Wednesday, June 30, 2010

J's first Concert on the Square

I had a slow moving morning so we were running late for Pal Zone, but still went since it runs for two hours. Usually, J goes right in and starts playing but today he wanted to sit on my lap for a bit. Maybe it was because we'd been away from this play group for a few weeks. He soon warmed up and found some toys. During circle/story time, it was so wonderful to watch J participating in the songs. For so long, he would just watch everyone else and listen, but today he clapped, wiggled his fingers, stretched out his hands, touched his toes, and other things following right along with our instructor. The book was about rubber duckies and the craft that went with it was making a duck. J really enjoyed using the paint brush to put on the glue. He kept giggling while he did it. I had to move him toward putting the feathers on though or he would've had a pool of glue.

When we got home, I had a stack of little art projects he's done and started hanging them up on our door. At lunch, he was saying no to everything I offered him so finally I just picked some left overs with rice and gave him a spoon. He said no to the spoon and says "I want a big guy fork." I don't know where he got that from, but it meant he wanted a grown up fork. Once he got that, he ate fine. He took an earlier nap since he didn't get one in the morning and we would be leaving early to meet friends downtown.

I continued reading Luke 22 today. In my devotional book, Beth Moore focuses on the argument between the disciples over who is the greatest. She mentions, before getting judgmental to notice how much we are actually like the disciples. Wanting attention, sometimes wanting the center of attention, craving acknowledgment, being self-focused/self-centered. Admitting we are also slow to learn and struggle with these things. She also shares how we need Jesus to "minister humility" to us. She has you picture Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, teaching and modeling humility. Lately, I've been seeing how so much of my life just revolves around me; my wants, my feelings, my need to be acknowledged or patted on the back. I see my lack of humility and desire to grow in this, that I would focus more outward. It's true that as you focus on others and serving, giving, you forget about the petty stuff of "the self". My prayer is that I would have more of a heart to serve; my friends, my husband, my son especially.

It was the opening night for Concerts on the Square where the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra plays six Wednesday nights in a row and people bring blankets and chairs to watch from the capital lawn. L and I met up with my friend Eileen, her husband and son Jackson. We had a great picnic dinner and enjoyed some nice music. We didn't stay for the whole thing as Jackson got a little antsy and we wanted to beat traffic. On our way out I saw more friends, Joan and Olivia so we stopped to chat for a bit. J had to get a bath when we got home with all the dirt and bug lotion on him. It was super quick.


We had another play date with Joan and Heather and their girls. This time we went to Heather's house. The kids are really learning to play well together since they've been hanging out now for a while. J still tries to hug them too hard and they still have their squabbles, but it's fun to watch them learning to play together. They all sat on the floor together playing legos, then doing puzzles together.

Our sitter Karen came today to watch J while I went to my bible study. Bettye read something that I really liked. It said, those of us who have known the Lord for a long time sometimes forget all the times the Lord has rescued us and forget how much we have been forgiven for. I remember several months ago going through a little season where it really struck me how much I'd been forgiven. I continue to be reminded of what the Lord rescued me from in my depression and have flashbacks to the times when it was so hard just to function, let alone take care of a child. We continued in our book that reviews Ecclesiastes and today the topic was death, chapter 9. Not something we often talk about. We looked at the part where the author says many people are uncomfortable with death. This is often present at funerals. The author looks at that saying how being at a funeral forces us to face our ultimate reality. It is proof that we are not in control of our lives. This really makes me think about the verse, teach me to number my days (Psalm 90:12) I pray that I wouldn't just be existing, but living by giving of my heart. Even though I completely believe that my acceptance of Christ's death on the cross and Lord of my life has given me the gift of eternal life, I can't say I'm not scared of death. When I feel that way, I pray that I would die well. (This seems odd to talk about but it's the topic.) That I would hold onto Jesus and feel his presence like never before.

Karen said they had a great time playing and she had fun watching J play. He named his little people Simon and Robert while playing with them. Karen got to see him dancing when she played the music button one of his trucks. Later, we dropped by Joan's to give Olivia the rest of her birthday gift. They're getting ready for a weekend trip and it was time for J's nap so we didn't stay long. It's really cute hearing Olivia say J's name and J saying Olivia's name. They kept saying bye and hi to each other as we were leaving.

Dinner was pretty calm and afterward we played outside. Most of the time was with bubbles. Now that I know how to make them (mixing water and dish detergent) I can make up a huge batch each time. J got a lot of exercise running around trying to pop the big bubbles. Then we stopped at the Sonic drive-thru for a .99 cent sundae (which was more like a shake) which J and I shared before it was time for him to go to bed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The last couple days...lots of play and a new train

J woke up and started playing with his Elmo and Big Bird cars. He had one in each hand and was "driving" them around on the chair.
Here's a snippet of what he was saying while he pushed them:
Elmo go to the Y (YMCA)...Big Bird go to the Y.
Elmo go to Elvers Park...Big Bird go to Elvers Park.
Elmo go to Pal Zone...Big Bird go to Pal Zone.
Elmo go home..Big Bird go home.
(My favorite) Elmo take a sleep...Big Bird take a sleep (turns them upside down on the chair).
These are all places that we go to and it was so cute that he incorporated it into his play time. He's getting more creative like that lately.

I continued in Luke 22 today. The reading was of the Last Supper. Beth (in Jesus, the One and Only) shares that by Jesus' words in Luke 22:15 (I have eagerly desired to share this Passover with you before I suffered), we can see Jesus considered this to be enormously profound. He celebrated this Passover with those closest to him. With the first cup of wine he offered a prayer of sanctification. He introduced the new covenant. "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm." From Exodus 6:6. He commanded them to remember him (and what he has done for us) every time we partake of the bread and the wine.

After dinner I got a baby wipe for J and for some reason he wanted to look at it so I showed him and for the first time I noticed little sheep on the cloth. He says, "What's that?" I said, "Looks like sheep." He says, "David's sheep." So he must have remembered the story of David he's heard from us and at church.

Tonight was our Y night. Before we were leaving J saw a box I had tried to hide that contained a new train for him. A friend from L's work gave it to us. He got really upset when he couldn't play with it and wanted to take it with us. Again it was a good workout. When I was done we watched daddy play basketball for a while. I like that we get done about an hour earlier than we used to. As soon as we got home, I got out J's new train and tried setting up the track. It is missing a piece but we were able to get the train moving at least partway down the track.

This ended up being a good catch up day. It was nice to just be at home and not have anything planned. We did groceries in the morning. I thought it would be fun to put J in the shopping cart with car attached. He liked it for a while but was saying all done but then he didn't make a deal of it. While J slept I did some house work, cleaning and laundry (domestic fun). It seemed that I had a dozen little things to do that added up to a lot. It was good to get them done.

I got to use my new dinosaur shape cutter for lunch today. I've been visiting this blog (Crouching Mother, Hidden Toddler) and she has really creative meal ideas for her daughter. That's where I got the inspiration when I saw the shape cutter. It's not that elaborate, but J loved it. As you can see, he grabbed the dinosaur PB&J while I was still taking a picture!

Since J took a 3 hour morning nap we just played all afternoon. We got out the new train again and J enjoyed playing with it. When I looked over, he had figured out how to hook them together end to end. We haven't figured out the track yet though. He went through a lot of books. While he was reading one of them I heard him say, "bye bye fire truck, see you in the morning". We watched a cute sesame street video with Grover and songs about food. There was one really neat one with three little girls singing and clapping their hands while shouting out various vegetables. J really liked this one and asked to watch it over and over. He liked to repeat the veggie names after them. We spent some time in the sandbox too playing with his sand tower wheel toy (you put sand in the top and it filters down and spins the wheel). We both loved rushing to get the sand in so it wouldn't stop spinning. After dinner (which J ate at least some of) we stopped by the library and then for an ice cream treat.

