Friday, July 30, 2010

A Fine Friday

This morning we headed out to the library for story time. I saw a mom there that looked familiar and all of a sudden it dawned on me she was someone I met at the park a while back and then we saw her jewelry booth at the Dane County Fair. I've seen her for the last 4 weeks of story time and she was also in an earlier story time with us. It's so funny how I never made the connection. We said hi to each other and laughed about that. J wasn't as attentive to the stories today. He kept wanting me to read his new library books we had picked out. He did participate in the songs though, standing up and doing some of the finger play. He even sang a bit of the Hello, how are you song. We went to the Y afterward so that I could get in another workout while J had some play time. He stopped to watch the kids ballet class beforehand. He was saying he wants to do ballet. There was actually one boy with the rest of the class being girls. Finally, our last stop was at church so we could drop off the school supplies we were donating since we won't be there on Sunday. I tried to teach J that we were doing this to serve the poor in our community, how God has given us so much and we give to others who don't have so much.

Once we got home, we ate lunch. J ate like a bird not eating much of his casserole. I had a very weird lunch. Nothing sounded good but a smoothie - a Chocolate Elvis. This time I added chocolate pudding instead of chocolate syrup. Yum! J kept coming over to get a swig or two. The picture above is me trying to get him with his chocolate mustache. He didn't want me to take the picture as you can see. The rest of the afternoon was low-key just playing inside for a couple hours before his nap. After L came home from work, our friends from India who are here in the states stopped by. Each year they spend part of the time in the US and part in India. He is a pastor who started an organization called the Sram Ashram, equipping local pastors in India where a seminary education is near impossible to get (lack of options and exorbitant cost). He has hundreds of study centers throughout the country. We were blessed to be able to visit on a mission trip/friendship trip in 2001. We had a very nice visit tonight and they finally got to meet J. They took some great photos and we prayed together before they left.

After that, we went to Culver's for dinner. This time J did great, eating almost all of his meal so he caught up from lunch. We stopped at the library again on the way home. J is really taken with this story called Stellaluna. He likes to "watch" it on the computer where they read the book with pictures. He listened to that and did legos and was so good while I picked up a few more books. He played chase when it was time to go hoping he could stay longer but they were closing. Then it was time for a bath, bedtime stories and prayers before bed. I was telling J that we're going on vacation to Chicago tomorrow and that we're seeing all our relatives. He just nodded his head, he was pretty tired. We'll be gone all next week, but I may get online and do some picture postings if we have time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More summer fun: swimming, zoo, concert in the park

We spent our morning with our Pal Zone group. J and I had a talk before we left about sharing and being kind. It seemed to help as he would get into a tug of war over something and I'd remind him to share and he'd respond. I did a lot of refereeing today as he squabbled with several others over different toys. It helps that there are so many things to play with and you can redirect pretty well. The other moms are pretty responsive to correcting their kids when needed which definitely helps. J got rambunctious during story time and kept sneaking into a play area he wasn't supposed to go. We decorated a kite for the craft and he worked with me a bit but I did a lot of it since he just wanted to play with the decorations. Then he connected with a boy about 5 or 6 and started following him. The boy started running up and down the hall and J tried to keep up going back and forth several times. He got some good exercise doing that.

My reading today was from Acts 9:1-10, Saul's conversion. Beth brings up the question, "Why did the Lord call me?" Saul may very well have thought the same thing when he was blinded on Damascus road and heard Jesus' voice calling out to him. This is the one who made murderous threats to the disciples and got papers and he was pursuing them to have them all arrested and jailed. This was unlike his teacher Gamaliel who in Acts 5:38 tells fellow leaders to leave these men alone. "Why me?" Saul might say. We see Christ's compassion and forgiveness in his mercy. Beth calls this the purity of his mercy. It makes me think of where I was and what life I had led (things I had done) before the Lord called me. It's humbling to think about the depth of his love and forgiveness.

I went to the Y for a workout after that as we were planning a dinner get together with friends. Back at home while J was napping, I got a message that our evening get together was canceled. In a way, this was good since we've been running most nights and it was good to have a low-key night. We played a little with his flash cards and did some counting. I said, "Would you do a little more counting?" and he came over, counted a few cards real quick and said "I'm all done cards mommy" and moved on. We went to the Y again since daddy wanted to work out so J and I went swimming. He spent a lot of time jumping off the side into my arms. He really likes it. We also practiced kicking and paddling. He went down for bed really easily as he had quite an active day.

We had a nice morning at home. J wanted me to read him a book first thing out of bed. Later, I talked with our friend Eileen and we made plans to take the boys to the zoo and meet after lunch. I did some Tot School with J and got some pictures of counting with flash cards, reading counting books and using colored beads for counting.

On the way to the zoo, J asked about daddy. I make it a habit that every time he asks about daddy while he's working we'll pray for him. So I prayed and then J says "pray for J and mommy?" so I prayed again and then he says "pray for J and daddy?" It was cute, he kept asking me to pray. The zoo ended up being a lot more crowded than we thought it would be, but still enjoyable. They are having an art zoobilee which is a really neat art display of various animals painted in cool ways. You see them as you walk through the zoo. They were a big draw for the boys and they enjoyed checking them out. Several of the boys favorite exhibits were closed today for maintenance (lions, tiger, camels) but they still had a good time. On the way home, J kept telling me "I feel good mommy" when I said he needed a nap and he was sleeping before we even got home.

Tonight was the final Concerts at the Park in Verona. Eileen and the boys met up with us and Carolina was doing face painting. J and I went over and she gave him the cutest little painted dinosaur on his hand. It matched the one on his shirt! It was incredible how busy the little guys were playing with the various cars, trucks and little people we brought. Of course, there were plenty of times that Jackson went roaming. He really likes to wander so Eileen gets her exercise. I had a good time chatting with Eileen while the boys played and our hubbies were nonstop talking too. J got a couple time outs when he got aggressive and hit me for who knows what. I'm noticing he's singing a lot more now. On the way to bed, I heard a little of Twinkle Twinkle and then when I sang his bedtime song he was singing with me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Celebrated 8 years of marriage

J again wanted to start off the morning with the elephants of the Jungle Book. It's a funny new phase he's in, marching around the room while it plays. I had to do some work on the computer so I also let him watch the Veggie Tale Pistachio which is like Pinocchio. It had a good lesson about listening to your parents so I have been able to remind him of that when he's needed it. I ordered some flash cards in the mail; one for numbers 1-25 and the other for colors and shapes. He really liked playing with these. He wanted me to play cars with him so I did a little of that and then he asked to do some painting. He did two different paintings with his finger paints with me putting the blobs of paint on the page and he'd swirl it around. We also spent some time with his new mini jars of Playdoh in a variety of colors.

After lunch, I thought we'd go outside and feed the birds. It turned into a learning exercise as J wanted to get involved. I had him use the scoop and transfer the seed from the container into a small bucket. Then he followed me to the backyard and I filled up the feeders.

