Saturday, January 30, 2010

staying at home and facebooking

Facebook is a crazy beast. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I hate the additional opportunities to offend friends you actually don't know at all. I hate the applications people are always asking you to add to your account. I have a love-hate relationship with the time I spend staring at pictures of people I never see in real life. But I am certainly not the first stay at home parent to admit it is a great way to feel connected to other adults when most of your daily conversation is with your toddler. (Oddly enough, most of my quick, "adult conversation" on facebook just repeats conversations I have with my toddler.) I love being able to capture and share little moments with my kids with just a couple clicks. Without facebook, I'm sure many of these little moments would just be forgotten.

My mom said I should compile the bits about the kids so as not to lose them. Doing so made me so grateful that we decided for me to stay home with our kids. You just can't plan when your kids are going to say something cute or hug you for no reason or take their first independent steps. And I get to be there for all of it. And, love it or hate it, because of advances in lines of communication and breakdowns in boundary lines, you get to "be there" for some of it, too.

By no means are you obligated to read this whole thing, but it's here for those who will enjoy it. Here are the last four months in the lives of my kids. It's not a scrapbook; it's facebook.

Oct. 6, 2009 - Lezlie: Israel, what do you want to pray? Israel: Um...Jesus, have a good day.

Oct. 9, 2009 - Pat and Lezlie spent the rest of the evening being served "bread, coffee, brownies, and ice cream...with salt" by Israel, reading books together, and then Eden just fell asleep in my arms. Sweet dreams, all.

Oct. 12, 2009 - This morning, Israel loves reading a counting book and Eden loves climbing up...anything.
Israel JUST switched from, "I not see it...I not," to, "I don't see it."

Oct. 13, 2009 - Eden just pulled herself up on Israel's riding toy and pushed it into the living room *while walking behind it*!

"Why aren't you guys sleeping?" Israel: "'Cuz, 'cuz, 'cuz...I cazy!"

Oct. 14, 2009 - Israel talking about my hiccups: "Sorry 'bout that, Mom."

Oct. 15, 2009 -
Israel warns as diaper change approaches: "It pretty grossy."

Oct. 18, 2009 -
Israel is screaming the words from gospel choir this morning: "HOSANA! FOREVER! FOREVER! HOSANA!" Then he looked at me and said, "It petty youd." Yes, it is.

I was shucking corn for dinner and Israel came in the kitchen and said, "Corn! Where are you, corn? Where are you?" and then answered himself, "Hiding from mommy."

Oct. 26, 2009 - My son is so tired, he's eating lunch with his eyes closed.

Oct. 27, 2009 -
Looking at someone's birthday pictures on facebook...Israel: "It my birthday, this weekend. It my birthday, too, Mommy."

Oct. 30, 2009 -
Israel is in time-out. Again. Lezlie: "Israel, are you having a hard time obeying?" Israel: "Yes." Lezlie: "What can we do? Let's pray for Jesus to help you obey Mommy." Israel: "Jesus, help Mommy obey Israel."

Nov. 4, 2009 -
Eden says you have to get up pretty early to beat the human vacuum cleaner! (I guess vacuuming my house at 8:15 am is not good enough.)

Nov. 5, 2009 - Our
son just ran through the house wearing a hoodie and socks. That's it. Obviously, it's father/son time in our house.

Nov. 6, 2009 -
These days, you know Israel is moderately afraid when he shoves his hand in his mouth. Tonight, while we were stopped at the light by Timbers lounge, Pat suggested that he should talk to the huge Paul Bunyon figure to see if he would talk back. Israel promptly shoved his hand in his mouth.

Nov. 9, 2009 -
Maybe reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to Israel is a mistake. "Let the wild rumpus start!" Grr...mumble...sigh.

Nov. 10, 2009 -
Israel starts crying in the next room. I go in. "What's wrong?" "Sophie eat me up." "Sophie ate you up?" [Israel smiles and laughs.]

*Compiling this, I now realize that Sophie "eating Israel up" was also due to reading "Where the Wild Things Are." I had no idea at the time.

Nov. 12, 2009 -
So this evening at dinner, Pat said, "Babe, I need to tell you something....these sandwiches are spectacular!" I know. That's good on its own. But then Israel looked at me and said, "Babe, BABE! BAAABE!..." When I stopped laughing, I said, "Israel, you call me Mommy." Israel said very dramatically, "Babe, I need to tell you something." I hope Israel keeps imitating Pat, but maybe not ver batim.

Nov. 13, 2009 -
Israel spontaneously recites the alphabet for the first time: A,B,C,D,E,F,G...I,J,K,L, Mo, P. El, mo, pee. Elmo pee...Elmo pee.

