One peaceful moment

While I made dinner tonight, August sat at the table and cried for food. “Fooooood mama! Mama! A yittle snack!” He wailed.

Antonella was no where to be found to help.

Jeremiah sat nearby listening to music on his headphones. He couldn’t hear himself, and he sang loud and off-key.

Samuel ran around with a wooden sword on his back, making some sort of indescribable battle noises. I had to ban him from the kitchen.

Dinner followed suit, with interrupting exclamations and increasing volume.

Then, Advent. A moment of peace.

And then… Auggie’s head knocked Sam’s two front teeth into his palate, and I had to grab them with a paper towel and yank them back into place. There was a lot of blood and some screaming.

And now… Our home is filled with peace again. The children are sleeping.

 

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Waiting

Hello again, friends. The holiday season is in full swing and we are busy celebrating the coming of Christ with family and friends. In the midst of coming and going one of our family traditions keeps us centered on the real reason for celebrating. Our nightly Advent devotionals remind us and help us to keep our hearts expectant, to long for the coming of the Savior, and to worship Him for all that He has done. The simplicity of walking through the Biblical story day by day, tracing the lineage of Jesus, following history as it holds its breath, every piece in its place, rising to the climax of eternity–it is my favorite time of the year. Every night after we light our advent wreath candles and read the Bible story, the kids make an ornament to go on our tree. Our advent ornaments are the only decorations on our tree.

I struggle a little bit every year with the desire to buy cute ornaments that I will someday pass down to my kids with stories about the year they played soccer or learned the violin. I know how meaningful a tree full of memories is. This year the kids have an artificial tree in the playroom with the ornaments we have accumulated throughout the years. It’s a nice compromise, no?

I do hope, however, that when they get a box full of homemade ornaments someday telling the story of the coming King, their hearts would be filled with expectation, and the memories of their own lives as the years pass would be marked by these stories.

Antonella made the first set of ornaments out of cardstock when she was three.

Jeremiah joined us the next year to help cut out foam sheets…

In 2007 they drew on wooden discs…

And for some reason in 2008 I bought enough frosted glass ornaments to last us two years. They painted them in 2008…

And colored them with permanent marker in 2009…

If you do the math, four kids making an ornament every night for twenty eight days equals one huge tree to hold them all. This year I got these little wooded cubes in effort to reduce the amount of things to hang on our tree. They draw a different story on each side.

I hope that the crafty aspect of the ornaments will develop as they grow and they can create some unique decorations. For now, markers and wood are about what the little ones can handle on a daily basis!  So here is our tree, full of our faith’s memories.

I hope your family is enjoying the season and I hope that the many frivolous aspects of this holiday serve to point to the coming one, who came to save and will come again.

sugary treats

We made these quick and easy treats for Antonella’s class last week.

We placed two pink marshmallows on a red and white plastic straw and dipped the tip of the top marshmallow in melted candy melt, then rolled them in sprinkles before they dried.

After putting them in clear baggies, we tied them up with embroidery thread! The class enjoyed these for afternoon snack- load them up with sugar right before they go home!

Kid Park

We take our dog to the dog park a couple of times a week. I never thought we’d be the type of family that does that, but it turns out that the dog park is great for the whole family. The park is fenced in with a trail around the perimeter. It also boasts an obstacle course for dogs. While the dog runs and gets her exercise, I can relax on a bench and watch the kids run and get exercise too. There’s no dangerous drop-offs at the highest monkey bars, no street they can run out to. So… maybe we take our kids to the dog park and the dog happens to enjoy it as well.

Antonella and Alice

Sam is about to say something funny…

It’s cold enough to put your hood up, y’all.

Wipe my face. I dare you.

Sons That Cry

I think many would say that my husband inherited his sensitivity from his mother. He is a grown man who has never been afraid to express how he feels, even if it involves crying a little. He cries at appropriate times-when his heart is overwhelmed with joy, gratitude, or pain. His brother is much the same way. And although I would agree that he received his mother’s tender heart, I think that the confidence and courage that allows him to feel secure in expressing what is going on in his heart, he learned from his father.

Lately, our six year old has been crying a lot. As parents we try to discern when his heart is hurting and when he is being manipulative; when we listen and when we tell him to man up. Many times tears flow as a result of not getting his way. This is not an appropriate time to cry, we tell him. Sometimes we see tears in order to exaggerate an offense against him. Stop crying, we say. With all our boys, when they get hurt, they receive hugs and care and kisses, and then we usually say, “I think you’re ok, it’s time to calm down and be brave.”

The truth is that most of the things that the boys cry about are not worth the tears. We know this is part of the stage they are in, that they will cry over unfair games and lost races. At this age, the sensitivity is there, at the surface and ready to pour. It is our responsibility as parents to slowly teach them that tears are for injustice and pain and sin and even for men, joy.

He came into our room a while back, tears in his eyes. He recognized his bad habit; our words, by the Grace of God, finally reaching his heart. “It’s an idol in my life,” he said. We prayed together and reminded him of the One who wipes tears away forever, and the tears of sorrow turned into tears of joy… Appropriate tears.

We want to teach the boys how to be men–how to be honest leaders, courageous warriors, and noble defenders. We know that these characteristics aren’t always easy to obtain, so we want to be intentional as we disciple them. However, my heart is at peace. I’ve heard it said that children learn what they live, but there’s more to it than that. I know that the way they express their feelings is being shaped by the confidence and courage that has been passed down from their grandfather to their father, and now to them.