Monday, October 6, 2008

Just a note to capture joy of this precious moment

I am cleaning up from breakfast and getting ready to go for a walk with the boys. Both of my little ones are in the living room, standing at the couch, driving their little cars with motor noises.

I know this time will pass. I know these moments are but sand slipping through the hourglass. How can I hold onto them but in my heart? Even if I could take a thousand pictures a day, get every moment on video, or even do much better at it than I do - I still would be unable to keep this moment here. Even if I were the type to stay on top of my scrapbooks, journal every day, write down each new phrase - missing nothing - still the time would pass.

Oh, God, what lesson do you have for me in all of this? Psalm 25 comes to mind,
"Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. "

It is evident that there is a purpose for all of this, the passage of time, the brief stages of life, the joys and the sorrows. We are fools if we do not seek the wisdom in each moment, reflect on the beauty and pain we see and experience each day, and ponder in our hearts just what it means.

Thank you, God, for my precious boys. Thank you that I am at home with them - that I have that privelege, which others sometimes cannot, or will not, experience. Help me to capture these joys in the way that you have designed for me. Help me to live each and every moment to its fullest capacity, but to move on from those times that I do not.

God, keep these boys safe - spiritually, mentally, and physically. Give them long life and health that their lives may glorify you and that they may lead the lost and hurting home. Let them be a light in an ever darkening world that despises truth and flourishes in deception.

Most of all, God, thank you for this precious boys and their little motor noises.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Little Motor Noises

Today I heard a little car noise coming from the spot on the couch where both Caleb and Emet were playing. I looked up expecting to see Caleb driving along one of his cars, but there he sat reading quietly. It was baby Emet who had his little lips pursed and was making sort of a blowing, motor noise as he drove along the little dozer. What joy that brought to a Mama's heart.

Today was Emet's first real haircut. Now, Jason has clipped a strand or two (back when Emet went bald, but had two long horns of hair, one behind each ear). However, today he officially got all of his hair trimmed. He sat so well in the barber chair with his cape, just like Caleb did for his first. About 3/4 the way through though, he decided he was done, and I had to hold him. But, we did finish! My - how a haircut can change an appearance. It is as if he grew up months in a day.

In case I never remember to write about this separately, I have to mention Caleb's latest pronunciation. Each morning as he reads through his Bible by himself as I nurse baby Emet, I hear him combining many of his favorite stories and characters. King Herod has slipped a bit to the backburner, while "Jophes (yes - you read that correctly) and his broders", David and Goliath, and Jesus take center stage.

Also, Caleb's little spirit is sure starting to soar. Tonight at dinner, baby ate some of his pizza and Caleb said, "Good job, Baby Emet - We're proud of you!" When Emet crawls, Caleb says, "Good job crawling, Baby Emet!" Of course, that doesn't preclude him from ripping the toys away from Emet, or moving them all so he can't reach them the next minute, saying "No, you cannot play with those toys!" :-)

This job of being a Mama sure has its great rewards. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Small Shoes

It struck me tonight, as I saw Caleb's sandals laying where he had taken them off in the bathroom, that he is still small. Baby Emet is tiny by comparison, but to balace out my feelings of how quickly he is growing, it is still comforting to see his small, if not somewhat tiny shoes, laying next to my foot.

On to a humorous story. Tonight may have been the hardest I have laughed in a long time in the creation of a memory I won't soon forget. We went down to Portland Christian for Marky (Mark Hanson's) football game. Debi, Jeff, and Paul were there. At half time, I had to use the bathroom and thought to take Caleb along with me. As is typical at this current stage of potty training in public restrooms, I pulled Caleb's pants and pull-up down to about his knees and had him stand on the seat. Well, typically he leans forward and puts his hands on the wall, but this time he didn't. At about the time I realized this, in addition to realizing his pants weren't far enough down, he started peeing.......straight down into his pants / pullup! (They were perfectly dry before this.) So, I grabbed his thing (we'll call it a "thing" for purpose of this story), and pointed it out of his pants.....Uh oh, angle is still wrong since he isn't leaning forward and now we are spraying the wall! Back to the pants, back to the wall.

By now - I had started laughing so hard I was shaking and crying all at once. I no longer could see, for tears blurred my eyes. Caleb caught the laughter and began to laugh, and wiggle around too! Pee was flying everywhere like an out of control garden hose. It would stop and start. It would come like a furry and slow down, usually just behind my aim / finally getting it in the toilet, so we probably only got a teaspoon full or so in the toilet itself.

By the time he was finished, his jeans were soaked, my hands were soaked, diaper was wet, wall and toilet were covered, and we were dying of laughter. I cleaned up the best I could, but had to leave the rest of the mess for the janitor with the official bathroom floor mop. (It wasn't the cleanest to begin with.)

Baby Emet played happily at Grandma Marion's house, having full attention and toy play to himself, and got to go to bed at his normal bedtime. I think we all benefited from a Grandma's generous offer to watch him tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tiny Shuffles

Oh, our dear Emet. He is so adorable with his tiny little "gait" as he shuffles along the floor, little behind swinging from one side to the other as he moves forward inch by inch. Daily he is getting faster, though he is still very slow. However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are experiencing a stage that will last mere days.

