When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith



A few days ago we were at a department store when we noticed Parker staring at himself in the mirror. He carefully brushed a few strands of hair off his forehead and said aloud, "I look so good in this mirror."

What?! I know he's never heard me or his dad say that. I was getting worried that he was becoming vain. Later in the van, he seemed to be talking to himself. He said, "Hello, gorgeous!"

Again, I was a little concerned.

That night he asked me to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks movie with him. It has been running in the background of our home all Christmas season (since Daddy is home and doesn't worry about constant television rotting his little brain the way mommy does). As I sat with him, I heard Alvin admiring himself in a mirror, just as Parker had done. In another scene, the Chipmunks stumble across a cabinet full of food and exclaim, "Hello gorgeous!"

Relief washed over me. But then, so did fear. Parker was an absolute sponge. I think it's time to pull the plug on the TV. Let the whining begin.


Merry Christmas!

Well, the first part was merry. Parker came running down the stairs, "Santa came! Santa came!" After admiring his tool bench and fireman coat, he said, "Oh! I have one other thing I need to check real quick..." He ran to the mantle and stood on his tiptoes. Satisfied his stocking was stuffed with candy and small gifts, he returned to his tool bench (where he played all day).

Maddie, on the other hand, was not so happy. She was fussy and clingy and feverish. She took a long morning nap and awoke, coughing, shaking, glassy-eyed. I was scared. After leaving a message for the on-call doctor and waiting half an hour, I started driving around to urgent care centers. All closed.

I got back home and finally talked to the on-call doctor. We were instructed to go to the ER. Over 6 hours later, we returned home to a tired dad, a lovely [cold] Christmas dinner, and a little boy who didn't want to go to bed.

The worst part about it was missing out on Parker today. I so wanted to play with him and his toys and just share a laid back Christmas day. It made me so grateful to all of the ER doctors, nurses and pharmacists who worked today - away from their own families - so they could care for mine.


'Tis the Season

Parker is psyched about Christmas. Every part of it. He told me tonight he was going to eat up Jesus' birthday cake before He came. Hmmm...I'm not sure it's a good idea to mess with the Almighty's dessert.

Tonight we went to our friends' house for dinner. When we left, Parker said, "Thanks for having us, Carrie and Paul...Merry Christmas to you - all day and night!"

For the last few mornings the first words out of his mouth have been, "Is it Christmas yet?" When we say no, he isn't disheartened. He smiles and says, "I didn't think so, [then in his high-pitched excited voice] but it's coming soon!"

I am really glad he is excited again. For a brief time, he seemed pretty depressed when he realized there was a "naughty list." See, he tries so hard to be good, but sometimes it's just not possible. I mean, he is after all, only 2. There are messes to be made, Ipods to break, sisters to smack, etc.

I certainly didn't help his insecurities the day I picked up the phone to dial Santa. He had just nailed Maddie with a toy again and was screaming his little head off because she dared to pick up a toy he'd set down a few moments ago. When I told him who I was calling, he literally threw himself at my feet, wrapped his arms around my legs, and sobbed, "Pwease don't call him!"

Needless to say, I have backed off my mean-mommy/vindictive Santa approach, and the joy of Christmas has returned. Thank goodness!


Master Manipulator

Today we went to something called Winterfest in downtown Seattle. Really cool indoor and outdoor event. We saw a huge train set, a children's choir, a giant snow globe, etc. As we were heading out toward the ice skating rink and merry-go-round, Parker started having a meltdown. You know, the kind where he throws his head back so far and his mouth opens so wide he looks like a singing muppet. The tears were rolling and we couldn't make out what he was saying. Aaron looked around, exasperated, and spotted a candy shop.
"Hey Parker, would some cotton candy make you feel better?"
Immediately the tears ceased and his voice returned to normal: "Yes, I think that would make me feel better."

Later at home, Parker nailed Aaron in the head with one of those small, hard bouncy balls.
"Ow! Stop!"
Parker (tearing up): That hurted my feelings when you told me to stop.
Aaron: Well, it hurt my head when you threw it at me!
Parker (still teary): But that hurted my feelings! (pause) Maybe a trip to the movie store might make me feel better. Yup, I think so.



