Dec 23, 2008


Our poor boy... he is down with a super yucky cold that developed into double ear infections and a miserable cough. He's had a fever since Friday (it was hanging out around 99.7 until yesterday when it hit 101.9). And today he spent more time lying on the couch than up & about from 10 a.m. to Noon. Very unlike our busy guy.

He had a lunch of 2 clementines and 1/2 a banana plus a few veggie chips and a mouthful of corn bread that I had made this morning for Christmas dinner stuffing. That is the most he has eaten in three days. (And if you have seen our James eat, you know that he usually packs away a full plate of vegetables, shredded meat and sweet potato in one meal.)

Although I try to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary, I am grateful for the gift of antibiotics in these moments. This is only the second time in two years when James has been on antibiotics - both times for ear infections. I pray they work quickly and that he is fully restored to health. That would be a wonderful Christmas gift indeed!

Dec 15, 2008


I was tagged by my friend, Alycia, to post the 5th picture in my 5th folder and comment on it. And this picture of James' friend, Dorothy, is the winner!

This picture was taken on the 2nd day of our little preschool that I host and teach each Tuesday morning. We have "free play" where the children get to play with James' toys before we go downstairs for circle time, stories and crafts.

Pre-school is a lot of fun! And it seems the children get something out of it... three of the children have spontaneously identified shapes to their moms (semi-circle, specifically!) and one little girl remembers that combining two colors makes a new one. Yay!

Now I am supposed to tag five more friends... have fun Cara W, Charisa F, Kelly Mc, Jess A and Jen G!
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Dec 3, 2008

A delightful autumn vacation

I still need to download pictures from our week-long vacation with my family over Thanksgiving and a short visit with Britt's step-mom and little sister when we returned. Unfortunately, I don't know that we took very many! Meanwhile, here's a quick recap of the highlights which I know weren't captured on film...

* I do wish I had pictures of how tightly we packed our van. Imagine taking all the food and additional kitchen equipment needed to make dinners every day for a week, including the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings for a group of 17. Just before we left, I had to buy a second rather large cooler to transport all the fridge & freezer stuff. Poor Ben! Loading and unloading were both a big job!

* Early in the week, we had the opportunity to "earn" $100 worth of "mad money" to spend at the resort by at least one couple attending a sales luncheon. We signed up Kurt & Barbara, and insisted to Ben that he & I should join them. He was a total (self-proclaimed) curmudgeon about it at first. We convinced him that we were going on a double date, someone else was paying for the meal, and our parents were keeping all the children. How great is that?! Add to it a fabulous sales person and tons of laughter among us all. We made a terrific memory.

*On Thanksgiving evening, we loaded up the whole crew and headed to the Water Park from 5 to 10 p.m. The $100 mad money kept us from spending even a single dollar. And we had a blast. My sis & I trekked up almost four stories, time and again, to zip down the water slides. We relieved our husbands so they could go have fun, but my Ben was content to go down once and then head back into the Lazy River with James. And at 7:30 when we needed to take three toddlers back to put them in bed, Ben let me stay while he went back with my folks and the children. What a guy! That left me, my sis and Kurt plus their three boys to ride the raft slides, racing each other to the bottom. Camden and I agreed that the red slide was the best. It had a steep drop at the bottom that left us breathless.

* Each evening after we put the children to bed, most of us gathered to watch an installment of HBO Films' version of John Adams, based on the book by David McCullough. After the first episode, my sister decided to let Camden stay up to watch and counted it as history. It was so well done. I just wish I'd read the book first.

* We were sad that my brother and his family were not able to join us. They were fully planning to come up until the last minute when Greg's wife began to experience severe back/leg pain and one of their boys was having trouble breathing. We especially missed them on Thanksgiving Day.

I am grateful for God's grace in giving us these times away together. I love watching James play with his cousins. I love cooking and eating together. I love the sweet memories we make when we're just hanging out. I look forward, God-willing, to many more times together in the future - with Greg & Sharon, too!

