16 July 2010


This is our new puppy, Hazel.

For most of my life, I considered myself a Cat person. Dogs require so much more energy and attention, they chew things to bits, and you can't leave them alone for a few days with a big bowl of food and a supply of water, while cats are mostly self-sufficient. Dogs need extensive and consistent training to be able to function well with humans, cats only need to know how to use the litter box and hide under the bed when strange characters come around. For a person like me who is by nature a wee bit on the undisciplined (lazy) side, cats are a much better fit.

But then we got Muirne. And while I know that not every dog we have will be as great as she was--maybe none will--she gave me hope that there were dogs out there worth putting forth all of the effort for. I also came to realize that dogs are great for kids, and kids are great for dogs. And that I feel safer at night with a dog in the house if Abe is gone. And that a dog is a great companion to take on a walk with you. And they're ever so much more fun to play with than cats: Muirne would spend hours fetching sticks in water, Radley will claw your face off if you try to give her a bath.

So when we lost Muirne, I knew we'd get another dog. In James Herriot's books (All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Wise and Wonderful, etc.), he always counsels his veterinary clients who have lost a dog that they should get another soon, and I figured this was wise advice. I started scouring Craigslist and the classifieds for a suitable dog for us. Most of what I found were purebreds, and we are really mutt kind of people. So when I saw this listing for a littler of "Lab mix" puppies, I knew I wanted to call. Turned out the mother was a Lab/border Collie mix, and the father was unknown. Still, both of those breeds are highly intelligent and good family dogs, and the price was fair, so after twisting Abe's arm (just a little bit), we drove up and picked ourselves out a good one.

She was without a name for a while. We have almost impossible (and oddly indefinable) standards for names, and we knew that any "typical" kind of dog name was out. I made several lists with names from movies we enjoy, literature, and various mythologies, almost all of which got tossed out. Even when it came down to the final list of 6 (Ailis, Harper, Teagan, Tierney, Zora, and Hazel), Hazel didn't stand out to me at first. But then I had the kids vote for their favorite, and had Abe vote, and Hazel was the clear winner; it's different, it's cool, it's old-timey, we know no dogs with that name. I do think the kids believe her name is really Basil, which would be fine, too.

We've only had her for three days, so it's impossible to tell where she will fall on the list of Great Dogs We Have Known. But so far, so good!

She's Hazel, and we love her!

Note that she's wearing a red collar and using Muirne's red leash. It's our way of nodding to our dear girl. I still think about you all the time, friend.

10 July 2010


I don't even know how to write this post, but I feel like I need to. I created this blog as a way to stay in touch with far-flung loved ones and to chronicle the events in my kids' lives. This dog is worth chronicling.

We first met Muirne in Knoxville, TN. Some friends of ours had a dog with a new litter of pups, and they asked if we'd like one. Abe and I had been married a little less than a year, and were still living in a tiny little apartment. We already had Radley the cat, and even she was a violation of our landlord's no-pets policy. It was folly to think we'd be allowed to have a puppy as well, but look at her--even with the blink, she was just the most precious ball of fluff ever. We told our friends we'd take her as soon as she was ready to be weaned.

When she was ready, they brought her up to us, along with her pudgy little brother. They didn't want her to be lonely on the car ride, so her brother, the only other chocolate dog in a litter of mostly-black golden lab/rottweiler/german shepherd pups, was simply intended to be good company. But Abe's sister came with us to pick up the puppy, and she was enamored of the little boy pup, so long story short, she kept him. I chose the name Muirne for our dog because it means "Beloved" in Gaelic, and we chose Fisk for the little boy dog because he was a lot pudgier. Pudge. Carlton Fisk. Fisk. It was about a month before Abe's sister could take Fisk, so in the interim, we kept both puppies as the cutest contraband ever in our tiny apartment. Every time the dogs needed to go out, we'd scan the street first to see if the landlord was hovering around, then dash out as quickly as possible.

The day we got Muirne, we looked at a house that seemed perfect for us. The next day, we made an offer, and it was accepted. We moved in about four weeks later. About two weeks after that, we learned we were expecting our first child, which would turn out to be Charis. Just like that, in the span of a month, we had gone from newlywed apartment-dwellers to dog-owning, mortgage-paying expectant parents. We were a family.

