Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 29

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 29
(last day, boo!)

You are YOU.

Even if you weren't...

...I would still love you just as much as I do now because you would still be you.  My Baby Girl.  My Peanut.  My Daughter.  My Best Girl.  My Lila Josie.  You would still be mine.  You would still be you.  And that's all you ever need to be.  You are enough because you are you.  I hope you always remember who you are - chosen one, ransomed one, called by name, adopted child of God.  

You are Lila:

Day 28

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 28

Your instinctual ability to simultaneously make my day and send me on the biggest guilt trip of my life OR how much you like predictability and routine.

Today, your daddy had a dentist appointment so he was going in to work late.  He offered to bring you up to school on his way to work so that I wouldn't have to get you all packed up on my way out like I usually do.  I thought it would be awesome - I could actually be on time and you would get some bonus Daddy-Daughter time and some waffles for breakfast to boot!  However, I neglected to consider your reaction to messing with your routine.

At first you were all happy that both Mommy and Daddy were home this morning. "Hi, Mommy-Daddy!" (your joint name for us)  But when I started packing up my "backpack" (it's actually my little rolling cart with my school supplies in it, but you call it my backpack) and you were still in your jammies, you started to get a little anxious.  "Mommy leaving?" 

I explained, "Mommy is going to school and Daddy will bring you to school in a little bit."  You seemed satisfied until I packed your lunch into my backpack and started putting on my coat.  

"No, Mommy stay at Lila's house."  I explained the plan again.  

"My lunch box."  I explained that I would bring it to school and you could have it at lunch time.  By this point you had found your backpack and were rolling it toward me ready to follow me out the door.  

"Lila," I explained, "you are going to stay here for a little bit and Daddy will bring you to school after you take a bath."  I thought (wrongly) that a bath might cheer you up - plus you were sticky and smelly and your hair was crimped funnily from the braid you wore in your hair for two days straight.  

"No, I go to school with Mommy!"  Daddy tried to take over the explaining at this point because I obviously wasn't getting through to you.  As I walked out the door I heard you squeal in a panicked voice, "My luuuuunnnnch boooooooxxxxxxx!" as Daddy scooped you up.  I heard you screaming as I walked to the car and could still hear you when I pulled away.

Not an hour later, Daddy stopped by my classroom after dropping you off and regaled me with the story of your traumatic morning.  Evidently you weren't all too pleased that I abandoned you without reason and to add insult to injury, Daddy tortured you by dumping water on your head in the bathtub.  Plus, I had taken YOUR LUNCH BOX!  The nerve!

I apologized to Daddy that his should-have-been sweet Daddy-Daughter time didn't live up to its promise and peeked in to check on you in your classroom.  I gave you a hug and asked you if you had a sad morning.

"Yes," you said meekly.
"Why were you so sad?" I asked.
"Because...because..." you attempted, lower lip pouted out, "because...Mommy is leaving me!"

Make my day: you want to be with me even though we've spent the last two days straight at home just the two of us
Guilt trip: you accused me of abandoning you

How do kids just know the way to stab you in the heart and twist the knife around a bit for good measure?  

Although, I actually think you were less upset by me leaving than the fact that we messed with our usual school day routine.  And that I took your lunch box.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 27

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 27

How much fun it is to share your joy when you get to do something that makes you feel important and grown up.  We have had three over-ripe bananas sitting on our counter for over a week, begging me to either use them or throw them away already.  Today, with about an hour before nap, I decided to bite the bullet and make some banana nut muffins (sans the nuts).  At first I was just going to distract you so I could quickly get them in the oven before nap, but then I remembered how much you like to help and I decided to involve you in the process.  I do not regret it.  Even though there was some flour spillage, some batter splatterage, and the near loss of two eggs (organic even - it would have been a sad thing) when you picked up the bowl I had put them in.  

Anyway, I started by moving your little table into the kitchen so you could reach everything:
Then you helped me measure out the sugar, dump in the shortening and run the mixer.  Then we added the eggs and vanilla and after that, you helped me measure out the flour:
Mommy measured out the salt and baking soda (too much of those could be not delicious) and then we mixed in the flour mixture alternately with the bananas.  You loved mixing:
We had one little incident when you got overzealous with your mixing and the batter leapt out of the bowl onto you:
I had to stop the video when you bent over to investigate the batter on your toe and started accidentally dipping your hair in the batter.  Yum.

Once everything was mixed in, I poured the batter into the muffin tin.  At that point your patience was wearing thin and you couldn't understand why it wasn't time to eat the muffins.  Just before nap time, the muffins were done so we took them out to cool.  I promised you a muffin for snack after your nap and you went to bed talking about the muffins.  By the time you woke up, you must have forgotten about them because the look on your face when I asked you if you wanted one for your snack was priceless.  I think they were a success:

 You ate two of them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 26

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 26

You love to tell stories.  It started as a ploy to get you to lie still and snuggle with me.  I invent stories about you and your friends and you snuggle up, eyes wide, amazed that a story exists with you as the star!  Soon, you started telling your own stories:

Too bad we'll never know what Lila and Chris did when they got to the cow restaurant.  Another story foiled by a poopy diaper.

