Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday party

Emma and Mommy got to experience their first "school party" last Saturday at Monkey Joes.  I enjoyed watching her have so much fun with her little friends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WHY-Wednesday: Why I'm not messing up my kids.

I'm going to start this post by saying that I actually do think I'm messing up my kids.  Just this morning, Emma and I butted heads during breakfast time.  She wanted a big peanut butter sandwich, yet I knew she would not eat it.  After lots (lots!) of whining, a time out, and lots of patient explaining on my part that she would not want to eat it, I gave in.  I made her the sandwich.  Let's just not fight that fight today, okay?  Sure enough, the sandwich just laid there, untouched.  I tried to encourage her take at least one bite, but it did not happen.  So I let that one slip by.

Less than three hours later, in the gym's parking lot, while getting back into the car seats, she asked for her milk.  I kindly informed her that there was no more milk.  That she had drank it all gone.  She then proceeded to yell "Noooooo!!!!" with such rudeness and intensity, that the average witness would have agreed that the incident deserved at least a spanking.  But no, I just let that one slip by.  Again.

Tedd Tripp is probably shaking his head in disapproval, wondering how it was that I let this wonderful chance to address my child's heart slip by.  And Dr. James Dobson is probably enlisting all the long-term consequences I'll be facing with Emma when she hits the teenage years.

But the truth is, I almost never have the energy.  And most days I'm just plain ol' confused.  

Am I supposed to spank?  Give a time out?  Have the child recreate the behavior?  Ignore it all together?

Are they supposed to take one nap?  Two naps?  No nap at all?

Are they supposed to be home-schooled?  Private-schooled?  Public-schooled?

Are they supposed to take dance classes?  Be on a soccer team?

Are they supposed to be read to from the day they are born?  Placed in music classes before they can sit up?

Are they supposed to be breastfed till they're six months?  Till they're one?  Till they're three?

Will the world end if I choose to bottle feed instead?

Is there a right answer?  Does it  even matter?

I think a better question to this is:  Does God even need me?  Am I doing Him a favor by being a wonderfully educated and discerning parent?

And the uncomfortable short answer is:  No, God does not need me.  He does not need me to raise His children.  He has lent them to me and He has entrusted them to me, but He does not need me.

He uses me, yes, that's for sure.  But He does not need me.

This became painfully evident to me this past week while I continued to inch my way through the Old Testament.  In Numbers 20 we see Moses and Aaron get punished by the Lord for not trusting Him.  They are told that because of their disobedience, they would not enter the Promised Land.

Did the Lord use Moses and Aaron?  Yes.  The the Lord use Moses and Aaron in a great way?  ABSOLUTELY!  Did the Lord need them?  No.

In fact, they are replaced so fast, it leaves our heads spinning.  Just a few verses later, Aaron is replaced by his son Eleazar, and Moses is soon replaced by Joshua son of Nun.

So where does that leave us?  Are we supposed to throw our hands up in the air and just sit the kids in front of the TV all day?  And once again, the uncomfortable answer is... yes we can.  But do we want to?  Do we really want to miss out on being a part of God's Great Story?  Do we want to be replaced by a teacher, or a mentor, or a grandparent?  Because you know what?  If those little ones are His, He will use someone else to do His work for you.


So bring the stress level down a notch.  Relax.  And when tension and confusion creep up, remember that the Lord is using you to raise His children, but He does not need you

Instead be like the boy in John 6, who with his meager offering of two fish and five loaves of bread (all that he had), Jesus was able to feed five thousand.

If you'd been in my head this morning, you would have heard me praying:  "Lord, I have no clue what I'm doing.  I've done my homework.  I've read the books.  Yet I have no idea what I'm doing.  But this is what I have:  I have two fish and five loaves, a poor offering, but I know that in Your hands it'll be multiplied and used greatly."

And friends, if you'll allow me to still be humble while I say this-- it's because of this that I'm certain I'm not messing up my kids.

(A few acknowledgements to this post:  The title for this entry was borrowed (without permission, btw) from Lysa TerKeurst's book Am I Messing Up My Kids?  I actually began reading this book, and 40 pages into it I decided I did not like it.  But the title of her book was pretty awesome, so I borrowed it.  The second acknowledgement is that the connection of the boy from John 6 with parenting was not drawn by myself.  I have borrowed it from Rachel Jankovic's chapter in the book Mom Enough).

Friday, February 13, 2015


One of our favorite after-nap afternoon activities is going to the park.  Loved watching this boy faithfully, patiently, and persistently fill this bucket with sand.

All very busy...

So I was cleaning up dinner the other night, and I peek around the corner to find this:

Daddy Byron reading Little Byron a book.
Little Byron ignoring Daddy Byron, immersed in his own book.
And Emma, shirtless, paging through her own story.

