Thursday, March 26, 2015

Updates...7 quick takes

I've realized the blog has been a bit heavy for a while, and I need to give my head a break for a bit. So why not some updates. So here goes. If I'm together enough I'll even add this to the quick takes for tomorrow's linkup.

1. I've been thinking a lot about homeschooling lately and its good because it reaffirmed my why behind it and I think I'm finally getting better at explaining my choice to those that inquire.

2. This is probably weird, but do you ever associate a certain song with a child of yours?  I associate Shining Light by Ash with Helena.  It's based on the meaning of her name, so its fitting and its just been in my head lately. The video is kind of odd, but oh well.

3. I was over the constant Clifford watching phase and so, I introduced a new Netflix show and oh my goodness the little boys are over the moon. Space Racers is the show and for now its the nap show and its a nice change. 

4. The boys have been playing a bit of Mario Space Galaxy with their daddy.  Well, really, they just watch him play, but it resulted in us making this, which was fun.  And they made bridges all over for Bowser to get to Mario from his planet that they created.  The only thing out of place, haha, is that the Amazon river is running the wrong way through South America. 

5.We've been enjoying some outside time on the few days that are nice out and someone has claimed a certain structure as hers already. I am also fascinated at how differently she interacts with the house.  She wants to be in it and be one with the house.  The boys on the other hand have always seen it as something to conquer and test the limits of it.  Now, its still early and so I can't say she won't become this way, but its been fascinating to watch in the meantime. 

6. An interesting opportunity arose for me for next fall, and I could use some prayers for discernment if you have got a few to spare.

7. Today I had to explain why there are potholes in the road and it somehow went into how concrete is a better road material than asphalt and now I think I should look into the differences in the strength of the concrete versus asphalt. Oh the inquisitive five year old.  I'm just waiting for the day when Ephraim (3.5) pipes up and rattles off something like quantum theory, because he's always taking this stuff in along side the question asker, and I know someday it will happen. Until then, I'll keep watch.

Friday, March 20, 2015


"When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded." -Henri Nouwen
This passage has stuck with me and I think about it often. I think about it in the context of the people I meet or how I deal with my children. I've had people wonder why someone like me would befriend someone like them. I've never really thought much of myself as a superior to someone else just because I have a doctorate. I think in getting a doctorate I actually realized how little I really know. And maybe that's why I don't struggle with that and so I'm thankful to try to always see a person for who they are.
But I'm not that awesome at it. I can definitely say some very hurtful things especially to the people I love the most. Because I know them better it's easier to find flaws and to attack rather than love. It's easier to compare instead of seeing uniqueness.
The exclusion bit of this quote really strikes at me. I remember a distinct childhood exclusion experience where in grade school the girls of the class singled out a girl each month to make her life hell. It might have been okay to be on the bullying side, but once it turned to you being bullied it was awful. It changed a lot about how I saw people and their actions after that year. I no longer cared about fitting in in the same way and honestly as awful as it was to live in thankful for that experience because it showed me what love is not.
Nouwen discusses at length in Life of the Beloved how God really created you and I uniquely. It seems so unfathomable to me at times because it seems like we as a society always want to jump on the similarities bandwagon despite what we might say. We want people to be like us, but if they were all like us what would this world be?
I've thought about this previously in the sense of vocation, and I've definitely struggled when folks choose to live out their vocation differently. I'll go ahead and say it and you can hate me for this but I would love more stay at home moms in the world. I want this probably for more selfish reasons than anything, like having other big people to talk to during the day and close by children to whom my kids could be buddies. But the reality of it is that the world doesn't work that way entirely. And funny as it is, I learn from those who do these things differently than me. It isn't loving to say that all moms need to be at home, because that's not true for all cases. It's also not right for me to exclude myself from the working crowd either just because I'm not one of them.
I guess ultimately what I'm trying to say is that this nugget of wisdom from Life of the Beloved has a lot of depth to it. Hopefully, it being stuck in my mind so much will help me to choose to love in the way that is really love and not how the culture sees it. Because as much as I learned from it, I don't ever want to relive that experience from grade school and I don't think you would either.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Temperaments and such

Temperaments have been on my mind again lately. It stemmed this time from struggling with the the 3yo because he was so intense. I forgot he leans towards the melancholic temperament, they can be intense at times.  So things that worked for his brother, who doesn't have a melancholic bone in his body, won't work for him. It's a good learning experience and the scientist in me likes figuring out this stuff so I go with it.