Nov 23, 2008


For my own "remembery" -  

James started saying 2-word phrases very consistently yesterday. We're hearing such things as:
"Daddy go?" (Where did Daddy go?) 
"Hop peas" (help please)
"Giga home?" (Is Grammy here?) and 
"anny gone" (banana gone)

He sings all the time... and "talks" for his toys... a very fun season!

Nov 20, 2008

Mr. Clean

On Monday, James' chair had crumbs in it. Without a word, he went to the pantry, opened the door, pulled out the broom and attempted to sweep out the crumbs.

I wish I'd had the camera handy... what a picture it was!

Nov 14, 2008

My Sweet Helper

I love these pictures of James helping Mommy in the kitchen. He loves to do whatever I am doing... sweeping the floor, picking up toys, doing dishes, changing laundry. It is fun to have him help me - even though it usually takes a bit longer and requires a little more work on my part. But oh how sweet these times together are. And how quickly this season will pass!

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Birthday Present Fun

Here is our boy, playing with a few of his birthday presents...

Grammy P noticed that James had enjoyed playing with cousin Anna's baby dolls so she gave him one for his birthday. She brought it in a basket along with a pillow and blanket she had made. I have loved watching James take care of this little doll with great care. He holds it very gently, feeds it bottles, then places it tenderly back in its bed and covers it with the blanket.

Each time he plays with the doll, I ask him if he'd like a baby... he says, "da-da." And so I pray for God to bring him a sibling some day soon.

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Nov 5, 2008

Bless The Lord, O My Soul

I promised Ben that whatever the outcome of the election, I would say today, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name..." For your refreshment, here is Psalm 103 in its entirety. Here is truth. Here is reality.

Psalm 103 (English Standard Version)

Bless the LORD, O My Soul
Of David.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Oct 30, 2008

Typical(?) Boy

Well, in case anyone wondered, I have a boy... 

all boy... 

very boy.

We still occasionally find James in his crib fully clothed but with poopy on his hands or on the floor. We pin him into his sleeper pajamas. We tape his diaper. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what he was doing. And then one day I walked into his room just in the nick of time. James stood there with that "caught" look on his face as I turned on the light. He had managed to pull his arm inside his jammies and wedge his hand into his dirty diaper. Ugh!

Then today, while he finished his lunch, I left the table to clean up the kitchen. Next thing I know, this boy-of-few-words is trying to communicate something important. As I looked over and saw him pointing to his nose, I noticed that one side was a little bigger? than usual and a slight bit red. 

"Goodness gracious! Your raisins!"


(May I just ask, how do you NOT laugh when you realize that your 2-year-old has stuffed a raisin up his nose?)

So I ran upstairs, pulled out the tweezers and the alcohol, poured the alcohol over the tweezers and tumbled back downstairs. As long as I was just using my hands, James let me hold his head and push on his nose... but as soon as I tried to use the tweezers, he'd pull away.

Then I got a bright idea. James is always asking to talk to Bea. Perfect. I picked up the phone, dialed her number and said, "Your nephew has lodged a raisin up his nose. Can you distract him while I pull it out?"

In fewer than 8 seconds, that piece of dried fruit was out and in its final resting place.

Praise God for sisters who have been through this with their own daring sons! (Thanks, Bea!)

Oct 21, 2008


Thursday, as our friend Britt was leaving the house for work, she said, "Bye" to me. Suddenly, a little hand waved and a little voice piped up, clear as a bell, "Bye." Brittany and I exchanged surprised glances. Multiple times during the day when he had the opportunity, our little man of few words would offer, "Bye" in the perfect moment.

On Friday, James started repeating complete words after me. He said whole sentences at four different times during that day. The most memorable was when he wanted to go outside while I was making dinner. He was hanging on me, fussing, and pointing out to the tot lot by our house. I told him to go ask Daddy.  He ran into the other room, so I followed him and said, "James, say, 'Daddy' (Diddy), may (may) I (I) please (peas) go (goh) to (to) the (duh) park (pahk)."

Ben looked at me with surprise and delight in his eyes. "Can you write that down?!"

I can't remember how much James repeated over the weekend, but on Monday, he was very congested, so we were hanging out at home, and a bit bored. I decided to put a couple videos on my mom, sister's and our Facebook sites with James repeating multiple sentences - one word at a time. You can tell he was getting tired by the time we recorded my mom's.

