Monday, March 31, 2014

moving up

Little brother officially joined big brother last night in his very own bed.  No more rails for Jude.  No more crib for Silas. (Except at nap time to keep him contained:)  And I confess a few tears for this momma.  


The kid even reads himself to sleep.  When did they get so BIG?! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Five


1. A new curry stand opened up just down the street. I pushed those boys down in the stroller, picked up my 42R (75cent) curries and walked back to a delicious lunch.  Ah.  The joys of asia.  I'm so glad we've taken a liking to the local fare.

2. We seriously miss NanNan.  We had such a good visit.  Every time she leaves I feel reminded of the same lesson in gratitude.  There are some really hard things about living overseas,  and distance near the top of the list. But one of the good things is that my children have the rare opportunity to have completely focused time together when the grandparents do come to visit.  Trekking across oceans isn't that fun, but we have some seriously dedicated grandparents all around and we are grateful!

3. At the risk of tmi, Silas is potty training. Over the past hour, he peed in my face and smeared himself with -ahem-.  I'm pretty sure he learned from my reaction that these are inappropriate actions.  Life skills 101.  

4.  I saw this gate today and fell in love.  Who would not want to walk through a crown of flowers into their house? Ok.  I might actually be afraid of falling lizards in reality, but the thought is wonderful.


5. As long as I'm loving on asian life today, let me include this little pic from a few days ago.  We happened upon some sort of umbrella dance.  Tinsel decorated umbrellas and turbaned men letting loose in a dance circle.  Only here, my friends, only here!


Happy Friday! 




Thursday, March 27, 2014

hurry

Last night I went for a run.  It turned my heat-stroked brain back around. Surgery and recovery broke the habit.  When I started back out on the track a few weeks ago, I started to have some back pain. I have a terrible habit of running fast, hard and free for as little time as I have (which is usually pretty little:) and then skipping the real stretching and muscle building exercises.

I do this, primarily, because I am almost always in a hurry.

There's dinner to fix or a school bus to catch.  There's language class to start or an email to write.  I am very often hurrying on to the next thing. I run in the pockets of my day and I like it that way.

But if you only ever run, and leave that core too weak, I'm discovering that problems will erupt.  I don't like to do crunches because they take too much time. I never feel as though I've really gotten anywhere.  The work is more on the inside, in the places I cannot see as easily.  It doesn't clear my mind to push my elbows into the ground for 20 minutes to strengthen my back muscles. But give me 20 minutes to sprint through a Counting Crows song, and I'm a new woman.  One takes much more discipline for me than the other.

Discipline can't be hurried though, can it?

It takes time to build a stronger body.  And I've been spending a lot of time lately considering that it just may take time to build strength in my soul.  Give me a 20 minute sermon on my iPod, and I can plow through a passage. There's nothing wrong with that.  But if I stop there, without the quiet, plodding disciplines of personal study and prayer, eventually my core will weaken.

There are some things that just don't need to be hurried. They are worth time. They take time.  And the output may seem heavy on the front end before the fruit is borne.

An hour in prayer is a looong investment in a season like this. It takes a disciplined effort.  Sometimes it feels like pushing my elbows into the floor. Or talking up to the ceiling.  Faith doesn't act on feeling, but on belief and expectation.  Faith isn't in a hurry.  It's not calculating as a rapid return investment.  It's slow and measured, it takes time and discipline.

One of my goals this Lent is to reorder my day so that the slow things that matter more are taking precedence over the fast things that usually take priority.

It's slowing me down.

But in the end, I believe the slow progression will get much further in the right direction than a whole lot of hurried days. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Better


After Jude had another late afternoon fever and headache yesterday, we headed to the doctor. Thankfully, it appears to be nothing more than a viral infection.  The sporadic fever is persisting again this afternoon, interspersed with fun spurts of energy. But now that the m-word (meningitis) is off the radar, we're a little less anxious. 



Here's to a quick recovery! 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

weather report


My mom left.

But the heat stayed.  Summer is here, and there's no turning back.

I forgot the sheer force of the sun, the inexplicable exhaustion, the lethargy.  I am remembering.

Summer also ushered in a variety of ailments that seem bound up with this season change.  Triple digits in a dusty, dry climate do odd things to little bodies (and big ones, for that matter.) Jude has been down since Friday night.  Silas may be following in his steps.


And this momma has some serious heat-brain issues going on.

We do not do well indoors for prolonged periods of time. I used to blame it on my boys, but I'm starting to acknowledge that the one running this camp is the one who has some serious stir-crazy issues.

So far, we've colored, play-doughed, watched tv, had a water party on the porch, taken a stroll in the shade, played with cars, built a train tunnel, eaten all those delightful american goldfish crackers NanNan left, taken a bath just for fun, and watched our expandable fish grow, slowly.  That was all before 12:30pm.  It's been a loooong morning.

Tomorrow, we're going out for prolonged periods of time.  We'll eat popsicles. (In spite of the warnings of neighbors who assure me that ice cream in the heat will cause fevers and vomit.) We'll drink gatorade. We'll wear sunscreen and sweat a lot.   We will adjust to this.

Won't we? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Film City




Yesterday, we went out to the Asian version of Universal Studios. The sun was blazing and quite a few rides closed, but we had a great day.





Time is passing way too quickly!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Holi Moli


Today is holi, the festival of colors, and one of the best days for cultural fun on this side. 

NanNan jumped right in and enjoyed the madness. 






The point, as far as we can tell, is to get everyone else as wet and colorful as possible. Needless to say, we were mainly on the sidelines! 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Silas's Birthday Surprise!

