Sunday, February 28, 2010

Young and Old



~ I took this picture of the hands of my mother, her sister Joyce, and Josiah, during Aunt Joyce & Uncle Jay's visit with us (they live in Canada) - March 2009

I don't remember when I first became acquainted with this verse, in terms of it standing out to me like our neighbor's blaze orange windsock atop his welding shop does as I glance out my kitchen window. But at some point in my youth, while I still lived at home, Mother and I began to remind each other of this verse and, by so doing, build each other's faith. It became, in my opinion, our verse. It's fine if it means something to you; but really, God put it in The Book for us. :)

By the way, if you've got a minute and didn't do this two weeks ago, click here to visit Leah's blog and see her first Truth-Light-Hammer-Fire post. She chose a wonderful verse, and the picture she paired with it could not have been more appropriate. The photo and text, as well as her commentary, has come back to my mind repeatedly since I first saw it. (I like her second Truth-Light-Hammer-Fire post a lot, too!) :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Caught Up (Enough)

I'm finished!!! Well, sort of. As finished as I can get, it seems. The washing machine is humming along with a half load of darks as I type, and there are a few light-colored items left for another day; but basically, I'm done.

I've been reminded, during this week of Focus on the Laundry, that "caught up" is a misnomer when applied to the laundry situation of a family of six. "Caught up" might last all of 30 seconds: until Shav spits up or has a leaky diaper...until Tobin spills yogurt down the front of his shirt...or until some other mess happens to a member of the family. (Incidentally, one of the memorable messes of the day occurred to me this evening when Tobin fell off a kitchen chair and needed picked up and comforted. As I reached out for him, he put his little arms around me and buried his face in my shoulder. The only problem was that he had just been licking up some brownie batter in the typical two-year-old fashion that spreads it from ear to ear and hand to hand. My apple green turtleneck suddenly got a few brown spots.)

It has been good--really good--to make this a priority and crawl out from under the mountain of laundry this week. I've missed blogging, to be sure; but the breather has brought me relief in one area of household duties, and I'm pleased about that. Now my goal is to stay on top of it and not let myself get buried quite so deeply in dirty clothes again.

I couldn't post about Laundry Week without saying a big thank you to my wonderful assistant who folded many, many loads of clothes this week; she was sidelined briefly by bronchitis, but was back to her usual volunteer position today. Thank you, Mother; I couldn't have done it without you!!
Fortunately, she was cheered on by the cutest little spectator one could wish for.
I often hung the Johnny Jump-Up (that our neighbors are letting us borrow) in the doorway between my room and Shav's while she worked; and Shav had fun bouncing around and watching her.
This darling boy brings joy to even a monotonous chore like folding clothes.
Now that this huge project is behind me, it's time to turn my attention to other things. Next up: a wedding, a trip, and...

Who knows what will come along next week?! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Not Going to Blog Again Until...

...I get caught up on laundry. So if I don't write anything for the next five years, you'll know why. ;)

Here's the thing: I like laundry! But I do NOT like being overwhelmed by it, having never-ending piles in the laundry room, seeing clothes from the top of the laundry chute because the chute is so full, having piles of folded clean clothes littering my bedroom as they wait to be put away, finding unmatched socks that are awaiting a mate that may still be somewhere in the clothes chute or laundry room, etc. I have been behind in laundry for so long that it's pathetic. And it's time to change that.

I know that with the FlyLady system of doing a load (or two) of laundry every day, I could stay on top of it fairly easily. But there are two problems keeping me from this goal: getting on top of it in the first place and making it a habit to do laundry even when I don't feel like it. I realize more and more as time goes by that I am far too emotion-driven when it comes to housework. I get inspired to start a project so I dive in, even if it's not the most important thing at that time; but I neglect the things that really matter because I "don't feel like" doing them.

