It's here - I think - but then snow may fall from the sky and I'll have to recind. I think we're on our way into spring and summer of 2008. We're loving it here, and already the baby has grass stains on his feet that won't scrub off.
March was a blast. Early in the month we took Levi to Children's Hospital to rule out cystic fibrosis (yes, it was negative). A few blocks from the hospital is a big, free zoo - Lincoln Park Zoo. I highly recommend going in the late winter - there may have been 20 people there total. It was mid 30's, no snow, and relatively warm as compared to the rest of the winter. We saw SO many amazing things that we'd never enjoy in the summer - a face-to-face stare down with the King of the Jungle, the male lion, who topped it off with a few hearty ROARS. Hearing a lion's roar while you're about 20 inches away is amazing, even if it wasn't as vicious as it would be in the wild. We had up-close experiences with Silverback gorillas, orangutans, Bengal tigers (and every big cat you can think of). The kids got to pet a reptile and see bats and alligators. Pink flamingos. Camels (very cold camels). A sleep brown bear. Probably the BEST part was the polar bear, who was swimming in loops under the water towards a huge glass observation wall. We would stand against the glass with our arms extended and the polar bear would swim up to us, squeaking his nose against the glass in front of our faces and bang on our hands with his enormous paws. He appeared the love the game, though in his mind I'm sure he was thinking, If I could just get through this tough piece of ice, I'd eat you up!!!! We could've stayed there all day, the kids shrieking every time he came around. But the temp dropped a few degrees and the sleet began... so we headed home. A beautiful family day at the zoo in March!
Holy week came and went in a flash. I participated with worship leading on Good Friday - the day that we received 14" of SNOW in a matter of hours. But the services were beautiful and profound. And the Easter Bunny did manage to sneak in and distribute a few goodies of chocolate and Levi-friendly sugar on the second floor as Izak and I watched a wonderful orchestral piece on PBS. Levi came down with a rapid 6-hour flu that knocked his socks off, but the kids did well-health wise until a few weeks ago when they got some sort of bug with high fevers and cold symptoms. It wasn't a big deal until I got it and I felt like I was going to die. But here I am...
Friday Izak learned how to ride his big bike without his training wheels! He picked it up in about 30-seconds. An absolute natural. His line of questioning has taken on a spiritual tone - a few times a week he asks me if we're going to be going to the New Earth. "Oh, I can't wait to go!" (We've established that the New Earth is Heaven for now.) He names people who have passed on as residents of New Earth. The other days he asks, "Where do people's dead bodies go to wait until they rise from the dead?" (Yes, I said the cemetery.) He wondered if "God made a mistake" when He created a little girl in our church who died at the age of 10 with a sick heart. "Absolutely not. God never, ever makes a mistake, even if something sad happens or people get sick." You need to eat your Wheaties and study your theology before you engage this kid in the morning! Whew! Liberty is braving a larger frame bike with Izak's old training wheels. She's become my little computer geek, with an intuitive ability to understand and navigate all the little kid websites. Her latest round of art involves super heros, SuperLiberty, who flies in the air with her cape with an "S." She's also setting things in front of her and attempting to sketch what she sees - there's an impressive penguin hung in my kitchen! Levi is my pretend-play boy, with many conversations and re-enactments centered around Larry-Boy, Nemo, and Kipper the dog. His talking is non-stop from sun-up to sun-down. And the faces... by far the most funny one of all!
There have been moments lately when I think, Okay... stop. I could stay in these moments for a good long while. Stop growing. Stop changing. This is great just like this. I feel like I've done the baby phase pretty thoroughly. I celebrated when I took the baby seat out and looked at the gallery of booster seats. I hope to kiss the last batch of diapers good-bye this summer. Baby, done. Toddler, mostly done. Welcome, Preschool and Kindergarten. And the best part is that I was here for it, I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. What a privilege.