Monday, November 26, 2007

My budding artist

R made me the happiest mama on Friday: He drew people for the very first time! I was SO EXCITED! I don't know why, but I've been hoping he would for a long time. Generally, his drawings and paintings are pretty abstract :-) - he's titled most of his recent work as "Fire" - and he's always said that he can't draw people or that it's too hard. But he did it, and I'm so proud. (Can you tell?) And, what people did he draw? His mommy and daddy!

First up is me. I've got a head, two eyes, lips, arms, and legs.

Next is Daddy. Daddy has a head, eyes, ears, a beard, arms, and legs.

A and I were talking this weekend about all the changes in R's life this year. It's truly incredible. The year of being three is quite tumultuous! R was potty trained, moved to a twin bed, stopped taking naps, learned to spell his first and last name, started writing letters, moved into little boy clothes (vs. toddler sizes), etc., etc. Lately, he's been having many more meltdowns - either crying or getting very angry and frustrated. I'm sure all of the changes in his life, plus becoming aware of all his different feelings just gets overwhelming at times. He's definitely in that time of his life where he goes back and forth between wanting to be a big boy and a baby. And, I want him to be both, too. I love introducing him to new things now that he's older (like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and hot chocolate, both introduced this weekend) and I love our family game time at night and raking leaves together and going bowling. But I also love how he can't say his "th"s and how he sucks his thumb when he's sleepy and how he wants me to be with him every minute of every day.

Post-Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful. We raked lots of leaves, took R to an indoor playspace we hadn't been to before, went out for breakfast, met friends at a nearby playground, and had our dear friends A&A over for roast chicken and T-day leftovers on Sunday night. (So, we got our lovely at-home Thanksgiving after all.)

At the playground we went to on Sunday, R and his little friend A had tons of fun climbing the scariest, tallest climbing structure I've ever seen. I was scared to climb it myself, but R scampered up the webbing quicker and quicker each time - and then went down the HUGE slide while screaming maniacally.

These were taken a little closer to the ground. :-)

Only 40 minutes left of Cyber Monday now, and I didn't order anything online today. I feel so left out. :-) I did buy lots of new Christmas decorations this weekend, and if R hadn't been getting restless, I would have spent gobs more money. I really want to make the house look special for R this year. I think I even convinced A to finally put up the outdoor lights that I bought three years ago but never opened!

And, thank you, everyone for your comments on my dreary Thanksgiving post. God definitely had the same idea as you all. I had two morning devotions in a row that were about being cheerful and being full of joy. I like to think that I'm a positive person, but I definitely have a cynical side and a tendency to get mired in either self-pity or self-loathing. This weekend, I imagined that I had two boxes that were full of two areas of my life that I tend to either worry about or have negative feelings about. And, I imagined that I took those boxes and laid them at the Lord's feet for him to take care of. And then I walked away (again, in my imagination). It has definitely helped me so far, and I pray that I can keep from sneaking up and trying to open those boxes again.

Finally, I want to end this post with a link to my brother-in-law's blog because he and my sister did a really wonderful thing on Thanksgiving, and I'm so moved by them. They don't have a lot themselves, but they shared what they do have (and more!) with some people in real need. God bless them - and all of you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving wrap-up

I had hoped to do a "day in the life" kind of post where I described our day and illustrated everything with pictures. But, Thanksgiving ended up being pretty bad (e.g., R was an absolute whiney pain in the butt at the restaurant and refused to eat anything - but he was absolutely fine as soon as we left AND A and I had a rip-roarin' fight partly brought on the frustration at dinner). We're still healing from that one tonight. (Emotionally, not physically - just in case you were worried!) I think we were just both really bummed that dinner turned out so stinky. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was wonderful, and we were SO excited, but I think R had just decided that he really didn't want to be there (that's what he told me this morning). Plus, he has a little cold and was tired. Well, that's what we thought the problem was, but the second we let R get up from the table, he was super happy crazy man again. So, A and I had to take turns wolfing down food by ourselves while the other one took R for a walk. We ended up having to wrap 90% of our food up to bail out and head home. That made both of us cranky, and we just let loose on each other. :-( Stupid holiday expectations! (Now, I know that we were taking our chances on going out to eat with a three-year-old. But R has been an angel the last few times we've gone out, so we thought we were good. Plus, I brought tons of things to occupy him with - cars, a book of mazes, a book to read, a mini train and tracks for the table. Oh well. Lesson learned!)

So, I'll just share pictures from the earlier part of the day when the sun came out, it was 60 degrees, and we went for a walk to the playground and had lots of fun swinging and climbing and chasing R around. That's the part I'll keep in my heart. :-)

(It's funny - this one is just from last weekend. The difference in temperature is crazy! And, today we were only in the 30s. Brrr.)

