Monday Miscellany

1. Wil has been sick. For three months now. It is not uncommon for kids with Ds to hold onto colds or sinus issues for long periods. Typically their airways, ear canals, sinus cavities, etc. are smaller than the average kid so when they get "gunky" they have a hard time clearing it out. This has been true for Wil since he was an infant. I especially remember how bad he sounded after his heart surgery, and how long it lasted. When he was a baby he just sounded bad and that was it. He seemed to tolerate the stuffiness and sinus pressure well. Now that he is three? Not so much.

He really lets us know that he does not feel good. And that eating is not comfortable. This has been a common reaction at the table as we try to find foods that he will tolerate. His preferred mode of comfort the last three months is being held, which at 32 lbs., is getting tough on my aging back. Poor guy, he is on his third round of antibiotics - each round getting stronger. This time he takes it for 20 days. If this doesn't clear out his sinuses then we are off to the ENT.

2. Wil is not all grump. He definitely has his feel good moments. When he does, he grabs Timothy and they wrangle the sofa cushions.

3. Timothy, when left alone, does things like this.

4. Luke is happy to have a little time off from school. He has been in the creative zone lately. This is what he came down wearing last night.

5. We are looking forward to a low-key Christmas. The little bit of Christmas shopping I do was done a wrapped a few weeks back. The boys and I will be doing some baking tomorrow and Wednesday, including a gingerbread house, and then we will enjoy our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade chili and fries, by chef James. He perfects the chili a little more each year! On Christmas day we will lay low, let the boys enjoy their new toys and then grill steaks with Nonnie and Papa.

And we will give thanks for Jesus as we celebrate Him!

A Christmas Story

This afternoon while James had the little guys at the gym and I was preparing dinner and catching up on laundry (if that's even possible) Luke was in his room. My little extrovert does this from time to time. He disappears into his room or the backyard to be alone. It is a rare occurance and a welcome one.

He emerged about 45 minutes later chattering about the book he had written and illustrated.

Then he insisted I put his story on the blog. Here it is.

Bi Luke Walden

the 5 das uv krismis

Mistr snoman stas thaer (spoken like a true southerner) al the time

Mr jinjur bradman stas in the uvin

Mr rander gids santus slay

Santa flis in a sla. He givs prasints to the childrins.

the crismis tree is for Jesus.

Monday Miscellany

1. Luke is really taking off with his reading. It's a lot of fun to witness. And the best part is his own excitement over it. He is particularly proud that he is now reading "chapter books!" So are we.
I never know where I will find him stretched out with a good book.

2. We had a Christmas gathering on Friday night. For us, it was a way to say thanks to the many folks in our church who have been incredibly supportive over the last many months. We enjoyed some good food and silly gifts!
On the menu: Ham biscuits (complements of my mother), stuffed portobella mushrooms, prosciutto pinwheels, artichoke dip, veggies, cheeses, and all sorts of sweet treats.

Who doesn't need Crystal Love Birds?

One of the more desirable gifts - a single cup coffee machine.

A few of the girls.

3. A Country Parade. Sunday afternoon Luke and I hung out on Main St. in Blythewood to take in the sites and sounds of a country parade, which featured Papa and Aunt Tracy.

You don't know what you will see in a small town parade. You might see the local ROTC.

Or maybe you will see a float advertising the local beauty salon: Cuttin' Loose.

You might see a man in a pink shower cap in a tub. Why not? Or. . .

you might see something real fancy, like this.

It's not a parade without the local High School Marching Band.

And then there was this. Here, I'll give you a closer look.

If you can figure out what it is how 'bout let me know.

There were plenty of tractors to be seen as well.

And here's Papa bringing up the rear.

Along with Aunt Tracy.

And finally, Santa, who apparently prefers horseback to a sleigh out here in the country.

4. A little news on our church plant. After much deliberation we have a name. Riverside Community Church. There are three rivers that run through Columbia: the Saluda, Congaree, and Broad. They merge in the Downtown area and run along the west side of the city. So while we don't have riverfront property we consider the city to be "riverside." So there you have it. We are loosing our meeting place at the end of this month so if you think about it please pray that we will find new space that will serve us well long term and as we grow.

Open Face Sandwich

Timothy has given new meaning to the Open Face Sandwich.

His version?

Open sandwich. Insert face.

What? What's wrong?

