We decided Friday night would be a good time to carve the great pumpkin. But this year, Jerry got smart and decided to forgo the knife thing altogether and get out the big guns. With power drill in hand, my two boys tackled their masterpiece. In fact, I think he's the cutest pumpkin we've ever had grace our porch. But you be the judge! Lori, I know it's easier to paint them, but you could always try this next year!
My friend Kymberly sent this to me and I thought it was awesome. Thanks Kymberly for bringing this to my attention. Check it out! I couldn't figure out how to link this directly, so you'll need to paste it into your browser. This really is worth watching and sharing with your other female friends, daughters, and women you care about.
Well, it figures. It wasn't Jerry, myself, or Cody that made Caden laugh...and I mean REALLY laugh...for the first time. No, it was the dog. Our beloved Ozzie. Caden had just nursed and he was sitting contentedly on my lap minding his own business when he began watching the dog playing with one of his toys. Ozzie likes to pretend he's this ferocious beast thrashing his head around with one of his stuffed dog toys, as if he's mangling it or something. Anyway, he must have gotten a little overzealous about it, because all of a sudden, he began to sneeze. When he first sneezed, Caden laughed a little. Upon doing it a second and third time, the laughs got more intense, and before you knew it, my lap was shaking because he was laughing so hard. I called Cody in to listen (Jerry missed it...he was on his way home from work) and all three of us were laughing so hard my cheeks hurt! It was the best. So Ozzie gets first prize for making Caden laugh. What a crack-up! In the midst of several sleepless nights and restless days with a cranky baby, the laughing baby was a welcome diversion!
Cody went to a costume party today that one of the children from pre-school had at his house. All the kids were invited, and even though I have some reservations about Halloween in general, I had no qualm about sending him. What bad can come of spending a couple hours at his friend's house in his Spiderman costume? So, I dropped him off, kissed him good-bye and got Caden the nap he desperately needed.
When I picked him up later and asked him how it went and did he have fun, his eyes filled up with tears, and the conversation went as follows:
"I don't want to tell you about the skeleton game!" (sniff, sniff)
"It's okay, honey, you can tell me. I won't be mad."
(desperately hoping there's nothing to be mad about...)
(more gasping, sniffing)
"Honey, I promise I won't be mad. If you're honest with me and you tell me the truth, I won't be mad at you!"
(looks over at Caden in his seat, as if wishing Caden could tell me instead)
"Well....there was this skeleton head thingy..."
"Never mind, mommy...I'll tell you about the other stuff we did."
"No, Cody...tell me now."
(starting to get agitated and wishing I could stop the car so I could eyeball it with him)
"Well, we were passing it around..."
"and...and...(more gasping, sniffing)"
"it's okay honey, just say it."
"Blood shot out of it's head!!!!"
(the tears are now rolling down my little one's cheeks)
"No mommy, fake blood! It was part of the game!"
(crying, sniffing, more crying)
"And this is what you thought I'd be angry about?"
"Yes, I thought you were gonna spank me!"
"Why? Because you were playing a game with a bloody skeleton head? Why would I be mad about that?"
(Relief overcomes mother, gratitude fills child now that he knows he won't be spanked)
"Because, mommy, you hate that stuff!"
Yes, the kid has a point. I do. And he knows it. We tell him we don't mind him getting dressed up in his costume, going trick or treating with us or even eating candy (that is, as soon as we get his teeth fixed), but he knows we disapprove of all the not-so-nice things about Halloween. We know many families in our church, for example, who choose not to participate in the Halloween festivities at all, because it is a "holiday" rooted in pagan tradition. Cody knows that he will never see witches, ghosts, skeletons or goblins on our front porch, but instead pumpkins, friendly looking scarecrows, and mums. Last year I handed out goodie bags that had a little tag telling them Jesus loves them. We participate because it's an outreach to our neighborhood and a way for Cody to begin to safely discern the difference between fall fun and stuff that just doesn't feel, well, right.