I've also been thinking about the connection between the four basic temperaments and the Myers-Briggs personality type tests. You see I always thought I was a choleric, but when I take a MB like test I'm an idealist, which is not choleric in the temperament overlap analysis. I looked forever today trying to find the connecting analysis, and I did finally find it.  I remember a book I read last year on temperaments and prayer said the same thing, but the correlations at the time seemed off. You see, I was sure I was one thing, choleric, but I was getting another result, melancholic. I think this whole time I've been mistyping myself. When I truly examine myself and my traits, I can see it too.

When I take a temperament test these days, I've not been getting choleric as a main temperament. Instead I will get melancholic or phlegmatic. It threw me for a loop, but the correlation analysis helped me to see why. And if you would have told me I have any bit of phlegmatic in me before now, I would have told you that you're crazy. But I started looking more into it, and I realize that it's there, it may not be my most dominant trait, but it's there. It comes into play when I want to not rock the boat about things, even in discipline things with my children. But the thing is I feel deeply about things, and sometimes that makes the melancholic override the more minor phlegmatic. My husband says it like this, "You want to be okay with just going along with things, but sometimes you just aren't."

I've been bugging a dear friend or two about this stuff all week and I'm sure they think I'm crazy at this point, but hopefully they won't disown me just yet. And maybe the melancholic in me is why I love emo music so much and associate such songs with different rights of passage. Who really knows, but I'm happier that I figured this all out today. Scientist Kiera is smiling.

The baby is smiling too.  See everyone is happy. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Dear Lena,
I usually try to steer clear of the mommy war subjects because well the reason they are that way is because these topics are so hard to generalize and come with do many emotions. There are certain things I've found that worked for our family though, nursing is one of them.
I've now nursed three babies for a combined total of 50ish months. I'm no expert, and probably never will be, but that's a lot of nursing probably at least in American standards.  The tides are changing and nursing is becoming more common though and I'm cool with that. But if formula is necessary to make sure a baby gets fed, that's a good thing too. I'm all for feeding hungry babies.
So this nursing thing, it's been a journey, Lena girl, one I'm still on. When I first started nursing, I saw it as a way to feed my baby and hopefully delay my return of fertility. It did both those things, but being a very new mom I don't think I really ever stopped to think about the bond. Now God was working in spite of me and formed a bond there anyway, but overall, I wasn't thinking much other than okay, let's feed this baby.
The second nursing experience was interesting and brought it's own challenges with elimination diets and such. And doing so made me think more on the lines that I'm protecting my baby from things that could hurt him. Baby number two was also a lot more touch oriented. I tell people if he remembered how to nurse still he probably would, instead we just hug it out a ton these days. But with him I saw nursing as something he needed and I was willing to try and sacrifice a little of my freedom at night for him to feel secure. It didn't ever occur to me y to think that it was doing me some good too.
Third time around, we actually started it rocky and I went to lactation consultants to figure out what was up, apparently, you girlfriend weren't born with your brothers' super awesome latching skills. So we had to work on it a lot, but you grew bigger and you've been fine ever since.
The one thing now with you is that, maybe it's that you are number 3, or maybe I've finally started to chill out a bit, but I actually enjoy nursing you. I see how it's calming, it calms me even. It forces me to slow down in the midst of the chaos of 3 littles. It soothes you pretty much instantly and it's pretty great. I think also that somehow I'm learning about God through our nursing. If I really let myself just stare at you in your nursing there is just so much to see, so much beauty, so much trust, so much love. It has me thinking more and more this nursing thing, it really is part of the bigger picture in a learning sense of my life long journey and that is a good thing.
So Lena girl, thanks for being you. I hope this helps you one day in the long off future.
Your mama

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Performance

Dear Lena,

Last Saturday your brothers were part of a gymnastics exhibition.  They have been taking lessons once a week since October, and they got to be part of a show this past weekend.  I feel like I was more nervous about it than they were.  We had invited both sets of grandparents and I had no idea what to expect.  Your brothers, they are like their mama, rebels to say the least.  They don't like to do things if they don't want to do them.  Incentives really don't work.  But they had worked hard to learn their routine and I hoped they would think it a good thing to do their best with it.  I always try to tell them that I will love them no matter what, even if they didn't maybe get something that would be okay.  Well, it worked out that they did do their best, and their best was pretty great in my book.  The little tumblers, tumbled and I totally was holding back the tears and not doing a very good job at it. It was really a proud moment in my book and I think that's a good thing.  I love those little guys and you so much, Lena girl. I am so thankful that God chose me as your mother so I could experience moments like these.

