Saturday, December 26, 2015

Above the Beepity-Bloopits

For many years, I have struggled to determine whether I'm an introvert or an extrovert, because I seem to have qualities and tendencies of both.  I think that predominantly my nature is introverted, though I need and love people time--both giving and receiving from people--and pull off a really good impersonation of an extrovert when it's called for.  

But sometimes, like yesterday, I am amazed by how loudly the Introvert in me cries out for her needs to be acknowledged.  

Christmas 2015 was a wonderful day with my family, in my own home with my parents and their dog visiting, and lots of gifts and feasting.  And lots of wrapping paper.  And beepity-bloopits.  And roars.  And shrieks of delight.  And racing up, down, and all around.  And a baby enjoying a bad-nap day and clamoring to be held most of the time.  

And by the end of the day (long before, actually) I could barely think straight; my soul desperately wanted to go sit alone in a dark, quiet room.  

I was thinking so foggily that "introvert" was continually coming out as "invalid" in my brain, and I had to think awhile before opening my mouth.  

So it was good, good, good, for me to remember at bedtime NOT to pick up my delightful novel, but instead to pick up the Word of Life, to remember Psalm 23, to remember my Pastor's anecdote a couple of weeks ago, "If you can't wake up earlier, do your quiet time before you go to bed at night."  

He leads me beside still waters.


Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live...Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  For you shall GO OUT IN JOY and be LED FORTH IN PEACE; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  (Most of) Isaiah 55.  

I have thoughts and reflections about Christmastime, about the wonder of our Savior coming as a little baby, the gift of Himself.  

But instead of those wonders, here is a little something for the Day After, for the others of you who may also need some soul restoration.  

May you remember to make room for quiet, for peace.  And may it bring forth joy in your soul!

Bring on the beepity-bloopits.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mighty Oaks

I painted shirts for my family, in the hopes of doing our first-ever professional family photo shoot.  But I don't have that arranged yet, and so (while I can still squeeze my baby into his 0-3 month onesie) we did an informal thing at my parents' house.  So, despite misty-moisty weather, not having a studio for just-right backgrounds or lighting, and a pack of goofballs to work with, here's the cute result.  Maybe someday, before too long, we can actually get some beautiful photos taken, the kind that are a fun work of art and can be blown up bigger than 2x3 inches and still be crisply focused.  

But I'll have to paint a bigger onesie ;0)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming...

Tuesday was supposed to be an easygoing day of picking up the house, prepping a pan of Apples 'n' Cheese, and packing overnight bags for a quick trip to my parents' house.  Instead, it was more like a morning spent with a stubborn, sad toddler who wouldn't begin his cleanup project.  (Granted, it was an overwhelming cleanup project, and maybe I shouldn't have been so ultimatum-ish...but he's got to learn to just start, right?)  I did get the dishes washed and the apples prepped while Lewis was busy being stubborn and sad.  

But then I sat down to nurse the baby (who was not in the mood to nap well or to sit in his seat gazing adoringly up at me), and this happened.  For the next 2 1/2 hours.  

Packing was not relaxing.  But at least my babies are irresistible <3

Monday, November 2, 2015

What A Morning!

I left the house later than I had wanted, headed for groceries at Nolt's and WalMart, with a goal of arriving on time for Story Hour just two hours hence.  At least 40 of those minutes set aside for drive time.  Preschooler and newborn along for the ride.  Fat chance.  

We managed an efficient Nolt's trip, and although Lemuel screamed for awhile in the shop and I thought I'd need to nurse him in the van, he fell back to sleep for the ride up the hill to WalMart.  And then we managed an efficient trip to WalMart--quite possibly the most efficient trip I've ever made there with my children.  And although Lemuel screamed for awhile in the store and I thought I'd need to nurse him in the store, we raced through and paid and finished in record time, and I realized that not only could I nurse him in the van--but I had time to nurse him in a relaxed fashion.  Wonder of wonders!  

As we crossed the parking lot on our way out I told Lewis, "You know what little blessing God gave me just now?  A cart whose wheels steer properly, and aren't all catawampus."  Because steering a cart with one hand is hard (especially with preschooler in the cart and newborn strapped to me, screaming and desiring a meal and a smooth ride).  