Today Parker took the rules down off the wall.
"I am big. I don't need these anymore."

I made these rules a few months ago and drew pictures next to each, so Parker would know exactly what was expected of him.

1. Sit and eat at the table.
2. Ask before you go out or open the door.
3. Ask before hitting, and be gentle with babies.
4. Scream into a pillow or in your room.
5. No bad words.

Today I only had to remind him once that we don't put sleds on top of Maddie and get inside to squish her.

Yeah, he's got the rules down pat. No worries.


Today Parker donned his reetaculars (binoculars) and his large brimmed frog-print hat and told anyone who would listen he was a "big explorer."

He would peer through the reetaculars, and exclaim, "Mommy! I see some wild aminals!"
Me: What are they?
Parker: (in an intense whisper) They're wions (lions)
Me: Ooh...scary.
Parker: No, it's okay; they're dead. You can touch them.

No more trips to Cabelas with daddy.



Tonight I was thumbing through an issue of Seattle's Child, a free, local magazine. The article Local Families Reflect on Holiday Giving Traditions stunned me. It broke my heart.

The reasons for holiday gift-giving didn't make any sense to me. The explanations left me with a sense of emptiness. None of the six families highlighted indicated Jesus' birth had anything to do with this season of celebration. Few used the term "Christmas" or "Christmastime." They wrote about "winter festivities," "winter solstice," an "evergreen wreath" that symbolized the "cycle of life and the constant change of the seasons." A young couple with a baby actually wrote, "We're making it up as we go along." Only one family mentioned anything about religion, indicating they "opted to celebrate [Hanukkah] in a cultural way" in addition to their winter solstice celebrations.

What is the point of all this gift-giving exactly, I wondered. Where is the hope or joy?

We had a recent death in the family. What a blessing to be able to tell Parker the truth with confidence. What relief to let him know Bobbi's children will see her again in heaven. I wondered what the young couple in the article will tell their baby about the "cycle of life" when someone she loves dies. I wondered what they tell themselves. I just wanted to cry.

How do you reach people when the lies are so pervasive? How do you protect your own children from these lies? I thought, "Lord, get me out of this foreign land [Seattle]!"

He said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:14

Do not be afraid, Jessie. This is good news you can share with all people.
Christ is born!


I hate it. With a passion. My mom even bought Parker a book about a boy who was always getting in trouble for whining until he changed his ways. The main character often whines, "But Mo-om!"

Parker has recently been mimicking that character and phrase, using the same annoying inflection I use when I read it to him. (Now I wish we'd never read it.)

Today, after about the 30th "But Mo-om!" I told him I had had enough. If he chose to address me in that tone again I would ignore him completely until he asked correctly. We went over and over this until I was pretty sure it was drilled into his little head.

Tonight, on the car ride to the store, I was recounting to Aaron the day's events. We talked about whining, and I turned to Parker and asked, "What will mommy do, if you say, 'But Mo-om?'"

I sat back proudly, a smug smile on my face, waiting to hear him say, "She'll ignore me."
Without skipping a beat, he exclaimed, "She'll grant my wishes!"

Mean Old Santa

Tonight Parker told me that Santa called. Parker said he left Santa a message and Santa called back. Apparently, Santa told him that he was not going to get that tool bench he had been asking for. (Not sure why.) When I heard this, I said, "Oh yeah? Well I'm just going to have to give Santa a call and give him the what-for!" Parker nodded and exclaimed, "And tell him you're going to put milk in his beard, too!"

Looks like someone is getting a lump of coal this year!

No more bah-bahs

It's official...Maddie is finished using bottles. It makes me kind of sad. It was almost too easy.

Parker was extremely attached to his bottles. In fact, when he was 18 months old, we had to have a visit from the "Bottle Fairy." One night we gathered all of the bottles in the house, placed them in a bag for "all of the babies who still needed them," and set the bag on the back porch. In the morning, it had magically disappeared. In its place? Fairy dust [glitter], big boy cups [sippy cups] and candy.

With Maddie, I simply replaced her bottle with a sippy cup one morning, and she hasn't looked back.

