Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {Big Kids}


We live out in the country. When leaving our house, you drive on a gravel (well, the county calls it gravel, I call it dirt) road for a while, then drive down several small, twisty, narrow country roads to go anywhere. When we first moved here, I drove quite slowly down those roads, being very careful of the turns coming up and watching closely for any wildlife that might jump in front of us at any given moment. I noticed the other day, that I don't drive the same now as I did when we moved here. I drive faster than before. I still watch for animals, but probably not as carefully. I have become complacent.

I realized that complacency is not only a problem in my driving. It is a problem in my life overall.

When we lived in the metroplex, we attended a large church. It took several years and a lot of effort before we started developing relationships with anyone who wasn't very close to the same age as we were. Yes, the church really was that big...the membership there is close to the same size as the town we now live near. With such a large church, we had plenty of friends to hang out with, to eat with, to do life with. We didn't have to look outside our church to have relationships...and for the most part we didn't. We were close to our former next door neighbors...but all the rest of our "non-church" relationships...from our neighborhood, work and biking, were superficial. We said hi, we checked in, and would help out if needed, but we didn't really know each other. We saved the really knowing each other for a very few of our "church" relationships. We were complacent.

Now we live somewhere much smaller. Our church is much smaller. We have to seek relationships outside the church, as well as within, in order to meet our needs for relationships with others. And that's the way it should be. We cannot be ambassadors, we cannot be missionaries, we cannot show God's love to those who don't know it, if we never develop relationships outside the walls of our church building.

I started writing this nearly three months ago and just came back to it today, planning to finish it up in gratitude to God for bringing us to a place where we were forced out of our complacency. We have met some wonderful people and I have started developing new friendships at our church. I have been able to watch my daughter blossom as she becomes confident in the smaller size of our new church. I am still grateful.

But I also realized that I am becoming complacent again. No, I don't know very many people in our new town, and the ones I do know are all at our church, just like before. Yes, I feel lonely a lot. Yes, I want to meet more people, to make more friends, to feel like this is where I belong. But I am starting to get used to seeing only my family for days on end. I am starting to get used to the phone being silent. I am starting to get used to feeling lonely, and brushing it aside, saying that it doesn't matter.

I say that things will be better once our house is built and we move to town because then we will have neighbors close by and it will be easier to meet people and make new friends. But I wonder if that is really true. Maybe it is. Maybe things will be better. Maybe they won't, because maybe it's really about me and not about my circumstances at all.

I realize now that this is something that I need to change. I hope that in recognizing it, I can fight against my tendency toward complacency.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We have had some new visitors at our house. Would you like to meet them? Here they are:

yes, you can now add a flock of 17 turkeys to the list of deer, raccoons, skunks, opossums, snakes, a large dark cat or cat-like animal, roadrunners and geese that we have seen at our house and/or on the road to our house.
So, who else wants to come and visit/ :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Freedom and Familiarity

Since we live in the country and have a yard the size of a park, that I can see from the living room window, the door and the kitchen window, we gave Samantha the freedom of being able to play outside without us...provided that she stayed between our house and Charles and Ginger's house and did not go into the woods at all. For a long time...several months, she followed that rule exactly. The she got familiar with her freedom and the environment and she started pushing the limits. In late January, she went to the edge of the woods at the far end of the field near our house. She was nowhere close to where she was supposed to be...and I wonder what would have happened if I had not come out to check on her exactly when I did. Would she have gone into the woods alone? Would she have gotten lost? She was grounded for a week from being allowed to be outside alone. Then with the cold weather and other things going on, it was actually two weeks before I gave her the chance to follow the rules again.

She and I were playing on the trampoline on a Sunday afternoon and as we played, we talked about her needing to follow the rules and to stay safe while she is outside. She said all the right things. She told me where she is allowed to play when she is by herself. She told me that she is not allowed to go into the trees. She said that she has to stay in front of our house, and that she must be where I can see her. So while I went inside to get ready for us to leave for our small group, I let her stay on the porch and play.