We even had time to stop at home for me to run the cold groceries in to the fridge.  And we arrived at the library 4 minutes early.  

Unheard of.   Praise Jesus for a morning like that!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Remembering Lem's First Week

Lemuel Lloyd Huntress arrived, about 4 weeks later and 2 pounds heavier than I fully expected, on the morning of October 15, 2015.  At 8 pounds and 12 ounces, he turned out to be the biggest of my babies!  

Laboring with him was a "nice" hybrid between Lincoln and Lewis, moving quickly once we got going but entering the world much more gently than Lincoln.  Third babies are kinder toward mama bodies.  Intriguingly, my water never broke, and Lem came still fully enclosed in the intact bag of waters.  Andy got to see that, and I wish I had.  But mostly I was just flooded with relief to be finished.  

Lemuel: Hebrew, "belonging to, devoted to God".
Lloyd: Welsh, "grey".  Much more significantly, daddy's, grandfather's, and great-grandfather's middle name.  

In this week, he has regained his birth weight (and probably more), learned to nurse better and better, and is already discovering his fingers/thumb.  Andy has noticed that his cry is already stronger (and a little less cute, haha)--BUT, he's so far a content little baby, and only cries during bare-bottomed midnight changes and when I haven't fed him fast enough.  Understandable.  

Babies are gross.  I mean, don't get me wrong; they're incredibly sweet, wondrous little beings to hold close.  But also gross.  Case in point: Wednesday morning I realized that his circumcision wound was all healed up.  Because suddenly, he was peeing the instant he was uncovered for a diaper change.  Getting ready to go up to Lowville for some blood work took more than a full hour and included four diapers in a row (2 peed on, 2 pooped in.  Mid-change.), three fresh outfits, a couple of spit-ups (because we also needed to nurse twice).  And then of course there was getting Lewis dressed and ready.  Everybody Ready at the same time is indeed a feat.  That night...well, the next morning's diaper/outfit tally was EIGHT diapers and a pile of two-and-a-half sets of clothes, swaddle blankets, and burp cloths.  Andy did not feel very rested in the morning.  Usually I take care of the midnight stuff, but I really needed him to run for more clothes and diapers a few times!  Oh, and just in general, it's really comical how often a newborn poops.  Literally a fresh diaper to begin with, then nurse, then the squirt poops while the meal is still in progress.  Amazingly efficient little systems.  We're getting better already though, and for a mama, it's a source of pride to figure out a diaper system that averts disasters. 

Babies are sweet.  Lem's little noises are just sweet, beautiful little sounds.  Grunts, snorts, squeaks, snuffles, erratic breathing, milk splutters, sometimes his little voice, his wonderfully peaceful breathing while napping on mama's chest.  The first three nights of his life, he wouldn't sleep peacefully at all unless he was snuggled against me.  (Those were very hard nights for me, and I'm REALLY thankful that he's learning already to sleep better near mama without being on me.)  When he's awake, he watches intently: mama's face; daddy and brothers; he's intrigued by the play of light reflected off the metal garbage can, or through the window, or on the tv screen across the room.  He "talks" to us with his facial expressions.  Well, mostly his little bird mouth, to tell us he's hungry.  But he gets his message across.  When I'm holding him upright and he's fallen asleep, he wraps his right arm around my left arm <3  When I'm holding him upright and he's awake, he'd rather look at my face, and so he cranes his neck way back so his wobbly little head can follow my face.  

He's about to wake up, hungry as usual.  My third baby to love and to cherish, and I am so, so thankful for him!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Little Moments Make Life Big

A little background here: tomorrow morning Andy and I are headed to the hospital to (hopefully) induce this baby to come out and meet us <3  

So tonight, I had a small epiphany-meltdown.  I remembered back to when Lewis was born, and suddenly, instantly, bedtime with Lincoln was never the same.  It really shocked me that time, because I just hadn't thought ahead about it.  But this time...well, I know what's about to happen.  And in an instant, of reprimanding Lewis in the middle of his meltdown about going upstairs to brush his teeth, I suddenly just realized: this is the last night I can read bedtime stories to my two boys.  Instant tears.