Today, he has asked by name for his friend Dorothy (Dohti) without prompting. And I told him that I was going to make eggs for my breakfast. When I brought my plate to the table about 10 minutes later (after doing some other things in the meantime), he pointed at it and said, "Ahggs." We've never discussed eggs before now! And then he surprised me with one more. While we were eating my eggs (yes, he helped me with them), he became aware of a scratch on his ring finger. He pointed to it, and said, "boo-boo."

Such is the excitement at our house these days.

Oct 16, 2008

2 Year Stats

We saw our pediatrician for James' 2-yr well child visit this morning... except we learned that he has infections in both ears - so I guess not exactly a well child! Since James is not complaining, the doc said not to treat at this point. But he did write a script in case James gets miserable.

Meanwhile, here are the boy's stats:
Weight - 28 lbs (50th %)
Height - 35 3/4 inches (75-90th %)
Head - 50 cm (75-90th %)

Doc also thinks James may have environmental allergies and possibly exercise-induced asthma. Bummer! It runs in both families, so not surprising. But not fun if that's the case.

All around, though, a healthy, strong, happy little guy!

Oct 15, 2008

Quirky Things About Me

I just discovered that I've been tagged to list six quirky things about myself... So here goes.

#1 - I am a morning person - for most of my life (even in elementary school), I've gotten up between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Since having James, though, I admit that some days I go back to bed for a bit after getting Ben's day started.

#2 - Our microwave became the victim of a power surge this summer, and it took me days to even miss the clock on it. So we decided just not to replace it. Interestingly, I still don't miss it at all.

#3 - I have a crock of rye sourdough starter on my counter at all times. James helps me grind the rye, pour the flour into the crock and add water then stir it all up. While he holds the spoon, I turn the bowl and sing, "And round and round and round and round and round and round we go... and James is helping Mommy make... a big pot of sour dough."

#4 - Every day, I count James' toys as I put them away to make sure all the pieces are there. If not, I hunt them down so we don't end up with incomplete puzzles, etc. (would that be considered quirky or neurotic?!)

#5 - I always take my rings off at night (my fingers swell), but I rarely remove my necklace or earrings.

#6 - My internal temperature seems much cooler than most... in general, when I'm finally comfortable, most other people are hot. 

Re-reading this, I notice (not for the first time mind you) that I'm kinda lame! But it was fun. Thanks, Jen!

So now I tag Britt Mc, Jess A, Alycia I, Kelly P, Charisa F, and Kelly Mc to list 6 things that are quirky about yourself and then tag five more people. Have fun!

Random Notes

At the end of September, my parents graciously came down just so my mom could give James a much-needed haircut. James didn't mind the haircut. He got Papa's undivided attention!

Our sweet boy has a very particular way he wants to be put to bed at night: one bear in each arm, a fire truck in one hand, a horse in the other (along with a cloth diaper).

Sweet dreams, little man...

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Oct 14, 2008

James' 2nd Birthday

For James second birthday, we decided on a small family party... of 20! Of course my sister's family accounts for seven of those twenty. We had a wonderful time.

James' birthday fell on Columbus Day - a federal holiday - so Ben was home all day. What a treat! My parents spent Sunday night with us, and James was delighted to wake up in the morning and find them here. And then when James awakened from his nap he discovered his cousins, Bea and Uncle Kurt in various locations of our home. Sweet!

My sister's family plus my dad, Ben and James went for a walk along a creek near our home. Mom stayed behind to help me clean up and get ready for everyone else to arrive. Our 9-yr-old friend Eliza (my weekly mother's helper) arrived first, she sweetly pitched in, helping us set the tables. Uncle John (aka the Cat in the Hat) arrived next.

Grammy P and Aunt Elizabeth arrived. James brought Grammy over to see the growing display of presents.

The happy birthday boy with Ben's mom (while Britt & my sis share a laugh in the background).

James was so hungry before everyone had arrived and he was asking for broccoli... how can a mom deny her child's request for vegetables?

James seemed duly impressed by his cake. But when it came to blowing out the candles, he got scared!

Mommy & Daddy blew out the candles... crisis averted!

