Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Number Three at Almost Two

While most of my mental energy has been consumed lately with house-related thoughts, there are moments when I am able to step back and enjoy the blessings of the moment. Many of these moments have been spent laughing at my sweet, dramatic, hilarious little girl. Lydia is now 21 months old, her language develops every day, and along with it, her enchanting personality shines through.

Modeling her brother's "gas"

She is sweetly affectionate, always ready to give Mumma or Daddy a "nice hug," and her random statements of "I luh voo, Mumma" melt my heart.  Her verbal affirmations certainly have a feminine touch, as evidenced last Friday, when I woke her up from a sound sleep after I had showered and dressed.  After blinking her eyes a few times to get her bearings, she said, "I like skirt, Mumma!" She also likes hair - Mumma's hair, Daddy's hair, her brothers' hair, and finally her own wild locks.  When, a month or two ago, her hair finally grew long enough for some sort of clip, she cried whenever I tried to do anything with it. Now that we have convinced her that it's "pretty," though, she'll agreeably let me gather her stray wisps into a tiny ponytail.

Without challenge, she is my best eater. Donny is a self-made vegetarian who likes all his foods separate; Hayden is allergic to milk, eggs, and nuts. I am so thankful that Lydia will try almost anything, from soups to chili with rice to pizza (though she picks off the cheese and leaves the rest behind!). She doesn't seem to care for most meat or some vegetables, but her willingness to try new things and her steady appetite are encouraging. She loves apples, pretzels, crackers, cheese, and to wash it all down, a few sips of cow's milk in her "milk-puck." I give her a regular plastic cup with just a tiny bit in it, and most of the time, she heeds my "don't spill" command.  She is also quite skilled in handling a small fork, and will cheerfully feed herself yogurt with a spoon even if only half of it actually makes it to her mouth. And I am amazed at her correct grasp of a pencil or pen; she already loves to (attempt to) write and color.

If we were not selling our house, I would have plunged into full-fledged potty training, but knowing that we could have a showing any day, I didn't think this was the time to risk accidents on the carpet or couch. Still, Lyddie goes on her Little Potty several times throughout the day, and always wants to read a book while she is there. One of her first long sentences was, "Read-Night-Moon-Mumma?" And obligingly, I read Goodnight Moon at every potty break, every day, until the tattered board book finally ended up in the office instead of the bathroom stepstool. If I am going to read the same children's book five times a day, I am thankful that at least it is one of my favorites!

Another sentence that impressed me just two weeks ago was "I can't-open-closet." She was trying to put something away, I'm sure. She is a cheerful and willing helper, eager to deliver laundry or wipe down the table with a rag and "More spray?" I love how tidy she is: one day she spontaneously brought me the plates her brothers had forgotten to clear from breakfast, then pushed all the chairs in to the table and announced, "There, all better!"

Since then, the sentences are spilling out as fast as she can muster them. She runs around and crashes into things, and I tell her, "You're insane!" "I not-insane-Mumma!" she responds with glee.  Even when I had to discipline her for disobedience today, through her choked cries she remembered, "Daddy tol' me all done cryin'" and plaintively confessed, "Mumma, I sad."

A dramatic moment

And she loves to pray, always reminding us if we forget to say grace before a meal.  Last Wednesday, after reading Bible with the family (and climbing on everyone through the reading), she wanted to pray herself: "More Dear God?" She mentioned Donny, Hayden, and Daddy, so we thanked God for all of them, and randomly (but apparently important to Lydia), for the window. She added in a few lines of babble unintelligible to me, but I trust that the Lord knew what she was saying to Him. Sweet Lyddie, I am so thankful to have you as a daughter, and I pray that your heart will always be as tender and prayerful as it is today!

From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise...

Psalm 8:2a

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Festive Flowers and Other Bits O' Green

For this week's Exploration Day, I chose a fun science experiment that combined our study of water with the arrival of spring and even St. Patrick's Day. I trimmed some white mums from my potted plant and put them in three different containers. We filled one glass with clear water, one with water tinted yellow (using food coloring), and one dark green water. After a day, we could easily see where the water went into the flower petals!

It was perfectly fitting on this St. Patrick's Day that it was also our first day of spring-like weather. The children and I were able to venture outside - which reminded me of a similar day last March - and for the first time, tiny bits of green were poking through all that was brown and dead! We caught glimpses of daffodil leaves sprouting up beside the driveway, and there were even some other signs of life:

I have to wonder if, when we live somewhere that's always warm and sunny, we will have such an appreciation for the new season. It is the cold and drafty days of winter, the drab brown and white landscape, and the darkness that make us appreciate the warmth and light and colors of spring. The promise that spring is around the corner gets us through the dreary gray days of late winter, knowing that life will soon return to the frozen ground. Since it is possible that this may be our family's last March in New England, I hope to soak up as much of the joy of the season as I can, relishing God's faithfulness in delivering us from darkness year after year. From festive flowers to creeping bugs, what a wonder it is to see the Creator's handiwork begin anew in spring!

All the trees of the forest will know 
that I the LORD bring down the tall tree 
and make the low tree grow tall. 
I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. 
“‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Ezekiel 17:24

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Some Fun Questions - Thoughts of Spring Blog Party


Hello friends and visitors! Today I am participating in the Thoughts of Spring Blog Party hosted by Lynnette at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground. I thought it would be a fun way to meet some other bloggers while giving my faithful reader(s) some further glimpses into my personality.

