The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

IMG_20160315_142944_edit
Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.

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Momma, tell me about your owies again…

Have you ever heard yourself teaching your child and learned too?  Hank has been asking about my enlarged spleen and liver a lot lately.  We often tell our boys to be very careful around me because I have “owies” in my tummy.

This morning while laying on the sofa snuggling with Hank, he asked me to tell him about my owies again.  I explained,

“Momma has two owies.  They’re kinda like water balloons that are too full.  If you push on them too hard they’ll pop.  Then momma will need to go to the hospital.”

Hank, “What will they do?”

Me, “They’ll open my tummy and take out the popped balloon.”

Hank, “Why?”

Me, “Well, do you reuse a popped water balloon?”

Hank, “Oh! No. Then what happens?”

Me, “Then we wait and trust God to make me better again.”

Then we went back to snuggling.  I heard myself tell him we would trust God to make me better and he just accepts that.  Its beautiful.  But for me its tough, you see, for me that is a HUGE call to faith that I live out every day.

We ALL will have our call to faith.  If only we can have faith like a child.

Matthew 18:3, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like a children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I am writing this to you as we await test results from our veterinarian.  We adopted a dog named Sadie over Easter.  She has been a wonderful, playful, voracious eater until recently.  I suspect that she has eaten dirt that is contaminated with antifreeze.  Antifreeze causes kidney failure in dogs.  Now the call to faith feels big as we wait on the labs.

I am also writing this to you as my sisters’ significant other, Steve, is in the hospital with heart problems.  He has been there a few days and they cannot figure out why his heart rate won’t stabilize.  Add to that his white blood cell count is elevated.

THE CALL TO FAITH IS EVERYWHERE!

Why must the call be so big?

What is your call to faith?

Dear Jesus,  I feel it.  You are the mighty king and you can bear our burdens.  You tell us to lay our burdens down and take up yours, that which you give us is light.  But Lord, it doesn’t feel so easy.  I want to fear.  Please set my eyes on you.  Help us all to have faith like a child.  Amen.

W is for Whale, Homeschooling Boys at 3 and 4 years old.

In all, our “school time” looks different day-to-day.  Today we did worksheets, but I prefer to teach in context.  For example, when driving next to a train loaded full with cargo containers two-high to a car, I explained to the boys how we can count by two’s.  This made it easier for them to see a real-world application of this mathematical principal.

We also work collaboratively with two other family’s in a co-op that meets weekly.  We teach on a rotating basis and follow this free curriculum.  So far, we have all really liked it.  But, in the spirit of adventure, I find myself supplementing the curriculum often.

JUST BECAUSE I CAN 🙂

Homeschooling is so RAD in this way.  We can do what we want when we want.

Hank loves school because its his way of getting out of “quiet time” (nap)  and doing something one-on-one with me.  I prefer keeping the definition of school loose so as to incorporate real world learning and supplement with worksheets as needed.  I don’t know if I’d say we are Un-Schooling , but perhaps a little.

I expect our homeschooling journey to morph and take shape as we go along through the years.  I love that there’s no pressure to get it all right on the first try.

Together we are LEARNING.

W is for whale

W is for whale 2

We started homeschooling in September (2014). While we’ve only been at this a few months I have to say its off to a good start. I love how we can tailor it to our day.

Today the boys worked through “W is for Whale”. In this lesson we traced big “W” and baby “w”, colored a whale, and practised a worksheet on matching capital A, B, C and D to their lower case pair. Then we talked about the letter W and practised saying the “wahhh” sound several times alone and in words. I find repetition is super helpful for my boys. I don’t worry about them wiggling or getting up and sitting down a bunch at this stage.

I have VERY active boys so I feel it is unneccessary to spend our learning time focusing on mastery of impulse control (I have a neurology background and know that it’s a futile effort with such young minds). Instead, I use short and frequent phrases to bring their attention back to the task at hand. I intentionally give praise and attention in response to desirable behavior (thank B.F. Skinner and his theory on Operant Conditioning for that wisdom) and move along when I see they are no longer able to attend.

A friend of mine (who has a teaching background) told me that children can attend to a task 1 minute for each year they are old.  With that in mind our focus on a given task is only 3-4 minutes!  Then we move along.  Its fun and pretty fast paced.

