Friday, December 30, 2011


My sister-in-law's parents sent Naomi some shirts from Mongolia. If I were any sort of seamstress, I would make her ten. Thick and warm and pretty darn cute.

Or maybe we just need to take a field trip to Mongolia. :).

Have a lovely weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...hence the sub-par picture quality

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Buzz. Slap.

I'm walking through the waiting room at my doctor's office.

A guy is sitting there with his wife/girlfriend/sister/etc. who is pregnant.

He gestures towards my stomach and chuckles.

Guy: "Looks like you've been stung by a bee, too!"

My mind clicks down the list of possible responses to his attempt at humor:

1) Give a courteous smile and continue walking. Quickly.
2) Freak him out by crying and running for the door. He just called me fat, right?
3) Give a clever response.

Me, putting my hands on my burgeoning stomach:

"Yes, sir! And it must have been a BIG BEE!"

You roll with the punches, right?

Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Drawing a Blank.

As I laid in bed this morning, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should pack my hospital bag soon. At some point. I mean, I don't think baby girl is coming too soon, but a little preparedness is never a bad thing.

Oddly enough, as I was racking my brain, trying to think of the appropriate items to bring, my mind kept drawing a blank. I remember meticulously packing our overnight bag before Cub was born ... but I'm not sure what was in it. Naomi's birth was planned and I'm sure we were stocked and ready to go ... but y'all, I'm not even kidding, besides socks and chapstick, I'm having a hard time coming up with those little things that I'm supposed to remember having done this twice before.

What were the necessities that you packed for the hospital? Were there other things that weren't as obvious that you're glad you brought? I know once I sit down and make my list it will all come back to me, but for now, my post-holiday fog coupled with my dense pregnancy brain is making it difficult for me to come up with anything!

Have a lovely day, friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flippin' Sweet!

It's safe to say my perspective at the end of this week is a little more upbeat than what I experienced last week.

The stomach bug laid me flat for four days and finally, on Tuesday, I was able to hold food down and function somewhat normally. It was miserable, but y'all, let me tell you, there's nothing like illness to make you appreciate health. At the end of it, I found myself tolerating the normal pains and groans and strains of third trimester pregnancy with much more grace. A few contractions, sore hips, and pressure are easy to manage when compared to experiencing those things AND the symptoms of a stomach bug. God knows that it's hard to have a bad attitude when one has a grateful heart. And I am so grateful for health ... SO grateful for health, that the negative thoughts and feelings I was having have paled in comparison. Don't get me wrong--the thought of three little ones is still a bit overwhelming, but I am enormously grateful that He has given me a healthy and, all things considered, an uneventful pregnancy. I needed that reminder.

That being said, I think all of the throwing up may have paid off. While I was heaving (sorry for all the throwing up talk), I felt like I was on the brink of breaking a rib. I almost screamed in pain. Throwing up has never been that painful for me, but now I think I know why it was. At my appointment yesterday, we found out that Lydia, who has been breech since 30 weeks, has FLIPPED! And I'll bet you anything that baby flipped while I was throwing up. I've heard of that happening, and it's the only way I can explain the pain I was feeling (it was horrible). Isn't that crazy?

So now here I am, a day away from 36 weeks. I'm dilated to a 2, but I'm guessing that is just the result of Lydia flipping--surely that shook things up a bit! I am not effaced at all and I feel great, so I think baby girl still has a while before she makes her appearance. She already weighs six pounds and the doctor thinks I won't make it to my due date, but we'll see. We all know we girls are tricky. :)

There you have it!

Have a lovely day, a lovely weekend, and a VERY Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crock-Pot Steel Cut Oats.

After posting some pics of yummy crock-pot oatmeal on Facebook (all of which I cannot find, hence the Google Images photo above ... LAME, sorry), I had some requests that I post said recipe on my blog. I found this easy double-boiler method linked from my friend Leslie's blog. The Footy Pajamas household is quite grateful that she took the time to share it! It's super-easy. Plus, what's better than waking up to a breakfast that's already done?

If your breakfasts are anything like ours in our house, then a little preparedness goes a long way.