Day 25

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 25

You are a big help! You love to help us.  Sometimes your help is not so helpful, but I appreciate the effort!

One of your favorite things to help with is emptying the dishwasher.  I've gotta give your Daddy credit for getting you involved in this little chore.  I would have just distracted you with something else while I took care of it, but he thought to involve you and you LOVE it!  At first, you just got to put all of your dishes away in your cabinet, but now you've graduated to helping put away your cups and our silverware (minus the knives), too!  It's so cute how you pull your little stool up to the cabinets so you can reach the drawers.  You give us a little running commentary as you put things away, "Dat goes dere.  Dis goes here!"  You even remember which section of our silverware tray holds the big forks and which holds the little forks.  My Mommy-Teacher mind goes nuts as I think about how brilliant your Daddy was to get you involved in this!  You're sorting and categorizing AND learning a life skill.  I just wonder how long you will still think it's fun....

Today your (awesome) Daddy was cleaning the kitchen and you wanted to help sweep, so you got your own little broom to "help."
 And then you wanted to take on the big mop.

I hope this penchant for cleaning keeps up!  I could use some help around the house!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 24

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 24

You make me laugh.  

For instance:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 23

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 23

Your hair.  I know this is a silly, superficial thing to love about you, but I just love your hair.  I think it stems back to my young adult dreams of what it would be like to have a little girl and do her hair and dress her like a little doll.  Of course the reality if mommyhood is nothing like I imagined as a young girl, but one of the things that persevered from fanciful hope to sweet reality is doing your hair.  Well, other than the fact that you won't sit still to enjoy our Mommy-Daughter bonding time.  Maybe someday.

We have lots of favorite hairstyles.  Here are some of our most common:
this was the most common last summer - it was a quick way to get your hair out of your face

piggy-tails!! So cute!

Little ponytail

One of my favorites: little side braid

Aunt Jess' favorite: piggy-tail buns

I just had to throw this one in here for fun.  We call it the Tunnel Slide Style

Messy bun

braided ponytail - another one of Mommy's favs

French braids
And a post about hair just wouldn't be complete without another posting of this video.  I just love it.  And someday I'll love doing your little brother or sister's hair.  And I hope he or she loves his or her hair as much as I will love it.  "My hair looks good in a cornrow!  It does so many things you know, that's why I let it grow!"

Day 22

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 22

You love to learn.  You're like a little sponge.  I will tell you something once and it sticks.  You amaze me in that way.  You recognize songs that you know from the first few notes and exclaim, "I know this song!" or sometimes, "I love this song!"  And you remember and associate things that happened once.  For instance, we were at Target several months ago and there were fireworks being set off for some reason somewhere nearby.  As we went to the car, we could see the fireworks behind Target so we pointed them out to you.  Now every time we go to Target or we drive by Target you say, "Where's the fireyworks?"  It never ceases to amaze me that you associate Target with the fireworks we saw ONCE!

And speaking of things that amaze me, recently you have loved playing a little game where we ask a question like, "Does the cow say 'woof, woof?'" and you delightedly inform us, "No! Cow not say 'woof-woof,' Dog says 'woof-woof.' Cow says 'mooooooo!'"  You amaze me at the complexity of the sentences you create in response!  Sometimes they are so complex I have to think about your answer for a second to make sure you said everything right - and you always do!

I hope your love of learning will help you in school.  I hope you continue to seek out new information the way you do now.  We have these little magnetic letters on our fridge and you have loved playing with them for a while now. You would bring me the letters and I would tell you what letter it was.  Gradually, you started remembering some!  So I became more intentional about teaching you the letters and soon you could recognize every letter in the alphabet!  Now you even know most of their sounds (thank you, LeapFrog toys!) and you say things like, "Where's the O for Octopus?" When we're in the car, you will shout out, "Mommy, I see letter P!"  I think you will be an early reader based on how interested in letters you are!

Last week, we were reading one of your favorite books and I recorded this little lesson:

Tonight, your Pop was entertaining you outside while Mommy and Daddy were packing up all of your things to go home.  When we came out, we learned that you and Pop had created a new game for which you would walk around each car in the driveway (Nanny and Pop were having a dinner party so there were lots of cars), find the gas tank and exclaim, "Dere it is!"  You seemed to love this new game that allowed you to explore and absorb a new territory.  All I could think was, "She is such a learner!"  I love how much you love to learn!  Makes my Mommy-Teacher heart glad!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 21

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 21

Your laugh.  

I mean, does it get any better than that?? (the answer is "no")

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 20

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 20

How cute you look when you get out of the bath.  Your friend Camille gave you this sweet little hooded towel for your first birthday and you love to be wrapped up tight in it after a bath.  It's pretty much the most adorable thing to have ever happened.  EVER.

Daddy's always in his PJs in the photos I post of him.  We like to be comfy 'round here.

Pay no attention to the amount of junk on my bedside table...

...or our unmade bed.  Really, you should just be looking at that cute little towel-enrobed peanut!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 19

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 19

Your name.  I know I wrote about this last year, but your name is still one of my favorite things about you.  I love the way you said it when you first started talking: Yi-ya.  I love the way you say it now.  I love it when you say your first and middle name: Lila Doshee (Lila Josie) or Lila Dosepeen (Josephine).  

