Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I always wondered how early personalities would show up in children. I (ignorantly) figured that until they were school age, they wouldn't really have much of a noticeable personality, but boy, was I wrong! And then I also used to think that people's personalities turned out the way they did because of the way they were raised. That thinking caught me off-guard because after Stephen was born and I compared my son to other children (wrong thing to do!!!), I started thinking that I was a lousy mother. Stephen was loud, couldn't sit still in church, so distracted at home, etc, etc. I really thought I just didn't know how to parent. Then Timothy came along. Timothy is quiet, sits through a whole church service, sticks to his tasks, etc, etc. We were about at our wits' end with some of Stephen's behaviours when someone let me borrow the book, You Can't Make Me (but I can be persuaded) by Cynthia Tobias. A lightbulb went on in our heads! Stephen is simply a strong-willed or "spirited" child! He reacts differently than Fred or I do to things, and that's why we were struggling to understand where he was coming from!

This book, a must-read if you think you have a strong-willed child, opened our eyes to the fact that Stephen is an extrovert that gets his energy from being around people. Timothy is an introvert who gets his energy from being alone. They both have moments when they can play together well, and moments when they play alone without being bored. Stephen LOVES to be with people. He doesn't always successfully interact with them because he also likes to be in charge all the time (translate: bossy), but he does best when he is around other people. Timothy, on the other hand, can take playing in public for only so long before we find him hiding in the basement playing quietly by himself. Once Stephen has had his "people dosage", he is ready to play alone again and can keep himself entertained for awhile. And Timothy, once he has recharged by playing alone for awhile, can come back upstairs and interact and play without getting stressed out. What a relief to find out how these boys work! Now when I see there's agitation going on between them, I send Timothy off by himself somewhere and I spend some one-on-one time with Stephen so that both of them can get themselves pulled back together again. I'm not such a bad mother after all! Ha. Ha.

I also used to think I was a bad mother because I couldn't get Timothy to sleep at night when he was a baby. He would scream and scream and sleep fitfully for only an hour or two at a time and then it would start all over again. Stephen was not like this. He was a scheduled baby (you know, first born - had to do everything by the book, did exactly what the nurses told me to do, etc.) so I thought that I was doing something wrong with Timothy. Then along came Christopher. I didn't have time to reread any books or brush up on what I thought I was supposed to do with him. I just took care of him. Well, guess what?! From two months on, Christopher was sleeping through the night without ANY help from me! Wow! Once again I realized that I'm not a failure at motherhood just because I couldn't get my child to sleep at night. IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD-GIVEN PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY!

Now don't start emailing me all your philosophies on child-rearing and the benefits of reading sound, Christian books or telling me how children ARE shaped by their parents and the upbringing that they receive. My point here is simply that children DO have real personalities that show themselves at very early ages and some of their behaviours and actions and attitudes are a result of the way GOD made them, and not how Fred or I parented them! I'm so thankful that God is aware of all of this, otherwise I would never have confidence as a mother!

Each one of our boys is unique and the blends of their personalities is what brings life into this house. Now our job is to keep observing them and praying about how we can use their strengths to steer them to the path of righteousness and encourage their weakness to become strengths! I can't wait to see what kind of young men they will become some day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What a Day!!

So, one of the things that held me back from blogging previously to this is that all the blogs I have been lurking around and reading have been full of "meat." I didn't feel that I could offer "meat" to any reader because I'm still stuck on "baby food" around here!! I just read Liz's post about Laurel's baptism (which choked me up, especially since I couldn't be there!), and I realized once again, that most bloggers deliver "meat." I still want to do this, so I'll just give you the warning now: most of the time you will be reading "baby food" and maybe some day ... some day there might be "meat" again in my written words.... Until then, here's my day.

Our friend, Jenny, is expecting a baby any day. Knowing how difficult it is to continue to care for toddlers while at the end of a pregnancy, I offered to take two-year-old, Megan, for her today while she went to her doctor's appointment (hopefully for the last time since the baby is due soon!) and then suggested that she just stay here until Chris is off work and can come pick her up on his way home. Last week when she was here, the kids had such a great time and I figured it would be the same today. Well, today is also a very beautiful day outside! I HAD to get out there and finish planting some flowers and some of our vegetables (carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, beets...the peas, beans, onions, garlic and spinach are already sprouting!). I'm thankful today that the boys are early risers because we got all the planting and watering done before Megan came.

