Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You should see the other guy

Safety is our priority. It has been 4 days since our last accident.

Had we made it to May 20, we could have celebrated one full year injury-free. That doesn't happen often around here. It would have been a big deal. I might have thrown a party.

Our record is 514 days injury free. But we only had one kid back in those days. And Caleb was born a week later. And our safety record has pretty much gone downhill from there.

So instead of a party, we're icing Caleb's face after a game of Tickle Monster gone awry. When a 5-year-old's nose meets the side rail on his sister's bed, the bed wins.

Caleb's embracing his injury like a champ, as usual. Paper cuts and skinned knees can stop him in his tracks, but broken bones and a potentially broken nose leave him unaffected. This kid is tough as nails when it comes to major injuries. Which is good, considering how often we seem to deal with these types of incidents.
A friend asked me once if the children's ER has offered me a frequent shopper's card yet.

Many truths are spoken in jest.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is risen!

Easter kind of snuck up on me this year. That seems to happen a lot with holidays around here.

There were no Easter baskets or egg hunts. Most of us wore the same Easter finery we wore last year. And the year before. (These shirts must have been on sale.) It was a low key day, but a good one.

There were "Easter pancakes"--with sprinkles, because that's how we mark holidays around here. And there was a morning of awesome worship, and lots of kids competing to see who could yell "He is risen!" most loudly.

I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A worthy cause

We have only a few really big goals as parents. There are lots of little daily goals, a number of overall academic goals, and some personal goals that we'd love to see accomplished or achieved in our kids' lives.

But then there are the Big Ones. We want our kids to be kind, concerned with the welfare of others. We want them to serve and protect those less fortunate. We want them to be willing to give and give and give until it hurts sometimes, and know the blessing that comes from sharing what was never really ours to begin with. We want them to know Jesus, and serve Him, and love Him, and show His love to those around them.

These are Kingdom goals. And they trump all the others.

So when a dear friend dedicates her life to helping others understand the value of all human life, and to training people in how to defend the cause of the unborn, we come alongside her. We put her family's picture up on the map, next to the friends ministering to families in Slovakia and planting churches in Southeast Asia, and we explain that she is a "missionary for the unborn" and the work she's doing is saving babies' lives.

Our kids understand babies. And they can't fathom why anyone would want to hurt them. So Abby was more than willing to fold letters and stamp envelopes to help the cause.

One day down the road I'll get to show her this picture. And I'll remind her, as my friend Megan did when she thanked us for our support, that "her service may save the lives of unborn babies."

These are the teaching moments I never want to miss as a parent. There's something so much bigger than ourselves and our kids going on in the world. Our goal is to help them see it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The baby

More from the Sleeping Baby files...

It doesn't get any cuter than this.

I don't care what you say. There is simply nothing more adorable or more peaceful than a baby snuggled up with his blanket.

Only mine isn't a baby anymore, is he? We've thought of Levi as the baby for so long, we totally forgot that he'll be 2 in just a few short months.

But you see, I don't care. He'll be 10 in a few short years, too, and I might not say it aloud so much then, but he'll always be my baby.

I have yet to figure out how to stop this time warp that my kids live in where they seem to grow up at such an accelerated rate. It was only yesterday that my oldest was born, and she'll be 7 this summer. I have no idea how that happened.

I can't seem to stop it, so I'll just go on enjoying every moment.

Especially the sleepy ones.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not tired. Not even a little.

It's 4:30 in the afternoon, and someone does not agree with me about naptime being over.

For the record, that's the same someone who continues to insist he no longer needs to nap. His reasons range from "I'm not tired" to "I need to play monster trucks" to "I left my worms outside and they'll miss me."

I recall his sister making a similar plea not too long ago.

But actions speak louder than words.

And he's not making a very compelling argument.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Back to the beach

When our evenings look like this, it's easy to forget the pile of dishes in the sink, the crumbs under the table, and the shift in bedtime that keeps my kids up an hour later.

Who wants to wash dishes and go to bed while the sun is still shining when there's all these sandcastles to be built?

Not this family. Not even a little bit.
Oh, spring, we've missed you so...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring cleaning

Now that the snow and cold weather seem to be (hopefully) a thing of the past, we're ready to welcome some spring weather. And there's work to be done around the homestead.

First order of business: Remove the debris caused by weakened tree limbs and severe wind storms. Levi was undaunted by limbs more than three times his size. For a one-year-old human, he makes a pretty good beast of burden.

Next up: Pick Mommy some flowers! (Which is really a much better motivator than "Hey, pull those weeds.") Caleb's always first in line when it comes to picking flowers for girls. And just like that, the weeds are gone.

And finally, no day in the yard is complete without the finding of some slimy creature. The kids were thrilled with their capture of this rare black salamander. Upon learning that it is a somewhat threatened species, they were happy to return it safely to its home. But not until after they had sufficiently poked and studied it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Random acts of kindness

There's so much opportunity for things to fall apart with so many young kids underfoot all day long. But sometimes, moments like these spring up, and I'm reminded that, along with the opportunity for trouble, there's also plenty of opportunity for bonding, and for relationships to be built among these four siblings.

Moments like these are the ones I treasure in the midst of the chaos. The ones I snap pictures of so I can remember and look back on a few minutes later, when someone takes someone's favorite crayon and pushes it down the floor vent and "now it's melting and it's ruined!" and someone hid a poopy diaper and we don't know where and a sippy cup of milk has gone missing and "it's okay because we'll find it when it starts to stink, Mommy."

Because before it all fell apart, the bigs had decided to start a reading club in the living room. Abby, noticing Levi wasn't joining in, picked a board book for him ("so he can't rip the pages like he usually does, right Mommy?") and plopped him down to read with them.

"This is my book that Aunt Cathy gave me when I was a baby," she explained to her littlest brother. "But since you're the baby now, it's okay, you can have it. Just don't rip it, okay?"

When they tired of reading, they scattered. Levi, confused as to where all his playmates went, wandered around the house, whining and looking sad and lost.

"Levi, come here," his biggest brother beckoned. "We can do this puzzle."

Floor puzzles don't really hold much interest for the one-year-old yet, so Levi tried to swipe his hat instead.

"No, Levi!" Caleb responded. "Don't touch my hat. You can't be a cowboy until you're four, and you can't have my hat. Uncle Matt will get you a real cowboy hat when you're bigger. But you can have my boots when I'm too big for them."

Later, Jacob wanted to color. And logically, so did Levi. I stood back as Jacob dug out paper for each of them from my formerly organized craft cabinet and laid them on the little table in the dining room.

Levi found a crayon that had not been sacrificed to a floor vent and proceeded to do what he must think the rest of us do with crayons and paper, which is to stab the paper repeatedly and make erratic scribbles everywhere. Jacob, meanwhile, continually reassured Levi about his artwork.

"Levi, that's a really cute purple puppy you're drawing," he would say, looking up only briefly from his own project. "I'll draw you a truck for you to color."

They will never know how much these little random acts of sibling kindness warm my heart.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yep, still there

February 2014
Levi (19 months) and Jacob (3 years)
Apparently, you're never too old, or too big, to climb up on the changing table and show your brother where his nose is.

September 2012
Levi (2 months) and Jacob (22 months)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Room to swim

Caleb learned an important lesson today.

Sharks need much larger tanks.

This one will be taking his next swim in the washing machine.
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