Sleeping Faces

When I look at the faces of my children as they sleep, I can see perfectly the way their faces looked when I saw them for the first time.  I remember clearly those first images imprinted on my mothers’ brain. The sweet infant faces of my newborn children.  They have new faces everyday, these ever-growing changelings. But, underneath the giggles, pouts, and wonder-filled faces of my now no-s0-small ones, still wait those infant faces. Rarely seen, in fact only seen when they are deep in peaceful sleep, those sleeping faces never seem to change. They are perfectly preserved, ageless, eternal. And somehow in those same still faces, in a way I also do not understand, I see my dear ones all grown up, at 20, and 40, and 80 years old. Perhaps it is because this is our true face, our peaceful sleeping face that never changes, that we cannot make it our mask. This is the face God gave us on our first day, when we first fell asleep in our mother’s arms. And this is the face we will have on our last day as we fold into our Father’s arms.

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A Sister-ific Post

Today is baby Samuel’s due date, but he is not making his appearance yet, so I’ve decided to celebrate the bonds of sisterhood that Ellie and Lucy share right now. Sure they fight like cats and dogs several times a day, but then Lucy will look at Ellie and say “Your my best friend right Ellie?” I know that Samuel’s arrival will change our family dynamic. This will be great and new, but a part of me is sad that it may change the truly beautiful relationship my girls share. My prayer is that loving a new baby brother will strengthen their love of each other. Sisters are a special thing.

Things that make my heart smile about Ellie and Lucy:

  • Calling each other “hun” and “darling”
  • Loving to wear matching clothes
  • Loving to sleep in the same room and missing each other when one is gone
  • Playing make believe together for hours everyday
  • Loving to hug, kiss, and snuggle together
  • Looking out for each other against outside forces (mom, dad, chickens)
Here’s a quick look at some of my favorite sister pictures from the past several months.

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A Welcome back Post: 10 things I love about Lulu!

The date of my last post was July 2010. Shameful really, but those of you who see me weekly or even monthly know that this has been one doozy of a year for us. Here is a brief summary in no particular order:

  • We’ve jumped from 2 kids to 3.9 (New 15 year old foster daughter, Alyssa came to live with us in December, and baby boy, Samuel Levi,  due the end of this month)
  • We moved to our dream property in Jamul (you have to dream a little to see the potential, but Ben’s good at that)
  • We’ve moved 5 chickens to Jamul and since then started raising 6 new ones
  • We’ve traveled to Seattle WA, Salem OR, and San Juan,Puerto Rico
  • Ellie turned 3 and Lucy turned 2

And now for the real post. I promised myself that when I finally got back online I would do a proper post for Lucy, reflecting on her at age 2. Lucy is currently 2 years 3 months and there is so much to say . . . buckle your seat-belts, this is going to be lengthy. Here goes!

Dear Lucy,

You are the sweetest little girl a mom could ask for. You are honest and kind, loving and brave. You love adventure and snuggling. You desire fairness and expect faithfulness. You are sassy and comical. You have a natural sense of humor, especially with your facial expressions and tone of voice. I love you “big much.” Here are ten things I never want to forget about how you are at age 2!

TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY LULU!

