Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Perfect Day, Part II

I awoke this morning to the sound of cupboard doors and clanking crystal.  Per the scheming I heard last night from the bunk beds above, I knew the boys were making me a special breakfast.

Emet's little voice calls in...."Mama!  We're not ready for you to come out yet".  Two minutes pass.  "We're not ready for you yet.  Don't come out!"  Another minute.  "Don't come out until we tell you!"  Seconds later.  "OK, Mama.  We're ready for you!"

Entering the kitchen, I hear little feet hopping around the corner and into their chairs in the dining room.
"Welcome to Caleb and Emet's Special Restaurant!"  Caleb invites.  "You did this for us, so we wanted to do it for you!"  I was told exactly where to sit.

Before me was such a special site:  The table set with crystal wine glasses filled with unstirred chocolate milk, a plate, and a fork.  On each plate was an apple and a box of raisins.  In the middle of the table was a plate of the leftover (and quite stale) rosemary bread from last night's dinner and a tub of Smart Balance spread.  Next to that was a bowl with a packet of Smarties Sweet Tarts.  The look of pride on their faces was absolutely priceless.

I must say, my stomach is growling a bit, but my heart is so very full.   Thank you, sweet boys.  You are such a blessing to your Mama.

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

A perfect day

"Dear God, Please help the people to know Jesus today, and I hope they like our valentines. In Jesus Name, Amen.".....started our Valentine morning, with Caleb leading the morning prayers at breakfast.
We had decided that today was going to be a day dedicated to making others feel special.

Two hours later, Valentines made (Hermie & Wormie cards filled out by Caleb and Wax paper / melted crayon hearts made by Anna Ruth, Emet, Caleb and I), a special Valentines dinner for Papa in the crockpot, biscotti made for Papa's work and for delivery...we headed out.

Off we went to our 90 year old neighbors, The Days, who recently lost their adult daughter and are struggling to recuperate from a recent heart attack.  As they weren't home, we dropped off the Valentine but knew we would be back, as their greatest gift would be in seeing the children.

On to Caleb's school, where we dropped off a few special valentines to some very special and encouraging people.....our children's pastor, Courtney Wilson, whose light shines bright and pure in the lives of not only our children but for the families she serves as well.  And another for Gretchen Kipp, a sweet lady we are getting to know who brings kind words and deeds to anyone in her path.  Caleb's bag was full of hand crafted hearts and carefully written words to share with his class:  "To my Friend. From Caleb" lovingly tucked away in envelopes labeled "To my school."

Off to watch the Benson children for an afternoon so Triann could escape to her doctors appointment.  Then....back to school to pick up Caleb and to head to the nursing home that Mr. Harold lived in before he passed away.  It was our first time back since his passing.  Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about returning, not really knowing the other residents except for the names and through the brief nods and smiles exchanged as we had headed in to visit Mr. Harold.  On arriving, we found out that only Mr. Jack and Ms. Mary remained....Mr. Carl having passed away in October. The children were sweet and pleasant as we delivered the cards and visited.....all stopping briefly to gaze into Mr. Harold's old room.  The owner and residents were simply delighted to receive our greeting and visit.

Back to the Days home for a visit.  I was right - the children brought a bright light into their sad and lonely home and they very much appreciated the company.

Arriving back home, the children hustled up to their rooms for a brief "rest" while I bustled about the house picking up and preparing for our a Valentine's dinner at Mama's restaurant.  The idea came to me that I would like to serve not only Jason but my children as well, so I brought out the stemware and set a full place setting for each.  After Papa arrived home, we invited the children downstairs to "Mama's Restaurant".  Papa instructed on table etiquette while I served.  Our menu was as follows:

Diet Root Beer or Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi (sipped from heart shaped straws, of course) ; grapes; fresh baked rosemary bread; Beef Daube Provencial (a beef stew flavored with herbs de Provence, tons of garlic, and red wine) served over egg noodles; berry smoothies; and for dessert, candy kabobs.

After piles of dishes, laundry, story time, bedtime routines and a brief chat with Jason....I now sit here on the couch listening to my highly sugared little boys still awake upstairs.  I think back to our conversation about the favorite part of the childrens' day:  delivering the cards and having our special dinner.  I reflect on how the children's post nap grumpies quickly changed to delight in being served and honored.  I think of how Caleb said, "Thank you Mama for the beautiful and yummy dinner. I hope we can do that every night."  I think of how Jason thanked me so much for all of the effort and how special I had made everything.  I hear my little boys planning how they will make me breakfast tomorrow morning....(and having sneaked upstairs to listen to their plans, I hear my breakfast will be at a decorated dining room table and will include an apple, a cheese stick, ham, and a piece of candy.)

I am simply exhausted, and I still need to nurse Grace.....but I wouldn't trade my day for anything.  And, I'm currently experiencing why it is so much better to give than to receive.  The return in blessings is well worth the sacrifice.  And, I do believe that by the end of the day, we had made someone feel special.

Mission Accomplished.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear God.....

If you ever doubt the heart of your child, or doubt that they have ever absorbed anything you have taught them, do this: Tell them to say their prayers and leave the room.  Then, stop and listen.  What you will likely find is an encouragement beyond what you would ever have imagined:

Dear God,

Please help for Mr. Frank to feel better,
and for all the people that need help,
and for baby Addison to get better.