No more! Not with laundry anyway. I am bound and determined to get caught up as soon as possible. That means laundry chute empty, no piles in the laundry room, washer empty, dryer empty, clothes baskets empty, all clean clothes put away, and the lonely socks in my bedroom sorted so that the ones who really don't have a match can be thrown away (actually, sent to the thrift store for cloth recycling). Until this happens, I will not blog. Not only will I free up some time to do laundry by not blogging, but also I'll provide some powerful incentive for myself. As my fingers itch to get on the keyboard and as my mind craves the mental release of blogging, I'll push myself to do the next load of laundry even if I don't feel like it.

But, before I take off on my self-imposed exile, I'll include a few pictures of Josiah from earlier today. The boys had pushed the couch out from the wall and put some of the cushions behind it to create a fort (or something). After David and Tobin had abandoned it and found somewhere else to play, Josiah moved in, stretched out, and used it as a cozy reading spot.
The book he's reading? It's The Fellowship of the Ring, #1 in The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien--the real deal, not a kid's version, not abridged. The real McCoy, folks.
If you had told me two years ago, as we struggled to get through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with more cheerfulness and less grumpiness, that when Josiah was 7, he would be reading Tolkien, I would have laughed just like Sarah.
And now look at him. Unbelievable!

Well, I'm off. If anyone needs me in the next few days, you'll know where to find me.

In the laundry room!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brothers in Harmony


~ Josiah and David in Coronado, California - May 2009

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seven Things for Seven Months

At seven months of age, Shav...

1. wears size 3 diapers, wears mostly 6-9 month clothing with some 12 month clothes thrown in for good measure, and weighs a nice amount (and that's as specific as I can get about his weight because I completely forgot to weigh him today!).
2. got his first haircut a week and a half ago (on Feb. 10)...I had dropped the three younger boys off at the barber shop while I took Josiah to his violin lesson...when I returned, I noticed, as soon as I held Shav, that Jeff had trimmed the hair around his ears and the back of his neck...and to think that I wasn't there when it happened and no one took a picture! :)

speaking of hair...

3. loves to reach back with his right hand and grab the hair at the back of my neck when I'm holding him on my left side (when I hold him, that's the side he's on about 99% of the time)...I don't remember any of the other boys being quite so determined about this when they were little; but for some reason, Shav dearly loves to grab a handful, clench it tightly, and resist all efforts to unclasp his little hand and release my hair...it was interesting to me, when our neighbors were over for dinner recently, to see their little baby Jason doing the same exact thing to his mommy Wilma
4. is at the age where it's becoming difficult to nurse him with anyone else around...he gets so distracted!...if he hears someone nearby, he wants to turn his head around to find the source of the sound...if I'm doing stuff on the computer while I'm trying to nurse him, he usually--unless he's really tired--wants to see what's going on, so that limits my already meager amount of computer time these days...he's becoming so social that sometimes I feel like to get him to really eat well, I have to go off to another room and seclude ourselves so he can focus :)
5. is a great eater when it comes to solid foods...I haven't gotten very adventurous with what I feed him; but all the traditional baby food (rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, pears, applesauce, green beans, peas) have been a hit with him...these days, he likes to bite the spoon when I put it in his mouth; and since he's got two top teeth and two bottom teeth, he can really grab it and hang onto it when he bites down
6. loves his brothers so much...loves to watch them...loves it when they make eye contact with him...loves it when they speak his language (he croaks; and all of them, even Tobin, now know how to croak back to him)...loves it when they get close to him...sometimes I think about how he is so blissfully unaware of danger when they are physically close to him...even though they wouldn't ever hurt him intentionally, in their exuberance, accidents could happen; and as I keep a sharp eye out, I occasionally wince as I imagine what injuries could occur...he is oblivious though--happily so--completely trusting that we will take care of him--content just to be surrounded by people who love him...he takes such great delight in watching us!
7. is so very, very patient...maybe he doesn't have a choice since he's the youngest; and of course, he's completely accustomed to having others around who have needs to be met as well since that is how his life has always been...but still, I'm grateful that when I'm spooning sweet potatoes into his mouth and have to abruptly leave to clean up some spilled milk, he doesn't complain...when I'm nursing him and have to break off so I can pick up and soothe Tobin who just fell down, he's OK with that...he seems to have been blessed with the patience of Job, and that makes my life so much easier

I was going to stop at seven, but I thought of something else I want to write down. Here's one to grow on...