A boy with a big sister

So this is the picture I'll one day pull out and show any potential love interests he may have in the (long) future.  

ps-- this was all his idea, btw ;)

Comfy boy

One does not need much to make himself at home... only Doggie, popcorn, milk, Frozen, and a comfy chair.

Friday, February 06, 2015

He likes his books

We had our doubts about LB ever liking books.  But most recently we have noticed his love for them.  He always wants a book in his hand while in the car, and will bring books to me to read to him, all while backing into my lap.

This morning, while getting myself ready, I caught him twice independently entertaining himself with them.

The circus

We took the kids to their first circus experience last nightWe went with our friends and their two children, and enjoyed watching Emma and Byron get wide-eyed over the balls (bawls), dogs (dawgs), lights and elephants.

A pom for a boy

We continue to get creative about our pom around here.  Not only does he use the lego piece as a pacifier, he has also taken Emma's doll's pacifier for himself.  There is nothing to suck on, just a short stick that is used to keep the pom in place with the doll, yet that doesn't seem to bother Byron.  I think it's mostly the idea of having a paci that he likes, not so much that he soothes himself with it.

More slouching

So we're still quite the lazy little boy.  I pulled out the stroller the other day to take the kids for a walk, and while I was getting Emma ready, LB climbed himself into the stroller and comfortably slouched himself there while he patiently waited for the ladies to finish getting ready.

Our little artist

Emma enjoys taking her Mini Monet art class at the Kroc center once a week.

Bubble painting. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

WHY-Wednesday: Why "you need only to be silent"

The account of Moses and the Crossing of the Red Sea.  One of the most iconic Old Testament stories, and one I have personally read through dozens of times.

Israel flees Egypt.  Egypt  chases after them.  Israel hits the sea shore.  Israel begins to complain to Moses.  Moses splits the sea.  Israel crosses undamaged.  Egypt not so much.


Or is it?

The account of Moses and the Crossing of the Red Sea has little impact on our lives if we only allow it to be a good moral story of trust and obedience.

So join me as we take a closer (and more personal) look into this powerful scene in God's Redemptive Story.

By the time the exodus takes place, Israel had been living in Egypt for more than 400 years.  They were enslaved by the Egyptians and mistreated for the majority of their time there.

But Israel belongs to the Lord.  They are His chosen people.  They are the apple of His eye.

So He frees them.

And they leave Egypt.  For good.

But Egypt goes chasing after them, and the Israelites hit the Red Sea.  They're trapped, with no way out, and are as good as dead, right?

Read what happens next (Exodus 14:13-14, ESV):
"Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today... The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

The NIV says:  "and you have only to be still."

Then for the remainder of the chapter we see the Israelites stand on the sidelines and watch the Lord do battle for them--

-  The angel of God... withdrew and went behind them.  The pillar of cloud also moved... behind them (v. 19)
-  The Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land (v. 21)
-  The Lord looked down... at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion (v. 24)
-  He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving (v. 25)
-  The Lord swept them into the sea (v. 27).
-  Not one of them survived (v. 28)

... not one of them survived.

What is your Red Sea?  That seemingly impossible situation that the Lord has led you to and are convinced is going to kill you?

That marriage that is hard to stay in, or that spouse that is difficult to love.

That career you've had to give up, or that new job you've had to take.

That leadership position you've been asked to take, or that ministry you are now seeing crumble before you.

That diagnosis you've been given, or that pain someone has inflicted on you.

That loneliness you feel, or that anxiety you have.

That elderly loved one you've been given to care for, or those young children you've been entrusted to raise.

That special needs child you are a parent to, or that barren womb that crushes you every month. 

Do we truly believe that as we face the Red Seas of our lives, that the Lord will do battle for us, and we have only to be silent

That like Moses, the only thing we need to do is "stretch out our hands" (v. 21).  To do the simple things we've been asked to do, one step after the other, one foot in front of the other, one yes at a time.

That even in the midst of all our doubt and fear and grumbling, to just obey, to just do it, to face the Red Sea, to stretch out our hands, and allow the Lord to do battle for us.

And not be surprised when the Lord makes us victorious.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Morning cuddles

Brother sleeps in + daddy still at home = morning cuddles. 

This boy

Despite our efforts with LB to get him to take a pacifier, he was set early on on his right index finger.

Having said that, he found this "lego flower" the other day and is now determined to walk around pretending it's his paci.  We are not sure where he learned this since Big Sister has been paci-free for about a year and a half.  Maybe he's learned it in the nursery...

It just tickles me to watch him walk around with it like this.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Her 'quiet time'

I love watching our Emma Girl 'imitate' Mommy & Daddy.