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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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.

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.

Screen Time

These days there are a multitude of ways to get what we’ve come to know as “screen time”.  Television, Kindle, IPAD, PC, Smart phone, and the list goes on.  In our house, we are virtually a dead zone.  We do have a television but no cable.  We do have Netflix and the boys enjoy shows on there without an endless stream of media because it stops playing after each show.  We are fans of good old fashion play.  You know like it was in the days before the internet.  We make up a silly game using laundry baskets and belts to tow the boys around the house or we play chase.

Recently, I discovered a neat setting on my smart phone that allows me to have a seperate section just for the boys.  I downloaded a few games there for use when we’re waiting extra at the doctors.

Last night the boys got to playing it together here at home.  Now we have a second way to get “screen time”. 🙂

Boys Giddo watching Boys Giddo watching (2) Daddy with boys watching

Dear Jesus, thank you for time together and that the boys are starting to play together.  Amen.

Sick Days Mean Productive Days- Toddler Activities-Fine Motor Skills

If you read yesterday’s post then you know we’ve been home this week resting and healing up.  Regardless of Gideon’s Croup and Hank healing from the stomach flu, we need things to do to pass the time.

Earlier today, I enlisted Hank’s help “cutting” fabric for heat packs I am making to sell here.

Hank cutting fabricHere’s a finished one:

Open view of Owl and Green Snowflakes Snowflake side set Owl side set

We kept busy yesterday playing play-doh until I broke out the toothpicks and we practised some fine motor skills. 🙂

Poke The Holes:

Giddo with toothpicks Hank playdoh Hank with toothpicks and playdoh Proud Hank-with momma smile

I love that last one of Hank cheezing.  I used to smile just like that when I was little.

My good friend, Mary, gave me the idea for this next activity:

Threading Snakes!

I pulled the laces out of my hiking shoes and cut up plastic drinking straws like this:

supplies for snake threading

I threaded one and tied it so it couldn’t slip off then explained that they were going to thread the stripes onto their snakes.  They loved this one.

Giddo threading his snake Hank Threading his snake

Dear Jesus, thank you for good quality time with the boys.  They amaze me.  I am confident you are an awesome God when I look at the purposeful and imaginative things you make.  Amen.

The Washington State Fair 2013, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

My husband and I got brave yesterday.  Armed with our boys and tickets from my mother-in-law, we went to the Washington State Fair.  My boys are 2 and 3, that pretty much explains why we were brave to go.  But, add to that, the weather was finicky and oscillated between sun and torrential downpour.

We bought fair fries (my favorite!) that mound over two paper plates in a rectangular shape reminiscent of the deep fry basket they came from.  We bought ride tickets too.  $20 got us enough tickets for two rides, yes just two!  Hank and Bart rode the black widow, also known as the octopus.  Because of their weight differential, their car spun around with the most vigor.  My heart jumped and stopped simultaneously while watching from the ground.  I wondered if Hank was loving it or about to throw up.  Would he swear off rides?  This was his very first time going on a ride at the fair.  Praise be to God, he actually enjoyed it!

Hank and Daddy just before his very first ride Hank and Daddy on the ride

Next we put the boys together in a little plastic canoe that travelled around in a big wiggly circle going under tipi’s every so often.  They loved it, Gideon cried and threw a fit when the ride was done.  The ride operator told the boys to keep their hands inside the canoe.  Hank was a model child sitting patiently while Gideon hung his hand in the water up to his sleeve.  When told to stop by the ride operator, Gideon just laughed and laughed.  Stinker. 😉

Hank and Giddo in a canoe 3 Hank and Giddo in a canoe 2 Hank and Giddo in a canoe

The rain started then and we all got pretty wet.  Low on tickets, we went to Pete’s Barbeque Pit for dinner.  Hank ate a half ear of corn to himself and even tried my pulled pork sandwich.  Bart, or superman, negotiated Gideon and his bowl of wandering coleslaw.

We managed to look at horses and chickens too.  Hank even got to see Horses walking by within reach.  One horse whinnied at Hank.  I was surprised by how loud they are close up.

We had just a few tickets left so we headed to play some fair games.  Hank had a particular toy in mind.  It was a weird alien looking dinosaur.  In his defense, I think he wanted it because of its dino characteristics.  The game was basically impossible, but, Bart gave it a solid effort.  While wearing Gideon in the Ergo carrier on his chest he swung a rubber hammer to hit a spring-loaded platform that sends a rubber frog flopping toward shallow baskets on a table.  I should add the table was jam-packed with these alien dino’s.  Well, no dice.  Leaving without the toy was confusing to Hank.  He is after all only three.  He didn’t understand that you can pay for something and not leave with the toy.

With our bellies full and our tickets spent we walked soppily back to our street parked car.  Yeah, we got free parking!  On our trek out, Hank wailed.  I’m sure he and Gideon were exhausted from all the stimulation and bedtime was fast approaching.  We overheard, over the loud cries, a man exclaim, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.”  My gut reaction was to turn around and say, “I heard that and I’m so glad you don’t have children too.”  But then reason gave way.  Getting into a fight with a man at the fair was not what my wet and exhausted children needed.  We held our heads high and went back to our car.

