It’s, um, Tallis

•April 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

funnymorning-12

Sweet little Tallis, with her raspy voice, hair constantly in her face, peeking out at me through wispy blond strands- “Mom, picture me?”

funnymorning-3

She runs to the chaise lounge, ready to pose for my camera, often completely inappropriately dressed (read: no clothes), as she and Araiya push each other off the chair, fighting over who’s turn it is to get pictures. Tallis has just figured out she can pose. And do funny stuff for the camera. Then she runs to me, wanting to look at the camera’s LCD screen, asking “SEE? SEE?”

funnymorning-13 funnymorning-14

Too funny. So much becoming a little girl, the shadow of her older sister, yet completely with her own personality and demeanor. Sometimes shy, burring her head, cocked off to one side, in the crook of her arm. Sometimes full of words, sentences, much of which barely makes sense but often expressing big complex ideas. Still, so little, retaining those kissable baby cheeks I love and small enough to cuddle, rolled up in a ball, on my lap. Then, she will jump up, an exploding ball of energy, stomp her feet and run off to play. Two is not so terrible.

Then she looks up at the computer screen as I am blogging her pictures. I ask, “who’s that?”

“Um, Tallis”

Signs of Spring

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Spring has indeed sprung! We are loving:

warmspring-9 warmspring-11
The bright, warm sunlight on little faces

warmspring-37
warmspring-23
Beautiful ‘Blow Flowers’

warmspring-34 warmspring-29
No socks and white linen skirts

warmspring-4 warmspring-26
Going for sunny walks and pulling sisters in a wagon

warmspring-7
warmspring-43
Flying high in the blue sky and laying down for an afternoon outdoor rest.

Just because they’re hilarious

•April 17, 2009 • 2 Comments

funnymorning-38

funnymorning-37

funnymorning-36

And by hilarious, I mean- hi-lar-i-ous with all the extra emphasis I can muster.

Moggit

•April 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oh. My. God.
Peeing my pants I’m laughing so hard.

http://www.moggit.com

Mother in the ‘hood

•April 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

blossoms-7

Mothering. Something I continue to both long for and dread. I just look at the task ahead and feel overwhelmed at times with raising these three girls.  I find myself riding the waves like a buoy, seemingly with little control, tossed about and bogged down with this enormous task of training up a child.  At times I feel as if I’m drowning, but I have to stop and realize, rather REMIND myself at times, that even a buoy is anchored down. That anchor for me is Jesus and so often I am stopped in my tracks when I am convicted that I have clung so strongly to something else, seeking control or security or solid footing elsewhere. Often times I blindly and foolishly rely on myself, my abilities and righteousness. I invest too much dependence on my self-control, self-reliance and self-sufficiency, yet continue to see in so many areas the waves ebb away the sand I have tried so hard to plant my feet in, then continue to find Jesus right there continuing to hold me and enable me. So here’s my heart, where I’m at and I just pray that the Lord can continue to encourage and change us through these experiences. 

