January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kirby!


If I paid you a salary out of my own earnings for every hour that you put in, for the quality of work you turn out, for the dedication to your work place, I would have to take out loans — a lot of them — just to pay you. What you bring to this family is invaluable to me!

You are the most precious thing to me. "A wife of noble character is her husbands crown" (Prov. 12:4). You are my most treasured possession! You are my crown! And not like a Burger King crown. "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all!" (Prov. 21:39) I feel like the grandest of kings with you as my bride.

I have never seen sweeter children and it is a complete joy (and learning experience) to watch you love them the way that you do. I also haven't seen many sassier children, but, obviously, I love that characteristic. The fruit of your tireless work are these precious children who so tenderly love Jesus and love others.

You not only pour yourself out to your family, you do so with so many college girls, so many young moms, so many friends. You are a blessing to all who know you — to all who meet you!

It is truly amazing to get to watch you grow into the mature woman that you are. If I was to be so bold as to ask God for one more blessing outside of this precious gift of His Son, it would surely be for you — a companion who proves God's sovereignty that it is not good for man to be alone.

"How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1)

I love you and I hope your day is special. Happy Birthday!

Char, The most blessed

January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Asher! Love, Daddy


I cannot believe that you are three today. You have grown up so quickly. Last night I asked you to consider staying two and you were pretty adamant and excited about being three. How could I hold you back? I wouldn't dare. You are far too passionate, creative, caring and adventurous. It would only be right to allow these things to grow right alongside and inside of my precious son. I'm thankful that of all the talents and gifts that God has blessed me with that he relented to give me the ability to stunt your growth. For I would surely, and selfishly, keep you two for awhile longer. It was far from terrible. It was truly delightful and a joy.

However, I do think that I will take up some serious weight training so that, as long as you would allow, I could...
continue to fly you to bed,
keep the upper-hand in our wrestling matches and sword fights,
pin you down and tickle you,
throw you up high in the air and watch your smile on the way down, and
carry you in my arms for long stretches of time.

It is such a pleasure to watch you serve and love your Momma and your MitTwayne. You are such a considerate leader. I love how you are always longing to join in and help Momma or me with whatever task we are doing — and how you're so upset when you cannot do so. You are so faithful and so generous.

I pray that all of these good things that God has started in you will take root in the good news of what Jesus has done for you and will grow to bring more glory to God and more joy to those he puts in your life. I know it has mine.

Thank you for agreeing to still be my little boy despite your plans to proceed as a three year old. You are so sweet. I love you.

You are my blessing.


January 16, 2010

McKlayne: 18 Months

Some of you wise, older women encouraged me to document this time of motherhood-what the kids are doing, the things they are saying, how they are growing and learning.  So, I am hoping to keep a better record-both written and through pictures and video...if my video camera ever gets fixed.  For now the digital camera quality will have to suffice.

(Ryan, we really can't thank you enough for these precious pictures.  We will forever cherish them.)

Baby girl, I cannot believe that you are 18 months old!  How quickly you have grown and are becoming not-so-babyish anymore.  In some ways you still act like much more of a baby than Asher was at this age (and for this I am grateful) maybe because when he was 18 months old, you were the new baby?  But, in others, it seems as if you are doing things that he just began doing in the last several months. You love to imitate most everything that he does!
Look how tiny you were:
(If you are feeling left out right now because you never received one of these of our hairy little monkey, don't fret! No one did.  I still have a pile of 50 of them sitting in a box somewhere.  I never got around to mailing them and when I found them again, McKlayne was 6 months old.  Awesome, right?  Ave asked me how I got so lucky to always have amazing photographers as friends...I don't know!  But I love them.  Lyns did these before she "retired." This was just one of about a hundred good ones...I don't think I ever got to posting these either because I didn't want to ruin the surprise before I sent the birth announcement. I should win mother of the year.  Maybe for her second birthday I can post them or something.  Someone remind me.)

