25 February 2010

A pet

Every parent eventually must reflect their child's requests for an animal of their own.

I remember begging for years to get a dog before we finally got our shaggy cocker spaniel, Lucky. When she came home, I proudly led her by the red leash all around the yard and fed her morning and night, really I did! She faithfully brought stability to my family for more than 15 years.

I tried having a dog in my adult life, but it just didn't work. So when Walter and I began to feel the parental urge, we decided to get a hedgehog. We loved P.Rick Lee for several years and carried him around with us on the weekends to the farmers market, Coffee Hound, and on walks up and down the trail. He was a great test for parenting and actually the specific parenting we do with a regularly prickly little boy.

Well, that prickly boy put in his first pet petition yesterday and because I'm still chuckling over the conversation, I want to record it here.

Asher: Mom, I want an animal.
Me: Oh, that would be fun, maybe a hedgehog would be nice.
Asher: No, I want a bird.
Me: Really, a bird? I don't like birds, they are noisy.
Asher: But I want a bird.
Me: Well, what color of bird do you want?
Asher: Mom, let's not talk about color, but let's talk about what type of bird.
Me: Ok, what type of bird do you want?
Asher: I want a crow!!

A crow! Not a dog, not a cat, not even a hedgehog. The first animal my son begged for is a crow.

Anyone ever have luck with a pet crow?

24 February 2010

5 Lessons from preschool

When I arrived everyone stopped their play to tell me it was Asher's birthday. Many also excitedly told their ages and whether their birthday was next month or if they had turned 4 six months ago. The excitement of a new adult in the room quickly ended and everyone went back to playing dinosaurs, house, or to making creations out of play dough.
Lesson #1: Greet guests with as much enthusiasm as a preschooler and they will immediately feel at ease.

Asher proudly showed me around to different places in the room and pointed out friends who are cool. But then the clean-up bell rang and he scurried off to do what the teachers have trained him to do. I stood amazed at how quickly 4 years can jump into action when it comes to cleaning.
Lesson #2: Get a clean-up bell and expect it to work.

When all the toys were cleaned up everyone took a book and went to their carpet square for library time. Not knowing this was next on the schedule, I tried to talk Asher into showing me something else but he insisted on taking his Peter Pan book back to his square alone.
Lesson #3: Stick to a schedule as much as possible.

I did interrupt library time to take pictures of my boy and his friends. Remember he's not in junior high, but only 3 &4 year old preschool. So I felt comfortable snapping away, confident he wouldn't mind my obvious excitement to record the moment. But I knew I crossed a line when Asher whined, "Mo-om, stop!" All the other kids kept cheesing it up for the camera, but the poor embarrassed son sat there obviously begging me to stop.
Lesson #4: Consider how my actions create long-term emotional consequences for my son.

After washing up, everyone came to the table to sing to the birthday boy and enjoy their sprinkled doughnut. That was the part I most wanted to be there for. I wanted to see Asher be celebrated. Although it looks like he will enjoy the spotlight about as little as his mommy and daddy, the smile he tried to hide kept peeking out and I knew he felt special.
Lesson #5: Know when its time to celebrate kids just for being who they are.

23 February 2010

Going to School

I'm going to school today! I get to be one of those moms who arrives with a box of treats to load those preschoolers up with pure sugar!

Since September I've heard about getting hot and sweaty in the gym, dressing the weather bear, and even about some kids who "don't know the Golden Rule." Today I get to see for myself.

Any of you dear friends who are preschooler teachers, I do not envy you and would NEVER survive 5 minutes on my own with so many three and four year olds. But I am so curious about what happens during those three hours when I get my errands done twice a week.

Granted, I'll only be there for snacktime and won't get to see everything that happens, but I might finally get the story straight about how cool Evan is or why another friend didn't share the fire engine.

I can't wait to hear the kids sing happy birthday to my sweet Asher and I will relish this day when he still wants me to be in his classroom.

18 February 2010

New sign

Asher hung a new sign on our porch last night!

You remember the No Dogs sign, the No Babies sign, and the I love you sign from last fall? Now there is a new one. This one reads

"I don't like mommy's food."