I add a little more water than the directions specify, simply because my crock-pot is rather ambitious when it comes to heating. Also, I made a rookie mistake of setting my crock-pot to "warm" for fear that the oats would burn and nay, they simply didn't cook. Be sure to set it to low. We mix our oats with bananas and maple syrup. Yum.

So, click on the link, and enjoy! We do, at least twice a week. :)

Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 34: A Recap.

It's safe to say Week 34 was my hardest week yet.

See? I don't even have a picture to show for it.

But, if I did, I think it would look something like this:

Well, okay, chub up his cheeks a little and it might be a tad more accurate.

Last week was my Week of Panic. I woke up every morning feeling overwhelmed before my feet ever hit the floor. My agenda for the week was an easy one--lots of time home with the kids, two family Christmases, a playgroup ... nothing that screams "stress". And yet that familiar anxiety-ridden panic-y feeling I first recognized in my pregnancy with Caleb decided to rear its ugly head this past week.

And it was HARD.

Monday and Tuesday were bearable, but Wednesday was the beginning of the worst. I was hosting playgroup for some good friends of mine, which I usually love to do, but it seemed like nothing could go quite right that morning. A preggo belly and two toddlers made the task trickier than usual and as I hobbled around picking up, I couldn't help but reminisce back to the days when I had only one child and hosted playgroup. I'd usually have a spread of two or three brunch-y delights, a spotless house, a fresh pot of coffee, and oh, probably party favors or Mom SWAG. A totally different scene than what I was experiencing this particular morning, attempting to vacuum only a few rooms while scraping stuck-on cereal bar from the tile floor and grabbing the burning sausage roll from the oven before it went from "well done" to "house fire". It seemed that no matter how quickly I moved, I couldn't move quickly enough. I waddled to the left, waddled to the right, grunted as I bent over to pick up superfluous stuff from the floor, and right in the middle of it all, I heard a loud CRASH come from the butler pantry.

I cringed as I peeked around the corner, only to see Naomi with a terrified look on her face, holding my camera strap in one hand while my camera (still intact) laid on the floor ... with its lens shattered in at least a bazillion pieces. I felt a lump catch in my throat. Then my mind imagined a screaming newborn in the background of this overwhelming chaos, and I promptly burst into tears.


The panic continued throughout the day and a long conversation with my husband helped to ease the tension (I just love him). The next day was a bit more bearable until Friday hit and I woke up with not only a bit of panic, but a runny nose as well. Our family Christmas on my husband's side was that evening and I muscled through the evening's activities, only to barely sleep that night and wake up groggy, congested, and frustrated the next morning. As my feet hit the floor, I doubled over from pain in my lower abdomen (welcome to a constant in my life right now: UTI). I finally called the doctor and she said for me to go into the hospital for monitoring.

Oh boy.

I didn't want to go. I knew what it would entail. I didn't want to be monitored. I knew the baby was fine and I wasn't in labor. I just wanted MEDS. Preferably through an IV. Make this UTI GO AWAY. Sure enough, they hooked me up, concluded I wasn't in labor (yes, I know, thank you) and sent me home with a prescription. Oh, here's a fun extra--I threw up in the hospital. And then I threw up later that evening, in the car (thank goodness for a to-go baggy that saved the day). All Saturday night I moaned from a deep pain in my lower back, throwing up every now and then (which was unusually excruciating) until I finally filled the tub with scalding water at 2:00 in the morning and then sat in it until the water turned cold. I threw up the next morning and was finally able to hold something down by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around. And now, here I sit, a towel on my head (yay, a shower), thankful that most of the illness has passed.

I am now in Week 35. I'm praying that the anxiety stays at bay. I can only live each day at a time and imagining the future is nothing short of futile, since I have no idea what it will be like. But y'all, I feel like I hit my lowest low this past week. I just couldn't imagine being a Mama of three. Most days I'm excited, but last week, I was terrified. I don't want to go back to that feeling again.

And thus concludes a very honest post from yours truly.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stuck In the Middle.

Our precious unborn daughter still lacks a middle name.

Poor third child. Poor, poor third child.