Today was much better family-wise. We raked leaves together, had leftovers for lunch, then I took R to the kids' gym down the street while A did some work. Then we all went bowling, came home for more leftovers for dinner, read bedtime stories together, and now here we are. The house is quiet, and A and I can have some time to be nice to each other.

I sure hope everyone else's Thanksgiving was much better than ours! ;-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When All Else Fails ...

... I can write about R. There just isn't too much else going on right now. Well, I'm extremely busy at work, but that would be unbelievably boring to write about. Plus, I refuse to let work permeate my entire life.

So, I'll share just how proud of R I am these days. I love watching his personality and social skills and sense of humor develop before my very eyes. Somehow he has managed to draw upon the very best of me and A, without picking up our negative habits and attitudes (except maybe a touch of both of our perfectionism). He is such a kind and fun friend. I love dropping him off at school and seeing all the little ones yell his name and come running when he arrives. When we run into his classmates on the weekends, he and the other kids run toward each other and throw their arms around each other in a huge hug. I just love that. He seems to be friends with anyone and everyone.

In just the last few weeks, R has become super, super affectionate. He's constantly kissing us all over, giving hugs, and telling us repeatedly, "You are best mommy/daddy/woman/man in the whole world!" Sometimes he says that when he wants something (the little dickens), but most of the time it seems completely genuine, just his spontaneous outbursts of love. Heavenly.

R is amazingly gentle and loving with our cat Harley, who is TERRIFIED of children. Harley pretty much stays upstairs in my bedroom while R is awake and really doesn't come downstairs until R is safely in bed. The cat is so stupid. If he were smart, he'd follow R around constantly and sleep with him - he would get so much more attention and love. R loves to climb up on our bed to visit Harley. He crawls over to him slowly, talks to him in a sweetly quiet voice, leaves little toys for Harley to play with, and gently pats him. I think Harley is finally figuring it out, though. He's started coming into R's room to give him a head butt or rub up against him, and we even coaxed him onto R's bed twice. (I admit that I have an ulterior motive there. R told me that when Harley starts to sleep with him at night, he won't need me to sleep with him anymore...)

R has a great sense of humor. He's such a ham, always making crazy facial expressions and doing crazy dances. He's picked up our sarcasm and joking tone of voice. On Friday night we went out to dinner at a local ice cream/greasy spoon joint. R picked out something for dinner that was completely unlike him - and that I'm sure he would never eat. When I looked at him in surprise, he smiled wickedly and said, "Are you KIDDING me?!!" the exact way that I do to him all the time. Another night at the dinner table, we were just sitting and eating when R suddenly put down his fork, opened the drawer under the table that holds a bunch of little junky toys, whipped out a noisemaker, and blew into it. It was like eating with the Marx Brothers. A and I are still laughing about it.

R has been saying some incredible things lately, using fairly big words in context. On Wednesday, he said to me, "I had a very surprising dream last night!" I wish I could remember the other things he's said recently. I need to keep a notepad with me at all times.

In this week of giving thanks, I'm obviously so thankful for this little boy who is the joy of my life. I feel like all I do is stare at him lately because I'm so fascinated with everything he says and does, and I just can't believe that this gorgeous child came from ME. This afternoon, we took a little nap together and I woke up first and just watched him sleep. It's still just as amazing as when he was first born. I wonder if I'll still be doing that when he's 18. :-)

We're trying a new thing this Thanksgiving. We're going out to a restaurant for dinner. It's weird for us because we both love to cook, but it's just too depressing for A this year. We don't have any family coming, and most of our friends are going out of town or have other plans. For years, A cooked for tons of people for "orphan" Thanksgivings, where he and his roommates would make a fabulous meal for all of their friends who had nowhere to go for the day. We even kept up the tradition once A and I were together and his friends had families of their own because it was so relaxed and fun and special. But, eventually everyone wanted to do their own meals, understandably. So just cooking for me and R is a little sad for A, a little too everyday for him. So we're going to try the huge family-style spread at Maggiano's in Boston. We figure that even if it's not terribly special, given the portions at Maggiano's, we'll definitely have leftovers at least (you have to pick TWO main dishes - turkey and/or ham and/or salmon, two pastas, two potato-ey dishes, two vegetables, two salads, two appetizers, two desserts!) - plus we won't have to do the dishes!

I have to end this post with this video clip someone posted from the concert I went to last week. This is Phil Wickham singing "Cannons," the title song from his new album. It still gives me chills. The video ends abruptly, but should give you the gist.

This one's not from the night I saw him, but had to share it, too. I love Phil's voice and lyrics. He's only 23!!!

God bless and happy, happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rockin' Friday Night!

Last night, Trish and I went to see the David Crowder Band play. It was SO MUCH FUN! And, we had some fantastic tickets - only four rows back from the stage! David Crowder was great, and so were the two opening bands: the Myriad and Phil Wickham.

