Wednesday, December 9, 2009

november funnies

ah! so much to write about! but putting together family christmas packages must trump blogging. for now, i give you...november funnies.

sparrow, getting up out of bed:
"my feet need a rest... from resting." -nov. 3

sp: "you sly old fox! she's a baby!"
me: "what? who's the sly old fox?"
sp: "golden."
me: "well then who's the baby?"
sp: "the sly old fox!" -nov. 3

"i like molasses! tastes like evergreen trees!" -nov. 11

"it smells like recycle inside my mouth." -nov. 13

"it smells really good inside my mouth. maybe some little someone is inside my mouth licking it." -nov. 13

me: "what starts with the letter H?"
sp: "hudo."
me: "hello? yes!"
sp: "no, hudo."
me: "hudo? yes, right! whatever hudo is, it starts with H."
sp: "hudo means that you are a ban-o. and bano means that that you are eating a brown banana and some white popcorn." -nov. 13

"my ball's name is 'be-calm-and-quiet-bebo.'" -nov. 14

sp: "let's make donuts!"
me: "um...i don't know how to make donuts. but i think it requires a lot of grease. i don't have a lot of grease."
sp: "how about our home will be filled with grease. and there's gonna be some on the top and on the middle and on the bottom, and then our house will be full of grease. and then we can fill our cups with grease." -nov. 18 (now doesn't that sound nice!)

sparrow has been drawing little creatures, i must scan some and post them soon, they are absolutely charming. they are just what most early "people drawings" look like: a single shape for torso and head, with features and limbs drawn in. i love them. the other day sparrow was working really hard on drawing her creatures and she was getting pretty frustrated with how the heads were not turning out perfectly circular. when she started to whimper, i asked her what was wrong, and she blurted out, "i--i'm only making lemons! i can only make stupid guys!" -nov. 18

singing many interesting made-up songs lately. one:
"let me go, let me go, let me go, oh beauty, oh beauty, oh beauty..." -nov. 18

"i like my lunch! glorious!" -nov. 18 (aw. that's the best compliment anyone ever paid me for boiled gnocci with ketchup!)

(after drinking water)
"some water is in my tummy! but pretty soon, when i grow up, i'm gonna have a baby in my tummy, and there will still be some water in there, and my baby will be swimming around." -nov. 18

me: "do you need a night-light?"
sp: "i need a daylight!" -nov. 25

mitchell leaves the house after retrieving his sunglasses.
sparrow leans close to me and whispers,
"mom, some people don't know that we aren't supposed to slam the door." (hahahahaha!) -nov. 30

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a strange experience

poor sparrow (age 3 1/2) had the oddest experience yesterday, the kind that could stick in your memory and make you fearful of certain places/ people.

we were at stowe grove park around lunch time, when sparrow told me that she had to go #2. there is only a port-a-potty there, so i was hoping she could wait til we got home, but she had to go SO badly that she had to sit down in the sand while i went off to fetch her shoes across the playground. we had to remove her puffy princess dress before we went in, too, as i did not want potty germs smearing themselves on that mass of fabric... i left her dress outside on the bike rack.

the port-a-potty was out of seat covers, of course, but there was no way i could hold her hovering over the seat for that long, so she had to sit down on the seat. i had her hold on to me, though, instead of grabbing the seat with her hands, as there was no soap/water to wash with after. there we sat in that potty for AGES! it was a bountiful load, it kept on coming!

i stood there and listened to the sounds outside. birds chirping, golden playing with thomas, etc. then some new people were arriving at the park. i could hear talking, firm footsteps, and a strange shouting. i was wondering what these newcomers would think of the dress outside, when all of a sudden, someone tried the door. it was locked, but the door was RIPPED open, and there stood a very tall, red-haired, red-moustached man with a horrible, scary, angry expression on his face! he was shocked/disappointed to see us, made a disappointed sound, and then made the most horrifying angry grunt/shout as he SLAMMED the door back shut and proceeded to grunt and shout irately and unintelligibly outside the potty. he would not stop! i reached over and slid the lock back in place, realizing this was not a normally developed person. a woman's voice from outside said "sorry," and i tried to say "that's ok," but the damage was done. when i looked down at sparrow she was weeping in utter fear. i wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, but it was hard trying to calm her down enough to get her to respond to my question of "are you all done?" i had to soothe her by telling her it was just an accident and that he just needed to go to the bathroom really bad. "it's alright. mommy's here. daddy's here. he didn't know you were in here." meanwhile the scary sounds kept coming from outside. finally she was able to tell me she was done, and we quickly finished. but by the time we emerged, the group had decided to go to the restrooms across the other side of the park, and were walking away at quite a distance now. i wished sparrow could have gotten a bit more closure. thomas wished so too, and took her to follow them, so that she could say hi at least, and i think he wanted to talk to the care giver too, to see if she could not have prevented her charge from ripping open a public restroom door... but they were already too far away for them to catch up easily. we talked about it with sparrow a little more, telling her that that man was just a little boy inside that could not express himself and was mad only because he had to go potty so badly. we prayed. thankfully the group came walking by again, and we encouraged sparrow to say hello, which she did. none of them heard her, but i was proud of her chipper voice and attitude.

i really hope this does not traumatize her experience of port-a-potties for the rest of her life, or makes her fearful of strangers, alone times, or interacting in public. i know my own skittish imagination could have run wild with that when i was younger, and the fear could have haunted me for years. so far we have not referred to the occurrence again, nor has she, thankfully.

when i got home, i decided to wash her bottom before her nap, just in case. there were blue splatters from the port-a-potty liquid chemicals ALL over her bottom and legs. gross! which is worse, getting traumatized for life, or getting some weird disease from port-a-potty juice?

Monday, November 9, 2009

october quotable

"i want it buttoned all the way because it's not fair to see my nakedness." -oct. 4

when i called sparrow "little miss chocolate," she said, "where's mr. chocolate? ...hey! maybe my baby brother will grow up, and then he'll be my size, and then he'll get some chocolate, and then he'll be mr. chocolate!" (where is this baby brother she's talking about?!) -oct. 4

(naming a new stuffed animal)
"her first name is meleusa and her middle name is gabzooga and her last name is star. and her very last name is chanca." -oct. 5

(we were making shepherd's pie that eve...)
"are we gonna put shepherds in the pie?" -oct. 6

me: "oh i know what we could have brought to class for C--a cross!"
sp, cheerfully: "we could bring a cross, to die on!" -oct. 8

sp: "i don't want the blanket to get poop on it."
me: "me neither. but it won't. we'll be careful."
sp singing: "oh be careful little blanket what you--get on yourself!" -oct. 9

"i love daddy, but i don't want him to wash my hair." -oct. 10

(talking about thanksgiving.)
sp: "and myself can come."
me: yourself? absolutely, yourself is one of the most important people that should be there, for me."
sp: "and for me." -oct. 15

