end. You’ll crest the hill and hopefully you’ll get a nice long flat stretch before you climb another one. Be careful not to keep choosing the hardest path. Colossians 3:14-15 states, “ But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Loving each other well means saying ‘no’ when he needs you to, even when you want to say ‘yes.’ It’s being thankful for the dirty dishes and the socks in the floor because those things show he lives there with you, imperfectly but at peace.
Third, get a good playlist. Since you’ve already found the perfect (for you) running partner, the two of you need to remember to keep the run fun. Colossians 3:16-17 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Dance. Enjoy this good gift the Lord has given you. Laugh. Life is going to throw you some curve balls – things you didn’t see coming, but the Lord is not surprised and He is not allowing it for nothing. Trust in Him. Lean into one another, for His glory and in His name.
And when things get too tough and you think you can’t do it, call me. Love you.Read More
On Saturday you turned one year old. I know. This is late. I haven’t been especially good about keeping you all up to date on your happenings, primarily because the happenings have so often involved fevers and insane amounts of running, though not necessarily at the same time. It’s been a whirlwind of hours and days and weeks, flying by faster than I can update the whiteboard in the kitchen. You are a very big contributor to the chaos.
You walk. You run. You climb stairs. You threaten to tumble down them (sometimes you do). Sometimes you go down on your tummy.
You eat. You like peaches but you love grapes. You love biscuits and haven’t met a muffin that you didn’t like. Meat is gross. Apples are still choke inducing. Please don’t mention those cheesy puff Gerber things right now because you may have put one in the wrong way and wedged your mouth open with it. Before the wedge, they were on the always-please-right now list. If you want something that you can see (like the leftover cupcakes from your birthday), you will clearly say “THAT” and point toward the desire of your heart. It’s adorable and still kind of startling.
You still love Poppy and YiaYia’s dogs. Your brother hates them now. They are too smelly, too noisy, too much for him to have to deal with while he’s eating/playing LEGOs/setting up Memorial Stadium in the basement. But you? You love them so much. The squeals that come out of your throat when you see them are high pitched and shrill. You say ‘Puppy’ in that same ear piercing tone and then jabber at them with enthusiasm. You hug them. You occasionally try to ride them. You always throw them the food you don’t want. It’s very, very sweet.
Your love for Gideon endures. He’s still your favorite human. If he’s paying attention to you, the world is right (unless he is redirecting you from the television or his LEGOs, then he can keep it. You don’t need another parent). He tries very hard to take good care of you and you welcome his love with toothy drooly smiles of delight.
You like Piper fine, but wish she would leave you alone. She’s kind of competing with you for toys so there’s more tension between the two of you over pink princess cars and certain baby dolls, but I suppose that’s the way sisters are.
You love Dada and get so happy when he comes through the door. You’re usually perched in your high chair by that time, waiting for him to come and join you at the table, so when the door opens, you shout-whisper “Who’s that?” and then rock your head back and forth to hide. It’s adorable. He loves it. He loves you.
You recently started neck hugging us in the tightest best way ever. Your chubby baby arms wrap all the way around our necks and you squeeze with all your might, sometimes wiggling your whole body like you wish you could push your way inside of our chests. Don’t worry, baby, you’ll always be inside of there.
Sometimes you draw with crayons with the older two. Sometimes you play nicely in your crib in the pink room while they play Princesses & Ponies versus LEGOs & Transformers. Sometimes you spend a half hour just walking around from the pink car to the stand up music table and the window. You always hug the vacuum when it appears. If I’m cleaning with a rag, you’ll go get napkins and do the same thing I am. You make airplane sounds and spin around with toys in your hands until you fall down.
You’re crying right now, so I have to save you. Your snotty nose is keeping you from napping well. Maybe it’s your teeth. Maybe it’s a cold. Either way, I know these days of cuddling you while you sleep won’t last very much longer. I love you forever and ever,
Crud. So many days since I wrote anything on here. Sorry, kids. When you come back to read this and try to figure out what was going on, know that they were good things. Your parents’ business is taking off and we spend most of our free time working with fonts and codes and color pallets and installing apps on people’s phones. We love it and are so so happy to do it, but it means that other things, like documenting our lives here, have been temporarily halted.
I’ll catch you up on some stuff, though.
Greer’s eye surgery went well. Very well. Extremely well. Her eye is better. She’s been healthy. We are incredibly grateful.
