Thursday, August 18, 2011

Caleb is 2!

As of a few weeks ago, Caleb is now officially two years old. I can't believe it! This year has gone faster than his first year did. How is that possible? This year has definitely been filled with "big boy" milestones and adventures. What did July 2010 through July 2011 bring?

In no particular order:

  • running

  • jumping, off of anything!

  • sliding down big kid slides all by himself

  • being able to let him play by himself on playgrounds(!)

  • mimicking everything

  • obeying simple commands

  • his first haircut, on his second birthday

  • finding out he'd be a big brother

  • moving in with his grandparents

  • climbing stairs all by himself

  • making sentences; his longest so far, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is coming right back!"

  • identifying letters and phonemes

  • sitting in a booster seat

  • using fork and spoon

  • first airplane rides

  • tubing with Daddy

  • making jokes and entertaining those around him

  • saying "please" and "thank you"

  • giving hugs while saying "awww"

  • praying with hands together and head bowed

  • potty training

Oh how I wish I could remember everything he's accomplished this year, but these are some of the highlights..i.e. what my pregnant brain can recollect. I know every mom says this, but I am just over the moon proud of my son. He lights up my life, and has brought us more joy than we could have ever imagined. I have enjoyed this past year with him, so much more than his first; simply because his personality is now shining through.

It brings me such happiness seeing him discover new things and being challenged. Moreover, I am grateful to God for allowing us to parent him. All of his little quirks and mannerisms fit our family so well. From his love of food to being a cuddly boy and rough and tumble self, he is ours. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

God has helped me greatly this year by increasing my patience with Caleb, and I'd say children in general. I pray it will only continue to improve with each day. He has also instilled in me the sacred calling of being a mother to Caleb. The intentionality with raising a godly child is such an immense and essential task. I can't leave it up to our church, or his Sunday school teachers, or books. One of my prayers when I was pregnant with him was that he would obey God's Word and tell others about Him. Faith is no different than other life lessons when it comes to being "caught, not taught." Even though we teach him Biblical truths, we know as parents that modeling it does far more for him than anything. I want him to know that Mommy and Daddy's God is real, and that our faith is too.

He amazes me with his simple, but profound ways of learning about faith. A few months ago, he picked up a Bible and said matter of factly, "Bible. God. Love." A few weeks ago when I asked him to obey a command, he said, "No." I then asked him, "What would Jesus want you to do?" He replied, "Obey." Just this morning, he picked up his toy cell phone and began talking away. "Caleb," I asked, "Who are you talking to?" He said, "God!" then continued on his way. Tonight we did a sing-along of "Jesus loves me." Let me tell you, it is a precious thing to hear your little boy sing, "He is strong!"

We try our best to use those everyday, teachable moments to help him see God more clearly. And as a parent, I see my desperate need for grace now more than ever. I remember hearing a friend praying over her little girl a few years ago..."Lord, let her see You and know You, despite my sins and failures." She was crying while praying this, and I will never forget that moment. Because I too, can now understand that plea.

Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV, "My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Specky post

I have totally succumbed to the 'second-child' syndrome already. It's happening, folks. And the poor kid isn't even born yet! It certainly isn't because I don't care or I'm not excited. Oh, I am, I really can't wait to meet this little one. It's just that the big brother in the house keeps me conveniently distracted. So without further postponement, let's talk about Speck, baby....

Who is "Specky?" As with our 2 other little babes in utero, we had nicknames from the beginning with them. Before we knew Caleb was a boy, his nicknames were his corresponding size in fruit by week...i.e. poppy seed, blueberry, raspberry, plum. And with our second child, its nickname was and always will be "little seed." So, when #3 blissfully came along, I began thinking of tiny things...and thus little "Speck" or "Specky" was named. The complete nickname is "Specky McSpeckerson." I often create fake last names with Mc-?-er-son. Don't ask :)

When is the due date? Somewhere between late November and early December, Lord willing. Caleb was born 5 days before his EDD.

Is it a boy or a girl? We don't know! We (meaning me) really desired a surprise delivery this time. This whole pregnancy has been more laidback than my first, so it just felt like it would be fun to have this awesome surprise in 9 months.

I can't believe you don't wanna know! I know; me either.

Do you have names picked out? Yes, both first and middles for either boy or girl. At this point, I think we're waiting to reveal them until the birth.

How are you feeling? Awesome, really. In the first trimester, I experienced nausea for the first time (never had it with Caleb), and was extremely fatigued. The latter probably due to chasing around a rambunctious toddler this time.

