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“I Want to Know HOW!”

They tell you these conversations are coming. But you like to think you have more than four years to prepare.
After breakfast this morning, Carissa asked, “So how *exactly* do a mom and dad *make* a baby? I mean, I know they ‘come together’ to make it,” she said, using the words we’ve always used when she asked previously. “But *how*?”
“I can explain it!” Micah jumped in. “It really is quite natural!”
Oh, this should be good.
“What happens is their blood cells come together and then *one* ziiiiips up there into another one. Then the cells start making more cells and more cells and more cells and then suddenly there is a baby growing!”
Blissfully content in her limited understanding, Mara smiles at Carissa and says, “It really is a miracle.”
Carissa looks dissatisfied. “That makes *no* sense. I want to know *how.*”

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The Alphabet Game

Mara spent days creating an elaborate board game which she has begun playing with her siblings.  After awhile Micah became upset, saying he “lost.”
“But he didn’t *lose*!” Mara insisted. “He fell in Failure Falls!”
I am curious. “What is Failure Falls?”
“Well, once you fall in, you have to stay there the rest of the game,” she explained.
“That sounds like losing to me.”
“No! At the end of the game, the good king and queen let you out!”

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It’s Happening

David sat on the toilet (#2) tonight and said, “Me not need you with me any more. Me growing up.” His little legs dangled not even halfway to the floor.
I didn’t move from my seat on the stepstool. I half-expected him to suddenly change his mind and blurt out that he did need me after all.
But that was the two-year-old David. He is about to turn three on Saturday. And despite the ‘I-hate-to-break-this-to-you’ look in his brown eyes, he was resolute. “You can leave,” he insisted, clinging to the toilet seat.
“Okay, I’ll just wait till you’re done.” I answered, still making no moves toward the door.
This time I could hear the exasperation in his little voice: “Please? Can you not be with me any more?”
Wow. When you put it like that.
“Okay, I’ll leave,” I agreed, getting up. “Call me when you need to be wiped.”
“Okay.”
Three times he called down the stairs, “Me not need you with me any more!”
Three times I thought he was calling me back.
It’s happening. My baby boy is growing up.

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Everyday Treasures

Every day there are beautiful treasures. It is not hard to see them. In fact, most days there are more than I could ever count.

This morning started beautifully as I woke up when Micah did. None of the others were awake, but what a treasure to watch David wake up singing a song he made up himself. After I changed his diaper, he walked into the girls’ room, where Carissa lay awake but still under her covers. When she heard our footsteps, she squeezed her eyes tightly shut, feigning sleep in the very obvious way that small children do.

He leaned over her with a huge smile and hugged her, “I love you, Rissy!” he exclaimed with a joyous voice that almost laughed.

I could hardly talk today because this sinus infection has taken my voice. Initially I’d planned to take all the kids to Mara’s dentist appointment, then on to the doctor’s office where the younger three had post-ear-infection follow-ups. But I really wanted to be in the room with Mara, who was getting fillings and I couldn’t leave the other three in the waiting room alone during that whole process. Besides that, my lack of voice would make for an incredibly exhausting outing, herding four children across the mayhem that is the hospital parking lot (under renovation) on a morning where the temperature is still in the 40’s, then taking them all to another dr’s office. . . Since Daniel now works from home, I decided to put on Mary Poppins for the younger three and take Mara alone. It was a risky plan, because Daniel can’t really “watch” them while working. But thankfully, he only had to step in once, and Mara and I returned before the movie had even finished. She was a trooper and didn’t complain at all about her filling. She got two princess stickers from the dentist and brought them home and gave them to Carissa.

Before I left with the younger three, I had time to get Mara ready for some schoolwork. She was amazing! and very determined. She did something like 13 worksheets while I was gone and read 2-3 reading assignments, then took a math test when I got back! Eight of those worksheets were math lessons. She is determined to finish her first grade math before my birthday. She said, “I didn’t play at all–or do anything except worksheets! Wellll, sometimes I sat and *thought* about other things!” (Girl after my own heart!)

Micah did about four math worksheets today. I couldn’t help laughing that he solved the word problems in his head and crossed out the word “Workspace” and wrote “No thanks” in the box.

Thankfully all the littles’ ear infections have cleared up. Though here I am with yet another sinus infection. The doctor says, “It seems like you’ve been sick all winter!” (Tell me about it! UGH!) I am grateful for another antibiotic, but starting to wonder what is wrong with my immune system?