"some people have to move somewhere where they can have christmas." -oct. 20

sp: "can i have the berries, mom?"
me: "no, they're for my wreath."
sp: "no, i mean for the owl to eat. the fake owl doesn't have any food. ...i guess he'll go out for bugs." -oct. 21

sp: "what did daddy say?"
me: "he said he was gonna do the dishes."
sp: "he's the best man for me ever." -oct. 21

sparrow had a booger on her finger. she held it up to the night light and said excitedly,
"warm it by the light! warm it by the light!" -oct. 21

sp: "i love to go to uncle's birthday, it's fun, and we're gonna have animal cake. we're gonna catch a zebra and put it in the cake."
me: "and what's gonna happen when we cut the cake?"
sp: "there's gonna be zebra pieces in the cake, like marshmallows." -oct. 23

"there's a loooooot of fairies in germany." -oct. 25

"am i ever gonna roll away to heaven?" -oct. 25

"mommy! i don't want to be all by myself with golden and God and the angels." -oct. 26

me: "i have an idea! we could make a lemonade stand and you could sell lemonade!"
sp: "i have an idea! i could sell sucking pigs and you could sell lemonade!" -oct. 27
(we had been reading "farmer boy" by laura ingalls wilder in the evenings)

golden: "bye bye, dad." -oct. 27 (first phrase!)
and "hi, mama." -oct. 28

(sparrow putting on her tiara)
"i'm gonna be the queen of helping."
and later,
"i'm gonna be the queen of not helping." -oct. 29

me: "what should we have for lunch?"
sp: "i'm gonna have apples and hot sauce." -oct. 29

"the mommy got some new children. and she switched her old ones to someone else." -oct. 29 (pretend playing with her teddy and other stuffed animals.)

"mom, are you gonna do the next thing?" -late oct.

sp: "are we gonna be sad?"
me: "no."
sp: "then why is it sadder-day?" -oct. 31

"this 'E' is the duck's uncle! his name is katie. ...he's a girl uncle." -oct. 31

Sunday, November 1, 2009

baby snazz contest!

check it out, you can enter to win 20 pairs of baby leg warmers at! i love the "baby legs" brand in particular for little ones and melontree is great for toddlers and older children. FUN! perfect for christmas presents, anyone?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

two favorite eliots... feeling poetic tonight

one of my favorite verses from TS Eliot, from "the rock:"

What life have you if you have not life together?
There is no life that is not in community,
And no community not lived in praise of GOD.
Even the anchorite who meditates alone,
For whom the days and nights repeat the praise of GOD,
Prays for the Church, the Body of Christ Incarnate.
And now you live dispersed on ribbon roads,
And no man knows or cares who is his neighbour
Unless his neighbour makes too much disturbance,
But all dash to and fro in motor cars,
Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere.
Nor does the family even move about together,
But every son would have his motor cycle,
And daughters ride away on casual pillions.

and here, more choruses from "the rock:"

There are those who would build the Temple,
And those who prefer that the Temple should not be built.
In the days of Nehemiah the Prophet
There was no exception to the general rule.
In Shushan the palace, in the month of Nisan,
He served the wine to the king Artaxerxes,
and he grieved for the broken city, Jerusalem;
And the King gave hom leave to depart
That he might rebuild the city.
So he went, with a few, to Jerusalem,
And there, by the dragon's well, by the dung gate,
By the fountain gate, by the king's pool,
Jerusalem lay waste, consumed with fire;
No place for a beast to pass.
There were enemies without to destroy him,
And spies and self-seekers within,
When he and his men laid their hands to rebuilding the wall.
So they built as men must build
With the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.

O Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and
impure heart: for the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked.
Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem
the Arabian: were doubtless men of public spirit and
Preserve me from the enemy who has something to gain: and
from the friend who has something to lose.
Remembering the words of Nehemiah the Prophet: 'The trowel
in hand and the gun rather loose in the holster.'

it goes on, but that last one is one of my favorite lines in poetry of all time! so poignant and well-said. i love the biblical/historical reference. beautiful Eliot to deepen one's evening...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

all's golden

golden is hilarious and is making so much progress in life! she is fascinating to watch in her bilingual development.

her most recent favorite activity is... reading books. i was a little concerned for awhile that she would not get the literary immersion sparrow has gotten, as i didn't spend much time reading with golden so far, but still spend lots of time reading with sparrow. my other concern was the fact that i don't have that many german books, so i try to translate them as i go along, but my grammar is not the best, so i was fearing that she would get corrupted language skills. which is still a legitimate fear, but the former has been debunked. golden makes SURE we read to her now! all this started about 3 or 4 days ago, when she began this little process: she brings you a book, then she wiggles herself onto your lap, nay, she pushes into your lap with her rear and commandeers it, and she doesn't just hold the book herself. she clocks you in the face with it, as she holds it up for you to take, so you MUST engage with her; she's not going to look at the book by herself. she does this at the most inconvenient times! when you are making the bed, when you are trying to have a conversation. but how can you say no to such an insatiable, sincere little mind? so golden's reading times take place throughout the day. her favorite book is goodnight, moon, and maisy mouse books are not far behind. even the childcare worker at mops yesterday commented on golden's reading love and described her lap-wiggling to me.

speaking of childcare workers, they all seem to love her. whether she is at mops or sunday school, i always get comments that she was good, she plays happily, she entertains herself, she's a joy to be with, etc. last month i was helping clean after mops when one of the nursery workers from last year came up to me and said, "you're golden's mom, right?" "yes." "oh, how's she doing?" she gushed. "i always loved sitting with her so much; she was such a delight, such a joy..." "she's good, thank you! she just learned to walk. she is in the boat room right now, if you want to go say hi!" "oh, could i? thank you!!" and the lady walked in eagerly. how sweet!

golden's longest word to date is "ballon" (balloon, of course, pronounced "ball-ong" in german, like the french.) she looooooves balloons, like most babies, but being able to say the word is so cool, that she just says it all the time now, whenever she sees something looking remotely globe-like. she can say just "ball" too, but of course ballon is better. she pronounces it more like "blong," and it elicits such enthusiasm in her that it makes all of us laugh.

one of her favorite english words is "hide," which she pronounces like "hi," except she says it in a loud whisper, and you know in context that she is saying "hide," since she says it when she covers herself with a blanket and waits eagerly for her daddy to come find her!

speaking of which, she used to say heiss (hot in german) the same way, but in the past few days, she's been adding the ss on the end there! we got in the car today, and it was quite scorching; she whimpered a little and said "heiss." wow! so cool that she can communicate with WORDS that I taught her!

