out of the mouth of jack 3.0

at Christmastime – “Oh look – there’s Santa Claw!”

in December, he surprised me by writing his name without help for the first time. J-A-C-K, Jack! he says. πŸ™‚

“Can you buy me a mean shirt so I can get a present?” = i need an ugly sweater so I can win the Ugly Sweater contest at Grandpa and Grandma’s on Christmas day. πŸ™‚ (It took me quite awhile to decipher this one!)

When Nate and Karla flew home for Christmas, we were all going to eat at Famous Dave’s after picking them up from the airport. Jack and I had a conversation in the car that went something like this:
Jack: Mom, are we going to Farmer Dave’s?
Me: Huh?
Jack: You know – DAVID CROWDER?!!! (with a duh! tone of voice)
Me: wow. I have no idea what you’re talking about!
Jack: We can eat meat and stuff dere (there)…wif Unca Nate and Aunt Karya?
Me: OH!!!! Famous Dave’s?
Jack: yeah. there!
Me: I love it. Farmer Dave, David Crowder and Famous Dave’s. (Farmer Dave is from a kid’s book he likes to read – The Big Red Tractor by Francis Chan.)

Recent new word: wondering.

A few weeks ago, we were attending some adoption training. Jackson asked if we would be “bringing home his choco-yet bruver”. I wish it were that easy!

If Kyle or I leave for any length of time, he tells us “I will miss you!” Like even when I’m going to the grocery store for milk. We have no attachment issues, clearly. πŸ˜› πŸ™‚

“Taylor – you crack me up! I yuve you.”

He has to kiss and hug and wish Taylor “nigh-night” when she goes to bed.

Upon waking up one morning, I was greeted by a hug, a smile and “Mama? You are my sunshine.”

Daniel Tiger is helping make some good habits more solid – washing hands after using the bathroom, calming himself down when he starts to get upset and remembering that grown-ups will come back.

Overheard: “Then Daddy will get in his car, and drive real fast to help a boy or a girl if they are in danger or afraid. Then if there is a lion (yi-on) there, Daddy will boom it dead, so they don’t have to be afraid. Daddy helps people.”

On Sunday, Kyle was commissioned as an elder at our church. The way our church does it, an elder is a functional “pastor” – caring for the flock and occasionally preaching/teaching. We were trying to explain this to Jack, and I guess he thought it meant Kyle wouldn’t be a cop anymore because he said: “YAY! Daddy doesn’t have to go to work!” haha – not quite!

I will remember to you = I will remind you. Or…I forgot to remember you = I forgot to remind you.

Favorite things at 3.5 years of age:

  • PBS Kids – Daniel Tiger and Super WhyΒ 
  • Painting
  • Cars and trucks
  • “Booming” (shooting) things, complete with spit-laced sound effects
  • Hard-boiled eggs, sans yolks
  • Taking his “buddies” and blanky to bed.
  • Mom.
  • singing praise songs at the top of his lungs – Glory to God, God’s Not Dead and Ho-whoa-whoa (Holy by David Crowder) are some of his favorites
  • Montgomery Gentry’s song “Gone” – also known as the “bang! bang!” song.

I sure love being this boy’s mama.

“i voted” photo contest winners!

Today I ran a little informal photo contest on my Facebook page, for the coolest “I Voted” sticker picture of the day. Holy pixels, Batman – too many CUTE babies/kids, funny grown-ups and awesome creative types. The winner gets a dozen cookies mailed or delivered, and because I’m horrible at picking one fabulous picture over another, i decided to make a lot of cookies and have winners in several categories. πŸ™‚

1. Cute Baby
2. Cute Kid
3. Most Creative
4. Most Beautiful
5. Funny Stuff

I had a couple people enter via Instagram, and they counted too. It was way too hard to decide!

SO. The winners!

1. Cute Baby – ACK, so many cute ones. But Jeremy and Rachel’s little sunshine’s smile was too much.

2. Cute Kids – Ben’s clan of little-uns made me smile with their big grins.

3. Most Creative was a tie between Amber, with her Voter Droid and Sara, with her Baby Belly.

4. Prettiest – when Janelle told me she was entering (and going to win!) I knew she’d come up with something fabulous. And she did.

 

5. Funny Stuff – Leah got her boys in on this and her son Jack (love that name!) turned into Voterman! LOL. I died laughing. Super great.

I wish that I had enough money to mail cookies to everyone that entered, because I loved every single picture. πŸ™‚ I have some great friends and acquaintances across the U.S. that participated in the privilege of voting for our country’s president and other leaders. Proud of you all!

I was glad to vote – I was voter number 1012 in my precinct today. We brought the kids too and they got their little stickers. They even had a little voting booth for kids! Jack voted for the Angry Birds over Cat in the Hat – they’ll use the winning vote for an ice sculpture this winter at our town festival. Cute, huh?

