Do You See It?


Seen at home in September, when The Bull and the oldest Calf were up hunting caribou.

Minutes later, I heard the click-click-click of a caribou’s tendons as one walked by the house. . . no pic on that one, it was too dark.


Potty Training Boot Camp

So incredibly excited here. One more Calf is done with diapers!

I gotta say, the transition from diapers to toilet over the years has been really hard for us. I have never been interested in the parent-led method for a number of reasons, some of which are that it seems to take for-e-ver and makes a lot of messes.

Instead, we’ve opted to wait until the Calf was old enough to understand and be able to do the whole thing him- or herself. Which meant diapers until about 4 years of age.

(No, my mother in law was never thrilled about this. Why do you ask??)

Usually the Calves would have some days where they would be dry but refuse to use the toilet. With Calf #1 I eventually told him that his underpants wanted to be worn. Calf #2 seemed to prefer to not be wet or messy; this made it a little bit easier. Calf #3 spent a lot of time sitting on the portable potty seat (in the living room while watching movies) but she was never really interested. She was, actually, the latest to be done.

This time has been different, of course. Calf Number 4 would usually go Number 2 on the toilet–it was the Number 1 that wouldn’t “take.”

About a week ago, I remembered a technique we’d used with Calf #3. She wore a long-ish dress and nothing on her legs and spent a lot of time in the kitchen so that any messes were easy to clean up. It really didn’t take long after this before she understood that the potty was the place for it. The reward was that she would get to wear the coveted underpants!! after 3 clean, dry days.

So last Monday we started this method with Calf #4.

* Monday, Day 1: One accident.

* Tuesday, Day 2: No accidents when we were at home. We had errands to run and she wet her diaper while we were gone. (I couldn’t give her underpants because she hadn’t had 3 dry days. . . but I guess the diaper away from home won’t work, either.)

* Wednesday, Day 3: No accidents at home. Tried a Pull Up away from home, intending to get her to the toilet every chance we could. Unfortunately, one of the chances was a Porta-Potty and she refused to go in. She would do camp-style in the woods. But still, the Pull Up got wet.

* Thursday, Day 4: Home all day; no accidents–though there was one incident of peeing outside. (Thankfully we don’t live in the city.)

* Friday, Day 5: Home all morning; no accidents. I promised her a treat if she kept the Pull Up dry while we were gone–and she earned it!

* Saturday, Day 6: Gone most of the day. I promised her a BIG treat if her Pull Up stayed dry; it was mostly dry so she got her treat.

* Sunday, Day 7: Home all day with underpants! And–two accidents. 😦

* Monday, Day 8: Dry all day, home and away, in underpants!

Yee hawww!! I cannot believe how excited I am to have only one in diapers again.

And the bonus: She’s my earliest to be done at 3 years 7 months.

Goodbye Cruel March

I cannot tell you how deliriously happy I am that March is coming to a close.  Goodbye, mad March.  Hello and Welcome!!  April’s got to be better!!

There are so many painful, difficult situations that have happened to me in March in years past (or not happened. . .) and this year it was just too hard to ignore them.  So much for “moving on,” as people have suggested.  “Getting over it” doesn’t seem possible.  It doesn’t seem to work for me.

It would seem that grief needs expression, whether it be 27 years (my parents’ divorce) or 19 years (my first husband’s death) or 2 years (my due date with my miscarried baby) later.

A quote from a dear friend comforted my heart this month:

“Aren’t we amazing that we have the capacity to feel and hold things so strongly after what seems like a long time. I think it must have something to do with being eternal, with God’s time, and the incredible power of love and how ever fiber of our being conforms to our experiences. Pain doesn’t just go away and people who think it does are probably holding it somewhere else and don’t realize it.”

Next year I think I must be more proactive in doing “something” to soothe my hurting heart this month before it gets too bad.  I don’t think I have the time, energy, or resources to create a foundation or anything that grand.

But maybe a daily, focused gratitude would be in order.  Or a list of his favorite things.  Or a daily joke.  Perhaps a comforting song every day.

I don’t know what, but something must be different next year.  I don’t want to repeat this year, next year!!

Oh man, I get it! I finally get it!

I’ve always wondered about why Mary’s reaction to Gabriel’s message was so holy, so good, while Zechariah’s reaction left him mute.

Tonight we were doing our advent devotional (we are only a few days behind. . .) and I don’t know what version this is.  (But I’m too lazy to look it up, sorry.)

Zechariah:  “How can I know this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”  And then, of course, he said nothing else.  He couldn’t. (Luke 1.18)

Mary: “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.”  And then Gabriel explains what will happen, and then she says: “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” (Luke 1.34 and 38)


Zechariah’s response, paraphrased: “How can I know. . . “  Well, duh, if an angel came with a message from God, you can know God will do it. He’s like that, He keeps his promises.

Mary’s response, paraphrased: “How will it work?”  She’s asking to know what will happen, more details.  She believes it will happen but wants to know how she’ll know it’s about to come about.