The other day you were showing off for Camille's mommy and got a little too silly.  You were standing up on the chair and then jumping down onto your bottom.  I told you to sit on your bottom several times and when you didn't obey I said, more sternly, "Lila Josephine! Sit on your bottom, that is not safe!" and you mimicked me, "Lila Dosepeen, dat not safe!"  The sound of you calling yourself sternly by your first and middle name was too much for me and I looked at Holly (Camille's mommy) with my eyes wide and we both cracked up.  Which, I'll admit, did nothing to discourage your antics.  

But aside from how cute you sound when you say your name, what I really love about your name is what it means.  Your name speaks to who you are - your true identity.  Your name means "you are mine" and because of that meaning, we have chosen a Bible verse to teach you and pray over you each night that gives depth to that meaning.  Isaiah 43:1-3 (the punctuation might be - and probably is - off in the following, but I'm typing from memory so forgive me):

But now, O Jacob, Listen to the Lord who created you.
Oh Israel, the One who formed you says, 
"Do not be afraid!  For I have ransomed you!
I have called you by name, you are mine!
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you!
When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown!
When you walk through the fire of oppression
you will not be burnt up, the flames will not consume you!
For I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

We say this verse to you each night and several months ago, you started saying some of it with me.  My hope all along has been that you would know it by heart because we have said it to you so many times, but it never occurred to me that you would learn it so young!  Of course, you don't know what many of the words mean, but I hope what stands out to you are the words that do mean something to you: Don't be afraid!  You are mine! I will be with you!  And then as you grow up and feel like you might drown in your teenage angst, I hope you remember When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown! And when you wade through the deep waters of moral dilemmas (be they boyfriend or work or school or friend related), I hope you remember When you go through deep waters, I will be with you!  And when you feel persecuted or treated unjustly; when you feel as though no one is on your side, I hope you remember When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burnt up, the flames will not consume you!  And above all, I hope you remember and grow to understand and believe that the Lord, the Holy One, formed you, ransomed you, called you, saved you, and says you are His.  And that is no small thing.

Day 18

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 18

You are easily entertained.

Exhibit A:

(Do I feel a little guilty that we are treating you like our little puppy?  Yeah.  But only a little.)
(And also, of course you aren't wearing pants.  You never wear pants.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 17

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 17

You narrate EVERYTHING.  Tonight Daddy and I were both distracted and you were busy working on something.  I could hear you saying, "It's my birthday! Today's my birthday!" accompanied by a ripping sound, but the words and sounds weren't registering because I was too focused on my other task (writing an email).  A few minutes later, I looked up, startled, because Daddy exclaimed, "Lila! No! That's Mommy's Valentine's box!"  You had been "unwrapping" the box that I made for my Valentines at school.  I had planned on using the box next year, too so that I wouldn't have to make another one, but it really wasn't that big of a deal.  Later Daddy and I laughed that if we had just been tuned in to what you were saying, we might have avoided the complete destruction of my box.  Ahh, well.  You walked around the rest of the night saying, "It's my birthday!  It's my birthday!"  

Today you were taking very good care of your baby.  You kept saying, "She's sad.  She's poopy.  She's sad because she's poopy.  It's okay, Baby, Mommy's got you.  Oh, Baby, it's okay."  It was so cute.  Then it changed to, "I go on walk with Baby.  I put Baby in stroller.  Baby needs her Lambie.  Let's go, Baby."  I tried to get a video, but as soon as I pull out the camera you want to watch the movies on it and you immediately stop doing whatever cute thing had demanded the camera in the first place.  

Usually I get a kick out your narration.  Many times it's helpful (if you're in the other room, I always know what you're doing because you are giving me a play-by-play).  But tonight, I finally had to say, "Lila, Mommy needs some alone time.  Can you go talk near Daddy for a little bit?"  You obliged, unfazed and I soon heard you chattering away about putting something in a box and taking it out again, "Go in there?  Lila have that.  You go in there."

I don't have a photo or video from today, but here's a photo of you from February 17th last year.  It looks like you were mid-babble, which is appropriate for this post.

Adoption update

We received an email from our agency today that had lots of information in it that we wanted to share with you all.

First the good news:
A referral was handed out this week which means we are now number 98 (we were number 99 initially - sorry I forgot to post that!) on the waiting list.  Movement is movement and that is a very good thing!  One referral closer to our baby!

We also were informed that our agency is in talks with two additional orphanages to try to begin a relationship with those orphanages.  If our agency were to partner with those additional orphanages, we would, in theory, see an increase in the rate of referrals because there would be more children made available to our agency.  The partnership is still up in the air and even if it ends up working out, there's no way of knowing how long it would be before we would see a positive increase in referrals.  We are hopeful, but trying not to put all of our hope in this possibility.  It is encouraging, at the very least, that our agency is actively trying to increase the number of referrals they hand out.