In my time with the Lord, I read Matthew 27:62-64 (reading To Live is Christ by Beth Moore). In our study, says Beth, there are 3 groups within the Judaism of Saul's time. The Herodians, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. John 12:42 tells us "Many even among the leaders believed in him (Christ). But because of the Pharisees and those against him, they hid their belief. (Verse 43) They loved praise from men more than praise from God. At times we too are silent about our belief because we want others' approval. God help my weakness! I know I fall into this too. Beth reflects on how the Jewish leaders among those responsible for Jesus' death were so blinded by self interest that they were willing to betray and murder him, simply because he was a threat to their power. She says to think of a time when because of your own self interest you rejected God's purposes for your life. I took some time to think about this and one did hit me. I thought about the times that J comes up to me and I say "I'm busy" but yet sometimes I really could stop. I can see how this can be one of God's purposes, sending an opportunity where I can nurture and encourage J in those times instead of putting him off. Truly there are times that won't really work, but I'm glad this came to light. I also have this realization about my prayer life with my husband. It had been a daily occurrence, sharing a bit about what's going on and then praying together before he left for work. Ever since he went to summer hours, that hasn't been happening. We haven't made it a priority to carve out a new time for prayer together. Beth shares that as we seek to understand the heart of this Jewish Pharisee Saul, we know he too was with the Pharisees in their desire to see Jesus killed. In the chapters to come, we'll see God's power at work moving Saul from enemy to servant of the Lord.

After dinner, I had a get together with my friend Cecile from life group. L offered to watch J so that we could meet. She's desired for a long time to get into a deeper relationship with other women in the church body, but it hasn't happened. We think this may be a good opportunity for us getting together regularly on that level, for accountability in our spiritual growth. We met tonight to talk about our expectations, what we'd like to focus on and what we desire from it. Then we used the rest of our time to start sharing and then taking time to pray for one another. It has been so long since I've had this type of relationship that I forgot how refreshing it is. I was driving home just really encouraged and with a lighter feeling in my heart.

In the morning, J was playing with his flash cards again and wanting the elephants from the Jungle Book. After menu planning, I took J to get the week's groceries. We also stopped at Walgreens to buy some things for kids that need school supplies, a way we're serving through our church. I have to say J was so good and so patient while I hunted things down from a long list of supplies. He started a whispering game where he's see something on the shelf and whisper its name and I'd repeat it. Then we'd have a good laugh about it. I loved it. Finally, we got home and had lunch and then J spent time coloring, playing with his little people and lining up his firetrucks. Later, we went to the library and picked up a few more things. He started having a huge melt down as we were checking out so he went right down for his nap once home.

In my devotional time, I read Acts 7:1-8:1 a chapter Beth entitles Finding the Way. She says god's word does not tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. In this chapter, we're looking at Stephen, a passionate follower of Jesus being falsely accused by the Jewish leaders. Saul listened to his speech and then gave his approval of his death as Stephen was stoned; the first Christian martyr. Stephen says in verse 7:60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." This reminds me of Jesus on the cross, as he asked his Father to forgive his killers. This is so powerful.

Today, my husband and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. Our friends kindly offered to take J while we went out together. We dropped him off and my heart was wrenched as his little face fell when we were saying goodbye and he got teary. On a recommendation, we went to Madison's Shish Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant that is way too good for the dull shopping mall it's squeezed into. The food was just incredible as we ordered the sampler plate for two. Things like hummus, tahini, grape leaves, chicken and lamb kabobs. Mmmmm...we'll definitely be going there again. We had some fun recalling some of the highlights of the last year of marriage. Then we went to State Street and took a nice walk. Stopped for some cheesecake ice cream with fresh blueberries and then walked down to the lake to finish our stroll. J ended up having a great time and was in such a happy mood when we got there. He continued to play and grabbed my hand so I'd join him. Playing chase in and out of the kitchen, stacking pillows that he'd fall into and then Cecile played the accordion for us. A very enjoyable evening.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Camping at Devil's Lake, J's first time

We got back from camping yesterday afternoon. What I don't like about vacation, is coming home tired and having to unpack! Even though this was only a 2-day camping trip, we still had a lot to unpack. Originally, we were going to leave early Saturday morning, but because of the cloudy weather we decided to wait. We tried getting J to take a nap but he was wide awake pretty much the whole time just talking and jabbering to himself. When we got to the camp, we registered and J found a little 4-legged friend. They had a resident cat named Elliot who was a beautiful orange and white tabby. J enjoyed petting it but then couldn't resist chasing him and finally Elliot had enough and ran back across the driveway to the house. J was very excited to be back at Devil's Lake (kept asking to go swimming) and doing this thing called "camping".

We met the first couple and went back to set up our tents. I was pleasantly surprised that our tent had plenty of room for the pack-n-play. I hadn't been quite sure if that was going to work out. We set out for the lake and all of us went swimming. The water was really nice once you got all the way in and got used to it. J swam with daddy and me and really enjoyed it. He did plenty of splashing and kicking and then he swam on my back while I had his arms around my neck. Soon after, the other couple showed up and we went back to have some dinner; brats over the camp fire.

Every Saturday they have a dance at the Chateau of Devil's Lake so we went after dinner. They had a brass band playing. I took J out on the dance floor and he just loved it! He was nodding his head to the beat. Once the song was over and I went to sit down, he was asking to dance again. This time daddy danced with him which was so cute. Then he was asking again so I took him out. Very fun. It was really warm in the chateau so I was dripping sweat and then J started to get real cranky so L and I decided to go back to camp. We put J to bed and I did our night routine in the tent. Every night I sing a song to him based on Numbers 6:24-26 and J was singing it with me for the first time. It was sweet. He called out for us for a little bit as he heard our voices but then he was quiet. We broke out the s'mores for dessert and then after talking for a while we headed off to bed in the tent.

We were all up pretty early and headed out to breakfast at the Log Cabin restaurant in Baraboo. It's one of our favorites. J started out really well focusing on coloring but once he colored his whole page, read the couple books I brought, he changed his tune and was not happy. One of those times where everything I offer he pushes away, he cries, he wants out, etc. Then the food came and he settled down again. Later, we packed up the camp site and spent the better part of the day at the lake again. Swimming was really nice. J got cold pretty fast but let our friend Cecile hold him and swim around with him for a while. Then he went in with daddy so I could stay and swim more. We went in the chateau for lunch and while we were there J kept asking for the band. The line was too long so we went home. We had a really nice time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We're camping in Devil's Lake Saturday to Sunday so I'm off a few days.

Laughing with your 2-year-old is such a gift

This morning was different. It was a really mixed morning. Part of the time, J seemed prone to cry super easy like when he'd ask for something and I'd say no. But then we'd get into these periods of silliness with each other and we couldn't stop laughing. We had been playing his leap frog phonics letters and I started singing the letter song with my nose plugged. J just loved it! He tried doing it then and we'd just crack up. Or he was making clucking noises with his tongue while driving his little car on the furniture and I started clucking back and it just made him laugh which got me laughing. He also had to see the marching elephants from Jungle Book several times (2 frames from the movie). I decided not to do the library story time today. We were out yesterday most of the day and then tomorrow to Sunday we're going camping PLUS it was a nice rainy day which is perfect for staying in. We had fun doing Tot School. Our focus was on the alphabet. As you see in the post, he wasn't that keen on lining up the blocks in ABC order. I tried explaining Tot School and then he did a little more saying "I'm doing Tot School mommy." I liked watching him play with his little people. He lined them up on the couch and put a couple in a car. Then he'd make up a story about where they were going and what they were doing. He got upset about something and then says "I need a nap mommy" which I knew was near so he willingly went upstairs with me so I could lay him down. We read a story from his Jesus Storybook Bible about God giving Moses the 10 commandments.

