Thursday, April 29, 2010

We’re So Lucky!

There are many reasons for which I am grateful to have Drew for my husband and for which the boys are so lucky to have him as their father. 

One of the big things – which might not seem like much to the outside observer – is that he is a risk taker. 

I am not. 

There has been many a time when he has gone ahead with some bold move, sometimes not telling me – lest he disrupt his Nervous Nelly wife – and far and away most of the time it turns out just swimmingly. 

Take last weekend for example.  While I was at a baby shower, he put Benjamin down for his nap without his pacifier.  (He had tried this earlier in the week, and it hadn’t gone well, so he aborted that mission.  Benjamin wasn’t ready for the big push, and we wanted an evening of relative quiet for conversation.)  I’m told there was protesting by the wee one, but he did fall asleep after tears shed.  Ditto at bedtime.  Protesting.  Crying.  Eventually sleep.

Then on Sunday morning when Benj awoke from his morning nap SO upset, and SO wanting to be pacified, and SO NOT happy to just be in mommy’s arms – what was I to do?  I couldn’t give in after what Drew had established.  So he cried … for a while.  And he flailed, and he moaned and he reached for pacifiers in view (that was unkind of us to have them there.)  And then something distracted him long enough (something Jasper did I think) that he stopped.  And there’s been nary a pacifier since. 

You might think, “what? a pacifier? … really?  like it was that hard?” 

“have you children?”  I might ask. 

“have you any habits that are hard to break?” 

“have you so wanted peace and quiet after a morning of complete chaos* that a pacifier looks like heaven to you, too?”  (*think whack-a-mole, and that might paint a picture of what motherhood of two young toddler boys is like.)

So that’s where I was.  Totally wanting Benjamin to kick the pacifier, but totally NOT wanting to endure the perceived pain of getting him to kick it.  I didn’t know he could be a rock star in this area if I could just get over my fear to try.  (Jasper never took a pacifier.  Ever.  I didn’t go through this with him.  I had nothing to go on.) 

So, how nice was it that in less than two days my husband, brave and bold man that he is, took charge and led his youngest out of the last vestiges of infancy into toddlerhood? 

Pretty awesome.  We’re so lucky!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cycling Fan(atic), Part Deux

Anyone who might regularly read this blog (as often as there is anything worth reading) has to know that Drew is a major cycling fan.  He knows as much about cycling as he does about airplanes.  (And that’s saying a lot!)  His love of cycling is rubbing off on his progeny, and now we have two cycling fan(atic)s in the house. 

Yesterday was Paris – Roubaix, a century-old “classics” cycling race that is 262km long, over 20+ cobblestone sections.  It’s ridiculous!  It’s almost a sprint (a sprint for anyone not professional level), and the course is so narrow and treacherous that there are always major wrecks.  It’s really unbelievable.  It took the winner 6.5 HOURS to finish, going an average of 39.2km/hour.  Good Night Nurse!

Yesterday American “big George Hincapie” was riding it for the 17th time, and although we were pulling for him, we knew the race would ultimately come down to the two favorites: Fabian Cancellara (Swiss) and Tom Boonan (Belgian).  Jasper has been exposed to these two cyclists since before he could talk.  I have photos of them from bicycling magazines in his “image” book, and seeing as how Cancellara is such a cool name to pronounce, we would tell him of Fabian and eventually got him to tell others that “Fabian Cancellara is the world time-trial specialist” which he is … and a gold medalist.  But I digress. 

We let Jasper watch a short portion of the race last night before bed, and then he got to watch it almost in entirety this morning.  He thought it was great!  He looked intently for Fabian Cancellara (who kindly was wearing a red jersey and red shoes – very easy to pick out), and without any prompting from me identified Tom Boonan.  He called them out every time they showed up on the screen.  And he could not (really, he just couldn’t because he was so excited) say Fabian without an increasing intonation in his voice.  I recorded him as he watched the race so I could send it to Drew.  hopefully I can post a link to the audio later. 

In the end, Fabian Cancellara wiped away the field.  He was remarkable in his timing and his strength.  He pulled away with 45km left in the race and rode out the remaining course like he does all time trials, with great focus and precision.  At the end of the race last night, Drew declared “Fabian Cancellara is my favorite cyclist to watch!” 

I don’t have it recorded, but Jasper also kept saying things like “Fabian is going to win.  He’ll raise his hands up in the air like this” (giving me a demonstration).

cancellara_paris_roubaix and so he did! 

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


At dinner tonight I asked Jasper to pray.  He was all over that and prayed for the fire trucks, ambulances, firemen and “workers at the hospital.”  He prayed that the fire trucks would be safe and make it to the fire and be able to get out their ladders.  It was cute, and I don’t even remember all of it. 

He skipped the food. 

During dinner, Jasper also asked me what “righteous” means.  This came out of the blue, so I was a little unprepared.  I mean, how do you explain righteous to a 3-year-old?  I said righteous means to be good.  He interjected and said “the righteous runs to the strong tower and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).  So I said yes, “righteous are those who love God and try to do good and obey God.”  Jasper then looked at me and said,

“Dad is righteous.  MY daddy is righteous.” 