I love that today, Hank told me to leave him alone while writting his letters because he wanted to do it all by himself.  Big boy!  Just two weeks ago he wouldn’t try unless I did hand-over-hand with him.

I’m really enjoying leading them but letting them experience the feeling of doing things as they are ready.  I don’t pressure them but I do encourage them A LOT. 😉

Dear Jesus, please help us to learn with joyful hearts.  Please help me to have wisdom to teach what you want the boys to know.  I pray for great mentors and above all a passion and thirst for learning.  Amen.

A Mother’s Love

Educated or so I thought
Asked a million questions
Questions I haven’t sought
Need I answer them?
Again and Again?
To a future man who doesn’t know
the complexities of why businesses come or go.
When this pupil becomes distraught
I the momma must enter a battle that’s already fought.
Silently my heart cries out
His words so strong
Inwardly I ask, “God what’s gone wrong?”
Rest in me, I hear so clear.
Rest in me, my dear.
Slowing down I pull into a parking spot.
Out I step.
Out my eldest boy does too.
Kneeling down to his height.
I ask why I am seeing such a sight.
He pleads for no consequence.
God’s love in my heart I give grace instead.
Sadly, I know his heart is a wreck.
Silent prayers he never hears.
While I hold back motherly tears.
The Lord’s love for us might be like this.
While we whirl out of control.
He’s quiet, heart heavy.
He knows what we need before we think we’re ready.
Rest in Him, I know I must.
In God’s sovereign love I can trust.
I trust you Jesus to always keep this treasure in your care.
Because I know that you were there.
Please grow him to be strong in faith and write on in his heart what you speak.
May he be a man of character, gentle, humble and meek.
I pray he leads many.
I pray he leads well even when there aren’t any.
Please strengthen my heavy heart to know
You are trustworthy.
So endure these heart breaking moments I must.
Knowing one day the fruit will bear.
Knowing you, Lord, will be there.

Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

Hank’s 4th Birthday Festivities (pardon the delayed report)

Let me start with telling you I am so blessed.  On Saturday March 15th, we celebrated Hank’s 4th birthday.  I can hardly believe we were entrusted with such a precious gift and that we’ve had him for 4 years already! Where did time go?  I find myself getting sentimental thinking, “Now there’s only 14 years until he’s an adult!”  I am old enough now to realize that 14 years just isn’t very long.

Now that Hank is a big 4 year-old he has some new goodies to enjoy.  God has been so involved in blessing Hank!  My dear friend, Tiffany, sold us her son’s Lightning McQueen bike complete with training wheels.  It was so cool because Gideon and I were able to pick it up while Hank was at preschool leaving him none the wiser. 🙂  I managed to hold off until Friday night when I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Bart and I agreed to let Hank have his bike a day early.  We went to my in-law’s home so Hank could try out his new ride on their long smooth driveway.  He loves it and especially enjoys “talking shop” while standing next to it.  He reminds me of his Daddy talking about trucks.

momma and hank with his new bike

On the Big Day (Saturday) we went to Northwest Trek.  Hank and Gideon love it there almost as much as us adults do!  We spent the first half of the day there then headed home.  At home Hank opened a few more presents: sidewalk chalk, a dinosaur bubble gun from us and a bow and arrow set, talking Lightning McQueen car and giant bubble wands from my Mom.  Hank has been begging for a particular bow and arrow set from Fred Meyer for about six months.  When he opened it, he was on the moon!

hank and giddo momma and giddo

Life isn’t just about what we get but it sure is nice to see the gift that children are!  My birthday was March 19th and I feel like Hank is my precious and slightly early birthday gift!  I now feel like my birthday is nearly just another day but really enjoy seeing Hank’s excitement and enthusiasm on his special day. ❤

Dear Jesus, I pray Hank will grow big and strong.  I pray he will love you and lead his family well one day.  Please grant me the wisdom and strength to be the best momma I can be.  Amen.

