Monday, December 14, 2009

The Perfect Tree

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our annual Christmas tree hunt with our friends Steve and Rene. I was actually worried there wouldn't be any snow, but the minute we left home, God provided a lovely snowfall for us! (Ok maybe not exactly lovely for the driving part!)

After 10 years (wow!) of Christmas tree hunting with the Lowells, I finally got around to bringing a sled to pull around the little one...instead of me holding the youngest, carrying them around, pulling them out of snow, finding lost get the idea! Maezie was not very happy with the idea of cold snow and freezing air, but she managed to tolerate it when big sister got on the sled to hold her tight.

Maezie decided she liked the car much better!

Graeson went into the woods with Rene, Steve, and Daddy and apparently had quite the adventure with some kind of critter hole he found. He decided he would "protect" them, so he made an even bigger mound of snow around their hole! Then later, the sledding was fun too!
Bryan somehow missed packing his own coat, so he became the Abominable Beaver!

The kids and Rene had a snowball fight....looks like Rene is winning!

At home the next night, we decorated the tree with lights and ornaments. For me, the fun of the ornaments is remembering where each one came from (and sometimes even WHO it came from) and what we were doing at that point in our lives. Admittedly, I get a little wistful with the "Our First Christmas Together" ornaments, and I have fond memories of tiny bundles of joy with the "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments. And now we are moving into the "I made this for you at school" ornaments.

The kids also get to have their own little tree, and a lot of homemade or special ornaments (the non-breakable kind) go on their tree. We tried lights but it just didn't work!

I do wonder at times where this tree decorating tradition actually originated! There are so many Christmas rituals that we do that no one seems to know how they got started. Last year, we started our own ritual and turned off all the lights, including the ones on the tree, and talked about the darkness that was present before God created light. When the lights are then plugged in, and the room becomes illuminated, we talk about Jesus is the light of the world. This ritual was apparently so meaningful last year, that Graeson immediately asked for it again this year. How inspiring it is to see Christmas through a child's eyes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Graeson!

Graeson, today you are FIVE years old!
You have brought so much joy and laughter to our house, I can't remember what we did for entertainment before you were born.
These past five years have been so much fun! You add a spark (and sometimes an explosion) to life that can't be missed.

You make friends with everyone you meet, from kids to grown-ups, and you have so much love in your heart it just has to overflow to others.

You may someday be a politician with your ability to passionately "debate the issues", or you may be a rock star with your unending love of guitars.

I hope when you're a teenager you still want to cuddle with me in the mornings, and pray with me at night.

I hope your blue eyes (the ones that can see in the dark!) see past outer appearances and into the hearts of others.

I hope you never lose the abundant energy that you wake up with the minute your feet hit the floor.

Most of all, I hope God uses you in amazing ways, to reach people who need more of what you, laughter, excitement, happiness, and funny faces...and that you will follow Him the rest of your life!

We love you so much! My heart swells and my tears overflow just thinking of you.
Happy birthday five year old!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall is the best time of year!

This weekend the kids had tons of fun at different Fall events. Saturday we went to the "Scarecrow Row" in downtown Klamath Falls. We rode on a two-horse wagon....and just so happened to be in the parade! Then all the downtown stores gave out candy for the kids, even the jewelry and china stores....YIKES!

On Sunday we went to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. Each kid got to pick out their own pumpkin, but THEY had to be the one to carry it. It's very interesting to watch each one's strategy for choosing....Kaela has certain characteristics in mind when she looks to find "the perfect pumpkin". Graeson has to look at all of them, then decide which one speaks to him. And Maezie was satisfied with the little one that she could carry.

