Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some things I've been wondering about lately...

*How come the more thought-full I become, the less "thoughtful" I am? That thoughtful word is strange for me. If I truly want to be thoughtful and considerate of those around me, I have to not have too many other thoughts in my head. The more I'm thinking about, the more irritable I get with people around me.

*How come I used to think getting my eyebrows waxed was so excruciating? Now when I go to the salon to have them done, I feel like it's a mini-vacation. I get to lie down, sometimes there's soft music playing, no one is asking me to do anything for them during the whole 10 minutes... Last time I almost fell asleep. I certainly don't even notice the waxing part. Maybe after going through childbirth all other pain is relative.

*And speaking of eyebrows, I heard someone say the other day that the more you pluck the same hairs, the less grows back because you build up scar tissue underneath the skin. So, is the same principle at work when we "pluck" the same ol' nasty sins out of our lives over and over again? Can I be building up scar tissue so less comes back? I sure hope so!

*And how long has it been since the soap dispenser in the bathroom was dumped out by someone and refilled with just water? Exactly how long have the kids been washing their hands with that??

Now I need to get all these thoughts out of my head, so I can start being a little more thoughtful!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

George and Dennis

I am becoming increasingly convinced that Rayna is the live version of Curious George, and Colsen is Dennis the Menace incarnate. And the 2 of them together result in Bad Ideas Squared.

(See the resemblances??)

Inevitably, when I sit down to feed Miles, or am in some other way occupied, Colsen and Rayna will silently melt away into the nether regions of our house, so I find myself yelling "Colsen and Rayna, what are you guys doing??" every few minutes throughout the day. (I think I'm starting to yell it in my sleep now)

And sometimes I'll hear back, "Nothing!" which is not good, and sometimes I'll get no response at all, which is downright terrible. And then there are the classic responses like, "Colsen is brushing his teeth with your special lotion!" or "We just got glue everywhere!"

A few days ago, George and Dennis were upstairs while I was downstairs feeding Miles, and Dennis/Colsen yelled down to me in his I-think-something's-wrong-here voice:

C: Rayna gave me that!
Me: What??
C: Rayna gave me that.
Me: She gave you what?
Me: What's that?
Me (finally realizing defeat on this front): Rayna, what did you give him?
R: I gave him THIS!

Not only do these two have mischievousness mastered, but they are becoming experts in the art of being elusive.

So Rayna is Curious George, Colsen is Dennis the Menace, and Strider is Calvin, (as in Calvin and Hobbes, but that is a whole other set of tales). I wonder who Miles will turn out to be....?
Life is definitely colorful around here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Last week's Latin phrase that the kids learned for school was "Fuit homo missus a Deo" (which means, "There was man sent from God"). Colsen has been running around saying that phrase now, which was fine... But then today he came up to where Rayna and I were sitting and pointed at me, saying "Missus a Deo" which I thought was funny -- like Mrs. Adayo. Then he pointed at Rayna and said she was "Fuit homo." And that's what he keeps calling us, Mrs. Adayo and Fuit Homo. I just hope he doesn't start calling kids on the playground these names...

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I had to ask myself: If I'm just now finally getting around to cleaning up a half-empty wine glass from last night, and it's 4:00 in the afternoon, does that mean it's been a really good weekend? Or does it just mean we're being a little too irresponsible and playing too much? Either way, we're thankful for the fun times.

The highlights...
On Friday we had some good play time with our friends the Dickmanns at a park nearby. The kids ran around and played while we adults had some good conversation time. Then we all went for a short hike through the woods, which we always love.

Zeyna and Rayna -- sounds like the start of a nursery rhyme.

Friday night I was able to go out for awhile. Over 50 of the women from our church went on a retreat this weekend*, but for those of us who could not go, Sandy hosted an "Unretreat Girls Night Out" which turned out to be a lot of fun.

Saturday, we all bounded out of bed to head our separate directions (which is why the dishes did not get done and the wine glasses were not picked up!). Pete took Strider and Rayna uptown to meet Poppa and see the Harlem Globetrotters play. Before the game, the sports league Strider plays in arranged to have the kids get a chance to play on the court, etc., so they loved that. Plus there was both a trolley ride and a train ride, and lunch at a restaurant, thrown into the mix, so all in all they all had a great day.

