The Little Memories I Hope to Remember (aka Mom Things)

Late one night, long after the kids have gone to sleep, you hear a shuffling noise from the kitchen.  Oh, that was just Sarah pulling the pack-n-play across the entire house.  She brought it to your bedroom where she declared, "I want this."

Apparently it's not all that uncommon for a child to induce vomiting when forced to try a food that they don't like.  It's less common for it to happen when the food that they don't like is a common potato.  Good grief. 

While the whole thing was going down, one sister was laughing and the two-year-old sister was miming an open mouth as if pleading with her brother to comply, because, really, it's just easier that way.

Whenever one of your other children is being reprimanded, the two-year-old declares, "I'm being a good girl."  We think she just wants it on the record, because, you know, she's usually the one getting in trouble.

Case in point:  In front of the large after-church crowd on the front porch of Cracker Barrel, said two-year-old pulled her panties down to her ankles and pulled her dress up to her chin and declared, "I need go potty!"  Yes.  It appears that way, Sarah.  Let's go to the restroom and do that.

Abby's idea of "watching Leah" is dragging her under the kitchen table and reading to her.  You know what, they were both happy.  Sounds good to me.

With only 4 days left in the school year, your pre-k daughter got her first tardy because when you pulled up to the school with 13 minutes left before the late bell, she informed you that she was missing a shoe.  Yes.  A single shoe.  After a momentary lapse in judgment where you contemplated sending her to class in just one shoe, you dropped your second grader off, high-tailed it home as quickly as possible, retrieved the shoe which was dropped about 5 feet from the van door and returned to school only to have to walk inside with your sleeping newborn in a carrier and your syrup-covered, pajama-wearing two year old with shoes on the wrong feet.  When you signed your tardy daughter in you listed "Forgot ONE shoe at home" as the reason.  Maybe the office staff will find that funnier than you did.

You can make your 7-week smile by simply uttering the sound "guh."  If only the other kids were that simple.

After watching Peter Pan with her big siblings, you overheard Sarah with her Barbies saying, "Arggh!  I Captain Hook" and "Hi, matey!"

Despite your aversion to playing with plush animals outside, you can't stop yourself from letting the girls take the Care Bears on the playground.  They have just too much fun with them.


Look at the Birds of the Air...

A couple of weeks ago, I started the Bible Study by Anne Graham Lotz called "God's Story".  It's a verse-by-verse walk-through of the beginning of Genesis that teaches the reader how to hear God speak through scripture.  It's much more than a cursory look at the Bible or a feel-good-about-yourself ladies study.  It's a revolutionary way to read the Bible.  In a word, it's awesome.  And I'm only on the second week.

After reading just the first chapter of Genesis, which (for those of you who aren't familiar) is a summary of the Creation, I've taken away so much more than I've taken away from these 31 verses before.

I'll share some of my take-aways with you:
  • God was intentional when He created the big things (the Heavens) and the little things (the earth). Genesis 1:1
  • Even in the apparent emptiness and darkness, God's spirit was (and is) there.  Genesis 1:2
  • At the end of the day, God looked at His work and declared it good.  At the end of the day, can I look at the work I've done and say "It was good"?  Genesis 1:10
  • When God speaks, do I immediately obey - like the land did when He told it to bear fruit?  Genesis 1:12
On the video where Anne Graham Lotz delivered the message (and most of which I missed thanks to a nursing/fussy Leah), she gave a few examples of God's handiwork in nature.  She cited how the woodpecker has a sponge in its brain to keep it from knocking itself out when it pecks on a tree.  She also mentioned how birds feathers have little fringes that "zip" together to make them waterproof in the rain and that enable them to fly.