You two love to imagine...most of the time this is initiated by Asher, but sometimes you take the reigns and begin the game: you pretend like you are dogs while you crawl around on your knees, pant, whine, bark and lick me or each other.  You puppies love to get your head or behind your ears scratched and often beg me for "treats" or water in bowl on the floor.  You little monkeys like to climb and bounce all over the furniture, point to bananas and say, "Ou Ou, Ah Ah." (Though you only manage the "Ah Ah," right now.)  You two are also ferocious little tigers that "roaaar" and giggle when you scare me.

For some reason, your favorite "show" (as you say) right now is Go, Deigo, Go!  You, often request "Diego" or "Mickey" when given the choice of want you want to watch.  Maybe you like Diego because Asher prefers it over any other show, right now?  When I turn it on, you excitedly look at him and say, "Asher, Diego!" Asher pretends like he is "Diego" and calls you, "Alicia" which is appropriate since that is Diego's daredevil sister from the show.  Throughout the day Asher will say, "Come on, Alicia, let's go save the {always a different animal}" and you will follow behind him down the hall back to his room.

You are, for sure, his faithful sidekick.  You love that boy will all that is in you.  If you are the first to awake from your nap, you always try to say "Asher!" loudly to wake him up as we walk by the closed door to his room.  But then you enjoy our cuddle/book time....whether it lasts 5 or 20 minutes before he wakes up.  As soon as your hear him waking, you jump out of my lap and run down that hall towards his room, ready to greet him with a hug and turn your cheek, so he can kiss you.  What a princess you are.

Your vocabulary has really taken off in the last month. (This is where I definitely think you differ from Asher.) "Uh" means "Uh Huh/Yes" although you also, very firmly, say "No" most times that you're asked a question...even if you do mean yes.  You will repeat almost anything or any name that you are asked to repeat...and, often, it is surprisingly clear.

Before bedtime/naptime you will put your hand up to your face and call out, "Paci, are you?  Bankie, are you?" (Paci, where are you? Blankie, where are you?)  When you spot them, you will dive out of my hands towards them and say, "Air you are!" (There you are!) with a little giggle.  When asked, "Who wants ------?" You raise your hand and say, "I do!"  If I am sitting with my legs crossed, you come over and hop on my leg and say "pane-errr, errr" (wanting to me to give you an airplane ride, sound effects and all.)

You clearly identify and say others things without prompting like "Asher," "Mama," "Dada," "backpack," "shoes," "book," "cute," "more," "stinky," "diaper," "hot," "baby," hat," "boot," "stuck," "help," "bow," "oww," "tiger,"  "cacker" (cracker), "pease" (please), "tank ou" (thank you),  "dink" (drink), "bi-t-min" (vitamin), "chee" (cheese), "side" (outside).

You are eager to help Momma out around the house.  You jump up to throw away your diaper each time I finish changing you.  As soon as I ask you to clean up your toys, you immediately obey and start singing the "clean up" song.
You love all things girly:
- Playing with baby dolls: burping them, feeding them in the highchair, putting them in the carseat, pushing them in the shopping cart and rocking them.  You are going to be such a good Mommy.
-Playing with your new dollhouse.
-Accessories: You love necklaces, earrings, and shoes (I am not sure where you got this one because I would have to say that accessorizing is my fashion weakness.)  You bring your boots to me every time you see that Asher or I am wearing boots.  And point to them saying, "Cute! Cute boots!"  Probably due to all the compliments you get while wearing them.

I mean, they are pretty, darn cute! Especially on those chunky legs.

The other day during Family Worship as we were quizzing Asher on his scripture memory, he had gotten stuck in the middle of  Matthew 22:37.  As I prompted him with "Lord your God," you finished with an emphatic "all your heart, all your soul, and mind."  You also know the answer to the first catechism question from Truth & Grace, "Who made you?"  "God made me."

I'm so thankful God made you, Naneybop! You are such a sweet gift to this family.  We would not been the same without you.