And Lewis, with his sweet, sweet heart--he instantly wondered what was wrong, and when I explained he went right upstairs and brushed those teeth and got himself all ready for story time.  Lincoln, not far behind, also perplexedly wondered what was wrong, and went right up get ready--but he also did his best to make me laugh, and realize that I will read stories to them again, after all, and this feeling that's making me cry is "pretend," "fiction!"  He loves making us laugh.  

So, these pictures somehow look much prettier than my tear-blotched, bloodshot eyes actually were...but I'm just thankful for the gift of knowing, this time around, that tonight was precious, and a Little Moment with my boys that was really very Important. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Watch Me Grow!

Left: Baby at about 6 weeks.  Center and Right: Baby at 20 weeks.

Left: Baby at 30 weeks.  Right: Baby at 38.5 weeks.
Left to right: Earliest photo, about 10 weeks.  20 weeks.  30 weeks.  37.5 weeks.

We're almost there!  As of tonight, he's estimated at 7 pounds, 11 ounces (larger than Lewis's birth weight, born one week early).  We have 1 1/2 weeks until this little guy's "official" due date.  He can come any day <3

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Waiting Place

Doctor Seuss describes it this way, in "Oh, The Places You'll Go":
The Waiting Place... ...for people just waiting. 
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
I feel as if I ought to re-write these famous stanzas to apply to Waiting For Baby.  But alas, after six-plus weeks of incredible energy and creativity, my creative juices are just not in the mood.  

I am 37-and-a-half weeks along, so by some counts I ought not to be expecting Baby's imminent arrival yet.  I mean, technically at this point some girls are still going to be pregnant for a month!  But all along, I've felt that this little guy will be here early, and I am Ready.  

And today, with nothing to do on the calendar, I feel the Waiting more impatiently.  I'm waiting for the laundry to wash and dry so I can be Caught Up again.  I'm waiting for dinner inspiration, so I can feed my family something decent tonight.  I'm waiting for the UPS truck to arrive late this afternoon, so I can accomplish the task of rearranging our boys' car seats in the van (three!).  

I'm waiting to feel super-tired, because I didn't sleep well last night.  I'm waiting to see how this head cold will unfold, because after almost two weeks of avoiding Lewis's germs I went and took a drink out of his bathroom cup a few nights ago, having forgotten to bring my own water bottle upstairs...and that very night I felt the first twinges of sore throat.  Not happy about that.  

I'm waiting for contractions, for my water to break, for Something.  

Sorry, I'm complaining too much.  I just don't like sitting around waiting, and that's what my gumption has got me doing these days.  No matter what's going on, in the background of it all I'm Paying Attention.  And after awhile of that, you're just ready for it to happen :0)

Friday, September 18, 2015

What Do You Do When...

I'm going to have a baby soon.  Yes.  

So, for the past six weeks or so, I've been in crazy nesting mode.  Which has led me to ferociously tackle projects ranging from meticulously repainting my front porch and entryway to sorting and laundering the boxes of newborn comfy clothes to..., deciding that the back hall window, where I've always kept my oils and vinegars, really ought to be cleaned off.  I read somewhere that, oh wait, you're not supposed to keep oils in the sunlight, because they'll spoil faster...  

Anyway.  What do you do when uncovering that window, scrubbing off the oil-grimy sill, un-wedging the screen to clean all the gunk and cobwebs behind it (AFTER a very careful inspection to see if there are any of those nasty, resident, ENORMOUS spiders set up in there, the way they do in the upstairs windows)--reveals a window frame that is terribly rotten?  As in, some of that wood I can spongy-press with my fingers?  As in, the outside house wall surrounding that frame is growing moss?  As in, the rottenness there to be cleaned up is literally rotten enough to have converted into dirt?  

What do you do?  

Umm.  Well, at this point in the yearpregnancybudget...

Ignore it!  Close and lock that window, make that rotten sill as clean as it can be, come up with something pretty to put there as a distraction, and walk away.  

It's always awesome to know what goes on next year's Project List when it's time to close up shop on this year's Project Season, right?  

