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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In My Father's Arms

A gentle breeze rustles the leaves and grasses, whispering across our small property and down the street as my lovely children frolic through the un-mowed grass weeds in the front yard.  My daughter's dark blonde hair is tousled and tossed by the tendrils of wind that play with it as she bounces here and there, knees high and arms flailing in a joyful dance.  She eagerly imparts all of the love she can muster to her Grandma as they say their goodbyes and Grandma endeavors to begin her long car ride home.

My son, slightly older than one, has one thing on his mind: Discovery.  He waddles and toddles down the stone walkway, then meanders back to try to eat the mulch, finally settling on a squat over the grass as he investigates its texture in between exuberant waves to his Grandma.
"HI--ii! Eh-loh!" he says, waving and flirting at her with his winning smile.

I stand there with my hands resting on my hips, smiling and trying to enjoy the scene the way one tries to see bright sunlight through the dense canopy of a forest.  It is beautiful and I feel the peace of it gently tugging at my heart, but I'm unable to be fully immersed in the light.

You see, I'm a worrier.  While I enjoy the sight of my children playing and the idea of their carefree worldview, I am plagued and burdened by so many things that sometimes it's difficult to see beyond that.

I'm behind on laundry.
I'm concerned about finding last minute childcare for tomorrow.
The debt left over from my son's birth gives me hives.
So do the toys my sweet son scattered all over the house...and in the drawers...and probably in the toilet...
The infection my husband just discovered on his leg has had me sick to my stomach all day.
I can't seem to finish grading that stack of Spanish tests.
And I'm just barely ahead of the train of lesson planning that roars through each week.
I struggle to find time to just be with my children, my husband.
My to do list is monumental and contains items both necessary and self-inflicted (I'm an over achiever).
The bills make me want to cry.
The lack of funds sometimes does.
The budget that somehow always stretches over all our needs but gives us near heart attacks every month.
I'm just about always wishing that my already part time job could be even more part time.
I'm stressed.  About everything.
I wonder when I'm going to get in that time with my daughter to work on her sight words.
Naptime.  Will my son stop taking two naps soon?  I don't know how I'll ever survive when he does. 

At this point, my son decides he's done being independent and has explored enough for the day.  He toddles over and wraps his arms around my knees and squeals a little because he hasn't yet grasped the words he needs to specify what he wants.  I pick him up and hold him close, relishing the feel of his fuzzy, white hair against my face and the way his chest and shoulders squeeze into me as closely as possible.  Whatever was bothering him is gone when he melts into my arms.  His sigh of contentment is audible as his chubby face finds its way into the hollow of my neck.  Whatever frustrated him in his play is forgotten. He's with Mommy now and everything is better with Mommy.

"Take it to heart."
I hear His voice--God's--as I often do when really investigating the way my children and I interact.
Today, He is showing me how they trust me.  How they need me.  How I bear their burdens.  Baby Bear and Bunny have no worries when they're with me.  They've entrusted all their concerns, boo boos, frustrations, hunger, and fear to my care and my kisses where they leave them with sweet forgetfulness.  They don't think about whether or not their next meal will come or if they'll still have someone to hold them and love them tomorrow.  They know that I will provide and they rest in that.  They know my character.  I've proven myself to them time and time again.

And isn't that how God is with me?  My Father?  My Comforter?  My Provider?

Moments ago I was jealous of how carefree their little lives are.

Now, I realize that mine was likewise meant to be carefree.  Not easy.  Following Christ is not going to be easy.  But a will always be. 

"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."  -Psalm 55:22

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7

He wants to carry my burdens.  When I start to feel suffocated with the weight of them, it's because I am carrying a load that is not mine--that is literally too much for me.  It wasn't ever intended for me, in the same way that the bills, grocery shopping, laundry, and part time job weren't intended for my children to carry.  I was made to find myself in Him--my identity, my purpose, my entire being is fully completed in His arms. 

I take a deep breath and it feels as if a heavenly hand pulled open the shade that kept me from enjoying the sun.  I like it here in my Father's arms.  It's safe here, and peaceful.  I was never meant to be anywhere else.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

15 months old

"Ca" is cookie

He's got two molars coming in on the top!  We didn't even have any idea and I think it's because he was wearing the amber for over a week. He's got a space between them and the four top front teeth he already has. No canines yet. 

Shakes his head "No." When I ask "All done?" About nursing. Shakes his head no for other things too. 

Getting really independent in his play. Wanders around exploring all on his own. 

He always climbs up the blue chair and rocks back and forth.  Dave calls it his favorite place.

He's still a good listener, and pretty obedient. 

He opens his mouth when I ask him what's in it if it's something he shouldn't have. 

He says hi and bye when waving.

He knows which mornings I'm going to work and fusses more then. 

He feeds us with spoons and dishes.  He's also experimenting eating with them himself. 

He says "sit down!" But it's more like  "sih-daahh!"  And he likes this pink lawn chair of his sisters.  And her other chairs too. 

