Saturday, December 29, 2012

The mind of a child

Earlier in the fall, after a long summer of light and warmth, as the dark evenings began to grow, Joseay became very concerned one evening.  She asked where the light was going.  Now I have to add that we are fairly regular on our bedtimes, generally by 8 or so.  So when she asked this, I really didn’t know what she meant.  But after talking about it with her for a while, I realized that she has simply no recollection of being awake when it was dark outside.  She thought it was getting ready to storm as that is the only time she saw darkness when she was awake.  Weird.

We have just come through Christmas which has been very fun with the kids, though I have to say that the whole Santa deception thing is a bit much.  I have my doubts as to what it is doing to their concept of the world/God/Jesus.  Especially when Brown asked if God was going to come down the chimney.  There are too many confusing mysteries in the world as it is, it seems almost overwhelming for a kid.  (I just realized that my kids have been jumping on my back and asking for a piggybank ride.  I need to somehow explain that I am not a pig, but they are welcome to ride on my back, and for some strange reason, we put our change in a container shaped like a pig, what can be confused?)  But they seemed to have a blast with Christmas.  We got them kayaks and they have loved them despite the fact that they have not moved beyond the doors of the house yet.  Who knew you could have hours of fun pushing your kayak around the house, pretending it is all manner of things.  And I was worried they would be disappointed that we couldn’t use them for a few months.  I am not even sure they realize that they go in the water!

This might be the last year, but they are so very innocent and have not yet learned to be materialistic like the rest of us.  We went to the Chattanooga market a few weeks ago and they had a Santa roaming around.  They of course first were scared, but after a while, they mustered the courage to approach him.  He gave them a candy cane which they were thoroughly impressed with.  Several days later, someone asked them what they wanted from Santa, and their reply was that they had already gotten a candy cane.  They were done.

We pray for their hearts, that as they grow, they would mature, but keep at least a portion of that childlike innocence.  And we pray that we would relearn this gift during this Christmas season.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Summer of Firsts

Maybe a bit late to record this, but we had lots of firsts this summer.  Both kids learned how to swim, both started school, Joseay is out of diapers and out of her crib, and Brown is riding horses.  Fun times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Joseay's third birthday

Our kids continue to be a major blessing in our lives, teaching us, frustrating us, and keeping us on our toes. Their journey to adulthood begins to be more evident as we see more of their inner character emerge and assert itself for others to see.  That is perhaps why people light up when Joseay enters a room.  She is this small physical specimen already exuding confidence, joy, showmanship, and above all energy.  It is easy to speculate as to the young woman she may become which is fun for onlookers, perhaps scary for her parents...

One of their favorite songs is Holy, Holy Holy. (little angels...) Anyway, they were both sitting on the hearth singing Holy with the fire going in the background, and I was sitting across from them on the couch.  It was a truly picturesque moment in our house except for one small detail.  As Brown was singing this wonderful word Holy, he had his foot on top of Joseay’s bare foot grinding it into the floor with gusto.  Brotherly love at its finest.  

As I mentioned, they are teaching us everyday.  On this particular day, we saw a reflection of ourselves  In even our best moments of trying to worship, there is that part of us that is so full of self, we are oblivious to others' hurt.  We have the simultaneous desire to sing Holy, Holy, Holy as we are anything but holy.


We continue to pray for hearts that are changed.  For all four of us.  And we are most thankful for grace.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crib be gone...

 Well she is not a baby anymore. I mean she acts like a baby sometimes and she is still close to the size, but she hasn’t been an infant in a long while now. And I, like most parents am slow to realize my child is actually older than she appears in my eyes. I guess that is why I finally got around to converting her crib into a toddler bed this weekend. She has climbed out a time or two, but that has been months ago and she has seemed to be content with just being in the crib and calling for us when she is ready to get up. But we are planning to start potty training soon and she needs to be able to safely get herself from her bed to the bathroom, so we took the front of the crib off. Wow. No more crib, no more baby.
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Monday, August 6, 2012


I have to agree with posts that argue that facebook makes us less satisfied with our current lives and perhaps lonelier.  How many of us have the experience of idly cruising over to facebook, spending 5 minutes looking at our friends on the beach, their kids playing happily, our classmates with great exciting jobs, friends at a party, and generally watching others do fantastic things while we are at home in an old tshirt, paying bills while our kids scream.  "Man, their life is so much better than mine."  If these words have ever formed in your mind while on facebook, then you have become what we refer to in our house as "facebroke."  Facebroke, that terrible feeling of inadequacy when you forget that facebook is where people post only their good stuff, when you forget that their lives are often mundane as well.  Facebroke, not a good feeling.