Road trip to see extended family

We headed out on Saturday to my nephew's birthday party in Lockport, IL. Every time we go on a road trip I learn a little bit more about what things J likes and how best to manage him in the car. We packed a huge toy bag with coloring books, crayons (of course), a sing along toy, lots of cars and trucks, his Thomas trains, several of his favorite books right now and bristle blocks. More than he needs for he car ride, but he'll be able to play with these at my sister's where we'll stay overnight. J did really pretty good on the way down. He did drop things a lot and so to minimize the upsets I did do a lot of picking things up. We stopped at an oasis and I got him some fries. He took his fry and was pretending it was a mustache (I have a fry mustache mommy). That was funny.

When we got there J eased into playing right away. He had lots of fun. It was like Christmas for him, exploring all of his cousin Henry's toys. I could tell he's getting more comfortable with our extended family. He didn't need to be by my side as much. My sister's mother-in-law Mama Lietz read a book while J and Henry sat on her lap and cousin Blake listened too. It was nice to be able to help out in the kitchen and then get some time to chat with my family too and not be worrying about what J was up to. During dinner, he ate outside with the big kids at the picnic table and had no baby chair!

Later, I caught the tail-end of a big pillow fight/wrestling match daddy was having with cousin Blake and J was getting in there too. After opening gifts and then having cake I would think he'd have been exhausted, but he was still going. I don't think we left the party until 10pm to head over to my oldest sister's house where we stayed the night. J fell asleep in the car and was out as soon as we put him in the pack and play. I stayed up talking to my sister until about 1:30 in the morning! There was a lot of reflecting on where I had been the past couple summers with my depression and the joy she has of seeing me now, healthy and enjoying little J. There were so many ways my family was there to help me out. I find it's always good for me to talk about it.

Well, I didn't end up getting much sleep as J was up crying at 5am. I think because he was in a place he didn't recognize. He came into bed with us and half slept until we got up around 8:30. We had a really nice day of a homemade breakfast, L watching soccer while I read a book. J got to play with Uncle RoRo and later Aunt Kelly took him downstairs to play and I tried to nap. It was a really warm and humid day but after lunch/dinner we took a walk by their nature center. J wanted to see the cranes. They have two sandhill cranes in an outdoor enclosure. He loves to hear them do what sounds like honking. Finally, we got back on the road and L blessed me by driving again. I managed things for J but this time was a lot more challenging. He was really irritable and wouldn't sleep and kept crying over one thing or another. I found if I sang "hush little baby" to him he would calm down for a while.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Had a blast swimming

This morning our summer toddler time at the library began. The topic today was the beach. They had a lot of fun books about going to and being at the beach and J had partial interest in listening. He seemed to like following along with the songs and did more than he has in the past like stomping his feet, clapping his hands. There was a mom that I knew from Titus that was there and sat next to us. We also did a craft that was making a sand castle out of construction paper. After the library, we headed to the Y for my 3rd workout of the week. J was asking for ballet and stopped at the ballet room. (After I pick him up from the nursery, we always watch the ballet class while waiting for daddy to be done.) There was no ballet so we continued on to the nursery. It was a good workout.

We ate lunch then J played for a bit. He put on his fire helmet then got out every fire truck he has and lined them all up end to end. Then he drove them around one by one singing and talking about the fire engine. After lunch, we ran some errands; stopping by Walgreens then Toys R Us. J was very tired and started to cry and whine. We were getting a gift for my nephew and decided on these little talking Tonka trucks. There was no way I could hide them in the cart and keep them away from J (especially with his mood). He ended up playing with them the rest of the time and was completely content. It might be hard though when he sees Henry getting them for his birthday.

Tonight I found out the Y was having member appreciation so we went there for hot dogs and chips. Daddy worked out while I stayed with J. He played in their park for a while and then we went to the Family Swim. I could not believe how much fun J had. He didn't balk at all being in the water and right away starts splashing up a storm. It turned into a big splash fest with both of us laughing. Then I held him and walked up and down the pool while he was on his tummy and he paddled with his hands and kicked his feet like real swimming. This was so exciting. J had all this energy when we got home so I let him play for a while before we put him to bed. We're heading down to the Chicago suburbs tomorrow for my nephew's birthday and staying overnight so I won't be posting for a couple days.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enjoying summertime

This morning our Titus group had a park play date. J is always wanting to take a few toys or books when we go places now and this morning it was a stack of blocks. We lost several on the way to the car. He kept dropping them as he was trying to bring way too many. It was a park which was fairly close by and nice and shady. I thought J had been asking for "uppy" a lot lately, but it was really apparent at the park. He'd go play for a bit then run to me and say "uppy" so I'd pick him up until he was ready to run off again. He did that over and over. Maybe another phase he's in wanting to be held a lot. He and his friend Jackson played on the fire engine and airplane together.

After the park, we went with Eileen and Jackson to the splash park. This is the water park in Middleton, WI. We had a little picnic lunch and then took the kids in the water. It was refreshing since it was hot out, but the water was super cold. On our walk back to the cars, I was noticing Eileen and I have the opposite problem. J is the pokey little puppy while Jackson is like speedy gonzalez. So Eileen's always chasing, and I'm always waiting. We had fun park-hopping.

Within minutes, J was asleep in the car so I gently carried him up when we got home. While he took a nice long nap, I got into a cleaning/organizing frenzy. I was really in the mood to clean and when I'm like that I have to take advantage of it! I moved around these different areas in the house straightening, weeding through and tossing things and wiping things down. I love the great feeling afterward when I come to those same areas and there's no clutter, just clean. It's so gratifying.

I didn't have to cook tonight as L suggested we go downtown to State Street. I was game. We went to Chipotle which seems to be the place we always go when we're down there. J was in a really excited mood. The music was loud and there was a table full of kids behind us and he kept squealing when they'd squeal or laugh and he was dancing in his seat. You had to be there, but the cutest thing was when daddy came back to the table and stood there dancing and waving his arms and then J was smiling up at him and trying to do the same dance. It was way cute. After that, we took a walk down to the Terrace and the lake and on the way stopped to watch a street musician play the flute and some people juggling. They had music at the Terrace so we brought J up to the stage and he loved watching the girl playing guitar and the guy playing bass. As we walked back to the car, he kept talking about the guitar and the bass. I think he should sleep well tonight. I love that we were able to spend so much time outside today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A great last day of daddy's vacation

We had a great day on Tuesday, L's last day of vacation. We went to Devil's Lake again and spent the day there. We set up our little space by the water and J was having plenty of fun with his things (bristle blocks, cars, trains, books). As we got pretty warm, I took J swimming. Most of the time I was walking around in the water while holding him. It took him some time to get used to it. Then he wanted to go to what he called the "big beach" where there were lots of kids playing. This is where he had a big melt down as he freaked out when I went to put him down near shore to stand ankle deep. He wouldn't put his legs down to stand. Finally he did, but he wouldn't move. I realized this was new for him, so I tried to get him to walk a little bit and get used to it. He just wasn't in the mood to try. I picked him up and we went back to where we were before. L came to the beach to see us and J went with him back to our chairs. I stayed in the water and swam for another half hour. Most of the time I floated on my back with the noodle and just enjoyed how peaceful it was. J slept in the car on the way home but that's the only nap he had. He did pretty well going out to dinner for pizza which was a blessing. There was a huge thunderstorm that woke me up in the middle of the night and I heard J softly calling "mommy, mommy". When I got to his crib he practically ran into my arms and then right away wanted to read a book. As we were reading he said "thunder scared me mommy" so I talked about God watching over us and how we are safe. He went right back to sleep after that. He has been waking up a few times a week lately since we've been having a lot of storms.

This morning when we came down for breakfast J asked for worship. I put it on and then he grabs me hugging my legs and says "I love you". This is so dear to me! I love that he's showing his affection. He was "reading" a book and I couldn't see which one but I clearly heard him say "Bubba and Stinky" as he was jabbering and turning pages. Sure enough, I looked and saw it was Super Truck with the characters Bubba and Stinky. It's so neat to see him do this. We had a play date at our friend Joan's. Heather and Wren came too. We did a lot of reminders about sharing and J needed a time out for getting too rough but my favorite part was how much J laughed. He would dance with the girls, chase the girls, and would break out in this contagious laughter. I love seeing them play together.

