Friday, November 17, 2017

Bonehead Awards

On our way to Target last night, Jacob and Andrew were recounting the events of the afternoon and decided they should be recipients of the bonehead awards.

And I agree. Wholeheartedly.

I used to have a series of posts entitled "What He Said" (see examples HEREHEREHERE), but I think I should maybe start a series called "What He Did" (only one recorded example so far HERE).

I have chosen to be the kind of mom that encourages healthy exploration, (calculated) risk taking, and the development of strength and bravery through a variety of means. Some disagree with this style of parenting -- I'm OK with that. I'm fine if you feel the need to judge me critically again today. In fact, be my guest.

But let me just say that I do have my limits, and this is an example...

Yesterday I was working inside the house when I heard an explosive POW from the backyard. Michael was at my heels as we ran to see what happened. I don't remember a scream following the explosion, though Michael does. I only remember frightening silence.

Jacob and Andrew stood shocked on the edges of a large, black circle on the concrete. The stench of burned hair filled the air as the two boys stumbled to regain their senses, compromised vision and hearing disorienting them. Those things hardly factored in as I assessed the situation. No one lay unconscious, no screams of pain filled the air, words were beginning to form, and the worse case scenario was narrowly escaped. Relief. Hugs. More relief.

Then the story unfolds gradually. They had been given a few small containers of "gunpowder" and had made a little pile of sticks and flower petals to light up. I'm actually fine with that, though I'd prefer to know before such activities begin. They've done it many times before with little bits of collected gunpowder. They had decided not to combine their little containers, which was a decision that probably averted serious and permanent injury.

You see, the boys didn't have gunpowder. They were unknowingly playing with explosive black powder. (And I'm letting the dads in this case work out this situation!)

We've been praising and thanking the Lord for his protection, for a natural consequence instead of a permanent consequence.

Burn marks and singed hair, eyelashes, brows...

I am mourning the loss of his beautiful, blond-tipped eyelashes...

Hair singed to the scalp at the top of his forehead...
And to think this is the second time in two weeks this boy has wrecked his hair by fire!

Andrew has burns on his hands and thighs that are blistering today, but Jack suffered more overall damage since he was handling the lighter. Both boys were pretty shaken up for the next couple hours.

He was seated here next to me as I uploaded pictures today, so I snapped a few more.

I'm not even slightly trained at hair cutting, but he was too embarrassed to go to the barber. There's only so much I (or anyone) can do with hair that is melted to the scalp in some areas, so I'm glad he enjoys wearing hats!

Little burn marks speckle his face

He tells me his eyelashes hook together like Velcro when he closes his eyes!

So what did they say?!

"I'm never gonna light black powder again."

"Mom, we should have read the instructions on the lighter. It says, KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN." (Read with a sarcastic tone)

"I'm kinda glad that happened. It's kinda a good story."


Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Very Belated B-day Post for Jack!

There is a great divide in my life between what I intend and what actually transpires! I may wish to post birthday pictures and thoughts in a timely manner, but that seems to be unattainable in this season of life. I had hoped to get time alone with him to capture a few (candidly) posed pictures to add to his b-day post, but at this stage I'm aiming to combine his photo shoot with Andrew's later this month. We'll see how that works out...

So Jacob's 11th birthday was the first week of September! Better late than never, right? His birthday falls on or near Labor Day each year, right at the beginning of school and the sport season. It isn't an easy time to plan a party, but since he cannot imagine a celebration without his gang of friends, we often have his group of boys over after church for a pool party. It was low key as far a party-planning goes, by HIGH key on energy and noise (and mess).

I'm thankful for this group of friends, thankful for their families. God knew that this very social son of mine would need such an awesome group of guys.

The day was overcast (and lighting for pictures was weird), but if I remember correctly the boys spent 6-7 hours in the water, minus a short time for eating.

They divided into groups and played the frozen t-shirt game.

Spontaneous arm wrestling matches...

Pie Face

A messy delight..

Feeling loved. 

He has always liked a good hat. And a good party.
And being the center of attention!

For a number of years now he has asked me to make an ice-cream cake (because one of his friends doesn't like regular cake, and he knows my ice-cream cake is a favorite among his friends). He can choose two flavors, but he always chooses coffee and chocolate. Yep, he's my boy!

Celebratory sparklers I brought back from Canada in my luggage...
I'm not sure that was allowed, but now I have a case I keep with my party stuff. They have been a fun addition to songs and candles.