"hi" and "bye" are perfectly clear, and she says "hi" to everyone--i LOVE that innocent stage, and it grieves me when strangers don't notice or don't respond to that tender expectant, enthusiastic greeting. to be greeted by a baby is such a blessing. fresh, innocent, full of heartfelt love and goodwill toward the world.

she is getting her M-O sounds down now, and says "mao" for meow when we encounter a cat in life or in books, and she also says "mo" for moo and mond (moon). oh, yesterday she was sooooo excited to see the real moon up in the sky that she squeezed me, really squeeeeeeeezed me as i held her on the way to the car, excliming "mo! mo!" and wildly doing her moon sign.

oh, yes, the funniest thing: recently my milk hasn't been coming as fast when golden nurses. mostly due to her not nursing that often! anyways, since she has to be so patient for it, i started lifting up my palms and shrugging my shoulders, saying "wo ist die milch?" ("where is the milk?") when she lets go in frustration. so now she has made it a tradition: every time she nurses, she lets go and shrugs with her palms up, looking puzzled into my eyes! sooooooooo cute, it's a miracle i haven't eaten her all up.

she is so sweet with her sister, too, and rarely picks fights or gets contentious with sparrow. she has a little sign for "sister," where she rubs her (own) cheek. when sparrow is nearby, golden will rub her (sparrow's) hair or her face. the other day they were supposed to be settling down in their own beds for nap time. i heard giggling in the monitor, and when i came in, i found sparrow in golden's crib, under a blanket, and golden sitting on top of her and jumping up and down! too sweet to elicit punishment.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

september speaks

"my horsie says 'criminal.' it bit my finger, it's very naughty, and it is big and wild." -sept. 5

"i'm so happy cause i love my horsie. and it's OLD." (we found an old rocking horse and took it home) -sept. 5

(thomas drinking bubble water)
sparrow: "that will burn your eyes out."
me: "what?"
sp: "that. the bubbly bubbly." -sept. 5

and here's a cute one from golden:
i was showing golden a pillow and saying the german word for it, "kissen."
she leans over and gives me a kiss! -sept. 5

"did you hear that mom? my fart was really loud! it scares people." -sept. 7

(rolling a toy dump truck around the floor.)
"mom, move your glass! the truck is not watching where it's going!" -sept. 9

radio: "march of dimes, march for babies."
sp: (excitedly) "we gotta march for OUR baby!" -sept. 10

"not occation, vacasion." -sept. 10
(that mix-up is even hard for me to pronounce!)

(we call boogers "boogies" at our house)
sp: "what about a boogie on a board?" -sept. 14

one day in the car sparrow sang a song consisting of the phrase "what's going on out there" repeated over and over and over... then she explained it all to me:
"i'm singing a song right now. it's about a little bird that's lost in a forest, and there are wild things, and they want to eat the bird."
then she proceeded to sing "what's going on out there" for another full ten minutes! -sept. 16

(reciting psalm 84:11)
"no good thing does He withhold from those who...are up there!" -sept. 19
(it really says "from those who walk uprightly)

me: "we have lots to do on thursday."
sp: "are we gonna thurs?" -sept. 21

me: "what sound does the letter B make?"
sp: "zzzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzz." -sept. 21

family napping together in the bed.
sparrow: "we're all mixed!" -sept. 27

sparrow cutting paper, a cd is playing in the background
sp: "hey the lady in the CD doesn't know that i'm cutting." -sept. 28
and also "hey that girl in the CD sounds like a boy." (hah! it WAS a boy for all we know!)

me: "you've gotta get on your own bed because mommy needs to sleep next to her husband. when you have a husband you'll get to sleep next to him too."
sp: "i want a thomas one." -sept. 29

"i want to marry you and daddy and golden AND my husband. then we'll both have husbands." -sept. 29

five verses

recently i dug through a box of memories and found in my mother’s old purse a few verse-memorization booklets. i remember my mother using these, flipping through them on errands or in the car, and reciting “do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth!” i got them out and set them aside, and when i opened the first one to get started on my own memorization, a cannonball struck me, for these vulnerable words were the heading of the uppermost verse, the last one she had flipped to for comfort and encouragement: “Assurance of Salvation.” with 1 John 5:13 staring out at me. there were three of these booklets, one with one clear pocket, and two with two clear pockets each. and here is where i will remember the five last verses of my mother’s heart, a strong, amazing woman, but dying of breast cancer:

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

“‘though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.” Psalm 119:132

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

sparrow's brilliant game

sparrow's game, originally uploaded by doristheblade.

while i'm at it, i might as well post another video of sparrow! this one is from a few months ago, but still so funny.

golden smelling roses

just a little vid to hold me over til i get back to blogging again. my dad and his wife have been in town, and it is so nice for the girls to get to know their grandparents from far across the sea. we went to the mission/ rose garden this afternoon, and here i caught sweet babe trying to smell a flower. she just learned to walk about 3 weeks ago, and is still a little wobbly, and so careful on her feet. i love that you can hear her smelling noise on the video. more to come soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

fashion genius for infant potty training

my newest help in the potty training world: baby leg warmers! now she can be potty-ready without having to sacrifice leg warmth.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

august wisdom

"i wanna name my first daughter 'pancake.' and i'll name my second kid 'cake.' " -aug. 2

me: "you look quite like a 1920s vixen, my dear."
sp: "mom, can you name me 'absynthe'?" -aug. 2
(that was a COMPLETE coincidence that she said absynthe after i had mentioned the 1920s. i think she was just making that word up on the spot, too.)

me: "we are borrowing way too much money."
sp: "are we obama?" -aug. 5 (the things she knows! ...i had no idea about the prez when i was three! of course now i know he was amazing. yeah reagan.)

me: "hold your horses."
sp: "do the horses have feelings? do the horses love me?" -aug. 5

we went to the kids' fair at fiesta. remembering this happy time, sparrow says,
"all i wanna do is make some money and do something else." -aug. 6
(yes, don't we all feel that way!!!)

"are you texting daddy?" -aug. 6

"mom, you're gonna have to start liking my snuggling." -aug. 6

"mom, does heaven have a door? does heaven have sky? ...hey, the sky does not have a door!" -aug. 6

"hey, when i die, i wanna find heaven in a rocket ship." -aug. 6

"look, mommy, i made a planet." -aug. 8 (holding a hoop around a ball like saturn!)

sparrow puts my coffee cone on a little bowl upside down & says
"now it looks like a jack-bowl."
me: " what do you mean?"
sp: "it has a hat on."
me: "oh like a jack-in-the-box!" -aug. 10

sp: "mommy, help me make a cave that i can sleep in."
me: "ok, but you're gonna have to wait. we are doing morning worship."
sp: "maybe Jesus could hide in a cave." -aug. 13

me: "do you want to learn german?"
(sparrow shakes head)
me: "well i think you should. it's a wonderful tool."
sp: "baby with no interested ears." -mid-august

(making fiesta-inspired confetti eggs at home)
sp: "the eggs don't like to be painted."
me: "then why did we paint them?"
sp: "because they need to be disciplined EVERY time." -aug. 17

"there's an angel! ...that's from God." -aug. 19 (seeing a satellite picture of hurricane Bill ...she was remembering the angel of death from 'the prince of egypt')

"does ma'am mean 'mom' in german?" -aug. 19

sp waking up: "i feel sick."
me: "where, in your tummy?"
(sp. shakes head)
me: "where?"
(sp. points to her neck)
me: "your throat hurts?"
sp. shakes head, then says: "let's talk about this later." -aug. 19

sp: "God is making more babies!"
me: "where do you think he's making them?"
sp: "in heaven."
me: "and then what does he do with them?"
sp: "he gives them to people. the mommies and the daddies." (randomly, at the park) -aug. 19

"this honey is not raw. it's for special occasions." -aug. 21

"there's grapes in my owie." -aug. 21 (her scab was a purple color.)

"i don't like this water. it tastes like halloween." -aug. 21

sp: "she wanted to worship Jesus."
me: "that's right. but she's not allowed to. her parents don't believe in Jesus."
sp: (processing worst thing imaginable to a 3-yr-old) "...does she not have any toys?" -aug. 23

"dogs are tired all the time." -aug. 26 (might have been the panting that gave her this idea?)