He ended up taking a 3 hour nap so I was able to have time alone with the Lord and also time on the computer and a little reading. In my time with the Lord, the focus was from Phillipians 3:4-6 Paul having no "confidence in the flesh". I notice Beth Moore (I'm reading To Live is Christ) is using his early name Saul so that's how I will refer to him for now. She is talking about the influences upon Saul's life growing up like the Pharisees. The word Pharisee was meant to represent genuine piety and deep devotion to God. In the days of Jesus and Saul, the term had become synonymous with hypocrisy and cynicism. See Matthew 23 where Jesus addresses the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Beth underscores the need for loving God, being loved by God coupled with obedience. Without the love, we are just trying to be good. Saul fell into the pitfall of the Pharisees trying to live out the law faultlessly; not out of love for God but to follow the letter of the law. Saul's heart begins to turn away. She refers to Isaiah 29:13,
The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

I pray that I would never fall into that trap! It's so lifeless and empty. I find the more I become aware of God's love and majesty, really letting that in, the more I desire to follow him and his ways. Not just following a set of rules because I want to be a "good Christian" or something. This was really good to think about.

The first thing J wanted to do after his nap was see the marching elephants again. Daddy had just come home so right away he joins us marching around the living room. It was cute. J was asking for muffins for dinner and when I told him we were eating as a family mommy's tuna casserole he started a cry which I thought could be a melt down and then he just stopped. He would only eat a few bites though and then said he was all done. Even after sitting there a while he didn't eat anything more. After dinner, we stopped at the library where I had some holds come in. Then we stopped at a friend's house to pick up song books. We're going camping at Devil's Lake in Baraboo this weekend and L is bringing his (borrowed) guitar. She has a real fondness for J and he let her hold him and he sat on her lap while she read a couple books. Once home, it was time for a bath and then bedtime. It was nice, he went up without much ado and enjoyed the bath (except for getting his head wet). Then he wanted Daddy and he came to read a book or two.

Tot School (ABC's)

Tot School

Over the last couple/few days, we've been focusing on the alphabet for our Tot School time. I got a fridge phonics leap frog and he really enjoyed changing out the letters. Then he'd press the ABC song and sing what he knows of the ABC's. Sometimes we sang together and sometimes he sang alone. It went something like this: A-B-C-D-H-I-F...J-K-L-M-N-O-P...Q-R-S...Y and Z. He liked it when I held my nose and sang the song for the individual letters. Then he'd do it and we'd just crack up. This is something he goes back to several times throughout the day.

I set up J's alphabet blocks to create a little game. He'd pick out a block, I'd say the letter and then put it in alphabet sequence. He can't recognize the letters yet so this continues to be a good focus. We did this with several blocks but then J started to lose interest and then wanted to kick the blocks instead of set them up. I told him we'd take a break and come back to it later. When we came back to it, I would point to where the letter goes and he'd put the block in place but this time he stopped after only a couple blocks.

I picked out several of our ABC books to read. The one that seems to be his favorite is Clifford's ABC's. He'll often repeat the letters after me and then identify the pictures.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Taking some time to myself (among other things)

Maybe this is a new phase, but this morning J again didn't want me to read to him even when I offered, but wanted me to read aloud a book he picked out while he was reading one. If I was quiet, he'd say "mommy, read it" wanting me to keep going.

Then it was nap time for J. I had put off for too long various things that needed to be done around the house and I can't believe how much I got done today! It felt so good to see the results afterward. It was the kind of cleaning I don't have a huge block of time for very often but today J took a 3-1/2 hour nap (from 11:30-3pm)!!! I checked in on him a couple times and he didn't hear me or stir at all. I just kept cleaning until he woke up.
Here is my exciting list:
-cleaned our bedroom getting to areas that hadn't seen a vacuum in ages
-cleaned J's room
-scoured sinks
-reorganized and cleaned up toy area
-hung painting that had been my mom's which was sitting in living room for past couple months
-swept/mopped floors
-load of laundry
-vacuumed living room, stairs, upstairs bedrooms

In my time with the Lord today the reading was Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. It was probably 3 or so months ago in a time of challenge with J that I remember thinking, I am training J. Every day by what I say, what I don't say, what I do, he is watching me and absorbing more from me than I know, both the bad and the good. It reminds me to stop myself in those hard moments and ask, how am I training him? To be patient or impatient? Loving or angry? Gentle or harsh? And then ask for a fresh supply from the Lord to train him in the way he should go. Beth shares how this verse to the ancient Hebrew was one of the sternest commands of God. Paul described himself in Phillipians 3:5 as a "Hebrew of Hebrews" meaning nothing but Hebrew influence touched him in his early childhood. Paul was raised a Pharisee which at the time represented some of the noblest traditions of the Hebrews. For the parents, living a godly life was the most important of all. By the time Paul was 13, he would have assumed all the responsibilities of the adult Jew and was considered a man. He had done much memorization of God's word; the law of the Lord was his life. This is so good to be reading about how Paul was being raised. "Living a godly life" as his parents were committed to doing is so important to me to strive for as I know most of what J learns is from my actions, not what I say. I want my life to teach him my love for the Lord.

We had gotten Jungle Book the movie and J liked this part where the elephants go marching. He had me play it again and again. After his nap, he wanted to do a flip off my lap. I don't know when I taught him how to do this but he sits on my lap facing me and while I hold his hands he leans back and flips. He's so proud of himself too. "I flipped mommy!" he'll say.

Tonight was my solo night out. Our area library was showing The Blind Side with free popcorn. L wasn't that interested in it so he watched J while I got to see a movie, a rarity. It was really good, like I'd heard. It was so nice to take a night away. This was reinforced by a blog I found where she encourages mothers to take some time to themselves (she's addressing homeschooling mothers).

Here's the excerpt taken from a post on The Flourishing Mother:
For a mother to allow herself a bit of leisure to rest and refresh herself by exploring her own interests, to find a little time for herself, especially when so many others depend on her, is a what Karen calls, Mother Culture ®.

When a busy homeschooling mother takes part in Mother Culture she safeguards her enthusiasm, so she will be better able to cope with her responsibilities. To partake in Mother Culture is to feed herself with the Word of God, with ideas from books, nature, art, music, etc., thus taking care to keep growing spiritually and mentally. If there such is a thing as the joy of childhood, there is also such a thing as the joy of motherhood, and Karen admonishes mothers to recognize and live within such a blessing.

L said J wanted to see the elephants of Jungle book over and over and then they went for a walk and played outside before bedtime.

This morning our Titus's mom's group got together in our church gym for play group. We canceled being at the park since it was raining. There were only a handful of moms that came. J liked playing in a little tent they had set up. He played with cars and little people. He had trouble keeping his hands to himself (trying to hit) so I had to correct and then finally a time out when he hit a little girl. It's like he has this little space bubble and if someone gets too close to what he's doing, he reaches out to push them away or hit. Two of the moms were sharing with me they have the same struggle they're working through with their kids. Time outs seem to help a bit, but not completely.

On our way home, J asked to go to McDonald's. He hasn't done that before. There was one near our way home with a playland so we stopped there. I was worried he'd get stuck at the top in the playland but he was able to climb back down when he went to the top. Then he wanted my help to go up the other side and some kids at the top were crowding around him saying "hi cutie, cute little baby" and it got a little much for him.