After lunch, we ran some errands. J had left his blankie at church so we picked it up along with two DVDs from his dedication. Then we did our week's grocery shopping, which was a bit late. J kept asking to go to the library so we went there next. He did so well, he just went right over to the legos and started playing while I browsed movies. I checked messages when we got home. An old message from his cousin Henry (3 yrs old) played. J sat there and smiled as Henry was saying "have J call me". We called my sister's but had to leave a message so I had J talk. He wouldn't say much other than hi. About an hour into his nap, I heard him crying really hard. I picked him up and it took him a while to settle. I just sat and rocked him, held him and sang over him as he slowly stopped sniffling. For our evening, we worked out at the Y and then played outside until it was J's bedtime.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fighting a cold today

(Snippets from Sunday)
We gave daddy the hand-made Father's Day Card that we did at Joan's. This card had his little hand prints on the outside and his coloring on the inside. Daddy really liked it and took a picture of it to save.

Our big event of the day was a BBQ at our friend's house celebrating the end of the season for our Life Group. Daddy was playing badminton and J grabbed a racket so he could swat the air. They let him try to hit the birdie too. I had fun playing badminton too which I haven't done in a while. J didn't eat very much at all. He was absolutely set on it too so I didn't fight it. He enjoyed playing with their son's car and truck collection. I liked watching him interact with others in our group who would come up to spend a little time with him.

J and I watched the garbage man today. At one point the truck backed up and we couldn't see him and J says "garbage man, where did he go? He's gone. He went home." Then he came back to finish and J was pretty excited.

In Luke 17 today, the reading was about the signs of Jesus second coming. Jesus says will not say here it is or there it is because the kingdom is within you. On the day the Son of Man is revealed, Jesus said you should not go back to your house for anything...verse 33: Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. As we get closer to Jesus' return, the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). For me, it's an ongoing process to "lose my life" for him. A big part of that is having a focus on being in the world, but not of the world. What that means to me is having a heart centered on the Lord, wanting his will and seeking it especially through prayer. Being very careful about how and where I spend my time, what I listen to, what I watch. It's often a process of stumbling and stumbling again, going to the Lord and starting fresh.

I wasn't able to go to my friend Joan's today for our play group. Over the last few days I've had a scratchy throat that overnight turned into a cold (runny nose, sneezing, stuffy head) and I didn't want to pass that on to anyone's kids! We all just hung out at the house today and I did a lot of catching up on my reading as I watched J at play. I also read a lot of books with him. It was nice to just stay at home after all the activities we've had during L's vacation. I think it was good for my cold too. I'll say J had some interesting meals today but I was glad he was eating without upsets. It was so humid tonight while working out at the Y that I felt like someone threw water on me. Today I was surrendering this area again to the Lord in prayer. I've gotten lax in fighting bad eating habits and working on discipline and so it was time again to commit myself to change. I feel in my heart the Lord wants me to care more for my body and therefore making strides in getting in shape is a renewed goal. It was pouring rain when we were leaving the Y so L pulled up the car for us. The car was splashing through lots of huge puddles and J just loved it. I'm also going to try this week to have several days in a row of getting to bed early so I'll write more tomorrow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Found out I can still golf

As we've continued on "vacation" it's been hard to keep track of the days. I'm so used to L being at work that when he's home it always feels like the weekend. Our sitter Dave came over to babysit/house sit. J was down for a nap while we were going golfing! Wow, it's been probably close to 3 years since I've played a game of golf. Since L and I married in 2002 we'd been going several times over the summer but being pregnant and then my rough 18 months after golf was on the way back burner. We went with a friend from L's work (Barb) and her boyfriend's son who is 13 and played only a couple times. This helped me to feel more comfortable, having someone who is learning. I realized I am better than I thought. I had a few holes that were really bad (stopped keeping track of my score) but some that went well. I forgot how wonderful it is to be out in the fresh air getting a little exercise and outdoor enjoyment.

We invited Dave out to lunch but he passed, so we went to a late afternoon lunch with J to Culver's and then stopped at the library. J went pretty much straight to the train set. I got some good books on shapes, colors and ABC's. I don't remember exactly when he said it but today was the first time J said "I love you mommy". Oh, does that make my heart melt. It was so special!

We heard about Jazz Fest at Lake Wingra which is nearby so we headed out there a little after 7:30 only to find it was over. Instead, we headed downtown to the Terrace to enjoy the evening.

Some of the highlights were:
Watching the "sax man", a State Street musician playing the saxophone who we stopped and listened to for a bit;

Running into an old friend from church and J playing with his 8 year old son around a water sculpture.

Watching J make his own performance debut on State Street by dancing to Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire played by David, another State Street musician. Several people came up to watch him and really got a kick out of him. Someone even took a picture. Here's a link to the video.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Day at Devil's Lake

This morning, we decided to go to Devil's Lake State Park. This is a beautiful lake in Baraboo, WI that L has been coming to since he was a toddler. It was J's second time there. We had a great day. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

J helping me by carrying the pink noodle.

Just set up our place to hang out.

Enjoyed wearing his sunglasses for a bit.

Finally, falling asleep on the way home surrounded by his books.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More of his word in my heart

This morning I woke up at like 5:30 with the worst gastrointestinal feelings and it came out of nowhere. I started to break out in a cold sweat and had the chills and everything. This never happened so bad before. It lasted for only about an hour and I was able to then get a bit more sleep. I wondered if it would come back but thankfully it didn't.

I tried to get my quiet time going today while J was still awake, but it didn't work. He was so full of energy I figured there was no way he was wanting his morning nap so he stayed up. We had a lunch date today with my friend Heather and Joan. We met up at a kid's cafe called Bean Sprouts. I wasn't sure what to expect, I just heard that is was really neat for kids. And it was! They had an area just for playing with a little kitchen, a place to color, and big chalk boards. J started playing in the kids area right away. Trying to decide what food to get him was the hard part. Their kids veggie pizza was awesome. On the way home, I caught Nancy Leigh DeMoss with a guest who was sharing the difference it has made in her life to memorize scripture. She wrote a book about her journey in this called His Word in My Heart. This really captured my attention because it's something I've thought about and thought about and told myself I want to do but just haven't made much progress. She said something that struck my heart as a friend of hers was saying she also really wants to memorize scripture but she just isn't disciplined. She told her friend how she is disciplined; that she eats three meals a day and doesn't let days go by without eating. She said with raw honesty to her friend it was because she wasn't hungry enough to do it. It was like the Lord was speaking to me again and filling me with a desire to get more of his word in my heart.

When we got home, we played bubbles outside. I wasn't out of the car very long and J comes over with the big bubble wand and says "here". I love an activity we can do outside together like this. We did that for a while as well as him throwing all the balls we own into the driveway and then some time after he says, I wanna go inside and get blankie so I took that as a hint it was time for a nap. One thing new that I noticed is that I'll sneeze and hear this little "bless you" from J. It's so cute.

I got to have my quiet time and started Luke 10 today. Jesus was passing through Jericho and a man named Zaccheus was determined to see him so he climbed up a tree. Jesus called out to him to come down and he'd be his guest at his house. It says he welcomed Jesus gladly. He wasted no time accepting his offer. Beth mentions here about obedience while talking about Zaccheus' response to Jesus. God delights when we obey with joy yet he honors obedience even when we are kicking and screaming. Zaccheus later declared he would give half of his possessions to the poor. His actions represent a heart that was changed.

