Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We three... um...

Well, I'm not exactly sure, but I believe the little one is a wise guy. I mean, wise man!

Monday, December 10, 2007

THAT day...

Last Friday... well... it should have been stricken from the calendar. Just a hard day - not really bad, just laborious. It felt like everything had to be difficult. Difficulty complicated by twist. But by one in the afternoon, scenarios began resolving without blood, sweat,or tears. But as a mom, you know that the anxiety becomes a little, um, pent up. About four in the afternoon, when (on a good day) I'm usually ready to quit parenting and flee to Canada with an assumed identity and four years of high school French in my back pocket, I decided to just have a roll on the floor sessions withe kids. (A hint of sarcasm in my voice at this point) Let it not be said of me that I don't play with my kids. No sir-ey, Bob. I'm a mom that PLAYS with her little ones, even on hard days. So we were having a great time tickling, imitating barn animals. At some point I laid on my back and closed my eyes. I opened them to find the two year old standing over me with a brick-size toy camera. I smile, getting ready for my pretend photo, when Levi raises the camera and slams it down on top of my unprotected forehead. He hit me so hard the camera bounced. I saw stars. I saw moons, black holes, and supernovas. I immediately shot up to a sitting fetal position with my hand clamped over my face and screamed. The two year old, who thought I was playing, picked up the camera and attempted to lob another shot my way. Without uncovering I shoved him to the ground and kicked the camera across the room - was this a modern-day stoning?!? Levi was immediately aware that our relationship, yea, his very life, was in jeopardy because I started to cry... and then just outright bawl into my hands. I don't think I've ever lost it in front of them like that - BUT IT HURT SO BAD!!! Levi kept trying to crawl on my lap, and when I could peel my fingers off my head, I grabbed him soundly by both shoulders and barked, "Say sorry to Mommy! Say sorry to Mommy!" Now, the apology that took an hour to coax from him in his crib just last week came forth quickly, awash with tears, "Sorry, Mommy!!!" With that I grabbed him and pinned him on my lap to prevent further bodily harm (to myself!), and turned my hysteria upon the four year old. "Is there blood on my forehead ?! Right here?! Is it bleeding?!" Z, trying to keep it together assures me there's no blood, but then dissolves to tears himself because I've "made (him) feel so, so bad." He buries his face in my back and weeps. The baby is still screaming on my lap. I bow my head and try to focus my gaze.

In front of me stands the three year old girl with her hands on her hips. Dead serious. There wasn't a hint of fear or distress. "Mom, do you need a kiss?" I'm sniffling, "Yeah...". She leans over and plants a super-power, healing kiss on my forehead which felt like it was going to split in two. "There," and she leans back. "Now, Mom. I'd like to dress up and be the princess, okay? You help me with the dress." "Okay," I sniff. The boys are sniffling and crying softly. But my Libby stayed large and in charge. A good candidate for nursing already, if you ask me. But the hospitals may take issue with the pink princess dress and magic slippers.

Approaching Christmas

(Riding home in van after church on Sunday)

Z: "Mom, have we ever been to Bufflahem?"

M: "Bufflahem? Do you mean the place where Jesus was born?"

Z: "Yeah. Have we been there?"

M: "No. It's very, very far away."

Z: "Is it on the earth?"

M: "Yes, but it's not in America. I believe Bethlehem is in Israel. It's very far."

Z: "Oh..."

(Several minutes of silence pass.)

Z: "Gabriel... Gabriel was an angel."

M: "Yes."

Z: "And he said to Mary (raising voice and lifting arms to the side), 'You are going to have a baby! And he is going to take very good care of you!'"

M: "I'll bet that the angel said to Mary, 'You will take really good care of him'."

Z: "Yeah..."


But as I've retold the dialogue, I think Izak had it right. The Saviour. The one from whom all Love flows. The King. Mighty God. Emmanuel. Indeed, he takes very, very good care of us!

Monday, November 19, 2007

On the lighter side of love

What was my 13-year anniversary gift to Matt, you ask?

I let him sleep in while I took all three children (especially the two who had been up since 3:45 AM) to the pediatrician's office at 8 o'clock to get their ear infections diagnosed and treated.