Post Script:

There.  No one will ever know, right?  Haha!  A Before would have been a nice touch: picture grimy curtain, and a chock-full lineup of greasy oil and vinegar bottles...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I Mean Really

I sorted baby clothes most of the day, and just pulled the tiniest out of the dryer, fresh and clean and ready for Baby.  And this one, this little onesie in particular, just melts my heart.  

I can't make it look in the picture as small as it actually is.  I mean, go get a ruler: it's 12 x 5 1/4 inches.  My baby's torso basically fits on your piece of notebook paper.  

The sweetness!  I can't wait to snuggle this tiny baby boy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Taste of My Scattery Morning Brain

This morning I have woken up with the desire to decorate my home for autumn.  This is something like an overnight change; yesterday I thought, "'s a little too early.  I mean, it's still August.  Let's not rush it."  

So, how convenient: today it's suddenly September!  Feel free to begin enjoying the autumn!

Tomorrow my Lincoln begins kindergarden.  Full-day, away-from-home, Big Kid School.  Oh my.  He has the same wonderful teacher as last year, but will have to do an awful lot more of things like math, and not so much watercoloring-and-playdough fun.  Such is the new era of What 5-Year-Olds Must Know.  He's trying to wrap his mind around the fact that Lewis will (hopefully) get to do some fall field trips with mama and baby brother...while he's at school.  I'm hoping he'll get a couple of class field trips himself.  He'll be riding the bus to and from school.  I'm thankful he won't be on the bus for as long each day as I had feared.  Still about 45 minutes in the afternoon, but only 15 in the mornings.  

He did request that for tomorrow, his very first day, we drive him to school in the morning. <3  And daddy starts school a day later, so he get to be part of all Lincoln's first-day Pomp.  

I'm all excited about my baby's room.  I almost ran upstairs a few minutes ago to paint a leaf garland on his walls, an idea that just struck me as an awesome and simple addition. 

I've got all sorts of creative juices flowing through my brain this morning, so I'd better get up and get going.  

Oh, and my Lewis just woke up.  At 8:15.  Lincoln is still sleeping.  This new phase of sleep they've entered is baffling to me.  And I'm not sure how we'll all handle the school year schedule, when they want to eat breakfast with daddy at 5:45 every morning.  Because, you know?  A 6:30pm bedtime just isn't super-feasible for us.  We'll manage somehow.  Everybody will be on new sleep schedules soon!

Here's a gem for you, from one of my favorite Psalms: 

The Lord is my CHOSEN portion and my cup; You hold my lot.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Well, It's Happened

Our first ER visit, that is.  

Lincoln and Lewis were playing some variety of game in which they used the Hulk punching glove to knock each other off the red hopper ball...and apparently Lewis got knocked off in the wrong place, crashing his forehead down onto the edge of the coffee table.  

Andy and I were in the kitchen when Lewis's cries welled up.  But the thing is, they seemed like pretty run-of-the-mill cries, like when his brother pinches him or some such injustice.  Then Lincoln came into the kitchen complaining that his ear was hurt ("Well that's what happens when you two insist on crashing around into each other.")  And then, enter Lewis: bent over, hand on forehead, with blood streaming down his face and onto his shirt and dripping all over the floor.  OH MY.  This is more than we expected!  

So, you know, warm wet washcloth, paper towels to wipe up all the blood, pressure on the wound and rubbing the poor boy's back.  Lincoln, please put my yogurt in the fridge, and get me another wet washcloth.  Andy, would you switch the car seats so I can ride next to Lewis?  And grab me a t-shirt to change into?  Andy scoops up our little man to buckle him into his seat while I gather up water bottles and blankies.  And we're off.  

Hoping to go to Urgent Care, since it's certainly more of a wound than we're equipped to handle at home, but not really an emergency.  But they're closed until afternoon, so to the ER we go.  

And the kid was a champ.  I am very, very thankful that glue was the first aid of choice, rather than stitches.  And he got a pile of stickers (also some to share with his brother out in the waiting room).  And then we went to Lloyd's for lunch, his request.  

And now he's sleeping it off in the heat of the day cool of his bedroom.  