He has had a tiny little smile lately, odd for him, for the alternative is typically a HUGE wide open mouth and happy face. However, this little half smile sometimes comes before a cry, and sometimes is just there as he sits contentedly. One of these days (doesn't life go like that), I'll get some pictures up here. I currently only have 633mb left on my hard drive though - not even enough space to offload my camera. I need to get some pictures transferred to an external drive...which I even currently have! Ah - time!

The full armour of God

Today, Caleb comes up to me as I'm preparing lunch with one of his Bible storybooks. He is currently still very entranced by the story of David and Goliath. (Often, you can find any one of his Bible books laying open to that story). Anyways, he comes up to me, showing me the picture of Goliath and asks about his armour. I began to explain to him what each piece was, and he was very interested. To illustrate the function of armour, I got out a wooden cutting board. First, I poked at his chest with my finger - just enough to cause a bit of discomfort. Then, I held up the "breastplate" and poked again. He could feel nothing. I told him that this was how armour worked to protect him. Ephesians 6 came rushing to mind, so I asked Caleb if he would like to read from Mama's Bible about the armour of God. "Oh, yes" - he says with wide, excited eyes." So, we went over to the couch and I read to him from Ephesians 6. I'm not sure it all sunk in, but he sure was excited about it. A few minutes later he asked me to tell the story again!

I told Jesus

Monday September 15, 2008

Caleb tells me this morning, as I’m nursing baby Emet. “Mama, last night, there was a giant in my room. I said, ‘Jesus. Give that Giant a spanking and move him to another place.’” I asked Caleb, “And did he?”. He said, “Yeah”.

And....did you know that a road grater is also called a ‘go-rater’?

I'm Crawling!!

Sunday September 14, 2008

Emet crawled for the first time yesterday. I looked over at him upstairs, on the floor next to my bed, and he was on hands and knees – one little leg shuffling right after the other with hands moving forward. Up until now, he has gotten one of his legs tangled and ended up just sitting back up. Then, last night, Jason was able to see his next attempt at crawling, which we got on video. Tentative little shuffles, but oh, how he seems proud of his new accomplishment. We are too!

Tonight, the boys had a very long and late afternoon nap, and were NOT ready to go to bed at their usual time of around 9pm. We put them both in bed around 9:30 and went in to fold laundry in our room, just across the hall upstairs. We were filled with joy to hear both of our boys laughing and laughing in their room, making each other giggle with their silly antics. This happens more and more often in the car, which is a delight as well.

A fun game I recently discovered is laying both boys belly up on the bed and tickling them. They laugh and giggle their little hearts out together, and their mama and papa burst with joy!

"Why Mama? And, so why?"

Wednesday September 10, 2008

As a parent, you often hear of kids asking “why” all of the time.....but I never really thought of it as an official “stage”. Well, one day about two weeks back, the day arrived. Caleb asked me why, regarding this or that.....and then, from that point on, he must have ask (and continues to ask, I might add) why countless times in a day. I will say that it has worn off a bit. He still says it, but perhaps not after every breath!

I think we are in one of those developmental stages in which I am standing back and looking at Caleb, seeing just how much of a little boy he is. There is no more baby. I look back to pictures from just last summer – one year ago. He wasn’t even really talking then – a word here or there maybe, but definitely not talking. The soft baby edges to his little face have melted away since then. I wonder what I’ll think seeing pictures from next summer. Perhaps there is more of a baby face than I recognize, which as it disappears more – I’ll see it even now. I mean, yes – he is indeed still a little boy – there is no question there, and I love every bit of him.

Caleb is just blossoming in his understanding of things. He will often find a book on the shelf that he hasn’t seen or read in a while, and not remembering the name, will come up to me and ask “Mama, what is this favorite story?”.....”I haven’t read this in a long time!” Sometimes phrases such as the last are just jumbled enough to know that he is still imitating what he hears from us, but doesn’t really get the order of all of the words.

He is fascinated with his Bible and his “Voshal” (Devotional – The One Year Bible Devotional for Preschoolers). Every night before bed, he and Papa read these together. It is very important that Papa explain what they will be reading the next day. Caleb insists. It is so sweet to hear Jason in his animated voice say the prayer and the scripture that Caleb repeats. I adore it. I should try to get that on video to capture those precious least a small piece of them, though they will forever be captured in my heart. Sometimes however, even if things are stored, it is nice to have something to prompt them, bringing them to the forefront of your mind. I hope to build a treasury of those memories to cherish in the years ahead. I don’t want to miss a minute. That is why I am so grateful that I can be home with my boys at this stage of life. So very grateful.

Every morning, he awakes and if I am still in bed, he crawls into Papa’s side of the bed and curls in with me until Baby Emet wakes to nurse. Then, he likes to climb into the blue rocking chair with this Bible and “Voshal” and read. He reads stories aloud sometimes, and I hear interesting bits and pieces of all of the stories coming together. His obsession with King Herod has lessoned a bit, and he has now moved on to wanting to hear the “The Giant Story” (David and Goliath) over and over and over – though he prefers I tell this one versus looking in the book. He also talks about lions all of the time and insists we give them a spanking. He calls them like he hears Papa do for Greta (and the lions). “Lion?! Come here! You need a panking” “S” is still hard for him, so there are so many sweet phrases that I have come to adore such as “Curry Piders” (Scary Spiders), “panking” (spanking), and the like.