 

Lastly, my friend Joy asked if she won, would I send her cookies to her brother who is stationed in Germany with the Army. That is a YES. Even though I didn’t pick her photo, I am definitely sending him some cookies. If you would like to join me and send him some homemade baked love, email me or leave a comment and I’ll get you his address. I’d love to have 5 other people mail him a care package before Christmas. {Supporting our troops is big around this house with my brother Nate also serving our country in the Army Special Forces. So proud of him!}

Even if your man (or woman) didn’t win today, I am glad thatΒ “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Daniel 4:25. Trusting that He will guide us through whatever lies ahead.

lately in the motherhood

The kids are in a fun stage that usually leaves me laughing during the day and exhausted by the time they go to bed. I’m quite certain I’m biased as can be, but they sure seem like clever, adorable, sweet and sassy little people that I’m so glad belong to us.

Taylor:

  • started saying “peas” while signing “please” in the last 2 weeks.
  • will say “bah-bye” and kind of wave/open/close her hand when people leave.
  • cuddles her baby doll in her little rocking chair and says “bay-bee, bay-bee”.
  • discovered a love for climbing. On the furniture short enough for her, up and down the steps, over toys, etc. Β (wonk-wonk. :-/)
  • all of the sudden loves books and has stopped pulling forbidden books off the shelf in favor of her own board books.
  • is very much enamored with the very small ride-on, motorized Jeep toy. She figured out how to push the button to make it go and wants to be on it all the time if we’re playing outside.
  • bawls her eyes out if she sees her daddy leave without her.
  • finally has more hair coming in! And I think, praise be, that Kyle’s genes are coming through for me! Her hair definitely has a reddish cast to it and some curls are appearing. I’ve always wanted curly, red haired kids. And since Kyle had red curls from infancy to his late teens, when it started getting darker (and started disappearing altogether), I figured marrying him was a good bet for that. πŸ™‚

Jackson

  • “what you got-for?” = What did you forget? Anytime he means to say forgot or forget, he says “got for”. I love it.
  • At a stoplight, we observed a man next to us who had a very long (like ZZ Top long) beard. Jack’s sincere comment? “That’s a vewy nice beard.”
  • After a bath, he was cleaning his ears out with a q-tip and declared, “I’m getting the boogers out.”
  • “Mom, I’m finding for my toy gun.” Finding for = looking for. πŸ™‚ We’re working on that one.
  • He really likes the soccer gold (goal) Uncle Nate and Aunt Kar-yah (Karla) gave him for his birthday this summer.
  • Kyle got a cut on his hand and Jack asked if he was “blooding”.
  • When he sneezes he announces, “OH! I gah-bwess-you’d.” Is that similar to turning Google into a verb? I think so. πŸ™‚
  • “Last night” is his measure of time for anything we did in the past. A few weeks ago we took a harbor cruise of Lake Superior in Duluth. About a week later Jackson said, “Mom! We went on that boat yast night…and we went around the barber. Yet’s do that again!”
  • loves “Blues Clues”, “Dinosaur Train” and “Mr. Rogers” these days.

We’ve reached a stage where Jackson is more aware of things and pays pretty close attention to things that are said/overheard and simple explanations are not enough anymore for this big boy. Β The other day on the NPR were talking about the girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head, Malala. I hear his little voice pipe up, “MOM! THEY SHOT A GIRL?!!” I’m thinking: “Great. Now I get to explain the Taliban and their oppression of women to a 3 year old.” Needless to say, we’ve been a little more vigilant about what he hears/sees now.

Or another example – last week we had an appointment with an adoption agency to talk about their programs and interview their director. Enter “explain adoption to Jackson”. πŸ™‚ He got it pretty well I think. Later that day I was looking at adoption programs for various countries online and Jack saw the pictures of kids and said, “So, which kid we gonna adopt?” I hope we can help him understand this crazy process for his little brain. He seems cool with the idea of having a chocolate colored brother, so that’s a bonus!

And of course, a recent picture. πŸ™‚ That’s all the news that’s fit to print!

 

together for adoption and where we’re going next

 

so almost a month ago now, we boarded a plane for Atlanta and attended the Together for Adoption conference. In short, it was fantastic. Very informative, encouraging and eye-opening all at once. The plenary sessions were deeply theological (sometimes a little too much so for my poor brain) and beneficial. The breakout sessions were practical and plentiful – I wish only that I’d be able to clone ourselves so we could have attended more of them. Kyle and I took the divide and conquer approach so we could get as much information as possible in the time we were given.

I went to sessions on attachment & attachment styles, trans-racial adoption, HIV & orphans, and fundraising/financial helps for adoptive families. Kyle addressed some of the things he learned on his blog. AndΒ Noel Piper’s main session on “What I wish I knew…” was so real, honest and helpful. I love that woman and I don’t even “know” her. πŸ™‚

We came home with a suitcase full of great resources, and packets from agencies. Meanwhile, our brains were full of information and our hearts full of a new awareness of how much we don’t know about orphans, adoption or any of this adventure on which we’re about to embark.

I feel like one of the main takeaways for me was how much better it would be to prevent orphans from happening in the first place. Next best is empowering communities and villages to care for their own orphans so a child can remain with their people in their culture. The next option is in-country adoption – another family in that country bringing a child into their fold. International adoption ranks low on the list. We also came to the conclusio we do not want to be placed on a waiting list for a “healthy” child. There are too many kids with minor illnesses/medical issues that can be cared for with a competent medical system to wait for a “perfect” kid.