I came back out 5 minutes later and could not see her. I called her and she did not answer. I called louder. Still no answer. I yelled as loud as I could...and heard only silence. I walked to the end of the shop and looked at the field that she went to last time. I did not see her and I yelled her name. Nothing.

I began to get worried. I went back into the house and looked to see if she had come in while my back was turned. She was not there. I went back outside and felt myself starting to panic. I started to run to look for her and as I got around the back of our house, I saw her. Running along the back of the house, on the edge of a fairly steep slope that goes down into the woods.

I called her name, all three names, actually, and she turned around and immediately said "I'm sorry for hiding from you, Mommy," as she started walking toward me. I scooped her up and started scolding her. I told her that it is dangerous for her to be where I can't see her and that it is dangerous for her to go into the woods by herself because she could get lost and we wouldn't be able to find her.

By this time, we had reached the front of the house and Brent had come outside, too. I gave Samantha to him and told him that I couldn't deal with it right now. I took Jacob from him and went inside to finish getting ready to go. As soon as the door closed, I burst into sobbing. That's me, calm during a crisis, but as soon as it is over, I lose it.

Brent stayed outside with Samantha and talked to her for a long time about the dangers of going into the woods alone and of not staying in front of the house when she is alone. It did make a difference to her, because she had a nightmare that night about a snake biting her, but we learned later that it still wasn't enough to change her behavior.

She was grounded from being allowed to be outside by herself at all...until further notice. We told her that she will have to show that she can be trusted to follow directions.

So at the end of February, I decided to allow her a little freedom again, and to see if she would stay within the limits that were set. We were at Mom and Dad's office starting to work on the plans for our new house, and I let Samantha play outside alone. I got her tricycle out, told her that she had to stay on the road, and showed her the limits of where she could go on the road. Then I went back inside and watched her out the window.

Within 5 minutes, she went past her boundaries. I went outside and called her to come inside, and she ran away. Yes, she got in big trouble for that one. And she had to come back inside because she didn't follow the guideline we had set. She has not been allowed outside alone since then. Which really makes her unhappy, because she can no longer go outside while Jacob is taking a nap since I need to be inside to listen for him. She asks to go out and I tell her no, with a reminder that because she didn't follow the rules, I can't trust her to be outside alone right now. I tell her that she must show me that she can be trusted if she wants to earn this privilege back.

I have a hard time figuring out how to understand this behavior , how to handle to train the defiance out of her. You see I am a rule follower. Even when I think the rule is ridiculous, even when I grumble about the rule, I follow it. Because it is, in fact, a rule and it completely goes against my nature to not follow a rule. Not because I am any "better" than anyone else, but because that is just how I am made. (I read once that about 25% of people are rule followers, the remaining 75% are those who push against the rules, so odds are, I will also be fighting this battle with Jacob in a few months to years.)

I thought some more and realized that she became familiar with the freedom she was given and lost respect for the boundaries that came with the freedom. She began to act as if her freedom was absolute.

As I think more about it, though, I realize that this is not only a problem for my child. Even with my rule following personality, I rebel against rules in my heart quite frequently...I just follow them outwardly. And really, is that much better?

I wonder if it always happens, that once a person is given freedoms, that person becomes familiar with those freedoms and then loses respect for them? We as a society have definitely done that our freedoms. For example, we have the privilege of voting for who will govern us, yet we willingly give away that freedom when we don't educate ourselves as to the candidates, and we don't even go to vote at all. We do not follow through with the responsibility that comes with the freedom.

As a Church we have freedom in Christ. But what do we do with it? We go to a congregation of other people who believe just like us. We socialize with people who believe just like us. We judge people who don't believe just like us. We don't get to know people who don't believe just like us because they will "probably be a negative influence." And we certainly don't form relationships with people who don't even believe in God, or who are angry with God, because those relationships might be "harmful" to us in our spiritual journey.

We usually neglect the responsibility we have to spread the good news of our freedom in Christ. We have become complacent in who and where we are and neglect the responsibility to grow, and love and share.