I have been trying to work thankfulness into our daily discussions and lives. Of course we include this in prayer time, but I try to do it in the small things – For instance, our peach tree was finally done for the season. Caleb had seen a final, rotten peach that had fallen off the tree. I said, “Thank you, God for our peach tree – for the yummy peaches we had and the peach pies we will still enjoy.” Just following me saying that, Caleb says, “Thank you God for Baby Emet.” That, of course, made my heart melt!

Friday, September 12, 2008

He’s on the move!!!

Wednesday August 27, 2008

It’s funny how changes in life often emerge just slow enough that we have time to adjust to them, even if they are changes we have been dreading. I speak of Emet beginning to move around. There is that stage of babyhood where they are finally sitting....but not crawling or moving about that is such a welcome stage for mamas. When they are laying all of the time, they tire of it and want to be held or propped up constantly. When finally they can sit, you can park them in one spot with a small pile of toys, and there they remain. Then you look around your house and begin to dread the day when the babies will be crawling and getting into everything. Well, I noticed this week that we have arrived, ever so slowly – scoot by scoot. Emet isn’t yet crawling, but he can spin in all directions and go from sitting to tummy and somehow push himself backwards on the wood floors to where he wants to go. He loves to get into the magazine rack and eat and rip paper. Caleb has become Mama’s helper in that he can grab baby by the ankles and pull him backwards away from the object of concern if I am busy cooking or the like.

In the past few days, he has become quite the handful when changing his diaper, for the minute you put him on his back, he arches his back and turns with all of his might to end up on his tummy – reaching and grabbing for everything just out of reach. I remember this stage with Caleb. It is just close enough in memory to be odd to have Emet doing the same thing.

I thought today about Emet – being a second child. There are so many things that will inherently be different for both he and Caleb. With Caleb, each stage is new, and we sort of watch to see what happens, what works, etc. With Emet, it will be a comparison and a chance to try new things or relax a bit. Emet will always have a bigger brother to look up to. Caleb is the big brother, but I doubt he will ever remember not having a baby brother.

I feel so blessed to have our two boys. Caleb is growing up and changing so fast. Today he ran along side me, holding onto the stroller as I walked from 199th Street back to the car at Battle Ground Villiage....about ¾ mile. We stopped to pick a few flowers – he always picking one for me and one for himself. Once back at the car, he wants to take his little cars and play in the dirt under the sidewalk trees while I get the stroller unloaded, baby Emet in the car, and the stroller put away. Once I slam the back door, he has been gathering up his toys and proclaiming “Ok, Mama – let’s go!”. What a treasure to a Mama’s heart. His newest thing is to always want to put himself into his car seat (instead of us lifting him up into the seat, or down from it. He cannot yet buckle himself, but this week as Jason and I have forgotten to buckle him two times, he each time has said – “Mama (or Papa), Buckle me!!”

He also loves to make baby Emet laugh, and we will drive along and hear both boys giggling in the back seat. They also now do this more and more at home. Caleb is definitely going through the “mine” stage, and most often desires whatever Emet is playing with, but we are working on sharing.

When we are disciplining Caleb, one thing we do after he does his time out, is have him explain to us what he did. If he is still angry, he has to take the anger out of his heart, throw it on the floor, and stomp on it. Once he relents to do this, it is almost an instantaneous reaction that he is more lighthearted and happy. If he has taken something from, or hurt, baby Emet, he has to go look him in the eye and apologize. As you can imagine, it is hard to look baby in the eye, so it is hilarious to watch as Caleb goes and sometimes lays his face on the floor in weird positions just so he can look baby in the eye and say, “I’m sorry baby Emet I took your fire truck away.”

I can do it with myself!

Wednesday August 20, 2008

Oh how this Mama will be sad the day Caleb starts saying all of his “S”s. My favorite words these days are along the lines of : “nake” (snake), “neaky nake” (sneaky snake), “nack” (snack), “tuck” (stuck), “ticker” (sticker), “tarbucks” (Starbucks), etc. etc....the list goes on. And, oh what fury and rage of emotions our little boy is experiencing. He is getting a bit better able (read – a very small bit) to control them, but a loud and emphatic “I DO NOT want to go to time out”, etc. are frequent mini dramas these days. “DON’T tell me that!!!” he will exclaim.

One of Caleb’s latest interests, as of the past few days is to ask Papa or I if we want to play with him. “Will you play with me?” He will come up with a car and ask if we would like a car. Then he wants us to sit on the floor and play with him. It dawned on me today, that even though I stay home with the boys, I could pass their entire childhood without taking the time to sit down and play. There are always going to be various tasks – cleaning up the kitchen (a near constant), sorting newspapers and mail, laundry – the list goes on. Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes to make a memory, and to reassure him that his Mama cares. So – today, I sat down on the floor, in the midst of my big household mess, despite all of the chores that loomed over my head and played cars.