How precious! 

Praying with Jasper

For some time we’ve been praying with Jasper before meals and before he sleeps at naptime and at bedtime.  At meals he has in the past sometimes wanted to pray himself.  He would say

“thank you, Jesus, for the fire trucks.  Let them get to the emergency because every second counts.  Amen.”

At naptime I try to be consistent in thanking God for our lunch (since lunchtime is hectic and I don’t always sit with them or take time at the beginning of the meal to pray), praying for daddy at work, for our neighbors and for the boys to have good naps.  I have often prayed above his level, hoping to get him used to thinking about such things.  He always asked to pray for “everyone and our neighbors” at each prayer time.  Lately he’s been restless during prayer time, so today I suggested that he pray by himself.  I gave him an example of what he could pray for (our top four things) and how to say it (like we do every day but much simpler).  Then he said “no, you pray” a few times until I could convince him to pray on his own.  Then he did.  He said,

“Thank you, Jesus, for our lunch. 

Thank you for daddy’s job and bless it. 

Thank you for our neighbors. 

Please help Benjamin and Jasper to have a good night sleep.” 

I was so proud!  I hugged him and said I didn’t need to add anything to it since he had prayed so well.  Then I tucked him in and came almost running out to the computer to share it with Drew.  Drew was thrilled! (I think that’s putting it mildly.) 

Our primary prayer for him - above healing his GI, getting potty trained, keeping him from harming his brother, taking away his allergies to nuts, etc.  … the thing we have prayed more than anything else for Jasper (and Benjamin) is that God would draw them to Him and that they would become sons of God. 

We see how Jasper is learning about God and Jesus from Sunday school at church and from reading to him, praying with him and talking with him about the Bible and God.  He’s lately been telling us stories from his “bible” (any flip chart type thing he can get his hands on – usually a pad of post-it notes at the kitchen table).  Yesterday it was the Easter story: “Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then he rose from the dead.”  Literally, those were his words.  It really is a thrill to see how he’s growing in maturity (yes, even at 3!) and in his understanding of his Creator.  Amen!

18 months old, continued

Benjamin does not like to be left out of any conversation or hand gesture.  If we give Jasper a high five, Benjamin puts up his hand for us to “five” him too.  If we fist bump with Jasper, Benjamin holds up his fist too.  it’s adorable!  He waves hi or bye and claps when we sing, play music, dance or are clapping in appreciation for good deeds or fun stuff.

For some time Benjamin’s favorite book was Farmer Jed, a Fisher Price board book about life on the farm.  He got it in his stocking.  He seems to have a little more fondness for animals than Jasper did or does.  He is wild for cats, and can make some animals noises – not perfectly, but consistent to the animal in question – meowing, mooing, quacking, woofing, etc. 

Much to our pediatrician’s dismay, I’m sure, Benjamin has seen a record number of Clifford episodes, Cars movie clips and movies about John Deere tractors, cars, motorcycles, street sweepers, fire trucks, garbage trucks and big mining trucks.  When it’s time for Jasper to do his breathing treatment, we let him watch something – usually only for about 15 minutes (unless we’re really busy and lose track of time).  When this time comes, Benjamin knows what’s happening and comes running, squealing with delight, for the couch.  He climbs up and settles in to be entranced by the magic machine.  Not sure what detriment this will be to his cognitive ability or his attention span.  Time will tell! 

While Benjamin naps in the morning, I usually get some alone time with Jasper.  But I rarely get alone time with Benjamin.  However, recently he was waking up from his afternoon nap almost an hour before Jasper, so we got some one on one time.  He has shown a fondness for stuffed animals and loves to cuddle them.  He also likes trying to get them to fit into the dump truck.  Here are some shots:

This is Bunky bear, one of my favorites growing up.DSC_6727 DSC_6734 DSC_6736 DSC_6738 DSC_6741

oh, what a cute blue monster!

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This might not come as any shock, but there is nothing Jasper does that Benjamin does not want to do.  He runs after him, wrestles with or is tackled by him (lately he’s starting to defend himself by biting), he squeals and laughs with him – endlessly, and generally speaking he tries to do what Jasper does.  This becomes a problem when Jasper does something that would be dangerous for Benjamin, and I can just see ulcers having to be fended off of my life in the future as I give up the safety and security of both boys to our loving heavenly Father.  So far there have been no casts.  We’ll see how long that holds out. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

18 months old !

Okay, it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  I’ve had all these grand intentions. 

But I also have been trying to read my Bible more faithfully every day, and support my husband more effectively every day and parent our boys more patiently every day and enjoy life more truly every day … and since I haven’t really been successful on any of those fronts (and it’s not just because I’m a perfectionist who is trying to change), I didn’t feel like I could stop and spend lots of time posting to the blog … since that really doesn’t have the eternal significance of any of my other every day objectives. 