Now the not-so-good news:
We were also informed that waiting families should now expect to wait at least two years before receiving a referral.  When we started this process last summer, we were aware that the adoption climate in Ethiopia was a bit unpredictable.  At the time we initially applied to our agency, we were told to anticipate a wait time of 7-10 months before receiving a referral.  As we checked things off our list and got closer and closer to becoming a waiting family ourselves, we would get periodic emails from our agency informing us that the wait was creeping closer to a year, then 15 months, then 18 months.  To be honest, we aren't all that rocked by the two-year wait because we have seen the trend of extending the wait and also seen the lack of referrals coming through.  We knew that the fewer referrals we saw, the more clogged the list would become and therefore the longer our own wait would be.  So the two years expectation is not a surprise, although it is a disappointment.

Let me be clear:  we have no regrets.  We do not regret starting the process when we did.  We do not regret choosing Ethiopia.  We do not regret anything about this process so far.  We can mark the minute that we both felt the Lord say, "Go get your baby.  He or she is in Ethiopia."  And that knowledge arms us with an other-worldly confidence that the timing will be perfect.  We believe that our child, chosen specifically for our family, is waiting for us at the end of those two years.

That being said, it is heartbreaking that Lila will be four years old before we even get our referral.  And the thought of her being four and a half by the time her brother or sister is home makes me feel sick to my stomach.  There's the thought that we might open our age request to include an older child - maybe a two or three year old - so that the age gap would be smaller between them.  But even then, Lila would effectively be an only child for nearly five years and that makes me sad to think about.  I think both parents and children really benefit from adding siblings in the mix.  I know my tendency to make my world all about Lila and I just don't think that's good for her or me!  A sibling would force both of us to spread the Mommy-wealth around a bit!  (Of course, I am speaking only for my family, so no judgement here for those who choose to have one child and be done - that might be the very best choice for your family and I'm not here to make that call for you!)

Anyway, we definitely have a lot to think about, pray about and process!  We covet your prayers as we discern what our next step should be.

I keep thinking about the verse in Isaiah, 'My thoughts are not like your thoughts,' says the Lord, 'and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine.'  We can't begin to imagine the Lord's long-term plan - he said so himself!  But we trust that he called us and sent us.  We trust him to build our family perfectly in perfect timing.  So we ask the Lord the same question we have asked on each leg of this journey: What next, Lord?  And we trust our Good Shepherd to walk ahead of us to show us the way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 16

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 16

Your little heart.  Oh, child.  Your sweet, tender, Jesus-loving heart.  I love the way you just seem drawn to Jesus!  His name has had some sort of magnetic energy for you even from a young age.  I remember last Spring when you were so, so sick and the only thing that made you stop crying was singing Jesus Loves Me.  Or this summer when you would ask me to sing the "Jesus Song," as you called it, again and again.  I love how your Jesus Storybook Bible is completely destroyed because of all of the attention you give it (I think I've taped 80% of the pages in addition to the front cover).  

This is a video of you reading your Bible last summer.  I love the way you say, "Jesus!" when you find the picture of him. 

I love that you like to "talk to Jesus" before a meal or when you are scared.  I love that you prefer to sing and hear songs worshiping Jesus over other songs (even though we probably sing and listen to more secular songs than worship music).  I can't be sure of what exactly is going on in your heart, but I have high hopes based on the things that Jesus himself told us about small children that there is something about your young spirit that understands the things of Heaven better than my old mama heart could.

Day 15

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 15

You love to imitate.  You've taken to mimicking us when we're on the phone so it's like having a little echo in the back of the car.

Me: Hi, Mom we're going to Costco.  Do you need anything?
You: Hi Mom, uh, Costco, uh need anyting?
Nanny on the other line: When are you going?
Me: Right now; we're on our way.
You: On our way!
Nanny: Maybe I'll meet you there.
Me: Ok, we'll be there in ten minutes.
You: Ok! Ten Minutes!
Nanny: Alright, I'll leave in five minutes and call you when I get there.
Me: Ok, see ya there.
You: See ya dere!

Actually the conversations don't usually go that smoothly because I usually have to ask whoever I'm talking to to repeat what they just said since all I could hear was you aping me!

When we leave the house, you insist on bringing with you whatever I'm bringing.  So if I'm holding my purse, keys and sunglasses, then a mad search for your purse, keys and sunglasses ensues.  If I'm bringing a water bottle, you simply must bring "Lila's cup."  

It's not just me you like to imitate.  You want to be just like Daddy, too:

Whenever Daddy makes a smoothie, you want one, too.  And because he's the best, he goes the extra mile and chooses matching cups and straws for the two of you:

Day 14

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 14

You love the Muppets.  Your Daddy trained you to love them by playing Muppet Shows for you when you were sick.  Now the Muppet Show is our go-to distractor for when Mommy has to shower or keep you contained for whatever reason.  I love how you sing along with the Swedish Chef.  I love how you say, "Silly Gonzo!" at the beginning of every episode when Gonzo tries to play the last note of the theme song.  I love that your favorite episode is the Julie Andrews episode (because Mommy loves the Sound of Music).  I love how you imitate Beaker.  I love that you squeal when Animal plays the drums.  I love how you sing along with the songs.  I've gotta admit, I'm pretty proud that you appreciate something with such a high cool-factor (beats Barney ANY day!).  

Because of your Muppet love, we decided to make you some Muppet Valentines.  So, I snagged an image of the Muppets online and photoshopped you in to create these fun Valentines for your buddies at school:
You were so thrilled and you would point to each Muppet and say, "There's Kermit! There's Piggy!  There's Fozzy!  There's LILA!!!"  So cute.