Of course, Muirne went through the chewy puppy stage. We have one chewed-up leg of an otherwise beautiful coat tree as evidence. Other than that, though, she was smart as a whip, full of energy, and easy to train. We taught her using verbal and non-verbal commands, so even if she was at a distance, she could sit and stay. We taught her the boundaries of our yard, and she nearly always stuck to them, wandering only in the woods out back. When I was about 6 months pregnant with Charis, she did wander over a street to have a playdate with another dog. It freaked me out, but we got her back shortly thereafter, and forever after that, she came with a call or a whistle, no matter where she was.

She was the fetchingest dog you ever met, and I mean that quite literally. If you threw a frisbee or a ball or a stick even once, she was bound and determined to fetch until you were worn out. She treated it as her job. She especially loved fetching sticks and things in water. We never had to teach her to love water.
For a long time, until we had multiple kids, we'd take her everywhere we could with us--snowshoeing, to various fairs and parades, on hikes, to ponds and lakes, everywhere. She was always so well-behaved, and so beautiful to look at. On more than one occasion, random strangers offered to purchase her. I'm telling you, there never was a better dog.

She was the absolute best dog with kids. We trained her from an early age to adapt to little people who might tug at her, jump on her, or periodically try to take food out of her mouth. She was docile, she was loving, she was infinitely patient with everybody.

She loved nothing better than hearing the jingle of the leash and knowing she was going exploring. I took a lot of walks with her recently. It all started one evening when I was frustrated and needed to go blow off some steam. I decided to go for a walk, but opted to take my faithful dog with me, knowing she'd protect me if need be. She peed about 20 times during the walk and sniffed at every mailbox, but it worked for us. For weeks, I'd take her on two or three long walks a week. I don't have any pictures of that, and as I scanned through hundreds and thousands of pictures looking for snapshots of Muirne for this post, I was saddened to notice that over the past couple of years, I have taken very, very few pictures of Muirne. I suppose it's because she just always looked the same. It's probably also because I used too much time taking photos of my children, and maybe it's partly because we didn't take her quite as many places as we used to. Sure, she always went with us to play with Fisk at Tim and Beth's house, and to play with Quigley at Abe's folks' house, but there were regrettably fewer outings of interest to her. I regret not taking more pictures of her.

Oh, but there are more regrets.

Three weeks ago, we left for a week to visit my brother and his family. Muirne stayed with Fisk for the week. We were home for a week, then, this past Friday, we left again to vacation with Abe's family. Some friends of ours watched Muirne for us. We got a call from them on Sunday evening saying that they'd gone out for pizza and when they left, Muirne was on our back porch, but was nowhere to be found when they returned. They drove the neighborhood calling for her, asked neighbors if they'd seen her, but to no avail. But Muirne has never given us a reason to be concerned, so we figured someone had picked her up or she was through the woods at the pond. We figured she would show up.

I regret so much not specifically telling our friends to lock her in the house when they left. We always put her inside when we're gone, and I figured they knew that, so I didn't think it even needed to be said.

We got a voicemail from Animal Control on Monday morning saying they had a message about our dog. In my frame of mind, I distinctly heard the woman say that they had Muirne, and she was in their shelter. When Abe listened to the message, he heard no such thing. Frantic, I called back to animal control and left a message begging them to call me back with any news. When they returned the call, the message was not good. Muirne was gone. I sobbed and sobbed and screamed angry words and ran and ran just because I didn't know what else to do--and am still sobbing, days later. She was only 7 years old.

I regret not doing to math to realize that it was the 4th of July. Muirne has always been skittish about firecrackers, so around the 4th, we always end up keeping her inside. This year, we were gone on the 4th, and she was wandering outside by herself. The only thing we can figure is that she was wandering when she got scared and disoriented by the noises and ran. A policeman picked her up the next morning and gave her body to Animal Control. Oh, how I wish we would have very explicitly told our friends to leave her inside.

I haven't taken photos of Muirne recently, in the past couple of years. So that's why it is odd that, almost exactly a week before we learned we had lost her, I snapped this picture. You have no idea what a treasure it is to me now.

Abe came home late in the evening on Tuesday and picked up our sweet dog on Wednesday. She is buried deeply in our woods, her favorite place to wander, and her grave is marked by three logs. I wish I had been there to help bury her, I wish I had been able to stroke her fur once more and say goodbye. I suppose this post is my way of saying farewell to my good friend. I am hoping to get a puppy soon--not to replace Muirne, because there will never, ever be a replacement for a dog like her, but because we need another buddy to train and grow up with our kids, to take to the fair and to the pond. We need a friend to guard our house and family, to play fetch with, and to snuggle up with on cold evenings. And whatever color or size our next dog is, she will always wear a red collar, as Muirne did.