He said it was the best gift ever!

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Today is my 13-year anniversary of marriage to a fantastic man. I remember wrestling during college with whether or not I even wanted to marry. I had settled on the single life when I became friends with Matt, another campus leader at IWU. As our friendship grew, so did my respect, admiration, and attraction! What a gift I've been given. Handsome. Wise. Kind. Funny. Godly. I am blessed among women.

I love you, Matthew. A day doesn't go by that I'm not aware of your sacrificial love, your hard work, your intentional decisions, and your protection. You're my hero.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New babies

Well, we've been so busy. Since I last blogged, the boys both turned 2 and 5. My mom (poor mom) and sister, Stef, brought the train out, but Mom ended up in the hospital to rule out a stroke (posterior bleed). The party did happen, and Mom was able to make the end of the celebration, which was a celebration in itself! A few weeks later, Matt's parent came out and took the kids trick or treating. One of the boys' gifts was a huge bag of costumes from Mrs. Clay... we put it to GREAT use (both on that day, and every day since)!

Izak's now using a digital wristwatch and a big boy bike - we may end up trying to get the training wheels off before snow. He's growing so quickly. Levi is fully into conversation and a little gear-head. He can't get enough of his cars. He has a special affinity for the little die cast "Cars" characters... truth told, I actually have quite an affinity for them as well. Our collection is almost complete! People were so kind that Libby genuinely believed that it was her birthday too, as she was flooded with gifts as well. She's also LOVING preschool. I'm sure of the genetic connection with my daughter as all day long she absent-mindedly sings and hums... and her favorite songs are "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman"! My real friends know that I sing Christmas songs year-round. Why should she be any different? :) Such happy kids.

The other week I took my protestant kids to a local Catholic church to buy some of their honey. The church is located on a beautiful plot of land in the country, surrounded by hedges. It's cared for by the Handmaidens of the Precious Blood (quite the name!). We approached the tiny chapel that was formerly a house, looking for someone to unlock the little house that had the "Local Honey for Sale" sign in the window. Izak rang the door bell, but there was no answer. As we were pulling out, a nun came running from the back door in full habit, "I'm sorry! I was on the phone!". The bright white hat, burgundy robes with the necklace and the cord around the waist, all blowing in the fall breeze. My kids' eye widened, they'd never seen a nun before! "Sister, hello! We came for some honey!" We bounded out of the minivan as she loved all over the babies, "What beautiful children! Are they all yours?" Izak pulled me aside. "Why do you call her sister?" "That's her special name for the job that she does here. Everyone calls her 'sister.'" And then the kids began to chorus, "Sister, where's the honey?" "Sister, do you live here?" Sister, sister sister! We loaded back into the van and waved goodbye. As we drove around, Izak noticed all of the beautiful statues of Mary, Jesus, and other saints. There was a big, white statue of Jesus, arms spread wide with a big smile. Izak asked, "Mom, is that God?" "That's a statue of Jesus." Then, with fantastic five-year old enthusiasm he shouted, "Mom! We have GOT to get one of those!"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Beautiful little faces

The question

One of the privileges of being a SAHM is learning the language of my children. Recently I've found that I'm "hearing" much clearer questions from each of them, regarding their deep inner wonderings... they don't need to necessarily say the words, but they ask them in a million other ways.

Izak asks, "Do you hear me?" Coming from a little boy who hasn't had it easy as it pertains to communication and development, I believe he often wonders if he's coming across in the way he intends. This is evidenced by the string of talking, the non-stop questions, the follow-up questions, the rephrased questions, the questions just to clarify. Possibly one of the more hurtful things in his world is to hear, "I'm don't want to talk anymore," or when he's ignored. I was outside watching him approach some older neighborhood kids skateboarding the other day, I saw his lips move, but not one kid returned his greeting. I pushed down the killer fire that ignited, and slowly went over to him. "What are you doing, Buddy?" "Just watching. I said, 'Hi, my name is Izak', but they didn't say anything." He came home with me and we talked about how mean it is when people aren't polite, how important it is to acknowledge people. He just wanted to be heard. God, let me listen to my son.