Yesterday, when I picked Caleb up from the nursery after Mom’s Group at the church building, the nursery worker told me how great Caleb had been. When one of the other kids was sad, Caleb came over and offered him a toy. Tears came to my eyes tonight as I recounted that story to Jason. I’m so proud of my little boy.

I have been thinking lately, as I gaze at our boys at night, long after they have fallen asleep, that our Caleb is a little boy, through and through. There just isn’t a drop of baby left in him. He still seems cute and little, though perhaps emerging beyond the toddler stage. However, as I watched Caleb playing on the couch, and Emet sitting on the floor, it dawned on me that when Emet is Caleb’s age, that time will not stand still. Caleb will no longer be that size. It will not be two little like size and age boys playing. Caleb will be much bigger, emerging from the shell of a small boy into a boy, then young man. Oh how time escapes us. It makes me glad that I took the time to play cars for five minutes on the floor. Caleb enjoyed it so much that he was planning our next time to play, which I explained would be after our walk, lunch, and chores. I’m sure I’ll enjoy that time for a lifetime.

Baby Emet is so close to crawling. He can turn a full circle while sitting, and leans far forward, often ending up, much to his chagrin, on his tummy. He just hasn’t gotten that leg to kick back. Once he does – watch out Mama. He loves to rip into any paper, magazine, or book when he has the chance. Everything goes into his mouth. He still only has the two front, bottom teeth – but his top gums are swollen and he is drooling and chewing constantly, so I expect new teeth soon. For about the past week, his new little expression has been scrunching up his nose, as if he can’t see and is screwing up his face in attempt. That is just his little protest before he starts fussing. It’s funny how each child has such distinct things they do. It is a reminder of how much we are all individuals....created by God to be just who we are. I love you both, my dear boys!!!

Goodbye AJ

Wednesday August 14, 2008

Our boys experienced their first death this past week with the passing of our kitty, AJ – Apple Junior, we’re guessing on Wednesday August 6, the anniversary of Jason breaking his back in 2006. Obviously Emet probably won’t ever even remember AJ, though he had grabbed onto his hair a couple of times, but that pretty much summed up the interaction with our fluffy orange outdoor cat. Ironically, he was killed in the same way as his predecessor, Apple, on a busy road. I believe Apple was sitting in the middle of the road cleaning himself, while AJ was hunting the ditch and stuck his nose over.

Jason called me on a Thursday morning, August 6 and told me the news. He said to be thinking about how we would tell Caleb, our approach, etc. However, as Caleb had been sitting on my lap for the call, by the time we got off the phone he was asking “What happened?” and “Where’s AJ?” So much for time to think it over. I guess all of my life, I have told myself that pets go to heaven when they die. It seems like one of those things that is not addressed in the Bible (though animals supposedly don’t have souls like humans).....but my heart won’t allow me to believe that it is over when they pass away and that there is no hope of seeing them again. So, I jumped into the explanation of how AJ had been hit by a car and died. He wouldn’t be able to be with us anymore, but his soul was in heaven with Jesus. We would have to find a place to bury his little body. Caleb started panicking at first and crying...but he quickly calmed down as we started talking about heaven and being with Jesus. Since he knows about Jesus from his favorite song “Jesus loves me”, his Bible, many of the books we read, and prayers before each meal and at bedtime – I think he feels comfortable with AJ being with Jesus. One minute, I would think he grasped it, then he would say something to the effect of “Can we go and get AJ out of Jesus?” or “Sometimes when I’m in heaven with Jesus, we go in the ditch.” ?????? Oh boy – perhaps he hasn’t gotten it at all, I think.

Caleb is growing and changing right before my very eyes. He is such a little person these days, fully able to communicate thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Sometimes the words hold us up in understanding and make him frustrated when we don’t get it after the third or fourth time he explains, but overall – it is amazing. My favorite thing nowadays, is seeing him go to get one of his books or his Bible and sit down to read it out loud. Sometimes, if he doesn’t remember the story, he’ll come over and say, “What this book say, Mama?” Oh, how he grabs my heart. He is definitely progressing out of the worst of his “terrible two” stage, though he still has his share of time-outs and spankings. He is learning to take the anger out of his heart, by grabbing it – throwing it down on the ground, and stomping on it. However, often this takes a bit of coaxing!!! He also will come up with phrases like “You’re not in charge”, “You’re not the boss”, “I don’t love you!”.

Emet is full of glee and smiles, especially when being picked up. He opens his little mouth and presses it to yours in a giant big sloppy kiss! Sometimes you even get a hug (mostly when you get him up in the morning). What a little joy. He eats lots of finger foods and loves sitting in his high chair and being entertained by his big brother. His favorite thing is NOT riding in the stroller these days though. He does enjoy the cereal snack tray.

Baby Emet

Saturday July 5, 2008

Emet, you are sitting up so well – that I rarely if ever put a blanket behind you anymore, as of the last few days. Of course, Caleb occasionally comes up and pushes you over on purpose – but there is not much we can do about that until you are big enough to stand up for yourself! He, of course, gets into trouble and we pick you up to comfort you. You are full of joyful smiles and squeals. Some of your sounds make it sound as if you are saying “hi”. You enjoy feeding yourself cheerios. It is fun to watch you grab for one and put it into your mouth – with most of your fist!