The other two of you, though, have been sick about 90% of the time since Halloween. Somehow you both got well enough to go to Wisconsin over Christmas break. In true Christmas miracle form, the window of health closed the day we were leaving, but I’ll take those miracles any way He wants to deliver them.
Here’s what I really wanted to tell you about – our trip to Wisconsin. It was the best. You guys didn’t just soldier through a trip that wasn’t really about you, you jumped in with all your feet and enthusiasm.
Gideon, you went skiing. Well, you put skis on. And you wore them on the ski hill. But you clammed up when the instructor came over to help you learn and that was kind of the end of that adventure. BUT! Tubing? Tubing you loved with all your heart. I’m pretty sure you would’ve kept tubing until you couldn’t feel your body at all. You were begging us to let you go down the giant hill, but we wisely didn’t give in. Your mother rocked that tube run, however, and wishes she could go tubing every single day. Rebecca, who came with us, claims to have almost fallen asleep on the tow rope before, and although I didn’t get that relaxed on the ride up, it was equally enjoyable to the much faster decent. You were fearless out there and that is such a fun thing to see. You were rarely with me during the week, staying by dad’s side for the bulk of the time. I love how much you love him and there is no doubt that he loves and is properly proud of you. You slept in the top bunk. You wore your boots everywhere. You crushed us at Battleship. You killed off Gatorades with a vengeance. You sat through sessions with attentiveness and sang along when you knew the songs, even if you thought they were a little loud.
Piper, you loved playing in the cabin and taking naps. You don’t do that home. You don’t nap anymore and haven’t for quite some time, but the level of energy required to be around high school students and keep yourself together rapidly sapped your reserves. You got to play with your friend who lives in Wisconsin on the tiny tube run and talked about her for the next day. Of course, the best part of that day for you was eating chocolate and peanut butter ice cream afterward. I thought you guys might want hot cocoa since you were all so cold, but ice cream was too exciting to pass up. The boys had monster cookie and both asked for more when their bowls were empty. You shared yours with me, though. Most days you really are a fantastic giver. I love that about you, especially when it means that I’m eating my favorite ice cream with you. You hated wearing your mittens, so you didn’t. You didn’t particularly like putting a hat on, but I (most of the time) convinced you to put it on. You loved walking through the tunnel. You walked back to our cabin singing your song about how Poppy is a silly man (when he does a handstand, he falls into a trash can) and didn’t complain once about the hike. You wore the most adorable purple snow gear and I wanted to catch your sweetness in a butterfly net and pin it down on a photograph album to always remember your smiles and love.
Probably the best part about our trip was just being together all the time. Poppy was there to watch Greer during nap times, freeing me to hang out with you guys and the high schoolers. They, like you guys, are pretty easy to love. The lowest point was when your dad bruised/cracked/injured his ribs. He is still yelping when he coughs and probably will be for a few more weeks.
You’re both sick now. Colds. Sinus infections. Ear infections. Coughing. Exhaustion will do that when you have fragile little immune systems that seem to break down at the slightest exposure to disease. I’m praying you both feel like yourselves again soon, or at least before you get your pictures taken on Saturday.
School starts again on Monday. The house has yet to be rid of it’s dust from the flooring install. The laundry is laughing at me from the baskets and beds where it lays, clean and disheveled. A small stack of papers that Greer threw around the family room needs to be dealt with and there are dishes waiting to be done. There are always dishes waiting. Thank you for the gift of vacation at camp this year.
Here’s a look at camp (and us there at 3:11):Read More
You turned nine months old a half a month ago. I suppose this is what it is to be the third child – everything is late. At least we aren’t at never yet. I suppose that’s what happens when you are number four – nobody ever gets around to it.
In the past month (and a half) you have started talking. I know that sounds crazy, but you really are saying actual words. You started with ‘Hi’ and then came ‘Mama’, which was so fantastic to hear, even if you mostly say it when I’m not around. Then you started calling for the dogs by saying ‘Woof, woof’ with lots of emphasis on the ‘f’s. This past week you added ‘Dada’ to your repertoire.
Last night when I went in to get you for a feeding, earlier than I should because your father hates to hear your sadness in a way that your mother can tolerate, as soon as I picked you up, you pushed yourself back from my shoulder, smiled and said “Dada” and started leaning toward the stairs. It was as if you knew that the only reason I was there was because of him. I rewarded you by taking you downstairs (which is a perk of being number three, Mama is pretty laid back about your sleep. Your brother only partied with us a handful of times as a baby – mostly when there were tornado warnings. Your sister rarely woke up in the middle of the night because she loves sleep as much as her Mama) and letting Dada hold you. You clung to him like a tiny monkey, wrapping his sweater around your little fists, you’d have been happy to never let go.