Oh, my little man.  In a way, it's a little miraculous that this is our first-ever Boy Visit to the ER.  And I'm sad that he'll probably have a scar across his beautiful forehead.  But there are so many worse things that could send a little boy and his family to the ER.  I'm thankful this visit was low-key.

Friday, June 19, 2015


This afternoon, I finished a second read-through of a wonderful book...and now I'm at that strange, limbo-y place of being Between Books.  The better the book I've finished, the sharper the sense of detachment, of feeling as if I don't really know what I ought to be doing.  

I've been trying all afternoon, also, to post pictures recording our busy, eventful lives in the past week.  There are a lot of photos.  And despite my best efforts, they're still on my phone for some reason, and not shareable.  This is also a limbo-y feeling.  

I've been running "faster" than usual for the past two weeks, and parts of me (especially at the 5am alarm) really want to just do nothing.  Instead, we're going to use our Saturday to celebrate Lincoln's birthday with a family fun day, traveling up to Tupper Lake to enjoy the Wild Center and a hike up Panther Mountain.  This morning, I groaned at that prospect (the 5am alarm, you know), but now I'm really excited about it.  Even though it will mean that, yet again, our boys won't have proper naps, and I'll still be on-the-go.  

And that: Lincoln turned 5 yesterday!  I have to admit, I've been thinking of him as 5 for the past few months (just as I've thought of myself as 30 long before the actual event last week).  But it's real, it's official, and at some point I'll realize and process that in a way that hits home.  

Summer has almost begun.  Almost.  Lincoln will graduate pre-k on Monday.  But I found out today that he does have a school day Tuesday.  Good thing I was there when another parent had a question about Tuesday this morning--I had no idea!  The kid would have missed his last day of school!  Andy's last day is Wednesday.  

And then we get to start Project Season, earn Master's credits, take big and little family trips, go on our first real Vacation, plan and execute a 3-day vacation Bible school, get together with friends more often, and try to stay breezy and beautiful while I keep getting more pregnant.  :0)  Oh, and do some SLEEPING!  :0D  

And I keep having a thought that I heard on NPR the other day, while I'm wandering aimlessly and "relaxing" but really just wasting time on Facebook (and trying to post pictures): our Leisure Time is stressing us out, because we fritter it away on things that aren't actually what we want to be doing.  


So, even though I'm still looking at a screen to do this, at least I'm looking at my blog screen, sharing bits of my brain with you.  That's got a little purpose and satisfaction to it--and we all know that satisfaction really ought to be a tangible product of leisure time.  

And now, to get this bedtime show on the road.  Because we've made this big plan for tomorrow!  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

For the Almanac: Mama Notes, etc.

May 8, 2015, at approximately 4:45pm, the black flies hatched in Lyons Falls.  I so enjoyed my short season of heavenly weather, when being outside, and having our home all open to the outdoors, was nothing but pleasure.  This is the "etc."  This is just for posterity, so I can look back and compare seasons at some point in the future.  That's the beauty of almanacs :0)
This is a whimsical version of a black fly, on the Adirondack Carousel in Saranac Lake.  

On this day one year ago, I was eating Mother's Day breakfast at Minella's Diner in Wayne, PA.  I was there with my hubby and boys, my own mom and dad, and my brother and Miss Kathryn--celebrating not only mama-hood (and grandma-hood), but my brother's college graduation.  What a weekend!

On this day five years ago, even though Lincoln hadn't quite arrived yet, people began celebrating me as a mother for the first time.  So now, for 1/6th of my life, I have been a mama.  That doesn't sound long enough for how life-changing and all-consuming being a mama is.  It's wonderful, and hard, and always a paradox of speed and slowness.  

Here are my boys now; hit fast-forward between the previous picture and this.  Taken at the Utica Zoo, May 4, 2015.

Today I am 18 weeks pregnant with my last baby, and it is a treasure.  In two weeks we'll find out if we'll welcome another beautiful boy or the marvel of a baby girl into our family.  This process, more than just being a marvel, a miracle, is also a strange sadness.  I am carrying our last baby, and I have friends carrying their last babies, and in a very real way, it's (the beginning of) the end of an era.  That's pretty intense.  But full of good things.   