Considering Parenthood? Mix-it-Up-Monday’s

My husband and I are blessed with two vibrant little boys ages 2 and 3.  In my short time as a parent I have come across a multitude of situations and experiences that “they” never told me about back when I was blissfully imagining baby toes.  I feel like maybe it would have been nice to consider a few things in advance.  Here are a few things I would have wanted on that list:

  • Your social life is going to change, a lot!
  • Babies poop a lot, messy up their back, poop.
  • If you have boys, open their diaper quickly then re-close momentarily before you change it.  The cold air will make them pee.  Re-closing the diaper will mean they pee into the soiled diaper instead of you.
  • Children are amazingly resilient.  Babies are kind of like Gumbi or Stretch Armstrong if you are a younger Mom. 🙂
  • Children will teach you A LOT!
  • Sleep comes and goes depending on the life stage.  Newborns eat every 2-3 hours so there is almost no sleep at that stage.  Then there’s teething and later there’s fear of the dark and nightmares.
  • You are always “on call”
  • Whenever you change a diaper KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED.  Please trust me on this.  The smell is bad at times and tasting it is worse.
  • Parenting books are full of contradictory information.
  • Go with your gut.  Seriously!
  • There will be a lot of times when you think you have no idea what to do.  Its ok, most people cannot remember the first three years of their lives.  It seems to me that this reveals the intentional nature of God.
  • You will Never have it “figured out”.
  • Just about the time you have a routine, everything will change.
  • Children don’t have a return policy and by the time they are born you wouldn’t want them put back anyway!
  • Ever heard the term “sanctification process”?  Having children is a major step in that.
  • Parenting is the most humbling thing you will ever do.
  • Parenting is NOT about you.
  • Comparison starts early whether you want to participate or not.  It’s a pit.
  • Babies don’t read the milestone charts.  There is a RANGE of normal.
  • Life after child/children will NOT be the same as it was before.
  • Having children is not Us plus Kids, it’s a whole new family unit.
  • Well meaning people will say unhelpful things.
  • Jesus is your rock, your child cannot fill this need.
  • They just might get your bad traits too.
  • There’s no time like the present to go before the Lord asking Him to help you.
  • Parenting is not for sissy’s.
  • Children get about 6-10 colds a year on average.  That works out to very few healthy days.
  • Buy a humidifier and a mini carpet cleaning machine.
  • You don’t need Many of the things they sell at Babies-R-Us.  And, Babies-R-Us is the most expensive way to buy the things you do need.
  • Skip cloth bibs and go for the laminated ones with the pouch at the bottom to catch crumbs and spit-up.
  • Time will go into warp speed while simultaneously slowing waaaaaaay down when you have children.
  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is lonely.
  • Parenting is a lot of repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • You will find yourself thanking your Mom for the sacrifices she made raising you.
  • You cannot lead your children where you yourself won’t go.  Pray through that.
  • You will give of yourself in every way with little to no immediate gratification.
  • The way you will feel about your own children is an intense love for which there are no words.
  • When you have toddlers, aim for balanced weeks instead of balanced meals.
  • Learn to accept “good enough”.
  • Children like to eat off the floor and touch each others mouths.
  • You and your spouse will have parenting “differences”.  Be prepared to be gracious and allow these differences to grow you both.
  • Small children can vomit from swallowing snot, it’s not always the stomach flu.
  • Your family will likely have the stomach flu every year for a while.
  • Homemade baby food is a great way to save money. But buy the carrot baby food.
  • Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be expensive: http://www.sunbabydiapers.com
  • Nursing Pads don’t have to be embarrassing (warning shameless plug): http://www.washablebreastpads.com
  • I was formula fed and vaccinated and lived to tell about it. And, gasp, I watched tv. 😉
  • Forget what they taught you in college.  Boys and Girls are different and not just anatomically.
  • Childbearing will change your body.
  • Once you have a baby you should plan to do kegels for the rest of your life.
  • Baby can wait while you go pee.
  • If you get overwhelmed, put him/her in their crib safely and walk away for a minute.  Take deep breaths. (They did tell you that one but it bears repeating)
  • It is good to accept help!
  • You are not alone.
  • You cannot even use the bathroom alone.
  • Communication becomes harder when you have children.
  • You will be tired, emotionally and physically.
  • You never “clock out”
  • You won’t get a pay raise or performance review.  Work toward kingdom goals instead.

I am sure there are so many more things “they” could have told me but this is a start.