January 15, 2010

Friday Funnies

If you're reading this on Google Reader, come hop over to my blog and check out the new makeover...I couldn't take it anymore...I had gone far too long, being a Graphic Designer's wife without a "pretty" blog.  It was time to take matters into my own hands.  To Charlie's defense he is always working on so many other projects (either that I have put him up to) or making other people purdy stuff that he doesn't have time for this silly, ol' thing.  Thanks for helping with all the technical stuff, honey :)  And thanks, once again, for all the amazing pics, Ryan & Sara!

Riding in the car earlier this week while the kids are watching a show:

A: Momma, will you turn it up?  I can't hear.

M: No, you're going to have to just listen up, because I'm not turning it up any louder.

A couple minutes later.

A: Oh. I turned my ears up.  I can hear now!


I was opening a box of horses that he got for Christmas and was having a difficult time with all of those plastic twist ties...

A: I can help you open it, Momma. I have sharp teeth in my mouth!

For those with little ones...

(Earlier this week in our Reading Fort)

I ran across this timely reminder today. It's been a difficult couple of days. Asher has been feverish since Tuesday evening. Thursday we found out that he has bronchitis. Which has meant 60 hours of him wanting to be held and cuddled. And this entire time, of course, McKlayne will not be left out. Which has meant two kiddos constantly fighting over my lap. We've read just about every book we own. And watched more tv than I would normally allow in a month. Which has also meant that my house is much messier than I like.

Which, in turn, has meant, selfishly, rather than taking these two in entirely...rather than being thankful that I have two tots to cuddle and love constantly...I have been whining inside. Fretting about how long it is going to take to get the house back in order. Annoyed that I haven't gotten through the laundry that has been sitting in piles in my bathroom for three days. Feeling like a failure because we've eaten leftovers and breakfast for dinner the last two evenings because I haven't had a chance to think about a real meal. Irritated that I haven't gotten to work on any of the projects that I want to get done this week. Just plain weary and ungrateful.

Then the Lord gently reminded me what a gift I've been given-to turn my complaining into thanksgiving. I stumbled across this precious post on MckMama's blog. I am going to post it here, just in case one of you, who would have been too lazy to follow that link, will allow your perspective to be changed.

On somewhat of a sidenote, before we get to this precious post: I'm afraid that my generation does not seek the counsel of older* women enough. Us, silly, young, sometimes pity-party throwing Mommas (or maybe it's just me?) often think we have it all figured out...or foolishly ask other women our own age questions rather than women with real, life experience. So, older women, if there are any of you reading this, stay tuned because I have some questions for YOU at the end of this post.

From MckMama:

"How do you do it? How do you stay so calm with four young children?"

Part of it is just how God made me, I think. I am pretty calm with my children. And, honestly, often I stay calm even in the midst of chaos because, frankly, it's better than the alternative. A shrieking, freaking out mama is not going to make an already stressful situation any better. So, for the most part, I stay calm and try to be
in the moment with my children.

how do I do it?

There is one little bit of inspiration that literally descended upon me almost two years ago, while I was holding Nuggey in the bathroom, that has completely revolutionized my parenting. When I keep this truth in mind, I find it as easy as apple pie to stay calm in the midst of toddler chaos.

I remember that
I'm gonna miss this.

It was dark, during the end of bathtime, and Prince Charming was gone. I was doing dinner, baths and bedtime myself those days, as my husband worked late. It had been, undoubtedly, a long day with the kids. Big Mac was three, Nuggey was one and a half and Small Fry was a baby. It is as clear as day still, this memory.

I was sitting on the toilet, drying MckNugget off after his bath. Small Fry, unable to roll, was sprawled on the floor of the bathroom on some towels, wearing nothing but a diaper and a grimace. Big Mac was still in the tub. He was squawking to get out and Small Fry was bellyaching for attention. But I slowly wrapped Nuggey up in his towel, determined to stay calm, and cuddled him in terrycloth. I slowly rocked him back and forth in my arms and sang Rock-a-bye Baby to my second born.

As I wrapped up the song, I prepared to sit Nuggey up and attend to the chaos that was the other children. After all, there were baths to finish, teeth to brush, diapers to put on, jammies to find and beds to tuck children into. But as he sensed me about to right him, Nuggey tossed his wet head back in my arms and looked up at me. "Uh-

So I sang Rock-a-bye Baby one more time, but I told him it would be the last. Yet when I finished, he begged again for more.