Have you felt the baby move? Yes, and I was able to recognize the sensation sooner this time from experience. I felt little "bubbles" around week 15, but wasn't truly certain. Around week 16, I was positive that they were indeed little jabs and left hooks. Brent has been able to feel Specky move too. Very cool! Specky seems to be just as active as big brother was.

Does Caleb know about Specky? Yes, to the degree that an almost 2 year old can. It's the most precious thing when he asks to "Kiss baby?" We are learning to be gentle with a babydoll, and showing kindness to it. He is learning to entertain himself and play independently.

Anything else to share? Well, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity sister is also pregnant and we are due 10 days apart! My parents are really excited about gaining two grandchildren within days of each other. It's amazing to think they will have 5 grandkids at Christmastime!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Goodbye, old Friend

I can't believe it's been over 14 years since the day I met you. You were the shyest little thing, but had such a cute innocence about you. It was love at first sight, and I knew you would be my dog.

When we asked the shelter manager if we could visit with you, he walked ahead of us, loudly unlocking the chain-link door to your pen. You were the dog who cowered in the corner, trusting no one and fearing everything. When he pulled your reluctant self out, instincts kicked in and you immediately ran away! My mom and I were shocked, but the manager reassured us there was a fence on around the property, so you wouldn't be able to get far.

I think we paid $25 for you; a bargain for love. My dad was surprised to see a furball of a puppy arrive home in his garage. This wouldn't be the first time a dog had lived in this house. You were #3, and you had some big paws to fill. I remember the first few days and weeks, you mostly hid in corners, under tables and beds, anywhere you felt safe and protected. Your chocolate brown puppy eyes were framed by the softest, long fur. You looked like a bear cub. It took years before you outgrew your mistrust of people, especially men. But once you did, you were a friendly dog that enjoyed lots of bacon treats, runs on the leash, and unexpected runs off the leash. No matter how many times you enjoyed a joyrun, we always managed to catch you and haul you home.

Christmas mornings were a special day for you. Yes, you did have your very own stocking, filled with a random smattering of pigs' ears, balls, and other chewy things. But that was not your most coveted item. Of all the morsels of human food you've ever laid mouth on, it still and will always be that a lovefeast bun is your favorite taste. You behaved like a rabid dog once your nose caught the sweet, yeasty aroma of a bun that all of us traditionally ate around the Christmas tree. You'd leap onto the couch, and attempt stealing it, yes, even from our very lips!
Every year, you get to enjoy an entire lovefeast bun. And we love seeing you scarf it down as fast as you can.

You've done a lot more putting up with me, than I with you. You watched my tears fall and heart ache through high school at times, and were the perfect small shoulders to cry upon. You just listened and gave me a reassuring lick at times. We sat on the stairs many a time together, just being. There came a day in late summer 2001, when I had to leave you for an extended time. While I was away studying and making new friends at college, you kept Mom and Dad company while they learned to handle the empty nest. I'd call home and ask how you were doing. And Dad's constant response was, "We find her at your door, pawing to get in. So we open it, and she enjoys lying on the floor or your bed." I'm sorry you couldn't understand, Girl. I always loved coming home from college and being quickly greeted by you. I missed having a dog in my daily life.

Four years later, I moved back home to you. We had a new human to love, you and I. He was going to be your new Master and Friend. On September 3, 2006, I married him, and even you played a role in the wedding reception. Due to the constraints of the day, there was no way to have you physically present there, but Dad brought a stuffed animal proxy to remind me of you.

In the weeks and months that followed, we enjoyed being a new family together, taking walks down our neighborhood together. You never met a human who didn't like you. Elderly people took to your gentle and docile nature. And you are quite tolerant with the the little folks too, the ones who really can't seem to get enough of you.

Fast forward to summer 2009, and both of our worlds were turned radically upside down. There was yet another new human to love, this time, a Playmate. At the beginning, you were the calm in the chaos...lying down near my feet as your new playmate would wail and wail. I couldn't understand...why does she choose to endure this loud crying when she could leave the room and hide somewhere (as I desperately desired to do)? But you were choosing us. You've developed a very strong need to generally be with us. Not necessarily interacting with us, but you've just gotta be in the same room.

As the Playmate grew, my one on one time with you seemed to be quickly diminishing. He's not as chill as you are, and he requires a lot of attention. But you seemed to be okay with it, in your old age. Sleeping most of the day and enjoying short walks outside. The Playmate started getting mobile and thinking of you as his new favorite toy. I was never concerned that you would ever hurt him, mostly because at your old age, you no longer had teeth! But also because you're just a sweet dog.