You’re really close to walking, taking a couple of steps but then loosing your balance and falling to your cushion-y diapered bottom. You don’t care at all about falling. You might stand back up, without holding on to anything to do so, or you might just crawl away. You love to look out the window. You love to shove tiny things in your mouth. You love music – in the church service two weeks ago, when the drums started to beat a little louder and faster, you shoved your tiny hands into the air and wiggled your whole body to the beat. I’m pretty sure that’s what most of us wanted to do, but you’re not afraid of what anybody else thinks of you right now, and I wish I could let you hold on to that blissful lack of self forever (although I can imagine where that might get tricky in certain social situations).
You love to put your hands on trucks and cars and crawl fast with them in your hands. It’s some kind of hand roller skating trick that is pretty fun to watch. You love to pull out all the tupperware from the cabinets and then play with none of it. You do the same thing with your clothes bins too.
You’ve become suspicious of people who aren’t in the family. You still love Gideon the most. You like when Poppy sings to you. You prefer YiaYia to feed you your supper (soft veggies, juicy fruits, plenty of baby oatmeal). You want Dada to save you. You want Piper to get out of your way. You want me to stop trying to put you down for a nap. When you’re sleepy and I take you into the room with a fan and a humidifier humming their white noise, you have a tiny meltdown; crying and pushing away from me for a few seconds to a few minutes until you give up. Then you nuzzle into my chest, pull your blanket up by your face and close your tired eyes. I love those moments so much. Just you and me, alone in the world. I lay you down and say “Night night, sweet girl. Sleep well,” and you you usually do.
You have to have surgery to open up a blocked tear duct in a couple of weeks. I’m nervous about the anesthesia part of it, not so much the surgery part of it. Your doctor is a guy we know from church and he is also one of the best pediatric ophthalmologists around. It will be quick, hopefully you’ll only be under for just thirty total minutes, but you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight. You also have to be well before they’ll do it. Right now your nose is filled with goo. Pretty sure your sister shared whatever is ailing her with you. She’s good at sharing, unless it is that one baby doll you want so badly. You’ll both head out to the pediatrician tomorrow to try to clear it all up. We’ve asked our friends to petition the Lord for your health too. The Lord is sovereign and I’ll trust in His wisdom, knowing that we are responsible for our actions as well, so I’ll do whatever I can to get you better.
Thank you for being the kind of baby that still smiles when you’re sick, who smiles when you’re happy, who smiles in the middle of the night when all I want you to do is go back to sleep. You are the third, if I line you all up, but there’s little reason to think of you all chronologically. You’re just you, in your own special corner of my affection and my love for you is total.
Always your Mama,
When your baby gets sick (and she will. You’ll wash your hands eleventy billion times and you’ll make every single person that even thinks about putting his grimy little digits near her perfect chubby face use hand sanitizer while they breathe in a different direction, but trust me when I tell you that you cannot and will not and absolutely can not stop your baby from getting sick), you’ll need to be ready. You’ll need things like more sleep and a fairy godmother wand to make all the horrible-ness go away, but those things I can’t give you. What I can give you is the check list of how to make it through a night of illness. Here’s what you’ll need.
A recliner. Forget these chairs that have hard wooden arms. Forget the truly adorable old timey rocker, even after you’ve painted it a pinterest approved shade of cool, it will never be comfortable at 3 am. Get yourself a recliner somewhere in the house that goes all the way back.
A boppy. Who cares if you never used it when you were feeding your baby. You’re going to need it now to rest your own two arms so that they don’t have to flex to keep a giant eight month old from rolling off into the floor when she adjusts herself without any warning.
A neck boppy. What’s that? You’ve never been to a baby shower where I give travel pillows out to unsuspecting mothers and tell them to put that by the chair they feed their baby in? Oh, well. It’s a travel pillow. If you have one for travelling, that’s great and all, but you may remove it from the feeding recliner and not remember to put it back. You will remember that you didn’t put it back at exactly 10:33 pm when you’ve fully arraigned yourself in the recliner and could fall asleep perfectly if only your neck wasn’t in all sorts of numbing odd pain. Leave it in the chair.
