September 26, 2010

I love community . . .

. . . wherever I find it. :)

Whether it's over tea,

paired with some delicious food

and shared with some sweet ladies from church . . .

Or whether it's found in an online game, fighting a shrieking, unhappy dragon,

with a group of good friends (many of whom I've never met in person) . . .

Sharing old jokes and thinking up new ones . . . making each other laugh . . . the comraderie that comes from shared accomplishment . . . long heart-to-heart conversations . . . creating memories that last . . . moments that make you smile . . .

God Himself knew how important community was when He said: "It is not good for man to be alone." (Gen. 2:18) Ever since the beginning, He's seen to it that we don't fly solo.
I am very thankful for this.
Not just because I am a "people person", but because relationships matter. God uses them to teach us, shape us, bless us, and change us. Unlike anything else on the planet, relationships last. They will last an eternity. And they make all the difference as we journey on this earth.

September 23, 2010

Quiet Thoughts

. . . words that have challenged and encouraged me this week . . .

"Worshipping as Occasion Serves. We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. "If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion." You will not unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop, unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it, when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crises always reveal character."

-- Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest

Thinking of the trials God has allowed into my life. Realizing I am not as "fit" as I thought. Asking Him to help me change.
I should be at MOPS this morning, but we've been sick all week. Missed bible study yesterday, too. In fact, the only scheduled thing we've stuck to is Caleb's pre-school. But it's been a restful week, sickies notwithstanding, a week full of World of Warcraft, movies, and books. A week of quiet quarantine at home, snuggling with my Bud. :)
How's your week been? Quiet? Busy? A happy balance of both?

September 17, 2010

My Week in Five Words

I am too tired to write an ordinary post tonight, so rather than ramble endlessly on about the doggie chew toy at my feet which has been de-squeaked (when we don't even have a dog) or the fact that I lose earplugs like people lose money in a casino, I present to you my Week in Five Words. ;)

My Week Was
  1. overcast
  2. exhausting
  3. surprising
  4. rewarding
  5. long
I am so very happy it is the weekend. We have lots of nothing planned. And it sounds perfect. :)

So how about you? What was your week like, in five words?

September 15, 2010

Miss P

I'm not sure I'm ready for this, the first day back to school. My hesitation is due in part to the separation anxiety Caleb's been dealing with all summer. But some of my hesitation is also due to the conversation I had with Caleb's new teacher yesterday.

Miss P called me on my cell phone to introduce herself. We were shopping at the Thrift Store. She sounded . . . young. Maybe a tad Valley Girl. I found myself wondering how much teaching experience she has. Hoping she has at least a little. Because I know, deep down in my inmost being, that Caleb will give her a run for her money. That's what he does. He stretches limits, patience, and expectations. Like most kids do, but in his own, special, unique way.

I just hope she can handle that.

I'm also a tad peeved at Miss P, because when I asked if I could hang around with Caleb in the classroom for his first day, she got very quiet on the other end of the phone.

"Oh . . . ummmmm . . . sorry, trying to make a teacher judgment call here. Well, I guess it would be ok if you, like, stayed for the first half hour."

Excuse me? Really? I didn't think such a simple request would be such a big deal. Last year, parents were invited and encouraged to join the class that first day. You know, so we could meet the teacher, the aids, find out what our kids would be doing and learning. All that jazz. So what's going on? Why do I suddenly feel like I'm trespassing on Miss P's goodwill? Doesn't she want parents to be involved?

Grrrrrrr. Sorry y'all. Mama Bear is out in full fur, with claws extended. I guess I was just so surprised by the teacher's response, it put me on the defensive. No one messes with my cub. :)

We leave for school in a few minutes. I really hope my first impression of Miss P was wrong, or at the least, incomplete. Time will tell, I suppose.

But if you hear about a bear mauling in the PNW tonight on the news, it wasn't me. Honest.

September 14, 2010

Of Volcanoes and Busy Weeks

Hello everyone! I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since my last post! I tell you what, life has sorta swept me off my feet and most days, it's all I can to do to hang on! Jason is in the middle of working eleven straight days; I barely saw him over the weekend, and by the end of Monday, Caleb and I were getting pretty tired of just having each other for company. ;)

Thanks to my impromptu bloggie break, I feel behind. I have all sorts of pictures and stories and adventures I've wanted to share with y'all, but when I think about these backed up posts in my brain, I tell myself "That was so two weeks ago!"

But since it's 2 am and I find I can't sleep, let me tell you about Caleb and the Volcano, or, How I Surprised Myself. :)

Caleb's been into volcanoes lately. He's seen them in the cartoons he watches, and while he still struggles to pronounce "volcano" clearly (which is totally adorable), he understands the general idea: "Bal-Can-O! Boom! Hot! Hot! Hot!"