I almost feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...



A few days ago, Parker approached our gas fireplace and bent down low. He peered upward and furrowed his brows. He turned to me and said suspiciously, "I don't see a hole."

Me: What do you mean?
Parker: I don't see a hole for Santa to come down.
Me: Well...It may be hard to see.
Parker: But I don't see it!
Me: (Lying) There has to be a hole...That is where the [non-existent] smoke from the [gas] fire goes. It goes up the chimney. It's between the outside of the house and the inside wall...kind of like the tunnel at McDonalds.
Parker: (eyes widening in excitement) Can I climb up it?
Me: No. Only Santa can climb up the chimney.
Parker: Nuh-uh.
Me: Nuh-huh. (Mature, I know.)
Parker: No! That bad guy climbed up it!
Me: What bad guy?
Parker: That bad guy on TV!
Me: Oooohhh....[the Grinch]. Okay, well only that bad guy and Santa can climb up it.


What a Sweetie

Today Parker was so sweet. When Maddie wouldn't stop crying during her nap time, he said, "Oh! I will sing her a song!" (See video) I think his favorite part was singing, "And down will come Maddie, cradle and all."

At his own nap time, he took my hand and placed it on his face. He squeezed it between his cheek and shoulder and said, "I'm your cuddlebug." Then he said he wanted to give me a hug and kiss. When I told him to have sweet dreams, he actually answered, "I will." (He usually says, "I won't! I will have bad dreams!") I don't know what made him so loving today, but I'll take it!


Why we need to move home

Well, one of the many reasons....

Today, Parker stood at the front window, perplexed.
"Momma, why none kiddos are out? The sun is out!"

Never mind that it is below freezing. When you live in Seattle, if the sun is out, you are out. Parker learned this rule quickly, and now he wants to apply it. In the freezing cold.

Ah, Kentucky, I miss you!


Proud Every Day II - DINKS

We used to be D.I.N.K.S...you know, double-income-no-kids. I am embarrassed to admit that I have no idea how I spent all of that money. Now that I am a stay-at-home-mom and we have two more mouths to feed, things are very different. Our spending money is now a drop in the bucket in comparison to just a few years ago (but I promise I'm not complaining - just read on).

Aaron used to invest in a lot of "stuff." He was way into everything...every sport, every hobby. And he had every piece of gear imaginable. Recently, he decided to sell some pricey mountaineering gear. He didn't make a big deal out of it, but he basically felt it wouldn't be responsible for him to go mountaineering when he was the sole provider for three other people. It made me sad (for him) and proud (of him) at the same time. He never complained.

Tonight we learned about a family in our church that is experiencing a rough time. You just wouldn't believe their story if I told you. You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours"? Well let's just say it's been monsoon season at their house for over a year.

When I talked to Aaron about it tonight, asking if he thought we could do anything to help them, he pulled out a huge wad of cash. He said he had been saving his spending money for a few months now and combined with the money from his mountaineering gear, we should be able to help them out.

If you've been keeping up with my posts, you may recall Aaron said Parker made him proud every day. Well, I know where Parker gets his huge heart, and his daddy makes me proud every day.


Funny Day

All day Parker was saying some pretty funny stuff...

On the way to the gym -
P: I'm so sad, Mommy.
M: Why?
P: Because I left my blankie at home.
M: Oh, I'm sorry bud.
P: Well, maybe some candy or a candy bar might make me feel better.
M: Sorry, we don't have any of that right now.
P: We could stop by Fred Meyer on the way to the gym and get some...Would that be a great idea?
M: No, it wouldn't.
P: Yes it would! Because I love those [candy and candy bars]!!

I am beginning to think he left his blanket at home on purpose in order to get a consolation prize.

Later, I heard a very deep voice from the backseat of the van:
"What would you like for Christmas?"
He had donned the Mr. Potato Head Santa beard (complete with bright red lips). It fit his little head perfectly!
M: Are you Santa?
P: Yes. What would you like?
M: Well, some candy would be nice. Could I have some candy?
P: Of course you may! As soon as we get back, I will go to my toy shop and build some for you!