Libby asks, "Do you feel me?" Ironically emotional when compared to her older brother, Lib sports her emotions on her sleeve. Her recent preschool report said, "Liberty is very expressive." I know, I've watched her stand and make faces at herself in a mirror for two years now. She has quite the range of "expression." I think it's easy for moms of girls to invalidate and ignore emotion... because there's so much of it. I'm not a highly emotional person outwardly, but it doesn't mean that I should eye-roll or constantly tell her how she should feel according to my adult standards. I notice a special spark in her eyes when she's been particularly demostrative about something, and I say, "Libby, do you feel surprised?" (even if I know it's acting) "(gasp) Yes!!!" she smiles. It's as if she's wanting to know someone "gets" what's she's feeling, and there's great peace in that for her. There's a place for her too. She knows she's understood.

Levi asks, "Do you see me?" The shortest member of the family, Levi tends to strive for eye contact. He's been a great one for locking eyes with someone across a crowded room, even as a baby, and bursting into smiles when they acknowledge they see his big brown eyes on them. I watch him wander around our front yard, and as he approaches the boundary he slowly turns and peeks back at me over his shoulder. Do you see me? Do you see what I'm about to do? He's quick to redirect and easy to parent once he knows he's been seen. Attention seeking? Sure, in a toddler sense. And he responds so well... if you look at him. But you can't bark orders at him and expect him to fall into line yet. He wants to be seen. There's a lot of activity in my home, one can easily feel overlooked, unless you make them look your way. God, may my littlest one find me looking at him long before he feels invisible. May he feel valued.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some July images

Urks and misses

Driving home in the minivan.

"Mom, do you urk?"

"Do I urk?"

Yeah, Daddy urks. Can you?"

"How does he urk?"

"You know - the big blue car when he goes fast. Uuuurrrrrrrkkkkkk!"


Potty trained child yells,"I have to go poopy!" And runs for the toilet. Toilet paper patrol follows and arrives to hear a lot of gassy noises but sees no concrete evidence. Child hops off toilet.

"Wait, wait. Do you need me to help wipe you?"


"No? Did you go poopy?"

"Nope. I missed."

Home again and again

I am officially going to stop apologizing for any long lapses in my blogging. I'm busy, which all of you understand, and this is a luxury for me. I'll stop right after I say this... sorry it's been so long.

We've been in a full court press here in Illinois. Kids. Church. Work. And last night at 10 p.m. we arrived home from a flying trip to Buffalo to see our soulmates. We were there "three sleeps," one of which was even our first sleep over (with four kids ages 3-6 in one bedroom!) with the Muslielaks. I spent a lot of time before the trip preparing for the trip... I've found that while I never underestimate the work that it'll take to accomplish large tasks I always underestimate the energy that I'll have going into it. I'm usually so much more tired that I hope to be. I hear that it passes - in about 10 years or so.

There are two couples in Buffalo who are, and remain our dearest friends. The Gobles and the Musielaks. The Gobles celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary while we were there, and we were able to attend (kid-free, thanks Rache!) a wonderful celebration for them in the rolling hills of Ellicotville. The Musielaks (Rick is our friend who is fighting cancer - see my husband's post ) and the Furrs pretty much spent every waking minute together. My body is exhausted, but my heart is full. Sunday morning we were able to go to church and catch up with a couple hundred people, all of whom offered love and encouragement... and pressure to come back!!! Thank you, everyone. My favorite comment was Elaine's, who said, "Glad things are going well for you out there. Don't unpack all the boxes, dear, I'm still praying you'll move back." This year I was able to receive the love and strength from our New York family without the questions of whether or not we were right to leave in the first place. It's a strange balance to find, love and appreciation amidst the sadness of being apart from New York - a balance that doesn't need to invalidate our current life in Illinois but can enhance it. I received so much affirmation in the deep places of my heart that have questioned "Am I a good friend?" "Do I love others well?" The Spirit whispered many, many times, "Yes." Thank you, Lord, for healing those places and giving me peace.