J is getting better at using a fork now. We ate spaghetti and he barely got any on the floor which for him is huge. We got going early to the Y since tonight was my mom's night out. I got a good workout in but it was really warm and humid in there. I tried to prepare J that I would be going out with the Titus mom's so I was telling him how daddy was going to play with him. He says "mommy play?" I said, you want to play with mommy?" he says, Yes. So I went outside with him and right away says "I wanna blow bubbles" so I got the bubbles started and handed it off to daddy but when I was leaving he was outside watching and his little face was so sad. It tugged so hard on my heart to watch his little face fall and almost crying. I was so close to stopping the car to run out and give him a big hug but then thought that may make it worse so I left with the sad feeling. As my focus turned to mom's night out and meeting up at Starbuck's, I was sensing this time was really something I needed. We thought it was funny that we all go out to get away from the kids and the home yet all we talk about is diapers, grocery shopping, potty training, stories about the kids. We had a lot of laughter which was the best part. On the way home, it was such a nice night so I had my windows opened wide and just reflected on how nice it was to get out for a night. At home, L told me that after I had left, J was really crying and took a while to settle.

It was weird this morning waking up. I looked at the clock and it was 7:45 and I couldn't hear anything from J. I planned on getting up and the next thing I know I'm opening my eyes and it's 9am! I had no sense of time passing other than I had some very vivid dreams that I remembered. J was just quietly playing in his crib. I heard daddy reading to J when I got out of the shower. It was so cute watching J follow the story while sitting on his daddy's lap while he read in these really funny voices. There's something so precious about seeing tender interactions between father and son!

After breakfast, I introduced J to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. It definitely took me back remembering how I used to watch it as a child. He really liked the little trolley that goes back and forth on the show. We did one nap today, a late morning/early afternoon nap. Daddy took over feeding and watching him while I went to my bible study. I enjoyed today's time as we continued in Ecclesiastes. Part of Bettye's prayer today was seeing our get together as a divine appointment to meet with the Lord and come into his presence. This really hit my heart and I was thanking God in my heart for this group. She handed out a page of scriptures that all included "fear of the Lord" as our focus today was on gaining wisdom. It is amazing all the things that are promised to us as we honor the Lord in this way; having a "fear", a reverence for him.

L, J and I went to the Dawley Conservatory/Dunn's Marsh by our house to take a nice walk (out in the 85 degree heat and humidity). For some reason, the heat felt great to me. We saw some wildlife on the way; a little turtle crossing the road that we got to examine, a ground hog, a gardener snake and a little chipmunk. Most of the walk was shaded with a really great breeze. We also had some time in the park too. After that daddy was meeting a couple friends from work and J and I went to Culver's for dinner. When we got home we did his latest and greatest thing, blowing and chasing bubbles until he wanted to go in and read all the latest books I got for him from the library. Now daddy and I are going to watch the first movie together that we've watched probably in the last year, called Gifted Hands. I'll share more about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hard to scold when so cute

This morning before breakfast J was going around saying "I'm a digger" or "I'm a garbage truck" pretending he was driving and making truck sounds then "beep, beep" like he was backing up. Then he asked to worship so we put on our worship CD and got breakfast. Several times he was saying "mommy, I want to go on the farm". He wants to go back to the farm from Saturday. He also was saying he wants the garbage man to come again. I forgot to mention yesterday that we watched the garbage truck go through dumping all the garbage bins on our block. It has an automatic arm that comes out and grabs the bin. At first it scared him but he was entranced watching. We did our grocery shopping for the week. I had a lot of extras to get this week so it was taking a lot longer than usual. J was asking to go home. He held up pretty well though.

During my devotional time, I continued in Luke 18 (and reading Beth Moore's book Jesus the One and Only). This is the story of the rich young ruler. This man comes to Jesus to ask what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus gave him instruction like do not steal, do not commit adultery, to which he replies that he has kept those commands. Then Jesus tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor. The man is sad because he loves his possessions. About this request Jesus made, Beth shares that Jesus could see into his heart that he was a prisoner and his possessions were number one. Jesus was pointing him to the path of freedom. This man called him good teacher and Jesus corrects him by saying no one is good except God. Beth brings up Romans 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. She shares how any good thing in us (or that comes out of us) is from God. I used to have a hard time with this idea before I found the scriptures that support it. It hurt me to think that I wasn't somehow good. Now I understand it, how nothing in me is inherently good. My sinful nature always pops up. Yet I am lovely in God's eyes and loved by him as his creation. Beth wrote that the pure-hearted pursuit of God's will is a large part of what God honors.

It was a really rainy day today so we played inside after lunch. I gave him some Thomas stickers to play with. He is funny in that he likes taking the stickers and putting them up his arm, then he'll go to the couch and stick them all to the seat. I showed him how to use paper but he likes to do it this way, since he can take them off and on over and over. At dinner, he did really well and looked like he was done because he started playing with his fork. I asked if he was all done and he said "no, cleaning up the pocket". He was taking his fork and trying to get the food that fell into his bib! But...then he started throwing it on the floor and pushing it off his tray. I scolded him and he says "I'm feeding Buca" (our cat). Then he starts going "meow, meow, meow". It was really hard to be upset anymore.

We had our life group tonight which ended up being a small group with just four of us. We missed the service having been in East Troy but we started a study on Ecclesiastes which is what my women's bible study is going through. Our host came up with some really good questions to discuss. One of the things that really stuck with me is focusing on enjoying the moment. This is something I'm aiming for with J instead of seeing this period as "the terrible twos", I'm instead looking at the challenging times as those where I get to grow and J is growing also; growing in gaining independence and yet needing guidance and direction as well as correction.

We're looking forward to the summer of informal get-togethers with our life group where we are thinking about going through a book together relating to marriage. I think that will be really good, to be able to have discussions with other couples that most likely wrestle with a lot of the same issues. Before we left, we were reminiscing about what a great year we've had in the group and how we've all connected really well. We were remembering how I came with L to the first 3 meetings and then was gone for a month and a half spending time with my family towards the end of my depression. It feels like so long ago yet it was not even one year. She shared something really humbling, that she was so touched by our openness with what we were going through and that amidst the crisis we were holding on to our faith and pushing forward. She said it was wonderful to watch us recover. I'm reading a woman's story about post-partum depression right now and it's inspiring me to get going on writing mine. Someone planted the seed for me to get my story down on paper and lately I feel God's moving me to do that. I think it's another step in the healing process and to prepare for how God may want to use this experience.

L has taken some vacation time from work for the next several days so it will be fun to have more family time. I should wrap up now since it's getting too close to midnight.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Graduation day in East Troy

(Sunday) Today was my nephew's graduation from high school. This is my husband's sister's son. We left late morning to head to East Troy, WI. J did really well in the car; reading his Cars book, doing some coloring and playing with his bristle blocks. It was an hour and a half drive. The first thing we did was introduce J to my sister-in-law Carrie's dog Rufus. He is a huge goldendoodle who still acts like a puppy. He towers over J. He was very excited and wound up with all of us there, but was giving J kisses. He knocked him over a couple times as he ran around. J seemed a bit afraid but not overly. Then after about a half hour J was looking for him and calling "Rufus, Rufus come play." Everyone went to the graduation and J and I stayed behind. I put him down for a nap and had the whole house to myself. It felt like I was on vacation, it was so relaxing and quiet. I had almost 2 hours to myself to spend a little time with God, read the paper and my book and relax outside. I found "Practicing the Presence of God" in L's bag. This is a book about Brother Lawrence. He was a "lay brother" in a monastery known for the intimacy he expressed about his relationship with God. More about him here. There are several snippets from the book that I'll share. They were so good.

"It is the obligation of every man to worship God and love him and we cannot carry this duty out as we ought unless our heart is knit in love to God, our communion is so close that we run to him at every moment just like little children who cannot stand upright without their mother's arms of love." (Beaufort)

Bro. Lawrence encourages us while we are busy throughout the day to cease for a moment, as often as we can, to worship God in the depths of our being. In this fast-paced world he challenges us to pause for an instant from time to time to worship Him within our soul, to give Him thanks, to offer our hearts of service to Him for all His loving kindness and tender mercies. This really spoke to me. I get so caught up in the day that taking the time to do this is so meaningful. I've done this a few times since and it's brought a peace and fullness to my heart as I turn my attention to Him and acknowledge Him with a hart filled with gratitude and love.