Muirne, you were the best dog, and I miss you almost more than I can bear. You were our first baby, our finest and most loyal friend, an endless source of entertainment and pride, and there will never be another you.

Goodbye, dear girl. I love you.

30 June 2010

Charis Turns 6

Dear Charis,

It's official. You're six. I vividly remember purchasing a new pair of footie pajamas when you were 18 months old, holding them up to get a good idea of how large they were, and thinking, Well, she will never be that big. Boy, was I wrong, and it didn't take long. You are now wearing size 6 clothing, a size 11 shoe, and you weigh 40 pounds. That's a far cry from the 18-month-old you.

It has been a big year for you--this year, you started school, and, for the first time ever in your life, went away from me every day. I didn't even put you in Preschool because a) I figured it would be pretty easy to teach you letters, shapes, numbers, and patterns, and b) I just wasn't ready to let the world have you yet. I am 34 years old, and have been married to your dad for almost 8 years, and all of that flew like the blink of an eye, and I knew that just like that, your childhood would also be gone, and I'd regret it if I didn't savor every moment. If I stop and think about it too much (which I try not to do very often), it makes me sad that I no longer know that 18 month-old Charis, with the footie pajamas and sweet blond curls, that I will never again get to hold the 6 month-old you, who loved to be cuddled at all times and who I could wear in a front pack while I did my grocery shopping. I will never again delight in hearing you say for the first time, "Mama," and I will never again watch you sing in front of church for the first time. Looking back at pictures, I try hard to remember what it sounded like when you cried and babbled incoherently, try to remember how you walked and ran, and what you liked to eat best. You won't remember that stuff, either, so I feel like I am the sole repository of those precious early memories, and if they're lost to me, then they are irretrievably gone. That makes me sad, because I cherished the tiny you.

The saving grace is that I have the Now you, the six year-old you who is independent, who loves to sing and draw (it's your talent, you informed me recently), who is (generally) very kind to Judah and Ruby, who has a sweet, tender, vulnerable side, and who can (Oh, how I have waited for this day!!!) READ. One of my new favorite things in life is to have you read me a story before bed. It is an absolute wonder to me that your brain can sort out the jumble of letters that is the English language, decode it into things that you can say out loud and even comprehend. You are so SMART. Even though you were one of the very youngest kids in your Kindergarten class, you were academically right on track--you end-of-year tests put you in the mid-to upper 90th percentile. In fact, you did even better in math than in reading, which I cannot understand. you did not get those math genes from me! You yourself are a wonder. You've always been a happy, well-adjusted child, and now you can tell us all about it, and even write it down. And it's slightly miraculous to me that, even though I can no longer hold the tiny version of you, the kind whose whole body fit in my arms, you love to cuddle with me still. Sure, your gangly arms and legs spill out of my lap, and you're about half as tall as I am, but hugging you is still one of the best things I know to do.

You are an absolute character, a total live wire in Sunday School. In Kindergarten, it was a bit different. You were decidedly shier. I thought you would have a best friend on day one, but it was actually a rough year for you in the friend department. Sometimes I suspect it is because your personality is so big and because you like to lead, not follow. Whatever the case, it broke my heart when you came home from school some days and announced that you had no friends. I'll be your friend, I said. It helped to know that Mrs. Newton loved you dearly, and that she took every opportunity to tell us that you were her very favorite. I knew that even if you didn't have a good friend your own height, you were still going to school with someone who thought you were special enough to love on. And someday, maybe this coming year in Mrs. Bell's class, you'll run home to tell me about your new BFF, and the next day you'll have another BFF, and the sadness you felt in Kindergarten will evaporate. Until then, I'd be happy to read you books and take you to the store with me and have you help me in the garden. Anything so that you know just how much you are loved and enjoyed. And you know, there's always Judah. You guys are pretty much the best of friends anyway. Who needs anything but a good brother?

The 9 month-old Charis smiled and laughed more or less constantly. The 2 year-old Charis could spend hours looking at books. The 3 year-old Charis loved to help me in the kitchen. The 6 year-old Charis is all of those things and more, a smart, funny, delightful girl that I am always proud of. I may no longer get to enjoy the babyish you, and you outgrew those 18 month footie pajamas long ago, but the big you is such a wonder, such a mystery, such a treasure, I wouldn't trade you for the whole world.