Happy belated Valentine's Day, everyone!  (I'm a few days behind, so I'm going to be catching up today with a few posts!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 13

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 13
(Happy Birthday Daddy/Husband!)

Your daddy.  As I said last year, my favorite thing about you is who your daddy is.  If I could pick any man in the world to be the daddy of my babies, I would pick your daddy again and again.

Your daddy excels at his two most important jobs: Husband and Father.  

He is selfless.  He always puts our needs, our desires, our preferences - big or small - before his own.  No one knows how to love better than your daddy. (On his birthday, he let me sleep in because he wanted to have a Daddy-Daughter date with you this morning!  He must really love us!)

Your daddy is a hard worker.  He has amazing work ethic.  He puts his best effort into his job every day and he often works longer days than his job requires.  Then he comes home and cooks us dinner and helps me clean up the house and take care of you.  I often feel like I don't do my fair share, but it's only because your daddy so willingly does his fair share and more!

Your daddy is creative.  He is an amazing drummer, an awesome writer, a creative film-maker and has a witty sense of humor.  He has a unique and clever perspective on many things and I love hearing his ideas about the things he creates.

He is loyal.  I never ever worry about whether he will choose me each day as the object of his affection and you never need to worry about that either.  Your daddy is trustworthy and stable.  He is predictable in a good way.  He is true to his word.

Daddy is fun!  I don't need to be the one to tell you this!  You know it better than anyone!  He invents creative games with you, he chases you around the house, he allows you to "make" him pancakes or coffee in your play kitchen.  Your daddy knows that fun is important and he makes time to play.  (For Christmas he wanted a baseball mitt to keep in his car just in case someone ever wanted to play catch on a whim.  I found this very cute, by the way.)  He is intentional about play and recreation and that makes him a really fun daddy and husband!

I could go on and on about your daddy!

He is sensitive.  He is affectionate.  He is smart.  He is a problem-solver.  He is responsible.  He is intuitive.  He is passionate.  He is intentional.  He is a learner.  He is honest.  He is a good, good man.

Your daddy is the best.  But you know that already, don't you?  He's the very, very best.  And I'm so grateful that he's ours.

I love you, Husband.  Happy Birthday.  Thanks for choosing me and for loving us so well.  And Lila has one last thing to add:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 12

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 12

You are a wild thing.  You know the way the book Where the Wild Things Are starts? Max "made mischief of one kind and another."  

One Kind:

And Another:

But I love you anyway, my Wild Thing.  I'll eat you up, I love you so!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 11

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 11

Your logic.  It's so fun to get little glimpses into the way your little brain works.  You have all this information stored in there - experiences, words, things you've read or seen, ways Mommy and Daddy have described or explained things - and it's entertaining to see you take your brain's resources and put them to work to figure out a new situation or experience.  

The other day you asked me in a worried voice, "What happened to Lila's beard?"  You were picking at something on your chin and upon closer inspection I realized that you had the chin equivalent of a milk mustache.  A milk beard, if you will.  It was as though you had the following thought process: There's something on my chin. Daddy has something on his chin and he calls it a beard.  I must have a beard, too!

You were so concerned about your beard, so of course I had to take a video:

Ahhhh, milk beard.  You are silly.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 10

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 10

When you are scared your first request is that I talk to Jesus about whatever is scaring you.  You have a very active imagination, so we'll never know what might scare you - the big cow at Chick-fil-a, the shadows in your room, the V is for Vulture key on your computer.

The other day in the car, I was thinking about this a lot.  We were going to see Daddy for lunch and an ambulance ahead of us turned on its siren suddenly.  You were scared by the loud noise, which prompted this conversation:

You: Mommy, what dat noise?
Me: It's just a siren on that ambulance - they're going to help somebody.
You: It's too loud! Mommy talk to Jesus about that siren?
Me: Are you scared because the siren is loud?
You: Yeah! Mommy, talk to Jesus about that siren!
Me: Okay, Dear Jesus, help Lila to not be afraid of the siren.  Help her to understand that the loud noise just means they're going to help somebody and she doesn't need to be afraid.  Help her to know that you are with her, and when you're with her she doesn't need to be afraid of anything.
You: Mommy, talk to Jesus about that siren again.
Me: Can you talk to him?
You: No, mommy.
Me: You can.  Jesus will hear you if you talk to him
You: hesitating and then quietly mumbling Dear Jesus, help Lila not afraid loud siren. Help not afraid of anything.
Me: Good job, Peanut!  Jesus loves to hear you talk to him.  He heard you and he'll help you not to be afraid.
You: Yeah.

That conversation got me thinking.  You changed your tone of voice and the volume of your voice when you repeated my little prayer.  It was like you understood that you were talking to someone else.  It wasn't for my benefit.  It was as though you have a sense of Jesus' nearness to you.