A shout out to my lukring Buffalo family. I love you so much.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy birthday, America. The older I get, the better you look to me. I'm so thankful to live here and enjoy your goodness. No, you're not perfect, but I chose you over any other nation. I'm so thankful for our men and women in uniform who serve here and abroad. I know we're still not impenetrable, but I rest easy at night knowing I'm here and not somewhere else in the world. I still cry when I hear the 1812 Overture. I cross my heart when I sing the national anthem. I am so grateful for you and the good things God is doing through you. Happy, happy birthday, old friend.


We've been running and trying to find quiet moments to pause and take in all that life has been handing us lately. There are many things that aren't mine to share, but just know that we're processing a lot. This is a shout out to the friends and family who've spent time listening and encouraging. Thank you for letting us put down our packs and rest for awhile. I rejoice in the opportunity to be stretched, and while I don't perceive the recent events to be "testing," it has served to clarify my beliefs in God and His goodness.... despite circumstance.

One thing I can share is that our little Levi went for tubes last Friday morning. He's had a nagging ear infection since March, and had four rounds of antibiotics. The ear doctor still came out of surgery and said his ears were badly infected. They drained nasty stuff for a day, but he did great, and seems to improve talking-wise every day! He's the fastest talker of the bunch, and remains a delight! Thank God for relief from pus-filled ears!

Through a series of events I am cutting back my work hours to approximately one day a week. We Bennetts are workers, evidenced by generations of hard (read "obessive") laborers... who, frankly, don't always know when to quit. So before I go any longer feeling like I see my husband less, and before I start wondering if the kids are feeling stressed with the increased pace, I've decided to dial it down and stay home another day.

This should be an intersting night. Rowdy, rowdy subdivision! There's music and explosives and plenty of alcohol. Trauma census should be up tomorrow! I've always loved the Fourth... maybe once the kids are a little older that joy will return. For now, I agonize over every little pop. When John Adams proclaimed that today should be commemorated loudly with much pomp and celebration, I'm almost certain that Mrs. Adams didn't sign off of it. If she had any kids under the age of ten she would've smacked him and demanded a re-write. Argh.

I've loved this day with Matt and the kids. He's such an amazing daddy and husband. He works as hard at home as he does at work. And the kids are testament to that. He's a rock star!

(POP! FIZZ! BANGBANGBANGBANG!) Well, here's to along night in suburbia.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Now, anyone with little ones has an appreciation for how you sometimes feel totally exposed, totally embarrassed by your inability to control, or at least appear in control of the children to whom you gave birth. Yesterday was another "time" to add to my growing pile. But I'm learning to get past the discomfort of my own embarrassment because I'm recognizing the trend of others who are genuinely kind and giving to this mother of F5.

It was in the 90's here in Chicagoland, so I decided to take the kids to a local beach that I'd heard about. Three babies, 4.5, 3, and 1.5 years old. One mom, me. So we landed on this lovely little park with a boom. Similar to buckshot. Libby's yelling, "Swim, swim swim!" and bolting for the water, Izak's darting back and forth from me to his sister, flip-flops abandoned along the sidewalk. I'm pulling Levi out of his seat, surveying the park. If there was one person there, there were 150. I'm trying to navigate the kids toward the safe swimming area (with a LIFEGUARD, thank you , Jesus) when Libby begins making pit-stops at each picnicing site. Stopping, looking at the blankets covered with food and toys, chattering to the families. I'm half apologetic, half embarrassed. Eventually I get the kids into the water... oh, what a time! They splashed and ran on the beach, bobbed around, and made new friends. Many of the families were Latino, taking an afternoon to retreat from their busy days as well. Many of the kids spoke English, but many of the moms in the water did not. When Levi would kidnap a little girl's shovel I would return it, and we would smile at each other as if to say, "Here you go, thanks for not making a big deal out of it. " "You're welcome, I know what it's like. Have you seen my gang? I get it."