A blanket for your legs and feet. Tuck it in under the regular boppy.
A light blanket for your baby and your arms. If the baby has a fever you may not even need one at all for her, but your arms? They want to feel warm too. Don’t neglect them.
A clock in your line of sight. When you wake up and wonder how much longer you’ll have to sleep in this chair, you’ll want to do that math.
No night of being awakened every hour or two would be complete without the snuffly, snotty, sweaty baby. I hope you have one like mine that still smiles at 2:48 am, even when her nose is crusty and her eye is weeping. It’ll make all those minutes in that chair so very, very worth it.Read More
I just pulled up Add New under Posts. I did it with a purpose because I was focused. See how I said was? That’s because I already lost my train of thought.
It’s because I’m tired. We worked hard last night, got a lot of work stuff done – logos and website updates and marketing campaigns on their feet and Jud trained me on some stuff. I was going to do some laundry after that, but then I didn’t because Nightline was on and I wanted to steal nachos off of Jud’s plate while we watched. They promised Nate Berkus would tell us how to renovate our kitchen without spending a lot of money. Instead they told us that we should buy Nate Berkus stuff from Target and not keep a lot of stuff around unless it ‘tells our story.’ I was disappointed. Nightline also told me about how insane people are trying to get Flaming Hot Cheetos banned from schools. It would be fine if we were talking about school lunches or school vending machines, but these peeps want to tell people that their children can’t bring them in their lunches and consume them in the cafeteria. The world is a strange, horrible place sometimes. If we spent half the energy into delivering ANY food to kids who are hungry on this orb that we spend fretting about what we’re giving to the children who are eating too much (sodium, carbs, sugar, meat or whatever the next fad shall be) we’d have half as many hungry kids on the earth.
I have a crazy hungry kid in my house today. He’s eating everything. He had two breakfasts. He ate two morning snacks. Then there was lunch. Three o-clock snack was two Rise & Shine Smoothies (do you know about these? They are the best (BEST!) in the smoothie world. Here’s what you do. Take equal parts vanilla yogurt and orange juice (I only drink Simply orange because it is so stinking yum. You can squeeze your own organic oranges. Go ahead. We’ll wait….), one frozen banana (or not frozen, whatevs. I pop them in the freezer after peeling them when they get a bit too ripe), and some berries (whatever you have – straw, blue, rasp, black). Blend.), toast and applesauce.
The baby’s crying now. Whatever I wanted to say will have to wait. Go make that smoothie now. You can thank me later, if you remember.Read More
Gideon’s Awana book has a cd that came with it. The cd is great for helping him memorize verses (he’s pretty good at memorizing anyway, but just imagine listening to it EVERY TIME you go somewhere in the van! How awesome would that be? The most extreme awesome, if you are a child who wants to memorize 55 tracks of people talking to kids. I wish there wasn’t copyright issues, because I would totally burn these for you and send them out. You would love me so much). He asks to listen to it every time we get in the car. As soon as I turn the engine over, he starts the request. He doesn’t realize that it’s already on from the last time we drove the car. Who needs to ask?!
One of the tracks talks about how we don’t have to be afraid of anything. Fear is put into the context of a big game a kid’s team is about to play where the other kids are huge and scary. Gideon has taken this particular track to heart and regularly announces that he is not scared of anything. He’s not afraid of thunderstorms. He’s not afraid of crashing. He’s not afraid of the dark. He’s not afraid of shadows. The list is LONG. It’s long because it includes everything. He’s not afraid of everything.
A few weeks ago the oldest two wouldn’t stop talking about snakes. I’m Indiana Jones levels of terrified of the things. Scratch that. Indiana Jones keeps snakes as friendly pets compared to my fear of the things. The kids wouldn’t drop it, in spite of my protests, which, in their defense, was initially peppered with nervous laughter, but since they are children they don’t fully comprehend the emotional terror in my throat. They just kept hitting the same note. So I walked out of the front door [calm down, cps. my mother was over]. They rushed to the front window where they could see me sitting on the front step. Gideon was giggling and telling me to come back in. Piper was making sssssssssssss noises. Classic. They love reminiscing about that moment.
Last week I sat down at the desk in the family room to get some work done while Greer napped. There are two vents that return air into the basement directly next to where I sit in my awesome Herman Miller Mirra Loaded Chair. Am I afraid of anything? Is there anything that makes me scared? Well, yes, of course, there’s snakes. And then there are these things too…Read More