8. is often called Shavi (I can't figure out how to spell it: Shavvie? Shavi? Shahvee? :)...David came up with this nickname for him, and it has stuck...he's our first boy to have a one-syllable name that can easily acquire an "ie/y" ending (like John/Johnny), so I suppose it's no surprise that we often call him that...it just rolls off the tongue...sometimes I'll hear David call him Shavi-Wavi-Pavi-Wavi (David used to call Jeff "Daddy Waddy," and in return Jeff would call him "David Wavid") :)

Oh, sweet Shavi, how we love you! We are so grateful for these seven precious months that God has given us with you!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Josiah Wants You to Know...

...that he lost a tooth! (This blog is such a part of our family life that now, when anything particularly noteworthy occurs, someone always asks, "Are you going to put this on your blog?" Or, as in the case of Josiah with his missing tooth, "Will you please put this on your blog?") :)

His two top front teeth were loose (as well as a bottom tooth)--so loose, in fact, that yesterday Josiah and I were talking about the fact that very soon, one of them would surely be coming out. We did not, however, expect it to occur that very evening, helped along by a bad fall Josiah took on a sidewalk after his choir class. I was standing with Tobin and Shav in the stroller and was chatting with another mom while David and Josiah were racing around with Will and Sarah. Suddenly we heard a child screaming in pain. It was Josiah; and as we rushed to him, I saw blood pouring out of his mouth. I wasn't surprised to see blood since I immediately thought of his loose teeth; but I couldn't tell at first whether it was coming from his lip or his gum. Turns out it was both.

If both his top teeth were loose before, they were VERY loose after the fall. After dinner, Jeff got out the oil of cloves to numb the area and a pair of tweezers to give the loosest tooth a yank. What really happened is that Josiah himself gave the final tug on the tooth to get it out. And now my little (big) sweetheart has a funny gap-toothed grin...
...and a slightly puffy upper lip. I think he's adorable.

The other two times Josiah has lost a tooth, I've taped them in his baby book. But obviously I can't do that with all of the teeth he'll lose during the next few years, so for this particular tooth, I'm just going to remember it by this picture of his bloody tooth and the tweezers, still with a little blood on them. Lovely.

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David wants you to know that he really, really likes ties.

One of Jeff's co-workers often gives us hand-me-downs from her son who is a little older than Josiah. We are always grateful for her generosity, but David was especially pleased with something that came in the stack today: a dress shirt with coordinating tie. Even though it's really for Josiah (although David will get it in a few years when he grows into it), David couldn't resist grabbing the tie and clipping it on his shirt. A blue and yellow tie with a green knit shirt with gray and red stripes? Why not? Who says those colors and textures don't match?!
I did, however, insist that he leave the tie at home when we went to Josiah's group violin lesson today. :)

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Tobin wants you to know that these days, he's really a Grandma's boy.

Although Tobin is very affectionate and easily shows his love for all of us, he seems particularly fond of Grandma, lighting up when he sees her, waving at her from our front window (even if she's down the hill at her house and can't possibly see him), hurrying to her when she comes in our house, holding up his arms to be picked up, wanting to be with her when she goes upstairs to fold laundry, rushing to get out of his chair after supper so that he can go over to her chair and convince her to pick him up so he can sit on her lap and eat all the goodies that she has on her plate. If she's eating dessert, that's an especially good time to do this. He really loves his grandma! (And I think she's pretty fond of him, too!)

Tobin thought it was fun...
...to wear his daddy's hat today.

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Shav wants you to know that Grandpa's lap is a great place to hang out after supper.

We have no pictures tonight to prove this, but it's unusual for an evening to go by without Shav ending up on Grandpa's lap while I finish eating my supper and then start putting the food away and cleaning up the kitchen.

