Saturday, December 22, 2012

tis the season

asher: *singing to the tune of jingle bells* christmas tree, christmas tree, christmas, christmas tree! oh, what fun it is to poot on a pooting christmas tree! hey!

tis the season to poot on pooting christmas trees, y'all.


asher: moooom! they're all coupled up!
me: what's all coupled up?
asher: my pizza! see?
*he holds up two bits of pizza that are stuck together
me: oh, yes, there are.
asher: i told you they were coupled up.

around these parts, we watch a lot of train shows. any time objects are connected in any way asher announces how they're coupled up like train cars.

nate is cute

nate: oh my! oh my, mommy!
me: did you fall down?
nate: yes, i fall down.
me: are you ok?
nate: yes, i ok, mommy.

oh my, when he says this (and he uses it A LOT these days) i have to control the urge to squitch his sweet little self until his eyes bug out.

nate: i wanna watch trains, mommy.
me: not right now, bud.
nate: buuuuuuut mooooooommmmmmyyyyy!
me: why don't we play trains?
nate: but mommy.
me: we can't watch them right now.
*he looks away. after a few seconds of ignoring me, he takes off to the bedroom.
me: where are you going?
nate: *he yells down the hall* i gonna watch trains, mommy!
me: not right now, tot!
nate: but mooooommmmmy!

i'm not sure how he learned to use this tactic since i don't think asher says it, but i have to resist the urge to kiss his chubby cheeks and give him everything his little toddler heart desires when he deploys it. it's such a well-formed, heart- wrenching argument.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


asher: mom? if the earth is a round circle, then how do we stay up straight on it?
me: uhhhh, well, when God made the earth he made a natural force called gravity to go along with it. the law of gravity says that whatever goes up must come down. does a ball stay floating in the air when you throw it up?
asher: nope.
me: that's because gravity makes it come back down. it holds us to the earth.
asher: sooo, you mean that God made gravity, which is like a big vacuum in the earth that sucks us down.
me: yeah, kind of like that.

we were just riding along in the car and out of nowhere he asks the above question. i have no idea how to explain the law of gravity to a 4 year old. heck, i don't even really understand it myself!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

asher's prayers

me: are you ready to say your prayers, asher?
asher: yep. *he squeezes his eyes closed* God, thank you for everything we do. thank you for my family and that i get to be with them. thank you that nate got to get a birthday present today. i love you. Christ. amen.

every night, after we read and talk about a Bible story, we ask asher to pray first before we say prayers with him. almost all of his prayers consist of those same first couple of sentences (which melts my mama heart), but when he thanked God that nate got to get a present, i almost lost it. i think i squeezed bryan's hand so hard that he lost circulation in two of his fingers until asher said amen.

you see, we took the boys to the store yesterday and let nate pick out a birthday present. he picked out a thomas the train set. when we got home, there was a lot of bickering and screeching from both boys over who got to play. we tried to explain to asher that it was nate's brand new birthday toy and he was reluctant to share just yet. we also tried to curb nate's selfish heart by encouraging taking turns. anyway,  it got so ugly up in here that we decided to abandon the new toy. instead, we grabbed some christmas cookies and chocolate milk, piled up in the parental bed, and watched a thomas christmas special on netflix. it was a much needed respite for the whole family.

when it came time for bible reading and prayers, i had all but forgotten about the confusion and delay (a reference for all you other parents who are thomas watchers) that the toy had caused. SO, when asher thanked God that his brother got to pick out a new toy, i was totally taken by surprise and probably would have cried if i hadn't been releasing my emotion by breaking bryan's fingers in my shocked-by-our-son's-thoughtfulness-but-resisting-the-tears vice grip.

p.s. when bryan or i finished praying we usually say, "in Christ's name we pray, amen." I've noticed that asher has started tagging "Christ" or "Christ's name" onto the end of his prayers now. sweet to know he's listening when we pray.

thomas the train

asher: *singing to himself while playing trains* accidents happen now and again. sometimes just by janis.
me: *to bryan* did you hear that?
bryan: what?
me: it's supposed to be "sometimes just by chance," but he sings "janis" every time.
bryan: wifey. stop laughing. janis is pretty accident prone.

i laugh every. single. time. ohhhh, janis.