Our little not-afraid prayer is based on a story we read in your Jesus Storybook Bible.  Listen:
Jesus and his disciples are in a boat on a lake and a big storm comes up.  The disciples are terrified and fear for their lives, but Jesus...Jesus is just snoozing away on the boat as though the raging storm is just a figment of their imagination.  The disciples wake him up and say to him, "Jesus! Do something! Don't you care that we're going to die?!"  And Jesus wakes up and, in a word, quiets the storm.  "Hush. Be still," he tells the wind and the waves.  And instantly, they are still.  You would think that the disciples would be celebrating, breathing a sigh of relief, thanking Jesus for saving them.  Instead, they are even more terrified than before.  They have just seen the kind of power and control their Teacher has and they just don't know where to file that information away in their brains!  And Jesus turns to them and says, "Why were you scared? Did you forget who I am?  Did you forget who is with you?"  

And here's the line that has inspired our prayers:

Jesus' friends had been so afraid.  They had only seen the big waves.  They had forgotten that, if Jesus was with them, then they had nothing to be afraid of.  No matter how small their boat, or how big the storm.

We hope that you are beginning to remember what the disciples forgot.  When you are afraid of something, we want you to remember that Jesus is always with you.  We want you to look past the big waves or the loud siren or the big cow at Chick-fil-a.  We want you to remember that when Jesus is with you, there is nothing to be afraid of.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 9

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 9

You are particular.  You have opinions about lots of things.  Like:
  • where you want to sit
  • where you want me to sit 
  • who should drive the car ("No, Daddy! Mommy Drive!")
  • what color diaper you wear ("green one!")
  • which bink you want
  • where your toys should go
  • which socks you want to wear
  • which shirt you want to wear
  • which shoes you want to wear
  • which pants you want to wear
  • whether you want to wear pants at all
You get the idea.  But in case you don't, here's another example:
One day I could only find two Snuggles (we have four) and I started to worry that there might come a day when I could find NO Snuggles.  That would be a day filled with lots of whining and crying and very little sleeping.  And I started to think that I would rather not have that day.  So I got the brilliant idea to order some more through our friend Heather who owns a sweet little natural mama store called Teeny Greeny.  Snuggles were originally designed to be burp cloths, but you adopted them as your comfort object.  (Correction, one of your comfort objects - you have four: Lambie, Snuggle, Bink and Birdie Blanket.  High maintenance, aren't we?)

Anyway, I asked Heather if she would order me a few more Snuggles and was all excited to show you the brand new (clean!) Snuggles!  I showed you the package and said, "Look, Lila!  Mommy got you some new Snuggles!"  You gasped dramatically as you are prone to do when you are excited and surprised.  But when I took the new Snuggles out of the package and handed one to you, a look of disgust came over your face and you said matter-of-factly, "Dat not Suggle."  

"Yes it is! It's just a new, clean Snuggle!"
"No. Not Suggle."
"Lila, it's the same as your other Snuggles, it's just a little softer.  See?"  I held out the new one next to the old one.  

In your defense, they weren't the same.  The old one was smaller (shrunk, I'm sure from many washings), dirtier (despite the many washings), thinner and the fleece was all pilled.  The new one was offensively clean, soft, full-sized and brilliant white.  And no matter how much I tried to convince you, there was no talking you into accepting that normal burp cloth masquerading as a Snuggle.

As someone who is very particular herself, I can appreciate the need to control your environment.  I just wish your particularity didn't interfere with my particularity (I would really rather you wear pants).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We interrupt this program to bring you this special announcement!

We are officially a waiting family!!!

I came home from teaching today and checked my email to find this:
I immediately started sending out a mass text to...well...everyone I know.  (If you didn't get one, it's probably not because I didn't send it to you.  It's probably because I have a new phone and I can't really figure out how to use it yet.  It's too fancy for me.  Many people said they got a text, but couldn't open it for whatever reason so I have no idea who got the text and who didn't.  Arg.  Stupid technology.)  We truly feel like each of you are on this journey with us.  As I was flipping through my contacts on my phone, I was reminded of how each one of you has contributed to us getting to this point.  We can't say enough how grateful we are for your support, donations, encouragement and excitement.  Grateful just doesn't cover it.

I'm hoping to have more information regarding what our wait might look like soon.  I have an email in to our consultant to ask what our official number is, so I'll update again when we have that information.  But until then we were just too giddy to not announce this wonderful news!  We could not be more excited/relieved/thrilled/hyper to finally be on the waiting list!

It's a little sobering because we know it will be a LOOOOONG wait, but it feels so much better to be officially waiting rather than waiting to officially wait!

Now that we are officially a waiting family, I feel much more "pregnant" than before.  It's a strange thing to be expecting without being pregnant.  Strange, but beautiful.  One of the ways this has manifested itself is that the Husband and I (okay, mostly I) have been obsessively researching name possibilities.  Thinking of names signifies a transition for me, I think.  Brainstorming names was the beginning of bonding with Lila when I was pregnant.  And as I begin to research and pray over names, I begin to imagine who this little baby might be.  I have been asking the Lord for a name that would speak to our baby's identity the way Lila's name speaks to hers.  We have a few we are tossing around right now and if we get more sure about them, we'll for sure let you know (you guys know I'm horrible at keeping those kind of secrets!).

Would you pray with us that the Lord would give us a name for this baby?  And while you're at it, would you pray that the wait would be bearable and that it would at least feel quick even if in reality it's very, very long?  We'd love ya for it.  Oh, who am I kidding.  We already love you.  But we'll love you more. Nope, not possible.  Ah, well.  You'll just have to settle for praying out of the kindness of your heart.

