Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blog Blitz, Part II: Eight is Great

Last month we celebrated. Eight years of marriage has taught us a lot about giving and confessing and compromising and a whole lot about being teachable. We are complete opposites in many respects and have had our work cut our for us. Take, for instance, the simple way we do things.

This would be Jason's way of putting things away.



And this would be mine.



I can say that these kinds of simple differences (notice who's writing this blog post) equal eight years of lively discussions. And eight years of trying harder still can't put the organization into someone or even take a hint of it out. But we are so much richer, so much better for having each other and all of our differences!

One way we use these differences to our advantage is by taking turns planning anniversary celebrations. Jason always has his plans in place months in advance. Mine might be finalized the day before we walk out the door. But this year, Jason was planning and lucky for him he's a runner. In his book running makes you a winner and this time, his running literally paid off. At a recent 5k Jason won his age division with the prize of a free night's stay at an ultra-nice local downtown hotel. Add to that an additional free upgrade when we arrived, and we were staying at a suite, downtown, for free.

While Jason and I have many differences, one similarity is our love for simple cuisine. There were many amazing restaurants to pick from but we found ourselves sitting in a little sandwich shop and drinking coffee ground from beans  from our daughter's home state in India. There were some chocolate fudge cupcakes involved too...and that was the PERFECT night out to us. Forget a $70 meal. We'll take $20 and some really meaningful coffee.

Getting away to stop, to talk, to process is so good. Doing so consistently even when it means wading through some disagreements keeps hearts connected. And because of it we can say for real that eight is great.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Blitz, Part I: Milestones

Let's see, where were we a month ago? Waiting on word from India? Yep. Living on a college campus? Yep. Working full time raising a two year old? Uh huh. And guess what? We're still right there doing those same things. But I suppose there are a few specifics I could give between the generalities.

The whole family was home last week for Spring Break. Levi and I both felt a little under the weather and cancelled plans to meet my mom and cousin in Alabama. It was a sad but obvious decision, and I'm feeling much better from the rest and antibiotics. We also had a student staying with us recovering from surgery so there was a whole lot of cooking and medicating and enjoying the sunshine. Students arrived back on Sunday and the days, especially Jason's, are more structured with meetings peppered everywhere. On Monday we started with a bang cooking-- and a cooler full of popcorn, two chocolate chip cookie cakes, two batches of sugar cookies, two batches of butter cream icing and two batches of chocolate crackle cookies later everything was ready for the evening RA meeting. Now, lest you worry we're teaching these bad eating habits of gorging on sweets, they weren't just gorging themselves on sweets but also bagging many of them up to spread some love on our campus. So I suppose we were teaching the whole campus, huh? Healthy or not a good sugar cookie, I dare say, could make any heart warm... So while they bagged some heart-warming love I tucked Levi in bed reading The Poky Little Puppy and fell right asleep beside him.  

There have been so many moments with Levi in this silent blog month. Some I've written and some I need to. The terrible twos have been really, really fun and not at all so terrible. Levi expresses himself well amazing us and others daily with his wit and intellect. Some things I've noted lately:
  • Communication is at it's finest when face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.
Late one night while laying down with Levi, after multiple threats to stop being silly and running trains over my hair, we closed our eyes and he was quiet. Then, all of a sudden I felt little breaths on my nose and opened my eyes, eyeball-to-eyeball with those little blue eyes.  
"What are you doing?" I asked. 
 "Thomas is saring me," he said still nose to nose.
 "Why is Thomas scaring you?"  
"Cause his eyes are like dis." Levi, in his animated way, showed as much of the whites of his eyes as possible.
 It was cute and then I looked over at Thomas who looked exactly as Levi had described. So with both of us in total agreement of the creepiness of those bug eyes, Thomas was booted over the too-tall safety rail onto the floor below and we both settled back down. This time Levi was as silent as a mouse and I was the one trying to follow my own rule and keep my chuckles quiet.
  • There is a direct correlation between enjoying life and self-consciousness. As self-consciousness decreases, so, seemingly, increases the enjoyment of life. I have a lot to learn from my boy {cue the next observation}.
  • I still have so much to learn.
Levi is in the why phase. And although he's looking for simple answers now (most times nonsense answers will suffice), he'll be looking for more complex answers soon enough. Why do woodpeckers peck wood? Why do we have to go this way to get to so-and-so's house? Why are you sad? I make the statement. He asks the why and we're often learning the answers together to some of his crazy whys. Somebody say it gets easier or that there is an Einstein button I haven't yet discovered.
  • Even mundane things can be amazingly fun.
Like, washing the dishes or taking the trash or even the unthinkable                                                          source of fun-- folding clothes. Levi especially likes themed pancakes these days. Below Jason just served up Uncle Phil.

I remember leaving the hospital with our tiny baby wondering how we'd manage to take care of him until we could get to a doctor for some more instructions. But with every little inch he grows, I believe Levi's been the one teaching us. And they are big lessons on beauty, priorities, simplicity and innocence. Every child deserves that. To have parents who fight to make them priority, to enjoy every the simple thing they do, to protect their innocence and to celebrate their unique beauty. They are sweet gifts to us. And my mind goes to really bad places when parents don't fulfill their responsibilities. I ache for children to be treasured and to receive that I-will-die-to-keep-you-safe kind of love. I think this heart has room for more who need that...and definitely for one sitting protected and loved by Christian foster parents on the other side of the world...but I digress.

Now that we've managed to get Levi past the helpless stage and into the talking back one (yeah...in both ways), we realize the process of learning our boy and parenting him is a great adventure. And we are eager pupils. Every day I find myself so blessed to stay home with him treasuring up these little lessons and milestones. Nothing could be more fulfilling for my days than this beautiful, blue-eyed boy.