You might think that my dad would be more interested in the older boys and not the baby; but, although he certainly loves them all and interacts with each of them, he has always had a soft spot for the youngest. I remember when David was our baby and Dad would often hold him. And then came Tobin, and David sort of graduated up the chain and Dad focused on Tobin. Then along came Shav, and it happened all over again. I think it's wonderful to watch the love between the generation above and the one below me.

********

Jeff wants you to know that this is what happens to him when Tobin is around:
a funny hat gets put on his head and Mommy's favorite snowman is brought to him to cuddle with. Tobin is so helpful like that. If only I could cuddle with Jeff and the snowman could clean up the kitchen!

********

I want you to know that I think every day should have at least 28 hours...and even that probably wouldn't be long enough for all that I think I need to do.

I want you to know that I wish I could go on a writer's retreat. I've heard about various writers who get away for a day or a weekend just to have quiet time and space to focus and write. That sounds heavenly to me. I have so many ideas rolling around in my head for things I want to write about, and sometimes it drives me crazy. I just wish I could get it all out, write it down, have it done with, so that I could start fresh and not have these pestering ideas bouncing into my thoughts!

I want you to know that even though my laundry chute is full, even though my pile of paperwork on the telephone counter is still tall, even though the porch only got half-swept today before I got interrupted in that task and had to leave a big pile of dirt (which is still there), even though it's been close to forever since I had the chance to sit down and play my piano, even though I'm decorated with spit-up every day, even though my ears ring from the noise and my eyes ache from the mess that four children create, even still...

They are so worth it!
When I see Tobin with his sleeper on backwards over a shirt and with Josiah's shoes on his feet...
...and I see David and Shav cuddled so close together...
...and I see Josiah, the protective big brother, watching out for everyone...
...I know, without a doubt, it is SO WORTH IT!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TTT - A Girl Baby



David's prayer one day this week: Dear God, please help a girl baby to grow in Mommy's tummy!

My thoughts: I wouldn't want to damage his faith by praying directly opposite his request; but Lord, could you take your time with this one? We're in no hurry. No hurry at all! :)



Monday, February 15, 2010

I Told Myself...

...that I was NOT going to start another book until I finished the 537 (give or take a few) other ones that I'm in the middle of reading! I lectured myself about being self-disciplined and not giving in to the allure of a fresh new book, its pages just waiting to be turned. No, rather than begin a new one, I would continue reading one of the many wonderful books I have in various places around the house. Surely between the pile on my nightstand, the pile on my end table by my rocking chair, the pile on the counter by the telephone, the ones on the bookshelf in the kitchen, the ones in the pie safe--surely between all of these, I could set my mind on one to read until the end. I would not be swayed.

But then it happened. I was passing the bookshelf in my bedroom when a book called out to me and begged for me to take it up and open its cover. I tried to resist, but in the end I couldn't.

And I'm so glad.

The book is For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. It's not very long, and it's not difficult to read; but it is packed with helpful info, mostly things that I've heard before but needed to be reminded of, but also some new thoughts. For example, this hit me between the eyes:

So how do we know when we've crossed the disrespect line? Thankfully, there is one easy barometer: Check for anger.

Before I elaborate, let me ask you to consider a question: If you are in a conflict with the man in your life, do you think that it is legitimate to break down and cry? Most of us would probably answer yes. Let me ask another question: In that same conflict, do you think it is legitimate for your man to get really angry? Many of us have a problem with that--we think he's not controlling himself or that he's behaving improperly.

But Emerson Eggerichs, founder of Love and Respect Ministries, has an entirely different interpretation: "In a relationship conflict, crying is often a woman's response to feeling unloved, and anger is often a man's response to feeling disrespected."

As I thought back to the last major conflict I had with Jeff (which happened last summer), I could see with startling clarity how this dynamic was played out. I cried--and felt perfectly justified--but condemned the anger he showed, even though he never lost control of himself or expressed that anger in damaging ways. How foolish of me.

Recently I've felt like I have so much to learn about how to be the kind of wife that God desires me to be; and while that thought can be discouraging and overwhelming at times, it can also bring an excitement and zeal and determination to change and improve and soar to greater heights in this spectacular adventure we call marriage.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The One I Love


~ I took this picture in August 2006 during a family outing to Skyline Drive

Valentine's Day lands on a Sunday this year! So, in honor of my beloved, here is a special Valentine edition of Truth-Light-Hammer-Fire.

What can I say about Jeff?

He's the love of my life.
He's my better half.
He completes me.
He was worth waiting for.
He's better than I ever imagined.
And all the other cliches that are tossed around when people try to express how much someone means to them...

I thank God for him every day.

********

Leah asked about doing a Truth-Light-Hammer-Fire post and linking here, so I went back to the Mister Linky site that I used to use and came up with this for her sake. I can hardly wait to see what she posts. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

David's Latest Antic

Yesterday, David found a giraffe costume (the one Tobin wore last Halloween) in the closet in Tobin's room and promptly put it on. He kept it on nearly all day; and when evening rolled around and we were getting ready to go bowling (David's request, since it was his family night), he still had it on and asked if he could wear it to the bowling alley. Jeff wisely said yes; after all, why deny a 4 year-old the pleasure of wearing this, even if "normal" people don't usually wear costumes to the bowling alley?

On our way home, we stopped at Walmart to look for some snow boots for Josiah; and of course, David was still wearing the costume. I had the pleasure of pushing the cart that David was riding in, and I got such a kick out of watching other people watch him! They would look at him, look away, glance again a second time, then either smile or nudge their companion if they were with someone else, point at him, and say something like, "Look at that boy in the giraffe costume! Isn't he cute?" Well, actually, I couldn't always hear what they were saying; but I'm sure they must have been commenting on his cuteness. ;)

It made me happy to see him be happy and to see other people be happy as they noticed him. That's a pretty good snowball effect from one small boy's desire to wear a costume--and his unconcern about what others might think. It's also additional proof that it's good to be four. :)
This picture was taken today, and the green object in his hands is a frog he made out of playdough.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Good Thing

The good thing about having a continual mountain of dirty laundry in the laundry room is that there's no problem at all getting our dresser drawers to shut. With half (or more) of our clothes waiting to be washed, we have plenty of room in our closets and dressers for the other half (or less)!

The good thing about the house being in a less-than-neat-and-tidy state is that when people come over to visit, they don't feel intimidated by how clean and "perfect" everything is. As a matter of fact, they're probably encouraged, thinking, "At least my house isn't this bad!"

The good thing about getting my pant legs soaked as I tromp through the snow to feed the animals (all the while thinking, "this is NOT my job...this is not MY job") is that at least it will provide some extra humidity in the house as they dry out. Our winter air in here is so dry that the extra dose of moisture is welcome!

The good thing about our tiny bathroom taking over two months to be painted is that it convinces me to NEVER AGAIN RENOVATE ANY PART OF OUR HOUSE (at least, not for a very, very, very, very long time). My contentment has soared, as I realize that I really can live with the areas I previously wanted to change!

My verses for today:

Colossians 3:12-15 - Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Clothe myself with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience...
Forgive...
Clothe myself with love...
Let peace rule my heart...
Always be thankful...

I'm trying, Lord; I'm trying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Child Will Lead Them

Josiah is fairly determined to finish his second grade work by the end of April, so tonight after the boys were in bed, I used my "me time" to plan out a tentative schedule for his school work so that we can meet his goal. That ate up my blogging time, but I didn't mind because it was time well spent. Josiah will be pleased tomorrow to see my plans and to have a visual reminder of what we need to accomplish during the next eleven or so weeks, and the thought of the gorgeous month of May with no official school to be done makes me a little giddy.