One day of waiting down, only the Lord knows how many more to go!  We'll have to figure out a way to track and mark our waiting.  Any ideas?

Thank you for doing this with us, friends.  We're humbled and grateful.  So, so grateful.

P.S. If you'll remember, we have lots of rules about naming our children - it's funny to look back on how we were processing choosing Lila's name.  And also funny that we totally broke some of our own rules (like not having a nickname).

P.P.S. Of course, our baby's given name will be a factor, too.  We will be keeping all or part of the given name.  We'll decide whether or not we think the given name will make life easier or harder for him or her.  If it's the latter, we'll keep it as a middle name at the very least.

Day 8

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 8

You love to read.  You have always loved to read.  We love reading to you, but it is just painfully cute when you read to yourself.  Sometimes you'll disappear and I'll notice the house is way too quiet so I go to investigate expecting to find you doing something naughty only to discover you sitting quietly in your room reading books.  Sometimes I'm lucky enough to capture the effort on film:

Last summer, "reading" your Jesus Storybook Bible

And this one we captured sometime before Christmas this year, reading one of your favs - The Monster at the End of this Book

And more recently you pulled your little rocking chair into your room and set your baby doll on your lap so you could read to her the way I read to you.  This sent images forcibly into my head of you holding your baby brother or sister on your lap and reading to him or her!  Oh, my heart!  I love the way you make up words as you "read" books that you don't have memorized yet.

Of course, you're not actually reading any of these books.  You have many books memorized and you know them by the pictures.  I have such sweet memories of your Nanny reading to me and I can't wait until you're old enough to enjoy the Little House series or the American Girl books or the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA!!! Oh MAN! Am I going to love reading those with you!  Hopefully you'll still let me read to you at that point!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 7

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 7

You love to sing!  Both Daddy and I love music, so it shouldn't be a surprise that you do, too!  We love that you love music!  You sing all the time and always have a song request when we get in the car.  Your favorite used to be Brooke Fraser's Something in the Water (which you call "doo-doo"), and right now you seem to love Feist's I Feel it All (which you call "feel tall song").  It's so cute the way you sing along with the songs you know and even clap or drum along with a few, too!  You seem to be able to pick out certain instruments (mostly drums) in songs and you often exclaim, "Daddy drums!" when a song has a particularly noticeable drum beat.  I think Daddy's heart skips a beat (pun intended) when you manage to clap along in rhythm and images of a young Meg White flash into his head.

This weekend, despite being sick, you gave us an enthusiastic performance of a new favorite of yours, Gungor's Beautiful Things:

(side note: I love how Daddy's head pops into the frame at 1:17.  Hilarious.)

Sometimes your singing is more endearing than others.  Example?
Endearing=you singing Happy Birthday to Aunt Jess:

(can anyone guess what my favorite part of this one is?  I'll give you a hint, it happens at 57 seconds)

Not-so-endearing=you singing yelling Something in the Water:

Endearing or not, we hope you continue to sing your little heart out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 6

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 6

You are so snuggly when you are sick.  We've been lucky that you haven't been as sick recently as you were this fall, but I guess our luck ran out this Saturday night when you woke up around midnight screaming.  Never a good sign.  I rushed into your room and you were burning up - 103.2° fever.  Sad baby.  I gave you some water and ibuprofen, stripped you down to your diaper and sat down to rock you back to sleep (I'm a fever pro after our many fevers last spring, most memorably this one).  After several minutes, I was about to put you back in bed when you started crying and sobbed, "I have it a-fever!" and then threw up all over me.  (By the way, it is a testament to my love for you that I did not return the favor.  I usually have a very sensitive gag reflex - ask anyone in my family and they'll tell you their favorite exaggerated story of my wussy stomach.)

This is when my expertise failed me.  We've done puke.  We've done fever.  We've even done strep.  But I've never done fever and puke at the same time.  Good thing your Aunt Jess works weekend nights!  I called her to see what I should do to get your fever down if you couldn't keep anything down.  Per her instructions, we kept you naked, let you eat some ice chips and tried to get you to take some more medicine.  You were adamantly against that last part having just thrown up your last dose.  We must have gotten some of it in you, though because your fever started going down.  We ended up bringing you in bed with us and you and Daddy slept while I tossed and turned because you both SNORE!  Normally I would be grumpy about this, but you kept patting me with your little hand and feeling for me next to you in your sleep.  I was kind of loving it.  Under usual circumstances we could never be a co-sleeping family because you live by the motto "when people are present it's time to party," but when you're sick you snuggle up quietly (with maybe a whimper or two in there) and go to sleep.

The next day you were so so snuggly.  It was awesome.  All you wanted to do was sit on our laps quietly or lean against us or snuggle in bed or have us hold you.

I think your Daddy was enjoying this a little bit:

is it just me or do you look like an eight year old in this picture?
Of course I'm grateful that you are now on the upswing, but I was sure enjoying the snuggly silver lining of a sick Peanut!  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 5

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 5

You do the silliest things when you wake up from your nap.  When you wake up from your nap, I usually let you play and talk for a little bit.  Partly because I am usually desperate for an extra 20-30 minutes of Mommy time and partly because I love to see what little games you invent or what songs you will sing to entertain yourself or your choice of words when you finally demand that I release you from your nap time prison.

