Friday, September 25, 2009

Ghost Family Meets Mega-Bug

Both boys have enjoyed drawing lately. Atticus usually likes to make monsters. This week he drew this fantastic family of ghosts. They all have rocks on their heads. Atticus said he "made a joke" because he put rocks on the rocks' heads. ha. The ghosts with "x"es on their noses have ow-ies "like Lincoln" (who had scratched his nose the day before). I don't exactly know how Atticus knows what ghosts are??? though I do know he has been very interested in cemetaries lately -- we've been talking about death and what happens to bodies and about the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers when Christ returns, etc. but ghosts never came up so this drawing is somewhat of a mystery on that account.

Atticus told me this is "Mega Bug" with his big big antennae.

The Face

Today we found out at the doctor's that Dietrich has contact dermatitis. He's had a worrisome rash around his mouth for two months and I finally brought him in to get looked at this morning. We'll pick up the cortisone from the pharmacy this afternoon and try this for 10 days. If it doesn't clear up, he may have a similar but rarer "peri-oral" dermatitis which calls for topical metrogel. It's not contagious and no one seems to know why kids get it. But they have ways to treat the symptoms that usually causes it to clear up -- kind of like that weird rash Atticus had about a year ago (the one where we went to the dermatologist twice and had to take swards of erythromycin). Anyway, glad to have a plan to help this guy out.

Lincoln at 6 Months

Lincoln, my sweet, calm-spirited, happy boy. He had his 6-month doctor appt. this week. He weighed in at a bit over 21 lbs. and 27 inches tall. (In comparison: Dietrich and Atticus were both exactly the same height. Atticus was 3 lbs. lighter and Dietrich about 2 lbs. lighter.) I grow 'em big apparently. The strange thing is that Lincoln eats iw going between 3 and 4 hours between feedings during the day and usually gives me a good 4 hours stretch at night when he first goes to sleep and then wakes up 1 or 2 times until morning -- which amounts to many less feedings than the older two boys at this age. Crazy. Other than statistics, Lincoln is very healthy, nothing to report -- which is a good thing at a doctor's check-up. Sits up with some assistance, eating solids, up on all fours -- just the tiniest bit away from actual crawling -- though he can get anywhere he wants to now. And he loves talking and thinks his brothers are hilarious.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hunkered Down

Sorry for all the Nancy Wilson lately, but she's really encouraging me...Quote from her blog yesterday:

"Every so often it seems we get ourselves in over our heads, and this is when my husband and I call it time to hunker down. It is funny how comforting it can be knowing that this is just a phase, a season of time that won’t last forever. If we just keep plowing ahead, we’re bound to come out on the other side eventually. Sometimes it is just a pile on the desk that must be dealt with. But that is usually in conjunction with other unforeseen events that require attention and time. Right now I think our children are all in hunker down mode, with more to do than should be humanly possible, or with a normal load but abnormal circumstances that makes the normal seem above and beyond. In due time, all will be back on track. But in the meantime, hunkering down means trudging right on through."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Amoretti * Tilt-a-Whirl

England Swings: Amoretti Fall Line London from Gorilla Poet Productions on Vimeo.

Lately I've been reading Nancy Wilson's blog Femina -- She has three grown children with families of their own. Two of them have inspired me this week. The first, Bekah Merkle, has five children, homeschools, is currently an expatriate in Oxford, England while her husband works on his PhD, and has a clothing line she designs and sews herself that has been featured in Cookie Magazine (which impresses me, and might you, if you have ever read this high-end/-class/-design parenting magazine). I am always encouraged when a Christian, especially a Christian, does something creative and does it well. But, that she also has five young children, makes me even more happy. (Bekah's website:

And then there is Mrs. Wilson's son Nathan who has written some fun kid's adventure stories and has an active and interesting blog and website ( and He has written a creative non-fiction piece which is a collection of essays. This is the "book trailer":

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl trailer from Gorilla Poet Productions on Vimeo.