blossoms-22

Araiya has taken to calling Pia “Go-Ghee” (pronounced like Indian ‘Ghee’ which is clarified butter). I can’t tell if it is just a silly nickname in Araiya and Tallis speak, but lately they have been getting up in her face saying “GOGHEE GOGHEE GOGHEE!” and being unresponsive to why they are calling her that. What in the world does that mean? A part of me laughed inside at their silly antics, but really, it shed a bit light on where Araiya’s heart is at. Her unwillingness to respond with an explanation and actual reasoning goes beyond the simple fact that she is 3 1/2, and while yes, some of this is pure childishness, an increasingly predominant part is her stubbornness. Our discipline has always focused more around behavior issues but in the last month or so, this attitude has been creeping into the equation with some (ok, a fair amount) of disrespect at times. In our home, correcting behavior is important, I am seeing more and more how attitude is such a refection of the heart and how it ultimately shapes their character. I have, perhaps wrongly, let the Go-Ghee thing go and signed it off as not a big deal. But I am starting to see through this some surfacing common currents in other bigger behavior issues. Like taking food. Araiya has every single day this week (and this has been an ongoing issue) gotten into the cabinets (with her cohort Tallis in tow) and busted into the granola bars or Easter Candy (or a loaf of bread or package of raw fish) and snuck it off somewhere to eat it. Increasingly she has become more sneaky, taking advantage of me especially when she knows I am preoccupied (putting Pia down for a nap or flipping laundry in the basement are common times) and trying so hard to justify her actions by being hungry. But during her times of correction she is taking this horrible stubborn attitude with me, waving her finger saying “you don’t tell me what to do!” and “don’t give me correction” or “no, Mom, you’re not doing what I say!” and physically fighting trying to avoid being corrected. I am just seeing her hardness and stubbornness rearing it’s ugly head in a way and intensity it has never been before. Now’s the time to nip this in the bud. I know that oftentimes I feel like I’m just so exhausted with constant disobedience, that it would just be easier to make her behave and do what I tell her or simply avoid getting into conflict in disciplining her. Worse, the repetition makes me feel that what I am doing is ineffective, because I want to see results NOW. This is where I have to completely depend on the Lord for strength to work through me rather than my own stubbornness butting heads with Araiya’s stubbornness. We are dealing with big heart issues on both ends. Above all, this is what is so important in raising children, getting to their heart and pointing them to the Cross while simultaneously realizing our own heart issues and allowing God to use this season to purify us. As an adult, I have to fight against my flesh every day and continue to fail daily when I choose my fallen nature over my new life in Christ. I think kids must be ALL flesh at this point, as a parent it’s my job to teach them that it is a choice to not live in it. Getting to their heart on a daily basis, rather than seeking out my own comfort and especially not just teaching them to be robots to commands is the biggest challenge I have faced. I struggled for the first few years with not having an authoritative voice when it came to discipline, wanting to avoid effective discipline in exchange for soft consequences that didn’t have any weight behind them and simply wanting to see instant obedience instead of slow growth of change and truly bearing fruit. 

blossoms-10

I think recent experiences continue to reminded me that raising children is a process. I’d like to skip to the end and arrive, though that’d be deceiving myself that success would be expecting them to one day get it and then we go on to another issue. No, rather I need to be realizing the need to be flexible and take one day at a time, one reoccurring issue at a time.  The task from this vantage looks overwhelming, but I need to be reminded sometimes it takes days, months and even years before we see the fruit of the time we invest in these little lives. Today has been the first one in a long succession where working with the attitude has been the focus of the moment, through being consistent which is always the means to shepherding them effectively over time. I have to ensure that I, by not tolerating stubborn attitude and disrespect, am loving them well through showing them that as their parent, this is not allowed or accepted in our home and moreso, it does not honor God. Of course, I would love to hear other’s thoughts or things you’ve learned through experiences, constant learning, improvements and failures. Praise that God indeed covers our mistakes. I know I sometimes forget that the Lord is here to help me and that it’s not all about me and my effort and that there are others around me wallowing in the same trenches and I am not in this alone. If that were the case, He wouldn’t get the glory for our change. 

blossoms-21

Additionally, I have continually been stripped and forced to surrender idol of health and taking physical abilities for granted with this nursing ordeal. Thankfully this has really gently been revealing heart issues that have been inaccessible when my focus was so fixed on my own physical aptitude. The ugliness of the heart is so much harder to surrender than the external things that we can’t control. I’d rather there be an answer, a right answer for me to follow then get fraught with self-scorn and perceived failure. Instead I have been graciously allowed such a broad spectrum of experiences in the pregnancy/childbirth/infant care/nursing realms which has broken me out of any narrow sense of following a ‘right’ or ‘better’ way that scorns and looks down on other possibilities. It brought to mind 2 Corinthians 3:17 and Romans 8:1 and Romans 8:5-8 – God gives us freedom, and choice without condemnation or religiosity from the bondage in order for us to be able take hold of the freedom that is accessible through Him. This can be hard, especially when the things that bound us up are things like anger, bitterness, control, selfishness, stubbornness- all things that we have been bound to for years and manefest themselves in many different areas of life. Hard too because these are the very things I see in Araiya and her attitudes and resisting. It’s been a good reminder to check my focus, how I am applying things in my life to things I see in my children, how I both need to be investing in their hearts while God is investing in mine. When I’ve felt overwhelmed it does serve to reminded me that it is Him who does the work in me if I am willing, though in my resistance too, due to my own stubbornness, is the very areas I recognize that the Lord wants to purify. That is what will allow me to be more effective in parenting, which is the work set before me. That’s my calling right now and it is an important one.