Jacob. My little man Jack, and such a happy part of our family. We missed him this weekend as he was away with friends at a men's campout in the desert. They shot riffles, rode quads, and got dirty and smelly. He came back with singed hair. Apparently they played a game where rolls of toilet paper were dipped in fuel and lit for a flaming game of soccer. He's a happy/tired boy today, and now I need to fix his hair.

As he was getting ready to leave last Thursday, all eager and anticipating the good times ahead, I heard him say to one of his siblings, "Yeah, but I won't see you guys so that's a bummer." He loves his family... How grateful I am!

He is fun and he is energy! We took advantage of his absence Saturday night and hung out as a family in the jacuzzi. The splashing was limited and there were no random kicks in the gut (or unmentionables) by his swimming around in a tight space.

-He loves flag football. He keeps a record of his touch downs, "jukes," and spins.
-He still loves a banana each morning.
-He loves heat, especially long, burning hot showers.
-He is currently my biggest eater, and my biggest talker.
-He loves Andrew something fierce... more than a friend, more than a brother. I don't remember the details, but some time ago I heard Andrew ask, "But how did you know?!" Jacob replied, "Because you're my brother. Don't you know we share a brain?" They are tight.
-He wraps his arms tightly around my neck when I wake him in the morning, usually before his eyes open. At night he headlocks me.
-He wants to be an electrician someday (so that he can explore people's attics), and for weekend gigs he wants to be a magician. He's learning magic tricks daily (and we are secretly tired of participating in all his card tricks). He carried his cards in his pocket at Halloween, hoping someone would ask for a "trick." Sadly, no one did. Treats are all the rage these days, but I think tricks would be better! ;)
-Recently he woke up and told me: "I had the best dream last night! I was a really awesome magician and I won a competition. My prize was the world's biggest banana!" He is super consistent, even in his dreams.
-He is tender-hearted, tender to the things of the Lord...

Being his mom has been one of my greatest delights!


Friday, November 3, 2017

A Few Short Words

"Writing is something you do alone. It's a profession for introverts who wanna tell you a story 
but don't wanna make eye contact while telling it." John Green

Ha. I spent some time transferring and culling images this afternoon, and some of those pictures sent me looking for quotes. I found the above quote and it made me smile.

I also found this one. Happy weekend!

"Never make eye contact with anyone while eating a banana."
Harry Styles


Friday, October 20, 2017

Responsible Much?

This morning was an absolute glorious morning. When Jon is out of town I keep the curtains open in our room, and so a dramatic sky and navy colored ocean welcomed my day. There was a wonderful cool breeze running through open windows, and it actually felt a wee bit like fall. I slept in an extra 45 minutes because I stayed up way too late eating chocolate and enjoying the quiet last night, and because my big kids have a later Friday schedule. I'm more responsible when Jon is home.

Yesterday was pretty fabulous, too. Unlike today, I was up early getting the day going. The first online class was at 7AM, then a couple more every hour after that. In the meantime, others needed to get to campus, Jon needed a ride to the train station, and I ran the breakfast counter and lunch packing station for several hours. Oh, and home schooled Jacob and Andrew. By noontime, though, I stuck my tongue out at responsibility and took off for the beach. Maybe it's because of the summer pictures I've been sorting through, or maybe it's because we've been bearing the weight of responsibility far too long, but I'd like to think that it's actually responsible to take a break sometimes. Yes, I'm going with the latter. It's responsible to recharge.

We packed dried fruit and popcorn and clementines. I took along two cups of coffee because I'm running on fumes. It wasn't responsible for me to stay up as late as I did last night, but rest comes in more ways than by sleep alone.

Jacob wanted me to follow him to see some "secret" places. I loved the view of Andrew from the top, and smiled at the view of Jacob's bedhead, ratty wetsuit, and soggy bottom.

I was a kid just like him... searching for secret places and always looking for a place to balance from.

I hang out with kids all day, every day. I revert to childhood quite regularly. I pretend I can fly and do random things just for the fun of it.

I got chewed out by a couple other beach-goers yesterday. They were offended by my parenting. I guess I'm not raising good boys if I let them feed the birds. I guess it's reckless parenting to let kids play on rocks because they just might tumble down a few feet to their I-don't-know-what. I guess I'm foolhardy for letting them scrape a tiny hole in the sandstone because the whole environment depends on us not interacting with it.