Today in my devotional time I read Acts 22:3 At the Feet of Gamaliel Then Paul said: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. Paul's father sent him to Jerusalem to continue his Jewish education. Gamaliel was highly esteemed (and Beth says he still is today) and was a remarkable teacher. Beth shares Paul's words from 1Corinthians 8:1-3 how "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." The man who loves God is known by God. She encourages us to study God's word not to gain knowledge, but to increase our love for God. I only earnestly began to study God's word as I was coming to the Lord between age 25-30. It was when I turned 30 that I found a small church group where I met with a couple individuals including the pastor's wife and I learned how to study God's word so that it became a regular part of my life. Each day as I read, I find out just how much more I have to learn!

J took a pretty good nap which was good since we were invited for dinner by L's childhood friend Marilyn that he reconnected with through Facebook. I haven't heard L laugh so hard in one night for a long time. They said it was like having their own little class reunion. They went through their old yearbook page by page and went through picture albums including a month-long trip their French class took to Europe. J ate like a little bird and then he played with their foster daughter Katie who is 12. She is great with kids and babysits too. It was so funny throughout the night, we found several things we had overlapping in our lives or in common like my medical transcription background. One was it turns out I interviewed Marilyn back when I worked at the UW Hospital (but she turned down the job). It was so long ago that I didn't connect with her name. We got home past J's bedtime and L was putting him to bed and he was melting down. I came up and calmed him down just holding and rocking him but then brushing his teeth he had another melt down and then had to be calmed down again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First trip to the dentist and visit in Edgerton

J was a little slow getting up. I have a crossword puzzle book I keep in his room for times like these when he is slowly waking up. Once he was up, he started getting books and I offered to read. Instead, he wanted to go through them on his own. Getting a bit independent! Then the day got all turned around. Once J was up and we had breakfast, the plan was to go grocery shopping. It turns out the dentist wanted to move up my appointment as they had an opening today and I could bring J to introduce him to the office. I was so proud of him, he ended up doing so well from sitting in the lobby with me (doing legos, reading books) to hanging out while I got my cleaning to waiting again for me in the lobby while we figured out insurance stuff. They gave me a pair of glasses to protect my eyes and had a kid's pair for J. The lady was great in directing him, letting him know when he could come up and sit on the chair with me and when he had to stand next to me. The big test was my x-rays when they had him stand outside the room with his back against the wall in the hallway. He stood there quietly for over 3 minutes just watching. I couldn't believe it. One of the ladies wanted to take him home.

After that we headed to the grocery store for the weekly shopping. I'm so into my routine of planning a menu and doing the grocery list right there but ended up being short of time this week to finish that so I had to wing it. J was super antsy toward the end and wanted to help push the cart so I took him out and held him for a bit while he "pushed" with me. When we got home, J wanted his shirt and shorts off so he ran around in a diaper. With having his shirt off, I was teaching him about birth marks. He has one on his tummy that I pointed out and I have one on my leg I showed him. It's funny the shape of mine is like his. It took him a while to say "birth mark" clearly, but then he would point to his tummy and say "birth mark on J's tummy, birth mark on mommy's leg". J was playing really well on his own so I got some reading time in with one of my books. Then he comes over with a black fire helmet saying, "mommy fireman helmet?" and he put on his red fire helmet and then we pretended his little people were stuck in a fire and we needed to rescue them with our fire trucks.

I talked to my youngest sister Amy on the phone and we did some planning for the week J and I will be spending down at her place in the Chicago burbs. J likes saying hi on the phone and will talk a little bit, but hasn't got the hang of how to dialogue yet. I told Amy we were making her meatloaf recipe. Unfortunately, J wasn't too keen on it. He took a bite and says "I spit it out mommy". But he ate his mashed potatoes and cottage cheese. Later, we spent our time at the Y for a workout. When I was picking him up the kids said, "Your mommy's here J." I have no idea how they knew who I was. Again, he was independent when daddy came to read him his book before bed. He'd pick out a book and ask daddy to read but then he'd pick up another and start going through it on his own. We thought maybe he felt more grown up while both of them were reading.


Today we took a trip to see my friend Eileen and son Jackson in Edgerton, WI. We've been wanting to do this for a long time. The boys had a lot of fun playing together. Of course, for J it was great since there were all these new toys to explore. So many of them had music and lights which are a favorite. They did a little coloring and went down the little slide. I had to give J a time out because he kept hitting Jackson. Once he made him cry and that was it. He's still struggling with this one (and I'm struggling too!) I hate when he hits kids. I can't tell why he does it. It isn't always clear like someone has a toy or something. Eileen made a great lunch for us which J didn't eat a lot of. Again, his pickiness was showing. What he really wanted was chips. He did eat a lot of grapes which was good. Then after what seemed like a big production getting ourselves and the boys ready, we went to the local pool for swimming.

J loved how shallow it was that he could walk on his own (he can't do that at the Y). He went down the little duck slide once but then would walk up and then come right back down. He was a little shaky a few times and would almost fall over so I had to watch him like a hawk. Eileen was showing me something she learned in swimming lessons, having Jackson swim on her back with arms around her neck. I did this with J and he loved it. There was a little swim break and they had an Edgerton librarian there doing story time so we got to hear a couple books. Then the boys wanted to play in the park a bit. Finally, they were getting cranky so we headed back to Madison and J was sleeping the minute we got on the road. He only slept 1 more hour when we got home so I didn't get to have the nice long quiet time I had planned.

I did get some good prayer walking time when J and I went to the park after dinner. Daddy had gone to a guitar lesson. I noticed at the park J had to build up his nerve again for the slide. First, he went down the little slide a few times and then there are two big slides. He went back and forth for about 5 minutes deciding which slide to go on and finally chose the bigger one and went down alone with a huge smile on his face. On the way home I saw an odd-looking bird that was a bit big to be landing where he did on the bushes of a house. After a closer look, I'm pretty sure it was a green heron. As he flew up into a tree, 3 more came flying out! I was narrating this whole thing to J. There's a pond just beyond the road so I bet this was a brood that made it out of the nest. Once home, it was a bit past bedtime but J didn't want to sleep. He kept wanting another book so I had to cut it short.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A relaxing Sunday

This morning was our time to serve with the kid's ministry at church. Again, I found it really enjoyable. There are a few kids that need some extra direction but for the most part they are pretty good 3-year-olds. After that, we stayed to hear about mission trips to Honduras and Peru. I brought J with us and was glad there were a couple other kids there. Our pediatrician was the presenter who went on a medical mission trip with several others to Honduras. One of the doctors (internal medicine) was the brother of a childhood friend. It was incredibly interested to hear about all they were able to do in a short time. J was a bit of a mover during the time but never strayed too far. For the second group talking about Peru, he started to get antsy and was talking loud so we left and wandered around the large church lobby until L came out.

We all had quesadillas for lunch and then stopped at Culver's for some ice cream. This has definitely become a summer habit, which is OK as long as the rest of my diet is balanced and there's exercise. I'm still not regularly getting in 3 days a week for exercise and I'm not extremely focused on regulating my eating. I'm not really losing anything. Not very inspirational but true.

