Sunday, July 29, 2012

saturday sillies and sweet stuff - very much delayed

Well, on a Sunday since I've missed the last few Saturdays.
  • Babu said, "When pigs fly." Bubby overheard and said, "Pigs don't fly, they walk."
  • Bugaboo is PULLING UP to stand. Huge milestone. He is so proud of himself - smiles each time he gets up. We are pretty proud of him, too. He is cruisin' around furniture now, too. Even the corners.
  •  Buuby: "I'm a MAN. I'm a MacB____ man."
  •  Bubby: "I want to go to Zumba. I want to see Miss Sue." The Hubs: "You can't go to Zumba. It's just for girls. Maybe you can try pilates." Bubby: "Potties?"
  • Bubby (upon seeing Bug's band-aid): "Oh, G____ has an owie. He has a band-aid. Make it feel better. I'll kiss it. 
  • Bugaboo loves music. During the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics he moved his arms and upper body (his way of dancing) to all of the British pop music.
  • While I was cooking dinner, Bubby came out of his room and told me, "I did a no-no."  It took me a minute to figure out he had gotten into the baby lotion.
  • Bubby: There's water everywhere.
    Me: No, that's Bugaboo's drool.
     Bubby: I'm sitting in DROOL?!
  • Bubby: (randomly in his room) It smells like breakfast burrito in here.
  •  Bubby to Bugaboo: Do you want to go play with brother?
     Bubby to me: He wants to play. He wants to play with toys. He wants to play with brother.
  • Bubby enjoys playing pretend instruments while listening to music. He shouts out what he is playing. "Guitar!" "Piano." "Violin." "Drums!" "Boaf!"  (We are not sure what a boaf is.)
  • Bugaboo saying his first word, "Go-guh" (yogurt)
  • Me to Buuby: You may take a nap in your bed or you may spend naptime on the naughty rug. Bubby: Rug. - The child found out that wasn't such a fun choice as he thought it was going to be. Then he started calling out to Jesus.
  • Bugaboo finding his hair and his belly when you ask him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

to Bugaboo: on milestones and mysteries

Dear Bugaboo,

In your nineteen months so far on this earth you have already taught me so much. You have taught me to pray consistently for you and to seek others to pray for you when I just didn't have the strength to pray any more. You have taught me the beauty of hard work and the gift of the everyday miracles. You have reminded me that schedules and checklists, while they have a place for some things, are not what determine joy.

I love the way you light up. Most of the time you are a pretty serious little fellow. You observe. You wait. You stare people down. But when the mood is right, you crack up at something silly. Sometimes I sit and just listen to you laughing with your brother. I want to record it, but I fear missing the moment to go find the video camera. I know that your giggles won't always sound like that. So I want to clench that precious sound tight in my fist and only open it up to listen to now and then  in years to come. I love watching you play with Daddy and your big brother. You want in on the rough-housing. Each day you are looking more like a little boy and less like a baby. You are starting to imitate what they do, and my heart feels like it could explode I am that happy. But that happiness also makes me fight back tears because your days are going by too quickly.

Little boy, I want to tell you that you amaze me. Over the last couple of weeks you have had many milestone moments. You pulled up into a standing position. You put in.You said your first word (besides names) - "go-guh," also known as yogurt. Each skill has been prayed for and worked for with therapy, persistence, and tears. My favorite thing about these milestones is your look when you accomplish them. With the standing you look so proud each and every time.  With the putting in, you looked nonchalant, as if you were saying, "Yeah, I can do this. No big deal." Except it is a big deal. It took months, MONTHS, for you to demonstrate this task. And the talking - well, you are starting to imitate more sounds and adding a little intonation. At the dinner table or in the car, you sound so happy to be a part of the conversation. And we are so happy to have you  join in.

Everything is still a mystery. I don't know what milestones you will hit in the coming weeks and months. I don't know what the next doctor visits will tell us. I know that it really doesn't matter that much. I know that the thing that really matters is that you are mine, and I love you very much.

Love,
Mama



*Linking up with the MOBSociety for "Let's hear it for the boys!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

gaining perspective on friendships

Friendship doesn't look quite the same, now that I have been on this earth for more than three decades. In the early days it involved sharing Barbie dolls and choreographing dances to New Kids on the Block cassettes. These friendships shifted to talking about cute boys and teenage drama and griping about parents or siblings. My dorm life days consisted of several girls sharing heartache and laughter and a pizza, making ice cream runs in the freezing rain, and taking lots of walks around campus once the sun set. All of these "best four years" were set to the soundtrack of Sara Groves and Jennifer Knapp.