"i can't stand on my head all by myself. so that's why i need a couch to help me." -aug. 26

uncle rick playing scrabble: "i'm melting." -aug. 23
yep, he's funny too!

me: "this is so frustrating!"
sp: "is it made in china?" -aug. 27

(eating muffins)
"hey i love this! i am so glad you put sugar in here." -aug. 27

sp: "mom, how old are you?"
me: "27. think 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100!"
sp: "well you're gonna have a couple birthdays coming up soon." -aug. 27

(singing "along" during morning worship. she had a guitar too.)
"to the castle i ran...." -aug. 27

sp: "i'm cold!"
me: "well as soon as you're done playing in the water you can put your clothes on."
sp: "i'm warm again!" -aug. 27

"what's the tree's last name?" -aug. 30

"once upon a time there was a duck. not on a log. he floated and floated and floated. but one day, he sank. and a shark ate him." -aug. 30

sp: "mom, soldiers deserve spanks."
me: "why would you say that?"
sp: "because they do something naughty and they want to kill and hurt Jesus. and that's why they need a discipline." -aug. 31

sp: "may i have some corn bread?"
me: "no, you said 'may i be excused.'"
sp: "does that mean, 'i'm all done' in german?" -aug. 30

Monday, September 7, 2009

golden turns 1

one month ago, my baby turned one year old. it is overstated but true: time seems to go by so fast! what happened to my little newborn?! she is now a long, strong babe full of personality, who enjoys books, communicating with baby sign, who is saying words, and is on the verge of toddlerhood. she has been the best surprise of a child imaginable. honest confession: i thought that since i was having another girl, it would be more of the same, and that i pretty much knew what was coming up. i couldn't have been more wrong. golden has been so different from sparrow from the minute she came out, and she has held her own in this family beautifully. she has enchanted us all, and is our little joy-bringer. she truly carries the banner for us some days! and all at only one year of age. delightful.

golden's birthday party was held on saturday, the 8th of august, 2009. we didn't make a big fuss about her actual birthday the day before, except i kept reminding sparrow to be very nice to her. thomas was out of town for feldenkrais studies, which appropriately echoes last year's birth. but he was there in spirit.

i had spent all week staying up late and preparing things: making her birthday present (a tutu), making the party favors, making decorations, etc. i had found these gorgeous hanging tissue paper pom poms as decorations at, and decided they would be perfect. the theme, of course, was "golden," so i got a few yellowish hues and set to work while trying to catch up on back episodes of "the office," which i have sadly missed enormous chunks of since season 3. fortunately, the pom poms turned out to take AGES to make, so i got to watch a lot of office! hee hee. i had been up since 2 or 3 am every night, but when the day of the party came, i was not tired at all. running on adrenaline.

the cake was my classic 1st birthday carrot/apple juice cake with no sugar, but i had decided to add whip to the butter cream frosting, and it almost ruined it, making it impossible to spread, it was soooo schloopy! it worked out ok in the end, and i decorated it with gold dust (symbolic of the Lord's favor, and i used to find gold specks on golden's temples almost every day when she was newborn), sunflowers, gerber daisies, and apricots. pretty! she got her own mini cake to tear into as well.

i had decided to keep the party small, but turns out there are a lot of people that we love and love us, so i praised God for a full house instead of being miffed about it, and we welcomed many lovely friends with joy.

sparrow had been excited about the party for weeks, continually asking me if it was happening "today," and--finally--it was! she got so excited when people started to come over, and exclaimed "i love parties at home!" she had helped me make the home made ice cream, and had gotten quite a few early servings that way! it was the recipe from "the natural way" with coconut milk, cream, vanilla, and honey. food processor, freeze, food processor, freeze, etc. lots of fun. i LOVED the ice cream! mmmmm...

the party was a happy mingling with children traipsing about, golden balloons everywhere and general fun and merriment. the kids had their cake and ice cream on the floor so as to avoid catastrophe. golden wore a white satin angel costume and looked so precious! she had quite a good time opening her presents, too, which i was happy there were not too many of--her invitation said "no gifts required." but it is a birthday, after all, so SOME gifts are nice, which is why i made her a tutu, and sparrow had beaded two necklaces to give her. we really don't need a bunch of new extra "stuff." we are trying to raise the girls up to be thankful and happy with simplicity. and not having grandparents/family living nearby really helps keep loads of kid stuff to a minimum around here.

golden has truly fulfilled her name this first year of her life, it has been an amazing joy getting to know her. praise God for babies, and especially baby girls!

Friday, September 4, 2009

san francisco mini trip

at the end of july, after returning from arizona, we headed up to san francisco to drop thomas off for his month of feldenkrais studies.

the main event of the road trip up there was me losing my keys in paso robles. i had set them on top of the car at the gas station. why? who knows. it made sense at the time. then we drove back off, (with thomas driving, using his keys) and of course mine were still up there and we were tootling merrily along for a mile or so when i suddenly heard a rattling noise across the roof of the car and remembered my keys! but it took me a couple seconds to process what had just happened, so when we turned around we were not sure of where exactly they had fallen off, and we drove back and forth looking for a good half hour, occasionally getting out and combing the side of the road, getting more and more heated and aggravated over the situation all the time (how much does it cost to replace those clicker keys again?), until FINALLY we were giving up and driving away, when we spotted them!! HAH! whew! THEN, finally, thomas laughed at it all. and we both breathed relief and decided to just be thankful about it. he said an hour or two later: "if you hadn't found them, i'd probably still be mad!" yeah, but who can blame him. so would i.

thomas would be staying with (and has been staying with, for most of these sessions) Al, a great guy who has been a family friend since the mcdonnells were little ones. He was so generous and let us stay there for four nights, furnishing his extra room with a mattress for us, and allowing us to practically take over his house as we cooked and did baby stuff in his area. he was so mellow and kicked back about it, allowed me to borrow his gps around the city, which was a lifesaver!! and generally was a great friend to us. people like that need to be celebrated, because i know hospitality is not easy! we almost went to the famous aquarium, but had no $25 to spend on entertainment, so the girls and i basically visited parks for three days, mainly this one that was close to al's, was brand new, and had tons of cool "toys." it had a huge, fast, big tunnel slide that freaked even me out when i went down, holding both daughters and whooping with surprise! akin to splash mountain at disneyland. i am a wuss when it comes to fast rides and heights. a super wuss, and am unafraid to admit it. it made the park slide so exciting. we also went to the library one day, had a couple of encounters with whole foods, trader joe's, peets... got to visit grandma alice in her care center! she is such an amazing woman. she sits there all day for months on end, going through rehab, trying to get stronger, and after a string of similar injuries, still smiles, gushes over grandchildren, proclaims Jesus, and is generally delightful to everyone around. she is my heroine. we got to rub her feet and sing her some kids praise songs and cuddle her for the few seemingly brief moments that we were able to visit. she's a steel magnolia. we visited larry at the fire station, too, and he took us on a ride in the fire truck! sparrow was melon-eyed. sparrow and i had fun for those few days looking at all the colorful houses and freaking out over steep hills. on thursday morning we reluctantly said goodbye to thomas, and to al, and drove drove drove, back to the empty apartment, dusty with afternoon sun beams, quiet and empty, and lay low for awhile to process all of that month. thomas would be back on the 21st and in the meantime, there was much to get done.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

birthday bliss

i finally recognized the desolate feeling: it was yearning for heaven.