26 May 2010

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I began writing this post on Wednesday. Its title, Kids Say the Darnedest Things, I borrowed from the name of a show hosted in the late 50s by Art Linkletter. Obviously, I wasn't around to see the show when it first sired, but my grandmother had a book of excerpts from the program that I'd read whenever we visited her house. I LOVED that book, and I loved Art Linkletter. I thought he was so clever to be able to interview these kids and get such consistently funny responses. I mean, I was a kid at the time, and I certainly had never said anything so oddball as those kids in the book said.

I found out last night that Art Linkletter died on Wednesday, the very same day I was composing this post about a couple of humorous things my kids said that day. Strange coincidence, no? Well, Art, thanks for publishing such a funny book for me to read at my grandma's house. Hiding in the back bedroom reading it probably saved me from all sorts of work. In honor of you, here are a few of the darnedest things my kids said the other day.

It began when Judah was singing a song he learned at Bible Study. The actual song goes like this:

I may never march in the Infantry
Ride in the Cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never fly o'er the enemy,
But I'm in the Lord's Army!

But of course, I liked Judah's version better:

I may never march or hit the tree
Ride in the cattlery
Shoot the artillery
I may never fly o'er the energy,
But I'm in the Lord's army!

Charis head him singing and knew it was all wrong. So she offered up to him HER correct version of the song:

I may never march in the impentry
Ride in the Calvary
Shoot the Altiraly
I may never fly ower enemy
But I'm in the Lord's Army!

Ah, kids. They do say the darnedest things.

And finally, we had homemade fried rice and homemade egg rolls for dinner last night. Judah particularly liked the egg rolls.

Judah: Mama, did you make these egg rolls?
Me: Yep.
Judah: All by yourself?
Me: Yep.
Judah: And no Chinese persons even helped you?

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

21 May 2010

Charis Gallery

I think this is why I hate posting pictures. I can never get them to end up in any specific order. Why does this picture stay stuck up here? And why is it duplicated below? And why won't blogger let me delete it? I will probably never know.

At any rate, here are some (very old) shots of my precious first born, who will turn 6 in less than a month. Where did all of the time go?
I just love when she gives me a good smile for the camera. Usually, she puts on a grumpy or silly face.
This was her first "gingerbread" house, made out of graham crackers, frosting, and lots of candy. I may be biased, but her house was the best one. Of course, she's almost a year older than the next oldest child who made a house, so that's probably to be expected.
Ah, yes. This is a more typical shot of sweet Charis. One of these days, when she really learns to read quickly (She CAN read. Isn't that amazing?), we'll have to get this girl in drama. She has a million emotive faces available at a moment's notice.
Like this one, taken on a school field trip to see how maple syrup is made. You just have to love those eyes! (At least, I do)
Here she is "drilling" for "sap" in a "maple tree." It was actually "turning the crank four times" for "air" in a "dead stump."
On a mission: Easter egg hunting. Do NOT get in her way when she's hunting Easter eggs. You'll get run over.
And, finally, Charis' first year coloring Easter eggs. We did a dozen eggs, and this year, for our first year, we went very basic. I accidentally purchased a "tie dye" egg-coloring kit, but after reading the directions, I quietly threw away all of the tie dye paraphernalia and all we did was straight dipping. Amazingly, the eggs turned out great--not a brown one in the lot.

I'm hoping that, now that the weather is nicer and it's staying lighter longer, I'll start to be more consistent in taking the camera out. I am WOEFULLY behind on taking snapshots of my beautiful little people. And maybe one of these days, I'll learn how to upload pictures to Blogger without major drama!

11 May 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I wish I had gotten a picture of myself with my kiddos on Mother's Day--they were so adorable, and for many reasons, this Mother's Day was especially precious. Of course, Ruby is still unaware that any day is different from any other, but Charis and Judah are well aware. Weeks ago, Charis' teacher asked us to bring in a bar of Dove soap for a Mother's Day craft the kids were making. The day Charis brought it home, already beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon, I thought she would explode with anticipation. On Saturday evening, I stayed home and cleaned the house (I wanted it clean for a relaxing Mother's Day but knew I was on my own for that particular wish) while Abe took the three munchkins to Meijer to have them pick out some treats to give to me the next day. They loved the time with Daddy, and I loved the quiet and very productive time at home.

