Thursday, January 26, 2012

1-12-12 Catching Caden's Smile

Caden is very smiley little boy, but I recently noticed that I don't seem to catch is smiles in my pictures. This series of pics shows what it's like to try and photograph Caden when he's smiling and doesn't have his pacifier in his mouth.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1-21-12 Home Sweet Home

It's so good to be home and back with my boys! We came back to a lot of snow and three boys that are wound up. We talked about pretty simple things about Mexico and they seemed confident in their own understanding of our trip. We'll have plenty of time to talk about things as they come up in conversation. . .

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1-19-12 Reflecting on the Past Week

I took a little blogging break because we've been out of the country, well, Joe and I have been out of the country. A week ago today began out trip. Phase one was to take our boys to my parents house. Our flight wasn't leaving until Saturday morning, but I didn't just want drop them at my parents' house and turn around and leave them. I didn't want to leave them at all. I was torn: go on this mission trip or stay on my own little mission field at home with my boys.

I have to confess, I wasn't torn like this in November when we went to my friend's wedding in Mexico. But there was the element of safety this time. Mexico is known for the violence they have right now because of the drug cartels. Plus, we're not at a secured resort. We're in hotel in the neighborhood that we're working in. By the time I did take our boys to my parents, I didn't feel scared. I had peace about all of us being okay. But when I left my parents' house, I cried. I cried hard for quite a while. It was kind of weird because I don't really cry that much. I was sad.

So, here we are. I've called the boys a couple of times and they're doing great. They don't seem to miss us all that much, but Max refused to talk to me the other night. I think it's his passive aggressive way of saying he misses us. I'll take what I can get.

It was a big deal to decide to come on this trip and it took a couple of days into it to know for sure that I made the right decision. There are a lot of reasons for this; they make for more of a novel than a blog post, but I will never have the attention span to write a novel. But here's one reason as it pertains to mothering. I am trying to instill in my boys the desire to love God and to love other people. I know I can talk to my kids about this all day long, read stories about it and even sing some cute songs about it. They really need to see me doing it.

This one week mission trip challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Have I found a way to incorporate the fact that I mixed concrete with a shovel yet?? Have I mentioned that I cried like a baby when I left my boys?? Have you gotten the impression that God worked more to change me when I thought I was going so he could bring about change in the people we were serving??

My heart has softened to people in need and I notice endless ways that my life is just easier and oh, so very different. But we do share a faith in a God that cares about every little detail of our different lives and he just goes on to keep showing us his faithfulness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1-9-12 Max and I are Thinking the Same Thing

I've been thinking the boys are about due for another round of haircuts. Apparently, Max has been thinking the same thing because today he was a barber and guess who was his customer. Yep, Caden Bay. It started with, "Look Mom." And then I saw the clump of blonde hair on the floor. For it being the clump that it was, it's not really obvious when you look at Caden that his brother cut his hair within a quarter of an inch of his head. Caden was not upset about the haircut; he cried about me confiscating the scissors from Max.

Caden and Max are a dynamic duo. What one doesn't think of, the other one will and whoever chooses to lead is guaranteed a follower.

Friday, January 6, 2012

1-6-12 Heart to Heart

Tonight at dinner, Max used a real glass to drink water out of. Of course, that was risky, but it was just water. He pointed out that he had a glass just like Mommy and Conrad. Then he said, "Because we are grown ups, right?" He didn't buy the whole thing about he and Conrad still being kids.

Last night Conrad and I had a heart to heart talk about sippy cups v. glasses. In his own words he expressed that he felt embarrassed at his family birthday party when I gave him a sippy cup. Sometimes he drinks out of glasses, but it hadn't occurred to me that it seemed babyish to have to use a sippy cup, but it makes sense now.

I'm glad he told me this. it was such a big boy conversation. As my first born, he's going to have to point out a lot of things like this. After all, I've never had a five-year-old before!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

1-10-12 "But I don't want to go back to school."

"But I don't want to go back to school."

I was thinking it and Conrad said it. And we both REALLY like his school. We both also like staying in a pajamas past 9:00 and playing Legos after breakfast.

Today Conrad and Max painted pictures of what they want their tree fort to look like. Conrad gave Joe a detailed explanation of his and painted a very clear ladder. They would love to build a tree fort with their dad some day. He would love it just as much!

1-4-12 Wordless Wednesday Revived

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1-3-12 Did I really throw a Transformer Birthday Party?