A typical evening

In my pre-child mind I imagined the early evening, after dinner and bath but before bed, to be a time of solitude. James and me, and our imagined children, each curled up with a book, reading alone or to the kids. Maybe some light music playing in the background. Maybe the kids playing quietly on the floor with puzzles or building something with their Lincoln Logs - working together to build that log cabin on the box. James and I sipping a hot drink as we enjoy watching the kids.

I know you will be shocked when I tell you that our evenings do not resemble that fantasy at all!
First of all there is nothing quiet about our house, and definitely not our evenings. Secondly we would never have drinks, especially hot, anywhere in the vicinity. And thirdly they have not learned the life skill of playing together nicely.

Unless you call this nice.

or this.

My boys just aren't wired to lounge around and play quietly.

If someone is not being tossed around they start to get grumpy.

I have learned to just sit back and watch. I throw out the occasional "be careful," or "that's too high," or "too rough, be more gentle." No one listens. I don't even think they know I am talking.

But I am there when someone needs a little moral support. Wil especially likes to come over for a hug between rounds.

It gives him that extra gumption to get back in there.

As things slow down Wil finishes off with his most favorite activity. Sitting on James' stomach and bouncing up and down as hard as he possibly can. While beating James' chest.

Remarkably, when it is time to go to bed they all comply and make their way upstairs without a fuss.

I'm sure somebody out there experiences what I imagined in my pre-child mind. As with so many things in life I have had to readjust my own thinking of what family life looks like for us. And while it makes me feel like I am in the middle of a three ring circus sometimes, I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday Miscellany

1. Last week we pulled out the Christmas decor. Over the years we have had to make some changes with little one's roaming the house, always looking for new ways to wreak havoc in our home. Last year we decided that we should forgo a tree altogether. I had visions of Timothy pulling it down, Wil being trapped underneath, Timothy climbing all over the fallen tree yanking ornaments off, Wil getting tangled in the lights as he tries to make his way from under the tree, Luke in a state of panic over the whole affair. . . and on and on. You think I am overreacting? Please stop by one afternoon, say around 5.30, when the boys are at their wildest and you will understand. So last year we did this. It was fine but it wasn't the same. So this year we went back to a tree.
The boys had a great time decorating and we went 12 hours before the first ornament was broken. Not bad. Unfortunately it was a favorite of mine. A decorative egg that James brought me from Hungary.

We tried to get a few pictures of the boys in front of the tree. They all went something like this:

And this:

Until finally they broke free,

and disappeared.

2. I have been trying to figure out ways to make some extra income. I need, and want, to be at home so I have been snooping around online. Turns out a masters in theology and counseling is pretty useless for most on-line, contractual work. I have registered with oDesk, taken all their tests, posted my profile, work history, and gifts to see if anything comes my way. We'll see. I would love to get back to counseling. Maybe after the boys are all in school I can prepare for the state qualifications for licensure. They are different from Florida so I will need time to prepare for the state exam, which may even require another class or two. Can't even fathom adding that to my life right now.

3. Gators - 2008 SEC champs!! We had an intense afternoon watching the Gators play Alabama.

The boys have come to love Saturday football. Especially the chips and dip.

There were some "oh no!" moments felt by all. . .

and some "yes, yes" moments which caused every muscle in James' body to contract with excitement.

It was an awesome win for the Gators which caused James to giggle and cackle a good solid hour after it was over.

4. A common phrase around here, as of late, is "Timothy, leave your clothes on." Here is the sequence of events we now deal with on a daily basis.

After he frees himself of his pajamas and takes a victory lap around the house he stops to remove his diaper.

When we talk to him about keeping his pajamas on he just laughs and laughs. I think we need a padlock to keep him from unzipping.

5. We are officially underway with the new church plant. It has been a very encouraging time for us. We have a solid group of folks eager to see a healthy, bible teaching church planted in downtown Columbia. We have an advisory board made up of pastors from respected, healthy churches within our denomination. And we have supporters that are committed to sticking with us through this next phase in our ministry. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, I apologize. I haven't shared, here, about all that has gone on over the last six months because I haven't felt it was appropriate. Maybe one day I will share the whole saga of our move to SC to plant a new church in partnership with a local congregation and how we ended up parting ways with the leadership of that congregation. For now, I will just say that the last six months have been challenging and confusing while simultaneously being encouraging and faith-building.

Have a great week!

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