Nov. 16, 2009 -
Israel says of the new computer-generated Sesame Street segment featuring Abby Cadabby: "I don't like that." I don't, either.

Nov, 18, 2009 -
Israel used the potty twice this morning and has almost learned to pull up his own pants, but I have a hard time not taking it personally when he saves his messiest stuff for the cloth diaper.

Nov. 19, 2009 -
Israel is transitioning from calling his sister "Edie" to calling her "Eden." Kind of sad.

Nov. 20, 2009 -
Israel is getting ready for the next phase! No bed rail, no sippy cups, answering "why" questions, and excrement where it belongs. Bring it!

Pat and Lezlie took a walk under Christmas lights with the kids and the dog.

Nov. 23, 2009 -
Israel just got pretzels and tortilla chips out of the pantry to make himself a "taco."

Nov. 24, 2009 -
This evening, Israel has smacked his face into his plastic basketball goal, ran full-speed, head-first into a lady's grocery cart, tripped over another grocery cart, had his hand smooshed in the door, and just got knocked in the head with the pantry door. If he looks beat-up this week....

Nov. 26, 2009 -
While prepping the turkey this morning.... Israel: "He sleeping." Pat: "He's never going to wake up."

Dec. 2, 2009 - Pat and Lezlie
are trying to teach Israel that he is their son and Eden is their daughter. Apparently, Israel does not buy "separate but equal."

Dec. 3, 2009 - Lezlie
continues on in lessons in family relations. This morning, Israel said to Eden: "Good morning! Good morning! I your daughter!"

Dec. 4, 2009 -
Israel: "Daddy, do the jerk! Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk!"

Dec. 6, 2009 -
Israel apparently coughed until he threw up in his bed. Pat found him running back into his room with a cloth diaper saying, "I clean it up!" He then came out, somewhat happily, and said, "What my do?"

Dec. 7, 2009 -
I am up during the night with feverish Eden. Happily, something in me seems to remember this well and doesn't mind too much.

I showed Israel the first snow of the year. His response: "I want cereal."

Dec. 8, 2009 -
Lezlie was taking a nap, heard things falling in the kitchen, came out to see her cat carrying a mouse in her mouth, which she let go in the dining room. The mouse ran away into the wall.

When ignoring us telling him to eat his dinner, Israel put his hand on his chin and said, "Um...I have to think about somethin'."

Dec. 9, 2009 - It's a croupy kind of day.

Israel came out of his room, made some mad screams, coughed a lot, and threw a "fit" while he voluntarily walked himself back to his room, shut his door, and went back to sleep. Guess he needed more than 2-1/2 hours of nap?

Dec. 10, 2009 - Israel, while eating breakfast, looking at the table: "Hello, Mr. Noodle. I'm sick right now. I did go see Dr. B." We've moved into delirium.

Dec. 11, 2009 -
Israel just made a horrible face and whined and cried needlessly. I said, "Your face just got ugly." Israel calmed down, looked in the mirror, and, with a bewildered look, touched his cheeks.

Dec. 13, 2009 -
Highlights of the day so far: 1. Israel climbed in our bed this morning, gave us hugs and kept saying, "I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy." 2. When he spilled his milk, he said, "Oh, Jimminy!" 3. Upon finishing breakfast, he said, "Do the jerk!" ...and then he pretty much did it.

Dec. 14, 2009 -
I've just realized that Eden is learning to TALK! This may be normal for a 9 month old; I don't remember. But as always with her, I'm playing catch-up! I wonder how long she's been able to do this?!

Dec. 15, 2009 -
Israel was pretending to burn himself on his oven. He came to me all crazy and then said, very calmly, "I just freak."

Dec. 18, 2009 -
Eden just stood by herself for 15 seconds! ...twice in a row. Could this be going somewhere?

Dec. 19, 2009 -
Israel: "I like. pan. CAKES! I don't can lie!"

The mouse has made several appearances. In my frustration at getting the cat to guard the mouse's exit, I told the cat, "Stay here. It's a freakin' mouse!" Israel is now running through the house saying, "It's a freakin' mouse!"

Dec. 21, 2009 -
When Israel was a baby, I came to the conclusion that he just liked to cry before going to sleep. The last few nights, he has voluntarily hugged me, given me a kiss, and then quietly asked me to leave him alone. So I kiss him again and turn to leave, at which point he starts to cry. I think I was right.

Tonight, Israel was listening to Josh Garrels' song, "All Creatures of our God and King" (not the old hymn) and exclaimed, "That my favorite!" before pumping his arm and saying, "Break it down!"

Dec. 22, 2009 -
Eden can now feed herself lunch! Add to her list of things she likes (when feeding them to herself) green beans, potatoes, asparagus, and zucchini. Now, if I can just teach her and Iz how to cook....