We were low key and stayed around home today. During J's nap, we spent some time reading which is one of our favorite things to do. I was reading They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky and it is really gripping. It's about the "lost boys of Sudan" who were a group of tens of thousands of very young boys who faced the dangers of traveling 1000 miles across the country into Ethiopia looking for refuge from civil war. This story is told by three of the survivors. I cannot believe all they went through. When J got up from his nap, he was pretty tired. He came downstairs and just lay on the floor. He said "I'm sleepin'". Then he stood there doing a goofy handstand thing. It was pretty funny.

Tonight we went back to church to go to the actual service. J got to hear the children's message twice. We are in the 2nd to last week of Ecclesiastes and tonight's message was about death. We viewed a brief video of our pastor walking in a cemetery. Not a place we go to unless we have to, he says. Today we looked at two different passages in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 and 2Timothy 1:3-12. in Ecclesiastes, the writer is very pessimistic. The outlook is bleak. He says whether we live our life for good or for evil, the same destiny overtakes us all. While in 2Timothy, the message is filled with hope. The highlight being verse 10: "it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This speaks of the promise of what is to come for those of us who believe and have put our faith in Jesus. Death is destroyed. I like how Paul puts that. So a reminder that as a follower, in this life we are only passing through. We are being prepared for our real life, the one that is eternal and will be spent in the company of our Lord. How comforting!

It was pretty late by the time we got home and we hadn't had dinner yet so we ate quick and then J got a bath. His Aunt Carrie was on the phone and he said hi and told her "I'm taking a bath". When I was drying him off he got away and started running around the upstairs al natural. He really didn't want to be caught and was laughing so hard. Finally, it was time to say goodnight.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday at the Fair

After having breakfast and J going through a huge stack of books to "read" we headed out to the Dane County Fair. Today they were having a farm tractor display for the kids and a fire truck and rescue equipment parade. We saw the tractors first and J got to sit on a bunch of them. Later, they were moving them out and we watched them all drive away.

We stopped at the petting zoo which was pretty small. J loved the tortoise. It had the coolest shell and was just sitting in the open eating grass. We headed to the barns and saw all the prize cows. Just as we were walking down the last row of cows we saw the rescue parade coming.

We quickly left the barn and headed to the nearest trucks. Once they were parked, we brought J over to see and who walks out but Birch the guy who leads our Pal Zone group! He's also a volunteer firefighter. He volunteers with his girlfriend and she took J under her wing and showed him around. He sat in the driver's seat, got to wear a helmet, went in the back and saw the jackets and boots. Then he put on a helmet again and just walked around. It was so funny because the helmet was really heavy so J was a little wobbly. We also went next door to a fire truck that was giving away kids fire helmets. J was very protective of his helmet. We went into the Expo area to see all the booths after that and he wouldn't put his helmet down. Even when he had it off, he had to hold it. They had an inflatable gym with slide that he really wanted to go in. Once he got in line he was afraid so a little girl held his hand and I walked along outside cheering him on. He said he wanted to go again but then when it was his turn in line he got scared and decided not to. There was an Indian woman we met at the park who had a booth so L bought a little fancy heart notebook so he can write my anniversary poems in it. Very sweet! J was starting to melt down so we headed out. In the car, his lids were getting really heavy and then he did fall asleep. Then it was nap time.

I decided to pick another Beth Moore book for my devotional study time. This one is called, To Live is Christ - joining Paul's journey of faith. I really like doing biblical character studies and Beth Moore's format is good with verses to read and then commentary. This one on Paul should be good. It says this book will trace Paul's life from early childhood to death focusing on his amazing ministry. Beth hopes it will provide a sharpened awareness of the personal calling God has placed on our lives. I look forward to that. Today I read Galatians 1:15-16. Beth shares that she accepts many of Paul's words as a personal challenge. In these verses we learn that Paul was set apart from birth and was called by God's grace. Beth creates a story that would have been like what any Jewish boy would experience after birth. She shares how his Jewish heritage impacted his lifestyle in a major way. He was raised to be a devout Jew. That meant study of the Torah, focus on marriage and performance of good deeds.

J had a long 3-hour nap today. He was really wiped. He was pretty hungry when he got up so I gave him some cheese to tide him over since we decided to go downtown for dinner. We tried to have a date night, but couldn't find a sitter. We went to where we thought a Chinese buffet was, but it wasn't there anymore so we took a walk to the capital square. It was still humid and probably 85 out but it was a nice walk. We ended up eating at an Indian restaurant. When L's food came out, it was sizzling and it really freaked out J. It was tandoori chicken which they bake in a special oven and it comes out on a hot plate. He wanted me to hold him for a bit so I took him out of the high chair and then he was on the verge of crying when I put him back. The waiter noticed and I told him what happened and next thing I know he's bringing J a "mango lassie", a creamy mango drink which J sipped down. He wanted to try my beef curry and I told him it was spicy. He took a bite and then was trying to wipe his tongue, saying "it's spicy" so I gave him a drink. We saw Madison's own Art Paul Schlosser, a State Street musician I've known since I was in college and then got to know better when L and I attended the same church with him. He played a couple songs for J and we all danced. We left soon after and J was happy to get home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tot School

- J is 25 months old -
Tot School

I had a birthday gift card for J and ordered a giant fire truck puzzle by Melissa and Doug. We opened it up today to do Tot School.

J started out pretty excited and at first was just picking up the different pieces. I worked with him to get a few pieces going. This was the first time we did a jigsaw puzzle so he needed a lot of help and coaching. I'd talk my way through it with him showing how two pieces fit then bringing in another piece and asking, "Do you think this one will fit?" He could often tell me yes if it was a match and no if it wasn't by looking. He had trouble locking the pieces together; often his piece would start sliding underneath so I'd help hold it. After several pieces were together he got frustrated with my questions and started pulling pieces apart so we decided to put it away.

Later in the afternoon, he wanted to try again and this time we ended up putting the whole thing together. He stuck with it. I took pictures when we were finished and had walked away when I noticed he had put on his fire hat and was playing fireman with the puzzle.

Finished my Beth Moore study (Jesus the One and Only)

This morning when J got up he was asking to go to Concert on the Square and Pal Zone. I told him we were going to story time at the library. He liked the stories and was a little into the dancing, singing part. He was more focused on trying to eat the craft than making it. We made a port hole out of paper plates and fruit loops. J colored the background then I put the glue on and he stuck the fish and fruit loops on. After that we went to the Y for a good workout. As J was getting up to go he fell and landed on a little girl crawling beneath him. She didn't cry at all and seemed fine but it really upset J. He had this almost crying face and needed reassurance that he didn't hurt her. I wish he was that caring when he hits someone and would realize what he's done. He hasn't gotten that yet. After lunch we did Tot School. He didn't want his nap but told me he wanted a time out. "I want a time out right over there" pointing to his time out spot. I had given him one earlier for acting up while eating. For his nap, he asked for the chalk book (about a girl doing sidewalk chalk pictures) and then I read Sleepy Time Rhyme which is a really cute one. One reviewer called it a love song for your child.