"What is most needful in the spiritual life is the practice of the presence of God; the schooling of the soul to find its joy in his divine companionship whether in temptation or tribulation, dryness of soul or even unfaithfulness by little acts of "communion" with God from the purity and simplicity of the heart."

When J woke up, I wondered what things we could do. He wanted to go outside so I searched the house for a ball and found a basketball to play with. J got bored of that after a bit so I went back inside and found some sidewalk chalk. He liked this. I was drawing circles, squares and triangles and tried to get him to copy or trace them but he didn't get the idea. He colored them in instead. I noticed when he was playing with his cars later he was lining them up on the couch like a train, one after the other. Eating was interesting. He liked the pasta salad until I snuck a carrot in there, then it was spit out. He said no right away to the Italian sausage but then came back and ate all of it. He loved the jello. It may not sound like he ate much, but this was actually good for him.

He really bonded with his cousin Dylan (he's 15-1/2). Dylan was holding him on the couch and reading him his Cars book. It's a "look and find" book so Dylan was teaching him how to look at the box full of pictures and then find each one in the main picture. He was really into it and they had fun together. Dylan was really good with him. Zach the grad opened his presents and J loved his card that played music. He figured out it played when it was opened and stopped when closed. He got so into it that he started to dance for everyone.

I was able to have some really good conversation with my sister-in-law. This is someone that really set aside her life for me when I was in the darkness of my depression. She is a teacher and has the summers off so she would come to the house and just be with me, making sure I got outside to take walks, making sure I ate even if it was just PB & J. Even just hanging out on the couch while I couldn't do much of anything. I'll never forget that.

Today was the first day of L's schedule change at work. During the summer, he moves from 9:30-6pm to 7-3:30pm. I really like that he gets home earlier. Today we had a play date at my friend Joan's again. Heather was there too. Joan had put together a craft project for us and the kids to make Father's Day cards. It was such a great idea. What we did was so cute; placing their hand prints on the front of the card, having them color and inserting that inside the card. While the kids were busy playing, we were able to have some really good talk time, something I find that is really important for me to get during the week. The kids had snack time and they all sat on a little blanket out on the balcony. They looked so cute together! (J got overly excited or something and hit Wren's face, not hard. He got an immediate time out.)

After J's nap, he was playing in an area just out of my sight but within earshot. He comes over to me and says: Hi, I'm playing. I said, Oh, you're playing? He says, Yes, with blocks. Then waves and says Bye! and goes back to playing. It was so cute. When we were eating, J didn't want to use his fork and this was starting a tantrum. I had the idea to ask if he wanted a big person's fork and this did the trick and he was fine then. We had our time at the Y and got home an hour earlier than normal. J, of course, wanted to play outside so I got the new bubble wand I found and we played chase the bubbles again. This is something I really enjoy. I love making the bubbles and then teaching him how to do it. I love him laughing as he runs around trying to catch them. I like this aspect of parenting where I get to play too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Breakfast on the Farm

What a neat morning! We made a last minute decision last night to skip J's last swimming lesson and instead go to Dane County's Breakfast on the Farm. I think I was more excited about it than J was. I felt like a little kid, as this is something I would have dreamed of going to when I was young. I love living in Wisconsin where the country life is just minutes away from us. This was a huge event where they expected a turnout of close to 4000. J was insisting that we hold him so this got tiresome as we waited in lines for over half an hour. It was a full breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and cheese. After that, we made our way to the ice cream. We visited the cow barn watching them hang out and eat. One of them let us pet it. J was constantly wanting to be held. For that long of a time, it's a little much. But anytime I put him down he'd just whine and cry following me around saying "uppy" with his arms raised. It was hard to resist so I held him. They had a bunch of farm equipment displays open to the kids. J said "ride the orange tractor mommy" so he sat there for a while holding the steering wheel pretending he was driving.

They also had a fire engine so we let him sit up in there too. I put this giant fire helmet on his head and he loved it.

We went through the petting zoo area and J saw his first llama. He was petting it and then hugging it. Before we left, we went to the giant tractor area and J sat up high in a green John Deere that he picked. He didn't want to come down either.

We came home and relaxed while J went down for his nap. Later in the afternoon, we stopped by the library. I found a neat Disney/Pixar Car's book that I got J for $1. He doesn't know much about the movie, he just likes that they're cars. Right away, he wanted to sit down and read it. We stopped at a card store and J got to see a fire engine and ambulance in action. J was so excited to watch but kept asking to go inside the truck. We found out a girl had fainted and that's why they were there. J did a lot of play on his own today. One of the things he enjoyed playing with was a new wooden train from his birthday that we just opened up. It has different colored blocks in various shapes that fit on pegs on the train and he played for a long time taking them off and putting them on in different ways.

I was getting his dinner for him and we were talking about our time at the farm and everything he saw.
J: "Mommy, I wanna see the llama again."
Me: "Yeah, you hugged the llama. Do you remember?"
J: "I wanna see the cows again."
Me: "Yeah, they were big cows."
J: "They were HUGE - huge cows."
We'd stop talking and he'd say "do again it" (meaning do it again) so I'd start reviewing everything we saw and did again. Kids are so funny that way how they just love repetition. I love these little talks.

Later on, we wanted to stop by the home of someone L met where he works (at a high school). He met a student, Kwaku (quay-koo) who came to the US from Ghana many years ago who just graduated. We thought we had the right address but no one was home. J by this time had learned his name and noticed we were heading home. He was saying "no home...I wanna see Kwaku." We wanted to see him too. After getting to bed too late the past two nights, I'm going to shoot for a good night's sleep so it's time to wrap up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tot School

Tot School
Today was the first time we did Tot School. I talked about it in an earlier post (click here). This is something I'll be doing with J probably once or twice a week. We do learning activities already since I play with him a lot, but I thought a couple times a week I'll prepare something and take pictures for the blog.

We got a peg board with different colored shapes on it and he can put the shapes onto the board. It also comes with a lace for stringing the shapes together. Our first activity was practicing stringing the shapes onto the lace one color at a time. (I didn't get a picture of this.) J was really good about picking the right color that I asked him to, but it was harder to get the shape onto the string lace. He would get really close and it would bend, and then he'd get frustrated and want my help. I often would "thread" it through the hole and then have him pull it through onto the lace.

After that, I asked J to place the shapes onto the peg board one at a time by color. It was interesting that he placed almost all the same colors with each other on the board as well.


This morning J wanted to watch part of a movie called Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. This was a favorite of mine I watched in the theater (by myself!) when it came out. The beginning is about all I'll let him watch since later the movie has parts with people capturing the horse and things he wouldn't understand. I was excited to start a Tot School activity with J today. Please see my Tot School post.

In my devotional time, I continued reading Luke 11. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He went into a village and was met by 10 lepers who asked Jesus to have pity on them. he healed them (told them to go see the priest, and by the time they were there they were cleansed). Only 1 out of the 10 came back to praise God and he fell at Jesus' feet and thanked him. His healing had made him think about his healer. Beth shares Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. She shares that there are many social outcasts in the church that live like lepers, full of shame. Often they are suffering from sin or after effects of sin. The true story is that not one of us is clean before God by our own doing. Only Christ and his forgiveness can truly make us clean.

My oldest sister Kelly called just before J was getting up from his nap. I talked with her while getting J. She had sent me a beautiful card supporting me as a mother and was returning my call to thank her. J got to talk with her and I heard him telling her about Spiderman book, dinosaur book, Clifford. Kelly asked what he was having for lunch and he said "corn dogs" so I made sure to prepare those for lunch. After lunch, he played with his bristle blocks and his Lego blocks. He is really fascinated with these blocks right now and can spend a half hour at a time stacking them and lining them up. I was tying his shoes getting ready to go to the park when J burped. (I know, more info than you needed.) But it was cute, he says "excuse me" in his little boy voice. Our training on manners is coming through. We went to the park in our neighborhood and brought his dump truck and shovel. The park is filled with tiny rocks and they have a kids digger so he enjoyed filling up the truck and dumping it. There were some teenagers playing tag and running around on the jungle gym and J went over there to play. I almost said something but realized they were actually watching out for him so I didn't need to.