After an hour we began moving towards the minivan to return home. That's when the wheels fell off. Levi begins to scream like I'm killing him. Izak is running around the perimeter of the beach in an attempt to herd his sister, who has now discovered a whole different dimension of the beach - the PLAYGROUND. Women are watching me pass, cooing at Levi who's reaching a dog-like pitch in protest. It's buckshot all over again, but at least we're moving towards the van. And then Libby bolts. Something caught her eye at a picnic site that she'd visited on her way to the beach. I'm yelling for her to return to me, but she waltzes over and begins to pick up juice box after juice box, checking for refreshment. And as I'm still 100 feet away, yelling, (being ignored) I see the family - who has probably worked very, very hard for their money and for this picnic time - spot the poacher. They were not smiling. And I'm now starting to run. Who is this unparented child? As I get close enough to grab her she hustles off to the slides. I turn to apologize to the family, but they're still talking among themselves, not looking at me. I drag past them with the screamin' mimi on my hip, my arms full of towels and three pairs of shoes, yelling orders that (obviously) no one is listening to.

And then he was there. A tall pre-teen from the picnic site that Libby had just crashed. He stood in front of me with a cold can of Squirt. "Here, you can have this." "Oh no, no. I'm sorry she did that. I'm fine, thank you." "No really, please take it." And suddenly I'm humbled. Humbled by the F5. Humbled by the inability to do it all. Humbled by my obvious need... of help or a cold drink, or encouragement, or something. I looked over to the family who was watching me, and smiled. "Gracias." They smiled back with a look that didn't need any interpretation. You're welcome, little mother. Have a little refreshment for you or your children. But you're okay. It's going to be fine.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New pics

Still here!

Wow, friends, I am not keeping up, am I? I apologize for the long gap. It feels like I ran up next to a locomotive and grabbed on to the handle on a freight car, and now find myself running just to keep from being dragged alongside! Life is very, very good, but NUTS.

We joined the Chapel (for the curious: www.chapel.org) March 22, and last week my husband was installed as Campus Pastor for the Libertyville campus. Our campus is about 1300 strong. We're loving it. The pace is more up my husband's alley, I believe the term is frenetic. Last week and this week he also joined the teaching team, which includes delivering a message 7 times live to three different campuses and by video to two other campuses. I concentrate on learning names, faces, stories, and positions. All support staff and pastors included, the Chapel has 140 employees and continues to grow. That doesn't include volunteers. And staff spouses. And volunteers' spouses. And children. And the list goes on.

I have a good memory, but I use lots of it remembering where I saw Libby's rouge sock and the 16th piece of the Cariboo game, so to commit a long list of new names and relationships is a challenge, but I love it.

Since February I've felt this sense of bursting forth, like a butterfly leaving it's cocoon. A sense of empowerment. New trust. New eyes. A putting off of the old. A new awareness of the places where the Enemy has hooked my life and messed with my spirit, and a new determination to live in freedom. I remember back in the winter actually saying aloud, "When I die I want to be remembered as a woman of great faith." I guess I'm starting to figure out how to quit wishing and starting living. And since this year is the big 3-6 I guess you could say, "It's about time!"

The children are well. Not physically, but in all other ways. We've had this strange recurrence of ear infections since March. Izak landed his first sinus infection, and if Levi keeps going his route he may buy tubes before long. Even in the sickness they're doing great.

Libby potty trained very quickly. She is loving books from the library and playdoh. She sings almost all day long, varying the words to her particular situation. She is happy and (mostly) easy-going. Her vocabulary is exploding. She turns THREE tomorrow. I'm so proud of her and her heart.

Izak (4 1/2) is awesome. He's a sponge at church, learning and repeating his lessons and songs. He's very taken by the current sermon series call "The Mighties." It looks at the Mighty Men that surrounded King David and how God empowered them to do great things. All the staff and volunteers wear these bright red shirts with a big "M" in the center - sorta a take off of the superhero thing. Z keeps asking about the shirts, asking if he can be a Mighty too, and can he have a shirt... on and on. Last Saturday I was having prayers with him and when I finished, "and give Izak a good night's sleep. Amen," he whispered, "And help me be a Mighty when I grow up." I explained to him that anyone who has Jesus living in his heart is a Mighty. Well, can I tell you on Sunday he got his own Mighty shirt?!? - he wears it as often as possible. With his red cowbow boots. And shorts. And blue foamy sun visor.