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not before, but when I was growing up and dreaming about being married and having kids, i always pictured myself with five kids and the first three were all girls. Luckily, before Conrad was born, I wrapped my mind around mothering a boy and once he was here, well, those visions of braiding hair, picking out frilly dresses, and throwing princess birthday parties were long forgotten. But I didn't automatically see myself throwing a Transformer birthday party, but my little boy lit up when he saw that I had made cupcakes with Transformer hologram toppers. I even used the word "autobot" for the little game we played. I'm not even sure what an autobot is. . .

It was a fun morning with lots of balloon playing, actually, lots of balloon popping! Caden has really taken to singing happy birthday and all three boys appreciate a yummy cupcake. The recipe I used is actually from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. - so they had some nutrients in them.

I had to include a picture of my sweet little niece in with these even though it's blurry. Audrey would have liked to have seen a little more pink incorporated into this party. And I have to say, wouldn't it be adorable if she had a tiara on with that Transformer mask?? Pink or not, all of the kids loved the cousin time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

1-2-12 Christmas Take Down

The great Cheristmas decoration take down has begun. Here's a picture of my favorite Christmas decoration this year. This is the little tree that is decorated in Caden's room. It creates a very peaceful glow that makes Caden's room feel relaxing. When I turn it off at night, he often points to it and says "on". One night he pointed to it and said, "ho, ho, ho". That has been his comment to many things related to Christmas. Just like Caden started saying words one right after the other, he is stringing sentences just as quickly. Tonight's big sentence was, "I want a juice box." Read it without annunciating to get an idea of what is sounds like. i have had candles burning a lot this season. At first it was because I enjoyed the aroma. Now, it's because Caden begs, "Cand-o on". He's obsessed. I had to put our flame-fire-starter-thing on a high shelf because he started getting it out and bringing it to me insisting that I light the candle. I haven't picked out a Christmas ornament for him for this year yet (Yes, I know the date. I also know that I'm going to find ornaments for 75% off). I was going to get him a Lion King ornament because he LOVES that movie, but a candle ornament would be fitting too. Or a binky ornament. . .

Since this is only Caden's second Christmas, he only has a few ornaments on his tree; so the tree is mostly adorned by crocheted snowflakes that were made by my maternal grandmother. She passed away eight years ago and I still have times where I want to call her; mostly to talk about something "mommy-related". She loved being a mommy. She told me once that it was her greatest joy in life; especially because the doctors had told her that she wouldn't be able to have kids. It was beautiful the way she phrased it. She was a content woman and didn't yearn for anything that she didn't have. It may sound like she lived a life of privilege, but that wasn't the case in material regards. But she wasn't much concerned with things of a material nature. When I was in college she told me that as adults her children had given her everything she wanted. And that she was careful about saying things that she would like to do because she knew they would make it happen. She referenced a road trip across the country that she made with three of her five children. The destination was one of her granddaughters high school graduations.

Caden's little Christmas tree has more special meaning because it is the one that Joe's maternal grandmother decorated every year. There's also a small ornament on it that is a picture of Joe and his grandma in a small crocheted frame. It looks like Joe was about Caden's age when the picture was taken. Joe's grandma passed away about six weeks before my grandma passed. it was a sad Christmas throughout the season we watched both grandmas deteriorate with very different conditions. Now when I think about both of our grandmas at Christmas, it's not about the Christmas when we lost them. It's about all the Christmas's before that when we had them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1-1-12 Bring on Another Year

Cheers to a Happy New Year! This morning we toasted to the new year and poppers popped and decorated our kitchen with streamers. Yes, we did this approximately eight hours after the rest of the country. It's hard for an active household to maintain a high level of energy all the way to midnight. Afterall, that is 18 hours after waking from the night before.

My brother and his family were here to celebrate with us, that brought our household to five kids five and under. When the kids' bedtime rolled around, a couple of parents dozed off too. I put my dessert in the oven at 9 and there was nobody around. Then Conrad appeared and asked if he could stay up for a while. In a very uncharacteristic of me moment, I said "yes". We snuggled up on my cozy chair and waited for the ball to drop on the Dick Clark special. In the meantime, we got out two crystal goblets and the sparkling grape juice and started our toasts. My favorite one was when Conrad toasted to our family being safe in the new year. It was a very sweet moment. Adults did resurface throughout the night and Conrad fell asleep before the clock struck 12. It was a nice way to end 2011.

Conrad, Max, and I have had many time-related conversations over the last week. They've mostly been spurred on by Max trying to figure out when Christmas will come again and Conrad trying to figure out how long it will take for him to turn 6. How can I clue them into how much they will change in the next 365 days? And I certainly can't guarantee what will or what won't happen within those same days. It leaves me with the realization that the beginning of the new year is just the start of another chapter in this adventure we're on.