  1. She is sooooo “sweet.” Lucy has a certain face she makes where she squishes up her eyes so that they are practically closed and leans over to literally nuzzle her cheek up against me like a cat. Then she’ll say “Oh mommy I lub you berry much.” She’ll continue snuggling for a long time and always adds the nuzzle.
  2. She is sooooo “sour.” Lucy is known to many for her “looks.” Friends, daycare parents, family, and strangers have all been heard saying things such as “oh my!” when they catch one of Lucy’s sour faces. It’s almost shocking to see such a face from such a sweet little girl. This face also involves scrunching the nose, but her eyes sort of roll up to the left and she purses her lips tightly while usually crossing her arms. She calls it her “big bad wolf face.” It basically speaks of disapproval for whatever you may have done to offend her, be this walking in the room, asking her to give you a hug, or just looking at her.
  3. Lucy can talk like its nobody’s business. Eleanor was a very verbal 2 year old, but Lucy is beyond Ellie by a fair mark. Lucy speaks exclusively in long sentences and has done so for several months, well before turning 2. She says things like: “Mama  we went to see Aviator the cow and he is a berry big bull. His has horns and they are berry big ” or “Mama when baby Samuel (she pronounces it Yamyule) comes, he will be soooo cute.” She makes up long and involved stories while going potty. She carries out long, excited, and rational conversations with Eleanor while they devise imaginary play plans and daring escapes from the dreaded giants, bears, witches, and big-bad-wolves that apparently inhabit our house and like to take baby dolls.
  4. Lucy is obsessed with stories involving GIANTS! Jack and the Bean Stock, David and Goliath, you name it. If there is a giant, Lucy is in. Ben will frequently make up stories to tell to the girls and Lucy will always anticipate the next part of the story by asking, “and then there is a giant?” If no giant can be fit into the story she will settle for a bear or a wolf. Not coincidentally, Ellie and Lucy frequently play imaginary games with their babydolls and toys and Lucy can be heard half way across the house yelling in a voice of shear alarm, “OOOHHH NOOO, here comes a giant. Quick, Ellie . . .hide the children!”
  5. Lucy is a snuggler. I call her my snuggy bug. Sometimes I’ll just flat out ask, “Lucy will you come snuggle with mama?” and she’ll stop what she is doing, coyly smile or cock her head, and then silently nod several times before saying “Yes I will snuggle with you.” Oh, she is too sweet.
  6. Lucy adores her sister. Of all the things I am thankful for recently, perhaps I am most thankful on a daily basis for the flood of what I like to call “sister love” between Ellie and Lucy. They cuddle, play, tease, share, imagine, hug, kiss, chase, dance, and swap adorable little conversations ALL DAY LONG. Yes (of course) they frequestly need to be separated and also share side-by-side timeouts for what we call at our house “unkind words” or “bad choices.” But, they really do love each other deeply and I am so glad they have each other.
  7. Lucy is brave and clever. She watches all the things Ellie can do and often says, “Mama, watch this trick.” Then she’ll try to jump or run or manuever herself in a new way. She is fearless in the pool, in the backyard, and never backs down from a fight.
  8. Lucy LOVES her “faw-der” aka  Daddy. She will even tell you “I call him faw-der.” No matter what name he is going by, to Lucy, Ben hangs the sun and the moon. The minute he gets home from work, Lucy is up in Daddy’s arms. Just today, he got home and went into our room to change clothes. The next thing I knew Lucy was tearing up with the saddest little look on her face, about to burst into sobs. I asked her what was wrong. “I can’t find my daddy” she sqeaked out.  Last week Ben got his riding lawn mower working. We call it the “tractor.” Lucy could hardly wait for a ride, and when it was her turn, you would have thought she was Miss America on a parade float by the way she was beaming and waving to me and Ellie while sitting proudly on Daddy’s lap .
  9. Lucy marvels at the animal world. Today one of the baby chicks tried to fly out of its cage and she was amazed. Her eyes widened and she looked at me. “Mama did you see that? Rosa learned to fly! She can fly!”  Then for a half an hour I heard repeatedly about Rosa and her new skills.
  10. Lucy loves music. Her favorite movie (it’s really an obsession) is an 8-minute Disney short called Lambert the Sheepish Lion. Lucy will sing the main song all-day. My favorite part is that she skips over words and has the funniest little lisp on certain consanants, so it goes like this: “Lambut da sheepits lion, Lambut, eez always tying to be a wolly.” If not singing Lambert her other current favorites are “The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife. Hi-ho da lario, the farmer takes a wife”, “B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name-oh” and of course “Da B-I-B-L-E, yes dats da book for me.”   It’s important for me to note that she usually just sings these single refrains over, and over and over. She also love to sit at the piano and is surprisingly pleasant to listen to when she sings and play together. Her favorite piano solo is “Jesus loves the little children” though I have also heard her improv and make up new songs on the fly, usually about Giants or Bears.

We love you Lulu! Thanks for being you.

Songs and Stories

I have to post this, mostly just so that decades from now I will remember what amount of joy it brought to my heart. Ellie is very into requesting songs and stories while we are driving in the car. I am totally into this too, because it makes car rides a lot of fun. Here’s a list of her most popular requests and a little about what makes them so special.
Old Mac Donald: I do most of the singing, but pause for Ellie to insert the animal names and sounds. Lucy also can be heard chiming in for some of the sounds. My favorite is when Lucy does the pig. It sounds like she’s either clearing her throat or blowing her nose. After several rounds of conventional farm Animals, Ellie has been known to claim that Old Mac Donald had a shark, to which I say “Sharks don’t live on farms,” and she replies laughing “Yes they do.” Okay, you win. But what does a shark say?

The Farmer in the Dell: I’m not sure why I started singing this one day, but Ellie loves it and requests it often. We’ve even created a sort of improv/stream of consciousness version where I sing “The farmer takes the . . . ” and wait. Ellie usually pipes in with whatever object we are driving past “Truck, light, clouds, gas station” and the song continues from there.

Goldelox and the Three Bears: Besides songs Ellie likes me to tell stories. This is my best one, I’ve perfected it over the past 2 months or so. Sometimes I’ll mess up and say that Papa Bear’s chair was too soft, or some innocent mistake like that (I am driving after all) and Ellie swoops in like a hawk to correct me. “No, no mama, Papa’s Bear’s chair was too HARD!” I’ve also added a very Toddler-friendly ending to the story where Goldelox apologizes to all the bears for being naughty and entering their home uninvited. She then invites the bear family to come have dinner at her house the following Tuesday to make amends. They accept the invite and become fast friends.

Words, words, words!

Lucy has been bursting with verbage lately. Of course you have to speak “Baby” to translate what she means. Fortunately, “Baby” is my third language. Here is what she has been saying:

-Mama
-Dada
-Buh buh (For her little stuffed bunny)
-Buh (Bath)
-Buh (Book)
-Muh (Milk)
-Muh (More)
-Guh (Gus- the dog at school)
-Duh (Dog, or also for Gus)

New Signs:
-Thank You (She’s really good at this one)
-Hat
-Bath
-Dog