Silas's birthday surprise was a last minute visit from NanNan.  That grandma sure knows how to celebrate a birthday:) We picked her up from the airport this morning, just around the time Silas was born…exactly two years ago.  Here's a flashback to NanNan's first birthday visit with Silas.



She arrived 2 days before I went into the hospital, just in time to take over with big brother.  Today was a little less dramatic, but so much fun! We are looking forward to a week or two of grandma love in asia.



It's a Happy Birthday around here!!!



Monday, March 10, 2014

Choo Choo, Silas is Two Two


Silas celebrated his big TWO a little early this year.  Hubs has his hands full this week, so on Friday we had a choo choo porch lunch with a few friends.  He had Round 2 of partying in the evening with a pizza party for a 2+1 year old get together.  Let's just say, we were tired by Saturday morning!

To write that the little man likes trains would be the understatement of his year.  He is obsessed with trains.  We went the ole Thomas the Train theme and had a great day! Here are a few pictures:


We hit the piƱata, blew out the candles, ate the cake and opened up some fantastic train gifts. Happy TWO TWO, a little early!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday & Lent Resources

Today is the first day of the Lenten season.

In preparation for celebrating Christ's death and resurrection, we began this reflective season of Lent with the tradition of ashes.  We had a small family worship time this evening and talked about sin and repentance.  We put small pieces of paper with sins we wished to confess into a small fire and followed with the old tradition of marking a cross of ashes on our foreheads.  I acknowledge that at this stage, our boys cared a lot more about fire in a pot on the porch than they did the depth of our sin and need for a Savior.

Sometimes we need to grow into traditions though.

We are in the growing phase, working toward the years when these truths will be easier to grasp. It has been helpful for us to continue working on these traditions in the little years.  I want to write that we often feel silly in the midst of some of our attempt to lead our boys in religious observances.  For us though, it has been helpful to begin now when they are small and the stakes don't seem as high.  I wouldn't want for our first go at an Ash Wednesday family service to be with a smirking teenager looking at me:) A wild three year old who just likes fire is much less intimidating!  I hope that will encourage a few of you who may feel a little awkward too as you begin to implement traditions into your family fabric. Traditions are treasures.

In closing, here are a few resources I'll be leaning into this year for Lent & Easter:


LENT RESOURCE LIST 

Part of The Main's Easter Readings for the Very Young

This blog was recommended to me by a friend, Kim, over a year ago.  While I do not know the author, I have found her to be very insightful and helpful in "global" mothering.  (She's also quite a good writer.) I have not reviewed these readings yet and so recommend them to you with that reservation. Simple activities accompany the short readings.

Resurrection Eggs

While, to be honest, I admittedly have mixed feelings about introducing Easter Eggs into a context where they are not a cultural part of the Resurrection Celebration, the kids loved this last year.  I felt that it really did build the season for them in a way that focused us more on the gospel narrative.  We'll be hiding one egg each day after lunch again this year and moving through the story in the 2 weeks prior to Resurrection Sunday.  You can make your own set with these instructions. 


Celebrating the Christian Year

Martha Zimmerman's book on celebrating the Christian calendar with your family continues to be an excellent resource to me throughout the year. It was from her book that I took much of our Ash Wednesday activity.  I highly recommend it to you. Rarely do I implement all of her ideas but I do reference it repeatedly throughout the seasons.  Her historical research is especially helpful and I appreciate her honest analysis of the origin of many of the holidays we now mark in the Christian community.  Knowing that the origin of the word Easter is actually rooted in Chaldean paganism doesn't make me throw the whole modern Christian tradition out, but it helps me celebrate with deeper intentionality. In this book, she has 40 short Scripture readings for the Lenten season that I hope to read through this year as I focus more on the passion of Christ.

Desiring God

Noel Piper at Desiring God also has a list of Lenten readings entitled Lenten Lights.  While we will not likely be incorporating these into our family worship with the boys, David and I may use these together during this season.  Available here.  

Hope you find these resources helpful as you pursue Christ this season! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

school, school

We just returned from yet another visit to a local school.  We've been researching and asking and researching and asking some more…for well over a year now.  I don't think I've ever been honest enough to write this here, but I really don't want to home school, at least not yet.  I could give you my list of reasons, but I'll save that for another day. It's not an option I've completely ruled out, but I sure am doing plenty of work to try to find an acceptable alternative.

Before the schools close for their summer break in April and May, we've been looking around town. The first school we visited was so crowded that we thought Jude might actually get lost.  Really lost.  The second was so wonderful and expensive that we thought we might need to choose between kindergarten and college.  The third was so close to our house we felt sure it would be perfect…until we noticed a distinct pattern during our visit : unattended children and teachers on break. The fourth would require an hour commute each day, one way.

But today we visited a school that is opening a branch near us this June. The building was adequate but not impressive. The location is doable but not fantastic. She told us they spend their money on teachers.  And after an hour or so there, I was inclined to believe her.  The head mistress actually talked about educational concepts that we agree are important, and the friend who recommended it to us reinforced that they are actually implementing those.

So now, we'll research and ask some more, and some more.

I confess that I almost started crying in the principal's office today.  This is such a weighty decision.  And there are a thousand and one factors to consider. These little minds are so ready to take shape and grow.  It humbles me to consider our role in it.

On days like this I sure wish I could have a coffee date with a few moms who are a couple steps ahead of me in this.

Any one looking for a reason to fly over? I know of a coffee shop or two:)


Monday, March 3, 2014

Rain

It rained . I really don't remember the last time it rained. I did what any decent mom would do: 




Of course, the jackets were primarily in place to prevent shocking our neighbors. It was 75 degrees, which means they think we should wear sweaters and build a fire.  The jackets were cumbersome though. 




As usual, in the end we shocked them.