Thursday, January 20, 2011

And suddenly, he grew up

I'm not sure what happened to Ayden overnight, but he is a different boy today. Maybe it was sleeping in his own urine all night (we didn't realize until this morning that he took off his diaper before falling asleep--yuck!). Maybe it was hanging out with a cool babysitter last night. Maybe he just grew up.

Now I know that he still has a lot of growing up to do, I'm not saying he has grown up in the "completed" sense. But he is older today than he was yesterday.

This morning, he was sitting on Luke's lap and his feet were freezing (he had just gotten out of his unexpected bath from the lack of a diaper). He was telling Luke, "Feet owie" over and over again. Before Luke could respond, he nestled his feet under Luke's legs and said, "that's better." What? Since when has my kid EVER said that?

Later, he came to sit next to me on the couch while I fed Judah. Instead of climbing up clumsily like he usually does, he made a tarzan-like cry and leapt up onto it. Very little-boyish. Not very still-learning-to-get-around-ish. He's climbed up on the couch hundreds of times and I have never seen him playfully jump up like that. It's always been a very practical endeavor.

Not long after that, he found one of my slippers and said, "Ayden slipper!!" as he put it on his foot and started walking around. Now this is not too unusual for him--he loves to say things that are incorrect and wait for my reaction. It's a little game that we've developed. But this time he took it a bit further. After I exclaimed, "no, that's Mama's slipper!" he started laughing and informed me, "Ayden funny." This conversation repeated itself over and over for about 10 minutes with him letting me know that he was "silly" or "funny" every time.

Then, as we were arriving home from the morning out with his aunt and cousins, he had another suprising statement to make. I had the radio playing while I was driving. When I turned the car (and therefore the radio) off, he commented, "good song, radio." Huh? He always says "radio" whenever he means "music" or "song" or whatever, so I was surprised to hear him refer to it as a song. In addition, since when does he know how to judge if he likes something or not by saying it is "good?" Then to use it in the correct formation like that?!?!

Seriously, aren't these things supposed to happen more gradually?!?

Monday, January 10, 2011

diapers, toys and winter hats

It's been exactly one hour since I awoke to Luke frantically coming into our bedroom asking, "Judah is crying, what do I do with him?!?"

Good morning, world.

Luke and I decided last night that he would get up with Judah for his early morning feeding, give him a bottle, put him back to bed, then go to work super-early. All went according to plan until Judah woke up again soon after Luke put him back to bed. We decided to leave him, in the hopes that he would go back to sleep.

It wasn't long before I heard Ayden. Great. Now I have 2 screaming children and I still can't quite get both eyes to open at the same time. Maybe they'll go back to sleep?

Eventually I went in to get them (still not quite awake). Both kids quieted from their "I'm so distressed that I might die!" crying almost immediately upon seeing me. Remind me to tell them the story about that boy crying "wolf" all the time. They could learn a few lessons from it.

So I get Ayden out of his bed and straight to the changing table. Change his diaper and set him free. Get Judah out of bed and start changing his diaper. Oh, awesome, your diaper didn't hold it all in. As I'm giving Judah a baby-wipes bath and changing his clothes, Ayden starts discussing who gets diaper changes:
"Judah diaper change."
"Yep, I'm changing Judah's diaper."
"Ayden diaper change." 
"Yep, I just changed your diaper."
"Mama diaper change."
"No, Mama goes in the potty, she doesn't have a diaper to change."
"Ayden potty now."
"Ayden, you can't go potty now because I am changing Judah's diaper. And, I just changed your diaper, silly!"

He runs back to play, and soon I hear him whining, "Ayden diaper change!!" In other words, "Mama, stop paying so much attention to Judah. If you want to change a diaper, change mine instead so you can give ME attention!!" Nevermind that he hates having his diaper changed. Usually I reply to this by telling him, "Of course I'll change your diaper! Just as soon as I finish with Judah." Then I change his barely-wet diaper. We wouldn't want him to think that his Mama is neglecting him by refusing to change his diaper. But this time, since I literally JUST finished changing his diaper, I told him no. Cue tantrum.

I finish getting Judah all cleaned up and dressed. And as I walk past Ayden (now playing; the tantrum was short-lived), I smell something. You've got to be kidding me. I turn around and put Judah back in his crib to play while I change Ayden again. If you're counting, this is three diapers in a row. If you recall, I only have two children. And yes, he asked to go potty first. And then he asked for me to change his diaper and I told him no. Mama-fail.

For all of you NON-mothers-of-preschoolers: this is why moms of little kids don't shower. Or return phone calls. Or any other number of socially acceptable things. I'd like to say that this was a crazy, unusual morning, but it was actually quite manageable compared to most. After all, I did find the time to blog. Granted, some of that writing was done s -l-o-w-l-y one-handed while nursing Judah, and it's taken me two hours to write this so far.  Ayden is a constant demand-producing machine. He needs a toy turned on. He got stuck trying to take his PJ's off. He disobeys and needs a time-out. He wants more crackers or juice or cars or anything. And of course we have to play and color and do puzzles.

But how cute is it to watch a toddler attempt to put pants on by himself for the first time (continuously commenting, "pants broken now" or "too small, Judah's"). Or seeing him try and try again every time you show confidence in him. Or to watch Ayden give Judah kisses and hugs repeatedly, while Judah smiles and giggles at all of the attention. Or when Judah can't take his eyes off of the imaginative play that his brother is continuously engaged in. And I can't even tell you how hilarious it is to watch Ayden run around the house wearing just a white onsie and his winter hat.