Sunday morning dawned nice and sunny, if a little bit cold, and I showered and got ready before I went up to wake the kids. I woke Charis first.

"Mom, you were supposed to sleep in as long as you wanted," Charis protested.

Judah wasn't as ready to get up, and he protested differently--whining about how he didn't get to sleep long enough. either. Just then, Charis piped in again. "I'll go downstairs and get your presents," she said. Judah sat straight up, and in his most chipper and excited voice, he said, "Is it MOTHER'S DAY????!!?!?" You'd think it was Christmas morning.

He and Charis were thrilled to be able to celebrate me. I opened the cards and papers and drawings they gave me. Charis wrote her name neatly on her card, but Judah, who can't write very well yet, had drawn me a picture--a page full of a circular mass of scribbles. "I drew you the whole world, Mommy!" Charis gave me her Dove bar craft--a Dove bar wrapped in tulle, with beads attached with pins. I don't totally understand its intended purpose, but it is sitting on display in the bathroom, where I can admire it. I thanked them profusely and asked them to please change quickly into their church clothes. It being my special day, they complied. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, we made it out the door on time and I arrived to choir a few minutes early. Abe told me that was his Mother's Day gift to me. We spend too many Sunday mornings driving to church in a snit, because I'm frustrated that my husband's lack of time management has made me late yet again. Having a Sunday morning drive be pleasant was truly a great gift.

After church, we discussed what we'd do for lunch. "Make pasta salad," said Judah.

"I'm not cooking," I replied.

"How about pizza?" he asked.

"Yeah," Charis chimed in, "you could make us each our own favorite pizzas!"

"They seem determined to get you to cook," Abe chuckled.

In the end, we did choose pizza, but we chose to have someone else cook it for us. We went to a pizza restaurant near our church, and I think we will definitely go there again. The pizza was outstanding. Abe and I shared a pizza with Alfredo sauce, roasted chicken, bacon, mushrooms, feta cheese, and mozzarella, with a light crust brushed with whipped garlic butter and finished with a sprinkling of oregano and Parmesan. Good grief, it was good. The kids had a cheese pizza and couldn't have been happier.

We returned home where the kids presented me with their treats--double chocolate Klondike bars, a bar of dark chocolate Toblerone, and a dozen Ferrero Rocher Rondnoir chocolates. And two bottles of Coke. Nothing says love like a trunkload of sugar!

After that, we put the kids down for a nap, and I slept for two hours. THAT was a great gift. When we all woke up, we drove to Abe's mom's house. I called my mom on the way and had a nice chat with her. After visiting with Abe's folks for a while, we all packed up and met Abe's sister and family for ice cream. Then it was back home and to bed.

All in all, it was the THE BEST MOTHER'S DAY EVER. Except for the fact that I didn't get a picture to commemorate it, it couldn't have been more perfect.

21 April 2010

Random Photos: Ruby Edition

Ruby helping pick out a Christmas tree in her OLD hand-me-down snowsuit. It's tough being the third child.

Christmas morning, on mom and dad's bed, opening her stocking stuff. Oooh! Socks! And bubbles!
Still Christmas. Playing the cutest Santa ever.
Ruby in her BRAND SPANKIN' NEW snowsuit. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa! She didn't love having the hood zipped up.
Don't let Ruby drive the bus
She climbed into the sink by herself (well, a tall stool helped) because she was dirty from playing outside and wanted to clean up. As most 19 month-olds do.
Her first yer really participating in an Easter egg hunt. Not sure why she was looking in the driveway.
Ah, that's a better place to look. She's so smart.

We love our little peanut! At her recent well-baby (it was her 18-month appointment, even though she was 21 months old and had skipped her 12 and 15-month well-baby appointments), she was 32 3/4 inches (45th percentile), 22 lbs, 10 oz (10th percentile), and her head circumference was in the 61st percentile. All of that means that she's bigger for her age than I imagined! She's always been such a tiny peanut. But her growth has been steady, so we're thankful for that. Maybe she'll be a petite gal. Time will tell.

10 April 2010

Random Photos: Judah Edition

Grandma and Grandpa got Judah a tool kit for Christmas so he could help his dad fix stuff.

Building and racing cars with Daddy at the museum

Judah went with me to Charis' field trip to the Nature Center to learn about how maple syrup is made. Here he is being curious. I don't remember what he was being curious about, unfortunately.