So, with only a few minutes until I turn into a pumpkin at midnight, I'll just post this short video and call it a night. I actually didn't intend for the video to be quite this short, but the camera battery was too low to take any more video so the movie production came to a screeching halt. Regardless, it still shows Tobin's new form of dance. He goes to our toy electric keyboard, pushes the button to make a song play, raises both hands in the air, starts to march, keeps the left hand raised, and then lifts and lowers his right hand. Why he came up with this particular dance, I have no idea. But it amuses me--and does my heart good--to see how David and Josiah imitate him. So many times, the younger boys follow the older ones; but it's refreshing to see the pattern occasionally reversed. It makes me think of Isaiah 11:6. You think we'll be dancing like this in heaven? :)
video

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TTT - Z's, Bless-You Boxes, and Milk Supply - Oh, My!



It's been a long time--too long--since I did a Tiny Talk Tuesday post. That, however, hasn't stopped my boys from saying the sometimes silly, sometimes wise, sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious things that are prone to come forth from the mouths of little ones. I wish I had been more faithful during the past weeks to jot down the things they say, things like...

...David asking for pecans one evening while we were eating supper. There were no pecans on the table and none in any food we were eating, so I was a little confused about his reason for asking for them. He knows that we don't treat our kitchen like a restaurant, with everyone free to order whatever they want to eat. We did have some pecans downstairs in the freezer in the garage, but I didn't plan to rush right down there and get some for him--at least, not until he ate everything on his plate. My confusion disappeared when he said, "Pecans! Like in the salad!" and gestured to the salad bowl in the center of the table. Aha! You mean CROUTONS, David Dear! And yes, you may have some. :)

...David saying a little wistfully one evening over supper as he was anticipating his soon-coming bath, "I wish Grandma and Grandpa could have a bath." The thought of my parents crowded into the bathtub with all of my boys made me giggle, but I laughed even harder when I saw the picture David drew of Grandma and Grandpa in the bathtub. He only put the two of them in it, and they were facing each other and had big smiles on their faces. I wish I could have taken a picture of it to post here, but his stick figures were much too anatomically correct to be shown here. That boy loves to crack us all up, and he certainly succeeded that night!

...David declaring with determination, "I'll never write 'Z's' all over everything again!" If you remember the infamous Zorro incident, you'll know why this was such a relief to me. :) Whew, at least he's learned that particular lesson well!

...Josiah telling me about a piece he had been playing on the piano. That day, he had been practicing "Jesus Loves Me" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," so I guess it was no surprise that when he opened his mouth to announce the song, he jumbled it and it came out, "Jesus Had a Little Lamb"!

...Josiah discussing what we should do when we sneeze. I was reminding the boys that they should aim into their elbow to catch the germs, rather than letting their sneeze spray out into the room or even sneezing into their hands. Josiah piped up and said, "What we need is a Bless-You Box!"

...Josiah announcing earnestly one evening, "When I grow up, I don't want to have too many electric things." Earlier that day, he had been playing outside with "the girls" (our next-door neighbors who happen to be Old Order Mennonites), so I knew his statement was motivated by his admiration for them and desire to fit into their culture. I decided to just go with it though, so I said, "I'd like to live a simpler life, too! What do you think we could get rid of? What would you like to live without?" He hemmed and hawed and came up with TV (we don't have one) and video games (don't have them either...not an X-Box, a Wii, a PlayStation, or even an old Atari). I could tell he was really searching his brain to find something to say. He quickly looked around the kitchen, saw my trusty ol' crockpot on the counter, and said, "The crockpot! We could get rid of that!" :)

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Since I'm on the subject of humorous conversation, I have to write down something that happened tonight during supper because in years to come, I know I'll need to read this and laugh all over again, even though it's slightly humiliating. This particular conversation didn't involve any of my sons, just my dad and I.