He did say it with more tact than his mommy has by labeling it the "This is not my favorite food" sign. But I hear that phrase at every meal when I don't make pizza, peanut butter and jelly, or dinosaur nuggets.

Granted I am an adventurous cook. Other than our favorite potato soup I rarely make anything twice. We try things in fish sauce and so much curry that Walter puts a guard over the baby's mouth and nostrils to protect them from too much spice in the air. And those pea pancakes really were too much.

But I don't think I'm a bad cook. We try to eat healthy and haven't had a radish sandwich since our CSA ended almost two years ago. But our dinners remain long events that eat hours out of our evening every day.

Celery he will eat. Red peppers he gobbles like candy. But spaghetti? NO! Enchiladas? Nope. Stir fry with rice? Not a chance.

So I will endure the latest sign referring to my cooking and trust Walter that everything I cook really isn't horrible.

While he was at it, he added fresh paint to the No Babies sign just so we know he still doesn't want babies in the house. Good thing Amelie is almost one and will soon graduate to the toddler label.

Any guesses on what the next sign will be?

12 February 2010

Magic Leaf

Two leaves directed Asher and Walter up and down the street last weekend.
They weren't just any leaves, but Magic leaves.

Leaves that told Asher which way to turn, whether they should go a little further down the street or if they should turn around and come back home. Through the snow and ice the leaves kept my boys outside far longer than I expected and even created worry when I couldn't see them playing in the backyard anymore.

That's because the Magic leaves instructed they should go for a walk. Every few steps, Asher would stop and ask the leaves if they were there yet. They weren't so on they went until they reached their destination.

Through the rest of the day, Asher consulted the leaves for guidance about what to play and what to eat. He even fell asleep tightly holding on to one of the stem's leaves.

I don't have a Magic leaf that I can hold, but I do have Someone available to direct my decisions and I want to more regularly consult Him.

The Holy Spirit.

I can't explain how I hear Him. I don't know how to describe when I feel His prompting of some action I should take, but I know after I've done what He has directed, there is no doubt in my mind that He led me.

He is available for consultation.

He wants to direct my steps and He does provide wisdom when I ask.

He's not a Magic leaf, but I absolutely believe He is real.

09 February 2010

Loving my husband

I love my husband. I do.

He is an amazing man who serves our family unselfishly every day.

Asher and Amelie bombard him when he comes home from work and he always greets them with kisses and hugs. No matter what kind of day he has left at the office, he gives me a kiss and willingly morphs into a daddy dinosaur, dragon, or bad guy so Asher can defeat him while defending princess Amelie.

But when it comes to showing him how much I love and respect him, I regularly fall short. For my own benefit I put together some creative ways of showing him love without spending any money.

That list is featured on today's Hearts at Home blog.

05 February 2010


In the middle of our preschool activities, we saw her spread across the floor.

I didn't immediately recognize her because she had not visited for a long time.

First we noticed her in the living room and then we saw she had spread all the way into the hall.

I wanted to lay in her and soak up all of her goodness hoping she could pull me out of the Midwestern blahs that set in every February.

Asher even noticed and walked along her path.

Sure, she illuminated all the dustbunnies I had missed even during these days of house showings but I didn't mind.

Her brightness brought cheer into our home and gave me hope that darkness will not always flood our days.

The sunbeam that shone through our window last week was a welcome visitor.

Its funny how just her one skinny line pressed the pause button on our busy morning and we awed over her presence. When she appears in July I take her for granted and even shield myself from her at times. But on these drab winter days I crave more time with her.

She is such a good reminder of the refreshment of God's light in my life. As time with Him all too often gets left out of hectic days, I'm quick to forget how much spending time reading His word brings refreshment and floods my spirit with peace of His ultimate goodness.

And so I thank Miss Sunbeam for visiting our house last week to refresh my spirit physically and remind me of how to refresh my spirit spiritually.

02 February 2010

Loving your kids

I think its become required reading to read "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman as an engaged couple. Walter and I read it together on a drive to our first Thanksgiving at the cabin and it has provided a lot of insight into each other over the years.

But as with any good theory, Chapman has taken the concept and applied it to our relationships with our children too. Since love is the hot topic now that Valentines Day is approaching, I put together some tips on how to show love to kids in each of their love languages. You can read it over on the Hearts at Home website today!