i had a gorgeous birthday with my family yesterday:
we headed down to carpinteria, a mere drive of 25 minutes, but far away from our regular routine, to bask in dune sun, ocean spray, and tent life for the next 24 hours. together. it was my birthday wish that we might go camping, and my dancer husband indulged me graciously. he is the best!
borrowed a tent, loaded up the car, felt like vacation time. carp beach is wide, the sand is abundant and soft, the air tastes like salt. the campground was directly behind the dune, and we played in the beauty of the late afternoon california summer sun (finally it is summer here--finally!!! been cold and foggy this whole time). walked into town, that quaint little town, to get ice cream cones, firewood. built a smoky, smoky fire, darn firewood. had smoked corn, red bell peppers, carrots, portabellas, tzatziki with raw veggies, sparrow even got to eat hot dogs. met christians in neighboring camp spot who loaned us their propane lamp, and saved us from ourselves as we fumbled at our late smoked dinner with flash lights. golden to bed in her pack-n-play in the tent without protest. sparrow and thomas and i celebrate with cake and sweet singing. sparrow can't stop singing happy birthday to mommy. air mattress contains leak, not air. thomas has to leave us to go home for some thick blankets to sleep on instead. sparrow and i spied on the two raccoons who lived in the tree above our campsite. cleverly, quietly, they snuck over right after we entered the tent. we shone our lights on them and they faced us with cute, beguiling expressions. all our food and trash had been put away, so we did not discourage them, only looked, and sparrow asked if we could take them home. she was so tired and sugared that she practically fell asleep as we were attempting to roast marshmallows. "i'm really tired." that was a first. thomas back to sit by the coals, to snuggle with in the cool beach night. trains hooting by every now and then in the dark. baby awoke and went back to sleep without protest, she knows that you are supposed to feel safe at carpinteria beach. morning came with gray awakening to mandarin haze, and all tired and happy, watermelon morning, fire-coffee (which is how coffee tastes the best), more beach sand and chatting with neighbors (the family on the left had 4 under 8 and one on the way--it had been their dad's birthday last night too!) and that overdrive tired energy when you pack all the stuff together and tetris it into your volvo in preparation for departure. we said goodbye, and the forlorn feeling kicked in, my nostalgia, my sad longing to stay. ate lunch at oak park on the way back, then home to well-known parking lot and neighbors, into the familiar disorganization of our apartment. and my sticky reluctance clung to me til evening, when

i finally recognized the desolate feeling: it was yearning for heaven.

so it goes, every time there is a vacation creating an atmosphere of haven relaxation, augmented appreciation for love, carefree times of laughter... when the journey is over, my discontent sets in. a trip brings out the rapidly changing nature of life, that we don't notice so much in our everyday interactions with kitchen and carpet and grocery. and it highlights the poignant truth that everything must die. i long for it forever. and it only took me 28 years to figure out why.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

arizona, home sweet...?

on wednesday, the 15th of july, we packed our warm bundles of babies into the car as evening fell here in the ocean-breezy cool of santa barbara, and headed off on an all-night trip to tucson, Arizona, where the sun always shines, even when it's dark. and oh, we started feeling that sun alright, the moment we exited LA and headed into the more desolate landscapes of south/ eastern california. we also discovered that tozer, our dear volvo, does not have functional air conditioning, contrary to our prior belief. add in the element of night construction, and you have a very unpleasant 12 hours ahead of you. we found ouselves going 2 miles an hour at 2 am in palm springs, with crying babies in the 95-degree weather, and the smell of tar permeating our miserable lives. there was nothing we could do about it, though. so we trekked on, one foot at a time, one hot farenheit after the other, until it finally began to cool down a little just before sunrise, and just past phoenix. i had been driving since about 3 or 4 am, having been unable to sleep in the back as planned, due to the awful sweltering, and my neurotic fear of car crashing while i am out cold. i felt that i might fall asleep at the wheel, too--why, oh why is the actual driving more sleep-inducing than lying on a bed of blankets in the back??!!? but i got a second wind right around phoenix. could have had something to do with the starbux frapp jarred drink i bought at the gas station--gross! sugar central. or it could have been the amazing number coincidence that fascinated me at 4:56 am: the trip mileage counter said 456 in the same moment!

either way, we made it to tucson around seven, arriving red-eyed and road-torn. not finding the door to the house where we were supposed to stay open as planned, and finding a key neither under mat nor potted plant, we had to call and wake up omi who called and sent her mother over to let us in. mrs. graham is as sprightly and active as ever, not to mention full of practical advice. thomas and the girls had managed to sleep a little, so they were eager to explore their surroundings, but i was expecting that. the first thing we did was eat a little breakfast and then take a bath in the claw-foot blue tub, to get the sweat off. following this, we had a nice long nap, and were awakened to the sounds of tuggys in the house! we were staying at marlett's house in the old neighborhood, a beautiful, mexican-ranch style house. marletts were gone for the summer. but the purpose for our journey was to attend heather tuggy's wedding! and the tuggys were using marlett's house for the bridal shower which was to be held that evening. so there was setting up to do, and i came out from under my rock to say hi to craig and mr. tuggy, neither of whom i had seen in at least seven years, and aunt joy, whom i haven't seen in about 4.

later we went to omi's for a reuniting in her bright green kitchen, and had a little quesadilla and fabulous conversation as the kids played dress-up. wow. i feel so old saying that. emi was there too.

the bridal shower that night was great, i got to help holly prepare the food and she had made the place look amazing. it is hilarious to see people you haven't seen in ten years, and they still look exactly the same! i got to meet annie's little adelyn for the first time, too, and the christopher tuggys' newly adopted first son, david abijah tuggy. this is awesome. no men or kids allowed at the shower, but mine were in the back room, so i snuck them some dessert of course.

the rest of the week was equally full of loveliness. friday we helped with boquets for the wedding, saturday the actual wedding, (goood old wycliffe fun!) on sat. night after the wedding, omi and lauren and i joined holly and a big pile of the tuggy clan at one of the hotel swimming pools. the four of us just stayed in the hot tub most of the time! these guys we had been ignoring said, "excuse me, are you religious?" they said they had thought we might have been in a cult. (because our swim suits were modest?) i loved talking to my friends and pretending like nothing had transpired since the high school days... sunday to church and lunch with the kuglers. one day we got to go swimming at the pool where i used to spend a lot of time as a child (formerly "dennis weaver park). they have put in loads of new play structures in the park, and a covered tarp thing over the kid pool (smart!). we had lots of decaf iced coffee and lots of 6:30 am walks around the neighborhood. families at starbucks. great nights hanging out at the grahams eating soup and getting lectures on the magical food "farina" or playing dutch blitz with omi and monty til all hours... and so much more. (during one of our dutch blitz nights, omi leaned over and said, "so, not to push my agenda or anything, but two of the houses in the neighborhood are up for rent... you should email the riggs and see if you can negotiate a low price with them!" so we fantasized for a bit about moving to az, and... well, we'll see what God says about that.) i even got to hang out with heather vanhouten, my good high school friend! the following wedesday, when we left in the evening hours, it rained. it poured. it dripped from the rafters and it smelled amazing. sparrow was sitting in the back of the volvo as we packed, and she stayed in there with a blankie and a toy snake for the whole duration of the storm. then monty came up and gave me a bunch of gas money... and an external hard drive!! what are these people thinking? i know they need the money for their own children, and yet they are always giving and giving.