This is Judah's Easter loot from YiaYia's Easter egg hunt.

Riding the mechanical bull with Daddy at a fundraiser. They stayed on for about 10 seconds.

Blowing out the candles on his birthday cupcakes. He helped make them AND decorate them. Charis picked out the swirly candles (and also tried to blow them out from afar.).

Judah's first "gingerbread" house

waiting to open Christmas presents at Yia Yia's house

Hamming it up in the parking lot at Aunt C's apartment

Visiting at my parents' house

In our backyard? Last fall?

Not much narration here. But it has been a while since I've posted pictures for my mom to print out and hang up at her desk, so I figured it was time for some photo galleries of the kids. judah gets to go first because he just had a birthday.

19 March 2010

Judah Turns Four

{I can't find the cord that connects my camera to my computer, but when I do, I 'll insert a few pictures of my little man HERE.}

Dear Judah,

I vow never to blink again. Because I did blink, once, when you were a baby, and now look where we are--you're four years old. Stop it, just stop it. I don't want you to grow any more. I want you to stay four ALWAYS. I want you to stay four because four-year-old you is such fun. You love to help me cook (case in point, you helped me make your birthday cake AND cupcakes, AND you helped decorate them), you love to help me by "keeping Ruby company" when she wakes up from her nap. You love to sing, usually snippets of songs your dad and I listen to in the car. Most notably, you usually sing a few lines of "Don't Stop Believin'": "strangers waiting in the night..." You're cute like that.

And speaking of cute, four year-old you is so cute and cuddly. I know that if I blink again, you'll be all old and grown up and everything, but for now, you're little, and still okay with snuggling up next to mom, especially if I'm carrying a book and it's nap time. You say, "Mama, can you just come lay down with me for a few minutes?" Sometimes, we've postponed naptime so long that I really can't--you need to get to sleep immediately, before The Meltdown happens. But if we have a moment or two before you need to be sleeping, I take my opportunity to be near you. I know I won't be able to do that forever. Before long, you'll probably give up Mom time in favor of Dad time outside and in the pole barn. I've got to get mine while I still can!

You do love that pole barn, though. And you do love spending time with your dad. Toys are fine in their moments, and certainly, you like to ride all sorts of Big wheels and bikes, but even if you were outside with nothing else to play with but your dad's stuff, you'd be happy. As near as I can tell, your favorite gift from your birthday party last night is the set of 12 bungee straps and two carabiners we gave you for modifying anything into a trailer to be towed. Cool new hat? Eh. Cars DVD? Whatev. Nifty stainless drink bottle? Okay. But BUNGEE cords.... well, I'm glad you like them.

You even shared them with Hayden when he came to play today. And you shared your birthday gum (so you don't have to ask for mine anymore) with Charis last night--half of it! How on earth did you get to be such a great sharer? You share EVERYTHING--so much that sometimes, you share everything you have right away. Your Sunday School candy? Right into Charis's hand. Your sticker from the doctor's office? Ruby's. Whenever we go to the bread store, you pick out Little Hug juices for Charis and Ruby. And when you know we're having little friends over, you pick some out for them, too.

You're a good friend. If I were a four year-old kid, I'd want to be friends with you. Lizzy likes hanging with you. So do Gideon and Elise. And Charis, well, don't even get me started. You guys are best friends, and you don't even know how much joy that brings me. And when we go to Charis' school for lunch and recess duty, you fit in so well. Everyone in Charis' class knows your name, and some of the girls have even taken you under their wing. It's probably because you're so cute. But I already talked about that, didn't I?

Well, Judah, we have one more year together at home before you, like Charis, are in school all day. I'm excited for you to start school, because you're really smart and I can't wait to see what great things you do when you're armed with knowledge, but I will be savoring every moment of this last full year we have to spend entire days together. I love to go to the store and library and museum and park with you. I love it when you take me for walks through the woods and down to the pond. I love how happy you are to see us when we pick you up from Bible Study or Gopher buddies or Sunday School. I love to hear your laugh when we tickle you, love to see your dimples when you smile. I love to watch you build and climb and dig and ride. I love to watch you clean your plate at dinner time--your appetite is a thing to behold.

So, yeah. I'm all done blinking. Because I already feel like your life is zooming ahead too quickly, and I don't want to miss a single moment of you. Happy birthday, Judah-boy. You cannot possibly know how much we love you!

