Wednesday, January 25, 2012

noah's pictures #3

Noah really enjoys taking pictures - especially of his baby brother. And I let him. Sometimes. I'll admit that most of the time I just don't want to sift through all the blurry ones. But afterwards I'm always glad I did because he gets some of the most unique shots.

For instance, here's Noah looking down on Samuel. You can see how long his hair has grown. How can I cut it?!

Samuel is fond of laying around on stuff. His favorite is pillows but anything will do.

Laying in the kitchen looking at brother. See, another good shot!

Cute little feet. Like I think of taking a photo of Samuel's feet.

The sun highlighting his cute little fuzzy headed cowlick.

"Whatcha doing brother?"

Hair on fire.

"Can I come down too?"

Too too cute.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

compassion and judgment

I unexpectedly learned something important today about compassion (at least I hope I did). When the same message comes up three times in one day, I realize I need to pay attention.

While I was eating breakfast before arriving to MOPS late, I read an article from Christianity Today titled A Pro Life Plea. I read it and bustled my three kids out the door and the message didn't sink in until I heard the same thing twice more later.

So I went on with my day. Once at MOPS while talking with two very wise women, Shelli and Kristin. It seems every time I talk to Kristin the Spirit makes something she says really stick out. It was like that today. I can't remember the whole conversation but she mentioned how if life had gone her way, she would have been a very prideful, self-righteous person. But as it turned out, she is able to have much more compassion for people who have made mistakes in their lives.

I heard the message of compassion when Kristin said it. But did I listen? No. I went in to discussion group and was too free with my opinion (even if it was mostly in my own mind). I can be so self-righteous and I really do detest it. I long to have more compassion.

So even though I learned from Kristin to be compassionate, I put myself above another women (or more!). When I came home I read a blog post about this very message. I seriously love her blog.

She says, "Sadly, this form of mother-on-mother attack [berating mothers for not breastfeeding] isn’t an isolated occurrence. I have seen this happen time and time again, both on the internet with venomous persistence and in real life with sugary coated condescension. Whether it’s about breastfeeding or schooling choices or vaccinations or medicated birthing or any other one of the myriad of decisions that we have to make as mothers, our culture has bred an environment of judgment and derision."

Ouch. How right is she? How often to I set myself above others for my "superior" choices and preferences? And I'm not talking about life and death, black and white, sin and righteousness choices like murder. I'm talking about stuff like child-rearing which looks different for different families - different house rules.

She went on to say, "My husband has learned well what I want from him when discussing a problem or issue. “I don’t need you to problem solve right now. I just need you to listen.” This should apply to mother-to-mother communication as well. Sure, sometimes we actually want advice. But what we all need more of is to feel true camaraderie and support from other mothers, the only other people who can really understand the myriad of choices that we’re forced to make every day."

Ouch. I was hit again. I offer my "advice" when it's most likely not wanted or needed and might actually do more harm than good!

After I finished the article I read some of the comments and was particularly struck by this one: "I heard Chuck Colson give a great sermon on judging that I have tried to apply recently. In order for a judge to be good at their job they need to be presented with all the facts otherwise they are just ruling based on their own preferences. Because we cannot possibly know anothers thoughts, reasonings, etc… all the time, God is the only one capable of passing a fair judgment on others."

I don't have all the facts so I need to listen more than I talk.

So then I couldn't get the message out of my mind and apologized to the woman I offered unsolicited advice to (she said it was okay) and realized that I had read about this message earlier in the day in the Christianity Today article:

"I understand that fear [of unplanned pregnancy]. And I think local church culture bears at least some responsibility. We've so spiritualized the fight for life, we may be losing lives because of it. We know God is the maker of every human being. We know that premarital and extramarital sex is contrary to God's Word. Our beliefs on this front are passionate and unbending, and they should be. But I fear that our conviction and certainty can lead to lack of compassion when women make mistakes.

"I attended a church a few years ago whose (male) leaders would not support a church-sponsored baby shower for a pregnant teen unless she repented of her sin - publicly. If there is no room for error, no message of grace, women in crisis will continue to drive out of church all the way to abortion clinics, their Bibles on the front seat, scared toward death."

Enough said, except for these last two comments that I thought were really good as well.

debi Blaising January 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

Thanks for getting on my soapbox with me, Rachel! This is the “message” I try to convey to young mothers. Basically, there is no easy way to raise/school/feed your children. There is a big difference in using biblical principles for parenting and using self righteous, “we’ve chosen the higher path” principles. If you feel the Lord has led you to breastfeed, have a natural birth, and home school your children, follow Him. But don’t look down on your friend who had a c-section, bottle feed her baby, and sent her to preschool. I can’t imagine Jesus blasting someone for not breastfeeding. I am the home school mom of four children (one with significant special needs), who had four epidurals, breast fed all four, sent them to preschool and vaccinated them. I think James 2 is a great place to go in regard to this issue. We are basically putting moms in “classes” and showing partiality. As Christians, we should excel in this area, and I fear we are failing. Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Thanks again, Rachel, for bringing a delicate subject to light.