Meanwhile, I took the 2 younger boys to our neighborhood's annual Kite Day. Colsen had fun making a couple of crafts and seeing all the kites -- although he may have had just as much fun seeing the men with their lawnmowers in the yards we passed on the way walking to and from the field. Then the 3 of us packed up and went to run some errands. It makes me smile to think about how I would have dreaded taking 2 kids to the store with me when I just had Strider and Rayna. But now it seems much simpler-- and even enjoyable. I love the feeling of growing into motherhood. I think I've been a very late bloomer in this arena, but slowly and surely I'm feeling a little more capable as the years go by. :)

Saturday night (just minutes after we finally got the house and kitchen picked up) Katie and Graham came over, bringing Shepherd's Pie for dinner, and a couple games to play afterwards. It was a very fun evening with them... no pictures to show, though.

I was very thankful for a Day of Rest today... though I'm not sure how I should feel about the fact that I needed a break after so much playing!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just like Daddy

When I walked into the room, I was greeted with, "Wook Mom! We're checking our computers together!"

Yes, that's a calculator that he found somewhere to repurpose as a computer. Or maybe it's the new model of Apple's laptop.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some recent activities

I heard about some new group golf lessons being offered for kids at a course nearby our house, and since they were quite inexpensive, we decided to sign Strider up. It's turned out to be a great deal -- no one else signed up in this timeslot, so Strider is now essentially receiving private lessons -- it's just him and his teacher! The teacher has been wonderful, -- he apparently played in the European version of the PGA, and has been a pro for years. And to make the deal even sweeter, the instructor told Pete this week that if he wanted to start bringing his clubs, he can join the lesson as well! (As Pete says, "I found out that everything I've been doing all these years is wrong, so it will be good to get real lessons.") Two-for-one -- love that!

Rayna, meanwhile, has been going to a Praise Dance class that a couple of teenagers have been offering. It's been such a blessing for her -- she LOVES it.

And Colsen has been taking his love of TOOLS to the next level....And as for Miles.... he spent last week enjoying one of his new favorite activities: being held by Gee-Gee. Pete's mom visited for the week and it was so great to have a 3rd adult around... those extra 2 hands make all the difference!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy 5 weeks, little Kilo!

I've decided that Miles is just too little for his name at this point. In fact, he's not even big enough to be called Mile. Really, he's not even as big as a kilometer, but if I shorten it to Kilo, it feels just about right. So that's what I'm calling him these days.

Having said that, though, it seems like he's getting so big already! We're still struggling to capture his smiles on camera, but here are a couple half-way ones...

Our favorites, however, are when he smiles with his whole mouth wide open... like this:

It's hard to believe he's only been here 5 weeks... but as I type this he's reminding me loud and clear that he IS here and WOULD like some attention, please. Robert Frost's lines* "And Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep" run through my head each evening right about this time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strider's first baby shower

This picture cracks us up... Strider's class, which happens to be all boys, having a very girly baby shower for their teacher, who is expecting a girl!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Further thoughts about wanting to be in control

"A mix of presumption and faith proudces a personal instability that surfaces in crises and major life transitions... Presumptive faith must have positive circumstances and feelings of success based on visible accomplishments. So when God wants to reach us, he must take away those favorable circumstances and accomplishments. He hits hard at our false trusts... Like the orphan we cry, 'I am abandoned' when in fact God's grace is pursuing us ever more intensely... [In sum,] presumptive self-trust prevails [in so many lives]. You can detect this attitude in yourself by your response to life when it goes out of control. If you handle it by blaming others, refusing to learn from God, becoming defensive and angry, you have the self-trust of an orphan, not the faith of a son or daughter." -- Rose M. Miller, From Fear to Freedom.

A rat who has no control over life: an autobiography?

Last week I read an article in Newsweek about stress, and the author referenced a classic scientific study that has been done with rats. Knowing that exercise is good for rats, as it is for humans, they yoked 2 rats together on a running wheel. One rat could exercise whenever he wanted, and his brain “bloomed with new cells.” The second rat, though, was at the mercy of the first one and was forced to run whenever the first one did. His brain actually lost brain cells, and the conclusion is that even though exercise is good for both rats, the second one couldn’t perceive it as the healthy workout that it was, simply because he had no control over it.

This really distressed me, because my brain was screaming “I am that 2nd rat!” (I won’t go so far as to say that God is the rat in control, but seeing myself as a rat is an image my brain can definitely wrap around.) Much as I grasp for control in all things, I will never fully have it. And knowing that there are times I will be forced to “run” when I don’t want to, and won't be allowed to when I do want to, does really stress me out at times.