Today we come to the end of the study of Luke, finishing Chapter 24. Beth remarks how we are concluding the study and gives a word of encouragement to continue studying god's word so we develop as a follower of Christ and not a follower of the world. The scene is of Cleopas and friend rushing to tell the apostles they saw Jesus and lo and behold Jesus comes to stand among them. The words he chose to say first are moving. Verse 36: Peace be with you. Beth refers to Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace. Jesus sounds dismayed as he asks, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" (verse 38). Then he has to point to his scars and invite them to touch to dispel their confusion and disbelief. Beth says, We who believe yet have never seen are blessed because it is faith that pleases him (Heb. 11:6). She says Luke 24:45 records something magnificent "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." He says to them that everything in them about him must be fulfilled. What wonderful hope. Like the title of her book (Jesus, the One and Only), as a final thought Beth asks, "Is Jesus your one and only?" Good question!

J woke up from his nap and wanted to read some books. I wasn't ready so he went to his daddy who was in the other room. He kept coming back to get another book and I'd ask if he wanted me to read it and he'd say "No, daddy read it" and trot out of the room. He was excited that I was making pork chops and ate really well even asking for seconds of green beans. We took a walk after dinner to the video store. They have free movies for kids so I found a Veggie Tale and Everyone's Hero. It was still around 80 at 9pm and really muggy. I'm excited that tomorrow we're taking J to the Dane County Fair! They have Safety Day with some real fun stuff lined up I think he'll love.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tons of fun at concerts at the park (first time down the big slide alone)

We had a huge thunderstorm during the night and at about 3am there was some incredibly loud thunder. I laid awake wondering if J would call out for me and sure enough, I heard him when he did. This is becoming a pattern now that he wakes up during thunderstorms. He only needed a little time of comfort, holding him and rocking in the chair. The thunder died down so I told J there was only "baby thunder" and asked if he was okay and he said yes real quietly so I gently put him back to bed. I got up later than I expected as my little boy alarm clock slept a little past 8. We had to hustle to be ready for our play date at 9:30. We went to my friend Heather's who was hosting Joan and I. When we first got there, J wanted to sit on my lap for a while. Then he joined in the play. They got out books and Wren and J were "reading" sitting next to each other. It was so cute to hear them each reading aloud. I enjoyed watching J "making food". When I asked him what he was making he said "scubiddy", his word for spaghetti. Then he said muffins, cottage cheese. They had snacks outside and then played in the sandbox for a while. Pretty soon it was time to go home for lunch.

I stopped at the library on the way home and J really wanted to go inside and play so we hung out for a while and I picked up some more books. I got him started on his lunch and then Karen our babysitter came and finished up while I went to my bible study. Today we finished our study of Ecclesiastes. We had a time of open sharing about what we had learned and some of the different themes. At the end of Ecclesiastes, the writer encourages us to fear God and keep his commandments. The author breaks down FEAR with what I thought was a great way of looking at what that means.
F = Faith in his existence
E = Experiencing his grace
A = Awe and wonder at his majesty and wisdom
R = Resolve to obey him
That really speaks to me. So today was my last day of "study" at this group and next week we have a pot luck. That will be my final time as I'm going to join the women's bible study "Encounter" at our church. It'll be a good opportunity to meet with women at all different ages and stages which was part of my prayer as I was thinking of moving on from my study. I love my current group, but they are all pretty much the same age and stage, grandmothers. I will stay connected since they have so much wisdom and love, but sense it's time to move to the Encounter group.

When I got back, Karen said he was so hungry wanting everything he saw in the fridge but she waited for me. He was super hungry so I gave him a "second lunch" to tide him over and then he went down for his nap. He usually goes down without protest but today he really didn't want to nap and said "mommy, I want a time out downstairs". I think he was hoping to hang out quietly downstairs for a while instead of a nap. No go.

He woke up and we got ready for meeting Eileen and family at Verona's Concerts at the Park. Our friend Carolina told us about it, she would be doing face painting for the kids. On the way, J was super cranky/whiny and anything that wasn't what he wanted to happen would bring crying. Once we got there we met up with Eileen and after he had food he changed completely. He started a game of peek-a-boo with Jackson by peeking in the window from behind his stroller and giggling and running away as he'd turn around. He kept asking me to follow him but I was staying put so finally he just walks off and I'm watching him get further and further away. Turns out he was heading straight for the park so I joined him and we played for a while. He totally surprised me by going down the slide all by himself on the tall enclosed slide. He was so excited and proud of himself that he kept going up and down a bunch of times and he'd say "Here I come!" and telling complete strangers who would listen "I'm going down the slide". I notice he's been narrating a lot lately. Like when he cries now he's saying "I'm crying mommy" and then he was coughing in the car and says "I'm coughing mommy" and when he dances he loves to say "I'm dancing". He just really loves sharing his excitement. Later he caught up with friend Steffano and the two of them walked all over the park. I kept my eye glued to them and Steffano was like big brother putting his arm around him and guiding him and staying close to him. I really enjoyed our "adult time" as L talked with Chris and I talked with Eileen. We connected with our mutual friend Carolina and ended up being some of the last to leave the park. We liked this so much more than Concerts on the Square downtown. We had ample parking, much less crowded, park equipment for the kids and it was such a nice night. We'll probably go next week too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Highlights: Swimming, Mom's Night Out, Concert on the Square

This morning we went for our weekly groceries. In the store, we were playing a game when I couldn't find boxed scalloped potatoes. J would say, "Are they over there?" and point to something and then say "No!" I'd say, "Are they over THERE?" and point to something else. He got a kick out of it.

Today in my devotional time I finished Luke 23 and started Luke 24. It starts off with Joseph, a good and upright man it says, who took Jesus' body down, wrapped it in linen and placed it in a tomb. The women who had been following him came the next morning with spices and perfume. Beth says they had probably been weeping in painful solitude remembering their encounters with him the night before they came to the tomb. While they wondered where his body went, two angels came. The women fell on their faces, they were filled with awe. Here they learn he has risen. They immediately went and told the apostles who did not believe them. Peter himself ran to the tomb and seeing it empty first hand was left wondering what had happened. Beth reminds us of our calling to also be credible witnesses of Jesus Christ.

After a late lunch, J kept asking to go swimming at the Y so I got our swim things together. Before we left, he was "reading" my parents magazine and comes running over. He says "my car, mommy! J's car!" I follow him over and he points to the page and sure enough there was a little picture of the car we use instead of a stroller. On the way as I played the radio, he was asking for Elvis so I found the 50's CD and played some for him. It's so funny how he loves Elvis. At the Y, you have to take a shower before you swim. J was reminding me saying, "take a shower mommy". He was having so much fun in the shower, I thought he forgot about swimming. He would run into the water, scream this little high pitched scream and run out. Finally, we went swimming. It was a good time, with lots of kicking and splashing. The main thing he wanted to do though was climb up the stairs and then walk a bit on the side of the pool and then go down the stairs. He was just really fixated on the stairs. I told J he had a good idea though, to go swimming at the Y. When we were changing after, he got upset and started to cry and says "J's crying".

I gave J a "Kids Cuisine" for dinner. They have a meat, veggie and dessert. This ended up being so messy. He focused on the pudding and got it all over (bib, floor, mouth, cheek, etc.) I don't think these will work. Karen our babysitter came over and right away J says to me "bye". I wasn't planning on leaving for another 10 minutes or so but he kept saying "bye"! I could tell he was going to do well while I was gone. I had Mom's Night Out at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. At first, I was a bit nervous because I didn't know if I'd know anyone there. It felt weird leaving the house without my diaper bag, let alone without J! Our Titus group has over a hundred moms and I know a tiny fraction. It turns out I did know some who came, and we had a great time. I'm glad I ate slow so I didn't get that "I can't breathe" feeling after. I ended up getting into an intense conversation with one of the ladies I've been getting to know and before I knew it, it was 11:30. When I got home L said he thought I was lost or something. I haven't stayed out that late on my own in ages! It was good.

