even princesses have to pick their nose sometimes...

...but do they have to do it with gloves on? in the middle of a birthday party? while people are taking photos?


Very Mysterious

Lila totally freaked me out the other day. We were on our way out the door, headed to Double Dave's for peproni rolls. Doug had already taken Eli out to the car, I was gathering some last-minute item from the kitchen, and Lila was getting a jacket from her room.

Then Lila says, "Mom!" -- (she calls me 'mom' now) -- "I found something mysterious! Behind my closet."

I was, first, amused by the fact that she was using the word 'mysterious' and, second, intrigued by what she might have found in her closet. Doug had taken a piece of furniture out of there to fix it, so there was no telling what might have been under it. Anyway, I come into the kids' room and Lila is standing a few feet from the closet, sort of leaned forward and staring into it.

"Mom... Do you see it? [she's pointing into the back of the closet]... It's very mysterious... Look..."

This is the point at which I started getting a little freaked out because I didn't see anything. Was there some insect that she saw, but I didn't? I was looking very closely where she was pointing as she continued.

"Do you see it?... It's teeny tiny... It's a little tiny baby guinea pig!"

Oh. All this was about an imaginary animal. Whew! I thought one of us was crazy! Well... arguably, we both are. What inspired this sudden mysterious discovery in the closet, I don't know, but the guinea pig joined us at dinner and has "shown up" now and again since then. We found out later in the evening that it's a BLUE guinea pig.

I'm glad we have someone to keep us on our toes.


Sooo Tired

We have been going non-stop all day long and I am so tired. [see photo] We had school all morning, lunch at Chick-fil-A, a marathon photo session at the mall, then dinner at Chuy's. Now Eli is crying in bed, Lila just got out of the bath, Doug is sick, and I think I might fall over. All that being said, I don't have time for a full update, but I wanted to post something.


A New Clarity

Something amazing happened to me at the gym today. I was laboring away on the elliptical machine and people-watching when I suddenly saw the people I'd been looking at. And what I saw amazed me! They were beautiful. All of them! They were youthful, wrinkled, overweight, lean and toned, energetic, careworn... and breathtaking.

True, there were still a handful of people that I had a hard time finding the beauty in. I was making assumptions about their character based on characteristics they shared with people I'd known in my past. The woman whose posture told me that she was emotionally withdrawn, even from those closest to her. The man whose eyes told me that he was a talker, the constant flow of words a habit developed over a lifetime to keep at bay the questions and thoughts that were lurking in moments of silence. The young lady whose apparent conviction that everyone was watching her bespoke a heart that had not yet learned to put others before itself.

But I forced myself to put aside those judgements and keep looking until I saw the beauty underneath. And it was there, in every person I saw.

Directly in front of me, there was a mother and daughter working out together on a pair of stationary bikes. The daughter was wearing a diamond engagement ring, which I gathered, based on the way she flashed it for her mother, was a recent addition. I was caught off guard by how their beauties were reflected, not only in their own faces, but in each other's face as well. Beauty multiplied by being near a loved one.

How long will this clarity last? How soon will I absentmindedly slip those lenses back on and start looking at people through the filter of my own past and biases again? Well, truth be told, it's happened already. (i'm remembering my thoughts as i watched someone approaching the door of my neighbor's house.)

I will pray most earnestly, however, that I may see the people around me as God does more and more often, until it is a part of who I am.

There are moments in my day -- when my daughter says something that takes me by surprise and makes me laugh; when I pick up my son and he buries his head in my neck -- which leave me certain that I am the most wealthy woman I know.


3 going on 30

My daughter said to me, a little while ago, "I need to understand myself so I can figure out how to go to sleep at night without back pats."

Wow. I knew she was a lot like me, but that's just unnerving!

By the way, this photo is not very impressive as a small image, but if you click on it to enlarge, it's quite cute. This is when the girls were 'ice skating' around the living room. Actually, this was taken right after Lila discovered that the bags would fly off if she kicked her feet!



I love this photo of Eli. He is sitting in the floor, watching the preschool girls 'skate' around the living room with paper bags on their feet. We frequently do things during school that make him question what kind of nuthouse-- er... family he's been born into. You should have seen the way he looked at us when we were flapping around in circles and making turkey noises!

I've come up with a few of analogies for what it is like to walk with/behind a 3-year-old. Maybe they aren't all this way, but mine is.

First, when you are walking behind one and want to get around them. It's like being stuck behind someone who's driving 10 mph below the speed limit and swerving in and out of their lane. Every time you think about passing them, they swerve right into your path.

Second, when walking with one... anywhere. They are like a drunk snail. Again, with the slowness and swerving. Don't even get me started on how easily they get side-tracked by everything in sight!

Third, when you, for example, are at a fast-food restaurant and you get up to grab more napkins and when you turn around to come back to the table they have started to follow you and are drunkenly weaving their way toward you, directly in your path. OR they've come up behind you quietly and you turn around and step on them/knock them over. This one is a video game analogy. If you've ever played a game where you are the main character and you have a secondary character who follows you around and is good for virtually nothing - this is the 3-year-old. The secondary character who follows you like they are attached with a bungee cord and only manage to wander into your path so that you are back to the first analogy.

There are definitely times when these tendencies are maddening, but overall, I find them highly amusing!


potty talk

Lila and I were just having a discussion about going potty. I was telling her how great it is that she's just been going potty when she needs to lately. She used to tell us she needed to go or just stand around doing the potty dance until we asked her. For the past few days, however, she's been going in there and taking care of business all by herself.

Anyway, she was sitting on the potty seat that goes on the big potty and she was talking about how one of her school friends can sit on the big potty all by herself. Lila recently discovered that she can also do this, which I pointed out to her. I said she could use the big potty or the potty seat, whichever she wants. She then said...

"Big potty... Potty seat... Big potty... Potty seat... Big potty... Potty seat... So many chances!" [i believe she meant 'choices']

Too funny!

P.S. - I do realize this is not a photo of Lila. It's actually a picture of Eli, sitting in the floor at Grammie and Papa Joe's, watching 'Wall-E'. And speaking of Eli...

He has decided to out-do his sister by beginning communications even earlier than she did. If you don't remember, Lila started speaking at 8 months of age. (Her first words were, "Hi Lila!") Well, Eli has started at 7.5 months, BUT... He must also do things a little differently because he is his own man, after all. He has learned to do the ASL sign for 'all done'.

We weren't sure, at first, that he was actually signing, but over the past 24 hours it has become quite apparent that he knows exactly what he's doing. He's signed 'all done' at least twice at the end of a meal, once when the doctor and I were holding his head still so she could look in his ears, and again just a little while ago when I was invading his personal space with lots of kisses on the cheeks. So cute!

The way he does it is exceptionally funny and adorable, so I'll be trying to get it on camera in the next day or two. We'll see if he cooperates. :)