Sunday, June 14, 2020

Old Stories from 2 yrs ago...

Jenny put a toy dragon into the toy microwave of their kitchen set. She reports that microwaved dragon tastes “like chicken.”

The girls were doing one of their favorite play-acting, of stuffing babydolls under their shirts, and coming to be holding imaginary pregnancy test with “LOOK MOM!! TWO LINES!!!”. Keziah said “I HAVE FOUR LINES!! I have TWINS!!!”

(I think the kids have absorbed what they hear in a lot “you've got your hands full!”
As I drifted off the sleep on the couch, I heard Keziah jubilantly announce “My hands are full....OF BABIES!!”

I was surprised to see Jenny and Isaiah play acting together for more than 20 minutes. Usually there is some powerstruggle at som epoint that ends things early. Even more surprisingly, Isaiah seemed to be “contwolling duh stowy” (narrating the story). Jenny came up to me, almost breathless with joy. “Mommy! Isaiah says, in this stowy, I am his OLDER sister!!!” Then she dashed back to play, as Isaiah continued to say what was happening. He is one smart kid.

I had explained Mariam was named after Mary, Jesus' mother, in the way her full name would have been pronounced back then. The next day, when Mariam shared some of her icing with Jenny, Jenny said to be “Mommy! Mawiam is the NICEST MAWIAM! Jesus' mother was pwetty nice too. But other than that, Mawiam is the nicest”

Keziah smacked Sarah. “Hey, don't hit her on the belly!”
She defended herself, “But she's not pwegnant!”

A not uncommon occurrence when we are out and about, is strangers coming up to comment on my full hands. I nod agreement, and depending on where on the spectrum between happy amusement to stressed concern their faces show, I sometimes try to discreetly hide my pregnant belly behind the the double stroller with 3 kids hanging out of it and two more jumping around. At this point the kids invariably announce, jubilantly, at the top of their lungs “AND GUESS WHAT? MOM IS PREGUNANT!!”
At that point people usually just laugh.
And then I get a warm glow inside, that we are doing out part as a travelling circus to make the world a more interesting place :)

Whenever I was having a bad day, Jenny would come to cheer me up, with shining eyes, “Mom, if you are having a bad day, jus' wemember YOU ARE PREGNANT!” 

In church thanking VBS prep volunteers “...thanks to all who sacrificed nights and weekends...” Isaiah was distraught, and said to Josh “no, no! You do not sacrifice Knights!”

Isaiah got obsessed by the Roman Army. I was just so relieved he was off his “Mongol Heavy Cavalry” obsession, that I encouraged it by leaving Roman Army themed books around the couch. He carried one very informative but cheaply printed history book around so much that a few pages came out from the staples, which caused great emotional distress. When I fixed this with packing tape, he went over every bit of the book, prying for a weakness and bringing it back as new pages were found wanting. I think now it probably weighs twice as much as it did when it was first printed, the added mass being half a roll of packing tape.

So on the last viewing of Pendragon: Sword of his Father, Isaiah recognized Artos's father was a Roman (Briton) and rooted for the goodguys all the way through the movie. He did not, as in former days, root for the conquering bloodthirsty Hengest, despite his growly voice and awesome axe.
My heart was singing.

Many of Isaiah's Roman Army books are illustrated with photos of re-enactors doing Roman military formations. I didn't realize what impression these photographs were giving him, till one night he asked Josh, “Do the Romans use coins with George Washington's face on them?”
No Isaiah, George Washington was born more than a thousand years after the Roman empire fell”
But now do they use coins with George Washington's face on them?”
The Roman Empire fell more than a thousand years ago”
Are they not still falling?”
At which point, Josh had to break the news to him that the Roman Empire, in fact, no longer existed.
Tears were shed. He asked Daddy if the Roman Empire would ever rise again, with their swords and shields. Josh said it might, but if it did, it would be different, and they would use guns.
At this, Isaiah wept.

Jenny wanted me to tell her if Daddy's character in Knights of the Old Republic destroys the Star Forge at the end of the game. I said I wasn't going to tell her. She got rather upset. I tried another tactic and said “Daddy will not like it if I tell the end, and I promised God I'd obey Daddy, so I can't”
Jenny sensed I was blame-shifting here, and didn't accept this excuse. “But mom, it wiwl be like---A YEAR before I know.” she went on begging. Then she tried a new strategy “Mom, just tell me. I promise I'll forget RIGHT AFTER YOU TELL ME”
Jenny, you don't know if you'll forget it”
I wemember forgetting other things”
How do you remember if you forgot?”
This silenced her a minute. Then she just said “I KNOW I forgot other things”
But you don't know if you'll forget this thing”
Yes I do! I will forget! Just tell me!”
I think I fled into the kitchen and tried to do something else at that point.