McKt January 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm

It is a distraction and a work of the flesh to make us so passionate about worldly things that in light of eternity do not matter. Ultimately, I care if my kids know Jesus. I care if your kids know Jesus, and how they are birthed, fed, educated, and sleep are preferences and an easy way to get bogged down in stuff that isn’t eternal. Thanks for having the clarity of thought to put this together. It is a really great piece.

Samuel's nicknames

(Evie dressed him up with her necklaces...)

When Samuel was a littler baby I remember how I was kind of sad about his lack of nick names since his older brother and sister had them. I've recently realized that it's no longer a problem.

Noah is mostly "the boy." Evie is Baby, Squish, Squishy, Girl, Girl Squirrel and Chicken (who knows why her dad calls her that). And of course, they are all referred to as "punks." Terry's dad used to call Terry and Shari punks when they were young. Terry even used it for his t-shirt moto - "Clothing the world one punk kid at a time." It's not meant to be derogatory. It's a term of endearment (though I did have to teach Noah not to call other kids punks a few days ago...)

However, now that Samuel is just two weeks from turning one year old, he has many nick names.

People at church are fond of calling him Sam. We never, ever, call him that.

Others call him Samwise. I love Lord of the Rings and am a huge fan of Sam Gamgee, but it's just never felt right to call him that.

So, for us, first he was SamSam.

Then he was SamuelSam and Samuelson.

And sometimes he's Samuelton or Tamuel.

Lately I've been calling him Little One. More often it's Little Guy or Widdle Guy. That nick name is from Star Trek Next Generation. Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana, calls her Little One.

He's also Little Stinker.

And of course, he's a punk.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Samuel is growing up

Samuel has always been a wiry little guy. If you are looking for a little pudgy Gerber baby, look elsewhere.

I was quite worried about it for a while, like back when he wouldn't eat anything but milk well past six months old. Since then I've accepted that this is just how he is. He is his own little guy and won't fit into either of his siblings molds. He wouldn't sleep except on his belly - no burrito wrapping for him. Now he's cut out his morning nap (he's not even a year old yet!!!). And he wouldn't eat until he was seven months old.

So it was around Terry's birthday, September 3rd, when I had made his favorite meal - spiral sandwiches and cheese soup - that Samuel finally began to eat food. He loved that cheese soup. And slowly from there, Samuel began to eat. He is just now, at 10-11 months, getting to the point where he will eat pretty much whatever we are eating. Little stinker.

Proof - he's eating my home made sweet/white potato/carrot stuff with applesauce. He detested applesauce for the longest time and look at him now. He's even got the orange-tinged nose to prove he eats it every day (Mommy needs to change it up! And I have since this picture).

He's starting to drink out of a sippy cup.

And here he is just done.

As I mentioned above, he's quit his morning nap. I really drug my feet on that one. For like two or maybe even three months, he's been protesting his afternoon nap. It's been since the little stinker first learned how to get himself up into a sitting position from laying down. Ever since that point, he'd play or cry during his afternoon nap and they became hit or miss - mostly miss. So he'd end up awake from noon to bedtime, which would have to be early at 7pm.

At the beginning of this month, I experimented with cutting out his morning nap and having him wait until after lunch. It worked. He's now down to that one nap and we have a much more pleasant day. Though it does complicate school in the mornings. C'est la vive - that's life.

See, he's trying to get out of his chair.

Going comatose. Nap time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Noah the builder

Noah enjoys building structures and cars out of Legos. He'll start out following the exact directions and after he's tired of that, he'll do his own thing. He also enjoys building with Lincoln Logs, but he could only play with those at the ranch. So Gramma and Grampa gave Noah and Evie a set for Christmas. We have to keep them off the floor so Samuel doesn't destroy them. Here's Noah's first attempt with both sets. The Pony Express - how appropriate right? You know, b/c we have an old Pony Express in our town.

Bean bag game

Samuel can walk now. One of his favorite things to do is walk over to the bean bag or a pillow on the floor and plop down on it. Then he'll roll around and show off his cuteness.

Evie came up with a new game today that we all enjoyed, especially Samuel. After he dropped down on the bean bag, Evie started pulling him around on it, like a little ride. When they'd get through one ride Samuel would walk around a little and then then Evie would put him back on for another trip around the room.

His little laugh is so cute. And you can see his favorite car is his hand. It's one of Noah's that rolls on it's own extra far if you push it a little. It's so amazing to me that even though we've never showed him how to push cars, he figured it all by himself. He loves pushing those cars around everywhere.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Samuel can walk

Samuel started scooting around on his bottom mid-way through September when he was about 7 months old. Now he's just over 11 months old and he's figured out walking.