You see, I have a middle name that I really like. But before I share it, let me share something else: I'm kind of big on names that are easy to pronounce. Everyone has a personal preference, I understand, but I'm in the simple name camp where the spelling is original and the name is pronounceable (take, for example, "Leah" versus "Leighugh"). Easy is good.

Which brings me to my conundrum.

We have a pattern with our kids thus far where their first names are biblical names and their middle names are family names. That wasn't necessarily an intentional plan, but it's the way things have turned out and we like it. Easy. I would like to continue this trend with Lydia, too.

The family name I would like to use?


It is the maiden name of my French-Canadian great-grandmother, Maria Prefontaine, who had a fascinating life story and who is, I believe, a very worthy namesake. And it is, all things considered, a bit of a difficult name to pronounce upon first glance.

("Bore-jet". But with a soft "j", almost like "bore-shet".)


Does sentimentality trump easy pronounceability?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Advent: The Candle of Faith.

This candle reminds us that Mary was chosen to be Jesus' mother because of her faith in God. Joseph, Mary's husband, had faith in God. He believed what the angel told him. When the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus. The shepherds had faith in God. They believed the angels, God's messengers.

In a country far from Bethlehem, in the East toward the rising sun, lived men called "Magi". "Magi" means wise men. These wise men had been studying the stars for a long time. They belonged to a religion that taught that stars could reveal the thoughts of God. Night after night, week after week, year after year, the wise men peered at the twinkling lights ... waiting and watching. Would they ever see a sign from God, they wondered?

Then one night, something very unusual happened! There was a new star in the sky! The ancient Hebrew Scripture said that one day a King would be born, a Messiah sent from God. The star would be a sign of His coming!

The Magi, who were led by the star to the Christ-child had a long, difficult journey. They did not come the same night as the shepherds, but much later. When they found the Child, God's Son, they were filled with great joy and fell down and worshipped Him! They gave him precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. The Magi, by faith, believed that the child was the Messiah, God's Son.

Questions for the kiddos:

Can you think of any other great people in the Bible that were able to show that they had faith in God by their actions?
If you could give any gift to each member of your family, what would you give them?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday With a Few Words: Christmas Card Pic.

Because let's face it:
Once the cheesy smile appears, trying for anything else is simply a waste of time.

('Tis the season to be three.)

Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Conjunction Junction.

Cub: Hey Mama, what's that?

Me: That's an ampersand, honey.

C: A what?

M: An ampersand.

C: What is a 'persand?

M: An ampersand is used in place of the word ... "and" ... in a sentence, when you, uh, don't want to write the word "and".

C: A persand is a place in a word?

M: Uh, no, it's a symbol used in place of a word. When you, um, learn to write sentences you will write the word "and" and sometimes, if you want, you can use ... an ... ampersand ...?

(Cub pauses.)

C: But does it have big muscles?

M: Yes. It has big muscles and it is very fast. It might even glow in the dark.

C: WOW! Persands are AWESOME!

You're welcome.

Have a lovely day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent: Joy/Praise.

Today we are celebrating the third week in Advent. This week may also be known as "Gaudete" Sunday, which is Latin for "rejoice". We first lit the candle of Hope, signifying the hope of the patriarchs of old as they anticipated the coming of the Savior, and also the hope that we hold onto today that Christ will come again. We then lit the candle of Peace, as a prayer that we might allow God's peace to rule in our hearts this season, putting aside personal differences to recognize the fullness of the celebration of Christmas morning. And today, we celebrate.

Today we will be lighting the candle of Joy.

Luke 2:8-14 says: In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christthe Lord. "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

As with Peace, Joy can be difficult to find amidst the distractions and struggles we face this time of year. But, the charge from Paul to us to "rejoice in the Lord always!" remains true. Because, despite those things that stand in our way or the things that we allow to block the light of God's glory in our lives, God has given us more than enough for which to be joyful. This week, let our focus remain on what we know to be true: That God sent His only Son for us. That He broke through heaven to experience a human birth and a human life. He did not come in a blazing light of glory. He chose instead a manger as His place to begin an earthly life and He chose shepherds to celebrate His arrival. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords chose poverty. Christmas morning is a miracle. And friends, THAT is our reason for joy.