Wild Things Coming! October 17th

Monday, September 14, 2009

Drama, Drama, Drama

It's okay. I concerned some caring family members because of my recent post, and I apologize. I am not on the verge of a break-down -- physical, emotional, mental, nor spiritual. A little more sleep might help, but still, all is okay:

This past Sunday Atticus woke up with a stomach bug -- severe enough that Brad stayed home with him. I took Dietrich and Lincoln with me to the service. Dietrich went to the nursery. And Bekah, who had driven up separately, sat beside me and took Lincoln, quickly putting him to sleep (a nice and surprising respite -- both him sleeping during the service
and Bekah sitting there by me really wanting to hold him). I was able to listen to the entire sermon and take notes and have myself a "parallel Bible study" -- my favorite way to hear a sermon. I was able to think and pray and see that I had some very specific repenting to do:

1. A lack of joy (Serve the Lord with gladness, Psalm 100:2 and Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!, Philippians 4:4)

2. A completely agitated spirit (NOT a "gentle and quiet spirit" 1 Peter 3:4, "Be anxious about nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving present your request to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus" Phil. 4

I have been rereading Nancy Wilson's book on mothering, Praise Her in the Gates, which has been very encouraging and re-focusing on what God wants to do in and through me as I mother my children. I can cooperate with the sanctification, the self-emptying (kenosis) inherent in motherhood or I can kick against it and be broken anyway. I choose to give myself to God's good work in this. I choose to throw myself into the intensity of caring for small children. I choose to see the joy and good and the over-arching MEANING in this work, instead of letting the tedium or the monotony be all I see. That would be so completely stupid. I love my husband. I love my children. I love caring for them in this city, in this house. And I will remember just how very miraculous it is to have been given a good and wonderful man to love and let me love him...and never let the wonder ebb of laying next to this man at the end of the day or waking up in the middle of the night (many times (-:) to nurse the baby or help one of the other boys) and find him there warm and mine. To have someone to share this life is the penultimate gift (right after Christ, my Heart of Hearts, King-Creator, Redeemer). And that is before I even look one second on even one of my miraculous sons. This life I have right now is the hardest work I have ever ever done -- It is relentless and bottomless -- but do you know what?
Relentless and bottomless also means that it is intensely present (it can't be ignored, it fills every crack of my human resources, and exceeds those resources pressing me into the wildly sufficient God who gave, who gives me this work in the first place) and deeper than anything I have ever found to pour my life into.

And so I will say "Thank You" by fighting the bad mood that wakes me in the early morning after little sleep; By happily switching laundry around (because it means I have people with bodies who need clothes, people who let me love them and who love me); By not reading as many of my books as I would like and instead re-reading "Dinosaur Roar" and "Harold and the Purple Crayon" for the 507th time for excited and wiggly little urchins; By cheerfully wrestling kids in and out of car-seats in heat and in snow and ice; By letting other creative projects slowly crawl out of my hands over months and years instead of days and weeks because the truth is that a good and full life is always a balance of the many things God gives us to be present in, to work for -- This is true whether you are one person, alone on your own. Or a child (young or adult) in a family with parents and siblings. Or you are a wife with children (young or grown).

I remembered this weekend that I asked God -- no, I pleaded with God to not let my life by isolated, inert, useless, disconnected from true relationship, true community -- to not give me over to my desire for quiet and order that so quickly turns into sterility if it is a quiet and order that is obtained and maintained by removing oneself from other people. Please, I cried, don't let me do this to this life, it is so very wrong, so NOT what You want from me. And then one day, soon after that Brad opened the door of his ugly black Buick and sauntered out with his wild wavy hair, Van Arkel nose, and faded flannel shirt. And now... I have no escape from relationship, no way to worm my way out of this community we have made for ourselves, for our children. Thank God. Thank You so much. So don't worry, you dear, concerned family and friends, I may kick and flail and let it show (I've never been good at hiding anything) that I am having a hard time with the goodness God is working in me, giving to me but God is much stronger and more creative and efficacious than my weakness and sin. He will complete what He has begun in and through me (Philippians 1:6). And by His graciousness, I WANT what He is doing, what He has and is giving me. Yes and Amen.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Yellow Wallpaper