So I got thinking about the marvels of nature, did a little research, and in the spirit of "Earth Day" (a day late) decided to share just a few of them with you:

From the website Intelligent Design: Proof of Creation
On Giraffes:  Theoretically, the immense pressure of the blood pumped by this massive heart would rupture blood vessels in the brain if the giraffe moved its head downward! In reality, however, the giraffe is able to execute such an action with no damage at all. The way in which it does this is amazing. Valves in the arteries of the neck close whenever the giraffe bends its head down, limiting the flow of blood to the brain. The blood that is not stopped goes into the “rete mirabile,” a sponge-like cluster of vessels under the brain. Since the brain receives the blood indirectly from the rete mirabile, it is not damaged by any high pressures. When the giraffe lifts its head up, the valves open and the rete mirabile brings more blood to the brain. In addition, some valves in the neck veins close to equalize the blood pressure. This prevents the giraffe from fainting from lack of oxygen when it gets up!
On Anglerfish:  One of the most bizarre of all fish is the anglerfish, a deep-water fish which can live more than a mile under the surface. This strange creature has a structure growing out of its head that resembles a fishing rod. On the very tip of this “rod” is a worm-like structure that has an incredible function: it can produce light! This wonderful light-producing organ is held close to the mouth of the anglerfish. Smaller fish are attracted to the light, thinking that it is a food source. When they try to eat the “food,” they become the next meal of the hungry anglerfish!

The light itself is extremely complex. Involving the compound Luciferin and the enzyme Luciferase, it is remarkable in that it produces no heat. Tireless research has been spent on these two substances (Luc-iferase was found to contain more than 1000 proteins!), but still no one knows for certain how the light is made. Another interesting part of the anglerfish is its body structure. It is specially built to withstand the immense pressures it encounters in the depths of the ocean. The anglerfish lives where the pressure is around 2000 pounds per square inch, but it suffers no damage; it was designed to live in this environment. This prevents a regular fish from evolving into an anglerfish; if it somehow sank into the depths to begin its evolution, it would be crushed! In short, the anglerfish could not have evolved from another animal; it was an anglerfish from the start.
From the website Creation vs. Evolution:  Amazing Facts of Nature
On Lightning: By combining nitrogen and oxygen, lightning creates 100 million tons of plant food a year, raining down far more than is produced by all the commercial fertilizer plants.
On Salmon:  The fact that adult salmon return from the ocean to the very gravel bed where they were hatched in some swift-flowing northern stream in order to reproduce before death, is fairly well-known. But not everyone realizes what is involved in their doing so.  A salmon swims three to ten miles a day against the current for a total distance of hundreds or perhaps even thousands of miles to get back to his birthplace. The spectacular part of his return trip is when he encounters waterfalls that must be ascended. He has been observed swimming a sheer ten-foot waterfall in one leap. Higher falls can be conquered by a series of tall leaps from shelf to shelf for a total distance of maybe forty or fifty feet.
On the Invention of paper from pulpwood:  A French scientist named Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur, examining a wasp's nest in 1719, noted that it seemed to be made of a type of crude pasteboard. After further investigation he discovered that most of the material was obtained from tree fibers. As a result of this study the first successful production of paper from woodpulp was achieved. Yet God had instilled this ability in the wasp at the dawn of history.
On Camels: The camel is enabled, by the peculiar construction of its stomach, to carry a supply of water sufficient for seven or eight days together. This power adapts it to the region in which it is found, and to the service of man in traversing the desert. It has, also, great acuteness of scent, and, when ready to fail through the weariness of a long march, will detect the distant stream or fountain. Then new vigor animates it, and, sniffing the air, it strides on till it can imbibe the refreshing waters.
From the e-book Amazing Wonders of Creation
On the Gulf Stream:  This river is about 70 miles wide and nearly 3,000 feet deep. When it leaves the Gulf of Mexico, the water temperature is 84°F., and off the coast of the Carolinas it is still a warm 80°F. This warming influence actually makes the northern coastal regions of America and Europe inhabitable; otherwise, they would be frozen wastelands.

This warm river reaches the entrance of the Arctic region at Baffin Bay, where it meets a frigid polar stream that is rushing southward. As a result of the titanic collision of these two giants, the polar stream is forced to dive down thousands of feet, where it continues its southward course, coming up finally in the West Indies during their hottest season, thus cooling down the terrible tropical heat. The Gulf Stream gets deflected eastward, going up along the British Isles, making these habitable.
On Bees:  Every bee has a special brush located on its knees—a stiff brush—that it uses to clean out its breathing apparatus when it comes out of the flower so it doesn't suffocate. This biologist noted that if it were true that these insects develop special equipment in response to a need, the very first bee to exist did not have those brushes on its knees. When it went into the flower, it would have suffocated; consequently, the whole bee family would have become extinct right then and there. No, rather than these brushes developing slowly through the ages in response to a need, they were provided by God to meet the need and save the very first bee that was made.
On Cockleburs:  It is one of the most despised of all plants due to its clinging, pricking nature. Yet consider the marvel of its reproduction.  Every pod of the cocklebur has two seeds inside to guarantee its survival. But during the first year only one of the seeds will begin to grow. The other seed waits till the second year to start growing in order to perpetuate two seasons of growth. But if something happens to the first seed so that it does not grow and produce, the second seed begins to grow immediately instead of waiting for the next year. What built-in wisdom of God communicates to that waiting seed that it should begin to grow when the first seed is destroyed?