But today, Benjamin is 18 months old.  He’s a year-and-a-half.  gulp!  I don’t know where the time went, but he is definitely not a baby anymore.  He is a little boy.  Since January, we’ve watched his personality unfold and have been rapt in the awesomeness of God’s creation.  It is fun to see how people born of the same parents and raised in the same household can be so different.  To be sure, Benjamin has distinct similarities to his brother Jasper.  But he is his own creature, and he is a HOOT! 

Benjamin is still not talking much, but he has his own way of communicating.   He does say dada (his first word), chugga chugga (for train) and wee-ooo (for fire truck).  We think he’s saying chips.  How’s that for a non family word?  And just recently he’s started saying papa and mama.  He does sign for milk, more and thank you and blows kisses like the best of them.  He totally responds when you ask him to do something he wants to do – like go give hugs and kisses to a room of people before bed.  Today he ran from the bathroom to the tent in the playroom to retrieve the “milk carton” for Jasper who happened to be sitting on the big boy potty.  He’s attached to his pacifier still (sadly) for naps and other times of comfort and is just starting to show progress of being in the nursery at church without crying much.  This last Sunday was perhaps an anomaly since there were 28 kids in his nursery room on Easter.  Previous Sundays he’s played, talked and laughed the entire time without needing his pacifier.  (We LOVE our nursery workers who are consistent each Sunday and love him and can really track his improvements and care that he shows progress.) 

Without knowing how or why this developed, Benjamin loves to yank Jasper’s clothes off the hangers in the closet.  He’ll do it while I’m trying to change Jasper’s diapers, too – just when I don’t have a hand free to grab him.  In these instances, he is all too defiant and cares not about the tone or inflection of my voice to stop him.  He will not eat leftover chicken and sometimes protests almost his entire meal – even though it’s clearly composed of things he loves.  He’s taken to Oatmeal Squares cereal for his breakfast of champions of oatmeal, toast and fruit as well.  He’s ascribing to his brother’s adoration of breakfast.  He loves trucks, just like his brother, and refers to them as “a-cha” – pointing decidedly at passing trucks while saying this. 

As of today he has 12 teeth and four, yes four, additional ones are coming in right now.  These four will fill out his mouth, leaving no gaps in his smile.  Oh, his smile.  He is a funny kid and has a “funny face” that he will grin at you if you ask.  Jasper loves his funny face and will ask him to show it – then laugh, laugh, laugh at Benjamin.  It’s too cute.  Drew took a video of it about a week ago.   I’ll try to get it uploaded.  This is a shot taken when Jasper was saying “Let’s see your funny face, Benjamin!”


The boys are attached to their papa and nana who have been snowbirding in Austin for nearly three months.  When they arrive, Benjamin runs for papa, sometimes very clearly brushing off nana as he runs past her.  Jasper on the other hand squeals wildly for nana when she arrives.  Thankfully they are an equal distribution sibling pair.  Papa and nana leave tomorrow.  Oh how the boys (and I) will miss them. 

Benjamin has not completely given up his morning nap.  Some days he can skip it without missing a beat.  I mean, he’s stumbling over himself as noon approaches but can make it through lunch and then down for his nap.  But he can’t do it every day all week.  Yesterday we skipped morning nap and there was major flame out at dinner.  Today he was flaming out nearly at the end of breakfast and went down with a scream for his morning nap but quickly fell asleep for over an hour.  It sounds like he’s just starting to wake up from his afternoon nap now.  There is nothing simple about life with kids.  I hope we can be a little more productive in our days once he gives up his morning nap for good and we can use mornings for going to the park, running errands, etc. 

I’ll have to catch up on all the goings on since January later.  Right now, I have two boys who want to play.

Gideon and Asher come to visit

In town for a wedding the second week of March, my friend Stacy and I were able to squeeze in a visit and a play date for our boys.  Having four boys under the age of 4 in the house was a little pandemonious, but it was fun to see how they interact and feed off one another. 

After playing with trucks, play doh, eating blueberry muffins and lunch (chicken nuggets, thank you!), we turned on good ol’ PBS for some peace while Stacy and I ate our lunch.  Jasper here is glued to Clifford.  Gideon isn’t all that into the big red dog, and Benjamin was all too eager to follow Gideon’s lead of not staying glued to the TV.  So, there was some up and down on the part of the mommas, but much less than if we had let them run free. 

DSC_6340 DSC_6342 DSC_6344

Asher, the Hock’s chunky monkey, is 3.5 months old and already fitting into 6mo clothes.  Sounds like our Benjamin!  He is a sweet, smiley boy!  Jasper loved loving on Asher (without actually making contact).  He would crouch down next to him on the floor and speak sweetly to him.  “Asher, it’s Jasper.”  He reminds me so much of his sweet cousin Linnea sometimes, it just blows my mind! 


Benjamin too thought Asher was pretty cool and would point at him and jabber.  Before they left, this shot below reminded me of our first joint shot of Jasper and Gideon. 

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Benjamin thought Asher wanted a little rocking ride, but we didn’t think Asher was all that into being on a horse.  So, we cut off Benjamin before things got out of hand.  I think Asher was relieved.  :)