After choosing pumpkins, we decided to tackle the corn maze. Daddy and the kids went through (with the map--smart!) and made it out in about 20 minutes. So my friend Nikki and I decided we'd wander through, no real plan for "conquering" the maze, but we thought it would be fun to just meander around and spend some quality friend time. Eventually we realized we had no map and our leader was a five year old. So an hour later Bryan came in after us and we had to call each other's cell phones in order to find each other. (Ever played the game "Marco Polo" person trying to find the other by sound!) It was a bit humerous!
We had a great Fall weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kaela & Graeson describe Daddy

So it's time to write about Daddy this week, so I thought I'd let Kaela and Graeson do the talking. They were each asked the same questions, but separately.

1. What is something Daddy always says to you?
Kaela age 7-you guys need to stop fighting
Graeson age 4 (almost 5)-what's for lunch today?

2. What makes Daddy happy?
K-watching football
G-watching Food Network

3. What makes Daddy sad?
K-seeing me sad
G-when I do bad things

4. How does Daddy make you laugh?
K-he tickles me
G-by tickling me

5. What was Daddy like as a child?
K-he liked to ride his bike and that's how he broke his leg
G-uuuh, I don't think I was even born then so I don't know anything

6. How old is Daddy?

7. How tall is Daddy?
K-taller than Mommy's dresser
G-91 pounds

8. What is Daddy's favorite thing to do?
K-watch football
G-watch Food Network, I already told you that!

9. What does Daddy do when you're not around?
K-he watches TV
G-he works when I go to Grammy's house

10. If Daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?
K-watching football

11. What is Daddy really good at?
K-driving to places

12. What is Daddy not very good at?
K-buying all the things on the grocery list, because sometimes he gets stuff that's not on it
G-building a house (Mommy: has Daddy ever tried to build a house? Graeson: no but I know he would be very bad at it!)

13. What does Daddy do for his job?
K-he sells guns
G-work at a gun store

14. What is Daddy's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of Daddy?
K-when the Beavers win
G-making good dinners

16. If Daddy were on TV, who would he be?
K-Food Network
G-Alton Brown

17. What do you and Daddy do together?
G-we watch TV

18. How are you and Daddy the same?
K-we both like football
G-we both have blonde hair....maybe

19. How are you and Daddy different?
K-I go to school and he doesn't
G-he has brown eyes and I have blue eyes

20. How do you know Daddy loves you?
K-because he cuddles with me
G-he hugs me

21. What does Daddy like most about Mommy?
K-that he can kiss her
G-that he married her

22. Where is Daddy's favorite place to go?
G-there's this place when we go on vacation and Daddy likes to go to this, like, tool shop where you make tools, where we got our caramel apples, remember? (This would be the Seaside outlet mall where Graeson and Daddy went to "boy" stores.) Ok, next question please?

23. Anything else to say about Daddy?
K-that Daddy's my favorite
G-um, I don't know anything else about Daddy

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Confessions of a Hospice Nurse

For those of you looking for kid stories, I hope you're not disappointed. I feel a higher calling to divert this week into more grown-up philosophies...a story of divine appointments and omnipotent inside look into the experience of a hospice nurse. This is about my friend Phyllis, who met Jesus face to face this weekend.

My path crossed with Phyllis a little over three years ago, when I was asked to give my testimony at our church's women's retreat. In exposing my secrets and telling the story of our adoption (ask me sometime, if you don't know the story), and women across the room were weeping, one woman in particular was sobbing uncontrollably. After the "afterglow" time of praise, prayer, and healing, I was introduced to Phyllis and informed that she too had been adopted, and had struggled to reconnect with her birth mother, only to discover she had passed some years earlier. AND that Phyllis's birthday was the same as the one I had given birth too. (Coincidence? I think not.) Phyllis then shared with me that my vulnerable sharing had given her a better understanding of what her birth mother had been through, and answered many questions she had never had the opportunity to ask her.

Fast-forward to the present day, when it was becoming clear that Phyllis not only had cancer for the umpteenth time, but it was going to win. I was placed in numerous divine appointments, several incidental meetings with Phyllis's friends or family who, knowing I was a hospice nurse, would ask me "When should she be on hospice? What can we expect? Are we making the right decisions?" (Coincidence? I think not.) Each time, each encounter, each person expressed such great relief after talking with me, and felt they had more information and confidence to face the challenges ahead.

