"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling."~ Frederick Buechner
The rapid pace of language development in babies and toddlers astounds me. I feel like within a month, B went from uttering a word at a time to speaking full, complex sentences with modifiers and all.
A few days ago, I was working on some of our wall hangings. I re-matted a cross-stitch my mom had done for Bubs, a picture of three bok-jumoni (traditional Korean "good luck" bags in which children receive money each new year).
The next day, as we were changing his diaper, he pointed up to the wall where I had hung the framed cross-stitch and said, "Pweetty. Pweetty painting."
This is the first time I've heard him independently attribute an adjective to something.
Today, he specified that his bathroom was a "bath room" while the master bathroom was a "shower room" (because we don't have a tub in our bathroom).
Maybe it's because I'm a language teacher, but this is all so fascinating to me, and having the opportunity to observe it on a moment-to-moment basis with my own child makes it even better.
Speaking of which, thanks to my husband's fascination over the word "chifferobe," I learned a new word last night: portmanteau. You can thank me later for bringing your attention to such a fun word.
And before I get back to my most recent hooky project (I'll be sure to share a photo soon on here and at Hannah Plays Hooky), I want to share a up-cycling project I did a couple weeks ago.
These lovelyclassic old, brass frames were left to us by N's Momma.
We wanted to keep them (sentimental value and all that), but we didn't really want to use them to display any of our photos (sentimental value only goes so far).
I scrubbed the frames with soap and water and then dried them thoroughly with a rag. Using spray paint (I used a textured version by Rustoleum), I coated the frames with two layers, allowing for an hour of drying time in between.
Two of them are now hanging by the coat closet in our entryway, and the other two are gracing our mantle. They came out rather nicely, don't you think?
I especially like the reflection of the Christmas tree lights in the picture on the right.
I have a folder in iPhoto titled "Blog" and there are so many pictures in there. Every time I think about sitting down to write a post, I put it off because making decisions with the crazy pace of the holidays seems daunting.
But we baked Christmas cookies yesterday, and it was surprisingly a lot of fun! I had hemmed and hawed about whether or not to include B in this year's holiday baking; the desire to create memories won out.
(As a side note: I really want there to be another "w" in "hawed." Just so there's some parallelism between "hemmed" and "hawed." #Englishteacherproblems)
After we were done with the cookies, we spent an extraordinary amount of time washing hands ... and a little face. Decorating cookies with a toddler means that more cookie and icing ends up inside the toddler's mouth than you expect, sneaky little goober!
Surprisingly, although he must have had more sugar coursing through his system than he has ever had in his entire life, he took a solid nap. Long enough for me to run to the DPS to surrender my NY license and get a TX one.
I feel like I'm still saying goodbye to my old life.
After his nap, we walked over to our neighbors' (the ones who have two little boys, brought us cookies and welcomed us to the neighborhood when we first moved in) with cookies for the boys.
Baking cookies and giving gifts makes it feel more like Christmas.
Even though it's still close to the 70s and I have yet to wear a coat.
Ever since he was the smallest of little boys, Bubs showed compassion in a way that melted (and convicted) our hearts. For example, when he was just barely over a year old, we were at a party and one of the other small ones began crying because his mama had stepped into the next room. Bubsie toddled over to him and began patting him on the back, leaning his head forward so he could see his sad buddy's face.
B's compassionate nature continues to shine as he grows older.
And B was noticeably concerned, saying, "Lukey twying? Lukey twying? Ahm-nee fall down?" (Luke crying? Ice cream fall down?)
It's just a small thing, but as we have been heartbreakingly inundated with everybody and their second-cousin-once-removed's opinions about gun control, mental health, a culture of violence, and (this is what gets me most) personal rights, I am so grateful for the small reminders about the things that really matter, the things of God.
It's easy to get all riled up and feel the urge to jump into the endless debates, but (and I posted on FB yesterday, so some of you will have read it before), sometimes, children's songs say it best. I've had this one repeating in my head (as those types of songs often have the habit of doing). For once, I'm glad for the endless repetition.
"Be kind. In every way, be kind. Be kind to each other and everyone else. Be kind. In every way, be kind. Be kind to each other and everyone else you know. It's time to let your kindness show."
It really is time to get over ourselves, work on our childlike faith, muster up some COMPASSION, and just be kind.
You know, it's not just about those 20 children and 7 adults who tragically lost their lives a week ago. It's also about these children.
But you know what? The difference is, there is hope for a better world for that last group of kids. YOU can be a part of making the world a better place for them. Compassion International is currently running a campaign called "It's About Giving." And what better time to GIVE than at Christmas-time, a time when we are reminded of how thankful we should be for the incredible gift God gave us?
Their campaign goal is to raise $20,000 through Compassion's Christmas Gift Catalog for children living in extreme poverty. You know what's hard to believe or accept, though? That they have had just $532 in gifts given so far this holiday season.
Friends, even those of us who are tight financially are able to give small Christmas gifts to our precious little ones. I know. We're there, too. Most of the gifts under the tree for B this year are hand-me-downs and homemade. In fact, I think the only new things are in his stocking.
The gifts in the Compassion Gift Catalog are not your regular, old, run-of-the-mill gifts. They're things like emergency feedings, safe water, medical needs, equipping a family with livestock. The gift amounts are mere suggestions.
You can give just a dollar.
Or you can give $500.
Brianne from Compassion says this: "I have visited a few of the countries where Compassion works and I've
talked to the children about Christmas, and what they do. For many of
them, it is just another day. Another day to wonder if they will eat.