I am glad we went with the boys this year.  This time last year, I couldn’t even get out of my hospital bed.  God is so good it is absolutely unreal the miracles He has done and continues to do today.

I got to thinking though.  For folks who feel the need to say unkind things to families with crying children, this letter is for you. 🙂

Dear childless stranger at the Washington State Fair, I know you loudly exclaimed, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.” in response to hearing my child’s cries as you passed us. While he was very upset, I can’t help but feel sorry for you because you are missing out. There is SO much more to having children than their tears. They are the greatest gift after salvation. Now, more clearly than before children, I see a glimpse of God’s love for me as His child. Children admire you, emulate you and simply look to you for what it is to be an adult because one day they will be too. Please watch what you say around them.
sincerely,
Momma

Dear Jesus, thank you for this fun outing and the opportunity for Hank and Gideon to experience the chaos that is the Washington State Fair.  Amen.

It’s Raining Lets Hold A Baby Python, Toddler Fun

Well, back to school for older children, and for mine?  Well, we are enjoying life’s teachable moments and even having fun exploring.  Hank has been wanting to pet and hold a snake.  It’s raining outside today and we needed an outing (and a little break from the aforementioned “teachable moments”).  We decided to go to the pet store to look at all the animals.  The nice people at Petco allowed us to even hold some!

First we held this baby python, I even did!

baby python

Then we held this baby frill neck dragon:

baby frill neck dragon

Dear Jesus, thank you for the boys you have blessed us with.  Thank you that the teachable moments are when real ground is covered.  Please help me to know best how to encourage our boys.  Lord, I feel lately like everything is “No!” and “Don’t do that.”  I know they are both small toddlers and the sibling fighting was bound to happen sooner or later but, its tough.  Please bring me encouragement too.  Amen.

Vacation Is Good

Perhaps some of you wondered where I was last week, when you didn’t see a post all week.

Well, on vacation. 🙂

Bart took last week off work and we did a “staycation”.  It was good.  We were able to tackle house projects and do family outings.  I especially enjoyed hanging out with Bart.  When we were dating we spent loads of time just hanging out.  Then we married and had children.  Now, this type of quality time is hard to snare.  Like a very swift rabbit, we can try to chase it down but often quality time slips away, right through our fingers. Bummer!

Last week Bart painted the eve’s on our house and filled in the side of our house with crushed rock.  This was a huge improvement over the weed laden partially broken up former concrete path.  We picked about 15 cups worth of blueberries at Charlotte’s Blueberry Farm in Tacoma, WA for free!  We took family drives, played at the park and even rode the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton.  The ferry ride might have been the highlight of the whole week!  Here are some pictures:

back deck back of ferry with space needle in distance boys n dadd in ferry boys n dadd on deck deck giddo n blankie hank windy SAMSUNG walking down ramp

I also got my hair dyed darker.  I really like the change and feel that my eyes look more vibrant with darker blond hair. 🙂

SAMSUNG

Gideon and Hank became besties and started holding hands in the back seat.

SAMSUNG

And Hank decided he couldn’t leave home without looking just like Daddy!

SAMSUNG

Dear Jesus, thank you so very much for vacation and time with Bart.  I love him so much and he’s a really big part of the boy’s lives too.  Thank you for him.  Amen.

The “I Love You.” Milestone

As parents we are bombarded with lists by the pediatrician, email, television, well-meaning family and friends.  We are constantly told when our children will hit certain milestones.  While walking and waving bye-bye are important, there’s one milestone that beats them all!

Mother’s day 2012, I discharged from the hospital after my first bout of Clostridium Difficile.  At that time, Hank was 26 months old.  I will never forget gingerly crossing the threshold of our home and hearing Hank say, “I love you” for the first time!  The timing couldn’t have been better.  It was like God sent my son as a special messenger that day.  I was weak and frail but rejoicing in those beautiful words.

I feel the need to go off topic for a moment, right here in the middle of this post. 🙂

Today, I am strong.  God has moved mountains.  When Hank first told me he loved me, I was heading into a physical, emotional, and spiritual storm.  God is SUFFICIENT.  I have been carried through.  We are not promised to live a life of ease.  Folks, we’re promised suffering.  God doesn’t promise to bring us around the suffering but HE DEFINITELY  brings us THROUGH the suffering.

My sister-in-law, Lacey, gave me a sweet book she made.  On the back cover it says,

“IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT.”

Amen.

Today is a good day too.  When I put Gideon down for his nap I sang “Good afternoon moon” (a little made up song) and at the end I told him I love him.

Gideon replied, “I wuv you.  Bye.”  My heart just melted.

Such a great milestone indeed!

Dear Jesus, thank you that both of my boys tell me they love me.  Thank you for today.  Thank you that Hank often comes up to me just to tell me he loves me.  I love them so much my heart might burst.  I know this is only a glimpse at your infinite love.  Amen.