Mama, You can play with me?

Saturday July 5, 2008

For how many years will I have the honor to be your number one friend? How many times will you ask me “Mama, you can play with me?” Caleb, you appear to be changing day by day. Each few days you are demonstrating a new grasp on your world, or if you have already had this grasp – you are now able to communicate it.

We are in Asotin, Washington on the Snake River at the mouth of Hells Canyon visiting your Aunt Julie and Uncle Corey Mullins and cousins Mickenzie (12) and Macy (7). You are having the time of your life. Each day, you get up and leave our cozy little guest house (w/o permission, of course) and head over to Aunt Julie’s house to begin your day of play with the girls. All day, you follow around Mickenzie or Macy – hand in hand as they lead you from coloring to playing with toys to swinging on the swing set. Hand in hand you go.

Today we played in the Snake River. You wore the girls’ pink butterfly life jacket, as there were no others and swam in your pj shorts, as we forgot to bring yours.....but that was just fine with you. You were too cold to get into the water and play with Papa, but after a couple of hours at the beach, you started to get more and more into the water as you played ball with everyone and showed us how you could splash.

You take us by the hand and say, “I can show you something”....and proceed to show us how you can swing by yourself on the airplane swing, or show us to the refrigerator to show us a popsicle, which you then say” I can have one? Yes? Ok”. J Tonight, after I laid baby Emet down to sleep in the guest house, I came out to hear you say, “Mama, You can play with me?” My heart melted. I said, “Sure, Caleb”. You led me to the swing set, where I started to push you on the airplane swing. You said, “No, don’t push me. You swing with me.” As I sat down, you said, “Mama, so – how are your tidbits”. (something I always ask Papa at the end of each work day, asking him for the highlights of his day...though I say “Do you have any tidbits?” Of course, we now always say, “So, how are your tidbits”. Who could resist?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Costco Samples - Here I come!

We have added another "sampler" to the Sunday Costco crowd. Today, baby Emet, who as of recently sits up in the cart seat verses his carseat carrier, ate his first Costco sample. Let's see - the first was a bit of 6 layer bean dip...the second 2 large chunks of tuna steak, broken into small bits, of course. The problem we encountered (and simultaneously remembered) is that at this age, babies don't understand when something is all gone....they whine and cry and fuss....until you have something else! He even ate small bits of pizza, a Sunday tradition for Caleb and Jason!...and apparently now Emet.

His big eyes focus on whatever anyone is eating and he tries to reach out for it. Amazing how these things develop so quickly. All I know - is our Costco membership just became even more of a value!

I Poopeded

We appear to be reaching another potty training developmental stage with Caleb. As is typical with little ones, Caleb has always gone into a quite spot to "do his deed". For the past few weeks, however, he has been saying, "Mama, I pooped'ed" - then we go and change his pants. (Of course, following a discussion about how next time he should tell Mama first and then he can go in the big boy potty, get a sticker on his ice cream coupon (he needs 5 to earn a baskin and robins' ice cream all his own), and work towards the day when he can wear "big boy underwear" like Papa and go to Sunday School. Lately, he has even been saying when he is "Pee'en" or "Peed".

The past three days, now however, have introduced a new and rather "messy" phase of this whole process. Caleb no longer likes to poop his diaper and continue wearing it. (Who can blame him?) So, after going down for his nap he plays out one of several scenerios.

1 - take off diaper, 2-poop and pee on carpet, 3 -"clean it up" putting diaper in pail and poop in toilet (yes - poop is everywhere at this point), 4 - wiping up with a burpee rag or other towell, and 5 - coming naked and covered in poop to get me.


1 - poop in diaper, 2 - take off (oops - poop drops on the floor, so we have to pick it up), 3 - put diaper in toilet along with poop, 4 - eat soap, then try to wash hands (tell Papa afterwards that 'eat soap not fun game'


Tonight, when I went up to check on you for the 3rd time (first needed Papa, then "dop dop" (blanket)...then water....then Papa), you told me "Mama - don't want to pee my bed". I asked you if you had to go potty and you said "yes" off came the clothes and the diaper - and yes you peed! I was so proud of you for telling me. We may be potty trained by 3 in time for Sunday School after all!!!!! I love you, Caleb! You are my big boy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

All About Emet

Poor little Emet. Your big brother is commanding so much attention these days as he prances his way through the "terrible and terrific twos" that you sort of get tacked onto the end of an update. Hence - this blog entry all your own!

Your smile lights up my world, and now that you are sitting all on your own - and tipping less and less, it is so fun to watch you sit on the floor with a couple of toys and play. Whenever we look at you though, you look up with your big, open mouth smile that brightens your whole face - and everyone elses too.

You are full of sign-song screams as you test your vocal chords and love to chew on anything and everything that comes near your mouth! Your little ankles and wrists rotate in circles as you eat, especially when you are Papa and I have been doing that for laughs when we are hungry.

