Monday, November 21, 2011

What I (Dan) See In...My Bride!

As you may have noticed, Elise has not been blogging as of late and this is because she's been on an internet fast. She decided to do this because our whole church has been fasting to celebrate our 25th Anniversary since the day 23 folks started our community in a house basement.

So I've been taking her faithful work of restraint as an opportunity to sneak on to post a few. I must confess, it's been kinda fun. Kinda like comin' home. I used to be the main blogger in our home - to the point of near obsession. Not too long ago, Elise reminded me that the reason I don't remember much about Hadley's birth is because I spent most of my time blogging in the corner of our hospitable room. I beg to differ. It was not a corner.

So I've backed off and she's taken over.

But since her fast breaks on Thanksgiving Day, I want to make sure that I say a thing or two about her. So I'd like to post the top ten things I love about my wife. This, I know, will make her blush and furious all at once - which is exactly my intention.
  1. She's gotten extremely crafty. Her next project is to make a craft table in our office. It's making me a bit nervous. I married a corporate raider, not a Hobby Lobbyist.
  2. She's a vivid dreamer. Three nights ago, she dreamed that there were snakes in our bed. I had to physically restrain her for a full minute.
  3. She works really hard at encouragement and I'd like to encourage her about that.
  4. She has a beautiful voice. If you could hear her sing. Ask her some time.
  5. She has the best laugh. I love nothing more than to laugh together.
  6. She is wise. Except for when it comes to creative endeavors related to my sermons, she is generally always right.
  7. She's becoming more adventurous. One of my nicknames for her is "Safety Director" because she's a bit of a rule follower. But in the last 6 months, I've seen a wild streak come out (if you will). For example, she was the one who pushed to get all our girls up on water skiis this summer. Yahooo!
  8. She has such a tender heart. One of my favorite parts of my day is when she comes down the stairs in the early morning and sits across from me to share what she's learning about the Lord.
  9. She's a walker. Again. My wife now gets up at 5:30 3 times a week to walk with the neighborhood gals. This is one little sign of how we're slowly coming up out of our first 4 years of parenting that we affectionately call "middle earth."
  10. She's competitive. You all know about her passion to create a loving, nurturing, and aesthetically pleasing home. But perhaps you didn't know that she has a drive to create the BEST home on the block. Two days ago, I mentioned to her that the neighbors remarked on our Christmas lights in the front yard. She said, "Oh yeah, what did they say?" I said, "Well...they tried to say something nice but their voices kind of trailed off." She said, "They don't like it?!" I said, "No, they said they DID like it but they weren't that convincing." She replied, "We should turn them off then. And, you watch the girls, I'm going to Home Depot, then to Michaels, then to Hobby Lobby..." It's 8:00 am right now on a 38-degree Wednesday morning and my wife is in our front yard - bundled up in puffy coat and winter's cap - hammering wreaths, running strings of lights, and creating the best damn Christmas scene this neighborhood has ever seen.
Bonus: She's beautiful. Simply gorgeous.
and finally: She's mine.


Mia's First Trip to the 'K'...

Mia chanted, "I DON'T want to leave. I DON'T want to leave. I DON'T want to leave!"

Music to my ears. Over and over, as I carried her from the stadium to the car - racing to get back for a church meeting, my sweet Mia protested against our haste. Surely, I thought, 3 hours at the ballpark would've been enough for my four-year old. But, much to my delight, it was NOT! After all, it was only the seventh inning...

This summer, Mia and I caught an afternoon ballgame between the upstart Royals and the back-slidden Minnesota Twins. We first went to Guest Services and received her "First Game Certificate", then to the gift shop for her royals mini-bat, then (FINALLY!) - courtesy of a friend, we were treated to great seats under some coveted shade. We lasted about three innings - or as long as it took to finish her cotton candy. The usher was kind enough to help me with the clean-up.


It was off to center field where the true action is. We played wiffle ball, we threw fastballs off a mound, Mia raced to first base, rode the carousel, played on the jungle gym, and ate some chicken fingers. We had SUCH an amazing time together - just her and me. For a dad, to spend time with your oldest daughter, sharing in America's past-time and one of my four loves is a dream come true.