These don't even scratch the surface.  I'm reminded of Matthew 6:26 -
Consider the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?
From the moment God set out creating, He had a deliberate, intentional plan...right down to bees knees.  Literally.  Is that not astounding to anyone else?  How great is our God?  He counts the "minutiae" as important.

For a little perspective on the minutiae of earth compared to the heavens, I'll let this illustration do the work (if you're pressed for time, skip to 5:58 and watch to 8:06, but really watch the whole thing - then go find the rest of the videos in the series and watch them too - while I'm being bossy):

Do you see yourself on the golfball?  Seems kind of tiny, huh?  We are small compared to the vastness of God, but God created us all.
For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:13-16
Thank God for knitting us all together, for knowing what our days hold before one of them comes to be, for being deliberate and intentional, for being a detail-oriented, purposeful God, for caring about me in the midst of it ALL.

And besides...it takes way too much faith to believe in evolution alone.

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

If I ever suffer from low-blood pressure, I know what I have to do to cure it - just make a trip through the morning drop-off line at the kids' school.  Or if the morning opportunity has passed, I can go pick them up.  Either way, beginning or end of the school day, there are plenty of chances to see adult misbehavior of magnificent proportions.  Okay, so no one is pulling out weapons or damaging property, but this misbehavior is similarly flagrant.  At least, it's no more subtle. 

The procedure for drop-off in the mornings for non-bus riders surely varies at every school.  At ours, parents are to line up single-file in their cars and drop the children off at the front door where several teachers/para-professionals await to help the children get out of their cars, if necessary.  It's not difficult to understand, and it makes sense that at a school with over 500 children in grades Pre-K through second that there are quite a few cars that line up.  It is daunting to pull up and see dozens of cars in front of you waiting to drop their children off.  The first reaction is "Ugh (sigh).  This is going to take forever."  Well, it's not instantaneous, no, but the worst case I've ever experienced is a 15-minute wait in the rain when the line was the longest I've ever seen it.  Do I want to do that every day?  Of course not.  But that's the worst it ever was.  Most days it's less than five minutes - even when the line is super long.  Why am I writing about this?

It's because of the people who can't wait those five minutes. 

At morning drop-off I have seen parents commit the following transgressions:

1.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they momentarily "double park" next to the front door so they can dump their kids off to walk through moving traffic.  At this point, one of the teacher-helpers at the front door usually says something to the parent like, "You're not allowed to do that" and the parent waves them off with one hand and drives away.  

2.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they illegally pull into a handicapped spot so they can dump their kids off.  Repeat the rest of #1.

3.  Zooming past the waiting cars via the left hand "through" lane where they park illegally next to the "No Parking" sign and traffic cones that the school has set up because everyone was ignoring the "No Parking" signs so they can dump their kids off.  Repeat the rest of #1.

4.  Driving along the "through" lane faking like they are turning into a legal parking spot so they can walk their kids into school only to butt into the line and drop their kids off, passing dozens of cars in the process.

5.  Parking at the intersection of the two roads (where I assure, you parking is neither legal nor safe), and walking across the grass/parking lot and through moving vehicles to send their kid off to school.

Apparently, there are a lot of people who don't think they have to wait in lines.  These are the parents who teach their children (whether passively or not) that rules don't apply to them.  They teach their children this:

I am more important than all of these other people.  

It's a similar situation at pick-up time.  Parents parking all over the place where they aren't supposed to because driving across the road in front of the exit door endangers the lives of walking children.  The school has resorted to putting up dozens of cones along the curb and to block traffic, but parents ignore them and pull up beside them or through them anyway to avoid having to get out of their cars or walk an extra 25 yards.  It's a nice little combination of laziness, selfishness, and blatant disregard for authority. 