blossoms-32

Burst of sun

•April 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

blossoms-58

Right before dinner, nearly completely unexpectedly, the sun burst through and warmed our backyard up just enough to enjoy some low warming rays. It’s pretty amazing to see how much the girls are enjoying the yard. Araiya sang songs to her Apple Blossoms. Tallis made meticulous piles of rocks, dirt and flowers. Matt dug at something. Mom took pictures.

blossoms-41
blossoms-46 blossoms-45

While we ate, Araiya begged to eat out on the deck ALL SUMMER LONG. Finally a question we can eagerly say Yes to. I am so looking forward to BBQ’s, steak fries, watermelon, corn… Yum, I will be more than happy to eat my way through Summer. 

blossoms-24 blossoms-25
blossoms-26

I really noticed tonight how the sunlight brightens spirits. Seems so simple, but the contrast between the attitudes of the morning and early afternoon in contrast are just startling. Sure, I know it isn’t just the magic photons hitting their faces– Being able to run around, break free from being cooped up, get a bit dirty, being totally spontaneous and breaking from the routine are the beneficial abilities brought on by sunshine’s byproducts.

blossoms-53

I appreciate being able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities we are presented, regardless of how fleeting they appear. Yeah for sun!

blossoms-28

Resigned to redesign

•April 13, 2009 • 1 Comment

We made the decision this week to go ahead and completely revamp this blog. I mean completely. I have expressed my disappointment and growing realization that this site is having an identity crisis, how I feel it is constrained in it’s current state and really just needs to be relaunched. There will be a lot of freedom in it’s new rendition that I am really excited for. This is my (near) daily creative outlet as well as our personal collection of everything life so I hope to really break out of the box and continue pushing myself into new realms. In the past week I had been poking around and doing some research on the possibilities of moving over onto wordpress.org (currently this is free wordpress.com) when Matt approached me about starting a few blogs for himself and our business, asking me to work with the free templates he had set up. I showed him the drastic differences I had known, the resources and the examples I found. We launched into strategizing what exactly that would look like to push ourselves out into the web, both personally and professionally utilizing ever-emerging technologies, designs and ideas. Between Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blogging, design, portfolio websites, consulting, starting new businesses- I really am a digital girl living in a digital world. There is so much out there it is completely overwhelming to even scratch the surface. But more than anything, it offers HUGE potential to utilize it and immerse myself in an ever-morphing progressive form. I have hung back a bit here, trying to keep to myself in this little corner. I haven’t really tried to network, get myself out there or even really attract that much attention. The why behind why I blog here is perpetually intrinsic. It’s a record, a compilation of our life, snapshots into where we are in the here and now. I don’t want that to change, I just want it to become more focused, more effective on the broader scope of things. The why won’t change, but the to what effect what I am doing hopefully will. Over the weekend we purchased more hosting space, domains, a couple of theme templates, transfered this domain and downloaded WordPress 2.7. While I am really excited to launch into this, I also must pace myself. The Photogrpahy Biz site must be completed first (I got three galleries up this weekend! almost there) and I need to completely rebrand Matalie (which will be the new rendition of this site, renamed) and our personal graphic identity. Whew. Lots to come!

Thought I would share some finds, though:

Lists of Inspirational Blog Designs: HERE
50 Minimal Sites: HERE
Web design trends 2009: HERE and HERE

Sweet FREE WordPress themes:
Fresheezy
Free WP Themes
Best Free WP Theme Gallery

Sweet WordPress themes for purchase:
Bulbs (a contender for me, didn’t make it though)
Theme Forest
Blog Perfume- Theme category
Graph Paper Press

Resources:
30 tools to turn WordPress into a personal hub
I want to start a blog, now what? and Top Ten Unspoken Rules of Blogging from Think Bakery