Your Mama

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Conquer with kindness

Dear Lena,

I finally picked up Little Women again.  I think you will like it someday when you read it.  It's not as good as the Anne of Green Gables series in my opinion, but its got some good bits in it.  Jo reminds me of myself a little at times.

Anyway, in the part I was reading the youngest sister, Amy, had an injustice against her.  She actually kept her composure about it too, which probably wouldn't have happened if it was earlier in the book.  Her mother states:

"'A kiss for a blow is always best, though it's not very easy to give it sometimes.'"

Duplo tree eating dinosaur! Roar!
Immediately, this made me think that "Wow, what simple, crisp advice here and, wow, how much do I struggle with it."  I guess Lena girl, your mama still has some growing up to do.  I am however beginning to realize more and more that life isn't really meant to be fair.  We may want to have justice in everything, and in some ways, it sucks to be on the receiving end of a blow, because it can hurt.  But justice, well, in the true sense, I'm kind of glad life isn't fair because that would mean that mercy wouldn't exist, and that Jesus guy would be all for naught, and well, he isn't.

If you are wronged though, I think its okay to be hurt, but it shouldn't consume you to revenge or to judge another. Mercy is really a beautiful thing. When you remember that someone's harm to you says more about them than it does about you, then kindness may be easier to return.

And one more bit, that kindness that we return, well it might just be what that other person needs. Because they probably don't want to admit it, but they are hurting too. And since we are trying to love in this life Lena girl, well, we might as well try it.  So, hard as it may be, let's kill them with kindness.

Your Mama

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dear Benjamin

Dear Ben,

Somehow on your birthday you just seemed a little bigger, a little wiser, a whole year older. You are five now. Five, that seems so big yet so little.  Its funny because you get things these days, you surprise me with your knowledge and your want to do things. We create cities and read chapter books. You always insist that when it snows now its a sugar snow. You are silly like that.

You challenge me to think deeper and behave better.  You help me to see the world upside down and backwards sometimes, especially with your insistence on wearing your underwear on backwards to see the picture. You always want to be first and you are so upset when I tell you that age doesn't really matter when it comes to adult height, you think the oldest should always be the tallest.

Your most current love are numbers, you love counting them and drawing them and arranging everything them in this many or that many.  You love pointing them out everywhere we go and love insisting you have as many ice cubes as your age in your water glasses.

What I like most about you though right now is your willingness to help.  As long as you are well fed and not tired, you will rise to the occasion.  I hope this never stops, because the world needs more helpful people in it.

You are fascinated with cities and NYC, so much that you influenced your daddy to take us on a NYC adventure this summer.  You also love dogs, someday I am sure you are hoping we will give in and let you have one.  You probably would have to convince your dad the most because well he just doesn't think we would be up for it, and honestly your mama has her hands full with you and your siblings at the moment.  But maybe, just maybe your persistence will help you with this task.

You make friends no matter where you go.  I love this about you, you are fearless when it comes to meeting new people and talking to them.  I love that about you. I hope your curiosity never stops being there and you learn everything your little heart wants to learn.  Maybe you can be part of a think tank someday or some amazing philosopher. Right now though, I know you are set on being a daddy, and for some reason you want to be a stay at home daddy too.  That's okay by me.  I'll keep praying for you to grow big and strong and to love God above all else.

So, Benji boy. I love you. Don't ever stop being you.

Your Mama

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Without Expectation

Giant scaling lizard in the kitchen. Ack!

To love without expectation, or an agenda, seems impossible sometimes. While there are relationships that will give back what we need, there are many that won't. Those are the hard ones, and in some ways the ones we most learn about love from.

I've been reading Henri Nouwen this Lenten season. It's really been good and I'm not even that far into the book. Fr. Nouwen seems to try to think and feel deeply about the world, something that identifies with my soul. 

He is helping me to see how I am chosen by God and there is no replacement of me. Sometimes those relationships that you love without expectation, they hurt, but that hurt is not about you. You are loved. You are God's beloved. No one but yourself can take that away from you because God is love and he cannot deny himself. 

This is good for me to remember, because I want to grow in love, but if I keep wanting to get my validation from the world, whether it be my children, family, friends or something else this is only going to set me up for more hurt. I need to only care what God thinks. 

So, I'll try to love freely without an agenda and maybe I will just grow a little.