Monday, March 29, 2010

the last hurdle

A friend asked Marian yesterday "what toys do you like to play with at home?"

"Poo poo..."

Our goofy girl is absolutely smitten with, intoxicated by the sound of those two syllables coming off her lips. She's really never touched it (Praise God!) but she just loves talking about it at all the silliest times. She's not allowed to say it at the table, but occasionally she loves to greet people by mentioning it, or, like she did above, she loves to answer questions with it.

Sadly enough, it's still the last great hurdle in Marian's total conquering of the potty.

Her first day of (the second round of) potty training was about what you'd expect. But day two: incredible. She had 2 close calls and about 30 successful trips to the potty. No complete disaster the whole day!

Note- She can hold her bladder for a long time now. But lots of little trips, means lots of skittles. There were a few trips where she just barely managed to squeeze out 3- 4 drops, but she knew we were committed to going all out for the rewards for these few days. Even 3 drops earned her one. For a girl who loves skittles like our darling, she knows it's well worth her time invested for all those ups and downs of the undies.

We're glad she's already moving on to a reward of "chapstick and lotion" (some yummy smelly lotion Grandma left- thanks Grandma!) for most times now.

But this one hurdle. She's pretty deeply opposed to using the potty for #2. This too will be conquered. I hope it won't take "a few more weeks" (like she has said to me several times) but if it does, in the end, it will be worth it!

We are so proud of our potty princess! You can do this, darling!

Yes, we're going local and using a simple pot (bucket) for a potty.
Works like a charm.

He came for us

I've just begun learning about the Classical style of education. So far the gist of what I'm learning and the stuff that seems most applicable for us now is that young kids' strength is in memorization so thoughtful parents need to seize the day! Our kids are fairly bilingual and this is blatantly obvious daily to us.

For several months, Matt and I have been reading scripture aloud to our kids before breakfast and before bedtime. There's another post to be written about this practice in our home. It's been a real joy for us and I do believe it is a blessing (Rev. 1:3) for our kids.

But for now, we've picked a few excellent poems and hymns in addition to that to feed our kids' minds (instead of "irreverent little ditties" like Douglas Wilson talks about) and we're trying to read them and speak them and say them and talk about them and sing them all the time... as often as we can.

This poem has been a sweet one for us and our kids. Thanks Kevin Hartnett for sharing this beautiful poem on your blog.

“He came to free a people,
For ‘Jesus’ was His name;
To bear the sins of many,
The Lord of Love, He came.
He numbered with transgressors;
God’s judgment He withstood.
The splinters of the manger
Foretold a cross of wood.

He came for us, true Son of Man,
He came to pain and strife.
The Promised One, Emmanuel,
He came to bring us life!”

- Kevin Hartnett, (December, 2005)

Here's a few more recent fun shots...

John has one tooth.... you can almost see it there on the bottom. I simply cannot put it in words how sweet and easy and delightful and precious this boy is.

John got this (wildly green and varied shades of green) walker recently. He's taken about 2 weeks to get used to it and now it seems like he's ready to go pro. I think he can circle the house in a matter of seconds and he can get straight down the hall and in on whatever action interests him just like the nimblest boy could do on his own two feet.

Matt's well-constructed bathtub box house has lasted well.... It may be standing for a while yet. We sure hope so!

Matt has always enjoyed Clavin and Hobbes and we've had one book for years now. But for some reason it took Nai Nai (Grandma) coming to lock Isaiah's affections for it. He's deeply committed to this comic now. Thanks Grandma for the 324 times you read it to these guys... and for your sweet mispronunciation of Calvin's Spanish. "Que Pasa Senorita. I am el fugitivo...." even though we all heard "I am el fugito." Rhyme that with "Dorito" and you'll get it just like we all know and love it now. (Sorry Mom. I couldn't bring myself to say it to you when you were with us, but it seemed worth posting about now!)

An unimportant side note... It's cold at our house! The heat is managed by a government schedule here- the date it turns on and off, basically- and this late cold snap has made for a chilly few days for us here. My toes are tingly and John's wearing 4 layers of pjs tonight!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

serving our kids

I've really enjoyed a few of Douglas and Nancy Wilson's books lately. Thanks so much S & T for passing them to us for to enjoy.