Let us pray.

We praise you God for the things You have given us for which to be joyful. Open our eyes to Your truth and fill us with Your joy as we celebrate the birth of Your Son. And we pray the psalm that says, For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of your hands! You are holy and worthy to be praised. In Christ's name, Amen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent: The Shepherd Candle.

"Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!" Psalm 150

"The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told to them." Luke 2:20

This candle reminds us of the importance of praising God for the wondrous things He has done for us in our lives. Under the star-filled sky, in the fields near Bethlehem, a shepherd watched over his flock. He heard the distant call of a wolf and strained his eyes in that direction, recounting his sheep to see that none were missing.

That night seemed unusually quiet, a strange quiet. Suddenly the stillness was broken by a sound like rushing wind. All the shepherds looked up and saw a figure who was different from anything they had ever seen before. All around was a great glow of light. Can you imagine how frightened they were!

What a great message of praise. "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord!" Suddenly there were many figures, all like the first, and they were praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to all men in whom his favor rests!"

Something for the kiddos to think about:

Would you have believed the angels' news and left your sheep in the fields?
Share with each other how you might have responded if you had been a shepherd.
The response of the shepherds is a good one for all of us to follow!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fa La La La!

Okay. I have tried and tried to type a succinct post about Christmas and how I'm trying to celebrate it. I've written and deleted, edited and re-edited, and finally I gave up and now a botched post is sitting idly in my saved drafts.

Then a blog post from a blogger named Jen started floating around Facebook, so I read it and took a sigh. A-ha! This witty blogger put into words what I was feeling, and then some.

This past summer, my sister-in-law shared an idea her family was doing for Christmas when it came to purchasing gifts for their kiddos:

1) Something they want
2) Something they need
3) Something to give to others

I loved the idea and my husband and I agreed to follow those rules for our own kids this year. If people are pepper-spraying each other for X-Boxes on Black Friday, surely we can help reign things in a bit.

Christmastime always presents a bit of an issue for me because of the balance we try to strike with making it "all about Jesus" and also buying lots of gifts and writing letters to Santa, the guy who doesn't actually exist. I've tried to figure out how I could do both. I didn't grow up doing the "Santa thing", so I'm really just terrible at it, but a lot of people I know do it and seem to have no issue with it, so I've given it a fair amount of thought and I've still managed to come up empty. The only ideas I can drum up are to add more nativities, talk about Jesus a lot, light lots of Advent wreaths, go to a lot of Christmas Eve services, read the Christmas story a million times before Christmas Day ... and then I can do the other stuff, too, right? Because I've done a good job of telling my kids what Christmas is "really" about, right?

And then I realized that all I'm doing is a lot of works, basically, and missing the point entirely.

So, no Santa for us. (If you love Santa and love doing Santa, I am in no way saying you are wrong or horrible or whatever. It's just that I can't do it. But that doesn't mean you can't!)

Read this post and tell me what you think. Really, read it before you comment. She says a lot of what I can't seem to articulate.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Easy Lunch Ideas.

Do you ever get stuck in a food rut with your kids? This seems to happen to me periodically. I'll be on a roll with menu planning and then all of the sudden I'll sit down to write out a menu for the week and I totally draw a blank. What do my kids like again? What should I buy?

If this ever happens to you and you need some inspiration, here are two of my favorite lunches to do with the kids. The first one is super easy: Peanut Butter and Honey Roll-Ups. Just spread peanut/almond/whatever butter on a tortilla, then spread some honey on top. Roll it tightly and voila! Easy and yummy (and slightly neater than a sandwich). I slice it for Naomi, since she only has two teeth. Poor little kid.

Another lunch idea is English Muffin Pizzas. My Mom did this for us as kids and I loved it then and I love it now! It's totally easy. Take some whole wheat English muffins (I like Rudi's) and toast them in the toaster, or warm them in an oven heated to 350. Spread a dab of pizza sauce on each half, and then top with whatever you'd like (we prefer slices of fresh mozzarella). Put them back in the oven for ten minutes or so to let the cheese melt and there you have it! Instant personal pizzas. Yum.