To those who are visiting, I am Manda, wife of Don, full-time homemaker and homeschooling mom. Don works from home, so our little family is together pretty much all the time. We welcome as many children as God wants to bless us with, which so far has been Donny (6), Hayden (4), Lydia (she'll be 2 in June), and (as I wordlessly announced in my last post) one on the way! We are expecting Baby#4 in October, and hoping to relocate before that. Don and I are lifelong New Englanders who are ready to get away from the snow and live in an area where we can afford to house our growing family. I have not had much time for blogging lately, especially now that we are getting ready to sell our home, but I love sharing our little adventures and life lessons through writing. My blog is named after one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:11, which reminds me that in every step of this parenting journey, my God will gently guide me, and that no matter how often I fail, He holds me close to His heart - what a comforting promise!

Here in New England, the closest thing we have to spring right now are the ugly patches of pine needles showing between the dirty snow piles. We got a record amount of snow this year, so despite some "warm" (a.k.a. above freezing) days, there are still ample snowbanks dotting the brownish landscape. Hopefully in a few weeks, we will see some flowers peeking through (and Don and I will plenty of work to do making our messy yard presentable for the real estate market). In the meantime, here are some of the questions from Lynnette's suggested interview to help you get to know me a little better. Thanks for reading!

How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?
I guess it would depend who is describing me. My husband says, "meticulous." I think that's an accurate description, but not the top word I'd choose.

What are your favorite animals?
Tigers, tortoises, pandas, cows, horses, and the fascinating duck-billed platypus

Movies: Action, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Documentary, Comedy? What are your favorite genres?
I'm not a big movie watcher. I like romantic comedies and some documentaries.

Books: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Romance, Biographies, True Stories, Self-Help, Devotional/Study? What are your favorite types of reading material?
I never read fiction, even though I was a huge reader growing up. When I read now, it's for my own education - books about parenting, marriage, Christian living, the Bible, or how to do something (gardening, homebuying, etc.). I also love reading Above Rubies magazine - it is such a great encouragement for mothers and homemakers!

Music: Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz, Classical, Film Score, Blues, Classic Rock, Crooner, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Techno? What are your favorite types?

Music affects my mood a lot, so normally I only listen to praise music. I need lyrics that help me focus on God.

What is your comfort food/drink?
In winter, tea with milk and honey to drink; homemade cookies or pie to eat. In summer, I much prefer ice cream! Hot buttered toast is always nice, too - especially for slightly queasy pregnant bellies.

If money wasn’t a factor, what stores would you shop in?
I would grocery shop at Whole Foods, buy household things from Target, and order clothing and other special items from moms who make them. I would love to have custom made clothes!

What is your greatest fear or strange phobia?
I think that drugs - whether illegal or prescription - and all their potential side effects are pretty scary.

Be brave – tell us something very random and weird about yourself.
I used cloth diapers with all my babies and love them. With Lydia, I also did infant potty training (or elimination communication), which means that I have been putting her on the potty since she was 2 weeks old. If I could be just a little more consistent, I think she'd be fully potty trained by now at 21 months. It definitely makes more sense to me now than training a baby to go in her diaper and then expecting her to magically want to stay dry once she reaches a certain age.

If you inherited a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do with your money?
Don and I would have to decide together, but we would probably buy a house we love and can live in forever, help our families, and add to our family through adoption. First, though, we would put most of it into savings so that we could live off the interest.

Name one weakness of yours (confession is good for the soul).
I set all my clocks 10 minutes fast, but I am still late a lot. At least now I am three minutes late instead of thirteen minutes late, but still, I wish I could be more punctual.

If you could live anywhere at all (and take all your loved ones with you), where would you go?
Arizona! Don and I both love the climate, politics, and cost of living in the Phoenix area, which is why we are looking to move there. We can't take ALL of our loved ones, but I think many of them will be joining us once we get settled. Our second choice would be Texas, somewhere outside Dallas/Fort Worth. Arizona won out because of the complete lack of humidity, tree-borne allergens, and time zone. Speaking of which, Arizona doesn't do Daylight Sayings Time, which I think is awesome!

Strange Talent? Can you juggle basketballs, put your legs behind your head or perform some other strange feat?
I can curl the corners of my tongue in so it looks like a flower. And no, I will not be demonstrating this talent for anyone other than my lucky family.

What’s something you consider yourself to be good at? (Don’t worry, it’s not bragging, it’s acknowledging a God given gift).
Writing and organizing things

Do you have a strong desire to do something you’ve never done? What is it?

Moving faraway to a warm, desert-like state is high on the list for the immediate future, but in a few years, Don and I would love to adopt.

What is one of your favorite things to catch a whiff of?
I love the smell of most babies' heads.

When you leave a social gathering, do you wish: You would have talked more or You would have talked less?
I guess I wish I had talked more. Really, I usually wish I had said something specifically kind/funny/conversational that occurred to me after the gathering but not during.

Are you a hopeless romantic?
No, my dear but very un-romantic husband drove that tendency out of me several years ago. ;)

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Staying married to my hopelessly unromantic husband for seven years and raising a family with him - which is really God's accomplishment, not mine!

Thanks for stopping by! If you haven't already, feel free to join in with your own interesting quirks and happy thoughts of spring!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: This Year

He will love you and bless you
and increase your numbers.
He will bless the fruit of your womb...
Deuteronomy 7:13a