Leaving the cocoon of friendship that childhood, adolescence and the college years offered is like the shock a baby gets while exiting the warmth of the womb.  "Put me back in!" we seem to cry, looking back wistfully at those days when friendships were deep and constantly available.

I've been disappointed by friendship in adulthood mainly because it hasn't been what friendship in the earlier days was. Partly this was due to unrealistic expectation. Some was due to the phase of life I am currently in. Another factor is personality. And then fill in the rest of the equation with various odds and ends of the mess we call "real life."

But tonight I sit here and realize that friendship, though different in my phase, still is there. It  is still  a beautiful gift, just packaged differently. It's no longer sleepovers or two hour long phone conversations or spur of the moment trips. Instead it has become friends who come for coffee on a random Thursday afternoon during nap time or a Tuesday evening for dinner.  It's the out-of-the-blue call from one of my favorite cousins on her way to Target. Friendship these days are the hugs  on a Sunday morning and prayers for me - real prayers for me - throughout the week. It's the gals who watch me Zumba and do not laugh. It's the facebook messages and emails discussing books and blogs, work issues and potty-training, too.  It's the friends who come to town to visit that I can pick up with where we left off.

Tonight friendship looks just a little bit brighter because I am looking at it from a new perspective. And there is also  the potential of friendships just on the horizon. Slowly I am learning to not worry about the people who don't want to be my friend, and instead to enjoy the blessing of the people who accept me just the way I am.


*side note: I am still figuring out some other things about friendship, so I will most likely wrestle those issues on here in the not so distant future.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

a love letter to my body

Dear Body,

I don't even know exactly how to write this. Strange, isn't it?  The woman with all of the words is suddenly silent? This morning you and I made our way to the dressing room. I'd been putting this task off for months, but I could do so no longer. The lights and mirror gave me a greenish tint, and I laugh thinking about how as much as my body has changed over the last fifteen or so years, dressing rooms have not.

In over a decade and a half we have changed.  Right in the middle of my semi-soft tummy is that hole which once held a belly button ring. The piercing I got a few months after graduating from Evangel, which forbid such a practice.  That empty dot above my navel reminds me of how I balance rule-following with my independent streak.  I think of our old flat belly and I smile and say, thank you and farewell. To everything there is a season, and that season of our life is done.

Today I saw a mid-section that has given birth to two sweet baby boys within eighteen months.  My preemies left me no stretch marks on my skin, but the NICU weeks left stretch marks on my soul. I saw a body who has nursed two out of the last three years. There were a lot of tears in that process, so I thank you for helping me endure that privilege. I wouldn't trade back my current state for my perkier state for all of the money in the world. The changes in my body remind me that I am a mommy - the thing I have wanted to be more than anything else. Change is good, even if society doesn't always affirm these changes.

We have changed in other ways, too. My hair has been it's natural color for a few years now, no longer dyed red, like in my "My-So-Called-Life" phase of high school or highlighted on a regular basis like in my college years. And remember the time right when I met The Hubs when I had a streak of pink? Thanks for being the type of hair that has allowed me to experiment with cuts and colors. I'm sorry for being so boring lately, but I appreciate you working with me in this phase of life.

I'm sorry for doubting you in my teens and early twenties - for calling you ugly and awkward.  I'm sorry for saying mean things in recent days, too. And by recent I mean nearly every day of my adult life wishing away the marks on my face and cursing the nose and the eyebrows that make me want to cry.  I will try to stop doing that.

Thank you for being tall enough that I will never have to hem anything. That is a blessing for someone who cannot sew a button. Thank you for long fingers that can pound out the keys when I am in need of some piano-therapy. Thank you for the strange way that I walk, with my toes down and heels up. If that was the biggest thing I was made fun of for in my youth, than I am a pretty lucky person.

Thank you for holding up with me. I promise to really try to do more than Zumba once a week to get us in shape. Not because I need to look a certain way, but because I want us to be around for quite awhile. And our current routine (or lack thereof) of exercise may be an even dumber decision than the belly-button ring.

Love,
Amanda

(me about two years ago with baby Bubby and pregnant with Bugaboo)
joining the SheLoves synchroblog: A Love Letter to my Body.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

forgiveness and reconciliation

Blood runs thicker than water
thuds over and over in my head.
I choke down a sarcastic laugh
and fight back the tears
as another phrase echoes back in response.


Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

He has fought the fight for our forgiveness and reconciliation,
not only with Him but with each other.
And it cost Him everything to freely give
not just salvation but also His power to us.

His power to walk in the Spirit
which has nothing to do with singing songs
or showing up to church
or writing a check
but everything to do with
love-joy-peace-longsuffering-gentleness-goodness-faith-meekness-temperance


What then would give any of us the right to say,
 There will be no forgiveness. There will be no reconciliation.
The blood of my Jesus has paid for these gifts.
What right have we to tell Him no?