This mommy is not an artist - by ANY stretch. But I asked God to give me the hands of an artist to create a cake that would bless our boy. I think God answered my prayers.

Finally it was time for presents... the cousins seemed as excited as the birthday boy!





And then we relaxed...

Happy Birthday, James! We are so grateful to God for blessing us with your life. You bring us so much joy. We love your sweetness and persistence. We love your cautious nature that still eagerly tries new things. We love your busy-ness. We love how your heart seems soft toward our training and toward the things of God. We are so eager for you to love and trust the Savior. We pray every day for God to grant you His gracious gift of salvation. We look forward to all the joys ahead. We love you very much. --Mommy & Daddy

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Sep 21, 2008

The Dearest Place on Earth

Last Sunday as we approached the building where we worship, James said what sounded to me like, "tsch-uh-tch." I wasn't positive if he had said church, so I repeated it in the sentence, "Yes, James, we are going to church!" He didn't say it again, so I guessed that was the end of it - he must not have said what I'd thought.

But this morning, as we were getting ready to leave the house, our boy surprised me when he said it again. So I repeated my same sentence from last week. 

Then as we crested the hill near our meeting place before he could see it for sure, James inhaled with an excited sound then waited a moment. As his suspicions were confirmed, he excitedly pointed out the window and said with great confidence, "tsch-uh-tch." 

The sweetest moment, though, came when we were leaving today. The service had ended. We had played on the playground. James was contentedly fastened into his carseat. Suddenly our boy became unhappy as we began to drive away. He started pointing and crying as he said, "tsch-uh-tch, tsch-uh-tch" again and again.

As sad as I was for his disappointment in that moment, I felt immense gratitude to see the happiness our boy relates that place already. What a wonderful gift that he enjoys his class and looks forward to being there each week. (And I know it's not the snacks that draw him - he can't eat the crackers!)

So this is a special Thank You to selfless servants like Emily B, Charles, Lena and others who make Toddlers 2 such a special, welcoming place for a little boy whose heart is being positioned to hear the gospel in the years ahead because of your sacrifice and investment.


Awhile ago, I thought James might be an early talker. He was a babbler and seemed to imitate sounds/words all the time. Perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part. For as he has moved closer to two, his vocabulary has seemed stalled at 8 to 10 consistent words ("da-da" being a catchall when he's told to say anything). So we've pursued some help through our county's infant & toddler program.

We had two interviews in mid-August and early September and then our first official session with a speech pathologist this past Thursday. In our area, you qualify for services if your child is at least 25% delayed in a single development area. James slid in just under the wire. He tested at or above his age (22 months at time of testing) in all areas except expressive speech. His receptive speech and cognition are quite high. But in expressive speech he tested at 16 months.

Our "teacher" - Miss Nancy - said that it is not unusual for boys to be delayed talkers. It takes work, and many of them don't like to work that hard. But ever since our first interview after I asked for tips on how to help James, he's been slowly progressing. Over the past several weeks, he has added the following sounds and words to his vocabulary:
"nay" - horse
"bee-beep" - car
"bah" - sheep
"eee-aww" - donkey
"wack" - what a duck says
"OOOAAARRRR" - lion, tiger and bear
"aaaaeeaaahh" - baby crying

"bae-bee" - baby (referring both to real ones and to dolls)
"duck" - duck
"guck-ck" - milk
"tcheee" - cheese (when the camera comes out + for the food)
"tchees-uh" - Jesus
"tschuh" - shoe
"tsicks" - six
"tsocks" - sock

And this one cracks Ben and me up because he says it so often:
"eh-ih-iz" - there it is (which he says to refer to anything we're looking for, any place he recognizes as we approach it or any person he is wanting to see who has come into his view)

One thing I have to remember to ask the teacher is why he said some things for a time in the past and then stopped saying them altogether. For example, last spring, he would say, "Deh-yi, Det, Doe" and then go down the slide; "dot-it" - dropped it; "goo guck" everytime he saw a school bus - now that's just "guck"; "dah-ti" - Dorothy and a few others.