It was also another opportunity to help my little four year-old boy understand what we are called to as Believers. We constantly tell him that the Lord has commanded us to teach and train him and that we will continue to do our job. This little episode today was eye-opening for us both...I can't be there all the time to protect and shelter my children from the things of this world, and he needs to know that even when he's confronted with it, he can tell me the truth and we'll walk through it together. Icky skeleton head games and all.
Poor Caden...I took him to the doctor yesterday and he has an ear infection in his right ear, a cold (that he's been battling for about two weeks), and he's cutting his two top teeth. Instead of waking up once a night, he is waking every couple of hours....always wanting the comfort of mommy. It's been a long, challenging week, but God has been faithful in sustaining me through the sleepless nights and fatigue-filled days.
This past weekend we went to Valparaiso, IN to perform at my mom's studio for their annual show...this year it was called "Possibilities." We had a great time singing and seeing the show. The dancers had worked really hard and they did an excellent job. I don't get many opportunities to perform anymore, and it was great fun. Of course, I'm always thrilled when I get to sing with my hubby. My favorite moment was singing "As Long as You're Mine" from the musical, "Wicked." I also loved seeing my sister Kari perform and watching her kids dance. My mom did a great job putting it all together...she does a masterful job organizing every detail and executing her vision for the show. My brother-in-law designed and ran the lights, Papa Dean ran the sound board, so it was a real family affair. Cody had a wonderful time seeing his cousin Cassidy perform and getting to play with her. I'm so thankful they enjoy each other so much...they always have a great time together. Cody was inspired by seeing the show...he asked Aunt Kari if she had any tap shoes for him to try on (one of the many perks of having a sister who owns a dancewear boutique!). She gave him his very own pair, and we are in the process of finding a dance studio in our area so he can take some classes. In the meantime, he's having a ball tapping his heart out on the wood floor of our den. We seem to have a little performer on our hands...who knows where he gets it?
You may not be surprised by this, but I love to sing. I have a new favorite CD that I think you all (or at least the two people who may ever read this blog...ha!) should get. It's called "Bless the Broken Road" by Selah. The cool thing about it is that they invited other Christian artists like Nichole Nordeman and Christy Nockels to sing with them, so each track is a duet. My husband and I are already planning on singing the third track "Glory" in November at our church, and we've been asked to sing the title track, "Bless the Broken Road" at a women's ministry Christmas event. The CD is thoughtful, worshipful, and just fun to listen to. Just my two cents for the day...I hope you'll take a listen and maybe even sing along.
This past weekend, instead of heading to our alma mater for Homecoming, we decided it was a good weekend to finish unfinished business. Ever since the arrival of Caden, we have unfinished home improvement projects in every room. They're small things, yes, but ones that have been making me a little crazy over time. We found ourselves once more standing outside the bathroom, trying to decide how to make things better and more workable. Some of you may know we own a 90 year-old home, and the rooms aren't huge. The bathroom is no exception. Before Caden was born, we ripped out the carpeting that was in there (yes people, it was carpeted!!!) and painted the pepto-bismol pink tile white. We took down the white and pink floral wallpaper, and replaced the toilet. We laid new flooring. The problem was that the floor wasn't very water-friendly. It had begun to buckle in places, and what was lurking beneath the surface wasn't pretty either. It had only been since February that the floor had been laid, but it hadn't taken long for the water to permeate the surface and work it's way underneath.
We've been doing an Andy Stanley study in our small group called, "It Came From Within." As I watched Jerry rip up the floor yesterday, it reminded me how quickly our hearts can become like that floor...ever so slowly, things begin to seep in that shouldn't be there, and before you know it, an attitude, a comment, a biting tone...ugliness...pop up to the surface.
