Saturday, November 01, 2014

Just the Other Day

Since we've had you, time has stopped.
In my mind.
It was just the other day the doctor raised you up and said, "It's a girl!"
and when you met your brother and sister
I can feel the rhythm of the rocker with your head cradled in my arms while I sing.
And I chime in quickly with moms of new babies as we trade stories
All of that was just the other day.
I forget. I forget that time has moved on quickly.
and "just the other day" was four years ago.
There are days I long for those "four years ago" when we'd rock and snuggle and when I'd sit and stare at your precious little face.
But then, I'm reminded that so much of you was unknown then, so much was hidden. So much joy was yet to be discovered. And when I long to go back, I reminded now of what I'd be missing.
I'd be missing your wild, crazy hair do's every morning that always make me wonder what goes on in that bed each night.
I'd miss those insanely crazy "getting out of the bathtub dances" that I would love to share with the world but because of the birthday suit must pass on.
I'd miss "you're beautiful, Mommy," comments.
I'd miss you coming to my bed and snuggling as closely as you can to me.
And those expressions, those very specific expressions you make, those weren't there years ago and those are like gold.
I wouldn't know that you're full of imagination, whether it's making bottles of soap come to life or playing with the dollhouse.
I'd miss watching you care for your baby dolls, tucking them in your doll bed at night.
I'd miss hearing you say, "well, that was unexpected."
I'd miss hearing you pray.
I'd miss hearing you laugh.
I'd miss seeing you build friendships with Hannah and Grant.
And in the midst of all that, there's lots of messes too that'd I'd miss. Lots of discipline.

Lots of tears, boo boos, and hurt feelings.
Lots of me wondering if I'm doing any of this right as I try to keep up with you, my busiest of bees.
I'd miss all of that too. But there's richness in that as well because that's where we grow.
WE grow
by God's grace
So when I find myself reminiscing about "just the other day" I can take joy in it but I also can delight in the "today" that is so much fuller and richer than "just the other day"
because there is so much more of you.
Happy Fourth Birthday Dear Kate.
And we look forward to more of you.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Build a Bear Empire

Build a Bear is raking in the dough.
For Hannah's birthday we made a trip to this "special" place and I was reminded on this, the second trip of my life there, that they are preying on the over zealous, stuffed animal lovin' hearts of children.
I know, I know, it's all about the experience, but has anyone else been a little let down by the experience?
Maybe even a little weirded out?
So my children get to stuff the bear, A.K.A step on a pedal that may or may not actually be working the machine, while a hose is shoved into its belly, sort of like reverse liposuction.
This, after I was offered the upsale of an added noise or thanks, the $25 for the bear is good enough, made me feel a little unimpressed. 
So, following the reverse liposuction, it was time to add the heart. Okay, super, a little heart, a little heart that could not be inserted until my children rubbed it on their heads, their nose, their cheeks, and between their hands, Mr. Miagi style, followed by a kiss and a magical wish. It's a bear ya'll...or a pink princess cat, or a purple princess cat. And while I'm all for imagination, this, well, felt weird and almost like a chant was missing from the whole "awakening of the bear" shenanigan.
So, then they get to give it a bath...
That's cool...
until you get to the bath and, well, you set it down and air blows on it.
My kids' response sums it up, "that's it?"
I did force them to put their hands on the stuffed animal to provide a more powerful effect for the pictures.
Well, this is what I got from Grant:
And then there's the whole, pick out an outfit (or a bed, or a car, or a tie, or glasses, or buttons, or earring...)for only a few (like $15) extra dollars.
Some of the clothes I buy aren't as expensive as the bears' who, consequently, are most definitely better dressed than I am.
This time we bypassed the "make a birth certificate" because well, at my house it will be gone in a few days just like the extreme passion for these animals (two weeks later and I've yet to see these animals played with). Though, I could tell my decision NOT to do that was not well received by the somewhat over zealous Build a Bear worker who likely thought I was a kill joy to my kids (who honestly just wanted the animal).
And, while I'm thankful Hannah and her siblings had a great time picking out their 200th stuffed animal, I think next time I'll go the other route, the one where I find a "like new" Build a Bear monkey decked out in clothes, with sound, and in its box for a whopping $1 at a yard sale just two days later.
It will save me a lot of money and the breath in trying to convince Grant that ripping open the bear to take its heart out isn't the best idea, to which he is still confused as to why not.
Thanks Build a Bear for taking my cash, way too much of it, and giving my child a reason to want to cut open something with the intentions of ripping its heart out.
We're thankful for this memorable experience.