J woke up in a pretty good mood, playful. He ran into our bedroom and I played chase picking him up and throwing him on the bed's pillows. He loves that. Then we had a little tickle fest. He ate OK again too. What an answer to prayer. I gave him some goldfish graham crackers in a bowl for dessert and after eating some he liked dumping them on his tray and then putting them back into the bowl one by one. He did this over and over again.

After saying no to the sandbox and no to a walk, I got out his bubble mower (a lawn mower that spits out bubbles) and we went outside to play with bubbles. It was really warm and humid so both of us got hot and sweaty running around making and chasing bubbles. Then J said he wanted to go for a walk so he pushed his little car down the sidewalk. He wanted to get in then and we went around the block. He was really dirty and full of bubble residue so he got a bath. Daddy had a nice time doing his bedtime routine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Having fun with J and loving adult conversations

This morning while J was playing he was asking for his nuk and blankie. I've tried to limit this for the past several months to just naps or "emergencies" but somehow I slacked off a bit and let him have it a few other times. I think that was a no-no because he's starting to want them more and more. I'm not hard core about it, but I do want to keep it more limited.

This morning our Titus mom's group had a park play date in Middleton, a neighboring town. It was a nice park with good things for both the smaller kids and bigger kids. There was the cutest little black puppy (a little fluff ball) that one of the mom's brought. I brought J over to see and I was more interested in petting it than he was! After playing a while J wanted to color so he grabbed his crayons and coloring book out of the diaper bag. He was coloring on a little bench and my friend Eileen saw and we both laughed. It was cute, her son came over and climbed up next to him. I gave him a crayon so he colored with J. After the park, Eileen and I took the kids for lunch at Panera Bread. For some reason, J doesn't like sandwiches but he ate the cheese and some of the bread. He had some of my pickle too (I went to take a bite and it was missing off my plate...and in J's mouth). Eileen and I had a really good conversation learning more about her faith. When we left, I took J over to see some construction action happening right near the restaurant. They are re-doing a road so they had all kinds of equipment like diggers, dump trucks, a bulldozer, etc. We , must have stood there watching for at least half an hour. It was so cool for him to see this up close after reading about it in so many books! Then, we stopped at the mall where they have gelato "ice cream". I had a hankering. They also have a little play area there so J ran around for a while. He'd come over and pull me by the hand so I would play with him. It was a full day!

J took a nice nap and was up well before dinner time. I think this really makes a difference. He actually seemed to enjoy dinner and of course, we did too! Later, we took a walk in our neighborhood and decided to stop by friend Joan's which is on the way to the park. J was upset saying "park, park" and I don't think understood the idea was to go there later. J got into playing with Joan's daughter right away. My husband got to meet Joan and her husband. J and Joan's daughter were dancing, then they both had music toys going at the same time, then J was chasing after her wanting to play with her kids computer. At first, he was upset but the more he chased her, the more he was laughing. We ended up staying there so long it was too close to dark to play at the park. Since we came unannounced, we thought we'd just stop in but they were very welcoming and we got to talk for a while. More adult conversation, I love it. Before bed, something I thought was cute because he hadn't said it before was J saying "I have an itchy on my leg". Hope it wasn't a mosquito bite.

Lots and lots of people at the zoo

Today we were invited by my friend Tina to meet up at the zoo. It was a beautiful day for it. She has 3 kids of her own and is watching 3 kids of a friend so we had a good sized group. It was super crowded today with the great weather and the forecast not as good the rest of the week. There were also busloads of school kids there for end of year field trips. In the beginning of our time at the exhibits, it wasn't very fun because everyone was shoulder to shoulder in the crowds (at the monkey house, the lions, the tiger) once we got past that part it eased up and we were able to enjoy it. We had a nice lunch together but just as I was coming back from buying a hot dog I saw J falling backwards off the picnic table. He fell onto mulch so physically he seemed okay, but it really upset him in general. It was one of those you can see happening from far away but can't do anything to stop it. On the way home, he fell asleep. He woke up when I was getting him out of the car and says "go to the zoo?" He seemed like I woke him out of a dream so I told him we were home.

After his nap, he was reading his Fire Bear book and all of a sudden I hear this ripping sound. I think the page was already ripped so J was pulling on it ripping it more. I quickly came over and told him sternly that we do NOT rip books and that I was taking the book away. He gets this puckered little pouty face, almost in tears and I just did my best explaining to him why it's a no-no. Then he wanted to go out and play in the sandbox so I asked him how his diaper was and he says "I feel good." We saw the cutest little baby bunny right by the sandbox so we just watched him for a little while. Then I took a couple pictures, he was just too cute. After playing a while, J wanted his fire truck and little people in the sandbox too so I got them from inside. Before daddy came home, I put on our worship CD and he starts singing along, "Hallelujah" and sounded pretty close to pronouncing it.

Dinner went well tonight! Thanks for prayer! J's nap time was a lot earlier so he was up for a while before dinner. An earlier nap may be the key. Before going to the Y, my stomach started feeling off a bit. I was still able to work out but had to take a couple minutes resting here and there. My confession today was that I have been spending too much time on the computer with unproductive things. Just time wasters. So I've been praying that I'd use the time better, especially by keeping a healthy bed time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A good day for errands

Today all day was rainy, cloudy and cool (so the picture I chose is actually from yesterday at the park). Despite the weather, J wanted to go outside and play after daddy left for work. I had other plans to do grocery shopping. J did really well being patient in the cart while I shopped (unlike last week). When we got home, he asked to go outside and play in the rain. I got his boots on and we went outside and he splashed around in the puddles and walked around in the rain.

Today in my reading, Beth skipped to chapter 17 in Luke. In my prayer time beforehand, I was thanking God that I can approach him freely, the one who created the universe. Then it just seemed to hit me how incredible that really is. How I take for granted who I'm meeting with. I realized I often don't have the reverence and awe for God that I should. I prayed about that and just let it sink in. Beth shares that we are moving into chapters now that are more challenging and even confrontational. But she says we can be encouraged in trusting that God never confronts to condemn, but to complete in us what is lacking. The topic of the chapter is being careful to avoid leading someone else into sin. Jesus tells us that when we sin against one another, we are forgive our brother/sister, to dialogue with them, and even to rebuke them. Beth shares that what is appropriate is to speak the truth in love. From 2Timothy 4:2 Correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. Also part of us maturing, she says, is learning how to receive a rebuke.

Since it was still rainy in the afternoon, it was a good time to run some errands like stopping at the pharmacy and going to the bank (we are old fashioned and don't have ATM cards). We spent some time reading books before J's nap. When on his way to take his nap, he let out a little burp and said "excuse me"! He must have picked that up from the book of manner's we've been reading to him. It sunk in. While I was making dinner, J came over to me and grabbed my hand saying "mommy play". It was so cute that I stopped what I was doing to play with him a bit. I have to say at dinner we had troubles with J again. This time is started because he wanted the red spoon instead of the yellow spoon I gave him. Then he got upset because I put on the "scoop" bib (he had messier food) instead of his regular bib. Since we knew what we were in for with his hollering, daddy took him upstairs to chill out in his crib. We're hoping these dinner melt downs will just be a phase and that he'd just be a happy camper again. Later, he had fun playing in the bathtub (mostly with his crayons) until I had to wash him. I was quick though so he didn't protest too long.

We had time with our life group tonight. The main focus was talking about the sermon on "Why Forgive?". Part of the discussion centered around the difficulty in forgiving someone who is unrepentant (having or exhibiting no remorse). We agreed that especially these times we need to seek the Lord for help in having a forgiving heart, and then often we will need to forgive multiple times. Just when you think you've forgiven, something stirs a memory and the anger and pain are back. Those are times you learn to forgive again. L shared that recently God impressed upon him the important of confession. He was thinking of the verse James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. He shared how as a couple we pray together every morning for about 20 minutes or so before he leaves for work and he's introduced confessing something in that prayer time. We agreed this can be a powerful thing and the importance of this within a relationship where you trust can trust one another.