Have a lovely day!

Not One Of Them Is Missing.

Whenever this time of year rolls around, my thoughts go to the miscarriage my husband and I experienced four years ago. It happened a week and a half before Christmas. We all have our own story when it comes to pregnancy or fertility. Today I felt prompted to share mine.

My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year. It seemed like everyone around us had no trouble getting pregnant within one or two months and I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt a little that conception didn't seem quite as easy for us. But I was genuinely happy for those around us. When we finally found out we were pregnant, we didn't tell anyone and kept it our own little secret. I felt gloriously exhausted.

For about two weeks.

One day I woke up, and I wasn't tired. I can't explain it, but that "feeling" had vanished. I didn't think much about it and went about my normal day, grabbing some coffee and heading to work. While at work that morning, the miscarriage began. I was really shaken up and didn't know what to do. I called the doctor, crying, as my boss stood next to me and patted my back. They told me to go to the emergency room, so I did. Once I got to the emergency room, the blood test showed I was pregnant, but the urine test showed I was not. My husband held my hand as the doctor explained that I was in the process of miscarrying.

The next hour was hard. I know specificities can be uneasy, but there was a lot of pain and a lot of blood--something I wasn't expecting. It's amazing how our bodies begin to rapidly prepare to carry a child at the point of conception and what happens in our bodies when all of that is undone is hard, to say the least. I didn't know why it was happening, but God gave me the greatest sense of peace through it, even though the following weeks and months were some of my hardest.

I can only speak from my experience in saying that miscarrying our first baby was devastating. I hadn't ever been pregnant before and now my only experience with pregnancy had ended abruptly and harshly. When I found out I was pregnant with Cub just two months later (it was a complete surprise), I was completely unprepared and terrified. I wasn't overjoyed. I wasn't excited. I just knew in my heart that this pregnancy would end early, too. I was twenty weeks along before I allowed myself to believe that maybe he might be okay.

The hardest part was hearing people say that "thankfully" I was "only" six weeks along when I miscarried. Walking through any life-changing experience, be it miscarriage, pregnancy, marriage, or what have you, typically warrants a good deal of unsolicited advice and comments and I feel convicted to accept such advice and comments with grace, even if they make me cringe. But I'm going to go ahead and say that if you've never miscarried, never tell a woman that it's a good thing she wasn't very far along. A woman who is six weeks pregnant is "just as" pregnant as a woman who is thirty weeks pregnant. Pregnancy is pregnancy, regardless of how far along you are. If you believe life begins at conception, then a life is lost no matter what.

There are a lot of unknowns that surround a spontaneous miscarriage. What I do know is that the experience has given me a softened heart towards those who go through the same thing. Here we are with two children and one on the way and I know that I do not understand infertility--I don't know what it is like to try for years with no answer. But I know what it's like to wonder and I know what it's like to have a much-anticipated moment disappear, beyond your control. It doesn't take a miscarriage for someone to understand that life is truly a miracle, but I know my own life was changed because of it.

For those of you who have walked through a miscarriage, you have my truest sympathy.

Lift up your eyes on high
And see Who has created these stars,
the One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might
and the strength of His power ...

... not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:26

Have a lovely day, friends.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent: Peace.

Today we are celebrating the second week in Advent. The word "Advent" means "arrival" or "coming". We use the wreath to prepare and ready ourselves for Christmas morning. The evergreen represents the life that can be given through Christ alone and the roundness of the wreath signifies that that life is everlasting. The lit candles remind us that Christ is the light of the world. While the tradition of the Advent wreath dates back to the 1600's, its significance still stands even today, in traditional and non-traditional services alike, as Christians come together to recognize the importance of bringing our focus back to the miracle of Christmas morning.

Today we will light the candle of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6--"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

For some of us, Christmas is a time to gather with family and loved ones. But, also for some of us, Christmas is a difficult time, through family crises or differences that have grown between us and loved ones throughout the years. And, sometimes the memories surrounding this season are just difficult. This week is a significant week in Advent because it focuses on the truth that Christ is the Prince ofPeace. We are encouraged to put aside differences and focus on peace--to focus on reconciliation--and to truly allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. Christ's birth happened in the middle of great civil unrest, when the prayer for peace cried out throughout the country from God's people. And today we continue to pray for that peace--within our homes and around the world.