To attempt to get unfacebroke, simply look at your posts over the last year, you will actually see pictures of you smiling, that time you hiked to the top of the mtn, that time you had a date at sunset and took that fantastic picture, the evening where you and several of your friends were out and laughing hard enough to hurt, and also that time that your kids all smiled at once and were in clean clothes.  When you start thinking, "man, I wish that were my life," and then realize, oh yeah, that is me in those pictures, you have become unfacebroke.  Congratulations. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


I think there are probably many people who would say that they don't believe in God, but in a crisis, they pray.  Perhaps not so unlike those of us who profess to believe, yet in a crisis, our prayers attain a whole new level of urgency.  So this fact comes as no surprise to any parents out there: raising kids continues to teach us about prayer.

Other than robotically repeating what they have heard us pray many times (thanks for the food, thanks for this day), our kids have really yet to pray.  (or you might argue the exact opposite, that all of our prayers, even our adult prayers are so feeble that in comparison, the prayers of our children are as real as ours...)  So Brown and I were laying in bed the other night praying and his first original, heartfelt prayer was uttered. He had received a hand-me-down electric car that we were having trouble making work.  That night he said his first prayer: "Please let the car battery work."

Though I hope he, and I, begin to focus our prayer life more on others needs rather than our own, it was still heartening to see him make the connection of prayer to change. From the mouths of babes....

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Ok, sorry for you to have to read this in later years, but Brown, we have thought you to be very timid.  And in some ways, you are a very cautious child and we love this about you.   But you surprised us this week.  Because of our frequent and ongoing time around the water, we decided that you needed to be subjected to the military swim lessons of Coach Tom this week which so far has been little more than throwing you in the water and watching you struggle to get to the side (he does have a system, though).  There have been lots of tears, both you and Joseay and your mommy.  But in general, I am pleased to report, you have responded to the challenge very well.  And you are learning to swim!  It is very exciting for Chris and I as parents to see that when it comes down to it, you have risen to the occasion.  Fun.

So, lest any of you think that the above picture is part of the harsh swim lessons, the above road rash is a souvenir of the combination of Brown, bike, and asphalt.  Likely not the last with this unfortunate combination.  Although only a faint echo of my childhood, I still remember that pain and fear of leaving a bit of my flesh on the cement.  Brown, each time I see your face in this condition, it definitely pains me.  But in a deeper sense, I am reminded of how many parents have had to witness deeper pains in their children, whether they be severe physical pains or perhaps the more devastating emotional pains that lead to scarring.  So in a weird way, this painful week for you has been a reminder to me of how good we have it.  The swim lessons will soon be over and you will have become safer around water.  These physical wounds will heal, likely without even a scar.  God has been gracious to us as a family.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Joseay has been making more of a fuss lately when it is time to nap or go to bed for the night. She knows that she can get her mom riled up when she screams or shrieks when I am walking out of her room. She loves pushing my buttons because I clearly don't want her disturbing Brown with her screams while we are trying to put him to sleep in the room next to hers. So for the last week or two, i can tell she has started to feel like I am at her mercy and she loves it. It is so enjoyable to her that it has even become worth it for her to have her beloved blankie taken away when she screams. She's kind of a rebel like that. Not good...

So anyway, yesterday I had decided that this just had to end once and for all. No more warnings. I had already taken every stuffed animal and blanket like substance out of her crib (which also makes her shriek and scream- fun cycle). I had thrown them all out on to her floor and she was all alone in her stark white lonely crib. I told her if I had to come back into her room one more time because of her shrieking, that I was going to have to spank her. No questions- she was getting a spanking.

So of course... As soon as I shut the door behind me, my precious little angel (aka strong willed rebel) shrieked louder than ever. So I stormed in, turned her over, and gave her a good one. She cried!!! Oh, did she cry. I walked out of her room and shut the door and heard her crying and whimpering for her mommy. Then she got quiet. Ahhhhh... Peace. She must have cried herself to sleep. I had won. Sheeesh- finally! I was now on my way back to regaining my authority and being in charge again. Ha!!! No more victories for the two year old! Showed her.