Your little furrowed brow and concerned look calls to my heart, but you can easily turn it into a gleeful smile. We love you, dear baby boy!


This word pretty much describes my day today. In fact - I hestitate to create an entry at all, save for the sheer (post experience) humor of it all. Here goes.... short, it involved Caleb eating dog antibiotics (called poison control - he's ok), getting into the refrigerator numerous times and eating whatever he liked, spreading a bag of miracle grow around the yard, peeing his bed sans diaper (nap time), again taking off his diaper during his supposed nap and peeing and pooping on the floor - then trying to clean himself with a baby burp rag and dumping the poop into the toilet (think big smears everywhere), diaper pail, etc. (AAHAHAHHAHAHAHA - YUCK!!!), drinking my Starbucks mocha I had been saving (decaf - thank goodness), and throwing a HUGE tantrum at the Spaghetti Factory to sort of finalize the evening. (yes - everyone looked at him as my husband quickly ushered him outside)


Friday, June 27, 2008

You feel 'pecial?

Developmental phases seem to come in bursts. Caleb's latest began on Father's Day, nearly two weeks back. We had just returned from Port Orchard and were busy watering plants and bringing luggage and various traveling paraphernalia. Caleb comes into the house and says,
"Mama, I have to tell ya somethin' " What's that?" "I need a fish ba-ba (Fish shaped Omega-3 gummy vitamin)!!" Later that day, "Mama, I have an idea for ya!" "What's that?" I replied.
"Cafe" he says. "Cafe?" "Cafe Sip and Play!!" This is a cafe where, from time to time, I meet with other moms while Caleb plays in the play area. If he is a good boy, at the end of the time there, he gets a mini cupcake. And so it began....

Now, day after day - he comes up with more complex feelings, thoughts and emotions - thinking outside of the present. The other day he told me that his feelings were hurt. I asked him why and he said, "Little tiny dump truck is broken". (I had broken this in front of him as an object lesson weeks before, after he had time and time again disobeyed me and was destroying things. I heard it on the radio - apparently it did leave an impression. However, at the time, I thought it did nothing at all, for at the end of smashing his litte dump truck to pieces with a hammer, while he watched - he picked up the tire and drove it away - making truck noises!)

He also has associated feelings with his stuffed animals and will say things such as "Bunny bear saaaaaaad". When asked why, he will always come up with something.

My very favorite was a few days ago, when he came into the kitchen, having been outside with Papa. He had clutched in his tiny hand three dandilions. He shoves his fist at me and says, "I've got some flowers for ya, Mama." As I bent down to take them and give him a kiss and hug - he says with great big, woeful eyes..."Mama, you feel 'pecial?"

Yes, Caleb - I do feel special, in a way you may never understand until you have a baby of your own. Those three dandilions meant the world to me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mama, What that is it?

Over and over for the past few days, I have heard you ask, "Mama, What that is it?", and "Mama, You doing?", and "Where's Papa?" In explaining this to your Papa, I realized that somewhere in the past few weeks, you stopped saying "Papa, I go?" (meaning where is Papa, or whatever else you were seeking). Things just slip into obscurity, never to be revisited. Even if they are, it isn't the same. For instance, you used to say "Ba? Ba?" when you wanted a bite of something. Now, you just know how to ask, (typcially these days in the form of "Mama, need some fruit leather"). Papa started saying "Ba? Ba?" to you recently, and now you are doing it again....but is is a joke to you...not the way you do it. That stage has passed.

Emet, you are growing in leaps and bounds. The other day, I picked you up from your baby seat, which I had to pry off your bum, and it fell off. You are stretching out! You can hold your own rice cracker and chew on it, and love to kick your legs (both at once) every time you are laid down in bed. Boom, boom, boom goes the mattress! You are full of joyful giggles and wide, open smiles. My little baby is growing up! Papa cut your bangs the other day. He just couldn't stand them being long anymore. You look sweeter than ever. I looked at Caleb's 7 month pictures the other day, and it was like I was seeing the same baby - a very strange experience.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mine!!! and other such new concepts

I never realized that the stages of childhood development were so universal among children. Sure, we have all heard a preschooler in the midst of a toy battle yell out "mine!!!", but those of us in our first round of parenting might have mistaken that for a poorly behaved child that hasn't yet been taught to share.

Well, I guess it can be said that parenting is teaching me many things....and humility is one of them. Yesterday, as I reached out for something Caleb had (I believe it was my water), he jerks it away from me and firmly says, "Mine!!!". I believe I may have heard this 100 times since that late afternoon exclamation regarding various things from toys and food to anything he may have in his hand or sights. And, I guarantee you that we work on sharing, obedience, and all of those things an aspiring young parent hopes to impart.

I have noticed that these new developments tend to come in batches, so the next "first" we experienced was at bedtime last night. Jason had tucked Caleb into bed as usual and had left the room. Most of the time, Caleb will sing and talk for up to 1/2 hour until sleep finally overcomes him. (Sometimes he is still tucked in as originally placed, other times we have to completely rearrange his bed to get him settled when we go in to check on him.) This night, however, Caleb started crying out "Papa, close the door!!! Close the door!!" in a state of sheer panic. Mind you, a couple of months back, we had to change from closing the door to leaving it partially open because he didn't like it closed, so we both sort of looked at each other strangely that he would request it to be closed. Then we heard him explaining why.... "Papa, Papa, close the door because [sob, sob] the lions will get my toes!!! Close the door...the lions will get my toes [whine, sob, sob]" Both Jason and I smiled as we realized we had just witnessed the awakening of his little imagination in combination with his ability to communicate his thoughts and fears.

Today, then, as if to cement his newfound communication skills, I was getting the boys set up in their stroller for our normal weekday walk up at the Battle Ground Villiage construction site. It was a sunny late morning, so I asked Caleb if he wanted his sun hat. He says to me, "No, I'm just fine". A few seconds went by and he then said, "Thank you, though". Now, of course, that Mama just worried about the "mine" stage is feeling very gratified indeed, though I believe our next "mine" incident was only a few minutes later!

In the past few days, we have witnessed a new dawn in the life and development of our little Caleb. He is an infant no longer, and barely even a toddler. He is quickly becoming a little boy. We are now trying very hard to savor the last few rays from the sunset we are simultaneously experiencing from days past.

"Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"No way, Jose"

They call them the terrible twos....whoever they are. As we entered this season of “2”, I thought to myself, “What a pessimistic view of such a precious stage! I mean, sure, it has its challenges, but terrible? No”. I still consider it a precious stage. However, I am beginning to understand the attachment to the word “terrible”. One of the American Heritage Dictionary definitions of this word is “Extreme in extent or degree. Intense.” Yup – that’s it. By this definition, we have the TERRIBLE twos!!!! The past couple of weeks have seen an elevation in sheer will and obstinacy. Caleb’s favorite time to act up is when I am on the phone. Here is an example. Jumping on the couch is forbidden. In fact, standing on the couch is forbidden. However, as soon as Caleb sees I am on the phone – bam. I look over and he is bouncing as high and buoyantly as possible on the couch. When I sign a firm “no” to him, giving him the evilest eye possible....he looks at me, smiles and bounces even higher. He knows that his actions will result in a time out at the very least, spanking and losing privilege at the most...but....he jumps on.

His favorite phrase, hence the title of this blog, is “No way, Jose”. He uses it in joy, in anger, and in sadness and frustration. Commonly in the middle of a tantrum, while crying and sucking in deep breaths you will here him say, over and over, “No way, Jose....No way, Jose”. It is as if he is rebelling even against himself.

I hear that all children test their boundaries in some way, shape, or form. Well, I’m pretty convinced that Caleb’s preferred method of boundary testing, is taking a running jump and leaping at the boundary, testing it again and again to make sure it is still there. The good news is, my parent’s say I was also a strong willed child. I’ve been there, done that. Jason also is a rock. The wall cannot be moved. He has encountered a formidable boundary indeed. (Woe to the parent who is not likewise strong willed!!!)

Meanwhile, boundary testing aside, Caleb is developing in leaps and bounds. It is amazing to think that just 7 months ago or so, he was only saying a few words. He is now talking in complete sentences and beginning to use logic in his thought processes and communications. For example, if you ask him if he wants a spanking or time out, he will say “nothing”. He is frequently pointing to things and saying “Mama (Papa), what’s this?”. A favorite game of his is to listen to your answer, then tell you “No!”. When then asked what it is, or what it is doing, he will create a rather humorous answer. He is beginning to get jokes and laugh heartily at silliness in books and stories, even anticipating consequences, saying “Uh oh”.

He is mimicking like crazy. Every word out of your mouth must be measured, for it will be coming out of his the next minute. But outside of instant replay, we are seeing evidence that our daily lives and decisions really do matter as he puts together the pieces of his life puzzle. For months now, Caleb has ended all of our family prayers by saying and enthusiastic "Amen". Very recently, in the past few weeks, he has begun charging into saying the prayer himself. It goes something like this: "Dear God, Watch over Papa. Keep his [him] safe. Let our lil light shine. In Jesus name, Amen." A few days back, when an ambulance went by our house, I remained quiet instead of asking Caleb if we should pray for the people. Sure enough, I hear him in the living room say "Dear God, Watch over the people. In Jesus name, Amen" I can't begin to describe the joy that brought to a mother's heart. My mom says that we used to do that when I was little. Honestly, I don't remember it. But I do know that I have always done it. I just didn't remember starting the habit. I hope it is the same for him.

Little Emet, meanwhile, grows brighter in countenance each day. Just looking at him produces a smile so happy and wide that one could burst with joy. His chubby cheeks, and pudgy legs and arms make for such a sweet picture. He is an incredibly happy baby, though going down for naps or being ignored for too long can definitely bring on some whining. I definitely understand all of what is said about second children not getting as much attention, especially when you have another toddler. Caleb is so demanding of my attention and Emet so patient that he often ends up stuck in his jumper or excer-saucer for up to an hour until he starts whining. He does seem to be endlessly entertained, however, with what his big brother is doing, and when taken out in the yard (again, usually parked in his exer-saucer), he watches us all run around doing our various tasks. He does indeed have is own unique personality though. It is easy to get him to laugh – best by putting your chin into his tummy – you get a literal belly laugh! When laid down in his bed, he starts kicking his legs, both at once in leg-lift fashion up and down, pounding on the bed. His little eyebrow twitches when he is curious about something or initiating play. Recently, he has also begun drinking water out of a cup (we hold it) and grabbing the spoon as we feed him solids. 2 oz per half hour is the rule of the day!