Let us pray.

Lord, make us your instruments of peace. Where there is hatred let us sow love, where there is injury, pardon, Where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Spirit, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. Let us focus on your peace and remember Your words that say 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.' In Christ's name, Amen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent: The Angel Candle.

'"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,' says the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:1

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.'" Matthew 1:18-21

This candle reminds us of the great joy we have because God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to be our Savior. Mary was alone one day, or at least she thought she was alone, when suddenly she heard a voice. "Greetings, you are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Startled, Mary turned to see who had spoken. Standing before her was no ordinary person, but an angel, a messenger from God Himself! Mary was afraid. But the angel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God."

The Lord was going to send His Son into the world, and Mary was chosen to be His mother! What great news! What joy! Mary believed that what was happening to her was God's way of remembering the promise He had made to the people of Israel, to Abraham and all the rest. God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus. Knowing about God's love and forgiveness in our lives fills us with joy!

Something for kiddos to think about:

Imagine how Mary must have thought when she received the angel's message. Talk about it together. Share with members of your family how you came to know the Lord as your personal Savior. Share how your life is different today because of that decision.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

They Call Him Mr. Personality.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I would be perfectly fine if Cub decided to stay three years old forever.

This age is seriously hilarious.

Caleb's latest gig includes very specifically expressing his emotions. Some examples:

(Head hanging low.)
"I am sad. I am sad because I do not get to have another cookie. That's why I am sad."
"I am sad. I am sad because I do not want to go to bed. That's why I am sad."

(Wrapping his arms around my neck.)
"Mama! I'm just so glad to see you! I am happy!"

(Spinning in circles.)
"Look at me! I'm so silly!"

(In Hobby Lobby.)
"We can get in the cart and look at the Christmas trees and it will be SO MUCH FUN! Yes! Yes it will!"

It cracks us up. His need to over-explain everything is really quite precious. He goes into great detail describing his latest endeavor, be it looking at lights on the Christmas tree or finding his shoes. When we're eating dinner he will sit quietly eating his meal and suddenly declare, "Two more bites! All I need to take is two more bites and then I can get down and go into my room and play with my toys and you can come with me and we will find my trains and it will be so much fun!"

He has also become a master negotiator.

Me: "Caleb, bed time in five minutes."
Caleb: "Hmm. Bed time in five minutes, or ten minutes? How about ten minutes?"
Me: "Two minutes." (ha ha)

He is working hard on being "very kind". Dealing with a little sister who gets into everything (Everything! EVERYTHING!) can be tricky, especially when you are slightly anal like our little guy. We explain that if Naomi takes one of Cub's toys while he is playing with it, all he needs to do is politely ask for it back. Nine times out of ten, Naomi will toddle back to Cub and give him the toy with no problem (she's a mess, but a polite mess). However, Cub has found that running to his sister and yanking the toy out of her hand is much more efficient and when I catch him doing so, he quickly calls out, "I'm being kind, Mama! I'm being kind!"

We're still working on it. :)

He really actually is kind and those moments are incredibly sweet. If Naomi is crying in the car, he sings songs to her to help her calm down (and it works!). If she gets hurt, he hugs her and kisses her head and says, "It's okay Naomi. You're going to be okay." He loves to help out and feel important. His imagination has totally taken off. He collects his toys and gives them names (Mama, Dadda, George) and they eat sandwiches for dinner and then go to sleep. For days he walked around with a box of marbles, shushing us and whispering, "They are sleeping. They are very tired." Yes. Marbles need their rest.

Of course, three wouldn't be three without the occasional fit (accompanied by "I am angry.") and he's learning to control his emotions and use his words. Sometimes his response is that he doesn't want to. "I don't want to be kind." Then we tell him that it's hard to be kind, and that maybe we should pray and ask God for the strength to be kind. Watching him grow and learn is wonderful and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Of course, I know he can't stay three forever. But I'm glad I have almost a year until he turns four.