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Heart Gave a Start

The last time I wrote to you for real (read, "hit Publish") was February 15.  That is literally the longest stretch I haven't chatted with you since I began writing this Life Epistle three-plus years ago.  

I tried three times.  The first unpublished go is just ironic, so here it is: 

My Lewis is three years old today.  I keep being surprised when I think about how much time has passed since he joined our family.  And when I think about it, I lament the fact that I've recorded essentially zero information about his growth and development, his likes and dislikes, his endearing little habits.  
If I picked one word to describe my second son, i

I am sitting here laughing at myself.  That one word, by the way, is Sweet.  He is everything sweet.  Also fierce.  But mostly sweet.  

My second go was longer, chronicling how I was feeling at 9 weeks of pregnancy.  But I hadn't told you I was pregnant yet, and back then I was afraid to, and didn't know how to. So it stayed put in my Post list.

The most recent attempt was meant to tell you why I haven't written in so long, and to tell you that I am pregnant.  And then I just got tired of writing something long and pithy, and added this baby as a #3 in a Facebook post, to see how many of you would catch it.  A surprising number of you did!  I am flattered that you would read my paragraph post all the way through.  Thanks :0)  

And, so you don't feel like I'm completely ignoring this child (I am certainly not, but it's possible--though I hope against it--that I'll record less than "essentially zero information" about my last Baby) is a picture of my baby bump, taken almost three weeks ago at about 14 weeks along:

So there's a snapshot of What I Didn't Tell You, the reStart of my Heart.  And now for last night's heart-starting thoughts...

Yesterday Lewis had to learn about consequences.  Obviously, he's dealt with consequences before, but last night was kind of a biggie.  While the rest of us were downstairs, he wrestled with the easel in their bedroom so he could get into the game closet.  He toppled that over in a crash--no biggie, nobody was hurt.  But when I went up and got him freshly bathed, and freshly 'jama-ed, and it was time to clean up the room, we began to have a problem.  You see, he asks for help with the cleanup of all messes.  So I helped him by cleaning up all the game pieces he had gotten out, the wooden animals he had set up, the various toys scattered about, by uprighting the easel, by (finally) putting away the stacks of clean laundry all over the room.  His job?  To pick up the crayon pieces that had spilled out of the easel.  Would have taken him 5 minutes, tops.  

But he has this thing where he just refuses to start a job, because it's so daunting to him. I explained how I had helped him, by doing EVERYTHING ELSE.  And that if he chose not to clean up those crayons, I would not read him any bedtime stories.  He had already had his mouth washed with soap earlier in the day for flat-out telling me "no" over and over for the thing I had asked of him, and we had had issues with getting bath time started. It wasn't like I was pulling out the Big Guns of No Stories Tonight for a first-level offense. 

Well, not only did he refuse to put the crayons away, but while I was focused on getting shirts in the shirt drawer, he decided to draw a purple picture all over the carpet.  

So that was that.  And sticking to that consequence was a bitter pill for him to swallow, and a hard thing for mama to stick to.  It's heart-breaking to listen to your child deal with the sorrow of a bad consequence.  But learn that his choices matter?  He must.  Sigh.  

Here's my Lewis in a happier frame of mind, just so you can agree with me over how cute he is. 

And then, after things had settled down a bit, I moved across the room to say prayers with Lincoln.  I was so, so proud of him last night, because the pieces clicked into gear and he figured out how to ride his bike without daddy to hold onto him.  He has training wheels, but I mean, this kid was so nervous about tipping over that wouldn't let Andy let go of his jacket, and his "fast" speed was a Lewis-paced walking speed, and he really hadn't gotten the hang of pedaling.  So when, last night, he had a breakthrough and was suddenly bicycling around Continental Circle, then down to the end of Markham Street and back, with Andy often needing to run to keep up with him?  Yep, proud mama.  Here's my bike-riding champ.