If you're friends with me on Facebook, I'm sorry.  I've beat this dead horse so many times, it's ridiculous.  It doesn't cease to get my blood boiling.

It's a great opportunity for me to point and say to my children, "See what they're doing right there?  Butting in line/ignoring the warning signs/disrespecting the authorities with a flippant attitude/etc?  That's not right.  We're not going to do that."  I have lots of chances to teach appropriate character thanks to the inappropriate examples I'm provided daily...by the same people...over and over and over again.

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  I'm sure people have seen my behavior and used it for a character lesson.  We all screw up.  Fact.  The point isn't that I'm right, and everyone else is wrong.

The point is that there is a staggering number of people who put themselves first, and everyone else behind them.  These are my peers, my cohorts in parenting this next generation.  This is what we are teaching our children by example - that it's fine to put ourselves first.  But Jennie, we're just "standing up for ourselves."  Umm, no.  We're teaching them that overt disregard for rules and authority isn't just okay, it's preferable as long as it is to our benefit.

No wonder our kids flip out when they have to wait in line at the grocery store.  I'm sure in their little minds, they're thinking, "Just pass them on the left, and flip 'em the bird while you're doing it.  Let's get out of here faster!"

The world would be such a better place if we all held ourselves in a little lower regard, instead of the opposite.
 Obviously, writing this blog post isn't going to correct the problem.  I hope, if nothing else, it will help someone besides myself remember that whether we mean for them to or not, our actions are speaking to our children.  What are they saying?  And am I okay with that?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests.  Philippians 2:3-4
To the teachers at our schools, my sincerest apologies.  Because of our collective failure to educate our children on lessons of character, your days now include having to spend time teaching respect for authority instead of the ABC's, having to remind students things like "Don't trample your classmates" because it no longer goes without saying, and having to leave the classroom in the afternoon to line cones up along the curb that parents will ignore anyway.  This is our failure as parents - not yours as teachers.  I'm sorry you can't do your job because we haven't done ours.

My prayer for today:  God, please help my example for my children to be pleasing to You.  Help me to deny myself, and follow You.  Humble me, if necessary.  Allow me to follow Your Son's example - that is, that He came to serve, not to be served.
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me."   Luke 9:23


Mom Things: After a Too-Long Hiatus

You love the irony of your three year old rubbing your newborn's face while gently calling her "Chunky Girl", all the while this three year old is covered in chocolate.

You've discovered the secret to easy bedtime - late-night Bible reading.

After listening to The Easter Story on CD, your two year old retained some important bits of information:
~"Jesus crashed the tables!!!"
(Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.)
~"He was naked!  And he wanted a drink!"  (For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.)
Unfortunately, those were not exactly the parts we need her to remember (and subsequently emulate).  And yet, we're not surprised those are the parts that stuck out for her.

You feel guilty when it's time to cut the backyard because, to your girls, those 18" tall dandelions are beautiful wildflowers.

After taking photos on Easter morning, aside from the more important task of capturing memories for posterity, you notice that you have passed your poke-your-booty-and-belly-out posture to your eldest...if things like "posture" are hereditary, that is.  Poor kid.

Immediately after returning home at 1am from a return-from-Maryland-trip during which Ben and Abby spent 13 hours bickering and agitating each other in the backseat, they both climbed into Abby's top bunk to continue their slumber.  Go figure.

One of the best things about having a newborn?  Getting to dress them in potato sacks.

For some reason your two year old thinks that the mere sound of you turning on the shower is an invitation for her to join you.

While playing Life with the oldest three kids - everyone opted to go to college except the two year old whose career ended up as "Entertainer."  Meanwhile, your college-going son chose to protect his fellow citizens and become a police officer only to be dissatisfied with his paycheck.  Somehow this seems all too prophetic. 

You've heard about people climbing walls, but you didn't realize until you had kids that it was literal.

You should have known better than to leave an entire pan of delightful ice cream treat on the counter when you re-entered the room and found your two year old helping herself with the serving spoon.  (At least the little bowl indicates she had intentions of portioning herself out some, only to decide it was better this way.)

If ever you take your eyes off of your poor, bald newborn and take a look back, you find her being constantly adorned (against her will, I might add) with hair accessories thanks to her fashion-conscious older sisters.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  
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