Thursday, February 14, 2013


     I've been trying to write about what I learned through spilled coffee the other morning and it keeps ending up to be this long, drawn-out thing, but what I want to say is essentially this: ''Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,'' Col.3:23 has always meant to me that we should do our best in everything and not seek an earthly reward. And this is true. But what I hadn't seen was the fact that when we work as though unto the Lord, it takes out the element of expecting a payback. Holding others ransom for what we believe we deserve, which is usually recognition, praise, appreciation. It explains why I am maddest when doing something especially unpleasant for Lily and she not only doesn't offer appreciation, but she prevents me from doing it. Logically it is ridiculous to expect thanks from a two year old, but that does not stop my blood from boiling when she runs away from me when trying to change her poopy diaper or stepping right in the way of my vacuuming up her crumbs. How else can I explain blowing my top? And with Tomáš I don't get angry, I get hurt when I ask how he likes my pumpkin soup (which I found absolutely delicious) and his answer is less than laudatory. Somehow that morning for the first time, I saw this verse as more of a friendly, helpful hint than a weighty charge. Instead of do this because I want you to be selfless, I saw it as if you do this you will be much happier. I never would have told you I thought of God as a taskmaster, but when I look at my actions and thoughts I realize that's exactly what I thought. Everything He asks of us is because He loves us desperately and knows what is best for us. Even and especially when we don't see it. You might say He's chasing us trying to change our poopy diaper for a clean one. And I bet you'll never hear that analogy again.
     Speaking of love...
We can all use a little support sometimes
Funny how this always makes the newsreel around here.

We saw the sun!

 Even dirty laundry looks kind of pretty bathed in morning light.
 P.S. those are her own, never-worn undies.

She always wants me to imitate this face

Happy Valentine's Day!

Gettin' ready to go outside
My cousin said she bought Rosy this sweater in Belgrade. I thought she meant Serbia since she had just come from a vacation in Estonia, I had a good chuckle when I realized she meant Montana. Might be the last time she gets to wear this so I had to take a picture.

For Jamey.

Upside down baby. Rosy at three months.

Tryin' out new outfits
And this little lady turned 28 months today.

Gettin' too big for her britches...and Rosy's hoodies.
Happy Valentine's Day to the lovers and the fighters out there. And if you're feeling a little blue on this pink day, here are a few things Tomáš said that might make you smile:

Me: ''You've been kind of a poop to me tonight.''
T: ''What's the problem, you can't handle a little poop?'' ...''you're a mother of two.''

T: (Calling me from Tesco) ''They're sold out of the exercise machine, do you want me to bring you a Dunkin' Donut?''

And my personal favorite:
T: ''I am so good at air saxophone, maybe I should enter a contest.''

: )

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What a difference two months makes

     There's nothing that makes you feel the passage of time more keenly than having a newborn. Rosy is growing and changing so quickly, it feels like I'm trying to grasp on to water and squeeze it and hold it and make time stop. But as the outgrown clothes pile shows, grows, that is not happening. So all I can do, all any of us can do, is just try and enjoy every moment with her. Bug too. She is so big I swear I don't think I'll be able to lift her into her high chair or bed much longer. Maybe that's the real reason kids stop eating in high chairs and sleeping in cribs. Anyhoo, the amazing thing about kids is that with that growth comes changes that absolutely delight. Rosy is starting to coo more and when I put her hat on today, signaling to her that she gets to go outside, she smiled so big and cooed so sweetly that I thought there is nothing better in all the world. I feel so lucky just to get to experience that. And with each passing day, Lily wows with new words and phrases as well as abilities, and I spend much of my day just wondering at her, at kids in general, and how absolutely amazing they are. And how funny. Almost every day I come around the corner to find Lily wearing an item of Rosy's clothing.
     And today I attempted the preposterous proposition of working out while both girls were up. I put out a big rug and, not having hand weights, dug out two large jars of pickles (which is funny enough) and hit play on the video. At first Lily didn't quite grasp the idea of watching the screen and following their movements so for a while she just watched the video. Then when she saw me doing the movements she wanted to too, but the rug wasn't that big, so she lay down next to me and tried to copy my fly curls, and as I was trying to avoid her with pickles in hand, she bonked me straight on the nose with her tight little fist. And when I was upright doing the pretend jumprope, she ran under my hand and she got bopped on the top of the head. Then while I was bent over stretching during the cool-down she started merry-go-rounding around my legs and for the remainder of the time she just marched around me saying ''mama DO it!'' and I looked over at Rosy, just sitting silently in her car seat in the corner, trying to eat her entire fist and I just broke down laughing. And laughing. It was so fun.
     I'll keep it short and sweet today, like our girls, and leave you with this:

