Sunday, June 26, 2011

We've Got a Creeper...

A creeping little crawler.

Better look out, friends

Miles Benjamin is on the move!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The people who write baby sleep books...

...must have all had babies just like Miles. 

Babies who just roll with it, and after sleeping between mommy and daddy for 7 months, think sleeping in his own bed is good enough for him.

Good enough not to fuss.  Good enough not to lay in bed awake.  Good enough to drift swiftly, quietly, and soundly to sleep.  On his own.  Just like the "the books" say is possible.

I always say Miles is the kind of baby that convinces parents to have a multitude of babies.  (We are not tricked by his ease and mellow nature, however.  We've got our spunky Calvin to remind us some babies are born with a strong opinion on everything.)

Hey, after Charlie and Calvin, who nearly did me in were a tough sell (and still are!) over bed time, do I dare say we 'deserved' an easy sleeper in Miles.

I'm knocking on wood.

And I'm getting more rest.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two Steps Forward

The first week of Summer vacation has come and gone.  We spent the entire thing quite ill.  Well, I spent it ill, as did Charlie.  At this writing, Calvin and Miles have also come down with fevers.  Only Ray has been spared this week, though I think he might like to have a turn so he can have a break from waiting on everyone else.

(Happy Fathers Day, by the way Ray.  You totally rock our world, and have proved it many times over these past few weeks of illness, moving, helping out family, and doing everything else you do without complaint.  He is awesome everybody.  He really is.)

Despite the crazy virus sweeping through, which I am calling "the crazy-bad pink-eye flu", the first week of summer vacation went very well.

Charlie plays by himself very well now, and has a fantastic imagination.

I was not expecting "well".  I'll be honest.  Sometimes weeks off from school can be really hard.  Charlie can be difficult to parent, and five whole days of Charlie can add up to a lot of overwhelm for me and the brothers.

But things are different this time.  We have our lovely, larger-than-tiny home now.  There is space for the kids to spread out a bit from each other.  And with all the different rooms and two levels and nooks and crannies (really, our new house has nooks and crannies that I LOVE), even on a day where the pollen is so bad outside that I just cannot get out we can move from bedroom to loft to playroom to kitchen, and at the end of it we feel as if we actually got out and did something.  Our scenery changed.  We feel sane.

We play trains a lot.

But it is not all house.  Charlie deserves credit for much of how sane and smooth the week went by.  He has come a long way since last Summer.

He is better able to entertain himself in non-destructive to the house and brother kind of ways.  He is less likely to run off or actively try to escape from places (like the house or yard).  Still not trusting him completely, but it is not incessant.   He is better able to understand instruction, and more likely to comply.  He understands the difference between mom's regular voice, and mom's serious you-better-think-about-obeying-me voice. 

This guy has been busy figuring out how to crawl.  Almost there!

Really my worst complaint for Charlie lately is his attitude.  Sounds so typical, right?  It is!  We work a lot lately on using a normal voice instead of whining.  I say a lot "Charlie, if you whine then you will have time out."  His reply?  "Okay,  I happy!"

Sometimes it takes comparing one year to the next to realize we have made he has made progress.  But that is okay.  Progress is being made!  It feels so good to discover this.

Two more weeks of summer break until summer school begins.  I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pressing On

"...I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12b-14 

 This morning the boys and I took a few minutes to watch some family videos on the computer.  One of my favorites is a short little video of Calvin holding Miles in the hospital for the first time.  In the clip Calvin notices different things about his new brother.  He comments that Miles is "neat", he tickles his toes, he pokes his cheeks.  My favorite moment, though, is one where newly made big brother Calvin puts his little hand over the blankets, cradles Miles head in his arm, and says "I got'cha."

I got'cha.

Memorial Day weekend we spent at Great Grandma Chalmers house.  It was not our usual visit with everything in place as we've always known it.  Cinnamon toast in the mornings, cookies at tea time, a game of cards before bed.  Every piece of furniture in it's place.  Do you want the green and yellow guest room, or the brown?

This weekend was different.  We were involved in moving the furniture, selling it, selling everything not taken by one of the family or for Grandma's new apartment.  It was a weird feeling, least of all for us, to pack up everything from Torrey Pines Drive and move it to the driveway for a major two day garage sale.  It felt like the end of an era.  Like things will never be the same.

It felt like the time my parents sold our family home, furniture and all, and retired to a different state.  If there was any doubt childhood was over, that event drew the line in the sand.  Home is not 'a place' any longer.  It's a community.

Listen.  I know it is just 'stuff'--and Grandma knows it, too.  But oh the memories that are built around the stuff.  The home in which for 24 years was a center point for our extended family to meet.  "If the walls could talk," they say.