So what is the solution? I really cannot afford to lose any more brain cells! If getting off the running wheel is not an option, and being in control is not possible, must I always be stressed?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last few days. One conclusion that is starting to form in my brain is that when God causes me to run when I don’t want to, it’s not about making me more comfortable. This, however, IS usually my goal – to stay comfortable. And to maintain my self-delusional sense of control. But what if I could surrender these goals completely and just enjoy the ride? (Because we know the good news is that we don’t actually have to do the running by ourselves. He even gives us eagle’s wings when we need them! And this is one way the “rat” analogy breaks down… otherwise we have some very funny looking winged rats.)

I think that I want to control my own workout time – as if I know how much and what kind of exercise I need. But for God, it’s not about checking off the box that the exercise got done. It’s about teaching me flexibility, humility, obedience, wisdom… ultimately a character that is much more familiar to Him.

This morning while Strider and Rayna were at their classes, I prepared to take Colsen and Miles for a walk. A number of things had to fall into place and get done before we were finally ready to go, as all moms understand. J Eventually we got out the door, though, and I had it in my mind that we would head into the town center. Before we got to the end of the driveway, Miles started to wail. The screams got louder and louder as we went, and finally a couple of blocks later, I realized he wasn’t going to enjoy this walk. I was forced to turn around and head back home to get him a pacifier, and realized my journey was going to have to be in a much smaller circular shape than I had wanted. In my earlier parenting days (such as up until yesterday… and probably even as late as tomorrow) I would have been very frustrated by this change in plans, but today, since I had been mulling over the Lesson of the Rats, I tried to see what I should be learning from this. It didn’t take long to realize that our walk destination was really not all that important, and if this interruption and reminder of my lack of control could teach me even a small bit of patience and surrender, then I was immeasurably better off than any walk could have made me.

The other piece of good news I have been reminded of is that God does not see me as a rat. I am His beloved child and He has wonderful things for me, though sometimes it may just look like running on a wheel from my point of view. A verse that has stuck in my head recently is what Peter said to the people who were suffering: “These [trials] have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold… may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” What a mindshift that is to me. I am praying that that becomes my goal more and more. It’s good to know the running we’re doing has a destination – it’s not just a goofy wheel!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Break, '09

Remember when the words "Spring Break" used to be followed up with "Woo-Hoo!"? I have distant recollections of that.

These days our Spring Breaks are slightly different, or really, dramatically different. No beaches, no sleeping in, no staying up all night for fun... Although I did get to clean up sand after my kids dragged it in from the backyard, we did get to be up all hours of the night, thanks to our small children, and we did get to enjoy some beautiful weather... Still, not quite the same as it used to be.

There were some fun highlights this past week, though! Each of the kids got to have special times with just Daddy.... Rayna went to the park to do some hiking, Strider went to the mountains to ski for a day, and Colsen went to Story Time at the library. Colsen has also been displaying a love for all things that involve tools and "fixin' stuff" so he got to do some of that as well. Miles stayed home and worked on his first big trick: smiling. (Unfortunately, we don't have any good pictures of that yet, but he's been making us all squeal with delight.)

And I got to have some "outings" as well... I found great joy in taking a trip to Wal-Mart all by myself, walking to the Town Center to have my eyebrows waxed, and spending a couple hours with some friends at Panera. It was nice to get out a few times! Oh -- and we also spent a day at my parents' house -- which was a treat, especially the food!

So, all in all, a good Spring Break -- and we didn't even need to deal with sticky suntan lotion.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


When I put Miles in this sling the other day, Rayna immediately said she needed one for her doll, Jelly. And as we were fashioning one for her out of a pillowcase, Colsen declared he needed one for his dog, Cos-Cos. (Where do the kids get these names?) Strider was watching all the proceedings so I asked him if he was going to want one, too.

"Mom!" he said, in obvious disdain, "I'm a BOY!" So he didn't want one apparently, but he did take this picture for us.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Looks likes someone is ready for summer!

On Saturday, Strider and Rayna were playing upstairs.... and then came down looking like this.
Unfortunately, this was the scene in our backyard this morning:
Apparently, this is the first time our area has seen snow accumulate in March in a very long time. The average normal high temperature by now is supposed to be 60*.... Oh well. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, WALSWIB (the 2nd "W" stands for "winter" here)

The good news is the forecast is saying it might be 70 by this weekend... so maybe the kids will get to pull out their summer outfits soon after all...