Perhaps he wants to keep up with big brother and sister?

He started out by perfecting his balance just before Christmas. We would see him letting go of furniture for a few seconds before grabbing hold again. Those stretches of wobbly balance got longer and better.

Just in the last week, about 3 weeks from his first birthday, he's really figured it out. He's come a long way from just last week when he'd only take a couple steps before tumbling down. Today after lunch he was standing at the back screen door, peering out of it to see what his brother and sister were up to.

But as soon as I grabbed the camera he walked towards me. Watch him come. It makes him so happy to walk.

He likes his mommy.

And his mommy likes him. He's such a good little walker!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

forgotten 2/2: Evie runs

The second thing I forgot from 2011 was when Evie ran away in July. She was just 3 years old and it was a very hot and humid afternoon. I can still remember what she was wearing - pink Croc shoes, short little purple shorts and a pretty long white Mexican shirt that some friends who are missionaries in Mexico gave us.

Here is the whole story.

Terry was up at the Building with Noah printing some t-shirts (the Building is where youth group occurs and where Terry's t-shirt equipment is stored. it's probably about a mile north of our house.). I stayed home with Evie and Samuel b/c it was nap time. The plan was to for us to head up to the Building once the kiddies were awake and I was done nursing. I got Evie up from her nap and told her that daddy and Noah were at the Building and that we would go after Samuel was done. Then Samuel and I went in my room while Evie played downstairs (I always went in there for peace, quiet and less distractions). Evie stuck her head in and asked something about going to the Building. I told her, no, we would go when I was done and not to go anywhere.

Twenty minutes later when Samuel was done and I exited my room, I called for Evie. She didn't answer and it was right then that I noticed humid feeling air in the house. I could see that the door leading to the garage was ajar. I assumed she was outside in the garage playing, or perhaps in the yard. So I put Samuel in a stroller and called for her outside. She didn't answer and I couldn't find her around the house. I ran inside and checked every hiding place I could think of, yelling her name. I went back outside and looked and called louder. No answer.

Alarmed, I called Terry and he thought we should call the police so he did or perhaps he didn't get the chance - it's all a blur, even then. I went to our neighbors house and asked if she'd seen Evie. Though she hadn't her nephew had a while before. Panic started to mount inside as I quickly walked up the street. As I looked at the houses along our road, I was thinking that she could be in any of those houses and I wouldn't know. Someone could have snatched her off the road. I kept thinking, What if I never see her again?

About a block or two up the road a woman stuck her head out of her door and asked if I was looking for a little girl. She had seen her walking up the road a little while ago. At the same moment Terry called. A college student that had been helping him finish the t-shirts had seen Evie on the last street in town that led to the Building. People drive fast on that street. A woman organizing a garage sale on that busy north street had stopped and kept Evie as she walked by and she called the police. Terry got there before the police did and they waited together to give their story to the officer. Evie had been only a few blocks from the Building.

So we got her back safe and sound, except for the blister on her hot little foot and being pretty thirsty. She didn't seem to understand she had done anything wrong or had been in danger, even though she disobeyed me when I told her not to leave. She was disciplined. The strange thing is that I had just talked with Noah and Evie about strangers, etc. not long before this.

Hopefully she never does anything like that again.

forgotten 1/2: Evie on AFV

I just realized that a few of 2011's highlights were neglected on my blog - important things that I do not want to forget! So, before it gets too far into this new 2012 year, I thought I'd better recap.

I totally forgot to blog about Evie making it onto America's Funniest Videos on April 3, 2011!

I wrote about the initial incident here. Noah knocked Evie down the stairs and I caught it on video. Because you see, it was an accident. It was quite hilarious. This was her look afterwards:

On April 3, 2011, we had a bunch of friends over and we all watched America's Funniest Videos together. We taped the episode but I didn't post it here. Terry was worried it would infringe on AFV somehow... No matter really. I have the original version. Evie's clip didn't win, but she was an honorable mention at the end of the show. They made her go slow motion down the stairs. Of course we all thought her video was much funnier than any of the finalists.

See for yourself:

Christmas card 2011

Here is our 2011 Christmas card. I loved them this year. I got them from vistaprint because I could include a letter on the back. The photo is from my sister's wedding - we don't usually look so good.

If you received one of these and didn't check the back, check now! Here's the letter.

I forgot to include one thing in the letter though. Apparently we had too much fun this year. Otherwise, how could I forgot to include our trip to Denver to see U2 our most favorite-est band ever?! I have no idea. It was May 21, 2011 and we went with our friends the Whites and NO kids, even though Samuel was only 3 months old.

And how could I forget to include video footage proof of our concert experience? I will be amending my original post.