Since the books aren't mine, I just read straight through without marking them up, though I wish now I would have taken better notes. Still, there are too many excellent bits I could post even if I had marked them into rainbows.

Most all of his writing so far has struck me as super encouraging, although this paragraph has a far more challenging, cautionary tone. Here's just one bit from D. Wilson's book "Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing."
As we bring up our children, we should descend to their level in one sense (humility) in order to lead them to our level (maturity). This is not the same as descending to their level (immaturity) in order to lead them to our level (pride). We must be servants to our children; we must not cater to them. One of the central problems with bringing up children in our day is the contstant temptation to undersestimate their capacities. We teach them profane and irreverent little ditties, not psalms and hymns. We give them moralistic little stories, not biblical doctrine and ethics. We expect them to act as though they have no brains or souls until they have graduated from college. We aim at nothing, and we hit it every time. p 15
(Just to clarify, in plenty of other places, Wilson clearly advocates feeding our kids lots of excellent literature to stir their minds and imaginations. )

Wilson also pointed out the role of shepherd is clearly the leader of the sheep, and also the servant of the sheep. The same goes for parents- clearly the leader and also the servant.

Our big opportunity to serve is coming right up. As my dear friend (who is having back surgery right now- we're praying for you dear Kim!) wrote to me once, "there's nothing more sanctifying than potty training." Just such sanctification starts- again- Friday morning our time.

You might remember that we've already written about this. We started potty training Marian last June because we heard that girls usually start earlier than boys and second children can be earlier.... well, it did not work out quite so at our house.

Marian was, overall, about 2/3 of the time on target with potty business last summer. But, come fall, when we were nonstop on the road visiting friends around the states, we finally had to abandon the whole deal.

I hope so much that this post will serve me as a way of public accountability to Serve my Daughter with Joy in this process. I'd better prepare for things to get messy.... but I'm also so excited for her to really be a big girl now!

Watch for a post of Marian's butterfly wings. They're waiting for her, high up on our hutch, as her reward for when she conquers! (Oh may it be soon, Lord! Give us grace!!)

Happy Birthday my Love

I do adore my husband, but I would have made a less sappy (valentinsy) cake if I could think of it... alas, no powdered sugar, but fresh strawberries, and a heart-shaped cake pan on hand made this the best cake I could come up with.

I realize that some friends could look at this and wonder what on earth I am doing posting a picture of Matt kissing another woman. Well thats exactly what he's doing and this is the only other woman on the planet he'll ever be kissing. Isn't his mom beautiful!?

Anyway, the point is "we love you Daddy" and "we love and miss you Grandma!" Matt's birthday dinner was also Mary's goodbye dinner... we hope she's fast asleep high over the Pacific right now. Thank you again for coming all this way, mom. We had so much fun with you!

Here's a glimpse of Mary's favorite shopping excursion:
We are in the land of terracota warriors. They're everywhere here. Isaiah now calls every Asian style statue a "terracota warrior." On our shopping trip, John could have picked a few up himself...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy March

So much to celebrate....

Matt's mom has been with us to bless us with childcare so we can get in extra studies at the beginning of this new season in language. We're so grateful for her. The kids have had a great time with their preschool pro Grandma!

Isaiah turns 4 tomorrow! We got to host a group of friends at our place for church on Sunday so we had cake for him then. We're so grateful for a really neat group to worship and fellowship with on Sunday mornings, and it's so special that our kids have these other English speaking friends to play with.

Matt and I celebrated 6 years together this past weekend. It was a deeply happy day to reflect on the lavish goodness of God to bless us as he has.

And a few more shots of our little two...

(below) This is an odd look for our precious girl, but still somehow, sweet. Marian is quite the goofball usually- an absolute silly when it comes time to dance or sing or boss either of her brothers around.... and unfortunately, she's especially off the walls at meal time. We're working on it manners and listening skills for table time, but I think I still need to prepare myself for a thousand more spills before she figures out how to contain all her energy and excitement. God knows I need to be refined, to be more patient and servant-hearted.

We are so, so very grateful for all these great evidences of the grace Jesus Christ in our lives.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

everybody loves this boy

John just moved in with his big bro and sis in anticipation of Grandma's visit.  In Isaiah and Marian's eyes, he can do no wrong.  If only they felt that way about each other!