the relief of the rain was brief; as soon as we hit florence it got hot again. and it remained hot all night, once again. i started driving at about 1:30, 2 am or so, and kept on going til we were safely home again. i listened to talk radio and drank the iced coffee i had brought (smart!) to keep myself going.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

july phrasing

"this music is not good for my brain." -july 1 (she wanted to hear a story on tape instead)

"one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of cookies, one teaspoon of chocolate, one teaspoon of alligator, one teaspoon of sugar alligator..." -july 3 (her special recipe for making cookies)

"I was just dreaming of a cat fest." -july 4th

"is it a holiday?" -july 2 (she saw a red, white, and blue wreath in trader joe's. i was impressed by her keen reasoning skills, and her mastery of the word "holiday")

"is the 4th of july gonna have a cake?" -july 3

me: "today is the 4th of july."
sp: "YAAAAAAAY! i wanna go to TRADER JOE'S!" -july 4th (because of the decorations she had seen in trader joe's, she thought that's where the party was happening.)

"hey, look at my awesome tricks!" -july 5th

"mom, i feel very tired about this." -july 6th

"there is a sign on my house that says 'no playing in the poop!' " -july 6

"mom, this is SO plastic, that it can't break." -july 8th

me: "samuel has to go to the doctor."
sp: "is the doctor gonna sew samuel's teeth back together?" -july 8th

"well how do farmers milk water cows?" -july 8 (during a discussion on cows, where milk comes from, and how it is extracted. she logically wanted to know, what about the cows that make water instead of milk? then we had a whole lesson on where water comes from.) then...

"mom, where do invitations come from? do invitations come from cows?" -july 8

golden cuteness: one of her favorite games this month was to take my nursing pads, put them on her head to play "hat," and then try to put them back in my shirt where they belong. haha!

another amazing thing about golden: i speak to her mostly in german, and her first couple of words have been german. but she is understanding english very well too. the other day i said to thomas in english, "golden can have broccoli, but we have to take her shirt off first." well! golden immediately got visibly excited (she loves broccoli), and not only that, but she started trying to take her shirt off! amazing. -july 13

"...and they trained kate not to pee or not to cry or not to jump on the sofa while they were reading." -july 21

"i will close the door so daddy doesn't get in. ok. the door is locked because the door locks at 7:12." -july 21

"mom, you're gonna get big like a city." -july 24

"dad, i'm gonna tie the greasy bear to the rocking chair for you. and it's gonna be special." -july 24

"no, golden. this is my house. unfortunately." -july 26 (not so proud of her attitude, but more her vocabulary.)

sp: "i forgive you."
me: "i didn't say sorry. is there something you think i should have said sorry for?"
sp: nods
me: "for what?"
sp: "for snapping at me." -july 26
(ouch! i do have way too sharp of a tongue at times. something the Lord and i are working on... more on that later.)

(we stayed up in san francisco with thomas' friend Al who is an old family friend of theirs.)
sp: "where's mrs. al?"
me: "there isn't one."
sp: "yes there is, he is married with gino's mommy."
(later i realized she had seen a picture of al dancing with gino's mommy (sparrow's aunt paula) on her wedding day. hahahaha! wow.) -july 27

Thursday, July 30, 2009

as i drove down the last leg of our journey home from san francisco today and hit the breathtaking views of the coast, i got quite emotional about the prospect of leaving this place. i broke out with an old mix cd that crystal had made me years ago, and started crying when this song came on. it is a perfect description of what i have come to learn about God in my own prayers...

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view
If no roof is overhead
And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessd beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace ...

But, Jesus, would You please ...

-Nichole Nordeman

Saturday, July 25, 2009

more umbrellas

awhile ago, i posted a note of thankfulness because a couple we know had handed us a trader joe's gift certificate. for some reason, i had titled the post "umbrella in a storm." well. we really needed the food money at the time, and finances were stormy, so it kinda made sense. God has been dropping me little umbrellas like this for a long time now, and i realize they are more like stepping stones in a rushing river, where you think you are going to fall off into the water, but at the last minute, you see another stepping stone and are able to take one more step across the water. all during our engagement there were stones like these showing up in envelopes as cash and many other ways. and God still sends them; this past month or so has been incredibly full of them, and i know i must keep my eyes on Jesus to see every day's salvation as i look to him for eternal salvation. let's give thanks for His many stones, his umbrellas that he throws us to let us know He is still covering us, and that's how it should be. truly, that's how it is even for someone who lacks nothing and thinks they are self-sufficient. all is held together by God. i am thankful to have that perspective from firsthand experience.

-the other week my friend from college got to visit us with her two kids. she left me half a costco box of diapers and wipes. right as i was all out!

-our neighbors/ old roommates asked me to babysit, which i would gladly to for them for free, and then gave me an exorbitant amount of money as "pay," even though their daughter was in her room the entire time!

-our other neighbors/old roommates came by and dropped off a trader joe's gift certificate (yes, another one!) on the eve of us going to AZ. it fed us the whole time we were there.

-our friends in AZ wanted us to be able to come visit for a wedding of an old friend, so they paid for our gas! there i was with an entirely free vacation on my hands! praise God. when they handed us "the greenbacks," it covered a lot more than just our gas costs...

-the same friends gave us diapers, clothes, and (drumroll) an external hard drive! (i have been talking about getting one to save my pics from hard drive problems. there ya go. God hooked it up.)

-today there was a little miracle envelope in the mail: a gift certificate to Fresco, AND a gift card to peet's?! i have my suspicions as to who it was, but...i guess anonymous gift givers like to remain anonymous. "who loves us?" sparrow asked. "i don't know..." i said, "...God."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

june quotables

"i just have one question: can you give me a hug?" -june 2

"can we sit and read in the lightness?" -easrly june, after having turned light on

(i have a character called "sunny wunny" i make up poems about (wunny from "wonne:" means joy, delight). sparrow absolutely loves her. i do impromptu poems about her most every night while i floss sparrow's teeth. they are usually loosely based on something sparrow did that day.)
me: "sunny wunny watched a leopard movie, up late with her daddy..."
sp: "and it was totally SAD." -june 8

sparrow loves a good narrative. i am convinced it's from all that reading we do. i estimate that i've read her about 4,000 books so far, some are repeats of course. every month or so i go to the library and check out between 40 and 60 new books to keep us busy for the next stretch... sparrow is now constantly asking for me or thomas to tell her stories we make up as well, and she is beginning to create stories of her own! here goes a good one:
sp: "once upon a time there was a little puppy and he had a mama. and they were lost in the woods. and they went swimming in the ocean at the beach that was in the big woods."
me: "and then what happened?"
sp: "there was a big shark and it swallowed them up." -june 8