Monday, June 7, 2010

We love play dates

This morning we had a play date again at our friend Joan's with Heather and her daughter too. J got excited when I told him we were going to Joan's and then we'd all go to the park together. The kids toys are kept in the kids bedroom and J wasn't shy about making multiple trips in there to pull out a bunch. There was a really cute Elmo puppet book he found "If You're Happy and You Know It" that J wanted me to read to him. I started reading it and the two girls came over to listen too. They all got a kick out of me making Elmo act it out. Then they wanted to hear it again so Heather read it to them. What was really cute was when J went to the fridge where they have a magnetic farm that plays music. He pressed it and started dancing and the girls came in to dance with him. It was the cutest thing, all three of them dancing together and J was giggling. Then the kids heard the lawn mowers outside and they all ran to the door to look out and watch. We went to the park which is just a little walk from Joan's place. The girls took off running together but J wanted "uppy" so I picked him up. He almost went down the big slide by himself today. Almost. The girls both went down and I think that encouraged him but he just didn't quite get the nerve. He still wanted me to go with him. Even with all this happening, we still got to have some good, adult conversations. That's the best part.

The play date was our big excitement for the day. We came home and ate lunch. J was doing fine until he decided to dump his cottage cheese all over. Then he even asked for more! Ha! I hate cleaning up cottage cheese, it is the worst. It sticks to everything and breaks apart and takes forever to get it all. Fun,fun. J wanted to watch a video but he kept changing his mind on what he wanted (Lord of the Beans, Elmo, Thomas the Train). I owed phone calls to two of my sisters so I tried reaching them but not home. I notice I barely spend any time on the phone anymore since so much happens by Facebook or email. I had the hankering for some chocolate chip cookies but just a few, not a whole batch. I found a recipe for a small batch and got J to help me with the mixing and stirring. At one point, he ran off with the spoon so I had to chase after him. He cried for a bit when it was time to go down for his nap, which is rare.

J was really out of it again at dinner tonight. I'm starting to feel like a broken record! He just cried and cried and I finally got him settled and he asked for PB & J and I had it made and got him in the chair but then the crying started all over again. It worked to lay him in his crib for several minutes and he ate fine when he got up. I'm thinking he needs more time maybe from waking up to starting dinner. Maybe he's still half sleepy when dinner comes and needs more time. We'll see. I had a good workout at the Y today doing the elliptical. J was pretty clever getting the Y girls to find his nuk in my diaper bag. He's on a blankie and nuk kick lately. We played outside for a bit when we got home, it was still so nice out there.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Forgive?

J started out the day fine but then started crying while waiting for breakfast. Kept wanting me to pick him up. Maybe he was just super hungry because he was okay once he had his pancakes. He wanted to play downstairs in our art area. Did some coloring with crayons and then washable markers. He took his picture and said "hang it up" so I put it on the wall like we do with his finger paintings. I have to watch him carefully now when he's coloring since he's started to try coloring other things like the table, the wall. I also set up the mini trampoline and he had fun jumping, but then he started coloring on there too until I caught him.

Today in my devotional time, Beth moves past chapter 14 and started Luke 15. "Lost and found things." It's amazing, Beth says, that the creator of the universe pursues us. She refers to Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. In this chapter is the story of the prodigal son. He left his father with his fortune and squandered everything then became destitute and took care of pigs. He went home thinking he could be a servant to his father and it would be better than his lot. When his father saw him coming, instead of turning his back on him, he RAN to him. This is a mirror for our relationship to God. He yearns for us to return when we stray from him and he welcomes us back with open arms. How can we resist such lavish love? says Beth. Because of our wonderful God, the prodigal can say "I once was lost, but now am found."

The forecast called for more rain but it ended up being really nice out so we packed a lunch and headed down to the UW Terrace again. There was some bike marathon going on so traffic was just horrible. We probably wasted a half hour. Then we maybe spent a half hour there on the terrace. We had our lunch and then J and I went on the giant terrace chair. Soon after, the weather started to change drastically. It got super dark so we decided to head out. It started raining soon after we got in the car. J didn't go down very well for his afternoon nap. This was after he got a shorter nap in the morning because he cried off and on. I went in to check on him and he dropped his blankie and nuk so I got those, then he was asking to watch a video. I asked if he could lay back to sleep and he said okay and lay down. I was surprised he did that! He did start to cry a bit and kept going but then finally dropped off.

Today was the last sermon in our Forgiveness series. It was on "Why Forgive?" Since people hurt us all the time, what should be our response? As those who profess to follow Christ, we need to forgive. A couple stories were shared about incredible instances of forgiveness, where it was amazing they were able to forgive the person who hurt them. He brought in Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. These are often feelings that we harbor within us when we are unable to forgive. He said forgiveness is really messy because of the hurt in our lives and others. To have forgiveness as a way of life he said we first do not ignore that it happened. Whenever there is a serious infarction against us, there is a debt owed. We can remember how Jesus paid our debt on the cross and we are to then let it go. It is hardest to do this when the person is unrepentant, yet that is what we are called to do. Our burden (of unforgiveness) that eats away at us is lifted. We were invited to come to the front of the church and take a handful of dirt and drop it in a pail which was symbolic of letting go of unforgiveness. I think this was a good way to visualize really letting go.

After church, we went out to dinner with our life group friends and their kids. After J ate, he played a run and hide game with us as the adults got to hang out and catch up. J would come and peek around the corner and I'd jump in my seat and he'd run away squealing, or he'd peek up at us from another booth and squeal with delight when we responded.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just playing in the rain

This morning it was just me with J in swimming lessons. Daddy usually just swims around not doing much so he worked out while we played in the water. While getting ready at our place, J seemed excited about it and was saying to daddy "I'm going swimming". He was even a little eager at the start of the lesson going right to the side of the pool and sitting down on the edge by himself. I thought it was a good sign when during the starting "if you're happy & you know it song" he was kicking his feet a bit and splashing his hands in the water. He did end up having a few times where he said "no, I don't want that", "all done swimming" or "no, no" but today was more free flowing and he did some really good kicking, some paddling and enjoyed jumping off the side on the count of three (while I held his hands). I was trying to make up things to make it fun like "be a whale and blow bubbles" and he actually put his mouth in the water a couple times to try or hold his hands saying "kick to mommy". The teacher praised him when he noticed J having some fun with it.

In my devotional time today, I started Luke 13. There was a lot that happened in this chapter. Jesus tells a group that they need to repent. The way I've heard this explained is that repentance is when you have true sorrow over your sin, your wrongdoing and you confess it to God and turn away from doing that in your life. You may have to repent of the same sin over and over, but the key is continuing to turn away from it. On a Sabbath day while Jesus was teaching, he healed a crippled woman who was bound up and bent over in her infirmity. Those opposed to Jesus were indignant because he healed on the Sabbath (when they are not supposed to do any work). He made the point that each of them unties their oxen or donkeys to take them to water and isn't it even more fitting a daughter of Abraham be set free from what bound her? Verse 17: When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. Next, he went through towns and villages teaching and he warns them to make every effort to enter the narrow door. Many will try to enter and not be able to, he says. They won't be recognized and will be told "I don't know you."

Today, a friend from my Titus mom's group asked for a homeschooling website that I mentioned to her in the past. It was a good reminder for me that I've been thinking of doing more in this area. Instead of J just doing random play, I want to do more learning/engaging activities on a regular basis. The website is an extensive site put together by a Christian mom that is teaching her kids at home. Basically, it is really just intentional play activities that are engaging and fun. She has tons of info on how to begin, ideas of what toys and things you can use, etc. One of the best parts is that she has links of all these other moms who are doing Tot School and you can pick the mom's link that matches your child's age and get an idea of what a day's or week's "school" looks like. See link here.

