Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Brief for the Defense

" . . . We must have the

stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless

furnace of this world. To make injustice the only

measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.

. . .

We must admit there will be music in spite of everything. . . ."

(A few lines from the poem “A Brief for the Defense”)


I love the idea that we must occasionally be stubborn and determined when it comes to accepting joy. That we must hold to it fiercely and admit that even in the darkest times, there truly will still be music to cling to. 


Unrelated. Or, perhaps perfectly related:

Anders, at four, has likely lived past his days of any true toddlerhood. I can never quite get over the fact that in all of FOREVER these little humans of mine will exist only once – for such a tiny speck of time -- as the baby or two year old version of themselves; and that it’s only in my mind that those bits of them will continue to exist. And yet . . . they are such huge parts of them. And of me. While I do have my own personal thoughts that keep developing strength on how all these parts of our lives will be . . . clearly there. Clearly a part of us. Forever. (Only temporarily obscured by weak mortal memory.) They are more feeling – part hope and part surety – than words. (The idea was expressed somewhat in this post.)

So, for now: some last remnants of his toddlerhood:

He recently saw a dog that looked just like a “woof”. (That would be wolf). And, when I send him off to his room for a little “quiet time” around noon, he asks if he can have a “sroot snack” to take with him.

Photo Jan 14, 9 18 26 AMPhoto Jan 14, 9 17 44 AMPhoto Jan 14, 9 36 14 AM

The other day he announced, “Mom, I’m ginna draw an alligator.” And then, as he began drawing lots of things poking off of an oval, he continued, “And alligators have tons of legs.” Then, a pause, and, in a tone that seemed to suggest he was as surprised as anyone he added, “Even on their heads.”

On Sunday, he was snuggled up next to me on the couch, when suddenly he lifted his head and said, “Mom! I can hear your heart pa-pumming!” I love “pa-pumming”.

Enough of that. A few more pictures. And this:

My kids can oft times be found, for want of anything better to do, playing, “Would you rather.” I tried to join in the other day with a “Would you rather shoot lasers out of your eyes or have pointy metal teeth?” But I was mocked out of the game. Apparently “pointy metal teeth” was far beneath their creativity standards. They just kept shaking their heads and chuckling to each other, “Pointy metal teeth. Oh mom.” Pointy metal teeth are so yesterday. I guess like . . . everyone has pointy metal teeth.

Photo Jan 07, 4 17 01 PM (1)Photo Jan 08, 2 32 37 PMPhoto Jan 09, 5 04 48 PMPhoto Jan 14, 8 36 17 AMPhoto Jan 15, 11 13 06 AMPhoto Jan 09, 4 54 28 PMPhoto Jan 14, 3 09 38 PMPhoto Jan 21, 8 55 15 AMPhoto Jan 15, 5 40 05 PMPhoto Jan 21, 9 30 43 PMPhoto Jan 20, 1 33 56 PMPhoto Jan 17, 12 35 41 PM (1)Photo Jan 22, 3 44 50 PMPhoto Jan 09, 4 54 48 PMPhoto Jan 20, 1 33 49 PM

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Journal Post

We now have 9:00 church – which means Saturday becomes the only lazy morning of the week; but I am enjoying all of the post-church hours to fit in more of the Sunday types of things I like to do.

A highlight of our week seems to be after-church snacks (and it’s loss is felt during the once-monthly forsaking of that ritual on the Sunday when we fast). In anticipation of this, I try to grab something a little extra fun when picking up groceries on Saturday. Chips and dip, crackers and cheese, caramel and apples. There’s no official afternoon lunch, but everyone loves being in the kitchen together – eating whatever fun snacks I may have purchased, or rummaging about for whatever is closest to “fun” in the cupboards. Yesterday the only “fun” thing were some Capri Suns I’d forgotten we had in our pantry – along with a few leftover potato chips. But a few of us made hot chocolate, and Abe made himself ramen noodles, and I mixed up a little batch of edible cookie dough (after jokingly berating everyone who had already eaten a good portion of the chocolate chips – all at Mike’s lead).

After that, I took Abe for a drive . . . with him driving. Other than a time or two in a parking lot, etc. this was only his second time really in control of the wheel (I let him drive part of the way home after we picked up pizza earlier in the week). It’s a bit more nerve-wracking than I would have guessed. (Especially since the poor boy has to learn in such large vehicles! We have nothing compact at all right now). But the two of us drove seven or eight miles – a loop I sometimes run, followed by a drive past two of his friends’ houses and the elementary school (which meant he drove home through the round-about).

When we got back, Goldie had been teaching the younger kids how to make “ralphs” out of tinkertoys and they were eager to show me how they could balance them on their fingertips. I put Mette for a nap and then played Canadian Dice with the older four. Much like my own dad, Mike doesn’t adore playing games, but having kids old enough to play games that I actually enjoy has been bringing some of my old favorites to mind. Canadian Dice is one I haven’t played since college, but which I remembered having great fun with when my brother John first taught it to us. The kids have been playing it fairly regularly since I showed them how last week. And Mike resting or reading on the couch nearby – just like my dad would have been – makes it feel strangely like I am recreating a bit of my own past and memories to eventually become . . . their past and memories

When Canadian Dice was finished, I fell asleep on the couch – with instructions to Daisy to wake me in 15 minutes so I could carry on with my plans.

Then Jesse and I went to his room to spend 30 minutes of time alone. I’ve been trying to find a smidgen of one-on-one time here and there with each of my kids. It was cute to see the things Jesse gathered for our little half hour. Spot-It. A Matching Game. (He was looking for, but failed to find, Uno.) He also brought the blue box of gospel art pictures in case we should feel we ought to do something a little more Sabathy.