In the meantime, I am learning a few things about children's speech development. One thing the teacher said is that boys whose parents use more "baby talk" - two word phrases in the sing-song voice - usually can talk more quickly because they have sounds they can easily repeat. But their cognition might be a bit lower overall (they catch up, of course). 

So our "homework" for the next couple of weeks: I am to engage with James in something called "child-directed play" for a couple of 15-minute sessions each day. Basically, during that time, I follow his lead in the play time and use just two-word phrases or sounds as we play without correcting, teaching or asking any questions. Interestingly, Miss Nancy said to limit those play times, because James expects me to use normal language with him - and although he can't repeat much of what I say, he fully understands it, and prefers it.

She said his cognition (which registered in the 96th percentile) is high because I have been reading to him (not just describing pictures on the page), using complete sentences and explaining everything we do. That was very encouraging! But she burst out laughing when I tried to practice the two-word sing-song thing and at one point said, "antlers caught." So the point of that exercise is to use words they can repeat... oh. Haha!

I am so grateful for the blessing that we have this service available to us. And I'm excited to see our boy learn to express himself clearly. May he develop his daddy's ability to speak concisely but not mind his mommy's habit of too many words!

Sep 17, 2008


Our friend, Britt (aka Taluli), just sent us these pictures of our boy enjoying corn on the cob. He does love to eat!

Sep 15, 2008

James' Favorite Things

A few weeks ago, Ben and I bought James a toy.

This is a rather unusual thing.

Because James has so many doting family members, it has not been necessary for us to purchase much of anything for this boy - clothes, shoes, toys. Even our neighbors have passed along clothes and toys.

So when we were out one day and James happened upon a display of various vehicles and accompanying animals/people/etc, I took no small delight in noting how interested he was in them. Ben was in a different part of the store, so I promised James that we would go find Daddy and bring him back to see what he thought about getting one.

James & I wound our way back to Ben. I gave Ben some quick details. Then we asked James to take us back to the display so we could show Daddy.

Instantly our toddler headed straight back to the toy of his dreams. With one tiny detour, he found it.

We set one of each of the four combinations in front of James. He went back to the same one time and again, never wavering from his original choice.

We picked up that box and told him, "We're taking this one home with us, Son." His excitement spread through his whole body. After strapping him into his stroller, we placed the long box in front of him. He sat proudly holding onto his treasure.

Ben and I stood for a moment enjoying our son's pleasure. Tears sprang to my eyes as I felt the pleasure of God in blessing our son and tasted a sip of His joy in delighting us.

Ever since, from the moment James wakes up each morning until the time we put him in his crib at night, our Diddle is either talking about or playing with his "guck" - a truck and horse trailer - that he fills with his various animals.

He lines them up and fits them all in, making the animals sounds as he goes.

Sometimes, he pulls Ben or me down to play with him.

Sometimes he gets frustrated when the animals fall over. (He's learning to ask for help.)

Sometimes he asks to play with his "guck" at the table after breakfast, or to take it in the car with us, or to have it come with him to the potty.

When he heads upstairs to bed at night, wherever he is (whether he can see the truck or not), he starts waving and saying, "guh-gye guck" as we promise that for sure his truck will be here when he wakes up.

Saturday Adventures with Daddy

James loves his "ventures" with Daddy on Saturday mornings. As often as possible, Ben takes our boy out to make memories together.

On more than one occasion, James has "requested" to go see the trains. When Ben asked where he wanted to go that day, James replied, "chooo-chooo!"

Oh the happiness this sight brings our sweet son.

Sep 12, 2008

Ben's "Adopted Family" Reunion

About the time Ben started high school, he & his buddy Steve met and became best friends. They have great stories of all the time they spent together working on cars late at night, riding dirt bikes and snowmobiles, working for other people. They lived life to the fullest. 

Over Labor Day every year, Steve's mom's family has a reunion at the homestead. Ben has attended for a long time. I went once after Ben and I were married. And James & I got to go again this year.

James entered little-boy heaven that weekend.

There were dogs.

There was dirt.

There were trucks (the steel kind that have lasted through decades of hard play by busy boys).

And there was a side-by-side.

On Saturday night, they built a huge bonfire and roasted corn.

The weekend was simply beautiful.