We spent a little time at the library this afternoon. J and two other boys were playing with the Thomas trains and surprisingly they each found a few trains to play with and didn't squabble over who had what. We stopped for a little ice cream treat on the way home. J's graduated to using a booster seat now. It started pouring rain while we were there but with no thunder or lightning. I got a new raincoat and rain boots for J so when we got home we put them on and headed outside to play in the rain and the puddles. Of course, by the time we got out there the rain had pretty much stopped but after trudging through a bunch of puddles it started up again. J wanted to keep his hood on and wanted mommy to wear hers too. I remember how much I loved playing out in the rain in the summertime when I was a kid.

We went out to dinner with a long-time friend of my husband's. His mom is 91 and in a nursing rehab place so met up for dinner and a visit. I got J a high chair since the booths were smallish but he didn't want it so we did get a booster seat. The only problem there is it's harder to keep him in the seat and he tries to stand up. We noticed the tablecloth was paper so we got out his crayons and throughout the meal he colored his way around the table. He really got into it. He also ate really well. I had an Italian combo and he ate the chicken and the noodles but not the lasagna. That's good for him though. After when we went to visit Wilda, he was really shy. She really brightened up seeing him. I had a mommy snafu when noticing J needed a diaper change and realizing I had run out of diapers!!! This had never happened before so I was a bit put off. This ended up being funny. We found an adult diaper (it was hilarious how huge it was) and the nurse gave us scissors and tape so we could rig a small diaper-covering. While I was taking J to go do this, it turns out another nurse heard about it. Low and behold she had her diaper bag in the car with his size diapers! She went out in the rain to get one for us! We were so thankful and J was saying "clean diaper".

The last two nights I've made it to bed at 10:30 and have noticed the difference. Now I'm trying to be strict with myself so I stay close to that. It doesn't take long after J goes to bed for 10:30 to creep up, like now. We're hoping the weather is nice tomorrow and that the rain got it out of its system today. We'll see.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What a gift it is to be well

I continued in Luke 12 today. I've been taking a few moments to pray before I get into my study time. Today the thought popped into my mind how much the Lord enjoys it when I spend time with him. He loves for me to turn my attention to him. It was such an encouraging thought. Jesus continues in his instruction. He starts with watchfulness, saying to keep your lamps burning. No one knows the hour at which the master will come. Who is the faithful and wise manager, he says. It's all about being ready for Christ's return. Just like we keep a light on for someone not yet home an night. But Beth says it's not just about watchful waiting; it's also being involved in the Lord's work now. His words are very strong and harsh for those who don't.

I also read half of the next chapter in our Ecclesiastes book. In this book of the bible, as you read we are evaluating how we live our life. The man who fears God will avoid living in extremes (self indulgent, self righteous, wicked). The author says not to live in a spiritual cocoon avoiding the world, but to not give oneself over to it in reckless abandon. Like 1John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I liked something he said. When faced with someone's fallenness, do not get upset. Just remember that in your own heart you have done the same thing many times. This for sure is hard to remember in the heat of the moment. Yet I find it is very true and something to remember.

This afternoon, I had a follow up appointment with my psychiatrist. This was someone I started seeing during the time of my depression. I see her now about once every 3 months since she just wants to check in and see that all is well. It was great to be able to share what a gift it is to be well, especially since she saw me in the dark times. I don't think I knew how precious good health is until I went through something where it was threatened and taken away for a time. Before, I took for granted being well (spiritually and mentally). I had never been depressed and knocked flat in my life before. Now, I see how each day is such a gift as God has brought back joy and fulfillment in my life. I added a picture today of my climbing vine (clematis) and tiny hanging plants. Just seeing them in bloom reminds me of the life God gives.

We made a stop at the library and J made a friend again. This girl was older and definitely acted like an older sister trying to show J how to use the computer and trying to get him to follow her to the different toys. After that we played in the sandbox. I snuck my book in there since I couldn't wait to start it. It's called Honestly by Sheila Walsh. She is a Christian singer who was also on the 700 Club on TV. I'm not a 700 Club fan but her story really appealed to me. It's about a woman who had everything going for her but had deep inner turmoil that took her on a journey from hopelessness to ultimately deepened faith and joy.

During J's nap after I got some things done, I watched more of the Faith Like Potatoes movie. I ended up crying several times. It's a movie based on a true story. I finally finished it after dinner and thought it was good. J really liked the dinner I made tonight (click here for the simple recipe). He kept saying "this is really good" and I have to say it's great to hear your son compliment your food! It was the opposite of what happened at dinner last night. We do notice that he's getting more adamant about what he wants. It's showing up in more ways. Part of being a 2-year-old I'm sure. Tonight was daddy's night to put J to bed, but I heard him crying for me so I went in and he kept saying "mommy do it" so I took it from there. He was off and on crying about who knows what so I just kept singing to him and making up goofy songs. He finally liked my song to the tune of wheels on the bus, "Buca on the bus goes round and round" (Buca's our cat) and calmed down.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Turning worries into prayer

I woke up really tired today. I think it was a mixture of a lot of activity yesterday and getting to bed late at 11:30. I need a few solid nights of getting to bed by 10:30 to really catch up. This morning J spent most of his time coloring, then he asked mommy to color too. He was playing with bristle blocks which he got for Christmas but only recently has been into sticking the blocks together. Also dancing to the Elmo firefighter song. I did something different today and added a video I captured of him dancing. (See the bottom of the post!)

I started Luke 12 today in my devotional time. When a crowd of many thousands gathered, Jesus first begins to speak to his disciples. He gives many warnings and instruction.
-Do not be like the Pharisees who valued honor from men over a relationship with God.
-Watch out for all kinds of greed. Beth shares that our life doesn't consist of the abundance of our possessions. This is so true! Oh Lord, that I would not be attached to my possessions.
-Do not worry about your life (food, clothes). See the raven who does not sow or reap and yet God feeds them. He says we are much more valued than birds so how much more he will care for us. Beth says that believing our great value in the Lord frees us from many trappings of life; greed, worry, fear. Verse 25: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Beth shares that she was taught to turn her worries into prayer, especially worry for her children and what a difference that made. This is also something I got in the habit of doing. It does help to bring peace knowing that he's in control. Verse 31: But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

We had a good study at my women's bible group today, reviewing chapters 5 and 6 of Ecclesiastes. Before we got into the discussion, our leader Betty read something to encourage us. The focus of it was on Genesis 2:7The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. She read that man is the only creature that has the breath of God in him; being made in his image. A question she read was "What does it take you to stop and pay attention to God?" Being fearful? Being down about something? Being in a difficult situation? Just because you want to spend time with him? There was a reminder about the Sabbath back in the Old Testament days and how it is really good to take time to rest. It helps remind us that our work is not more important than God's. One of the reflections from our chapters today was that the Lord is in the midst of whatever is going on in our lives. We can endure whatever hardship we face. We see this in looking at Jesus. He actually asked that the cup be taken from him (going to the cross) but said not his will but God's be done.

This afternoon I had a few errands to run. J kept saying "I want to go home". He wasn't enjoying getting in and out of the car. One stop we made was at Walgreens to get some good bubble wands to play with. A little boy came up with a ball and they were throwing it back and forth. His dad came and said he couldn't believe he was sharing. Later, at dinner J had another melt down. He kept wanting me to pick him up and then he wouldn't eat. He at first was excited about spaghetti, but then just sat there and eventually started crying. When he wouldn't stop, I set him in his crib to calm him down.

We had another nice family walk, this time going to a different park. I spent some time on the swing and just enjoyed it, taking in what a beautiful night it was. I was thinking back to last summer when I wasn't doing well. I would take J to this park and remember how horrible and incredibly self conscious I felt. Almost paranoid. It dawned on me that J couldn't walk last summer. We spent a lot of time in the stroller. It's so fun now that he's walking, climbing, running and everything. Last part of the night was his bath. He hated it! He said "I want to sleep mommy. I want to go to bed." I told him I'd give him a speedy, quick bath but he didn't want it. The minute I put him in the water he said "all done mommy" and started crying. I was pretty quick though but I hope he's not afraid of water now from his swimming lessons.