While I waited for my prescription, the kids and I went to the thrift store: two pairs of shoes for Micah (one StrideRite Clone Wars! Score!! and a pair of Crocs) and cowboy boots for Mara. A 16×20 picture frame still in the original plastic wrap for $5! And of course, books. I love books! Two more Clifford books, Madeline’s Christmas, another Eric Carle book, two Thomas train books for David, three Magic Tree House books, a 10-in-1 reader for grades 1-3, an Andrew Peterson/Corey Godbey book on the genealogies in Matthew with the CD, DK book on Whales, and Ladybug Girl Goes to the Beach (wow, by far the girls’ favorite!). There were a few more books too. Altogether $14. Can’t beat the prices! Tonight Daniel sat and read Stop Train Stop and Ladybug Girl to all the kids. And even though he insisted that Bingo was Ladybug Girl’s mom, instead of her dog, the kids loved every minute. I wanted to take a picture, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment. . .

Carissa’s journal arrived today. She has been begging me for weeks to buy her a journal like Mara and Micah’s! Well, today it came. She immediately put her princess stickers from Mara on the first page and wrote a small entry about going to the doctor. Looks like she will be as much a writer as Mara is, and I really do need to get working with her more consistently on her reading!

The kids played so nicely. Mara and Micah were upstairs playing quietly for the longest time. When Micah came down, I asked, “What are you guys doing?”

“We’re playing a story!” he replied (Always!) “Mara’s Firestorm and I’m BatGuy and we’re pretending it’s our honeymoon.”

“Oh, what’s a honeymoon?–How do you play ‘honeymoon’?” I asked, wondering what his concept of a honeymoon involves.

“Well, it’s like our first date. The first one didn’t go so well. But now we’re playing that we’re going camping, and this is a lot better!”

Upstairs in the boys’ room I found a queen-size blanket spread and propped throughout the room like a tent. And a campfire made of paper taped to a cardboard base. . . They were going camping.

Downstairs the littles were hungry. David went and opened the fridge and pulled out the bag of carrots and said, “Me hungry! Have some carrots?” Of course I agreed and he served himself and Carissa.

They sat in the kitchen on their little stools with cups of water and bowls of carrots and chatted the evening away. . .

Tonight at dinner David motioned to Carissa. “Me eating wiff my friend. Rissy my friend! She does kind things for me!”

Love that boy!

Every. Day.

Treasures!

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I Want to Remember. . .

I want to remember all of it.

I want to remember Carissa’s delight-filled voice as she jumped into my bed, early one morning this week, exclaiming, “You know what I just love?!–I just love my family!!!!!”

I want to remember Micah exclaiming “Yesterday was the best day ever! . . .  because we got to go to church and go to lunch at the pastor’s house and go outside and play in the snow.”

I want to remember Mara asking, “Mom? Can we read the book that has the title of what I’m going to be later this week?” (Why, of course, we’ll read Little Women–since you’re almost seven now!)

I want to remember reading Two Little Trains with Micah perched on the arm of my rocker and David snuggled in a blanket on my lap.

I want to always see Micah’s smiles watching the trains go west and hear David’s “Read ‘gain? Read ‘gain?” as I close the book. I want to remember reading. . . again.

I want to remember Goodnight Moon. Micah still likes that one.

I want to remember Big Red Barn. I will always remember Big Red Barn. It’s been all of our kids’ favorite book at some point, and it’s David’s favorite right now.

I want to remember David while I sang: his big brown eyes drooping shut as his thick auburn eyelashes rest on his chubby toddler cheeks. I want to remember his tousled mess of red hair, glistening golden where the light fell. I want to remember how he sucks his first two fingers, until at last he is fast asleep and the fingers slip out and down to his chest, startling him awake again, but only for an instant as his eyelids droop in a deep slumber.

I want to remember how his hands always fall above his head when I lay him down in his big boy bed. . . and kiss those rosy cheeks one more time. . .

I want to remember how he wakes up from his naps. He wakes up crying, “Mic’s gone! Mic’s gone!” because he gets his naps and nighttime mixed up. And he wonders what happened to the brother he loves so much.

I want to remember this little dare-devil. I’m forever saying, “David, you’re going to fall!” and he always replies, “Me being real-real careful!”

I want to remember how he wakes up in the middle of the night, saying, “All done my nap!” and how I talk to him at the changing table: “You’re a strong boy!” and he replies, “Me POWERful!”

I want to remember Micah laughing, “I can’t believe how many words he knows!” and David agreeing: “Huh! Me LEARNing!”

I want to remember his knock-knock joke–as old as it is now!–It was hilarious the first time. “Kno’- kno’!” “Who’s there?” “Balloon!” “Balloon who?” “POP!!” (Not bad for a two-year-old!)

I want to remember because we’re going away for our tenth anniversary. And as excited as I am, and as long as it’s been in coming, there’s a part of me that will miss my sweet kiddos the whole time. Because “You know what I just love?!–I just love my family!!!!!”