Most of us know that Advent is a time to prepare. It is a special time set aside to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming. But we’d better not forget these either: Prepare the gifts for giving. Prepare the food for serving. Prepare the cookies for decorating. Prepare the tree for showcasing. Prepare the photos for sending. Prepare the songs for singing. Prepare the house for hosting. Prepare the clothes for wearing. I DO love the preparing. However, my head starts to spin and my…Continue Reading “Preparing to Prepare”

My family and I were just returning from a long trip: an extended family reunion in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. Plane flights and shuttle buses and car rides and lots and lots and lots of family. July 4th was the first time we were riding in our own car in 11 days. It felt so good to be back in our old “friend”………. except for that moment that the warning light came on accompanied by a loud beep telling us that our rear tire was…Continue Reading “So Worried that you can’t say Anything”

“How are the boys?” she asked. “Spunky as ever,” I say. “Excited about Easter.” “Yes, they’re at that perfect age,” was her reply. “I still get excited about Easter,” was my reply. I don’t get snarky about too many things, but it absolutely drives me nuts that Easter is a “kids’ holiday.” What are we allowing our culture to teach us about significance and life when this deeply meaningful, all-age-appropriate celebration becomes merely a reason for kids to get excited about candy and eggs?   My neighbors lost their grown…Continue Reading “Why I don’t get excited about chocolate bunnies”

“Tell a pretend Jesus story!” my exclamation-mark of a middle child said. We were driving through suburban Kansas City with my brother and his daughter, on our way to wedding festivities for our oldest nephew. It was a weekend filled with love and excitement: we siblings fell back into the comfortable rhythm of old jokes and new news; the cousins quickly found a sweet spot of playful interaction that seems to happen quickly with kids, and even more quickly with kids who share genes. “Zeke,”…Continue Reading “Real Stories”

We were playing Ninja Turtles, ’cause that’s what you do when you have little boys. I was taking advantage of all the mom cred I could since I know that Donatello is the purple one and orange one is called Mikey. There are advantages to growing up with boys. Noah and Zeke were both pretending to be the blue and red turtles (Noah’s code names: Fred and Luke, Zeke’s code names: Superhero and Superhero). I was purple, and I think my code name was Mom. We decided that baby…Continue Reading “Imitators”

The afternoon sun is making its way into the door that leads from my bedroom to the outside. The house is at rest–my brother and his wife and their son all sleeping off some jet lag; my non-stop three-year-old tough boy dozing without moving a muscle in his toddler bed. And my five-year-old catching the eye of my seven-month-old. In an instant, baby Simon is grinning ear to ear. This is his brother in front of him: the one that has a special smile that’s…Continue Reading “Glimpses: siblings”

My five-month-old Simon is getting more and more mobile with each day that passes. I remember that with my first born, it seemed to take f – o – r – e – v – e – r for him to reach his gross motor milestones. With this one, it is happening way too fast. He’s rolling from his back to his stomach. He’s inching his way forwards and backwards. I saw him do a plank for a half a second today. And this week,…Continue Reading “A Father’s Lap”

This morning, Noah and I had a discussion about our plan to “give something up” as a family for Lent.  I suggested not playing the Wii, using the iPad or eating treats out of their Halloween pumpkins (yes–we are still milking our Halloween candy around here).  Personally, I’d be happy to be the one to choose which option we pursue, but there’s just something about imposing a sacrifice on someone else that seems hypocritical.He came up to me later when I was putting away laundry:“Mom, maybe…Continue Reading “Sacrifice”