But now for the highlight: we waited in a long line to hit some balls on the wiffle ball field (called "The Little K"). Kid after kid got up to the plate and - mostly - floundered around (if I may say). But then Mia got up there, assumed the stance, and whacked ball after ball. The 'crowd' was stunned, Papa was proud, and Mia was nonplussed. As she rounded the bases, I think I heard her say "Just another day at the ballpark."

My only regret is that I couldn't get my
Canon camera to work in time and had to use my lame-circa-2010-cell-phone-video-camera-that-actually-needs-cables-and-can't-connect-directly-to-this-thing-called-the-world-wide-web-and-even-still-can-no-longer-sync-to-my-computer-and-therefore-can't-upload-it-for-the-masses-to-appreciate-if-not-marvel-at-the-sheer-athletic-prowess-of-my-oldest-daughter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I (Daddy) See In...Hadley

It truly is amazing to see traits in your daughters that continue from nearly the day they were born. Hadley, for example, is so affectionate. Touch is truly her love language. We learned this just two days after she was born. Butde (grandma) was trying to calm (and shush) her in the living room of our old house when she started to rub her feet. Instantly, the girl started to purr.

This is still the same to this day (and, yes, I do realize she's only three). Just a few nights ago, she was crying in the middle of the night and I went to calm (and shush) her. I walked in her room - slightly fearful of her often-menacing-midnight-demeanor. Okay, a lot afraid.

I approached her bed and said, "Hadley, what do you want, Pumpkin?"
"No!" She shouted at me and kicked her legs up and down in protest. Clearly, words of encouragement are not her deal.
"Sweetie, are you cold? Do you need water?"
"Get away from me!" she screamed, jerking her head away as if I had bad breath. Strike acts of service from the list.
"Would you like me to hold you?"
"No! Mommy!" she shouted, denouncing my offer of some quality time.
"Would you like a back rub?" I asked. Instantly, she rolled over and turned her back to me. "Okay," she said.

There are other traits that we spotted early on as well (like head-banging) but nothing like her love for touch. I call her my 'cuddle bunny, my koala bear, my sea anemone' and I pray that she seeks and receives this form of love in ways that grow her heart and protect her beauty.

What I (Daddy) See In...Brianna

Brianna has such an interest in the Lord. A ND, she has this beautiful theological mind.
Yesterday I took a moment to log some of this interest:
  • Every time we read the Bible together, she wants to read about Jesus dying on the cross. To round out her theological spectrum, we try and include the resurrection, ascension, and return as well.
  • When we do, she makes us wait so that she can go to her room and get a little cross that she can hold up as if on a crusade (hmmm...might she have a liturgical leaning?). She also took her cross to preschool for 'show 'n' tell.'
  • Another time we were reading about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and she asked, "Why did He do that? Why did Jesus pray to God if He is God?"
  • Another time: "Why did Judas betray Jesus if he was His disciple?"
  • A follow-up question: "Is it Judas in us that makes us do bad things?"
  • Clarifying question: "Or is that the sneaky snake?"
  • A statement - as we were driving in the back of the van: "Last night I prayed that Jesus would help me not be afraid in the dark. It didn't work."
  • A praise: "I'm thankful for Jesus and Barbie."
Just yesterday, I was struck by how unique and special this is about her. Something for us to pray into and nurture.

'Let the children come to me.'

Things (Daddy) I See In....Mia

I'm a bit astonished by how Mia is growing up. I was speaking to her on the phone earlier today and it was such an adult conversation. She wanted to know how I was, what I was doing, where I was, if I traveled there safely (her words exactly), and that she misses me. She's articulate, delightful and - most peculiarly - interested in me. Most four year-old's I've ever known want you to know about them. But for Mia, it's all about you.

This is such a beautiful quality that I see in my daughter and hope it rubs off on me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finger Twins

My cell phone rang just minutes after I had arrived at work. It was the house line. I had a bad feeling about it and stepped out of my meeting. Having missed the call, I dialed her back and - given my unsettled feeling - grabbed my car key and assumed the athletic position. Sure enough. Elise picked up and I could hear crying in the background and her all-too-familiar shaky voice. I thought, "Children's Mercy here we come."

Mia had hurt her finger playing in the family room. Apparently she was playing with wood blocks and Brianna tripped and fell on top of her, smashing her finger between the blocks.

After a doctor's visit, a splint, a trip to an X-Ray imaging center, and 3 hours later she was cleared of anything broken. We were happy and she was happy - 2 suckers for her troubles and a splint just like Daddy's!