Those people who don't believe like us may have something to teach us. Those people who are angry with God may need to be shown his love. Those people who don't believe in him need to meet him, and they will only do that when they are shown who he is through being a part of the lives of believers. Not with expectations attached, but simply by being loved by Jesus followers just as Jesus would have loved them. And by seeing Jesus in action in our lives. We need to put ourselves in places where we can be used by God.

That is the responsibility that we are given along with the freedom of knowing that we will be with Jesus forever. When push comes to shove, are those of us who have had it easy going to throw away our freedom because we fail to follow through with our responsibility? Or will we suddenly rise to the occasion and find obedience and more freedom?

"Live as free men, but do not use your freedome as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." 1 Peter 2:16-17

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." James 1:25

"Speak and act as those hwo are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement!" James 2:12-13

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Vocabulary

Samantha has learned a new word thanks to the Williams family and Ross King. You see, for Christmas from Emma and Amelia, she received a CD titled "Rhymes with Orange" no wait...that's what she calls is actually called "Words that Rhyme with Orange" and it is a great CD. It is full of energetic songs and Samantha loves dancing and singing along. She requests this CD more than any other. And I really like it, too.

The first time we listened to it, Brent and I decided that Ross King must have been hiding in our house, observing our life, in order to write the lyrics for many of his songs. So many of the songs seem to fit Samantha, but one fits her particularly well. Which song you ask? It is "If I Wasn't So Cute" You can see Samantha singing part of it here.

In case you can't understand her, she is singing "If I wasn't so cute, I'd drive mama crazy. I know she loves me but sometimes I can be a toot. Look at my face, it saves me. I'd drive her crazy if I wasn't so cute."
The actual words are the same other than "Look at my face, it's the only thing that saves me."

The new vocabulary comes in later in the CD, though. She has learned to say booger. Yes, that's right, there is a song about a booger on this CD. And Samantha eagerly and excitedly shouts out "It's booger!" when we get to that song on the CD. So now we get to hear talk of boogers and songs about a booger when she didn't even know the word until just a couple months ago. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

(OK, but seriously, we love the CD, and even the booger song is pretty cute.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

15 months

Jacob is 15 months old today! I have no idea how much he weighs or how tall he is...we don't have his well baby check until the 22nd. He has 13 teeth and is working on one more...although he has been working on it for several weeks now, so who knows when it will actually come in.

He has not started saying any new words or signs, but he did say his first sentence on 3/1/11. It was "Up, Mama," when he asked me to put him up on the couch with me. Yes, that is typical and unsurprising for him. Everything is "Up!" In fact, "up" is his all purpose word. It means "up", "down", "I want that" and a host of other things depending on the circumstances.

That "up" would be his all-purpose word is perfectly in keeping with his personality, because he climbs all over the place. He climbs onto the couch and then tries to climb over the back of the couch...but I am usually quick enough to keep him from doing that. I am not, however, quick enough to keep him from climbing up onto the table. He also gets into the pantry and tries to eat uncooked pasta from the box. This boy requires CONSTANT supervision...and even when I think I am providing that, he still manages to get into things.

He is still not walking. He is capable; he just hasn't decided to do it yet. He did take 4 steps, several times on 3/6/10, while we were visiting Aunt Ginger, but he refused to give a repeat performance for Brent. He has done 4 steps several times since then, but mostly would rather just crawl. He cruises all over the place and walks around holding onto only one of my fingers, but he just isn't ready to give up the security of having something to hold onto. This actually surprises me, because he doesn't seem to mind risks with anything else!

I finally found a pair of shoes for him...his first pair. They are 6 extra wide. No wonder I couldn't find any at Walmart or Target to fit him! We are fortunate, though that I was able to find a pair at the Stride Rite Outlet, because we were afraid that he would be like Brent was as a baby and we would have to get orthopedic shoes for him. Jacob doesn't mind wearing the shoes, but he won't even cruise while they are on. I guess it's because he is not accustomed to the weight of them yet.