Here are a few of your most common:

Mommy, I poop!
Mommy, yar-you? (that's Lila-speak for "where are you")
Mommy, come in here!
Mommy, I all done!
Mommy, good nap?
Mommy, come get Lila!

One of my favorite things you do is create little imaginary situations with your Lambie.  Lambie is poopie and needs a new diaper.  Lambie is sad and needs a bink.  Lambie is tired so you tuck him in with your snuggle.  Lambie wants a story.  Sometime I sneak in to see you lying next to Lambie (who is tucked in under your snuggle) and you are patting his back.  And sometimes I sneak in and see Lambie perched on the end of your crib surveying your antics:

Lambie is playing King of the Crib.
You usually have a comment about my physical appearance when I get you up from a nap because I'm usually either very sweaty from just having worked out, wet from just having gotten out of the shower, or greasy from being lazy through your nap and NOT having showered yet.  So I get comments like, "Mommy sweaty?" or "Mommy wet hair? Take a shower?" or "Mommy shiny?"  That last one usually means I need to take a shower!  In the following video you ask me if I'm wearing a swimsuit because I was wearing a workout tank:

The most memorable situation was a week or so ago when your daddy and I were having a stay-in-bed stand off and, though we were both very groggy, we remember the following sequence of events:

Mommy! Mommy! I poop! Mommy, I poop!
five minutes later
a few minutes later
Mommy, I poop on the pottttyyyyy!
Mommy, I poop on the potttttyyyy!

Daddy finally conceded the stand off and went in to get you out of bed (because he's a good man who knows that sleeping in = happy wife).  When he opened your bedroom door, he found you half naked with your pants and diaper off and the diaper folded closed and placed intentionally on top of your Snuggle.  Our best guess is that you had pooped (as you announced) and then took it upon yourself to change your own diaper.  The "ta-da!" is mostly likely when you succeeded in getting your diaper off.  As for your proclamation that you had pooped on the potty, we are in pre-potty training mode and you seem to be confused about what it actually means to use the potty.  You often tell us that you pooped on the potty when you really mean that you had just pooped in your diaper.   Needless to say, we both spring into action now at any poop announcements coming from your crib.  We were grateful that it wasn't a messy poop this time so the cleanup was minimal - next time we might not be so lucky!  Either way, it makes a great story!  And we all know how much I love sharing a good poop story!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 4

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 4

You are polite!  We have been pretty intentional and diligent about creating the linguistic habit of kindness in you.  We do the usual reminders of, "what do you say?" when you ask for something or when you are given something.  But what makes my mommy heart proud is when you say please, thank you, excuse me or sorry without being prompted.  I will do pretty much anything for you if you say please unprompted.  For instance, yesterday at lunch, you had already eaten your animal cracker treats at the end of your meal when you spotted the box of letter cookies that your Nana gave us.  You looked at me sweetly and said, "Please letter cookie please, Mommy?" And I just couldn't resist your charm.  "One letter cookie, okay?  Because you asked so nicely!" 

Sometimes your politeness makes us giggle, like when the doggie was lying down in front of the door and you said, "Excuse me, please Franny," and then when she got up (probably not because she understood you, more likely because you came toward her and she's learned to view your advances with apprehension!) you said, "Thank you!"  

And yesterday you were trying to squeeze past your high chair and you said, "Excuse me, seat!" which made me laugh and you looked at me in confusion as though to say, "What's so funny? Didn't you teach me to say excuse me if someone is in my way?"  Yes, I did.  And I'm sure your seat is very impressed with your good manners!
The best is when you say please or thank you without my prompting in public and I can just smile humbly while inside my heart swells with pride (like the Grinch's when the Whos in Whoville celebrate Christmas even after he took all of their presents and decorations).  A while ago, we were at your Nana and Papa's and as we were leaving, you ran up to your Nana and hugged her and said, "Thank you, Nana!" without our prompting.  I just about cried, I was so proud of you.  I know it sounds like such a small thing, but practicing the habit of saying thank you will eventually form a heart of gratitude which is something I want so desperately for you.  It does my heart good to think that your little two-year-old spirit is already forming and shaping into one that reflects Jesus.  

So thank you, for making your mama and daddy look good!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 3

29 Things to Love about Lila
Day 3

Your outfits.  You are at that age when you are beginning to have an opinion about what you want to wear.  And more often than not, you want to wear something like this:
the outfit you wore to school a few weeks ago
or this:
The outfit I came home to when Aunt Jess watched you.  (Notice the wings)
or this:
Your preferred outfit for our make-shift picnic lunch in the living room.
In general, your outfit preference involves either more or fewer articles of clothing than are appropriate for the weather or occasion.  Perhaps this isn't a new thing because I just remembered this picture from one of the hottest days last summer:
Long-sleeved tee, pajama pants, and sweater booties all over your swimsuit.  And it was 100+ degrees outside.
For the most part, I let you have a say in what you wear.  The result is usually an endearing mix of tomboy and pixie.  Besides, it charms the old ladies at the grocery store and that's well worth it!