The Myriad were so impressive. They all look SO young, but their performance was really tight, and the music was loud and rockin'. (And one of the guys reminded me of Peter from "Heroes.") I have absolutely no idea what lyrics they were singing, but I'm sure it was inspiring. :-) Apparently, they are in a contest on where you can vote them as the best up and coming band or something like that. Pretty cool. Here is a mediocre picture:

Next up was Phil Wickham, who was incredible! It was just him up on stage with his guitar, but his sound was amazingly full - it sounded like he had a full band behind him. He has a beautiful voice and tons of energy. I'm definitely going to buy his album.

Then came the David Crowder Band, and they did not disappoint. Woohoo! Not only are they fun to watch, but David is very inspiring when he talks, too. While they played a lot of my favorites (like "Everything Glorious" and "O Praise Him" and "No One Like You"), my favorite moment was when they broke out the banjo and fiddle and did a rousing, hoedown version of "I Saw the Light." :-)

So, it was a fun Friday night for me. Trish was great company (I'm so grateful to her for agreeing to go with me!), and the music was fantastic. And, the whole Boston Christian rock music scene was very interesting. Beforehand, I was wondering if anyone was going to show up. Well, it was packed. I also wondered if I was going to be the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Well, it was pretty close. Trish and I were definitely some of the oldest people there who were not chaperoning a youth group. But, it didn't matter one bit. :-)

In summary, if David Crowder is coming to a town near you, definitely get tickets! (Shaun and Johanna: Can't wait to hear how his show in Orlando is!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I'm feeling so much better. Just writing out my post the other day lightened my heart. Thank you so much for your comments and prayers! I'm really trying to focus on enjoying and appreciating my life and my family as it is right now instead of fretting and grumbling over how I want things to be different. (Because one of the big things I was bothered about was whether to have another baby. Enough said for now.) And, it's working. Every time I start feeling anxious or frustrated or whatever about the size of our family, I just try to be truly in the moment with R. And, we've been having so much fun this week playing together, laughing, reading stories, talking - in a more relaxed way than usual. And, I've been leaving my laptop at work on purpose so that I can't have even the possibility of being distracted by work when I'm with him. That's been great. (It has done wonders for me and A, too. Our normal routine is to put R to bed, then we camp out in the living room with our respective laptops and pay more attention to the TV and to the laptops than to each other. Not good.)

Plus, I keep hearing God whispering to me that he's got plans for me. So I need to trust that he knows what he's doing and that everything will work out for the best. :-)

OK, enough about my emotional/mental/inner life. Gah!

I wish I could set up a live video feed of our yard right now. This morning, the sun was streaming through the trees, which have finally turned bright yellow and orange and red, and the leaves were falling like gentle rain. It took my breath away. I'll try to take pictures this weekend when we're raking.

Gotta go prepare for a presentation at work now. Happy Fall, everyone, and God bless!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Con: Evil stomach virus; Pro: 10 pounds lighter!

If anyone is feeling guilty about all the candy they ate last week, just lick your nearest preschooler. You'll pick up a lovely stomach bug that will take care of those calories for you and then some. That's where I've been. (Apparently, this bug is not confined to the Boston metro area - since Lynette's house also got attacked by it in Texas this past weekend.) R had the thing a week before I got it. Luckily, he threw up once, had a teensy fever one night, slept it off, and was fine the next day. I wish I could say the same.

But I'm better now. And my pants are much looser. I guess three days of eating pretty much nothing except an occasional popsicle will do that.

I've been in a stupid, crabby mood for the last week or so (before I got sick), and I'm trying to shake it but having a hard time. I've been praying and asking God to take my bitterness, regret, etc. away, but it's not working because it's one of those times when I really want to wallow in it. I feel like I'm saying, "Here, God, you can take.... this. But. wait. a. second. No. You. can't. have. it. I'm. not. done. feeling. sorry. for. myself. yet!!!!" And, that just doesn't work. You have to mean it, I think, for it to work.

However, just so that I'm not only posting my negative vibes here, this morning when I got off the train, there was a man playing guitar at the station. And, he was playing the same piece I always hear him play. It's a classical piece that I'm sure would be very familiar to everyone (I used to hear it in the old Victoria's Secret stores - when they were lovely, elegant stores that played classical music - not trashy underwear stores with scary, red-light-district-looking mannequins in the windows), but I can't remember the name/composer. (I will post it when I do. UPDATED: I knew I would find it two seconds after posting this... it's Canon in D/Pachelbel's Canon.) Anyway, it always makes me cry because it's just so incredibly beautiful. And, every single time I'm feeling completely rotten and down in the morning, I step off the train and that man is there playing that piece. But he's not there any other time. So, as I told Lynette this morning, I think that's God saying, "Yes, I hear that you're down and life stinks right now. But listen to this! Isn't life beautiful and amazing and magical!?!?!" It's God's way of smacking me upside the head.