So what’s next? We’re in the process of choosing an agency with a program for the country from which we’d like to bring a child home. We’re definitely hoping for an infant-toddler boy from an African country. We have an appointment with an agency here in MN next week and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll interview/apply with a different one in another state (which means we’ll have to do a home study here in MN with a MN agency).

If you wish to pray for us, I’d be grateful. Pray that God leads us to an ethical, reliable program with great in-country practices and a waiting boy that needs a family. Pray that we are able to negotiate these uncharted waters for our family with a minimum of complications. We are excited and confident that He who began this good work in our hearts will have His way.

one year with taylor charlotte

a year ago today I met my daughter for the first time. Now an entire year has passed – I cannot imagine our lives without her cheerful heart and brilliant smile. Taylor joined our family on her due date, bursting on to the scene at 11:56am. Since she was a whole pound and an ounce lighter than her bruiser of a brother was at birth, I felt like I had a “tiny” newborn. πŸ™‚

she quickly found her place in our hearts and home. Jack became a big brother (and he’s pretty good at it!) and we became parents of two. This year passed with remarkable speed and here we are with a busy, ambulatory, beautiful and curious big girl named Taylor Charlotte. I love her with all of my heart and never would have imagined the extent of the multiplied joy she adds to my life.

she’s the second born. the next one. πŸ™‚ so of course, we compared her first year to her brother’s, since its easy to think that a baby is a baby. But oh no. She is her own person for sure and for certain. An individual, cut from the same DNA, but sewn together by a Master Designer off a pattern all her own. πŸ™‚ I love her.Β Her smile is electric – she just lights up a room and my heart when I see her grin. Her excitement for life and her tenacious spirit will serve her well as life goes on. Β Her obvious passion and enthusiasm will be assets, I hope – she’s a pretty determined little lady. I look forward to getting to know her better and better as she grows – first into a little girl, then a young woman.

this year of being a mother of two has been a challenge for me. Not so much of me to spare between two people that need much from me. πŸ™‚ More tiredness. More moments of thinking I’m not cut out for this. But more grace. Always more grace. And cups of coffee. And naptime, oh blessed naptime. He who has called me (to motherhood) is faithful.

at one year old, Taylor:

  • weighs 22 lbs.
  • is 30 inches long
  • has seven teeth
  • has been walking for over a month
  • doesn’t crawl anymore
  • still likes to wake at night 😦
  • loves her Pooh blankie and her paci
  • adores her daddy and has a BIG smile just for him
  • lights up when she sees me
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he knocks her down
  • can almost navigate the stairs properly – loves to climb, but is a little unsteady going down
  • eats lots of table food, but still loves to nurse
  • is nicknamed Tay or Tay-Tay

Yes, our Taylor girl has brought lots of joy into our lives. So much joy.

Taylor Charlotte, we pray that you would KNOW the love of Christ and be His beloved. Your daddy and I thank God for your life and ask Him to grant you the beauty of salvation, the wonder of His love and the exceeding greatness of His power at work in your life. Keep living life at full tilt, Taylor girl. Don’t let anyone stop you from running hard after God and in the direction of the dreams He gives you. We will love you and support you all the way, sweet girl. Love you forever. Happy First Birthday, Tay-tay!

Jack and Taylor’s First Twins Game

Today we saw the Twins play (er, lose to) the White Sox. For a noon game on a day which promised to reach 95 degrees and had a heat advisory warning. With both kids and Kyle’s mentoring kid from our local middle school, Hunter. Crazy much?

I was the one choking over our ticket prices – gone are the days of knothole Sundays and cheap nosebleed seats and Dollar Dome Dogs. When all was said and done, taking 2 adults, 2 kids and a baby to a game at Target field cost almost $100. that was tickets, gas, parking and one treat per person.

I only found myself wishing for the 72 degrees of climate controlled beauty that was baseball in the Metrodome a couple times. Our seats were blissfully in the shade and there was a lovely breeze.

It was really fun to see Jackson’s absolute rapture over big league baseball. Thanks to the incredible plasma jumbotron, he was able to follow a little bit. The two home runs the Twins pulled off got him excited! And this was Taylor’s response for a few innings.
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We had a great time, even though it was a shame that the home team didn’t win. The final score was 12-2, two hot and tired babes, one pretty happy 7th grader, and two exhausted but pleased adults. Go Twins!20120627-172131.jpg

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when I’m bigger, mom

several times today Jackson told me about what he is going to do when he is “bigger”.

  • he’s going to build big buildings on astruction sites (construction sites) like the one they are building near our house (a new laundromat).
  • he’s going to be a policeman and take the bad guys to jail in his police car (he asked Kyle if he would get him a police car, and Kyle said he would if Jack would go to school and get a job).
  • he’s going to the cabin
  • he’s going to make coffee for me when he’s 5 or 6.

He also had his first ice cream truck experience tonight, which was so fun. I got a little choked up when he ran down the street to pick out his treat.

All of a sudden, all of Jack’s 3T clothes are too short and too tight. I can’t believe how big he is getting right in front of my eyes. I sure love this little boy God has given to our family.