I was surprised I wasn't more tired in the morning, but it was okay. We got ready and went to Pal Zone. It was 9:30 and it was already really hot and humid. The forecast was heat index of 100! This continues to be a good place for J to play with other kids, listen to stories, sing and do crafts. He liked the "slippery fish" song so much that he started singing it later and another mom and I sang with him.

At home, we found a toad in the yard of the condo and I wanted to show it to J. I got a plastic tub and put grass in the bottom and he had a toad pet for about 1/2 hour. He jumped and squealed every time the toad would jump. We took pictures and then we let him go by the bird bath.

Today, I continued in Luke 24. Cleopas and another follower of Jesus were on the road to Emmaus having a discussion about everything that had happened. Jesus came up beside them and they were kept from recognizing him. He asked what they were discussing, and with downcast faces they shared. One key thing they said was that the one who was crucified was the one they had hoped would redeem Israel. How ironic that at this moment they are talking to the redeemer and have no clue. Jesus wasn't pleased with their unbelief and says "how foolish and slow of heart" they are to not believe the prophets. Jesus then gives them a complete teaching on all the scriptures that point to himself. Beth took something away from this that as they are talking with Jesus on the road, this can be likened to prayer (how we speak to the Lord) and as Jesus "opened the scriptures to them", this can be likened to Bible Study. Two key things for creating an intimate relationship with the Lord.

Tonight we went to Concerts on the Square in downtown Madison. We brought dinner and met up with two couples from our church life group. About 10 minutes after we picked our spot, my friend Joan and her family were coincidentally settling down right next to us! She spotted us and we just laughed. J had some fun dancing with Olivia and then dancing with daddy. We got some bad news from our life group leaders, that they are not continuing on as leaders and in fact will no longer be part of our group. I was not prepared for this and could tell my emotions were running high. Some of the reasons given were not very clear and I found it really hard to not make it personal. Instead of saying something I'd regret, I took J and went for a 20 minute walk around the capital. We didn't stay long after that as J was running around and wouldn't stay put and all I was doing was chasing after him. Plus it was just so hot and humid. L later told me they still want to get together as friends outside the group so that helped alleviate some of my concern. It was off to bed for J once we got home. One neat thing about today is how J really likes to dance. He was dancing at Pal Zone with some musical toys, dancing at home and then dancing at the concert. It is so adorable to watch, especially because he'll often say "I'm dancing, I'm dancing".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whispering Ridge retreat weekend

I am in the process of putting this post together!

Went to Eugster's farm today

Today, Eileen and I met up at Eugster's Farm
for an outing with the boys. This is a farm market and petting zoo. I realized I didn't have J's stroller so we used a wagon which J was pretty excited about. Jackson wanted to be in it too so the two sat together. I was amazed at how friendly these animals were. I've been at petting zoos before but never saw animals that stood so still just wanting to be pet. This llama we saw was super friendly and loved to be scratched under its neck.

We pet horses, cows, goats, pigs, held kittens and what the boys loved was playing in the sandbox with the giant diggers and dump trucks and then playing on the big wooden swingset. We had a nice little picnic lunch with some good time to talk and catch up and then went back to see some of the animals again. This time they "milked" a (fake) cow and got up close to a calf then we took them into the pen to see the chickens. They also got to bottle feed some baby goats as one of the mom's generously gave them the rest of her daughter's bottle to feed them. We ended up being at the farm for about 4 hours. I don't know who had more fun, me or J! By the time we were leaving, J was pretty cranky. At the car he said, "Mommy, I want to go night night." He was out within 5 minutes and then continued the nap at home.

I cut things a little too close tonight with getting J up just a little bit before dinner. It cemented the fact that he needs about a half hour to wake up beforehand. This time he was getting mad that his corn kept falling off the spoon and wouldn't stop crying. He didn't want a fork either. He sat on the couch until he felt better and then he ate almost the rest of his food. We went to the Y and J sounded excited saying "J go swimming at the Y". He got upset when I told him we didn't have our suits and weren't going swimming. Lately, I've been reading some books related to the Civil War that happened in Sierra Leone and the one in Sudan. I've been reading during my workouts and they go so fast now. What is especially interesting is these are written by children who went through harrowing experiences and survived to tell their story.
I've read:
-A Long Way Gone
-The Bite of the Mango
I'm now reading:
-Another Man's War
-They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky

After my workout, we went to the gym to watch daddy play basketball. J wanted his teddy grahams so I got them out and there was a little girl looking longingly at them so I asked J to share a couple. In a little bit, she had told about 4 of her friends and they all swarmed around him to get some. I decided it was best to put them away after that before it got out of hand. It was pretty much right to bed when we got home since it was a long day, with daddy reading his bedtime story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our family is on a weekend retreat at Whispering Ridge in Oxford, WI. I hope to be back online Monday or Tuesday.

Have a great weekend!!

Good question: What do you want your legacy to be?

This morning our Titus group had a rain call and we were meeting at the church gym instead of the park since the chance for rain was too great. We were running about 20 minutes late. Got a late start getting up since J didn't wake me like he has been. He was more subdued today in playing. At first he just sat quietly with some toys, then came by and wanted to sit on my lap for a while. Then he got a bit spunkier and tried to take over a couple riding toys. We had a lunch invitation but I really wanted to make it to bible study so I had to pass. I told the bible study group last week that after praying about it, I'm going to be leaving after the Ecclesiastes study and moving to the women's bible study that meets at the church in the fall. The majority of women are moms with young kids but in general there's just a greater variety of age ranges and experience. I love my group now, but everyone is in the grandmother stage of life. I will continue to visit them though. So I got J home in time to make him some lunch and then headed to the study once Dave came.

In our bible study today, we had a chance to share what we had been getting from it. One of the ladies shares that whenever she heard we need to "fear God" she wouldn't understand that. It didn't sound right until she learned through this study that it means to have a reverence for God. "Awed respect" says the dictionary. I believe this grows as we grow closer to him. Our leader Bettye shared something quick about a couple they are mentoring before they marry. The man asked them, "What would you like your legacy to be when you're gone?" Her thought is a quote from John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace. He said, "I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior." This is really something good to think about. One of the things I took away from today is how God works in steps. We often want God to fix us or fix something right away, yet God works through step by step ministering to us, often in small ways. We'd miss out on so much of learning who God is if the situation was just fixed right away.

In my devotional time today, I continued in Luke 23; the journey to the cross. Right away my heart is struck. He was beaten so badly, tortured almost to the point of death, more than a human body is supposed to bear. Still, he shows his love, compassion and strength. Beth shares after physically being nailed to the cross and the process of asphyxiation beginning, he manages to talk saying (Luke 23:34) "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Later, Jesus again has the physical power to talk and says to the criminal who asks Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:43) "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Can hear the love in that statement. Beth says that with every pound of the hammer God was nailing down our redemption, our salvation. Jesus' last words were (Luke 23:46) "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." He used his last breath to utter the trust upon which his entire life had rested.