This boy still eats and eats...I am continually amazed at the amount of food that goes into his little body. He is down to only nursing if he wakes in the middle of the night...and not even all the time then, and first thing in the morning. He does sometimes ask to nurse before his afternoon nap and at bedtime, by reaching for the boppy and then signing milk. I just tell him "Here is your milk" as I hand him his cup, and he does drink it...and when I think ahead, I hide the boppy before we sit down. Then he doesn't even ask for anything other than his cup.

He loves reading and will bring books to me to read to him all day long. He would never leave my lap if I would keep reading to him, I think. He will sometimes just sit on the floor or in a chair and look at the books himself, but his preference is definitely for someone else to be reading to him.
Don't you just love this face?...
It makes me want to laugh.
He is still taking two naps most days, but occasionally, his morning nap is so long that he doesn't take an afternoon nap. I think he will be going to one nap soon. Then I will need to work on moving his nap to later in the morning...and hopefully eventually to early afternoon because when he wakes up at 1pm, there is just a little too much time between his waking up and bedtime and he tends to get a bit grouchy.

Jacob is very easy going. Samantha has had some times lately that she has not been very kind to him...refusing to let him play with toys, blocking him from going where he wants and even pushing or hitting on occasion. But when she cries because she has gotten in trouble for those behaviors, he comes over to her, and tries to snuggle her and give her kisses. And he always smiles at her and gives her kisses when she apologizes for being mean.
He gave himself a mohawk, by rubbing his food all into his hair. Yes, this is a somewhat common occurrence.

Jacob is such a joy to us and we are grateful for the gift of him in our lives.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Samantha has been driving me crazy lately. She has been SOOOOOO sneaky about all kinds of things. At first it was taking things off my nightstand or off Brent's nightstand, like chapstick or a flashlight or whatever else caught her eye. So I made our room off limits unless I am with her.

But in the last few days, the sneakiness has escalated dramatically, and for the most part, it now involves food. I could understand why she snuck into her room and hid with the bag of candy...I told her that she couldn't have it until after lunch, so she knew she wasn't supposed to be doing that. But why would she sneak her PB and J sandwich off the table while my back was turned and hide behind a chair to eat it? Not once, but twice! I told her that she could eat it, she just needed to be at the table. And even after that, she still snuck off with it.

I don't really think it is about the food at all...especially since we say yes to her anytime she wants to eat (she's too skinny and doesn't eat enough to not say yes to her wanting to eat!) So, since I don't think it's actually about the food, that must mean that it's completely about the sneakiness and secretiveness. And that worries me. Is this something that is just a normal 3 year old thing, or is this an indication of her personality? And how on earth do you train this out of a child?!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pictures of the Week

What a sweet sight for me to find when I walked into the living room after washing the 2 children sitting sweetly together in the chair reading their books.
And then Jacob decided to see what his book tastes like.
And Samantha, being the (bossy) big sister that she is, took the book from out of his mouth and told him "No, no Jacob. We don't eat books!"

I finally made a tutu for Samantha. I have had the tulle for months, and found the directions for a no sew tutu, but never got around to getting it done, so this week, I did. I had NO IDEA it would be so big and fluffy! How did 2 little rolls of tulle turn into so much volume?! And where on earth are we supposed to store this thing now? Maybe I should stick to sewn, gathered tutus, I think I might have a little more control over the size then. At least Samantha LOVES her new "princess skirt" :)

And Jacob LOVES him some spaghetti. I put a bunch on his plate, turned around and it was GONE! Brent figured he had dropped it all into his bib, but no, he just inhaled it...and wanted more.

Apparently it is not safe to even take a bathroom break with this 1 year old in the house. He managed to find a crayon, eat part of it and spread wet, blue crayon goo all around the house in 2 minutes or less.

And of course, Samantha, who spreads food and everything she finds all over her body, spread the wet, blue crayon goo on her body, too. (You can just barely see a little on the lower part of her right cheek in this picture.)