Whatever. I found myself seething for a while, but I refrained from getting up and returning the favor of giving parenting advice. I personally didn't think it was any safer to spray kids with chemicals, cutting off the skin's ability to produce vitamin D and filling the lungs with pharmaceutical film. It's probably not good for the environment either. I did find the thought of me sharing my "concern" a little humorous, though.

So I did cartwheels instead. That probably settled it in their minds that I am an irresponsible, airhead parent. Well good then. I probably had a happier day.

Brothers and best friends. I hope some day they appreciate my irresponsible parenting!

I'm getting set for another late night with flag football games and preparation for a women's event at church in the morning. The weekend will be a non-stop list of activity and true responsibility and work, so I'm balancing that all out with waffles for dinner tonight. Happy weekend!



Here's some hope for you today...

The boys found some caterpillars that looked like big globs of bird poop. That's right, poop. They were not worthy of a picture, but they were saved in a jar to see what would become of them. Lo and behold, they transformed into something beautiful.

No matter what your situation, no matter how you feel, God is still the God of transformation...

He makes the spiritually blind to see,
He takes the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh,
He sets the captive free,
He gives life to the dead.

The Spirit of God in Isaiah is still the same today...

" give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."

Hope in God.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Made to Proclaim

*Pictures from August

Fit pumping to celebrate a success.

Looking for treasures, living or non-living.

Andrew is currently my most passionate lover of the sea.

I was a girl that loved the mountains and the snow. I'm still that girl, I think, but in the providence of God I find myself living on the coast far from what I once knew and loved.

It may seem odd to some, but it took a long time (12 years, in fact) of living in California before I had any affection for the ocean. Now I see it from my pillow in the morning, I watch the sail boats in the distance from my kitchen window, I run on the packed sand when the tide is out, or in the salty spray when the waves crash up against the rocks onto the roadside; with my kids I bob in the swell or ride the surf in exhilaration, we explore the pools, and dive below wall-like waves.

How could I not love it?

I love the moody temperament of the sea, all shades of color, emotion. It has a complex effect on the one who observes and interacts: it is calming or energizing, it brings a sense of peace or eeriness, it can be hospitable or merciless. I am drawn to this mystery and am reminded that all nature proclaims the glories of its Creator.

I was made to proclaim his glories, too...

(Andrew paddling out in the forefront, Jacob somewhere with the rest.)

This morning I read Ps. 107, then at breakfast time I read portions to my kids before we all tackled our day. 

We were reminded (or learned once again) that it is our duty and privilege to give thanks, to praise, and to recount the many ways God has rescued us out of trouble and destruction. It is for our good to proclaim His redemptive work. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed out of trouble."

This morning I paused to think about the many times in my life that God rescued me and delivered me from hardship, pending calamity, and consequences of sin. It's important to look back and to recount those things in thanksgiving. This is, of course, a humble way to praise the Lord for his works, but it also benefits our own spiritual health in a way that produces joy. I want my kids to hear me regularly giving testimony of God's work in my life. I want them to know what I've done and what I've experienced (though difficult it may be to explain), and to know how God has delivered me. They need to know what God has done as recorded in scriptures, but they also need to see that God continues to work wonders in the lives of his children.

We also talked about God's loving kindness and desire to save. This is sometimes displayed in the trouble and hardship he brings/allows in order to break us of arrogance and rebellion. God, in his kindness, will have his way. 

Because of the confidence I have in the goodness of the Lord, I will take comfort in this and give over my mother's heart to his care. If it takes hardship, trial, or painful consequence for my children to come to repentance and saving faith, then I say bring it on. It could never cost too much to know the redeeming work of God. Any pain on this side of eternity is a mercy of God if it opens our eyes to his gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

I've been reminding my kids that conviction of sin is a mercy. We should think of guilt and conviction as a kindness from God, proof that he loves us personally and is drawing us to repentance, forgiveness, and freedom. Conviction of sin is not evidence of God's frustration, disappointment, or anger, but rather it is his gentle calling into relationship with him through Christ. Yes, conviction is a consequence and a warning, but ultimately it is to draw us into a right relationship with the one true God.

I pray that the Lord would loose my lips, and I endeavor to practice proclaiming his goodness in my life. I pray that I would wholeheartedly put my hope in his kind and loving character, come what may.