Levi is communcating with ever increasing clarity. It feels like he adds new words every day... I've heard about these kinds of kids, and now I have one! Even at 20 months "yes" and "no" are fully intact. Have I mentioned that he air-guitars every chance he gets? He learned that from Murray Wiggle and his heros, Jeremy and Oliver.

I was so touched on Sunday during one of Scott's prayers for us during installation as he prayed that my kids would love their church and look back on it as an awesome place to grow up. Yes, let it be, Lord. And may their home be one of love, grace, innocence, and safety. And a home that makes them eager to know Jesus.

So amidst all of this I'm still finding time to connect with my husband and keep fanning the marriage into flame. I love him and admire him so much. I love his transparency and submission to others, which enhances his God-given strengths. Is it really going to be 13 years, my love? Hardly possible. I adore you.

I've been unable to figure out how to take care of all this stuff and blog too; sorry! But thanks for checking in.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!


I was standing at the stove, boiling ramen noodles as I listened to the heated debate starting to simmer between the two preschoolers. I knew I was moments from needing the intervene and pass a fair judgement on the dispute. Meanwhile, the toddler, hearing the start of something interesting, interjected himself right into the middle of the fray, extracing loud screams from both sibilings who prefer that he leave them alone while they play/argue/debate. Screaming. Ramen. I forgot if I'd even had a shower yet that day. The thought came into my head with crystal-like clairty.

"My life has been reduced to this?!?!"

Then almost as quickly as the conflict was resolved by my referee calls and separation, that little voice, the one that pulls you back to a place of grace, said, "What is reduced?"

My thoughts went immediately to cooking. I watched the ramen bubble. To reduce something, especially over intense heat is "to decrease the volume and concentrate the flavor of by boiling." Has my life been reduced? Most certainly. It doesn't have the excess volume of self-centered luxuries. It's not filled with useless relationships. It doesn't have time or space for empty, hopeless investments. Each moment is full of concetrated joy, work, value, and eternity. Life is not what I thought it would be 12 years ago. It's much smaller, but so, so much more sweet.

Ah, well

Wire = (n) 1 a : metal in the form of a usually very flexible thread or slender rod

Molding = (n) a decorative plane or curved strip used for ornamentation or finishing

Support = (v) 4 a : to hold up or serve as a foundation or prop for

Lift = (n) 10 : an apparatus or machine used for hoisting

My dad's a contractor. Used to understand all of these terms in the context of construction, especially as they pertain to highrises and skyscrapers.

Now they are all terms that are used to describe my bras.

They put the force in "F5"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April showers

The first picture was taken March 16th.

The second was taken April 11th.

Thank you

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for a warm, sturdy home that keeps my family safe and warm when April snows and winds hit.

Thank you that my power lines are underground and that we don't lose power for long.

Thank you that my children are over their strep throats (and Levi's additional double-ear infection).

Thank you that Levi's allergic reaction to the antibiotic was mild.

Thank you for our new used car.

Thank you that the nice gentleman that owned it only drove it 28,400 miles in ten years.

Thank you for my husband's new church, and for our new friends.

Thank you for our former church, and for our old friends.

Thank you for my job, even when it's sad.

Thank you that I can go to my job and receive perspective regarding life and it's challenges.

Thank you for Matthew.

Thank you for your hand upon His life, and the way in which he loves and blesses me.

Again, thank you for our warm, carpeted home.

Thank you that I no longer own a Newfoundland.

Thank you for the family in our new church that recently moved back to Chicagoland from Western New York.

Thank you for someone who knows what Wegmans, Weber's mustard, and Chiavetta's are about.

Thank you for your strength that carried me through Holy Week and bouyed me up under extra evenings without Matt.

Thank you for every day that Matt gets home safely from work.

Thank you for this day.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Candy Ring

What do you do with a big candy ring that you buy and snack on for what seems like hours and then you have a legitimate reason to put it down because you need to use your hands but you're afraid that your brothers might steal the ring and not give it back?

Just turn it into a nose ring! Atta' girl!

Spring Sprung

Birth Day

Last night I had the privilege of sitting beside my son's bed when he prayed to ask Jesus into his heart. With the gentle guidance of his daddy, my Izak stepped onto the little path of his new spiritual journey. Happy re-birth day, little one.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Funny thoughts

Yesterday I had two funny interactions with the oldest boy...