Dec. 25, 2009 -
Israel's understanding of why we give presents at Christmas: "People love me!"

Dec. 29, 2009 -
My son is very excited about having put brussels sprouts in the oven.

Dec. 30, 2009 -
Israel just hugged me and spontaneously said, "I love you very much."

Jan. 2, 2010 -
It's 1:30am. Israel was crying in his cold room (space heater broke and it just doesn't get warm in there). After offering our room as a warm alternative and changing his diaper, he said he wanted to sleep in his room. After I carefully bundled him and gave him kisses, he said, matter-of-factly, "I wanna cry, Mommy." D...OES ANYONE ELSE'S KID DO THIS?!

Jan. 6, 2009 -
In a moment of "can't take it anymore," Lezlie just gave Israel his first home haircut.

Jan. 7, 2010 -
There are streamers covering the bathroom door, draped over the toilet (and the potty), hanging from the chandelier in the living room and the TV (where potty videos will be viewed) and balloons all over the couch and hanging in the bathroom. Treats prepared, cake baked, and the possum puppet is rigged with a squirt bo...ttle and wearing big boy underwear. Fingers crossed....

Jan. 8, 2010 -
Israel is totally excited and has already showed the possum puppet how to pee in the potty and has promised to always go in the potty himself. So far so good according to script.
If ever I had wavered in my belief that I have a child with an iron will, I take that wavering back. Many prayers going up and best smile pasted on my face....

Jan. 9, 2010 - Pat and Lezlie
love their son and have concluded that Israel is one of a rare few who actually prefers discipline to a party. Really. Not joking. Strange kid.
After a two month hiatus, Eden is finally interested in walking again.

Jan. 11, 2010 -
Today, Israel is serious about learning to go potty and Eden is serious about learning to walk. Change is coming...and hopefully not in the form of diapers!
For the longest time, Israel said just about everything "make me mad." Recently, it's been "I'm just sad." Today, everything is "that funny!" I really don't know which has been worse.

Jan. 12, 2010 -
I'm glad that the garbage collectors wave at my son when he stares at them out our window. Feels a little like Mr. Roger's neighborhood.
Post #1 was going to be about the accident-free morning, but right then it was interrupted by a posting of #2.

Jan. 13, 2010 -
Eden had her first true encounter with snow...right in the face.
I'm hugging Israel goodnight. Israel: "Get out my way." Me: "That's rude." Israel: "Get out my way, please." Me: "That's still rude. Do you want me to leave you alone so you can sleep?" Israel: "Yes." Me: "How about you just tell me goodnight." Israel: "G'night Mommy. Please get out my way."

Jan. 16, 2010 -
Israel has gone on two outings today wearing his underwear!

Jan. 18, 2010 -
Israel is going through the house in a pointy pink hat saying, "I'm a princess, Mommy. I'm a princess, Daddy."
Three public places today and no accidents (unless you count a careful aim at my coat through the gap between the seat and the bowl).

Jan 19, 2010 -
Israel is the only happy one in my house right now. 'Nuff said.

Jan. 21, 2010 -
"Mom, can you get down and do the jerk?"

Jan. 24, 2010 -
Israel just graduated from little boy to man.

Jan. 25, 2010 -
Excerpts from Israel's bedtime conversation: I go in the fire and squirt water on the fire. And I wear a helmet I can wear a helmet and go in the fire...and a jacket and I wear my boots. I can go in the fire and Sophie can go in the fire. She gonna come help people. When I get older, I'm gonna be a fireman. I'm... gonna ride in a firetruck. When I get older.

Jan. 26, 2010 - I
went to the store to buy diapers and only had to buy one size!

Jan. 27, 2010 -
Eden took 4 steps!

Jan. 29, 2010 -
Me: Israel, what should we have for lunch? Israel: Pizza! I like pizza because...I-I like pizza. It's... [comes over and pats me on the back, then gives me a kiss on the cheek] I love it, Mommy. Pizza is good! It's very good.

Stay at home parents and facebook: capturing just about every little moment in the lives of those you love.

(For some reason, I feel like piling on the potential facebook slogans.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

imprints in the snow

I love putting Eden in other people's clothes. Well, perhaps not just anyone's clothes, though I do really appreciate our hand-me-downs. I love seeing Eden in the little blue coat I wore when I was her age. I like to look at her and remember that I was that age and toddled around in that same coat. And I instantaneously speak to her in my mind: "Someday you'll be here, too." It's like we're walking through the snow and one person's foot peels out of a print just as the next person's slides in. For a moment, it is like time bends over on itself and we intersect each other in the same physical space. Maybe I make too much of it, but something about it feels almost spiritual even though the subject matter is as physical as it gets.