Rosy at nine days....and two-and-a-half months
And this:

Tomáš was thrilled that Rosy's first word was the name of his favorite football club.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

One Thousand Gifts

     This winter we've spent a lot of time indoors. Part of that is due to the grey, drizzly, ugly weather, but part of it is due to just plain laziness on my part. It is so much work to get everyone bundled up, having full bellies and dry diapers all at the same time, in a window of time that doesn't overlap naps or students or anything else that might be happening that day. But even moreso than all that is the daunting idea of walking with a toddler on foot and a two month old in the stroller when I know how much work it is just walking with Lily alone. Especially in melty slushy dirty snowy slop.
     All that is to say that while indoors I have been reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, and one of the bases of the book is Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good to those who love God. And in thinking about this verse, I've realized that I always just thought this verse to mean that God uses the bad things that happen to us to form us in some way. To make us more patient, more giving, more good.  But in the book, she asserts that even the (seemingly) bad things are also gifts from God and that in being thankful for even (and especially) them, we will be blessed and find joy and find God. For me this was a revolutionary idea and I was excited to try to start thinking in that way. The whole book is about how she, by counting, writing down gifts (anywhere from shredded cheese to the wonder of dish suds to the freckles on her kids' noses) as an act of thankfulness to God, came to realize His love for her and live a truly full life full of joy. And as I read her book, I keep coming back to the idea of thanking God for the ''bad things.'' And I'm not even talking about big bad things, but trivial, day to day annoyances. These are the things I'm wrestling with right now, this cooped-up wintertime now.
     And this morning it all kind of snapped. I came around the corner into the living room to find that Lily had yet again unloaded the bulk of our books from the bookcase onto the computer desk in a none-too-gentle or tidy manner. And then as I washed dishes and cleaned off the kitchen counter, I began to become increasingly annoyed at the constant, constant mess that results from a curious and creative mind and a busy little body. Then I was sitting on the couch, reading snatches of the book between diaper changes and feedings, cup of coffee and water behind me and Lily came and went to perform a balancing act, walking from one side of our L-shaped couch to the other. I foresaw the imminent spillage, and so moved my beverages into the corner of the wall, and moved so she could more safely go across the couch. But she swerved and went behind me, falling directly into both cups, splashing the brown beverage up the peach wall and completely soaking our virtually immovable couch. I raised my voice at her and said some ridiculous things about it being her fault and, equally ridiculously, I clapped my hands as hard as I could, which is how I usually release my frustration and angry energy. Then after the symbolical cleanup (what can you really do?), I started to once again think about that verse in Romans. ''God,'' I said, ''I don't seem to be getting any more patient. Please show me what You want me to see.'' And I looked over at the pile of books and got up to put them back into the bookcase, and in so doing, saw a book of daily devotions. I opened it up to February 2nd and sat down to read. At the top was Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven, which already amazed me because I had just been thinking about seasons. It talked about how each season has its own unique beauty and how winter sometimes brings hardship, but we remain hopeful, because another spring is just around the corner. And then I read these words; There will be times when He asks us to remain faithful doing the same work day after day. But there will also be periods of excitement and new beginnings. And when I read that I could not contain my tears. I covered my face with my hands and just let it out. (Which, incidentally, made Lily think I was playing peek-a-boo, and asked repeatedly ''kde je mama?'' And I cried and I laughed and it was wonderful and refreshing like a spring rain). That was why God had allowed Lily to make that mess. So I would find that book and read that passage. That was Him working all things for my good. Communicating His love for me. This week my heart had been crying for spring. And this year my heart has been crying for excitement and new beginnings. And those were the words my soul had been longing to hear. And I can write it down in my own list of God's gifts of love to me. As for the coffee/water spill? That is a subject for a whole other post (it was a big morning).
     Have any of you read that book? What are your thoughts? Have you had any big revelations? I'd love to hear what you think.
And here, a few more gifts...
This girl will make a microphone out of anything

Mr.Monkey had to have a bath, and dried off in the radiator
 So....remember this? When I put this onesie on Rosy and we woke up to sunshine, I knew it was time for a photo shoot.

For Glenna

Sister loves her sun. Me too.

What do you think, ballet flats?
or boots?
I see her in a 1960s surfer flick with a stack of 45s, lamenting lost love

Bright eyes
Oh, how I wish this would happen more often. Lily is still so seldom...
 Thanks for reading!