When the day rather quickly came that Phyllis was signing onto hospice, all the other nurses were busy and I was the only option. (More coincidence? I think not.) When I arrived, a pastor friend was visiting and we all got to pray together. I never get to pray with my patients! It was so refreshing for me! Phyllis was having difficulty with her memory, but recognized me instantly, and smiled relief at a familiar face. Two weeks later, when Phyllis was in her final days, again a visit was needed and I was the only nurse available. (Really, I hardly ever see patients any more due to my supervisor responsibilities. Coincidence? Say it with me, I think not.) She very clearly said "I'm ready to go to Jesus, I want to go now." So I told her how to die...that it's just like sleeping, the harder you try, the more it doesn't happen, but only when you let go of that control, do you allow yourself to slip away.

Phyllis did die that very night, and her family reported that an amazing thing happened right before she passed. She rolled over without assistance (something she had been unable to do), informed them that Jesus was there to take her home, and then spent the next two hours talking to Jesus as if He was right there in the room. And I believe with my whole heart that He was. When she finished, she breathed her last, and went with Him to eternal bliss.

So what's the confession, you ask? People may think that hospice nurses are such a blessing to others. But our secret is that we actually receive back abundant blessing, hope, love, and peace just by being invited to participate in someone's passing from this world into the next. Thank you, to Phyllis and her family, for allowing me to be a part of this spiritual event. I look forward to seeing you again!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kaela trivia

This week it's time to write about Kaela! She is currently 7 1/2 years old (half's are very important in our house!) and is in second grade. Kaela is a typical first-born: she is responsible, compliant, easy-going, patient, smart. Also typical of first-born's, she is a "stewer"....she doesn't easily get upset, but when she does it all comes tumbling out.
Here's some trivia questions about Kaela Renae Williams:

When is Kaela's birthday?

Christmas Day, which just so happened to be her due date (see "compliant" above)! My mother still laughs at how I (a first-born-control-freak myself) managed to have my first child, a girl, on her due date, with a relatively easy labor, precisely how I had planned it. Kaela's birth solved the who's-family-do-we-spend-Christmas-with dilemma...instead, they all came to see us at the hospital, bringing TONS of food, fudge, cookies, pies, leftovers, more fudge, etc. We now celebrate at her half birthday on June 25. Hence the importance of recognizing that "half" status.

Who is Kaela's favorite person?

DADDY without a doubt. Bryan started being a stay-home-dad when Kaela was nine months old. They would go to the gym together, watch Sesame Street, watch football, and go to Home Depot. When Kaela was about 3 years old, and I was flipping channels, she demanded that I go back to ESPN because she wanted to watch the football game. In learning animal sounds, she learned that "what does a Beaver say" meant for her to say "touchdown!" Kaela's first day of preschool involved making a homemade placemat of "things that make me happy"....she glued on paper footballs and drew a picture of Home Depot.

What is Kaela's favorite color?

Pink! Now, mind you, I had planned that I was NOT going to have a girly-girl, but apparently that's not for me to decide. From toddlerhood, she would gravitate toward anything pink, but especially pink clothes. She now has a book called "Pinkalicious", has a pink backpack, pink shoes, pink socks, pink hair ties....the list goes on and on. I drew the line, however, at pink bedrooom walls and she settled for blue sky with white clouds and butterflies...yes, pink ones.

What does Kaela like about being a big sister?

She loves "babysitting Maezie", especially when Mommy has work to do and needs Kaela to keep her 2-year-old sister occupied. Kaela will read books to her, play games, help her color, show her how to clean up, and even rock her at bedtime. Kaela also likes the privileges of being able to do things that Graeson can't do yet like 100-peice puzzles, wood painting, writing in a journal, and going to school for the full day.

When did Kaela ask Jesus into her heart?