So my heart was full with thinking of my son's accomplishment.  And then, I don't know, I just kept thinking as I prayed for him, about the fact that this week, he proudly announced that he knows how to spell "fox," and promptly sounded it out and spelled it for me.  He's going to be reading before long, and a whole new magical world will be his to discover.  About the fact that he's already a little gamer, playing almost-nightly rounds of Minecraft or Warcraft with Andy.  About the fact that he stunned me last evening, also, by suddenly being able to make most of his shots into the Little Tykes basketball hoop, with a pretty natural-looking shot.  He must get that from daddy.  About the fact that he's begun asking if we can invite his school friends over to play, almost daily desiring their company.  About the fact that when I bring him a gift of a pine cone from Beaver Camp, he isn't enamored with it the way he used to be, not very long ago.  About the fact that my boy is growing up.  Fast.  

The tears were running down my face as I prayed.  Fortunately, I was whispering that prayer, so I didn't need to struggle with frog-voice.  And I don't think he noticed the tear tracks when he kissed my cheek.  

But my heart gave a start to ponder such things.  It was a little, treasured Mary Moment: "But Mary treasured up all these things (all these mysterious, miraculous things that already surrounded her baby son) and pondered them in her heart."  Luke 2:19

Sunday, February 15, 2015


When my husband and I are driving in unfamiliar territory, I am his co-pilot.  He relies on me to tell him where to go, and if I forget that he doesn't know where he's going one of two things happens: he'll either keep driving like he knows what's up until I realize we're way off track, or he'll just stop at an intersection and not go until I catch on to his waiting and tell him which way we ought to be turning.  Earlier in our marriage there were some awkwardly long intersection waits before I realized he needed my directions, but I've gotten quicker on the uptake :0)

I usually need directions to a new place once (and to travel there), and I'll be able to go back again without a refresher, even quite a time later.  And so it's hard for me to fathom how my hubby can NOT have remembered how to get to a place after what seems like LOTS of repeat visits.  (Also, I like to change up the scenery, so I will go to a place like my parents' house by lots of different some of hubby's confusion falls on my head...(maniacal laugh).)  

Anyway, he's a little hopeless with getting places.  Until he's studied a map.  If he can look at a map, he can get us there, and knows generally what neck of the woods we're in even when he hasn't been on a particular route.  

Don't we all wish for the map to some degree?  To know what's coming, to see the big picture, the Plan?  Of course we do.  Some of us handle go-with-the-flow muuuuch better than others, but there are times when every one of us just wants to Know.  

And while macadam roads aren't really that big a deal, the roadmap of life--what we're supposed to do, where we're supposed to go, what opportunities we're supposed to accept and decline, what the heck that heartbreak or hiccup was all about--those things are the stuff of heart-peace.  Or the lack of it.  

And for those questions, there's only one good answer:

"Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know WHERE you are going.  How can we know the way?'  Jesus said to him, 'I AM THE WAY, the truth, and the life."  

And a few minutes later (and this is right before he was betrayed by Judas and taken to be brutally murdered...which he knew about from his Father Map), he told his friends, "PEACE I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED, neither let them be afraid."  

Follow Him.  He knows where He's leading you.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

End of a Mini-Epoch

Sometimes I have hypothetical conversations in my head.  Like, after noticing a man in the grocery store take a second look at the whistling girl (me), the head-conversation ran like this: 

(Man) "Why are you so happy?"  

(Me) "Oh, I don't know...because the sun is defying the thermometer today.  And because I'll be bringing a stinkin' awesome fruit and veggie selection to the Super Bowl party tomorrow.  And because I JUST FINISHED PAINTING THE CHURCH HALLWAY!"  

So this church hallway painting project?  I originally meant it to be a summer project--you know, while Andy was home to play with the boys.  And so, because the Rest Of Life still happens, and because I'm a very slow meticulous painter, and apparently a gross under-estimator...

...this project is concluded on January 31st, 2015.  Hooray!  Here is a sampling of the hallway mural work for you:

Next up: the nursery.  Noah's Neighborhood is about to have a serious makeover.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting a Fresh Wind

Andy and I ate a weird dinner of reconstituted turkey casserole while the boys were still sleeping.  Turkey casserole apparently doesn't freeze well, but freshly sauteed onion and celery and some homemade croutons made it bearable.  

