Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Christmas is next week... and I'm cooking right along on my list of things to do for Christmas... and also realizing that some things will likely wait until next year. Here's a quick run-down:

1. Christmas stockings - MADE!! but still need names - this might be after Christmas, but I hope not.
2. Jesse Tree - next year. Kinda bummed, but the kids will be able to understand it better next year anyway. And this gives me a chance to shop for some ornaments after Christmas and get some crazy good deals.
3. Ninja Doll for Hazel (crochet) - DONE
4. Ball for Meriel (crochet) - DONE, but I'd like to make one more, smaller and jingly
5. Cupcakes for Hazel (crochet) - not yet...
6. Blanket for our new nephew Matthew (crochet) - ALMOST DONE
7. Birthday present for Mark's mom (birthday is Christmas Eve) (crochet) - ALMOST DONE
8. Cocoa Mix for my mom - not yet...
9. Muffin Mix for my family - not yet...
10. Balls for nephews James & Johnathan (crochet)- not yet...
11. Snake for nephew Brody (crochet) - not yet...

Now, if I would stop blogging and get back to work - I could get a few more things crossed off the list!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

adventures in potty training

We are on Day 11 of PT.
Day 11 of Big Girl Underwear.

It's strange to be a parent, and suddenly be in charge of teaching a little person how to do things that you've done for so long you almost can't comprehend NOT knowing, let alone how to teach it.

But for what it's worth (and that's not much, as every parent and every kid are different), here's my insight so far...

1. We went for no training pants - just underwear (diapers for nap and bedtime still - perhaps that will change to training pants soon). But just underwear during the day. Gets wet and uncomfortable faster.

2. Hang up the pride - you will get poo on your hands, your pants, your socks, the bathroom floor. You will get peed on. You will sing songs about going potty, make up dances about going potty, talk more about going potty than you ever imagined was possible, and spend a LOT of time sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for someone to go potty.

3. It's a struggle, because cleaning up messes gets so frustrating, but it helps me to remember that we are not fighting each other. We are working together to learn how to go potty. It's potty training for me as much as for Hazel - it changes our day considerably to be so focused for so long.

4. When I saw that it was getting stressful for her, I backed off a little. Putting her on the potty every 30 minutes to "try" got really old really fast. Now I ask if she needs to go (answer is almost always "no" - and if I think it should be time to go soon, I tell her "Okay, then in 5 minutes we are going to go pee on the potty." Then I ask her what we are going to do in 5 minutes, so I know she heard me.) We stop whatever we're doing, with the assurance that we will come right back when we are done. She believes me now, and doesn't resist much at all, and goes to the bathroom MUCH faster once in place.

5. It's a chore. It's a process. It's challenging - but it's good. We are working together, learning and teaching. She's trusting me, and I am learning to trust her with herself too. It's cool. But it takes time and effort and energy. At least once a day for the first week, I thought about quitting and trying again later. But every day, there was a reason, a success, a breakthrough - something to keep us coming back again. And she's doing great.

6. Little bitty bums wearing underpants under their clothes are really stinking cute. I tell her at least 3 times a day that I like her buns. She thinks it's funny.

7. The most helpful thing for Hazel was the story I made up for her. It went something like this:
"There once was a little girl named Hazel. And she wanted to wear big girl underwear! But Mama said she had to pee on the potty first. So she sat on the potty, and relaxed, and tried really hard - and then, one day, she went pee on the potty!! And everyone was SO HAPPY!!!! Mama did a dance, Daddy laughed and clapped his hands, and Hazel was so proud! And then she got to wear big girl underwear everyday!"
We repeated it so much that Hazel can fill in words now (all the ones that are pink are hers). And when she goes, she gets a BIG smile and says "so happy!"

We're hanging in there - and I love watching my girl grow and learn. She makes me laugh every single day - I cannot imagine my life without her face and her sweet, sweet spirit.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Jesus, I almost didn't recognize You in those fuzzy pink jammies

I believe in grace. I believe in love. I believe in taking responsibility for extending grace and love to others, whatever the circumstance. I believe that I fail at this every day, but that I am extended grace and love from the Father to wake up the next morning, and continue to strive for better. For more. For holy.

I sat on the floor next to Hazel's crib, at some unknown wee small hour of the morning. I had lost track of how many times I'd climbed out of my warm blankety cocoon to tend to the needs of my small daughters. Some moms claim to treasure those midnight interludes... I'll be honest - I wouldn't mind if my little chiclets came out of the womb sleeping 12 hours every single night.

I was running low on grace, low on patience, low on sleep.

I sat on the floor next to Hazel's crib, at some unknown wee small hour of the morning. I rubbed her back, ran fingers through her hair, and tried desperately to keep my touch from communicating my stress, my desire to be elsewhere, my selfish wish for sleep and warmth.

And I remembered that whatever I do for the least of the brothers (and sisters) of Jesus, I do for Him.

I took a deep breath in and breathed out slowly. Imagined Jesus laying in that crib.

Now - there IS a part of my brain that said "Now, I DO think that if Jesus was sleeping in my house, He probably wouldn't wake me up at all hours of the night, alternately chatting and singing loudly, and crying inconsolably. And He probably wouldn't be wearing footie pajamas and a diaper."

BUT. But...

I sat on the floor next to Hazel's crib, at some unknown wee small hour of the morning. I rubbed her back, ran my fingers through her hair, and tried desperately to love her as I love Christ. To love her as He loves me.

Maybe sometimes the question isn't "What Would Jesus Do?"

Maybe it's "What Would You Do For Jesus?"

my little Meriel

Thanks for all the prayers - I apologize for the update delay - weekends tend to get away from us! :)

Meriel was wonderful all day on Thursday - sweet and smiley and cooperative. Everyone commented what a good baby she was, and everyone who saw her walked away with a smile on her face. The not feeding her for 4 hours beforehand was easier than expected - she got fussy toward the end, but fell asleep eventually (and slept through half her ultrasound!).

By far, the worst part was the IV - it took a poke (and wiggling that darn tube around) in each arm and a foot before they got it to take. It's amazing how different the crying of a baby is when they are in pain - pain that they haven't felt before. It's such a mix of bewilderment, fear and very real hurt - she was wailing and I shed a few tears myself. It was also a bit odd to watch her be sedated... her little eyelids getting heavy and her body going still.

The test took about 1.5 hours, and it took her about an hour to wake up enough to eat. No side effects, no complications - just a long day that I was rather dreading and is now over. We follow-up with the doctor next Monday, the 14th, and will know more then.

Again - we coveted your prayers, and I definitely felt blessed and loved by the response I've gotten from people - many of whom have never met our sweet girl.

Hopefully now, it's back to fun Christmas-y updates for awhile. OH - and potty-training stories. Because Miss Hazel wears big girl underwear these days, don'tcha know. (We are still "training" - but making progress!)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

cover us

My sweet baby daughter:

Thursday morning, Meriel and I head to a local hospital for outpatient testing that will take about half the day (I hope not longer). She will be need a catheter, IV and sedation, among other things. Her mama is NOT excited. Bless her little 3-month-old heart, she has no idea what's coming.

And so...

Lord, You are above all, in all, and in You all things hold together. Our prayers are heard, our hearts are known, and our steps are laid out by You.

My heart is burdened with anxiety and worry, Lord, and I want to give that to You. As Meriel and I head to the hospital for her tests - protect us. Keep us safe on the road, watch over our doctors and nurses, and place Your protective hand over our baby girl. I pray that tears would be few (for both of us) and that the hours would pass quickly until we are home again with our Daddy and our Hazel. You know the outcome already - more than the doctors will ever know - and most importantly - Meriel's precious life is in Your hand, no matter what. For that, I give You praise.

Grant my heart peace, Lord, peace that comes only from You. Cover us. And cover everyone - those we know and those we do not - who struggle daily with the reality of medical issues and their precious children - for we are truly blessed. There is such great hurt, so much unknown... and so much heart-breaking bravery. I thank You for this tiniest of glimpses into the lives of others who struggle against much greater odds, much more terrifying enemies.

Go before us, Lord, as You always do. Give me feet for the path, and a heart for You.

in need of a holy toothbrush

Due to a number of factors and a conversation or two, the past week has brought me to my knees with the realization of how very little I can achieve or be on my own, in and of myself.

I am feeling many things - which I will not list for you here, lest you start looking for the black balloons and gloomy gray streamers of my own personal pity party.

I don't know what others would think - and it doesn't really matter. As people, we tend to help others justify behavior that is less than holy, because it is "understandable" or because we know we do it ourselves and we'd like to escape judgment when it happens. Other people might tell me I'm doing fine - especially for a sleep-deprived nursing mama of two kiddos under age two.

But I don't want to be justified by people. I want to know what God thinks of me today.

This is one of those times when I really wish that God had a face and a body and could sit next to me on the couch and hold my hand and answer my questions directly and TELL ME what to do.

I wonder if it would be a time for tough love - for exhortation and a reminder of His glory and His standards and His call to the kind of life He wants me to live -to do everything without complaining, to be blameless and pure, Proverbs 31...

Or would it be a time for grace - for taking care of this Mama, for reminding me that He sees me clean and new because of Christ, for a thick layer of unending, incomprehensible unconditional love?

Or both?

I don't know. And so I pray, I read His word, I ask others to pray for me... but still, a part of my brain wishes so badly that God could knock on my door and be with me in a tangible way.

The taste of failure is in my mouth today - it is sharp and bitter. I don't want it to linger, but it's presence is a wake-up of sorts. If it had never appeared, I probably wouldn't be seeking Him so strongly today. I would be thinking of the things I had to do, and thinking of how well I was doing them.

Instead, today I am praying that His word and His presence would rinse that taste from my mouth - that I might turn toward Him and begin climbing back up the hill. And that in equal measure of high standards and grace, I would reach the end of my day with a contented heart.