Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cautious Fearless

It's not uncommon to hear Veronica say, "Mama, tell sister story...punkin story patch...mama story," and the list goes on. Any story I've ever made up, one thing is for sure, she WILL NOT forget it. For this reason, I might decide to make up a new story after her asking me to tell a particular one for a while. I do this, because I may have told that specific story way too many times (and I need a break). However, the problem with this new story is that I will be asked to tell it over and over and over again.

With that said, two words have been coined in our home by Veronica..."ONE DAYYYY!" It's because most of my stories start out with those two words. That being said, tonight she asked me to tell "mama story, mama story." But, I wanted to spin a new tale. And like many spun before, this one began with,

"One day, there were two sisters. And these two sisters were quite opposite from one another. One was named Veronica and the other was named Cadence. These two sisters each had a special gift. Now Veronica was the more cautious sister, while Cadence was the more fearless sister. Cadence was known to jump off of high walls, dive into swimming pools head first and jump into life with a sense of abandon. On the other side was the older sister, Veronica, with her cautious spirit. She would think before walking down steps or approaching a hole in the road, and preferred a bit more safety in general.
But these two sisters needed the other one's gift. For instance, if the two were walking and found an apple tree. Veronica really wanted an apple, but she would see how far up she'd have to climb, which meant she could get hurt.

Cadence would say, "C'mon Veronica, you can do it. Just try! It's not that hard, I'll do it and get one for you." Cadence's fearless of just doing paid off. However, when faced with a creek that was rushing a bit heavy, Cadence would want to jump right in; but, Veronica's thoughtful caution served her little sister well. "Cadence, NO don't jump in. You'll be taken down the stream and could drown," said Veronica.

These two sisters needed one another. BUT, one day Veronica was up on a mountain top all by herself. When she realized how far she climbed (it's always easier to climb up than climb down), she began to get scared. "How will I climb down?" she thought. Veronica didn't have her sister Cadence there to help her be fearless. She was thinking too much about getting hurt. But, Veronica began to realize that a bit of fearlessness WAS inside of her when she really needed it. She could hear Cadence's voice saying, "C'mon Veronica, you can do it. Just try!"

And with that, Veronica said, "I can do it, even if it takes me all day." She slowly climbed down the mountain. It did take her a while, but she did it. She got to the bottom without her sister there, because you see Veronica had been given a gift in her sister's fearlessness. Just as Cadence would later receive Veronica's gift of cautiousness. Those sisters needed one another.

I told her this story as I saw Cadence continuing to stick her hand in the heater after telling her no a couple times. It reminded me of how Veronica at a young age would obey mama & daddy the first time (not always true now), because she feared getting hurt. She has always been a pretty cautious individual and as a mother I want to focus on the good aspects of it. I also feel as though Cadence will be more fearless in life. And then it hit me as Veronica lay in her bed, Cadence hand in the heater and me on their bedroom floor before bed...these two are night & day, but it will only make their bond stronger.

So my two little monkeys...I pray you two will use your strength for good in this world. And that you will be able to glean a bit of your sister's gift in your own life when you least expect it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Tradition

Is there something golden and wonderful about Autumn? In my mind there definitely is, especially when you get to experience the array of colors with all their vibrancy. But even more, when you get to enjoy life with your family at the pumpkin patch. We, like most families in Whatcom County, go to Stoney Ridge Farm. As a family, we value traditions & rituals to incorporate into our lives; as well as, a means to create memories and deeper bonds in our family circle.
Going to Stoney Ridge in the morning to spend time as a family, breathe in fresh country air, take in all the colors the farm has to offer, pick out pumpkins & squash to take home is all part of our welcoming Autumn in. The other part is to come home and eat homemade chili & cornbread. This year we let Veronica stay up late to watch 'It's a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.' She enjoyed it, but I have to say that I didn't realize how often they say the word, "stupid." She has since asked to watch it again, but I keep saying no because of the word stupid.

We drank hot (or warm for Veronica) apple cider while watching the movie. But best of all, my little older girl let me snuggle with her as we sat on the love seat. The next morning we didn't go to church, as Cadence had a bit of a fever less than 24 hours earlier, so we sang songs, read the story of Jonah (from V's kid bible), gave thanks for what we were thankful for and spent time praying. And that's what I love about Veronica, as she will interject the various things we need to thank Jesus for during our prayer time ("thank you thank you Jesus for my eggs!).