As we regularly take the sacraments
reminding us of His costly forgiveness,
how can we willingly keep unforgiveness  
stuffed to overflowing in our hearts?

If we do not forgive, are we really His?
For identifying ourselves with Christ
means identifying ourselves with reconciliation.
I will not make light of His sacrifice.
I will not tell Him no.
The thought of hearing Him say, Depart from Me. I never knew you.
fills me with much more than fear.
It overwhelms me with deep sadness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the reminders of what it is really all about

I read Ann Voskamp's post today, and a lump forms in my throat as tears well in my eyes. I want to sit and converse  at a table with this woman.  She constantly reminds me of the hard truths in a beautiful, gentle way. I need a near-by woman or two to speak into me like this.


"What I am trying to tell you is that no matter where you end up, where the road leads: You can have as much God as you want. As much joy in Him as you want. The real believers relentlessly believe that. The world or circumstances will try to dupe you differently– but it’s a law as irrefutable as gravity itself: no matter what — as much God as you want.
Is there anything else worth wanting or having?"

I realize how much I focus on circumstances, situations, and other things I often can't change. I focus on my struggles with  some people who share my faith. I find it difficult when people will not have a conversation and confront the hard things in life. I find it frustrating when people avoid me instead of just saying what they need to say. These frustrations lead me to wanting to give up on Christian community, on people who share the same label as me. I find it hard to not want to wallow in self-pity or run away to a new community; I am tempted to ignore the need for accountability and just be a doormat or to just give up on this faith-community thing entirely. Optimism does not come easy to me. It's easier than in my past, but my high standards for people (self included) often set me up for frustrations and disappointment.

And I realize how much I focus on the negatives and the things I want to change, and how that blocks out what God may want to do in and through me. Every battle is not mine to fight. I will stand up for what I need to, and then I will get out of the way. I need to keep looking to Jesus and listening to His voice. He reminds me of all that He is doing, of all of the positives of His community whether that is through another blog post I read, through emails from older saints who offer insight and encouragement or through friends from the young adult group who share life with us, who pray for my kids and show me love even with all of my flaws.

Today I remember that there is a lot of good going on in the Kingdom of God. And I can have as much of God as I want and be a part of what He is doing.

Friday, July 6, 2012

a letter to Bubby in the midst of nap time shenanigans

Dear Bubby,

At just a smidgen past three years old, I can already see so much of your personality.Right now it is nap-time, and as usual you are refusing to sleep. Until recently you have used nap time to get caught up on your reading, and every now and then you would fall asleep with a book, lovingly in your arms.  These days, nap time is when you are displaying your persistent and independent streak.  Your books and animals end up out of your bed, and most days I catch you standing on your Duplo wagon to try to reach the top sections of your bookshelf.

During your waking hours, you are such a curious boy.  I have found many ink pens disassembled and only partially put back into working order.  You have yet to meet a book you did not like, though each week you have a new favorite.  This week I have read the library books Oh No George and Duckling Gets A Cookie probably two hundred times each. Luckily, this week I enjoy your favorites. Some weeks (like when you are obsessed with the cow books) I find myself trying to skip paragraphs or pages.

You are shy in a crowd, but a ham with your family and our closest friends.  At today's story time, you listened just perfectly during the stories and laughed at the funny parts (even though most of the other kids did not), but during the parachute/music portion you resisted participating.  I wondered if you felt about the parachute activity how I have always felt about gym class. Are you already anti-group participation?

You test me, Bubby. You test the boundaries just enough to remind me that you are three and that you are human. I am relieved that most of this testing is done at home, rather than in public. Of course a part of me would love if you were always an easy going, compliant child, but deep down I know this testing serves a purpose. Through it you will understand the great balance of independence and authority, discipline and grace. And as I teach you during these testing moments, you teach me so much more - about self-control, about faith, about forgiveness, and about love.

I see you right now, through your open doorway. I hear you, too, banging a Lego that I thought I had confiscated and will now have to take. As I go in again to remind you IT'S NAP TIME, I will also remind myself how much I love you. I love the way you nurture your brother and your stuffed animals. I love the way you laugh at the ridiculous things we say and do. I love the way you dance without shame to I'm in the Lord's Army and Doodle Bugs. I love the way you say your Bible verse with enthusiasm a dozen times a day. I love you  at the moments your behaviors drive me craziest because it is then I realize the most how much you are like me. And I love you because you are mine. Simply that, little boy. I love you because you are mine.