A few minutes later we were passing a temple.
M: Parker, look at the roof of that building - it's purple!
P: That's odd.
M: Odd? Where did you learn the word 'odd'?
P: I guess I learned it at school.
M: When did you go to school?
P: When I was 4. I'm this many (holding up 10 fingers).
M: I don't remember taking you to school...How did you get there?
P: I drove.

Then tonight I saw him digging way up in his nose.
M: Do you need a tissue? (I was hoping this would be a rhetorical question.)
P: No. These are just pickin' boogers.

As opposed to the blowing kind???


Christmas is cancelled

Well, it almost was.

Tonight we went to the Country Village. It is a collection of shops/boutiques near where we live. Definitely has a country feel, from the kettle corn stand, to the breakfast anytime cafe, to the mini train rides pulled by a tractor. We love it there. Last year, we happened upon a really fun Country Village tradition...Santa descending from the roof of the toy store. He climbed aboard his rickety sleigh (metal frame only) and was pulled by lighted deer, with Rudolph lighting the way. A short cable ride later, he landed just beyond the duck pond amidst a crowd of awestruck children.

This year we arrived early and picked the perfect vantage point. As before, Santa appeared on the store's rooftop and waved to his fans. He climbed aboard his sleigh and began his short ride. As he passed over our heads, we decided to follow him. We migrated toward the pond, where the unthinkable occurred - his sleigh just stopped...right above the water, just a few feet from the surface. The children gasped. The sleigh rocked from side to side as poor Santa held on for dear life. After some shouting, the sleigh began to move backward and upward. They let him go again, and again, he just stopped. I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Maddie was on my shoulders, and I nearly dropped her. Aaron and I couldn't help speculating about poor Santa getting electrocuted in the pond (thanks to the lighted deer), the ensuing chaos, a generation of traumatized children, etc. We were trying to use language above Parker's head, so as not to upset him. As the drama continued (they pulled him back and forth three more times before he finally landed safely on the other side of the pond), we became louder and louder with belly laughs and jokes about Santa's demise.

On the way home, Parker worriedly asked, "Momma, why Santa almost fall in the water?" I explained Santa was a funny guy and was just playing a joke on all of us.
I sure hope he bought it!


Proud Every Day

Tonight, my husband said that Parker makes him proud every day. This was moments after Parker had tucked us both in. You see, we were supposed to have a date night, but Maddie got sick, so we rented movies instead. As we curled up on the couch with Parker, he jumped up and said, "Oh! I will get blankets for you, too!" He ran into the other room and returned with two blankets. He placed one over me, carefully tucking it under my feet and then did the same for Aaron. He was so meticulous and loving. It brings tears to my eyes.

While Parker was engrossed in the cartoon, Aaron shared another touching story about what happened at the video store. Aaron had promised Parker his own candy and allowed him to hold it. A few minutes later, Aaron looked down at Parker and noticed his arms were filled with boxes of candy. He asked, "What are you doing with all of that, buddy?"
Parker responded matter-of-factly: "It's for the kiddos who don't have any."

We have been talking a lot lately about people in need, and now Parker looks for opportunities to share what he has with others. His Grammy is right...He is an angel.



Thank God for grace. Sometimes it takes a 2 year old to show me how to extend it.

If you've read my recent posts, you would know that Parker delights in making messes. Today I found him standing on Maddie's toy kitchenette wiping what looked like red water all over the wall. Upon further inspection, I found a popsicle stick floating in a decorative urn atop the kitchen. He was wiping the popsicle water on the wall, kitchen and himself. I lost it. I yelled; I sent him to his room; I refused to give him toys in his crib for nap time. "Why are you making all these messes?!" I demanded.

He gave me a huge, genuine smile and said, "Just because!" It was said in the same sweet tone a husband might use if he brought flowers home for his wife unexpectedly. It was not malicious in the least. It was "just because."

I tucked him in for nap and sighed, "I love you...Even if I don't like your behavior sometimes." As I turned my back and walked toward his door, I heard him smack his lips and blow. He loves me despite my behavior, too. Thank goodness.

I blew a kiss back.