It's been awhile.
I've been busy.
Busy sharpening my mad skills across the asphalt, concrete, waves, and even the floors of Hobby Lobby.
The exhilaration is indescribable.
On the asphalt, I'm testing my limits. I'm pushing lightening fast speeds while also incorporating my growing coordination abilities (did you know that gets better as you age?). Who needs to sit on the bike when they can stand? And I can even transfer this skill to the plasma car. Talk about diversifying your skill.
And, I'll be honest, like any good risk taker, there are always costs. I've taken a few falls, brought on some skinned knees and even a raspberry on the back of my leg. Why, just yesterday I found myself pinned under a Hobby Lobby cart after a failed attempt at cart acrobatics (I really need to work on that about embarrassing). But, folks, the show must go on.
(Hannah was a REAL help here) 
And so, like any good dare devil, I face my challenges with a smile. Ride the waves? Sure, I say. Bring. it. on.
And Daddy did. It won't be long before I'm steering the kayak by myself.
Until that time arrives, I'll just beat my body against the waves until they cower at my presence. Go hard or go home, I say.
And that's my game, folks. Fearless.
And, "by the ways," don't underestimate the power of a puddle jumper.
This is Kate, signing out.

Friday, October 03, 2014

8 Years

It's hard to believe that this little blog has been here almost 8 years.

And it all started because of this little baby....

Who has now become this little lady....

Whose baby teeth, a final remnant of those younger years, are giving way to her grown up ones.

And the unraveling continues...

Mommy has learned a lot from you this year.

Oh, what a year.

I think this past year has sharpened us both as it has been the most intense year where life, real life, was screaming at us.

We wrestled through a hard year of school, mainly because I "just wasn't getting it." But, because of God's faithfulness, patience, and grace, He taught me more about YOU. And as He did, He taught me more about ME. We are intricately made people, each very different than the other. Our strengths span across an array of abilities as do our weaknesses. And it excites me to think how He specifically has wired you. You are a mystery to me, my sweet daughter. A wonderful mystery that I have yet to unravel...but one that I look forward to seeing unravel as the Lord works His plan in you.

I do know you are compassionate. Your love for people challeges me. I don't think you've yet to forget your Great Grandpa Larson in your prayers. Your heart desires for people to know the Lord. This has grown over the past year. I don't have to remind you to pray for those who don't know Christ, but, you do remind me.

We've walked through relational challenges this year with those we live life with. I've seen that same fear of man take root in your heart that is in mine. We've wrestled through what is appropriate kindness and what is trying to win people's approval. But you've also stood up for yourself in ways I am so thankful to see.

You've asked hard questions this year. We've talked about persecution, war, and lots about heaven. I'm thankful you have questions. I'm thankful for the time I have with you to enter into these conversations that are so precious and important.

You are a giver. I continue to see this pattern in your life. You like to give people "gifts" whether it be a toy in your room or a wad of cash that you'd been saving up. And while sometimes, my selfish heart wants to question your giving and get you to second guess your decision, I try not to interfere.

While reading and math may not be your passion (yet?), you love to be outside whether it's going on a nature walk or just riding plasma cars with your friends. You are an outdoors kind of gal and I often wonder how the Lord may use that as you grow older. There is definitely a stronger desire in you for that than with the other two.

So, year seven, tears were shed. LOTS. But we also had terrific times and conversations thanks to your growing maturity. I look forward to this new year of adventure and growing. There's no other 8 year old I'd like to be on this mothering ride with than you!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Homeschool Diaries: An Honest Start

This week we started back to school.

How in the world is it already August? I'm not sure.

And while the summer raced by only leaving a blur in my mind, I was eager to begin.

You see, I am finally feeling comfortable in this homeschooling skin (it's only taken a few years). And it feels like home now. Those days of worrying about what people will think when I say, "we homeschool" are no longer present. I am confident that homeschooling my three kids is a wonderful thing, something I don't need to defend or make conditions for or have proof of my children's intelligence because of that decision.

Okay, so the last one is still a work in progress.

You see, Hannah really doesn't like to read. I know, I'm a homeschooling mom who should have my children begging for a book to read at all times. But I'd be lying to you if I said that was the case. And I've done all the "right" things like GAZILLIONS of read alouds, multiple trips to the library, book prizes, etc. But, it ain't happenin', at least not now.

And that's okay.

And I say this OVER AND OVER again because

I've played that comparison game too long and too much to the detriment of my kids and the peace in my home. But it continues to creep up...

And while the love of reading is important, it's not what's most important. And that's where the Lord is working on me. 

Yes, me. Because homeschooling, I'm realizing, is as much about me learning as it is my kids.

He's working right there where I want to homeschool my kids to the glory of myself and for the praise of others.  And it's crippling to be here, for me and my kids.