Eden is exactly 18 months younger than Israel. That combined with the fact that one is a boy and the other a girl means they should probably never wear the same clothes. However, if I haven't made the point already, Eden is tiny and Israel was tall, so it turns out there is the small space in winter when they both wear/wore size 3-6 months. Eden is on the leaving-that-size as Israel was on the just-getting-into-that-size, but I'm loving the brief overlap. We didn't find out Israel's gender while pregnant, which means we have several gender-neutral things I love reusing.

So it is that I thought I'd share with you one such shared moment in space: Israel and Eden's prints in the snow.

Left: Israel December 2007
age 3 months

Right: Eden January 2010
age 10 months

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cabin fever!

Two months shy of three years ago, our church started meeting in the cabins at Heekin Park. Perhaps most churches in America would not consider it to be a very luxurious place and, well...I wouldn't argue. Not much, anyway. But at the time it was a great step up. It was the end of an Indiana winter spent meeting in an unheated garage with a salamander. (If you're not familiar with a salamander, it's a heating machine that has a long snake attachment and does *wonderful* things for the air quality. We would have it on before the meeting and then turn it off to start so we could hear the music. But then it would be cold again, so we'd fire it back up while we took a break. Then we'd have to turn it off to finish our meeting. Ah...the good ol' days!)

Moving into the cabins felt downright luxurious because they had HEAT! Our first service in the cabins was on my birthday in March. I giggled because I could feel my toes wearing only one pair of socks. It was a birthday present too wonderful for me! (Okay...maybe I felt like I deserved it.) We rented three of them: one for the service, one for nursery (birth through age 5), and one for elementary students (K-5).The big cabin had a small kitchen with a stove and small refrigerator, which seemed like such a novel idea at the time. It also had a stage area along one of the narrow walls. I laughed thinking we'd go from having someone talk from a circle of people sitting in metal chairs in a garage to having us all listen to someone speaking down to us from a stage. Turns out we never used the stage for that and we were all glad.

When we first went to the cabins, we were a handful of mostly relocators with very few children. But more people moved in, some of our neighbors started to come, lots of neighborhood kids joined us, and many, many babies were born. Neither Israel nor Eden had even been thought of (by us, anyway...) before we moved to the cabins, but both of them were dedicated to our Lord there. We have seen friends baptized in those cabins. Wedding vows were renewed outside the cabins. We grew by all means available until we started running out of room to put enough chairs in the cabin and the kids (many of whom did not exist our first Sunday there) were crazy and loud being put together in such a resonant space. Many of us were tired of making the trek from a cabin to the glorified outhouses in the heat (stinky) or the cold (the toilets were metal). It became more and more cumbersome storing all the things for sound, nursery, kids, and lunch in the trunks of our cars and the back of an old van during the week and hauling them through whatever weather to set up for what had become around 75 people a week. All the wonderful people added to us meant our church had some growing pains that couldn't be ignored while we waited to build a community center where we could also house our church.

The recent news that we had been asked to rent out the Boys' and Girls' Club was met with shouts of joy from just about all of us. It is just across the park from the cabins that have been our home. We were excited to hear that it had not two, but three classrooms and bathrooms and (gasp!) storage space...all under one roof! What glory! On Saturday, several of us gathered to check out our new, rented home. It is about what you would expect from a sort of inner-city non-profit place for kids to hang out. It needs painted. Things are old, torn, outdated, disheveled. I'll admit that my initial excitement met with some I'm-not-sure-about-this as I walked through the rooms and thought about how we would fit into the space.

We got to work cleaning off the various sorts of chairs that had been donated to us to set up for worship in the gym. We rearranged rooms for the kids. We set up tables and chairs for lunch. (We're still a few short if you have any extra long folding tables sitting around....) We found a pulpit in the back of the locker room. That's right...a pulpit. Wow. We got a folding glass wall to put around the drum set. We have room in the storage closet for a sound board and bigger speakers borrowed from a band. It took 8-10 of us a little over 3 hours to figure things out and get set up. That's a long time. Excitement met with this-is-a-lot-of-work.

But on Sunday, everything felt great. The kids, who are already quite familiar with the building, felt right at home and got right down to playing pool and Dance Dance Revolution. There are bugs to work out, to be sure, but the space felt warm and inviting. In spite of all the needed improvements, seeing each other's familiar faces there felt a little like seeing your spouse of years and years dressed up for a date.

Right now I am in the throes of potty training Israel while Eden is pulling on me to help her walk across the room. It actually takes up a lot more of my time teaching Israel to pull his pants and underwear up and down, get situated for the big event, follow through, and wash his hands. It's slower for me to hold Eden's hand while she walks than it is for me to carry her to her destination. Growing up is hard work -- and no less so for those given the task of helping the process along.

Moving to the next stage requires a new commitment to the harder work of doing something new.