After about an hour, I heard her talking and cutely laughing - which was kind of a relief. It's never fun for a spanking to be the last interaction between you and your child before they go to sleep. So I walked in to her room and went over to her crib. She was cuddling with her stuffed kitty cat and cutely playing with bunny and tigger and pooh bear who was wrapped in her blankie. She was so happy and smiled big at me and said "hi mommy!". I was thinking to myself, "wow... that is amazing...what grace... beautiful forgiveness and love of a child even after a good spanking is just amazing to me. How quickly she wants me to pick her up again and hug her and kiss her and she is just so happy. I wish I could move on from things that quickly and not hold a grudge or feel sad. Joseay is so cute playing with her little kitty cat and snuggling with her bunny... wait... her kitty cat... her bunny... they were on the floor. They were not in her crib."

You little punk. You climbed out of your crib, got all of your animals and blankets back into your crib, and then you climbed back up and over into your crib. And you've been in here playing with them and having a good ole time for the last hour. Unbelievable."

I had to walk out so I wouldn't laugh in front of her. I love that girl. She cracks me up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I have learned two things this weekend. 

The first is that some bits of knowledge that you think should be taken for granted, need to be explained: When a 4yo has a runny nose and there is not a kleenex around, it is not ok to use the back of your sister's shirt that she is wearing.

The second is that kids, a rope, an old tire and a bit of good weather still equals laughter.

Just thought I would pass that along.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sliding into childhood

How much influence do we as parents really have on our children?  How much is genetic? How much influence do friends have? How much do other adults have?  I am sure everyone has their own idea about this, but these questions become very real as your kids grow into their own, as they become a person from that little baby they once were.  These comments have almost nothing to do with the rest of the post, except that we had a great experience as a family this weekend and one that we hope they will remember, but probably will not due to their age.  Will this shape who they become?

We went to experience the “rustic mountain modern charm” of the indoor water park in Sevierville.  How does it live up to its description?  Rustic – don’t think you can have a “66,000 square foot, state-of-the-art waterpark” and still get away with calling it rustic.  Mountain – technically close, but unless you leave the waterpark, you have no idea you are near the mountains.  Modern – yes, the 3 flat screens in our room gave that away.  Charm – hard to call spending the day with hundreds of strangers charming.   BUT, what I would say is that it is a blast.

We spent the first 3 hours or so in the kiddie pool as I expected that Brown, who is generally timid, would not be so interested in the bigger slides.  He was fine with getting splashed so when he asked to go on the big boy slide I thought we would give it a try.  After a climb of some serious stairs and a time of waiting in line, he began to get nervous.  But I didn’t give him a choice to back down and soon we were hurtling down the tube.  He told me he was scared and so when we hit the water at the bottom and he started shaking, I thought I might have made a big mistake.  But he immediately said, “can we go again?”  This was not the last time we heard this question that day. 

Here is a video of our last ride of the day.  

Joseay made lots of friends.  She was too small to do most of the slides, but she had a great time running around the pools, splashing, talking to strangers, and riding the float with mom in the wave pool.

To say we had a good nights’ sleep would be an understatement.

Friday, March 9, 2012

4 years and counting

What does a dad say to his son on his birthday? Brown, you have only been with us for 4 years, but it seems we have always known you and could not imagine our life without you.  We have watched you blossom and continue to see new insights into who you are and who you may become.  We love you.

Now to review our time at waffle house.  We were having a great December 11th morning at the WH sitting at the bar, talking to the waitresses (they wanted to eat you up), listening to the orders get yelled, watching the cooks do their thing, talking to others at the bar and generally having a great 4yr old adventure.  Then a new gentleman joined us at the bar and sat right next to you (Brown). All was going well as he pulled out his grapefruit...            Yes, he brought his own grapefruit into waffle house.  First of all, who brings their own grapefruit out to breakfast.  Secondly, I didn't know that they even allowed food into the waffle house unless it clogged your arteries in some way.  When he asked for some saran wrap to wrap half of his grapefruit to take home, I held you just a little bit closer to me.  Ok, to each their own.  He ordered some food and then opened up his ipad on the counter.  Not sure if he doesn't have kids or whatever but setting an ipad next to a 4 year old with an orange juice cup on the same counter made me just a bit nervous.  After reading his ipad for a bit and apparently cross checking it with the paper copy of the newspaper that he also spread out on the counter, the waitress brings out the bacon on a plate to the gentleman.  He asks that she bring out all his food on one plate. She is standing there with the food on a couple of plates and she asks if he wants her to take back the food and put it on a single plate.  Yes is the answer.  She proceeds to take the bacon and eggs and hash browns back to accomodate the grapefruit bearing ipad risker. It was about this point that you reached out your fork toward the gentleman's half eaten grapefruit saying "I want a bite." 

I hope you don't remember how forcefully I grabbed your hand.

Happy Birthday and here is to many more!