And God, when I go to first grade next year and maybe change schools,
please help me to not be scared,
and guide me in both directions, 
and help me to know that you made them, just like you made me,
because I won't know any of the kids in that class;
and they might be even meaner than the kids were in my class this year.
So, help me to know their names and all about them.  

In Jesus name, 


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guns for Bears and God for Fears

Today was a day of memorable quotes from Caleb.  He appears to be going through a stage, yet again, full of one-liners that make me laugh out loud or wipe back tears.

On the way home from school today, he asked me: "Mama? Why is it again that we can't take guns, knives and swords to school? Because, what if a pack of coyotes or bears attacked?  How would we defend ourselves?"

After I explained that the teachers and adults would make sure the children didn't go into places where cayotes or bears would be, Caleb assured me that they might indeed find their way to the school.  "That's ok", he quipped,  "I'm pretty strong.  I could probably take out a bear by myself."

Later tonight...

As I was snuggling with Caleb in bed, (and after him telling me that I was the best Mama in the world and he would always want to snuggle with me because I'm his Mama)  :-), we started talking about first grade.  We discussed that he might be changing to a different school.  Surprisingly, he didn't appear all too worried.  However, at the end of the conversation he said, "I would probably be pretty scared if I didn't know anyone in the class just like I was this year on my first day of half day Kindergarten.  But, I should probably just pray that God would help me to not be scared."

Sweet moment.  Proud Mama.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two Months: beginning to blossom

The sparkle in your eye now defines you.  We know it to be yours, and years from now, we will look back and say..."Yes, that's Grace alright."  Your right eyebrow playfully lifts a little, much how your eldest brother lifted his...and yet....all your own. 

Eyes sparkle with light and full of a secret yet to be told.  It's as if they are made of precious gems. Big deep blue-grey sapphires framed by long pale lashes. Sparkle...sparkle...yes...there it is!!!  that amazing smile with two little dimples....the left one nearly always first with your lopsided grin.  

A watercolor painting you are....smooth and unblemished.  A creamy colored scalp shows through your pale short hair....perfect skin continuing down to your rosy cheeks.Your hair feels of velvet as I snuggle your head under my chin.  I have thought long of the words to describe your soft plump cheeks.  It's as if I'm kissing a fresh baked dinner roll as they spring back under my lips.  The word I think of is "buttery". Yet...they are not dry like bread, nor are they wet like melted butter. Would it be like kissing freshly made pudding...with the delicate skin  that covers the top? A ball of fresh mozzarella, still within the package? Perhaps they are best described as just what they are: sweet baby cheeks.....perfect.....only weeks from the Creator's final touches. Yet, He is not done with you, is He?  His work with you has only just begun. 

In your physical comfort, there is happiness.  A sweet little movement of the head, a deep knowing sparkle in your eyes.  It's as if you are wise beyond your years.  

A furrowed, contemplative brow, just like your second eldest brother, is a common sight, or sometimes a playful lift of both brows followed by more eye sparkling.  If your tummy is full of gassy discomfort, your forehead is knit into the sweetest and most sorrowful expression of pain....punctuated by sad eyes and a quivering pouty lip as you cry out for help.  A pacifier only works after many minutes of crying, and often you will instantly calm then spit it right out. 

Arms raise to the heavens.  Your body curls no more, but rather stretches out to its limits.  Night time snuggles with you curled up in fetal position on my chest are rare. Often, you still fall asleep while feeding, but I wake you to keep the bubbles from traveling down and storing away into your tummy causing hours of pain. This night I captured a rare time of you cuddled on my chest sleeping as you worked out your bubbles.  Back and forth you nuzzle your downy head until the puff of breath emerges, relaxing your frame. I know your bubbles. I can feel them as only a Mama can.   

You look much more like an infant now, the traces of a newborn baby fully diminished. Our beloved billy goat sounds are rare, but do come occasionally.  You are mostly silent when not crying.....not a lot of coos or sounds yet.  However, the pattern of your breath says much.  Quick little breaths as you anticipate food, uneven and hard as you work to free your bubbles.  Sleeping they change from soft and regular to quick and back again.  They are your voice when your cry is silent. Still your cries come.  Loud and persistent when you awake hungry; shrill and piercing when you are in pain; short bursts when you are tired.  

Your head bobs in a pattern similar to a woodpecker and eyes that rapidly dart back and forth. Your mouth searches left and right as you quickly breathe and search for food.....something only I am privileged to see as I bring you to my breast.  Almost instantly, you relax and settle into your rhythm of eating, eyelids beginning to close.....warm and assured of care.  

When in your floor gym, you reach out to bat or occasionally grab a little jungle animal just above your head...the mirror to your left holding some interest, but not for long. Your baby bumbo seat is beginning to be a draw, but your time in it is short before the work of holding up your head becomes too much. 

Noisy sucking sounds come from little fists that have found their way to your mouth. 

So quickly you grow, little one.....stealing away quickly those precious moments for me to savor a tiny one. Off the charts you are.  Your markings don't conform to the standard.  Yet, that's the thing about Grace, isn't it?.....always above and beyond what one would expect.  Grow on, little one.  Grow on. We can't wait to know you more.