(we do baby sign with golden and are making up signs for all the animals)
me: "what sign should we do for 'horse'?"
sp: holds up middle fingers and waves them around. "this one! this is the sign for horse!" (aaaaah, no. no, that can't be the sign for horse...) -june 8

sp: "mom, can i have a balloon?"
me: "sure, do you want a string on it?"
sp: "yeah, and i want to give it to you. you will get a balloon, mommy."
me: "oh, thank you, i will be so happy!"
sp: "you will be welcomed." -june 12

"i swung down." (correct past tense of "swing!" wow!) -june 11

me: "we don't have that kind of food right now."
sp: "let's go get some at trader joe's."
me: "well in order to buy stuff at trader joe's you actually have to have some money first."
sp: "maybe we could go to the bank AND to trader joe's!" -early june

"squishiness, squishiness is what i long for, squishiness is what i neeeeeeeed..." -june 14

sp: "tomorrow your belly will get big and you will have a baby."
me: "well, maybe not tomorrow, but probably someday soon. would you like it if you got another sister or brother?"
sp: "brother."
me: "but what if it's a girl, cause we can't decide."
sp: "well if i change my mind i will get a girl. but someday i will get a boy. a baby boy." -june 17

me: "and Jesus was really popular with a lot of the people..."
sp: "but what about his israelites?" -june 18

sp: "golden! golden! where's golden?"
me: "golden! guggen-heim!"
sp: "is that how you say it in german?" -june 18

me: "what is it that you like about daddy?"
sp: "cause if you don't have your family, there will be no mamma and daddas cause you will be all alone." -june 21 (father's day)

"i like toys and i like daddy." -june 21

(playing 'pregnant' with a balloon in her shirt)
"mom, i'm going to have a baby and it's going to be a boy. named freddy. mom, are you so excited about my baby? would you like to come to the hospital with me? (pulling it out)'s a b-b-b-balloon!" -june 21

me: "sunny wunny is a girl so sweet. she likes to smile & say 'ooh, that's neat!' she goes skipping down the street..."
sp: "and she stays on the road longer and cars run her over." -june 25 (what's with the morbid story endings??!!)

"kootzenkatz." -june 27 (she re-named a little clown whistle toy)

"my daughter's name is reophebek. my daughter's name is two-cats." -june 28

trying to settle in to the couch for a read:
me: "i still feel like i have no room."
sp: "well, it will go away in a second... when you get up." -june 29

"when it's my birthday there will be lo-o-o-o-o-o-ts of marshmallows. and butter." -june 29

blueberry picking

kind of last minute, we drove up to buellton this afternoon to a blueberry farm and had the most fun family outing. we brought our jogging stroller and golden was able to entertain herself picking and eating berries if i parked her close enough to a bush! good times for all.

seriously, here's the best thing about picking blueberries (where you can eat while you pick):
being able to shove a huge handful of them in your mouth without feeling guilty that you just ate four dollars in one bite!

and, of course, getting to eat this dessert late at night: (don't tell mary-ann.)
restoration oaks blueberry farm is open 10:30 to 5:30 every day through the season. no pesticides are used. be prepared to pay $15 per (small-ish) bucket, though. i thought it was worth it for the original experience! still cheaper than grocery store prices. (but hey, i bet farmers LOVE it when they can get customers to come up and pick their own berries, m? smart!) call 805-689-9014 for more info.

Friday, July 10, 2009

4th of july

this has always been my favorite holiday. summertime, history, patriotism, fireworks...

we went to the stowe house in the AM to see what was going on at their kids festival, but turned right around when we saw the entrance fee and detoured into the train museum instead, which was free. and sparrow did not even know the difference! she was extremely excited about the trains. as was i. i love learning about cool old stuff.

in the afternoon i was able to pick up some fire crackers and flags while out getting food for the potluck. the flags were made in the USA--thank God; it would have been just classic to give the chai-comms another profit from buying an american flag on independence day. sparrow was as happy as christmas when i brought the flags home. she sang and danced and waved them around (and still does.) she kept exclaiming, "i love my american flag!" i am sure she diesn't quite get the patriotism thing yet--does she even know what a country is? no. a few examples of her impression of the 4th of july. when i told her it was our country's birthday, she said, "are we gonna get the fourth day of july a birthday cake?" also, a few days before we had been in trader joe's and she had suddenly said, "ooh, is it a holiday?" i'd looked up and seen that she was pointing out a red/white/blue star wreath thing hanging up. "oh, it IS a holiday, sparrow, but it's not christmas. it's for the fourth of july." so on the actual fourth, when we woke up in the AM i said, "hooray, it's the 4th of july!" and sparrow said, "YAAAAAAAAY! I WANNA GO TO TRADER JOE'S!" somehow she must have thought it was a tj's thing? i dunno, i just laughed at the cuteness.

the potluck at alan and melissa's was really fun. we arrived in bonnets, cowboy hats, and all, waving flags and singing the star spangled banner. gotta cheese it up when you have kids. but seriously, over the years i had lost much of my kiddish patriotism, and i am happy to say it has recently all been coming back. i am SO thankful to live in this country and hope i can be as active as possible in protecting it and the CONSERVATIVE values that made this country so free and creative and amazing. yes, amazing. the values that indeed gave every whining liberal her liberty to whine.

we set off our firecrackers on the sidewalk and drove off to the nearest fireworks in goleta. our family ended up watching them from the albertsons parking lot, and sparrow, i am happy to say, was much more enthusiastic about them this year than last. last year we were at the daltons with a super good time, but sparrow kept saying that she didn't like the fireworks and making me really sad! the year before, when she was only one year old, we had watched far off ones from our balcony, but she had been so adorable and repeating "oo" "aa" with me. i can't believe this is her fourth fourth of july! at any rate, she was still hanging on to her flag and describing all the colors to me and saying happily, "i like it, i like it, i like it!" the albertsons parking lot lights were not ideal, but we didn't care. the moon was full behind the fireworks display and it was gorgeous. even golden said, or markedly tried to say "boom boom." she was pretty scared of them at first, but with sparrow's and my excitement, she soon caught on that it was fun! anyways, i am still SO mad that i lost the little video of sparrow watching the fireworks. i got home and loaded stuff onto the computer and forgot i have to do something special with the vid. files now on my new computer. so they didn't load, and i went thru and deleted all the stuff in my camera immediately! stooooo-pid. gone. .....oh well. gone is gone. it was a fabulous and memorable day; i'll just have to commit that scene to memory.

melissa helping sparrow with firecrackers

in the celebratory spirit

Sunday, July 5, 2009

parenting is death to self

the other night i was talking with my friend who likes to go swing dancing and she mentioned that there are a few parents at the venues who bring in their kids/babies for these late-night shin digs. my response: what are they thinking? ...ok, ok, i know what they're thinking: just because i'm married with children doesn't mean i can't be hip/ go out and have some fun. just because i have kids doesn't mean i need to be boring! a little swing music never hurt anyone, right? or for the ones that are a little more honest about their motives: "darn it, i'm a great parent all day long. i deserve to go out and do the stuff i used to do. get in the pouch, gina! we're going dancing!"