I didn't want to do more. I didn't want to sing to him one more time. I was tired. Tired of children, tired of singing, tired of the day. I just wanted it to be over. But then suddenly, as if fairy dust was sprinkled from the heavens right onto my tired head, the entire reality of my future set in.

I'm gonna miss this.

I looked down at little Nuggey, his damp eyelashes long and dark batting at me, his tiny bottom cradled in my hand, his soft, chubby legs thrown over my arm, his body entirely dependent on mine as I held him in my lap, and I could see the future. Nuggey, a grown boy, sporting a football jersey and facial hair, walked out of the bathroom. It was going to happen, and soon. And while I knew there would be joys with that time in my life, when our young children are teenagers and beyond, it struck me like a ton of bricks.

When that time comes,
I'm gonna miss this.

When Nuggey comes home from college, barely speaks a word to me and hibernates in his bedroom all summer, I'm gonna miss this. As my mind fast forwarded to the future, I knew that at that moment, I would give anything for 20 year old Nuggey to be a toddler again, just for one more hour, so I could rock him and sing while I stroked his wet head.

And here, years earlier, I was being given my wish. I
was able to rock Nuggey, a nearly helpless babe in arms, one more time.

Given a new perspective from which to see, I sang Rock-a-bye Baby as many times as Nuggey would let me that night. Eventually Small Fry found her hands and started admiring them, and Big Mac grabbed a new tub toy. And I relished that time with my son in my arms, knowing that soon enough he would be all grown, and my arms would ache to hold him like a baby again.

I'm gonna miss this.

My mind cannot help but wander to those parents who have lost children. What on earth would they not give to hold their children again, even for a moment. I bet they would not complain about having to sing Rock-a-bye Baby one more time. Rather, they would probably give their right arm to sing it ten million times until their voice was hoarse and their eyelids closed in slumber.

And women with empty wombs who long and pray and ache for children? What honor am I doing them if I take for granted the fact that I
have children, young children who are begging me to cuddle them, sing to them. I will love those women who long for a baby by loving my babies and not taking them for granted.

So, I determined right there and then in the bathroom to try to be ever thankful for the moments I do have with my children. I will not wish away their young years, always hoping to get more laundry done or other children dried off. I will relish each kiss, hug and song. I will leave their childhood behind with no regrets, no "I love you" unsaid, no cheek unkissed, no request to "Cuddle wif' me!" turned down. Even as the macaroni flies and the Sharpie stains my table, even when there are midnight wailers and globs of Desitin under my fingernails, I know...

...I know I'm gonna miss this.

*When I say older, I mean anyone just a little further along than me...maybe without only toddlers...whether you have at least one school-aged child or are an empty-nester...here's what I want to know:

-What have you learned, since having children, that you wished you would have known before having children?
-What would you have done differently, in regards to parenting, knowing what you know now?
-If you could do it all over again, would you limit the tv or video games or even ban them completely?
-What were some of your favorite memories spent with your children? What special activities did you enjoy together?

Please feel free to answer just one or all of these questions...or even share something that you wished you would have known when you were my age (25 for two more weeks, thank you very much) that would be beneficial for a 20 somethings gal to know.

January 8, 2010

Friday Funnies

M: Asher, do you want to save this cereal bar for later?

A: No, I want to save it for Asher.


While we were at Charlie's parents house, I went into the bathroom to wipe Asher:

A: Mommy, why does Grammy's potty have a bib?

I looked around for a second, a little confused at his question...then I spotted it:

M: Incase the toliet makes a mess...

On our way to Dr. Bacak's office yesterday to get shots, Asher was really "scared" so we prayed that God would be with him and would make him brave.

I was telling him about how God tells us in Joshua 1:9 to be "strong and courageous" because "He will be will us..."

A: Are we going to go get Him?

M: What do you mean?

A: Are we going to go pick God up from his house?