When they did wake up, all they wanted was to cuddle.  Well, what Lincoln wanted was NOT to cuddle, but to be sitting on Andy's lap without Andy touching him at all.  He's kind of a weird kid sometimes :0)  

So we put a movie on.  And hubby and I promptly fell asleep.  

We came to at 7:36, when Lincoln finally started asking for food.  

Andy went to bed (he deserves a break, being under the weather and short on sleep all week long).  

And somehow I got a fresh wind.  The boys had paper-plate dinners with all major food groups represented (a baby carrot and some grapes definitely redeem hot dogs and croutons!), while I washed a few dishes...which turned into all the dishes...and the house is pretty well picked up...and the boys are making marker masterpieces.  

And I wrote you a blog post.  Remarkable!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

But It's OK

Sometimes I wonder why I should bother to write things to you, because it's all been said already.  Why would the world need another post encouraging mamas, or giving tips to be better organized, or reminding you that thankfulness makes a difference, or sharing my own children's moments or the views out my window?  There's so much of it already, it's overwhelming!  

But we forget, don't we?  So, so quickly, we forget to be mindful of a larger perspective than our day is dictating to us.  

And who am I to assume that you have found the same wonderful encouragement that I have today?  After all, overwhelming tasks are often avoided, even the good ones.  

And if I don't share pieces of my life with you, what's the point?  We are wired for relationship.  I need you, and you need me.  We fulfill and satisfy heart-needs in each other when we share life.  

Anyway, sitting here to put thoughts into words organizes my brain, and allows me to think more deeply, to form more fully the thoughts "on my mind" but not especially rooted in my soul.  And these thoughts, they need deeper roots.  They need to bear fruit in me, and by sitting down to write I allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate my Soil more intentionally.  

You may think I'm wonderful about perspective things.  I know this to be probably true because I think it about some of the wonderful people I know, and feel bad inside about my frequent failures in comparison.  

But I want to let you know: I'm messy too.  A Lot Of The Time I feel like I'm not good enough.  And usually dwelling on that goes ahead and makes me grumpy, so that even the good I've done in a day is spoiled by my grumping around.  

I KNOW it's hard to pare down, I KNOW there's a lot on the plate, and I KNOW just how many options there are for how to use a day, an hour, a few minutes.  

I am determined to learn and grow and change, with at least a vague notion of what my life would be if I could only...(praypassionately, putthefooddown, exerciseconsistently, affordamonthlymassage, studyscripturedeeply, writeachildren'sbook, writeathousandthankyounotes, becheerfulwithmyfamily, forgiveforever, washthedishes, putthelaundryaway, haveboundlessmercyandgrace, pulltheweeds, speakmyheart, etc).  

But it's ok.  

I am learning.  I am growing.  I am changing.  

Little acorns from oak trees grow.  

Learn to love what must be done.  

Choose the right next thing.  

So I write.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

And So We Begin

On Monday, Lincoln will enter a new era: that of the school child!  After several months of irregular school at home, we realized that in order for him (for all of us) to be emotionally and physically prepared for full-day kindergarten next fall he needed to be in a classroom now.  
He will spend the rest of this school year in morning pre-k at our local elementary school, and (other than a much-adjusted morning schedule for me) we are all excited about the start of this new season.  
On the last day before Christmas vacation, we visited his classroom.  Andy got to come too, because his district had already begun vacation, and we thoroughly enjoyed observing while Lincoln joined with his classmates as they rotated through Centers, watercoloring, doing seat work, and calendar time all together.  We are very happy with his teacher and classroom environment, both from our own interactions and feedback we've gotten from friends with older kids.  
The above pictures were taken outside the main entrance to his school we before we headed out to lunch to celebrate his "first day"; he was in the mood for a goofy photo shoot.  That might have had something to do with the cupcakes everybody shared to celebrate a classmate's birthday...

Despite our excitement, we're going to need His grace for this new season!  Probably me more than any of us, as mornings will suddenly look very different from my usual relaxed quiet times and leisurely breakfasts.  I plan to drive Lincoln to school instead of putting him on the bus, so the clock will become very important :0)