Our day at the patch had been long awaited, especially with the advent of what Veronica calls, "the punkin story patch." You'll have to ask her what it entails.

The scarecrows weren't received too well by one 2.75 year old.

Upon entering the gates of Stoney Ridge, Veronica made her way to the baby pumpkins to check out their quality. We later bought two, one for each girl. It has been put to good use in our home (used as a food item for the play kitchen, bowling ball, and suck toy), not our front porch.

Veronica was a bit concerned about this pumpkin in the broken down wheelbarrow. Fortunately, she grew accustomed with it very quickly after this picture.

She patted many of the pumpkins throughout our time in the patch, just like last's the way she rolls.

On her search for the prized red apple.

Mama needed to pick her up to get just the right one.

It was enjoyed by all of us.

It was hard to get Veronica's real height, because she kept looking down as you can see. She was probably hitting 3'4.

So around this point in our time at the farm, Veronica was definitely feeling like a bit wary. Everything we suggested to do next, we received a resounding, "NOOO!" She was quite fearful of the animals, didn't want to ride the train, and simply wanted to go home.

Then, we realized we never needed to pay to have a fun time (like most moments with kids). Ben asked Veronica if she wanted to play at the playground. An astounding, "YES!"

And here are some pictures of Cadence while I took Veronica to the honey bucket.

As the pictures progress, Veronica is showing signs of being tired by the end.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alma Mater

On Sundays we're trying to take advantage of any nice weather we receive and go outside to enjoy it. Yesterday it seemed Veronica was a bit of a fussy pants, but once we got to the water & started walking on the dock, all her cares washed away. I turned to Ben, "I guess all she needed was some fresh air!" It was a splendid return for the wind & rain the days before.

Well, last Sunday we also went out and about. The plan was Sehome Hill; however, Ben missed the turn and we parked on Highland Drive to show Veronica & Cadence a bit of mommy & daddy's roots (not exactly). It's weird walking back on campus after not being there for a while, seeing the college students go about their study-driven lives, and finally see Miller Hall being renovated (due to it sinking in the ground). However, Veronica wasn't too interested in these attractions. Rather, she had her own personal favorites.

Yes Veronica wished to stay at the mosquito sculpture near the PAC and walk around the water fountain as many times daddy would permit (what kid wouldn't though). We enjoyed the rest of the evening by eating Indian food and Veronica asking to watch more movie (it was Bollywood at it's finest).


Friday, October 16, 2009

Infectious Laughter

Our little Cadence is 11 months old now and although she is petite in frame, it doesn't negate how much volume can come out of such a small body. Her laughter is big and infectious (as witnessed in the video below). Her objection to getting dressed & undressed is verbalized in decibels I'm surprised she can reach. And she has enough spunk & fight within to give her older & bigger sister a run for her money.

She is one of the fastest crawlers I know and if she falls on her belly from trying to move to quickly, she'll just get back up and try again. She has a persistence, which is quite passionate (both the positive & negative). And I will have to remind myself that being persistent is a good thing (in the midst of those moments when it is being used for less desirable traits).

She also crawls rather quickly to you if you're laying on the ground, because she knows there's a belly button underneath that shirt that needs poking. I love watching the wheels turn inside that little head of hers as she tries to mimic something I've just done. Some of her current favorites is scrunching up her nose and sniffing kind of like a dog (I did it to her and she repeated it). She loves shaking her head 'no' (I think she likes the feel of her hair going to & fro). She's trying to figure out how to climb the stairs (my life will never be the same right).

We like this kid a lot and all her crazy antics...hope you enjoy the video.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Veronica methodically watches daddy most mornings scrape the "cream" off his face. Well, I thought she should have her shot at it. I squirted some shaving cream onto the table (helps get the table clean) & told her to go for it. **Disclaimer: If you try this at home strip your kid down to their undies.**

She began with spreading the cream on the table, but it didn't take her long to spread it all over her body.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who We Are

With an almost three year old (three months feels like almost--right?) and even closer almost one year old in the house...I feel sad to say that I have gradually slipped from blogging radar to capture many fun moments in our home. V continues to entertain us daily and Tay Tay is a hoot. But even with that in mind, I feel like I haven't been much of a mom lately.

I find myself getting more impatient, irritable, and seriously moody with my girls. Things that are typically endearing are currently driving me bonkers. And since this is an invite only blog, I feel like I can share this here with some understanding & grace. It's not only my girls, but doing all the other domestic duties that come with staying at home. But it's not only the domestic duties, but this feeling I get about not engaging my girls enough.