Out of the blue, I heard Dad ask me, "How's your milk supply?" I was a little surprised and puzzled, but I didn't hesitate long before saying, "Uh, it's fine. I haven't been pumping recently, but..." And then it dawned on me. Dad was NOT inquiring about how many ounces of breast milk I've been producing recently. No, not at all. Instead, he was simply wondering if we had enough milk--cow's milk--to last through this next snowstorm; and if not, should we go get milk tonight? My answer caught him as off-guard as his question caught me! The worst part of it was that we had a guest here for supper. Kevin, the painter, was sharing our meal of Santa Fe Chicken Soup, so he got to hear this nice little exchange. I was SO embarrassed! I immediately threw my apron up over my face, not only to hide my flamin' beet-red color, but also because I was laughing so hard I was crying. I definitely should have been "slower to speak" in response to that particular question, at least until I understood what my dad was actually asking me!! :)

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Monday, February 8, 2010

What Stands Out

As I think back over this day, what immediately comes to mind could be the fact that, for the first time, David used a real knife to cut something. I was making Roasted Sausage and Vegetable Pasta, and I let David use a small paring knife to cut the zucchini and red bell pepper into pieces after I had cut them into strips. He was happy and feeling proud of himself, I was happy and grateful for the help, and Tobin was happy as he picked pieces of raw onion out of the baking dish and ate them. He was happy, that is, until he took a little tumble off his chair; as he cried, I quickly scooped him up to hold him and kiss him and soothe him...and all I could think as his face was close to mine was how strong his onion breath was! :)

What jumps into my thoughts could also be how I felt like I was in a time warp this evening as I noticed David and Tobin on the couch and remembered when David was my little toddler wearing the outfit Tobin has on in these pictures, and Josiah was the big brother jumping around on the couch. Tobin rarely wears this outfit, or any other one-piece romper, because of the lack of access to his belly button; however, today I realized that if I simply left a snap or two undone, he would be able to stick his hand in, find his belly button, and be content (like in the first and last pictures below). When Josiah saw Tobin wearing this, he said, "I really like this outfit!" I didn't know Josiah had much of an opinion about anything Tobin wears!





Or I could remember how Josiah was helping me by feeding Shav some squash and rice cereal with applesauce tonight while I finished getting supper ready; and while he was scooping baby food into Shav's mouth, he asked me to tell him a story. "Real or imaginary?" I asked him. "Real," he responded, "something with adventure, like a car accident." So I told him about the time my brother David was driving in rainy rush hour traffic in Washington, D.C., and didn't stop in time to avoid a fender bender with the car in front of us...and the time I was visiting my college roommate Lisa in Florida because I was going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding; and the day before the wedding, we were in an accident coming out of the mall parking lot...and the time my dad got a speeding ticket on Dinkel Avenue, and I was in the car with him and thought it was so funny (especially when his excuse was that he was driving my sister's car and wasn't used to the way it accelerated)...and the time Jeff and I and Josiah were here visiting Mom and Dad for Christmas when Josiah was a baby; and I was speeding and got pulled over but was let off with just a warning; Josiah woke up and cried in the backseat at just the right time and maybe the officer let us go more quickly because of that :)...and the time I was in college and shared a car with my brother David and got pulled over because I didn't have a current registration sticker on my license plate, but the sticker was in an envelope in the glove compartment because we just hadn't put it on the license plate yet, so the officer didn't give me a ticket...and the time my brother Doug was driving shortly after it started raining one day and was in an accident in his Honda CRX and hurt his hand but was in a good place to do it because the wreck happened right outside the hospital...

But what really stands out to me as I think back over the events of the day is the moment when I was sitting in a rocking chair by the picture window in the living room, nursing Shav (who had drifted off to sleep in my arms), and helping Josiah with his violin practice. Suddenly from upstairs, I heard running water full blast; and upon further investigation, I discovered Tobin, fully clothed, standing in the bathtub, having figured out how to not only get in by himself, but also how to turn the water on. I'm sure he was surprised by how cold it was since he hadn't turned the knob around far enough to get warm water, but he didn't seem upset. On the contrary, he appeared mighty pleased with himself. The little stinker. :)