When Jesse and I were done, I convinced the girls (after some resistance from Daisy – protesting over the cold) to walk down the street with me to take some pictures. I hadn’t used my new camera outside at all yet and while it wasn’t quite late enough for the most dreamy evening light, I wanted to give it a try. So the girls threw boots and coats on, and Daisy grabbed a flower wreathe she’d forgotten she’d made until finding it in a cupboard Saturday, and we walked half a block down the street to the empty field across from our stake president’s home. Daisy and Penny ran ahead. Goldie held my hand -- leading me along -- as I perused an email from a friend on my phone, and we joked that she was the mother – keeping me out of traffic, etc.


It was cold and my hands were numb within minutes, but we laughed and had fun.


Afterwards, they even willingly walked another block down the street with me for me to try to get a silhouette with just my cell phone (which has a wide enough view to make a five-foot hill look like a small mountain). It was too early for silhouettes, but I got a few fun – though far-too-low-quality-to-blow-up – shots.

Photo Jan 10, 5 09 18 PMPhoto Jan 10, 7 25 09 PM

I usually make a roast for Sunday dinner, but I hadn’t been to the store (thus the leftover bits of chips and capri suns scrounged up earlier in the day), so Mike made pancakes, bacon and eggs while I happily relaxed and looked through all our pictures. Afterwards, he even cleaned everything up while I got the little kids bathed and ready for bed. We finished with watching a family show and eating popcorn. It was an exceptionally happy Sunday for me.

Before it was all said and done, I commented to everyone, “This was such a great Sunday! All my plans worked. My first plan was to go driving with Abe. And that happened. My second plan was to play a game with you guys. And that happened. My third plan was time with Jesse. And my fourth plan was taking pictures. And they all happened!”

Mike couldn’t help but teasingly slip in: “If your first plan was driving with Abe, you shouldn’t have made any other plans.” Haha. Abe did very well. And it isn’t often that I’m able to fit in quite so many of the “good” things I want to in a day.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mette, Summer, Hope, and Pictures

Thursday was Mette's first night sleeping in her new hip abduction brace.


Just as I climbed into bed myself, and before I could even settle down to begin properly fretting over things like: how the awkward brace might affect her sleep, and how desperately I’d miss her chubby legs and feet kicking into me when I snuggle her next to me at night, and how we'd manage nursing and getting her back to sleep once she did wake, I heard, coming through the monitor from the room where Summer sleeps, the unmistakeable sound of throwing up.


After changing bedding, and changing clothes, and washing off little hands, and a little face (and a little hair), we put her back in her crib – hoping for sleep, but what with her world being slightly shaken, illness, and, mostly, the loss of her precious “gah-gah”, she'd have none of it. (I know, I know: “gah-gah”?? Also, I'm “me-me”, and, sometimes, for short, simply, “meem”.)


I spent the next two hours lying on the floor next to her crib – reaching my hand through the slats to pat her and whisper the occasional “hush hush” (because she likes that line from Goodnight Moon, and it was fitting).

And Mette? She did marvelously. Nursing her snuggled next to me (as I'm fond of doing) was a challenge as she really can't be turned sideways at all in her brace, but we managed, and the night didn't seem to go off much differently than any of her nights have. (I felt strongly, in the morning, this was a direct blessing from prayers for us being heard. Thank you. Thank you.)


But it just goes to show that we always worry about the very wrong thing. There I was – nervous about Mette – when clearly, I should have been chewing my nails off in worry over the impending night-trouble ahead with Summer.

Haha. I'm just kidding. I'm becoming better and better and not worrying and fearing. It's been a huge part of my journey this past year. Learning about hope. Embracing the idea that no matter the darkness (or the waves we may be sinking in, or the storms threatening our small ships) Christ asks us, “wherefore didst thou doubt?” and “why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”

I'm learning that there is always the hope of better and brighter things before us (and that fear is not trusting that that is possible). Mostly I am learning to echo the words of a quote a friend sent me from John S. Tanner concerning what we should say when tempted to fall into despair:

No! I will not go there. I will not despair. For there is hope. There is hope because of Christ. However dark the night, the dawn will come.”

I'm sure my convictions of this truth will yet be tried severely enough, but, it is only through my most desperate trial that I ever came to know it at all, and, come what will: “I know in whom I have trusted.”

And now, a little more messing around from the new camera.

This Summer girl! She’s finally started looking old enough to actually be a big sister. (And she now has enough hair to occasionally wake from her naps looking slightly disheveled – which I find quite charming.)


And, while Jesse was at school, Anders took advantage of the protest-free opportunity to play with Jesse’s “build a straw”. (Jesse found out later. He was mad.)


And I don’t know what was going on here. Only it looked cute, and I love how Anders’ hair curls when it gets long.


Lastly, having a camera again is making me do crazy things. I bought a prism and took some pictures with it partially blocking the lens. (Whattt??) When it arrived, everyone was napping, so I promptly took a picture of the closest thing to me (my phone).


Then Daisy came home with the quetzal she made out of aluminum cans and I played with the prism a bit more. (Look, in one picture, I seem to have reflected the magnet board behind me into the picture. This is the kind of thing I know I must be careful with. I could get caught up in the fun and have loopy pictures for the rest of forever.)


Then I took a few shots of Goldie and Mette. They aren’t perfectly crisp, but they are just so dear.


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