J had an almost 3-hour nap this afternoon and was really slow about getting up. We were doing an informal dinner so I wasn't sure what to make him but when I opened the freezer he saw one of his Kid Cuisine's and asked for that. He kept saying "ravi-rolli", "ravi-rolli mommy". I didn't correct him even though it was breaded chicken. I just loved how he said it. Later, I was talking to L about stopping at the library and J says "I want to go to the liberry" over and over. Then he said, "It's closed. (Daddy said, "Closed?") J says, "No. It's open." It's so funny these little conversations we have now. So we stopped at the library where J does really great playing while L and I look around. As we got home J said that he was tired. Since it wasn't too far from his bedtime we started his routine early. He needs to be rested up since we have a big weekend going to Whispering Ridge in Oxford, WI. A little getaway rental home our friends from our old church invited us to for a personal retreat.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A long night but blessed by it

I feel so bad for my baby! He woke up around 12:15am crying out for me. I was wrapping up on the computer so I was still awake. I ran up there and he was throwing up in his crib. I got him into the bathroom and took care of him from there. He was saying "blankie dirty" so I got all the bedding and blankie for washing and made up the bed. Then J asked to go downstairs. He seemed wide awake and doing better so we went downstairs and he wanted to watch Elmo. Once I put Elmo in he laid on the floor. I quick threw the laundry in and as I came back he got sick again. After he was cleaned up, we just sat in a chair and I sang to him. Then we went upstairs and I put him back to bed. It was less than 15 minutes and I was back after hearing him cry and he was sick again. We just sat and rocked in the rocking chair and I read him a book and just held him until he seemed almost asleep. After this time when I put him to bed he woke up once more around 4am. It felt like a blessing to be able to be there for him while he was feeling icky. As I was sitting rocking him, I was thinking about what a good sleeper J is and what a blessing that he's so consistent in sleeping through the night. I thought about how that's not so for others and it made me so thankful. It was so hard for me to see him getting sick but at the same time I was really blessed that he found comfort in me and snuggled so close to me as I held him and cared for him. The Lord answered prayer as J was fine once he woke up. I'm thinking it was something he ate that didn't agree with him. He must've been wiped since he didn't wake up until a little after 9:30am. He had all kinds of energy though, and I had him take it easy just eating dry cheerios for breakfast.

Since he got up so late I didn't give him an early nap. We watched a couple videos, read books, and he played and played. I was able to get the rest of my thank you cards done from J's birthday. I have him scribble on them and so he came over and asked me if he could color the cards. Then while I was writing, he came over with his foam letters and numbers. At first I didn't notice what he was doing but then I saw he was lining them up sorted by color. It was pretty neat he did this by himself.

It was cloudy and rainy so we stayed inside. We had made plans to go to the Concerts on the Square but then it was canceled because of the rain. J was funny at dinner. He again wanted his "big guy fork" and I told him I was using a little guy fork. He starts saying "J is using a big guy fork. Mommy is using a little guy fork. Daddy is using a big guy fork." He had fun saying that again and again. We then went to the Y for a workout and came home and did some bubbles outside. Another low-key day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A couple low-key days

Lately, J has been waking me up calling out my name until I come to his room. It used to be me waking up, taking a shower and going in to check if he was awake. Now I have to find a way to keep him busy so I can shower before we eat. Just a little change in routine. This morning he wanted me to read a Big Bird book right when he got up. I was holding him later and he points to my shirt and says "mommy green" then points to his shirt and says "J green" (we were both wearing green shirts). I love seeing him pick up on these things.

In my quiet time, Luke 22 continues with Jesus being arrested. After Jesus was arrested comes Peter's denial. Peter was adamant and repeatedly denied even knowing Christ. Irony-Peter willing to kill for Christ (drew sword, struck and cut off a man's ear), but not willing to die for him. Christ called him to follow at all costs. Being embarrassed or ashamed of our faith, Beth says, leaves room for denial of the Lord. We can probably all relate to Peter Beth says for making choices that denied Jesus. The scene with Peter ends with a soul-piercing look from Jesus; the Lord looked straight at Peter after his denials. Peter was devastated and wept bitterly. This actually shows us his true heart for Jesus. Although he denied knowing him, he was crushed by what he did and shows it in intense weeping.

In the afternoon, we headed down to State Street to visit a video store we went to frequently last summer. This was the first time in several months we stopped in. I always enjoy walking down State Street. There are so many different types of people and neat shops you pass by. Later after J's nap, we went to the Y for a workout. I was struggling with not wanting to work out but it was a good time to practice doing what you don't like to do to build discipline. It did end up being a decent workout too. In the car after, we were listening to Bob Dylan and he played his harmonica. J says "What's that?" I explained it and he learned a new word. Ever time the harmonica would come on he'd say the word over and over (har-mikah) all excited. We then went out to Perkins with our friend Brad from our old church. Some time ago, J had moved up to a booster seat but I'm starting to think we need to go back to the high chair. It seemed I spent most of my time getting him to sit down! He was in a testing mood too as he had crayons to color and kept turning around to color on the seat but would peek to see if I was watching. He had a little counting milestone on the changing table in the bathroom. On the instructions were two little babies and he pointed to them saying "mommy, there's 2 babies - 1, 2". He's never counted on his own like that.

Today, Joan invited us over for a play date. Heather's mom was in town so she and Wren couldn't go. It was just J and Olivia. J seemed more rambunctious and even a bit more aggressive than normal (trying to climb their TV, hitting the blinds on their door, being more aggressive with the toys between he and Olivia). Even though I felt like I was saying no constantly to J, Joan and I were still able to enjoy some good conversation which is so nice. When we got home, we had some lunch and then went grocery shopping. J brought his Sal the Fire Dog book which he really enjoyed while we shopped. It went really smooth. He was helping me put things away but then I noticed the bags getting emptier and yet he hadn't been giving anything to me. I checked the living room and found he had started stacking some frozen food in there and was laying on the paper bags. It was a hint that it was time for a nap.

In my devotional, I started the final section of Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore. I like the invitation Beth gives to her readers for this final part to not just read about Jesus and the crucifixion, but to live it with him. To hear the nails, the cries. I finished Luke 22 and started Luke 23. His last breath. Here Jesus is mocked and beaten by the guards who arrested him. The elders and chief priests accused him of inciting a rebellion. They took him to Pontius Pilate who found in him no wrong. Beth liked the response that Jesus had when he was asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" And he said "You are right in saying that I am." She shares how Jesus echoes the I Am statements of God in the Old Testament. The religious leaders gave Jesus over to Pilate because they wanted him dead. That is serious hatred. He was then sent to King Herod who also found nothing. He was sent back to Pilate. He offered a severe beating as punishment several times but the religious leaders would not be satisfied until his death. Mark 15:10 says that it was out of envy that they handed him over. Pilate who was under so much pressure finally caved in and issued the order to crucify him. The King of Kings, the Light of the World, Emmanuel was stripped, mocked, beaten, spat upon and flogged. Now he is sentenced to execution by crucifixion.

At dinner time, J was still napping so I peeked in his room to find him awake. He said "I want to sleep mommy." I let him lay in his crib for a bit and then got him up. He came close to melting down a few times during dinner, but I seemed to be able to redirect him by not giving a lot of attention to his upset and just continuing with our meal. Afterward, we all went for a neighborhood walk and spent some time at the park. We met a nice couple who moved here from India and their adorable daughter. We stayed a while and when we got home it was time to put J to bed.