When she was 4 1/2, we were reading a chapter each night of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When we got to the part where Aslan is killed, she was mortified that bad people would kill a good king. She was able to understand the similarites of Aslan taking the penalty for Edmund's betrayal, with Jesus paying the penalty for our sins. She excitedly went to her room, into the back of her closet, to pray that Jesus would be in her heart forever.

If you've never read it, I highly recommend "The Birth Order Book--Why You Are The Way You Are" by Kevin Leman. He describes first born, middle child, and family baby and how birth order affects personality, relationships, marriage, parenting, and even your relationship with God. It's very easy to read, and it's hilarious as you see your own family right there on the pages.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Speaking Maezican

I have always enjoyed the special ability that mothers have to translate what their toddlers are attempting to say. It is also amusing when the older siblings serve as translator as well. It's as if our family is privy to a secret code that only we can decipher. Over the past three children we have spoken different languages including Kaelish, Graesonese, and Maezican. Here are some of our favorite words that Maezie uses.

bar gar = garbage

shuh bug = shoo bug (usually with a flicking of the wrist involved)

bit a nana = banana

booky, feety, cuppy, bowly = adding a y to the end of book, feet, cup, bowl

mickeys = her croc shoes with a Mickey Mouse jibbit

weed bye bull = read Bible

WOAR!! = roar at anything that moves, especially birds

oo oo ee ee = monkey noises

bil loon = balloon

apple os = applesauce

hoe dyu = hold you (pick me up)

clof-clof = wash cloth

fire = pacifier (now retired, thank goodness!)

MIIIIINNNNE!!! = Graeson is in her personal space, near her personal space, looking at her personal space, or thinking about her personal space

Hope this helps for the next time you are in Maezican country! We'll be happy to translate...for a small fee, of course. After all, we are part of a special that requires regular dues which include lots of work, and tons of hugs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Graeson's Pretend Life

As you probably know, Graeson (age 4 1/2) has a creative imagination. He has several imaginary friends and he says he has a "real" life and a "pretend" life. So here's a little glimpse into his pretend life:

  • Mickey (Mickey Mouse): first and best friend, birthday November 20 (per Graeson's report), age 3 1/2, primary playmate. Mickey occasionally misbehaves and has to be put in time out. Mickey also gets blamed for things that Graeson actually does. Last Fall, Mickey went camping and didn't come home until the Williams family went camping in May. At that time, Mickey came home to take care of our house. After that, they were reunited again.

  • Chuck: substitute friend, birthday November 11, age 4 1/2 (exact same age as Graeson), first appeared while Mickey was camping. Plays with Graeson when Mickey is gone (which happens frequently apparently).

  • His Boss: never actually appears but calls him on the phone several times a day and "tells me what to do". His Boss gives him instructions about what project they are working on. Projects could be anything from construction projects to science projects.

  • His Singer: performs concerts, tells Graeson which songs to sing for his own concerts, recruits other imaginary friends to perform in the concert. Graeson reports his first Singer died because he had a crack in his heart, so this is the second Singer.

  • His Daughters: 20 daughters actually, all of which are age 2 (like Maezie, he says). Their mother died and since he's their Dad, Graeson has to take care of them. Chuck helps out sometimes too.

  • Lightening: this is the race car he drives, his number on the side is 100, and he is 13 years old.

  • Choo-Chuck: last resort friend, plays with Graeson when all the other friends are gone (usually somewhere with Mickey. like shopping).

As I'm asking Graeson to tell me about his friends, he wants to tell me about the other things in his pretend life. He says "this will take a while". He begins with the fact that he has a chainsaw, two four-wheelers, two motorcycles, a water fountain, a boat, a candy truck, a water truck, and "basically everything that I have in my room". This is in addition to several John Deere tractors. He says that in his pretend life, he does everything he would do in his real life, and he and his friends get to ride his above listed equipment.

So.....don't you wish you had a pretend life?