Love,
Mommy


Thursday, July 5, 2012

five minute friday - story

Joining with Lisa-Jo and Five Minute Friday - This week the topic is story. The rules are no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. And five minutes to get it done.

Go.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She spent most of her free time reading. In fact, she could often be found in her bed with a flashlight trying to read one more Baby-Sitter Club book before she got caught. And she usually did.
Stories have always been her escape. She does not remember ever learning to read. She does remember her life long friends -Charlotte and Wilbur, Laura and Mary, Peter and Fudge, Kristi, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacy.

Stories continue to offer her relief and friendship even years later. When the world feels harsh, all she has to do is open some pages. In the black and white print, she finds understanding. She sees pieces of her rising action and her antagonist there. Stories always offer hope. Even the ones that end with tears in the wee hours of the morning somehow reassure her that there is something bigger than this life out there.
A good story is better than pretty much anything else that's for sale.

Stop. Five Minute Friday

an easy and fabulous salad

About thirty minutes before lunch time Bugaboo fell from his standing position right onto his face.

 His lip busted right open, and after much ice and lovin' and a dose of Tylenol, my littlest boy decided to take an early nap. Which meant he missed out on my fabulous lunch that I threw together at the last minute. A lunch made of mostly leftovers, and yet it made the rest of us very happy.

  • Bag o' romaine that needed to be used up today
  • Leftover BBQ chicken from yesterday - even more tender and flavorful today - cut up a bit
  • Corn
  • Leftover black beans from the kiddos' lunch the other day
  • tortilla chips - crumbled
  • ranch and BBQ drizzled on top

Easy. Filling. And just as good as a similar salad I've had at Panera before, for a fraction of the cost.
Here is my picture - taken with my phone because I was halfway through eating. I'm not a food blogger, but I thought I'd smack this up here.
Yep, lousy photo. But fabulous summer taste.

And now a couple more pictures of my favorite subjects.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

a mid-summer Mac update

I don't where you all are, but around here it is h-o-t. Hot. I am going to blame my lack of consistent blogging lately on the heat. I think I am going to blame everything else that I don't like on the heat as well. Some days nine o'clock rolls around, and I find myself wondering, what did I do all day?

So far the boys and I have spent our days running our errands as early as humanly possible for a mommy with a three year old and a one year old. We have ventured to the air conditioned playground at the Chick-fil-a before the lunchtime crowds arrive. On this expedition I discovered the chicken and biscuit. Unfortunately I discovered this on day one of our return to trying to eat gluten-free. Why? Why? WHY?  Good gracious I love gluten.

The boys and I have made trips to the library, and we sometimes remember to time things right for story hour. We have earned a free food card from the summer reading program, which means ice cream trips to various businesses. It is too hot to go to the zoo, so we will mostly likely see it again in the fall, when everyone else goes back to work and school and the temperatures return to manageable.  Yesterday, we built a fort with sheets and chairs in the living room. At first the boys just wanted to destroy it, but eventually it became a boat, on which Bubby spied pirates and sharks and crocodiles. Fun times. The weekends have been filled with visits from old friends who have been in town, a cook out and a pool party. It has been great to not just sit around the house on Saturdays, but I think this month our social calendar slows down a bit and is overtaken by Bugaboo things.

In addition to physical therapy twice a week now (one through First Steps in home and one at a local out-patient facility), later this month we will (finally) be adding speech and O.T.  So July includes therapies, an IFSP meeting, getting his cyst (finally) removed, and a follow up appointment about that cyst. Therefore my plans to perhaps venture home this month have pretty much been squashed. On the upside, I don't have to spend seven hours by myself in the car with my children. On the downside I miss out on Happy Joe's and Whitey's ice cream... and oh yeah, seeing my lovely family.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, we decided to enroll Bubby in a two-mornings a week preschool next year. Someone is helping us with the cost of that, so we are thankful.  I am not someone who felt my child needed to go to preschool since I feel like I know how to teach my child. (And since I never went and I turned out so fabulous, haha). However, I have discovered I do not enjoy doing art projects with my son on a regular basis at this stage of development.  True confession: I hate trying to help him figure out how to use scissors. The other thing that tipped me over to the "let's try the preschool thing" was Bugaboo.  He has absolutely no one-on-one time with me. Two mornings a week to focus on Bugaboo while Bubby is away may be just the extra thing to help my youngest gain some ground with his development.

So that's the mid-summer update from the Mac-family. Oh, and The Hubs and I had a date night. God bless the people we sometimes trade baby-sitting with and the one who sent us a giftcard for dinner. We ate too much, played putt-putt in 100 degree heat, and had an enjoyable childfree three hours.  Perhaps more exciting things will occur in the weeks ahead, but if not, it will still have been a pretty decent summer.