I will leave you with this:

The things in life that are REALLY worth a lot take the greatest investment.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you so much for our boys.  Thank you also for always being with me and that I can trust you and fully rely on you.  I pray that Hank and Gideon will grow up loving you and that this post will be helpful to others.  Amen.

Oh Santa I Try to be good, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

This Christmas when I get coal, I will send out invites to our winter barbecue.  With that said here’s my letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

I try to be a good momma

I try to be a good homemaker

I try to be a good cook

I try to be a good business owner

I try to be a good boogie wiper

I try to be a good wife

I try to be a good friend

I try to be a good diaper changer

I try to be a good discipliner

I try to be a good sister

I try to be a good Christian

I try to be a good cleaner

I try to be a good dresser

I try to be a good organizer

I try to be a good saint

But so far I’m really just good at:

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I said no

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I said yes

&

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I decided to remain silent, calm and carry on.

p.s.  You probably already know this but USPS will allow you to ship my coal with a flat rate box to save you money, since I imagine I will be getting extra this year. 😉

sincerely,

One Bad A** Momma

Dear Jesus,

I am so thankful that I can depend on you and point the boys to you.  I am so thankful that Christmas is really about you!  I am so grateful that the little years, though tough, are precious and fleeting.  Thank you for keeping me humble and blessing me abundantly. Amen.

Swim Lessons- Toddler Wetsuit

Hank started swim lessons last week at the local community center.  It is awesome there.  When you first walk in the childcare room is just around the corner.  We stop there to drop off Gideon and off to swimming we go.  From the childcare room we walk down the hall where we see a rock wall in the distance and through double doors, past family shower cabanas, through more doors and into a beautiful heated room where the pool is located.  The first lesson we discovered that only two children signed up for the morning lesson and the other girl hadn’t made it so Hank had a private lesson!  What’s more, his little swim buddy is also three and has a peanut allergy.  I have really enjoyed watching Hank from the bleachers and visiting with the mother of the other pupil.

Hank has probably 4% body fat if that so despite the heated pool he shivers and quivers and shakes.  We ordered a wet suit for him last Wednesday after just two classes with purple lips.  It came quickly but was tragically short in the torso leaving no room for his undersides.  He actually told me it hurt his bottom. 😦

Well, we sent that back to the manufacturer and ordered a different one.  It arrived today and we are so delighted!  I ordered a size 6 to be sure he would fit and it is a bit roomy but I think that is for the best as he will get more use this way.  In case you are wondering where to get one for your toddler, we got this wetsuit and it is very nice and thermal throughout.  Our boys are both very tall for their age necessitating the two size up order that an average size child would not need in my opinion.

He is really loving his swim class and following the teachers directions beautifully.  I am encouraged to see he willingly does what he is asked for someone, even if that someone is not me at this time.  He is hoping to assert his independence and has therefore been very contrary lately.

So far he has done torpedo’s off the wall with his arm forward in a point, head tucked between and legs pushing off the wall (assisted), back floats (assisted), practised crawl stroke arms, kicked his legs while holding the side of the pool, and blown bubbles by first practising blowing a rubber ducky across the pool.  He calls it a  “soccer ball duck” for some reason. 🙂

waiting for class to start first class out in water bubbles back float front float new wet suit

Dear Jesus, I pray that at Wednesday’s lesson he is warm enough.  Thank you for helping me to save so much money with coupons at the grocery last week that it offset the cost of the lessons. Amen.

Hank The 3 Year Old Photographer

Hank loves photography!  Perhaps because he hears me make over my sister-in-law, Lacey’s, beautiful photos.  Or maybe he gets a kick out of using our camera but either way the following pictures give us insight into his world, literally from his perspective. 🙂

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy making coffee

Daddy making coffee

Gideon's hair

Gideon’s hair

another of Hank's "selfie's"

Hank taking a “selfie”

Hank's "selfie"

Hank’s “selfie”

Hank's left foot

Hank’s left foot

Me cutting fabric

Me cutting fabric

Momma doing her hair Momma doing her hair-2

sewing sewing sewing

sewing sewing sewing

This picture is awesome!

This picture is awesome!

Dear Jesus, thank  you for Hank’s budding interest in photography and for the fun look at the world from his vantage point.  Thank you also that he hasn’t broken our camera. Thank you for simpler days. 🙂  Amen.