Our bathroom is looking much better. We bought inexpensive peel and stick tiles (that rival ceramic if you ask me) and Jerry and I finished putting it in last night. Not only does it look better, but we know it will keep the water away and preserve the floor underneath. I know this seems to be a simple analogy, but to me it was a powerful one. Next time something ugly comes flying out of my mouth, I'll be reminded of what lies beneath.
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."
Unbelievable...we got snow today. And I'm not just talking about a little flurry action. We had actual accumulation on the ground, on my car, and on the rooftops of homes and businesses. Cody, of course, was thrilled at the prospect of snowmen, snowsuits, snowballs, and mittens. When we got home this afternoon, he went outside and gathered up enough snow to make a great big snowball. He was very excited! I, on the other hand, am not completely thrilled about the inevitable wintery weather, now or several months from now. I happen to really enjoy the fall, and I'd rather us not be dragging out the winter coats, hats and scarves just yet. Which reminds me, I'd better go dig through Cody's old clothes bins and find that winter jacket for Caden....
So I took Caden to the doctor this past week because he'd had a drippy nose for over a week. Naturally, I was concerned about an ear infection when he suddenly decided he wasn't going to sleep through the night anymore. He was also very cranky. Did I mention we changed pediatricians? Well, we did. (And Dr. Beckerman was AWESOME!) Anyway, no ear infection, but we were able to get a weight on him. Drumroll please...
My LITTLE man weighs 19 lbs., 8 oz. and is measuring 28 1/8" long. He is wearing 12-18 month clothing, and he's outgrown his infant carseat. He has far surpassed where Cody was at this stage, so many of Cody's winter clothes are ALREADY too small for CAden. And, sadly, we need to say good-bye to the handy (tho' heavy) carseat and move him into the next seat and still keep it rear facing. This will be challenging. For example, he's not sitting up well enough to handle a trip to the grocery store while riding in the cart. Makes for an interesting dilemma. And then there are the countless times he falls asleep in the car. Right now I can conveniently move him from place to place while leaving him in his infant carrier, but waking him up from a sound sleep will NOT be fun.
On the flipside, I am overjoyed that my "liquid gold" appears to have done the trick. No dainty boys for me!!! Caden is also eating about four small bowls of mixed cereal per day, and polishing off at least two jars of stage 2 foods (fruits and/or veggies) as well. He's rolling all over the place, learning how to self-soothe at naps/bedtime, and smiling so big, he makes every single one of us laugh in spite of ourselves. His favorite person to smile at is Cody and his loving big brother gets a kick out of it every time. He is babbling incessantly..."mama" "dada" and raspberries are his favorite sounds. And yes, Cody is STILL a fantastic big brother!
Tonight we were watching the Huskers whoop up on Iowa State University, and I had the following coversation with Cody:
"Hey Cody, do you think someday you might want to play football?"
"Oh yeah mom, that would be soooooo cool."
Do you think you'd want to play for the Cornhuskers?"
"That would be awesome! But I want to play on the red team. Oh! And Caden can play on the white team. And I'd take him DOWN!!!"
"Actually, son, I think it's going to be the other way around!"
On a personal note...
It's hard not to impose one's dreams on one's children, but OH to have a kid playing football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. I was thinking the other day, if my grandpa Poppop were still alive, he'd be encouraging me to call Caden's latest stats into Lincoln to see if he's big enough to draft.
In the midst of people who are going through difficult circumstances right now, I find myself really grateful for the blessings in my life. God has been so good to me through the years, providing me with wonderful friends, family, and a church to call home. I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally, makes me laugh harder than anyone I know, and never tires of rubbing my neck, back and feet (or if he is tired of it, he never says so!). My two boys, Cody and Caden, are my joy and delight, even on the hard days. We have a warm home, food on the table, and good neighbors. We belong to an awesome church filled with people who love the Lord and love us. Above all, we serve a God who continually watches out for and sustains us through the ups and downs of our lives, always working everything together for our good. This evening, I wanted to take a moment to count my blessings and give thanks to our great God for his goodness. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" —1 Corinthians 2:8-10