I am sitting in some rare and treasured quiet with no one needing me. I am listening to Buddy Miller, a nice old-school twangy waltzy album. I did not do so well today. I was irritable and short-fused and crazy-faced. A "gentle and quiet" spirit was nowhere to be found. I am wondering if I should get an English/Creative Writing degree and teach high school or college English. Maybe I should start now. Maybe it will keep my head from dying. From withering away into a hard, dry knot inside my skull. And maybe it is the way I can get my kids into the school I want them to go to. And maybe it is a way I can help my family. And I miss learning and words and books and school and ideas. I can't seem to shift gears on a dime to create visually. But I can fit in words edgewise out of the tiny-people world. This is end of the summer is working its way into my spirit giving me wanderlust and a panic for change and the burning zeal to "DO" "MAKE" "SAY" -- and yet I cannot do those things right now. I am not sure how to release the pressure off this shut valve. I need to do something. Now.

Atticus' First Day of Preschool

Tuesday Atticus had his first day of preschool. It was uneventful -- He was excited to go, was ready for me to go when I dropped him off, and was "busy going to school" (his words in a serious voice and concentrated brow) when I left. My mom was leaving for home (5 hours away) right after dropping him off with me, so I wanted a picture of them together, but he was too busy playing. So my mom took pictures with him for the picture.

When I picked him up at 11:30am he was reluctant to leave but was unable to tell me anything he had done while there. "Nothing." was his reply after various questioning suggestions from me. My mom said "Welcome to the world of boys." Ah well. Tonight he was happy to find out he gets to go back tomorrow morning -- so that's good.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Spilling Over

Good words from Nancy Wilson:

"My son points out quite nicely in Tilt-a-Whirl that God wastes all kinds of glory and beauty on us all the time. We miss the stunning artistry He displays in each and every little snowflake. We glance at the rainbow and move on. We pass by the flowers and clouds and icicles nonchalantly when we ought to be thunderstruck in amazement all the time. And many of the outrageous views He has made are not even seen or appreciated by anyone at all. Take all the sunsets that only the birds and insects see. Why does God waste so much of His artwork on us? He must love us very much, and He must enjoy bestowing His good gifts even on a deaf and blind and bored audience.

"And yet we imitate Him in this in very small ways. Think of parents moving the new baby into his room. Does the newborn appreciate the new crib with the matching quilt and bumper pads? Or the freshly painted walls in the nursery? Is the baby impressed with the handmade blanket from Aunt Susie or the quilt that has been lovingly passed down for generations? Of course not. But the giver is blessed. This is one of the ways Mom expresses her love for her new baby, though baby knows nothing of it. This is a concrete way of giving, loving, bestowing, welcoming. We obviously get this impulse from our wise Creator who made heaven and earth and then lavished loving kindness into every nook and cranny, ladling it out and sloshing it all over the place.

"We ought to rouse ourselves from our stupor from time to time and take in some of the glories we find ourselves knee-deep in. Then with thankfulness, we can turn to our own homes and bestow some of this reflected glory in expected and unexpected places. Tiny ladles to be sure, but sloshing over nonetheless."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Healthcare Reform

Nice summary of the healthcare reform issue:

I like concise overviews of heated current topics so I can get a handle on a topic before I talk to other people about it and so I can begin to think through all the aspects before coming up with an opinion. Brad often helps me find summaries like this -- Thank you, Babe.

Neat Crib

A really cool crib design from a neat design blogsite:





Three! Three! Three!

Here both Dietrich & Atticus are showing me how old they are.

Then Dietrich gets distracted by the baby who he obviously must kiss.


Sometimes Dietrich & Atticus get along very well...and that makes me very happy.