And then, of course, after she gets these details, her reaction is “Sure. Let’s do it.”  Paraphrased, of course.  🙂

I’ve heard sermons for years about how she gave up her life dreams, hopes, plans for this big unknown of conceiving this Child.  At the very least, she would have understood that the attached strings had huge stigma.  Never before did I understand the hugeness of what she did.  Maybe she was looking forward to marrying her sweetheart, settling down into keeping house and raising a pile of children, first-century Nazareth style.  Being found to be pregnant before her wedding hijacked all of that.

And I keep wondering, would she have taken the trip to Bethlehem with Joseph had she not been pregnant?  She wouldn’t have needed to. She could have waited in her parents’ house for him to return to Nazareth from his trip.  When she was found to be pregnant, Joseph took her into his home early.  Who would have taken care of her while he was gone?  And by “taken care of,” I mean help her, fix the dishwasher when it breaks, haul the wet laundry to the clothesline, bring over dinner Friday night–not stone her.

Anyway, I personally don’t like to travel when pregnant, and that’s with a comfy van to drive and soft bed and easy-to-prepare food at each stop.  I hear that road conditions and accommodations in her travel route would have been much more, ah, rustic.

And even when the Bethlehem trip could have been over, they stayed there. Traveling pregnant would not have been fun. Traveling with a newborn or a one-year-old would not have been fun either.  And what would she be going home to- – a town where her reputation was somewhat tarnished?  Who would have accepted the Baby, knowing what they thought they knew about His parents?  Surely it was better for everyone involved that they stay away for a few years.

I wonder what her parents and siblings thought.  Being so far away from her home town, she effectively lost her family in a day before Facebook or email or even the U. S. Postal Service.  That’s if they would have accepted her or wanted to associate with her.

Of course, there is no way that she could have known all that would have happened in the future, all the stops that would have been different in her life because of the switch in the tracks.  And yet, Mary’s response reminds me of what Ann says: “All is grace!”  I am overwhelmed.  I don’t know that I could have said the same.

I haven’t said the same.

A flat tire?  I throw a fit.  A sick child rearranging my schedule?  I grumble and groan and get frustrated.  An unexpected move? I balk.

An unexpected end to a pregnancy?  Ouch.  My first reaction is, usually, to try to fight for what I want. (Like that would help?!)

While we were doing this devotional, my oldest asked me to spell out a particular verse. (verse 37, “For nothing is impossible with God.”)  I told him to look on the previous page of the devotional and he refused.  A moment before when we asked what he would do if God told him to do something other than what he wanted to do he said, of course, he would do what God wanted.  But he won’t even do what I tell him to do.

And I am the same way.  How can I help him to accept it all as grace, if I cannot?

I hope that I can remember this at the next fork in the road.  We all need it.

MM: May 9, 2011

Here are a few bits of blessing among the pieces of the week. . .which included taking Calf #3 to the emergency room!

~ The Bull’s aunt available on a moment’s notice to watch the boy calves while I went with the girl calves to the ER
~ PBS Kids on the tv
~ Finding that the little girl was OK, just a wee bit sick
~ Spending only two hours there
~ Several naps for the sick girl; one on the living room floor when she woke disoriented “Mama, where am I?”
~ A good night’s sleep for her and feeling better

You can find the gratitude community here

MM: May 2, 2011

A few snippets of joy from last week:

~ A very understanding nurse at the babe’s doctor’s office
~ Pizza and bread sticks and fresh strawberry shortcake with friends
~ Time to refresh at a home school convention, and getting to spend time with friends there
~ Finally meeting my cousin’s babe, just a few months younger than mine
~ A trip to the museum where the children were engaged and intrigued
~ Chocolate covered cherry flavored coffee!!

You can find the gratitude community here

MM: April 25, 2011

A few bits of joy from the last two weeks:

~ From my three-year-old daughter:  “Baby’s dripping!” (when she drools)
~ Motherwear gift certificate from a dear friend, and new shirts
~ Watching Sesame Street videos on Youtube with the children
~ A quote that I’d like to be said about me someday:

“My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart — a heart so large that everybody’s grief and everybody’s joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.”
Mark Twain

quoted here; I especially like the “slender, small body” part  🙂
~ Windmill cookies that remind me of my grandma
~ A fun conversation between The Bull and Calf #1:

Son:  “Dad, can you sneeze with your eyes open?”
Dad: “I strained myself trying to one time”
Son: “I can”
Dad: “Show me”
Son: “First I need an airplane to shove up my nose”

~  Realization with the baby’s name
~ Cherry milkshakes
~ A perfect bead that signifies a broken heart; shared with new friends
~ Taking the kids to story time, and running into a dear old friend
~ A long weekend for Daddy
~ Celebrating Passover with a seder with good friends. . . the bitter of the horseradish and the sweet of the apple, a symbol of the bitterness and sweetness of life
~ Baby’s breath

You can find the gratitude community here

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