The other night I was explaining to Ben how I'm not a logistical thinker. I cannot look at my day (or even my hour) and plan everything out according to a time frame. It's hard for me to look at the clock and then figure out everything I need to do, in order to leave the house on time to get where we are going on time. Ben is great in this. He's an ISFJ, which SJ's are logistic in their approach to life. I'm an ENFJ and NF's are diplomatic in their approach to life. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty good at seeing detail about certain things, but when it comes to managing time & all the household stuff--it takes a lot of work. I do it because my job calls me to do it, but I'm exhausted by the end of it. I'm more of a big picture person and I rely on Ben for his logistical skills of bringing the big picture to fruition (is any of this making sense?).

It's kind of what I wrote about in my evangitality blog about planning and lists. I love making lists and planning for events, because it's dreaming up something big and wonderful (and part of that is looking at the details, which is the J part of my personality that comes out). However, it's the putting it into practice, which is the hard part for me (the actual doing what I've made a list for).

And since it takes so much out of me to be logistic and detailed in the running of our home, it makes it too easy to neglect engaging with my girls. Because I have to really focus on the task, in order to get it done (I turn into focus overdrive mama). Plus, I want to serve Ben by having a clean house and dinner ready for him. But it's also that, 'what do you have to show for your day's work?' feeling I get if the house is a mess or dinner isn't ready.

But (an even bigger but) when I look at the bigger picture of me 18 years from now, what will I have to show for keeping a clean home & dinner ready (not that they're bad)...if I have lost valuable time getting to know my daughters, or leaving them with a sense of worth & love, or simply allowing myself to make forts, dance & sing, & soak up life with them in complete abandonment (carpe diem).

Because even as I write this I feel better. I know that life is messy and dinner won't always be nutritious. There will be greasy fingerprints that I've cleaned up for the third time in less than an hour. There will be a little girl being a big helper by emptying her potty in the toilet, while half of it falls all over the floor. There will be times when eating dessert for breakfast must happen for the sake of not living by "the rules." Life isn't prepackaged and pretty. It doesn't fit into a box with a label, "one size fits all." It's who we are in the good, bad & ugly that makes us who we are and causes us to strive to not settle for good enough.

And this is who I am...
a mom, a wife, a daughter,
a sister & a friend.
called very loyal, a stand by sort of girl.
laughter is essential.
Patience=virtue and I work on it daily.
Veronica's mantra is also mine, "Stay calm, Get control, take a deep breath and use your words." Emotions full...some good and some not.
Bake & cook, no other way.
judgmental & quick to speak,
but quick to make amends and offer grace.
sensitive to the core, others see confidence.
Messy eating could live without, but the loud "MMM's" could not.
talkative success, listening not so much.
Sings lead, but loves harmony.
Two girls--crazy about,
A husband I adore and a daughter of the most High,
loves me if none of this were here...satisfying.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Once upon a Kitchen

Being the resourceful mother that I am, I created a kitchen for my kitchen enthusiast daughter a while back. I knew she would love to have her very own play kitchen. Ya know, the kind you find in a store that has cabinets, a sink, and even a stove (and has a price tag far exceeding what I would like to spend).

So back to this thing called resourcefulness...below is what I created for Veronica since she was always putting her play pots on the real stove. I took a box, wrapped it in brown paper wrap and drew the very realistic burners (right?). She loved it!

Well, although she was quite thrilled with my ghetto looking stove (and probably would have played with it happily for months to come), Grandpa & Grandma gave us some money to buy a kitchen for her (and later to follow, Cadence). After about two months (when I wasn't even looking for anything), there was a steal of a deal on Craigslist emailed by my lovely friend Lindsey. Veronica went with me to see the kitchen. She of course loved it. I mean she was beside herself (as any child would be). What with an actual sink, oven, fridge, freezer, and cabinet to place food & pots into. The result.....


...Life after the kitchen....

  • Ben did say once we got the kitchen in our house if we would be getting rid of her first stove, which I sadly obliged (actually, he had more of a making fun of mama tone).
  • We rearranged our whole living room to accommodate this beast.
  • Veronica woke up at 4:30 the next morning asking to go downstairs to play with her kitchen.
  • V has always been gentle & kind with her sister, but this beast of a kitchen brought out the beast inside Veronica. As Cadence was crawling toward the open fridge door, Veronica shrieked, "NO BABY CADENCE!" while dragging her sister away from the fridge.