I suppose these kids are kinda cute......Good morning!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Morning with Ayden

Our almost-two-year-old is pretty adorable, even if he is a bit unpredictable.
 Luke put Ayden in a super-cute outfit with a red button-up shirt. When he walked out of his bedroom, I exclaimed, "Ayden, you're cute!" Ayden's reply: "nooooooo" - in the loudest, whiniest voice he could muster. Me: "But Ayden, red is my favorite color. Can you come here so I can see your shirt?" And then he cried. Hard. Like I had just taken away his favorite toy or something.


Luke: Ayden, do you want a banana?
Ayden: Yes
Luke: Ok, daddy will get it for you.
Ayden: nooooooooo (again, in the loudest, whiniest voice you can imagine)
Luke: You don't want the banana?
Ayden: NO!
Luke: Ok, daddy will have one then
Ayden: (desperate) no, no no, no, no
Luke: Oh, you want the banana?
Ayden: Banana!!
He never did eat the banana.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life is Changing

About a year ago, I started this blog with the following description:

"We're thinking that God might want us to go to another country to teach others about the Bible. What does that mean? Is that really what He wants for us? If not that, what? What does that process look like? I suppose we will find out soon enough....."

That's not entirely relevant anymore, since we are now much further in the process than we were then. At this point, it looks fairly certain that God is calling us to go to Rwanda to teach in a pastoral training program. We still have a million questions and uncertainties about it, but we both feel an inexplicable peace about going.

Meanwhile.......Although I'd love to spend day after day thinking and daydreaming and preparing for our future in Rwanda, LIFE (or, more acurately, children ) has me planted firmly in the present. There are diapers to change, sleep schedules to figure out and toys to be fixed. And somewhere in there I'm supposed to feed these guys, too!

So I've recently changed the description to a simple,

"Following Jesus one step at a time."

In parenting, marriage, ministry--everything--we are called to simply follow Jesus. Step by step and day by day. We fail at that (frequently!), but God's grace is good and He continues to guide us and strengthen us and teach us. Life is just as crazy today as it was last week, but there is one major difference: I know God has us right here for a purpose. And I know that He will give us what we need to do the things that He has given us to do for today. Even if the day starts at 4am (as it did yesterday) or doesn't end until after midnight.

As our life changes over and over again in the coming months and years, we hope to simply continue following Jesus every step of the way.


In other news, we expect to receive the application for our mission board soon. Although I'm not sure where we are going to find the time to complete it all, we are excited that this next step is approaching! If you're the praying type, we'd love for you to pray with us that this next step would be smooth and that we would have the time and focus to work through all of the steps of the application process. Thanks!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recipe for a Mama-Meltdown

1 exhausting pregnancy
1 active toddler
1 very busy husband
1 mama who is still trying to have a life outside of raising children
1 emotional infant
Temper Tantrums (as many as you can find)

Mix the pregnancy, husband, toddler and mama for 9 months and let it simmer on medium heat. Once sufficiently stressed, remove the pregnancy and add the infant and temper tantrums. Turn up the heat to high. Meltdown should be ready in about 3 months.

Needless to say, it's been a challenge adjusting to two kids. Judah is not nearly as laid back as Ayden, which means he doesn't "tag along" to meetings or errands very well. Meanwhile, my easy-going toddler is about to turn two. Yep, those terrible two's are raging in his sweet little life. We're talking epic meltdowns because I offer him milk instead of juice with his snack. Or begging to have his diaper changed (which he usually hates) just because his brother is getting a diaper change and we're using HIS changing table.

I've felt like I was at the end of my rope for quite some time now, but foolishly kept saying, "It will all be better when ______." Then I finished that sentence with things like, "Luke finishes this semester," or "Judah is napping on a schedule." At some point in the past few weeks I stopped believing myself. The end of the semester came and went and we were still stressed. The kids have been sick. No one in our family has been sleeping enough.

So I reached the end of the rope and was surprised to find how frayed it was. No one ever tells you that the end of the rope is so frayed, although I guess it makes sense. Bills haven't been paid, commitments at church have been neglected, family and friends have been ignored, our home hasn't been cleaned. We eat out more than we should, and too many of those times are at McDonald's. Luke and I don't talk enough and therefore argue about everything. I keep forgetting to give the boys baths or brush Ayden's teeth. My nightstand is so dusty that every time I climb into bed, I start the night with a coughing and/or sneezing fit. Ayden watches more TV than I can keep track of. EVERYTHING is spiralling out of control.

So I gave up a few days ago. I just stopped trying. I curled up on the couch and aimlessly surfed the internet while Luke was left to get the boys their dinner and put them to bed. The alternative was so much stress that I could barely speak. Maybe that's what a panic attack is--I don't know, but it was something bad and completely out of my control. We suffered through a day or two of that. At times I would help for awhile, but if there was too much immediate stress, I would just crumble again. How do you keep going when you don't have some glimmer of hope that things will be different soon?

But there IS hope. For one, the immediate circumstances WILL improve, even if it is not on the timeline that I first imagined. Judah will eventually sleep and Ayden will emerge from the terrible two's as the sweet little boy that is buried under all of this angst. Luke will be done with school. The weather will warm up and I'll be able to go for walks, or maybe even the occasional run.

But that's not what is really giving me hope. We were talking in our Bible Study last night about Hebrews 12. It talks about running the race with endurance and God disciplining us as children. From the discussion of this text, I was reminded that God's "discipline" is Him teaching us things that we will need later. Maybe God is letting everything pile up at once so we can learn to trust him. Maybe God has something amazing planned for our future that is going to be so much harder than this and we NEED this time to learn how to handle it. I don't know the future, and I certainly couldn't guess correctly at how this time in our life fits into God's overall plan. But the reality is that God does have a plan for our lives, and for some reason it includes this crazy period. Meanwhile, I'm spending too much time looking at the million responsibilities swirling around me and not enough time looking at Jesus.

So maybe I should spend more time paying attention to the songs that I sing to Ayden before bed:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace