Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Photos

Fall in New England is a good time to take photos of the kids. The foliage is exquisite, and it's sweater season. I LOVE sweater season.

I realize I could pay to have professionals do the job. But my kids are shy. Christopher Robin slinks to the floor when confronted by an outgoing stranger, adult or child, and pretends to examine his fingers or the engrossing carpet piles. Peanut Butter just glares from underneath protective lowered eyebrows and meets all enthusiastic strangers with stony silence. Raindrop has not developed resistance to strangers yet, but I'm still not convinced she'll be the social butterfly of the family. All that to say, I figure I've got about as good a chance as professionals would at getting a good picture. What I lack in professional equipment I make up for in my ability to get them to smile. A good whack to my own head and a feigned "OW!" works every time. I learned that trick from My Hero last time we were taking pictures. I think it works even better when I do it than when my husband does because I never do that sort of thing.

The results:Christopher Robin

Peanut Butter


And the indoor ones (these are the ones for which I hurt myself repeatedly in order to capture these amazing smiles):

And on a final note:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

an analogy

Trying to get things done while mothering small children is like trying to run in water. It's slow and awkward and frustrating...the water sucks at my legs and trips me up no matter with how much energy and passion I throw myself forward. I have great ambitions and start the day full of energy and goals. But I'm still adjusting to the limitations that come with caring for three small ones all day long. I come to the end of days spent working hard and doing my best to accomplish as much as I can, and I'm disappointed with the small progress I've made on projects like painting the deck and getting the wood split and stacked and cleaning the basement (that last one is really just a joke...it's been on my to-do list to go through the things in our basement ever since we moved in two years ago and I haven't started.) And I want to move my rhubarb to a different spot in our yard, and put the shelf back on the wall in the kids' room and go through all the digital pictures we've taken since Raindrop was born and order prints, and edit our family videos and burn them to DVDs, and it's time to seriously start Christmas shopping... My good days are the days when I stop trying to run through the water, relax, and learn to swim. Learn to embrace my new surroundings and work with them...enjoy my kids and let them help and learn as we go, making slow and steady progress on projects while focusing on the things that matter more to me, the daily disciplines of keeping the house clean, reading books, learning the alphabet and counting, making meals and yummy treats, spending time outdoors while the weather's still warm enough, memorizing scripture together. It's hard to accept that I can't do more, but I try to remind myself that the projects are not what matter. It's the relationships in my life that are precious and hold their value over time, and someday I'll look back (I already do) to when my kids were small and wish I could hold all three of them in my lap at once and read to them again. I don't think I'll wish I could go back and repaint the deck.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

how to help him be tough...

Peanut Butter's wails drown out all other household noise. He has fallen down...again. "What is it this time?" I ask him. "Me 'eg!" "Your leg? Do you need me to kiss it?" "Nigh! (yes)" I bend near and kiss the leg nearest me. "Mmm-mm!" He shakes his head and points to his other leg. I sigh and kiss that one. A few minutes later there's another tumble, and the deafening wails begin again. I am convinced that it's not reasonable for him to expect me to drop everything and come to his comfort every few minutes. Many times nothing really soothes him except if I were to give him maybe 10 minutes of holding and snuggling. How can I do that time and time again and still get anything done? I shake my head each time there's a new call for my comfort and sympathy. He has to learn to get up and brush himself off, I tell myself. How do I teach him to be tough?

And then I read this and realize that maybe the antidote to all the wailing is to be proactive and meet his need for touch. Peanut Butter, my little boy who spent his first year of life sleeping, being held, and wailing to be held. Maybe his thirst for touch is deeper than most's, and he finds so many reasons to need holding and comforting each day in order to help meet that need. Maybe I need to be more willing to supply it, and more generous in giving it of my own will so he doesn't have to ask for it all the time. Maybe if his heart is full, he can more easily learn to get up and brush himself off.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My darling girl is awakening. The first weeks of life on the outside she has been almost entirely introspective. Quiet, serious, learning to live and breath, aware only of her own comfort or discomfort. Last night she was crying when I held her, so I laid her on the floor and she quieted, then spent the next forty-five minutes looking around and kicking her legs as though she was suddenly aware there was more to life than just herself. This morning she woke at 6 AM to eat, and after her little tummy was full I laid her on the floor again and sat and talked with her, and as I looked her in the eyes, she looked into mine and smiled. And then did it again. It's like the birth of a relationship, this beginning of interaction between us.

Even while I regret that these days of innocence and dependency are short, I'm impatient for the days ahead, the unveiling of her personality, the knowing of her.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I've begun to listen to myself during the days. I've heard a lot of harshness, impatience, griping. Would I talk to Christopher Robin that way if others were around? Would I let myself be so impatient with Peanut Butter if someone outside my family was watching? Would I show my frustration so nakedly, let it fill my voice with gravel?

This is my life. Am I who I want to be? If I had to watch a video of myself living out my day, could I bear to watch?

I'm a fallen creature, full of sin, and selfishness oozes out of my unguarded moments.

Lord, change me. Help me hear myself, and when I do, may my tone be tempered by love, the love only You can give, so my home will be full of peace and my kids can see You in me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Moments like these make you realize how great life is...

Is there anything better than sitting on the couch with your baby girl in your arms with your two little boys happily chattering to each other as they spread blankets on the floor and play together while your husband sits nearby organizing the cluttered desk drawer?

I'm just saying.