16 February 2010

Mom, I HAVE to!

This morning on the way to school, Charis started telling me about a conversation she'd had with a boy in her class named Jacob.

"Mom, Jacob is wrong," she said.

"About what, honey?"

"He said that Jesus died and he is dead forever. And he is wrong."

"Well, either he's teasing you, or he doesn't understand about Jesus," I said.

"Mom, he IS wrong. Jesus died, but He didn't STAY dead. He came back to life later, and a lady went to visit his tomb, and He wasn't there, because he wasn't dead anymore."

"That's right, baby. And why did He have to die?"

"So that our sins could be forgiven."

"Wow, Charis, I am so proud of you for telling your friends about Jesus."

"Mom. I HAVE to tell my friends about Jesus! They don't KNOW!"

06 January 2010

Jump Right In

I don't want to be writing today. I really don't. It's 1:15, and while I already have dinner in the oven, have paid bills, sent important emails,made important phone calls, and have put away (some) laundry, I still haven't made it to the shower yet today. Ruby and Judah are napping, so in theory, this would be the perfect time for me to attend to such sensitive matters. But here's the thing: every time I see the link to "Blogger: Dashboard" staring at me from my Bookmarks list, I feel a little bit guilty. I cringe, because I know that Sherrie will probably mention I haven't posted in a while, and I will see her at choir practice tonight and try to dodge her. But she sits two seats away from me, so that's not really possible. And April (who hasn't blogged in eons, either) just left a comment that she'd blog when I did. So here I sit, in the blue recliner we just got from my aunt and haven't moved from the dining room yet, tapping away at my keyboard, entirely unsure of what I want to say.

It has been a while. Sherrie is right. In late October, my father-in-law had back surgery and also found out he has cancer, and not only did I get caught up in errand-running and helping out a bit at my in-laws', I got caught up in my own rehearsals for the Christmas program at church AND with drama rehearsals for the same program; celebrations for Thanksgiving; the actual Christmas program; Christmas decorating, shopping, celebrating, and what-have-you; and while I probably could have scraped together 10 minutes in there somewhere to whip out a post, I'm afraid I never felt I had enough emotional energy to do it. Or it could be that I'm just lazy; either one is a plausible explanation.

In the time I've been away from the blog, I've gained 6 pounds. I've vacuumed the floors a lot. I've done approximately 652 loads of laundry, and loaded and unloaded the dishwasher so many times, my head spins. I made 3 batches of gingerbread men for Charis' class to decorate (only to learn from Charis that they didn't even use mine because they were too big, despite the fact that the teacher had specifically requested "LARGE" Gingerbread men). I attended my daughter's first-ever Christmas concert at school; it was thankfully short, but half of the time was taken up by The Twelve Days of Christmas sung by 75 bored/distracted kindergartners. I've bundled Judah up to go outside a thousand times. I've also changed his sheets 25 times because they were wet. SOMEDAY we'll be past this stage. Either that, or we'll cut him off of liquids past 4 pm. Ruby's hair has been in ponytails twice, and we've swooned twice on account of her cuteness. She says "uh-oh" and "Night-night" and "bye-bye" along with her usual (albeit occasional) mama and dada. She follows instructions, nods when she agrees with things, and is still a wee peanut of a child. We got a Christmas tree, and the kids helped me decorate the bottom third. We went to see the Christmas lights in a nearby city. We celebrated Christmas a bunch of times with various sides of the family and even took a trip to Ohio where Abe and I got to go out (!!) with some friends of mine from high school. We got a new couch from my aunt. We moved the big kids into the Big Room, Ruby into the Small Room and into an actual crib, and Judah (at LONG LAST) into a Big Boy Bed. He had been napping in one for a year or so, but it's now official--no more climbing in and out of the crib for him. Now that's Ruby's prerogative. And in there, we've cuddled, read books, talked about the True Meaning of Christmas, eaten lots of sinfully delicious food (there's the 6 pounds for you), and watched White Christmas for the hundredth time.

So. The ice is now broken. Since I started this post, my in-laws stopped by on their way back from chemo, I tossed the Red Skin potatoes and carrots into the stew in the oven, and though I didn't get a shower, I did put on clothes. A shower will have to wait until after I pick Charis up from school, but at least I won't feel quite so guilty when I see that link anymore.

Happy Wednesday!