young people may think that they will be a "cool" parent who can totally hang with all the young single peeps and not lose a whit of their spark. martinis, night clubs, mini skirts, pedicures, long stints at the gym, roadtrips, etc. whatever it is that floats your boat, why should you give it up when you become a mom or dad? you can be an intuitive parent, raise your kid (or kids--2 maximum!) in an "alternative" manner, and be that vivacious, up-to-date vixen at the same time, can't you?

well, sure, you can stick the baby in a sling and take them anywhere and everywhere all day long, and they LOVE it! right? close to mommy, etc. but follow this approach a little further. toddler age: if they are not in day care most of the time by now, then mom takes them out on a string of play dates, parks, and exercise sessions. these kids turn into grade schoolers who go to school all morning and to soccer all afternoon. and before you know it they are in high school and driving themselves around to multiple activities a day, and then they leave for college and you never cultivated in them a love for home nor the ability to be content in stillness.

but the bigger issue is that people are missing this one fact: parenting IS essentially a call for death to self. that is how God designed it to be. kids are people. they are not just property to tote about and show off, like clothes or dogs. so--take the home school family with the seven children, the semi-frumpy mom, the tired dad, the mediocre house... to a young outsider these people may look dull, certainly not a lot to be envied. they are wrapped up in the home life, don't know about the latest movies and music, and can't spend much money on clothes or eating out. Lord, spare me from such a fate! right? but when you look inside the family, there is LIFE. there is exuberance and love and joy and togetherness and collaboration. ideas. conversation. learning. this is what most any person in the world would say are "the most important things in life:" family, relationships, love. the parents here are rich, rich, rich in what is important. i'm willing to bet, too, that you can't have both your youthful, less meaningful pursuits AND a healthy, happy family.

you know, it is actually sad when your values don't change and deepen with experience. do we really want to be stuck in the teenage mindset of coolness and beauty obsession for the rest of our lives? that thing in us that wants to be parents who are hip and self-fulfilled has not a bit of root in God's word. rather, it is based on self-interest, worldly image-idolatry, and feminist theory. not to mention temporal perspective. God's word only ever speaks of children as an asset and a blessing. our society views them as a liability. liability to fun! how disgustingly trite that sounds. is that the kind of parent i want my kids to have?

sure, perhaps you can raise one or two kids, be a cool dancing (working/city council/perfectly pedicured) mom, and even accomplish good friendships with your children when they are grown, but is that the high road? was that the best thing for your kids? did they witness sacrificial love in their home? did they feel that their parents knew and understood them? did they gain an understanding of God's heart for them? are they well-adjusted, productive? free of emotional pitfalls like self-pity, anger, and depression? are they christian?

i know you ultimately can't make your children become christians, of course but my point is this: HOME. home is where the foundations for life are laid. and if you and your children are NOT home very much, not focused on one another, it is practically impossible to train them, let alone get to really know their heart and have opportunity in shaping it toward God. i read recently a mother who wrote that quality time is impossible to schedule. quantity time is what we must strive for, because quality time crops up in and around the mundane tasks of daily home life. so, die to yourself! take your joy and your cue from the Lord's word. make home the exciting, affirming place to be, and you will find so much fulfillment in watching your children flourish and love. you will never pine for your lost dancing nights again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ina may

Ina May Gaskin, the most influential American midwife of the past 50 years, and author of "Guide to Childbirth" and "Spiritual Midwifery" visited our little corner of the world today, and I got to witness it!

Her workshop took place at the Goleta Valley Community Center. I was only 1 minute late and hustled to find a seat, say hi to some friends, and grab a decaf before turning my attention to the front, where the object of my great admiration was, in all her wisdom and beauty. and fame! i can't deny i was a little star struck.

The lecture, over 4 hours long, seemed more like 1 1/2, and she told so many great anecdotes while covering amazing ground on multiple topics. I took copious volumes of notes. Blurbs:

-Ina May is a self-taught midwife! she learned by doing, learned by watching, & a few people informally giving her workshops here and there. the first few births she assisted took place on busses during the "caravan" she & her husband were a part of in the '70s.

-Did you know that the US maternal death rate (from childbirth complications) could be as much as 3 times higher than the reported numbers?

-"Pit to distress" is the unwritten policy in many hospitals in this country. (They will rev up the pitocin until the baby starts to go into distress, then back it off a little. baby now in distress, needs to come out soon, c-section ensues, hospital gets more money...)

- The WHO recommends that c-section rates stay below 15%. the US c-section rate is 30%. in 1965 it was 4.5%. Have women's bodies REALLY changed THAT much in 44 years?

-Maternal morbidity rate goes up 4x with a c-section compared to a vaginal birth.

-Ina May uses bodily function jokes to encourage mothers to laugh during labor. laughing produces oxytocin and relaxes the sphincter! (she uses a hilarious german poop book as a tool sometimes. this is the video version.)

-Prolonged labor usually happens when the woman is not allowed to eat/drink, when she is kept at the hospital instead of being allowed to labor at home.

-Prolonged labor is frequently due to psychological reasons/ hangups. (in one instance a lady was stuck at 7cm for 2 days before i.m. discovered that what was bothering her was a lack of commitment from her husband! they repeated their vows then and there in a more "acceptable" way, & baby born an hour and a half later. another lady was stuck at 7 for 12 hours & it was found out she had always been afraid of dying in labor but once it was vocalized, she progressed.) so: slow labor? try a DTR or a heart-to-heart!

-the "classic" upside-down beetle position of a woman giving birth in a hospital began because one of the old kings of france decided he wanted to see his mistress give birth, and decreed that she should lie that way because it was most convenient for him to see like that! and the position is still favored by male OBs (and insensitive women OBs) who prefer a convenient view rather than the employment of gravity and common sense.

-i.m. has a theory that the no eating/drinking rule in hospitals for labor came about cause the staff can't be bothered to clean up the potential vomit. (they SAY it's because in case you have a c-section and need general anesthesia, you can get aspiration pneumonia if you have food in your tummy and happen to vomit. there is NO recorded instance of this actually happening during a c-section, and--hello!! could someone not be standing by to just WATCH and see if she vomits, then turn her head, suction, etc.?) these things are NOT about what's best for the woman, obviously.

-Vomiting is actually good in labor. (to a point!) it makes you dilate.

-Sphincter law! Ina May has so much good common sense. sphincter law is about comparing the cervix to other sphincters in the body, studying what makes them tick, and applying the knowledge to help a smooth dilation and easier labor. (they are involuntary muscles, they are shy, they don't obey orders, they respond well to praise, they open better when the jaw is relaxed, open better with a laugh or a smile...)

-thankfulness increases oxytocin! i was happy that i.m. admitted that a thankful prayer could help a labor progress. and it's a true Biblical principle, too: be thankful, and the joy will come. not the other way around. you can see, i learned and learned. drank it in. i was happy i remembered to take my camera, too.

after the workshop, there was a most amazingly delicious vegetarian, organic lunch catered by kim schiffer/fresh food catering (?) i can't find a website, but if you ever get a chance to eat their food, DO it. BEST pita bread ever. and i don't even like pita bread.

thankfulness still following me for the whole gorgeous uniqueness of this experience.