Friday, December 7, 2012

sacrosanct santa


[sak-roh-sangkt]  Show IPA
extremely sacred or inviolable: a sacrosanct chamber in the temple.
not to be entered or trespassed upon: She considered her home office sacrosanct.
above or beyond criticism, change, or interference: a manuscript deemed sacrosanct.

let's be honest, in america, santa has become sacrosanct. even in Christian circles. when bry and i told people we weren't teaching our kids that santa was real, it was met with much scoffing and guffawing. i understand the sentiment. it's fun to believe in something that is mysterious and magical and simply unexplainable. however, bryan and i feel like there are some major hangups with santaology that we do not wish to impart to our children.

1.) It's a lie.
we believe that good parenting calls for honesty and integrity to the best of our ability in every situation.  if our kids ask if santa is real, we tell them the truth. just like we would tell them the truth if they asked if mickey mouse or thomas the train were real. santa is a fun fictional character. we can enjoy movies about him and read stories about him and even talk about the real st. nick whom the fictional character is based on. but will a jolly, large man dressed in red find a way into our house on christmas eve and leave presents that tiny elves made in the north pole? nope. those presents were thoughtfully bought and wrapped and given because your family loves you and cares for you. isn't that important too?

2.) Naughty or Nice.
to try and modify my child's behavior by reminding him that a magical man (or elf on a shelf) is creepily watching even while he's sleeping is weird. we try to do good things and be nice and love one another well because Jesus first loved us and has given us example and instruction to do so. as we're trying to teach our kids that they should love others as they love themselves, we don't want the motivation to be so that they can selfishly get more presents if they're extra nice. also, how do we explain it when children who come from low income families don't get awesome presents? is it because santa caught them being naughty? or is it because their parents or parent are trying to keep food on the table and don't have the luxury of spending tons of money on gifts?

3.) The Present Thing.
christmas has become a consumeristic holiday race where the person who gets (or the parent who gives) the biggest, best, newest, and most is the winner. as parents who believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior, we really want to teach our kids that Christmas is about celebrating, remembering, and focusing on God's greatest gift to a dying, broken world: the incarnation of His Son, Jesus. we've decided to do 3 gifts for each child to parallel the gifts for Christ from the wise men (yes, i realize that the wise men technically did not arrive until tiny little baby Jesus was about 2 years old, but they are still part of the Christmas story, people!) we will strive, with the presents that we do give, to make sure they are organic/fair trade/sustainably produced simply because we don't want others to suffer at the expense of our gift giving. we have also decided to let our kids pick out 3 gifts from the compassion international gift catalog. we will narrow down the choices so that they are affordable for our family, but we want our children to get in the habit of giving where it counts. i'm hoping this new years to start a compassion jar that we can fill up all year. then next december, we can count out how much we've saved and pick out a life changing gift with our change. we'll see how that goes. the bottom line: we want our kids to know that the gifts they get and give are meaningful and making a difference, not made by elves in a shop in the north pole.

i'm not trying to hate on the families who are hardcore pretenders when it comes to santa. i'm just trying to explain why our family doesn't think it's worth it. we still have fun taking our kids to see christmas lights, wrapping presents for others, making christmas crafts and ornaments, doing random acts of christmas kindness for strangers, spending time together, etc., etc., etc.

like i said, it's fun to believe in something that is mysterious, and magical, and simply unexplainable.

the virgin birth of Christ,
      the word made flesh come to rescue the world,
           the Hope long awaited for,
                the Promised One,
                    God graciously reconciling His people back to himself

THAT is a unexplainable mystery worth celebrating, a gift deserving of thanksgiving, and most importantly it is TRUTH.