He picked up on your name soon after his first words were said. And even now, tries to call you with commands. But, sadly, your ears no longer hear his playful calls. He wants to wrestle and tumble with you, but your hips can't handle that anymore. He's finally learned to be gentle with you, stroking your soft fur. And just yesterday crawled under your belly through his own tunnel. These are the memories I'll miss. He loves you so much. He talks about you, asks about you, and it will hurt me to hear him say all those sweet words in his speech.

There comes a time in life, when old age takes over, when the daily things that took no thought or effort, seem to begin to take a toll. I want you to know, that you are loved. Tomorrow will be one of the hardest days of my life. I have to say goodbye. And I won't hear your collar jingling anymore or get to call you "Fishbreath" any longer. We've had a good run together, you and I. But I rather not wait until the bitter end when you're no longer yourself completely. I know you can't possibly understand what's going on. You're so trusting now, not the dog I met 14 years ago. But I promise, I'm not trying to betray you or give up on you. You're a sweet dog who will never leave my heart. You will always be the dog with a million nicknames...Beana, Bean, Quigley, Cubbina, Cub, JaBeana, Nina... but in my mind, you're just Cubbie.

I love you, old girl.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Much to catch up...since it's been almost 4 months since I last posted

Ahh, neglecting the blog. Not sure why it's taken me this long to actually log into Blogger and type something. Here's what been's happening:

End of March- found out we're pregnant again! Yay! Truly an answered prayer, since we lost a little one back in the Fall. I've had my fill of worry, especially anticipating the first ultrasound at 8 weeks, which is when we discovered there were problems with our 2nd baby. Praise the Lord, this time, we saw a steady heart beat of 162 bpm. The growth looked fine, and a huge weight was lifted off of our shoulders. I know there are no guarantees, and every day, it's a matter of trusting the Lord and HIS plan, not ours.

We also spent a wonderful week visiting Brent's mom and stepdad in Florida. Thankfully the temps weren't too hot yet. Caleb loved all of the extra attention from Nana and Grandpapa. We do not get to see them as often as we'd like, so it was equally special to inform them of the baby in person. I had a rough time (and that's putting it gently) flying solo with Caleb down and back from FL. Motion sickness got to me both times, and Caleb wasn't having it on our return flight. Yes, I was that mom crying in her seat, praying that the flight would. just. be. over.

April: We celebrated my 28th birthday with a very special weekend of seeing Cirque du Soleil's Alegria, dinner at Olive Garden, and shopping at nearby outlets. Did I mention Caleb was happily at home with his grandparents? :)

Speaking of grandparents, Caleb just got a whole lot closer to my parents, since we moved in with them! Due to our condo still up for sale, we thought it would be easier to live with them than deal with urgent house showings, and to help during the pregnancy.

May: Finally feeling settled in at my parents' house. Things are unpacked, and Caleb seemed to adjust to having extra people and new things around. He loves being outside most of the time nowadays; a luxury compared to living in the condo. Mid-May, we enjoyed a fun day at the Greek Festival with Brent's parents. Caleb loved the loud music, food, and yelling, "Opa!" It's an annual tradition that we love. For Memorial Day weekend, we spent the entire time with Brent's parents and celebrated his sister's birthday. Caleb sure enjoyed all the chasing and playtime with Grandpa and Grandma.

June: We've already enjoyed some pool time with friends and a visit to the science museum.

More fun to come, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Simple requests

All day long, between toddler-talk and whines, sweet Bubster is making requests to me. "Muck! Muck!" (milk). "nack! nack!" (snack). "tv! tv!" (I'm rather embarassed at that one). The other day, while restraining him on his changing table with one hand, grabbing a wipe and diaper with the other, he made another request.

"Book! Book!" I quickly grabbed a book from his shelf and said, "Thank you for such a simple request, Caleb." While wiping his tush, I began to think about requests. More specifically, what involves honoring a request. The person who is asked of, either has the power to honor a request or not. Some are simple, some are complex.

I had this awesome realization that there are no difficult requests for God. Everything is simple for Him. Hallelujah! It doesn't matter if your request would require Him to move Heaven and Earth or make it stop raining for three and a half years....He is more than able.

What does God's Word have to say about requests?

Luke 18:27, "But he [Jesus] said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

James 5:16-18, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."

Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Let's get real here though, just because you may ask God of something, and it doesn't happen necessarily as you would expect...that does not mean that He is unable. Rather He has the best plan in mind. Also, be sure to examine your motives, as James explains.

James 4:2-3, "You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Just bask/savor/enjoy/delight in the truth that God is able. When your loved one is dying, when you get called into your boss's office, when no money is leftover after paying the bills, when your kids have left you running ragged and bruised....when you're a sinner, in need of a loving Savior. He is able.

Hebrews 7:23-26, "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens." (emphasis mine)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love-ly food

Caleb's Valentine breakfast

Cupcakes with pink fluffy buttercream frosting

Addictive rolled sugar cookies
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Hi from Caleb

Hey everyone,

It's Caleb here, and I thought you may wanna hear from me since it's been awhile. Last time when Mama updated, I'd recently taken to walking. Now I love to run! And jump! And gallop! Mama and Babbie (one of my grandmas) had to chase me around Borders the other day to get me. I thought it was really fun, but their faces didn't look so happy.

Mama calls me "Taz" some days, she says I'm a "master of disaster." What does that mean? I mean, usually I just dump all my bins of toys around, dump my ball pit, and drag clothes and other random things I find. She is teaching me how to clean up my toys before bathtime at night now. I like to help! I help in other ways too, like using my hammer alongside Dada while working on the hardwood floors. And I like to take tissues and help "cwean." Mama loves it when I help. She says I'm a big boy now.

Making my "cheeser" face on my new trike

I've been learning so many new words now: colors like "puh-ple" and "yah-low", (s)"nack", Bible, "seepy" (sleepy), "bok" (box). Mama thinks it's so cute when I open a hymnal and sing "la la la!" Three of my favorite books right now are "Pat the Bunny," (which I call it "Paul" after one of the characters), "The Telephone Book," (which I call it "Phone"), and one my Nana got me, "My Big Truck book." I love twucks and cars. I make vroom vroom noises too. I am so good at being LOUD! Mama and Dada are teaching me "Shhh" and whispering. I also love learning my ABCs on I call it "fall."

I have also learned what a hug is. Mama asks for a hug, and I run over and crash into her. I like how warm she is. We have a lot of fun during the day together. But I love it when Dada comes home from work. I like to run into him when he calls for me. I ride on his shoulders around the house, and I like to dance when he plays the guitar. Speaking of dancing, I like to find Mama and Dada's stereo remote and turn it on. They've found me dancing to Michael Jackson twice now! :)

Well, I'm all out of goldfish's time for more 'nack!

Monday, January 10, 2011

DIY: Indoor snowflakes

In anticipation of the forthcoming snow, Caleb and I made some easy and fun snowflakes. These are probably the very same ones that you made back in preschool too. No matter, the fun in making these this time around was having my son join in on making some art.

Here's what you'll need: wax paper or plate, food coloring or markers, coffee filters, squirt bottle/dropper, and scissors. (Bonus points if you recognize the squirt bottle :).

1) Lay a pile of coffee filters on top of each other. I used three. 2) Squirt food coloring or decorate with markers. Caleb proudly squirted the blue dye, and declared "Red!" 3) Use your squirt bottle or dropper with water and watch the colors bleed through the filter.
4) Separate each coffee filter so they can dry. Since they are so thin, they don't take long at all to dry.

5) Be sure to snap adorable photo of adorable son making adorable snowflakes.

6) Fold filters in half at least 3 times. 7) Snip away on any side of your triangle.
8)Unfold & behold!
You can't tell from this picture, but it is actually snowing outdoors at the same time. :)

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turning to the North

“Then at last the Lord said to me, ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north.'" Deuteronomy 2:2-3

Hearing this verse this morning has been the wake-up call I've desperately needed. I realize I've been pretty quiet on the blog as of late, and there are a few reasons for this. Without going into specifics, let's just say the last 3 months of my life have been riddled with disappointment after disappointment.

This has been a huge test of faith for me. I vacillate daily between blatant doubt and weak hope. It's not a pretty place to be. Ask my husband who is fleshing out the definition of long-suffering by loving and living with me.

Currently, those disappointments have not yet been resolved or overturned. They still are what they are. But back to the verse at the top...yes, all I've been mentally doing has been going around in circles, over and over and over. I'm tired of wallowing in self-pity. I'm yearning for God to do something big. Something that actually comes to fruition. Or perhaps for clarity and discernment to see the hidden blessings of these things??

So here I am...waving my white flag; and attempting to turn to the North.