On a whim the other day, I decided to order the National Geographic video on volcanoes from Netflix. It's an older film, but I thought Caleb would like to see what real volcanoes look like. I also wondered how long a non-cartoon would hold his attention. Well, he surprised me! He sat through the first half of the movie totally absorbed in footage of lava floes and spectacular eruptions. "Whoa! Wow! Bol-Can-O! Fi-uh (for fire)! Hot! Hot!" I taught him a new word: lava. It comes out more like "wava" when he says it, though. Precious. :)

Inspired by his reaction, I decided to take volcanoes one step further and yesterday, we created our very own miniature volcano in Caleb's sandbox. You know the good old vinegar-and-baking-soda trick? Still works! And he loved it! We made eruption after eruption until the vinegar ran out and even then, he asked for "more bol-can-o, peas!" :)

Basking in our geological and scientific sucesses, a stray thought went through my mind:

"Don't look now, but you're home-schooling!"

That thought took me completely by surprise. I've been on the fence about home-schooling since we learned Caleb was speech delayed and would need special classes to help him catch up. Do I have what it takes to be both stay-at-home-mom AND teacher? Will I be able to fill the hours and teach him everything he needs to know? Will I even enjoy it?

That stray thought did a lot to calm my fears. Without realizing it, I had already started down that road. :) And if our fun with exploding mountains is any indication, it's going to be a pleasant and exciting journey! :)

Now if' you'll excuse me, I should really get back to bed. If the last two weeks have been busy, the next three days are going to be NUTS. Everything starts this week. Everything. Caleb's pre-school classes, the new Beth Moore study at church, the MOPS group I just joined, and the women's ministry at church that I'm helping to head-up this year. Crazy good fun, all of it! But I'm gonna need sleep to make it all work. :)

Night all! Thanks for bearing with my bloggie absences!

September 2, 2010

Maybe It's the Terrible Threes

Nothing like a morning at the park to make you feel like a horrible parent. I'm starting to hate parks. They're stressful experiences these days; I feel like I'm on constant alert. I can't relax, I can't talk to other moms because the moment I do, Caleb pulls something.

He throws rocks, accidentally or intentionally hitting another child. He pushes, he shoves, he hits. He tackles another little boy, thinking it's a game only to stare in confusion when the little boy starts crying.

I can't even begin to count how many times I've told Caleb this kind of behavior is wrong and unacceptable. I've put him on time-out, I've spanked him, I've talked to him. Still, the misbehavior continues.

I know his speech delay isn't helping. I have no idea how much of what I say actually computes for him. How much does he really understand? The problem is, he's bigger than most other three year olds. Which means he's stronger, too. Other moms and kids see him, believe him to be at least four, and then expect him to act and comprehend and play accordingly.

I'm so frustrated. Other kids watch and then avoid Caleb. I've even heard a few call him "a bad boy." Other moms watch and then think I am an incompetent mother. And who knows? Maybe they're right.

But the problem is, Caleb isn't a bad boy. He's sweet and loving and funny. He's the kind of boy that runs up to the ice cream truck and says "Ice Ceam, peas!" to the ice cream man. And once the man hands down his snowcone, Caleb will profusely and repeatedly thank him: "Thank welcome! Thank welcome! Thank welcome!"

He's the kind of little boy who hugs and snuggles stuffies and often falls asleep at night with them piled all around him on the bed.

He's the kind of little boy who calls tornados "tomatoes" and when he eats Cars fruit snacks, he'll stop and say "Yummy Police Cars!" because the purple Radiator Springs police car gummy is his favorite.

He's the little boy who who gives hugs and says good-bye to Daddy every morning and after every lunch hour, often watching Daddy through the living room window as he drives away. "Bye, Da-ee! Bye Da-ee!" he says, even after Daddy is long gone. Sometimes, if we're watering in the front yard, he'll look at Jason's parking spot and say "Where Da-ee go?" Then he'll answer his own question. "Da-ee at work!"

This is the kind of boy Caleb is. Unfortunately, at the park and at church, no one else sees that boy. I wish they did; I love my little man and trust me, I know how difficult and stubborn and challenging he can be. But that's not the complete picture. That's not who he is all the time.

But after the third time-out, after the second spanking, when he'd successfully dumped out all the soapy bubble solution at the MOPs kick-off meet & greet today, I'd had enough. I wasn't meeting and greeting; more like chasing and disciplining. So I gathered our things and we went home.

One good thing has come from all this, though. I've realized how totally inadequet I am without the help and support of Someone far greater. Only by His grace and providence will Caleb live to see four. Only by His mercy will I figure out this parenting thing.

Sorry for making this a venting post, y'all. We've been struggling all summer, and I haven't been brave enough to post about it until now. I believe we've made some progress and that Caleb's behavior is (slowly) improving. But I tell ya what, this stage of toddlerhood royally sucketh.