Mariam likes making Sarah Grace laugh. Together, they find hilarity in things like a bowl falling off Mariam's head over and over again, or water being splashed into Sarah's face in the bathtub (?!?). Hearing repeated peals of their laughter mixed together is like peaking into the joy of heaven.

Jenny has a sort of self imposed compulsion to “do the motions” to her VBS songs. We play the VBS cd nearly every day, and all the little girls copy Jenny to do the motions. However, if I put the VBS CD (or as Mariam calls it, the “BBS CD”) in when she's trying to do something else, she will glare at me, protest “Mom!! Not yet! I want to finish coloring!” but then will inevitably scramble over to the living room to do the motions whilestill protesting. “You can't put the VBS CD when I'm doing something else, then I HAVE to do the motions”---while doing the motions.
Daddy, myself, and even Isaiah have tried to explain to her that she doesn't have to, that she could just listen. But to no avail.
One day I had to get the kids up early and out of the house early for something, and we were running behind schedule, and Jenny was still fast asleep in bed. Tentatively I put in the VBS CD.
I started to make breakfast. I heard a thump, and a drunken-stumble of the half-awake,--when I turned, there was Jenny in a daze, still with bed-head and groggy eyes, faithfully doing the motions to the song, with a grumpy face. At the first break between songs, she reprimanded me for doing this to her. And continued with the motions for the next song...


Leah came over late at night, having to do some grading till the wee hours of the morning. The girls were trying to get her to come in and tell them stories. She was working at the table, when Mariam came out weeping having hurt herself. Leah was halfway to her to comfort her, when mid-sob Mariam said “I huwt myself...Tell us Dumpling and Dumpkin”
no subtlety there :)

jenny's dream 
I was asleep. I woke up. There was a fairy. It was still nighttime. She made a veil that was pink and a sparkly headbandShe made a pink dress for me. Mommy came in. and said “what is happening? Go back to bed” But I said “Mom, there's a fairy that made all these things for me, thank you fairy” and mom said “now go back to bed the fairy is gone”

Isaiah's wadded up icecream cone pieces for Mom and Dad. Saved a piece for Josh no matter what I said.

Isaiah sitting in the back of the car, burst out, “will Jesus ever come back NORMALLY?”
What do you mean Isaiah
(almost crying) “Will he always come back with a sword coming out of his mouth, his eyes like fire, and white hair?!?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

When my kids are driving me crazy...

On the days when I think the kids are “driving me crazy”, I need to stop, and think.

And every time, the root is not the kids. 

Yes, they might push me over on the edge, but why was I sitting by the edge in the first place? Why does 2 tantrums, an emptied bookshelf, permanent marker on the carpet, or a poop explosion, suddenly feel like the last slender thread of my sanity snapping? 

Usually I can find why I was sitting on the edge---I find I'm worrying someone I love will wreck their life, or I'm in the middle of a drawn out text-fight with a sister, or mentally rehearsing bitter litanies of grievances from people I have not forgiven, or brooding over some awful thing that has happened in the world, or stressed out about some financial need, or fearing for a beloved one's marriage, or worrying about a friend or siblings relationship choices----all these things push me to that edge, then one kid-tantrum or mess later, I'm yelling, crying, and melting down.

But its not really the kids, its the turmoil in my own soul. And the answer to every one of those problems is to take it to God, to TRUST His heart, to TRUST His strength. Then I can face the daily stresses of life with small children with joy, with deep reserves instead of inner turmoil. The inner turmoil is what has me living on the edge, running on narrow margins.

My noisy kids are not the problem---the turmoil in my soul is. And when the Holy Spirit comes, and I give Him the burdens of my heart, then suddenly, a mess is just a mess, a diaper explosion is just a needed bath (with bubble soap! And foodcoloring in the water!), a tantrumming kid is just a needed long hug (good for us both), a permanently-markered carpet is just money (God will provide).
Because what I really needed wasn't peace and quiet so I could cope with my inner turmoil without blowing my top.

What I really needed wasn't me-time so I could distract myself with hobbies or reading, and hold in all the pain and fear, and pretend it wasn't there.

What I really need is inner peace.

I need to invite the Holy Spirit into the dark places of fear in my soul, to give him my burden, and then rise up and live. So my kids are really God's scalpel, cutting apart my camouflaging bandages to show me the hidden infection that was there all along, in my heart.

My kids overload my coping mechanisms, so that they fail. With my coping mechanisms broken, I am forced to go to the Healer, to offer to Him the turmoil in my heart, and TRUST....and learn to live.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Old Photodump

I realize I never posted these pictures. Most taken about 6 months ago, when Anastasia was a couple months old.

It was fall/winter (beautiful weather here) and we went to the park.

"Still Life No. 23" by Keziah