We were happy to visit Grandma Phyllis.  She is settling in to an apartment where she is able to have people around to help, meals cooked, her space cleaned.  All helpful and needed when you are 86.

It was good to see her, to talk with her, bring the boys.  I know it was a difficult weekend for her.  It has been a difficult process to finally decide it's time to let go of the house.  I always say my plan is to pass from this life peacefully in the night the same hour as Raymond, when we are both very old.  I wish it could happen that way.  I can't imagine being on my own for the first time in my 80's.  Grandpa made it possible to keep up the house on Torry Pines Drive.  Without him, it's just too big of a job.  As Grandma said, "I miss him.  He made the world go 'round."

Grandma told me when she and Grandpa were praying about buying a home in Auburn, they prayed for four specific things:  A big living room for lots of company, a hostess' kitchen, a large bathroom, and a view of a sunset.  "Well, we didn't get the sunset, but we knew the minute we walked into that house that it was the one for us," she told me.

It's hard to let it go.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 

Now, pieces of Torrey Pine House are scattered throughout Auburn, California and beyond.  The Conn Organ that went to a 13 year old boy dressed in skater fashion, who begged his parents for the chance to have it.  He writes his own music.  Has taught himself to play.  I don't know if that boy knows Jesus, but he took a box of organ music with him that included hymns my Grandma used to play from memory.  The master bedroom set went to the neighbors who have helped Grandma out in so many ways these past few years.  Boxes of books went to a new church in town.  The craft supplies earmarked for children's Sunday school classes.

As for us, the clock Grandpa built now stands in my living room.  Miles stops what he is doing and looks over at it quizzically every time it chimes.  We brought home a couple old chests filled to the brim with memories.  Some beautiful old depression glass dishes.  A candy jar that Grandma tells me her mother kept filled with hard candies all the year round.  Other odds and ends.  May we be blessed to take the lessons we learned in hospitality from Torry Pines Drive and open our home and our lives in the same welcoming fashion.

And Grandma?  Can you imagine beginning a new chapter of life at age 86?  It seems that at that age things should just be settled in for the last haul.  But Grandma is adjusting to a new home, a new routine, a new place.  Even in her small apartment her gift of hospitality is felt in the careful way in which she decorated, her warm welcome and good conversation (the ice cream stash in the freezer).  But I sense it has been hard.  There has been so much loss and letting go.  In many ways.  So many ways about life that will just never be quite the same.

No more large living room full of guests.  No more hostess' kitchen bubbling with delicious home cooking, fresh salads, the strawberries Grandpa used to grow.  The large master bathroom now a very modest size.

But there is something.  There is, finally, a sunset.  A sunset over a field Grandma watches from her rocker every evening.  An unmistakable I got'cha.

Be strong and of good courage... 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

You know, Grandpa Paul and Grandma Phyllis have been faithful ministers of the gospel their lives long.  Grandma was involved in a wonderful effort to reach out to women with the Gospel, and traveled the country and the world with Enriched Living workshops.  During those years Grandpa toted along the projectors and equipment in a support role for her.  Richly gifted in hospitality, and dedicated to the uncomplicated love of Jesus, I can only think Grandma simply has more work for the gospel ahead of her.  That sunset outside the window, it's a daily I got'cha.  It's a grand finale.  It's the last push. 

You are the light of the world.  
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We're Moving

Oh, blog neglect!

We've been so busy.  Last weekend we made the drive down to Great Grandma Chalmers home to help in a major moving and downsizing effort.  I want to blog about that experience.  I'm still thinking on it. 

Also, we are moving.  About 50 yards.  A larger house.  A fenced yard.  And, I am assured, a gate to keep Charlie back from the busy street in the works.  Internet services will be down for a bit, so more blog neglect is coming.

For now, I want to leave you with a few sweet Calvinisms: 

Charlie and Calvin sitting together at Great Grandma's organ:

Calvin: Charlie, it's an Organ.  Say "Organ."

Charlie:  Ohhhhgaaaannnn.

Calvin:  Or-gan, Charlie.  K-N-O-O-I.  Organ!

Calvin helping "Papa Moose" inflate his new blow-up mattress:

Calvin:  (Very excited about the mattress.)  Papa Moose!  Can I sleep on your new mattress tonight with you and your friend?

Papa Moose:  Uh.  I don't know if there will be room.  By the way, who is my friend?

Calvin:  Nana!  (The rest of the weekend Nana was referred to as Papa's "Friend".)

Calvin snuggling on mama's lap feeling sulky:

Mommy:  Calvin, what's the matter?  You seem sad.

Calvin:  I wish I was still the littlest.

Mommy:  Oh, I see.  Sometimes it's hard to be a big brother and not the baby.

Calvin:  Ya, it is...  There's babies all over this town!
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