Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tree

I set to work decorating our Christmas tree for the season, and I decided I would take a picture of each ornament. Over the years, my Mom has given me most of these, and each one has special memories. 
Given to Erik and me: Our First Home, Christmas of 2005

I actually bought this one: Joshua's first Christmas!

Our first Christmas: 2005

This basket of kittens was always one of my favorites to hang. From my Uncle Mark in 1991.

This pudgy kitty was given to me in 1987 by my Aunt Tricia. I was 4 1/2.

Aunt Tricia also gave me this Popcorn Mouse in 1986.

This trio of fashion forward mice came to me one by one in '00, '01, and '02 from my Mom.

I love Raggedy Ann and Andy! Given by my Mom in '04. She marked the box "The last one :(" thinking she'd be done giving me ornaments because I'd be married. She hasn't stopped. :)

This adorable pair came into my life in 2006 from--yep you guessed it--my Mom.

1994: From my Mom.

Also 1991, from my Mom. Notice the mouse theme? :)

2007--my ornaments are becoming more grown up!

This guy creeps me out. He's to Erik from my Mom. 2007

He's such a happy little musician! 1996 from the Mother.

Random. She's not a mouse. 1995 from my Mom.

1995 as well--the year of the cartoons I guess! Our cats, no matter where on the tree we put him, always find Tweety!!


i LOVE this set! Mom gave the whole thing to me in 2003.

So adorable!

The cats always find this guy as well. Not sure why they love him but they do!

I LOVE LOVE the snowman!

Last but not least, my Mexican mouse from 1992.

Yay for Christmas, traditions and wonderful memories! Thanks for all the ornaments throughout the years Mom--love 'em!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Joshua: No Spitting

Dear Joshua, my beloved son,

I know you think it's hilarious to stick your tongue out, suck in air, and blow raspberries like a boy impersonating an elephant, but it's kinda gross when you do this at dinner time when Mommy has just fed you a large spoonful of carrots.

Carrots stain.

But laughter soothes the soul. And my oh my, dear son, do you make Mommy laugh lately. A lot. And hard.

Erik said to me the other day, "Yeah, I could skip the first four months." And while the Mommy in me immediately says, "Oh but all those cuddly moments when he learned to sleep, and learned to nurse, and learned to smile, and learned to recognize me ..." Yes, all those moments are precious, and the newborn stage is definitely something to remember and cherish ... however, 6 months was a huge break through, and 7 months is amping up to be fairly hilarious.

The impish grins, the silly looks, the excitement of sitting and standing and crawling, and yes, even the spitting--man, this is super fun! Yay Josh!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dear Kristin, Re: Formulas. With love, Lysa (Thanks Amber)

 My friend Amber sent me this devotional today. Very timely. :) I've re-posted it with full credit to the original author. Check out her site!

November 18, 2010 
The Formula 
Lysa TerKeurst
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Romans 12:2a (NIV)         

When I was a young mom, I was desperate for a formula. I truly thought there must be a formula I could plug my family into that would yield great kids. And there were plenty of moms that tried to convince me they had the formula.

"Bottle feed and never let them sleep in your bed."
"Breastfeed until they are 3 and give them the security of sleeping between you and your husband every night."
"Don't ever send them to pre-school. It will be detrimental to their social development."
"Send them to pre-school right away - it's crucial for their social development."
"TV is good."
"TV is bad."
"They must read by age 5."
"Let them take their time learning to read. You'll ruin their love for books if you force them."
"Step in and model healthy conflict resolution when they argue with their siblings."
"Let them handle things on their own."
"Be there 24/7 for your kids."
"Don't be a helicopter mom. Give your kids room to discover who they are without you hovering over them."

Seriously, it's a wonder we moms figure anything out with all the conflicting information and advice we get. I spent the first five years of motherhood convinced I was messing my kids up beyond repair. And it wasn't for lack of trying. Heavens no. I was serious about gathering every morsel of information I could and trying with all my might to decode "the formula."

Well, here's the deal. I now have kids ranging in ages from 22 to 11 and this is my very best advice in regards to the formula. There isn't one.

There is no perfect parenting formula. What works for one kid may not work for another. The seemingly perfect algorithm one family follows could be disastrous for another.

We weren't made to follow formulas. We were made to follow Jesus. Period.

This is true with parenting but it's also true with every other aspect of our lives as well. We were made to follow Jesus' lead in our marriages, our jobs, our ministries, our churches, our friendships, our everything.

In Romans 12:2 Paul so powerfully reminds us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will."

We weren't made to be robotic followers of this world's formulas. We were made to be transformed into the unique person God appointed to fulfill the assignments set before us. So, on a practical level what does this look like?

It's a simple woman who humbly acknowledges how much she doesn't know about life and readily admits how much she needs Jesus. Not just in spiritual sense...this woman needs Jesus in every way. All throughout her day, she can be heard whispering heart-felt pleas to her Jesus saying, "Show me the way, show me the way, show me the way."

And as she does this, she loosens her grip on all the formulas thrown at her and courageously embraces His gentle voice behind her saying, "This is the way, now walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Overwhelmed, Sleep Deprived and Paralyzed

Books should  be helpful right? Others' experiences should shed light, agreed? I'm beginning to think that's just not true.

Right now, I have a stack of books I'd like to burn, theories colliding in my head that I'd like to demolish, and a baby upstairs who I love deeply, but who needs to sleep in longer chunks at night.

I apparently can't learn the secrets of the baby whisperer, I am not baby wise, this home does not house the happiest baby on the block, we're never going to have healthy sleep habits, sleeping easy is a fantasy and I'll never ever be able to say to my child "Good night sleep tight!" because it just won't be true.

I'm not discouraged or anything. Really, I'm not.

"Consistency is vital" "Don't respond to night wakings with food" "Dream feed" "Don't dream feed" "Soothe the baby" "Don't soothe the baby" "Soothe the baby, but don't touch the baby" "Still offer one-two night feedings" "6 months and older don't need food at night" "Let the baby cry" "Don't let the baby cry" "Stay in the baby's room" "Don't stay in the baby's room"

Dear Lord, PLEASE, what is the answer? My goodness. Everyone and their dog has an opinion about how to get the poor baby to sleep. I'm so mixed up inside, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived that I'm literally paralyzed. I can't make a decision, and when I do, I don't stick to it in the middle of the night because I'm so tired, I can't think straight.

I'd love to end this blog with some pithy answer, or snappy phrase that pulls it all together and adds a splash of humor and hope ...

But I'm just. too. tired.

Off to crank up to coffee pot, and attempt to avoid thinking about the night that is inevitably coming.

Really, I'm not discouraged. Not at all.