1. (Watching Curious George TV show about dinosaur bones)
(I): "Mom, do boogers have bones?"
(M): "No. Boogers are soft and squishy. They don't have bones."
(I): "But, Mom, this one is really hard...".

2. (Getting the girl dressed. Brother speaks up.)
(I): "Mom, Libby's belly butt sticks out."
(M): "What?"
(I): "Her belly butt. See? Mine goes in." (Lifts up shirt and points to navel.)
(M): "Z, that's a belly button. Button."
(I): "Oh, button. But look, my belly butt still goes in."
(M): (He has SO got to get this figured out before high school...)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Weak Spot

I'm the type of person who can usually muscle through a weakness. I can read, think, formulate and execute a plan, and receive good outcomes. But as a mom, one of the areas where I feel completely inadequate is as a feeder. I hate, again, hate feeding the kids. I'm mostly at fault, giving snacks at the wrong time, reading books with competing information and applying none of it... but honestly, eating is just not a big deal to me. Somewhere in my head is a principle that food is not the center of one's life, and I hope to instill that in my children. But how can you do that without also instilling poor behaviors? We run on an early shift in this house, rising between six and seven; but bedtime also occurs early, between six and seven, giving Mom and Dad a few hours to reconnect. So the children eat earlier than most, lunch at 11 and dinner at 4. I've tried for two years to have the family dinner at 5 when Dad walks in the door, but the kids were tired, hungry, and I was usually frustrated. They are still little, after all, 1, 2.5 and 4, so there are years to come when they may be able to tolerate a later supper.

After 4 years of trying to be a good feeder, here's my summary:

1. Each child will have a meal that is their best, the time when they will eat the most. (Karen, mother of 6)

2. Only put three to six bites of food on the baby's plate. Anything more than that will be used as ammunition. (Liz, mother of 3 great eaters)

3. I think the phrase "I'm not a short order cook" was invented by someone who didn't have a kid with food allergies (milk,egg, nut... thanks, Levi). When that comment comes up, I feel judged. I won't use it with others.

4. There is an inverse proportion applied to every meal that states "the more time Mom has spent fixing the food means that the children will spend even less time sitting /eating/ enjoying the meal." X=1/X... remember? That also means that drive through meals are joyfully and patiently eaten, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes at the table.

5. If I had to choose between a good eater and a good sleeper, I'll take the good sleeper.

6. My kids eat better than some and worse than some. They can still be respectful and polite, even in their refusals to eat.

7. I would rather have my kids grow up with few memories of meal times than remembering fights over food.


I remember a variety of music in my home growing up. Classical, hymns, contemporary christian, ragtime, children's music, etc. One of Mom's first bits of advice to me as a new mother was, "Bathe your babies in all kinds of music." I have, Mom. Every chance I get. Though I'll admit, my preferrence is jazz and classical.

I popped in my "Messiah" CD this morning, cued up one of my favorite pieces ("And He Shall Purify"), and hit play, filling the kitchen with sound. Izak looked up at me and smiled broadly, "Mom, this is my favorite music!" Yet in less than a half an hour we were all gathered around the piano singing "God Bless America", and "Stinky Cake." Ecclectic, yes, but babies bathed in music? Absolutely. Thanks, Mom.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wall Words

My sister-in-law told me of a great website - www.wallwords.com. You are able to order transferrable, vinyl quotes, either from stock or create your own. This phrase has been on my mind for over a year now. It's my summary of I Samuel 15:22, which says, "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." In other words, God delights in the follower who is quick to do what he/she has been told. He'd rather have obedience than sorrow and consequence for being disobedient. If you know what God has told you to do, do it, and do it quickly.

Sunday evening, at a congregational meeting, my husband announced his resignation from NWCC. Over the past four months God has been leading Matthew (and me) to this conslusion. I believe His timing, wisdom, and strength have clearly directed us to take this faith step. I will share more in the future. But more powerful than the tears of sadness at leaving this sweet body of believers is the driving conviction that it's best, it's always best to obey the voice of the Lord.