Well, off to shower and bed for this Mama.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few more lasts

Sharing a bowl of popcorn with a 2 ½ year old is a joy in and of itself. I was sitting on the floor feeding Emet as he sat in his “activity station”, and Caleb walked over with his bowl of popcorn saying “eat with you? Eat with you?”. Never mind I had told him moving the bowl off of the coffee table would result in losing his popcorn privilege. He seemed to forget that in the moment of needing to be with Mama, Greta, and Baby Emet. I overlooked the mistake. There we sat, Caleb doling out pieces of popcorn between himself, Greta, and me. I would say, “Thank you, Caleb”, and he, in his sweet animated voice, with head cocked to the side, eyes alight say “You’re welcome, Mama!” Over and over the scenario repeated – piece after piece of popcorn shared. Finally, the bowl came to and end. Caleb asked for more. When I explained it was all gone, he looked troubled and asked where it went. An explanation of “in our tummies” seemed to suffice. Then, Caleb picked himself up off of the floor, bent over to get his bowl, and walked to the dishwasher. He then proceeded to open it, pull out the lower tray, stick his bowl in, and almost got to closing it before he was sidetracked into playing with the door (a definite no-no). Aside from this, I realized how big he had become, how much he mimicked us. This was the first time he had tried this, and I had given him no instruction. Oh the sparkle of pride in his eyes.

Tonight before bed, Caleb asked for milk. This may be the first time he has not asked for “nolt”, one of those priceless words that only a parent would understand. Again, he running forward in leaps and bounds – “look at me” he cries, if only in the proud twinkle of his eye. We look at him with joy in our hearts, praise him as if he had climbed a mountain, and turn our eyes to each other with tears of sadness as we both recognize another precious last.

Hours later, I am upstairs with Emet, rocking back and forth in the squeaky, but faithful blue rocking chair. He rests his head on my chest as I sing to him.....”Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly....” I look down to see his eyes wide open, staring into the distance. What goes on in that little mind, I wonder? What does a sweet baby of 6 ½ months think as he rests his head on his Mama? I have been here before with Caleb, yet now I hear him downstairs going through the bedtime routine with Papa......I hear a big boy, one who seldom stops to rest his head. I hear him say, “I love you, Papa” and hear Jason respond in kind, chuckling with deep emotion. Emet will be there in the blink of an eye, yet here we sit....Mama and baby, rocking back and forth, back and forth. As his eyes begin to close, I briefly consider my childhood development manuals, all of which recommend not rocking the child to sleep in order to avoid the creation of bad sleep habits. Yet, I remain. What a wonder this time. How many more times will I rock him, I wonder, before he too is onto another of a restless struggler, breaking free from his bonds of babyhood? Again, I feel as if time is slipping through the hourglass and I am watching it go. Can I grasp this moment? Can I hold it somehow forever? I hold onto my baby, savoring the moment, treasuring each rise and fall of his chest on mine. There must be a purpose for all of this. There must be....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Capturing Life as the Train Speeds By

This is supposed to be a hand-written journal. However, as the days and weeks pass without any entries into Caleb's childhood journal, I have sought another medium. Daily, I hear myself "reading" my own entries in my mind......Panic seizes me as I realize I am missing my chance to capture this precious time due to my stubbornness of having to have a particular format in which to do so – the here I begin, relinquishing that struggle in hopes that a blog will help me in my journey to hold on to as many memories as I can.

"Today, you said blanket for the first time instead of 'dop dop'", or
"Today, you said 'I love you, Mama'" and it made my heart melt.”

The trouble with trying to capture life is that you can’t. I guess if one had no other priorities, stresses, obligations, could devote a large amount of time each day to capturing what one could via the written word and/or video. However, this stage of life – that of a 2-3 year old – is like riding on a speed train. Before you have a chance to look out the window, you have passed the landmark and are moving on to something else. Generalizations might encompass going from “you are learning new words” “you are speaking in full sentences”. Having missed the middle means having missed so many nuances and lasts....the last time you said “sha shas” for raisins.....the last time ‘thank you’ sounded like ‘tae you’. .....The journal entries would have to read “today is the day – the last time.....we are leaving this precious stage’.

Childhood is a miracle – a time when time stands still for the child, yet flies more rapidly than water for the parents. To me, becoming a parent meant fully realizing that oft repeated statement you hear over and over from every ‘older’ person......”they’ll be grown before you know it.....cherish this time”. Day after day appears the same for the adult, with general changes coming only often enough to chronicle in an annual Christmas letter. Yet, the life of a child is like watching a metamorphosis unfolding before your very eyes. It drives you to your knees in search of life’s purpose.