Another day to walk for miles for water. Another day to get up early
and go to the market with their mom or dad to try to bring in some
money. Giving through the Christmas Gift Catalog
provides an opportunity for the churches we partner with in South
America, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, and Africa to
personally hand these gifts to a child in poverty, to meet their need,
and to tell them Jesus loves them."
Oh, friends, won't you help? Won't you reach out to these little ones, help make this Christmas a different one for them?
BONUS Entry #1: Share about the giveaway on Facebook, your blog, or other public forum, tagging “Hannah Plays Hooky" or emailing me the link at firstname.lastname@example.org (so I can see it and give you credit for it!).
BONUS Entry #2: Tell your friends to “like” and comment on my page, mentioning YOUR NAME (Example: "Jane sent me"). You'll get an extra entry for each friend you send my way!
This contest will remain open until 9 P.M. on Thursday, December 19!
As B and I sat at the table, eating our "noo-noos" (mac and cheese) and "chee-keen" (chicken), we heard the start of the pitter-patter of RAIN.
It has been so long since we've seen or heard rain that at first, I honestly thought there were a bunch of critters in our attic!
Living in the Adirondacks, whenever we heard about the drought conditions in other parts of the country, it was hard to imagine what that really looked like.
Now we know.
We have to water our house here.
Yes, you heard read me right. Around here, if you don't have soaker hoses surrounding your house to water your foundation every day, your house will shift, eventually leaving cracks the size of the Grand Canyon on your floors and walls.
I'm only exaggerating a teeny bit. This was part of what took us so long finding a house. There were so many great houses out there, but they had been taken care of poorly (cracks galore).
Anyway, once we realized that it was really, truly raining, B and I cheered a great, big "Hurray! Thank you, Jesus, for rain!"
In a few minutes, though, the rain stopped.
I thought to myself, "Well, at least that was something."
My toddler, however, yelled, "Moh WAYNE!"
Wouldn't you know it, within a few seconds, the rain started up again. Harder.
And it's still raining.
I'm pretty sure God heard the enthusiastic request of my little boy, smiled, and happily granted it.
I'm praying that this same God, the God who cares for the big things and small things, comforts the hearts of all the grieving friends and families in Newton, CT. There was a time when school was a safe place for children. As a teacher and a mother of a child who might someday go to public school, my heart just breaks at these tragic occurrences.
When will enough be enough?
I'm not a hippie pacifist. I'm just a wife, mom, teacher, friend who thinks, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people," is a bunch of bull-crap. Try telling that to the 18 moms who will never tuck their babies into bed at night ever again, who have presents under the tree that will never be unwrapped. Tell that to the friends and families of the 9 teachers who were murdered today.
My hands have been kept busy with Hannah Plays Hooky orders for Christmas as well as the general hectic-ness of settling into a new home, raising a toddler, everyone getting a round of a cold virus...
But fear not! I haven't forgotten about you, blog friends!
B likes to say, "B do it" & "help" Mommy.
The last time I tried to include pictures in a blog post, Blogger told me I had reached my picture quota and that I needed to pay to add anymore. Paying to upload my own pictures onto my own blog is not my idea of fun, so if that continues to be the case, I'll have to figure out another way to continue this. I will definitely keep you all posted on that.
Here is a glimpse at what I've been working on:
I know many of you have asked to see pictures of the new house. I'm not holding out on you, I promise. The honest ... and a bit embarrassing ... truth is that although we've been here almost a month now, we have hardly taken any pictures of the house and rooms in it. I'll have to do that soon, especially since everything is so pretty with Christmas decor.
Until then, here is one of the front of the house that I took several mornings ago when we got a light dusting of snow:
We were so excited (we're missing the snowy Christmas season of upstate New York)! The neighbors probably thought I was crazy for being out there in flipflops and my tank top.
Okay, I've got to go work on some more stockings (our own!) while the little man naps. Thanks for sticking with me here, friends! Hope you're having a marvelous Christmas season!
And to leave you with something fun, go visit the Pioneer Woman and enter for an awesome giveaway for your very own, brand spankin' new COWGIRL boots! I mean, after all, we're in Texas now. Gotta get some Texas spirit going!
I mean, I know I promised you a week (or two) ago that I would have BIG NEWS to share with you soon.
And it wasn't about the house. Like buying your first house isn't big news enough, right?
And no, I'm not pregnant.
So, are you ready?
Drumroll, please... I've just launched my crochet business page, aptly named "Hannah Plays Hooky" (you know, because Iwill go back to school to teach someday) on Facebook!
N and I have been mulling ideas for a while for how I could remain a stay-at-home mom with Little B, and although this won't cut it, it will be a little extra something until we can figure out a more long-term solution.
At least, "long-term" until we have to figure out what to do about school. GAH!
Let's not talk about that yet, shall we?
So anyway, onto happier things.
I would absolutely love it if you would come visit, "LIKE" MY PAGE, and spread the news to all your friends. And your mom. And her friends. And their friends. And their cousins.
You get the idea.
After all, there can never be too much like in this world. Or love, for that matter.
Also, if you have ever been on the receiving end of my work, I would
really appreciate it if you post picture on "Hannah Plays Hooky" (especially if you -
or your adorable baby/child - are in it, too!).
THANK YOU, as always, for your support! It was really the encouragement of many friends (and my dear husband) that gave me the gumption to do this!
And THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to those of you who have already placed orders.