He prefers to take his FaceTime calls on the fireplace. And HE prefers to take all FaceTime calls.  He screams when he sees you on a Facetime call and realizes what's going on and he's not in control, and he screams when his turn is over.  His sister has to close herself in her bedroom to have conversations with her relatives.

He uses remotes correctly--sort of.
He walks 99% of the time now.

He loves his daddy! Sometimes he asks for him or wants him even when I'm there. 

When Bear mows the lawn he says aaaaahh! When Daddy mows the lawn, he pitch-matches the sound of the mower. 

He can climb up on the couch. 

He usually crawls when he's on grass. That's the only time he crawls these days (9/19).  I don't know why--probably because the ground in our backyard is sort of uneven. 

Asher activates Siri on purpose and then "talks" to her.
Asher: Aaaah!
Siri: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. 
Asher: Aaaah! Di dih!
Siri: I can't seem to process that request...

He recently  discovered that the iPad has Siri too.
Any time he can use his toy mower or his sister's toy broom, he does. He is always sweeping and mowing. 

He brushes my hair.

He likes to play with Noelle's kitchen and the fridge phonics.

He spins around.  He dances with his sister when she dances. 

He opens ziplock bags

Moody, moody mood swings. 

He shakes his head no a lot but he started shaking it to say yes too. 
Me: Asher do you want to get down?
Asher: *shakes head*
Me: Asher, are you pooping?
Asher: *nods*

Dave: Asher, we're watching football! 
Asher: Ahh...BALL!

Asher--little sweet Asher who kept us all night with fevers and me home today for the same reason--is wandering around happily between bouts of misery and saying, "HEL-lo! And HI-ii!" While waving his little hand. It's quite cute.

 Oh chalk.  He loves chalk.  He tries to be a good boy and not eat it, but eventually he can't help but succumb to the temptation.

We didn't know it, but this was our last visit with Brittany, the neighbors' shih tzu.  Precious girl died a few days later in her "mama's" arms.  But my son enjoyed his last visit with her. She even let him pet her. 

They were eating jalepeƱos straight from the garden.

He is very musical.  Both the kids are. 

He begs for food when we eat in the car. Here he is, thrilled to have his own bag of Dunkin Donuts munchkins. 

He discovered DUCKS! He started saying "Qua, qua qua!" after that visit.  Currently, all animals say "Qua."

Messy boy begging for everyone else's food and making a huge mess.  It was after this meal that he took a bath and ate all the noodles that were floating in the bath water and then drank the bathwater.  I love him so!!!

Checking out the garden with Daddy. 
Daddy's Mini-Me. 

Seeing the cows at the farm where we get our milk.  (We're very blessed to have antibiotic-free, growth hormone-free, raw milk at our disposal!
A flirty grin to one of his beloved babysitters (who texted me this photo when I needed it most)
My silly kids at dinner time.  Daddy works until just before or after bedtime most nights so we don't get as many family dinners as we'd like, but we make do and we have fun!

Playing outdoors is one of Baby Bear's favorite things to do!

He likes drinking lots of fluids and he steals my waterbottles often. He has his own too.  Also, he can't do sippy cups unless they have straws.

A trip to Walmart where his sister was sick but he was super energetic.

While his sister was sick, he took on the alpha position in the relationship. 
He learned to erase the whiteboard.  He's very proud of himself.  He immediately erased this beautiful artwork of his sister's as soon as he discovered it.

LOTS of fun with Mommy's yarn scraps.  They are now a staple in his toy box. 

Trying to climb like a big boy at the playscape at Mommy's school.

We attempted to watch a HS volleyball match, but after running into the court at least five times to retrieve him after he attempted to get the ball, we decided it wasn't a good idea.

Sitting in his favorite blue chair, enjoying a bowl of dried cereal with his sister.

Family portrait at his sister's Frozen-themed birthday party.  He and Daddy didn't really get into character, but I'm Anna and his sister is Elsa.  I wanted Baby Bear to be Olaf, but he wouldn't keep the hat on so I gave up the idea all together. 

Sitting in on on a preschool Spanish class.  He's doing that more and more lately and when he does he actually sits and listens and participates!  He especially loves the part when I sing and play the guitar and my students play instruments. 

He's trying to put this glove on his foot.  This was one of the first times I noticed him trying to clothe himself! 

Climbing up the slide while playing outside.  He won't slide down it on his own yet, though.  He just hangs out there at the top which drives his sister nuts because she wants a turn sliding down.

While at mine and his sister's check up, the nurse graciously let him play with her stethoscope.  It made his day!

He's always grabbing and eating little bits of mint from my bucket herb garden on the patio. 

Coloring a mural Eating crayons with his sister. 

A trip to the frozen yogurt shop. 

He put this fork in his mouth and sat there waiting for a reaction. 

Grandpa put him up in the tree with his cousin during our family picnic. 

Playing croquet.  He kind of got the idea.  He knew you had to hit the balls with the mallet, but he also liked going around and removing the wickets.

First time in a double wagon ride with his sister.