And on Day One of homeschooling this year, the Lord reminded me He would not leave me here as the day began with Grant rushing off to his room when he couldn't tell me what he wanted to be when he grew up. You see, I pushed too hard for him to "come up with something" for that all trendy "first day of school" photo so I too could share my beautiful children with the world along with their high aspirations.

"How can he not have ANY CLUE of what he wants to be?" I think.

"What does this say about my child?" I ponder.

"Where have I gone wrong?!"

And the Lord, in a gentle way, reminds me that he's only six.

And so, I walk upstairs, crawl in bed with his frustrated self, and tell him it's fine he doesn't know what he wants to be. And he beams at the thought that his picture could include his new stuffed bear and could forego a career path decision.

Day Two, Hannah underwent a crying fit, after I told her she would begin a chapter book. It took an hour for her to calm down and a short nap for me to escape the sudden onslaught of interpretations regarding her behavior. She finally read the chapter.

Day Three, the Lord reminded me yet again He would not leave me in this "spot" as Hannah stumbled to remember part of the chapter she read. My mouth was about to open with critical comments as to how she couldn't remember, only to be sweetly reminded by the Lord to meet her where she is at. And by His grace, I did. This was a sweet victory.

You see, the end of last year was a bit tumultuous for Hannah and myself. It stemmed from sin in my heart. And I am stubborn. And I was hopeful this new year, all would be magically "better." But, the Lord knows what I need. He clearly is not done with my heart in this area and He won't leave me there. No, He continues to refine my heart to make me more like Him.


It's not about boasting in my kids. It's not about "looking good." It's not about raising highly intelligent kids. It's about Him and becoming more like Him through these every day fires. And it's about telling my kids about Him....during picture time, during a difficult math lesson, at lunch, reading aloud, when I screw up, again.

So this year, with the accountability of a dear friend, and the power of the Holy Spirit, I want to meet my kids where they're at. Not where I think they should be or where onlookers think they should be, but right where the Lord has them, reading-haters and all (yes both Hannah and Grant said they HATE to read and were aghast when they asked me if I liked to read and I said yes). There's freedom in that. There's joy in that. Great conversations happen there, not critical comments of how they "should be." And the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful children who love to talk and ask questions. May I be thankful for that and start there.

I am so grateful to have this time with them, may I be a wise steward of their lives and this precious time given to us.


Here's to another year of learning...for me and them!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Keepin' It Real

Let's get real.
Like, this kind of real:

I don't play games.

Unless it's Hide n' Seek, or Babies, or Dollhouse.
I like those.

There's also this other game where Mommy asks if I have something in my mouth. To which I reply,
And, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, you just never know.

If I do, and, uh, Mommy sees, and uh, it wasn't "Mommy Approved" well, the game takes a turn for the worse.

I quickly realize any effort to talk my way out of it only proves more harmful. I have to bite my lip to keep from further incriminating myself.

And I'm quite shocked to realize my honest attempt to refrain from further degradation still doesn't change Mommy's response.

I'm hurt.

I tend to harbor a bit of hard feelings.

But I'm quickly on to the next thing, like seeing how wide I can open my eyes while sticking my tongue out.


You've just been served a dose of "Keepin' It Real" by your's truly,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Grant

I'm over a month late.
My boy is six.
I glance at him and then stop and then stare.
Where did my little boy go?
His legs have sprouted. Those jeans testify to that.
And that face, that face lost that final "baby fat."
Glasses now graze the top of your nose. And forget about putting you in Cars themed clothes.(UNCOOL)
One year of school now under your belt.
As well as two trophies that now sit on your shelf.

Each year I learn more about you, my sweet son.
I know you are my most introverted one.
Quiet at times and alone, quite content
yet also there's always that stubborn temperament.
Though the tantrums and meltdowns have become very rare, I continue to discover the possibility is still there.
So we work together, only by God's grace, to work on your heart to eradicate
the sin that plagues you, as it does me,
as the Lord shapes you into the man He would have you be.
Oh my dear son, I overflow with joy, to know the Lord crafted you to be our boy.
Imperfect am I as a mother to you
and relying on God's grace to know what to do
to know what to say when I lose it again or when you come to me, struggling with sin.
Forget perfect grades, a stellar career, a comfortable life where struggle is not near
My deepest desire for you far exceeds
the empty promises of each one of these
Run to the Savior who frees you from sin
Who gives hope to the most hopeless of men.
Dazzle in His glory and rest in His grace
Seek your pleasure in His lovely face.
That is my prayer for you my sweet son.
It is most certainly my most persistent one.
So onward we go, in laughter and tears,
as we navigate together another gracious year.