Besides offering to keep Megan for the day, I also promised Jenny that I would have supper ready for Chris to take home with him tonight. I started that this morning BEFORE the boys woke up! Can you believe that I just now got it done and it's almost 3:00 in the afternoon! All I needed to do was shred some cheese, boil some noodles, open a can of cream of mushroom soup and cook a bit of chicken and onions in a pan. Who would have thought that it would take me EIGHT whole hours to do that?! Sigh. What took me so long? I'm not sure. Maybe it was the six dirty diapers, four changes of clothes, ten fights that had to be broken up, one very banged up shin to be "rubber banded" (Timothy's word for Band-Aid), one preschool, two toddler and one infant lunch to be prepared, served, monitored, and cleaned up. Maybe it was the intense need for dress-up outfits to be brought out, fought over, put on and played with, or the Wiggles game that someone forgot to explain to Megan and is now missing 1/3 of it's pieces. Maybe it's because Timothy decided at naptime that he needed to hide in the bathroom closet, and the shower in our bedroom, and under the bed, and into Christopher's room, except that he was snagged by me before he could get in there. Maybe it was the laundry that kept buzzing at me from the washer and dryer all morning or the fly that needed to be captured before Stephen could re-enter the house (Go figure! There's more outside where he was hanging out waiting for me to exterminate one fly!) Who really knows what it was that caused me to take eight hours to make one simple and easy to make casserole. All I know is that I also promised Jenny dessert ... so I'm going to pull out the watermelon and give her half. That's easy enough.

On the positive side, I was able to do a lot of good things during those eight hours. I got to plant flowers with my boys and explain how God created plants to need dirt, water and sun to grow, but people need food and water (not dirt!). I got to watch them get excited about putting zucchini seeds in the ground and then cover them with dirt. I got to help them fill up the watering can with our rain water and show them where to pour it ... and watched them as they had a blast pouring it into their own dirt piles to make muddy rivers. I got to giggle with Stephen when he climbed onto the couch for his rest time and we both heard the TV turn on spontaneously and we were looking all around to see who did it. We never did figure that one out. I got to put the cow mask on Timothy and run around the house moo-ing with him. I got to laugh with Megan while she bonked my head with a balloon and giggled like it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen. I got to carry Christopher outside and show him the birdies and the flies and the flowers and the other kids. Ahh, yes. I DID get a lot done today ... just not what I had on my list.

So as for the meat here ... all I can offer you today is a bit of cooked chicken that finally did end up in my casserole.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


This past weekend we took a road trip to Syracuse, NY. We left at 11:00am thinking that we would get to John and Joann's around 3:30, play a little bit and then head to the church for supper and the evenings' activities. Well, at 3:30, we were just pulling up to the booth at the border! There were some major accidents on the 403 and the QEW that really chewed up our time. Thankfully, the boys were sooo good about it, probably because they didn't really realize how long our trip was really taking. We had Ellie with us for the trip and she did such a marvelous job of entertaining the boys, being silly with them, helping them pick up every dropped item, etc. I wish she could come with us on every trip we take! On the way home, the boys were starting to get really cranky and even though we did a quick stop at Niagara Falls (so that I could feed Christopher and they could get out for a bit to stretch), they were nearing the end of their patience. I was trying to explain to them that Monday was a holiday in Canada and that on holidays, we sleep in. We don't have to get up early, but we are allowed to sleep longer since no one has to go to work or school on that day. Well, that got Stephen pretty upset! He started insisting that "The Bible says that we are supposed to get up when the clock says 7! We are NOT supposed to keep sleeping! The Bible says!!!" We were laughing so hard at his insistence that he started giggling, too, and then it just started to be a laughing party. Sure enough, Monday morning, when his clock turned 7:00, he was up and out of bed. He obeyed the Bible! If only he would be that obedient to the things that are really written in there!

I forgot to mention the other day that after Stephen's birthday party when I was putting him to bed, I told him that I was going to say "good night" to a three year old and "good morning" to a four year old. He just lay there in his bed grinning, but then got serious. "Mommy, do we need to tell all the people that it's my birthday tomorrow? How will the bus driver know that he has to stop at my house and pick me up for school?" Oh dear. I guess I forgot to make it clear to him that he doesn't get to go to school on the day that he turns four! He just has to be four years old when school starts again in September! Even this morning he asked me if he should get dressed in his clothes for school. Can you tell he's excited about going?!

And Timothy today! Oh, I wish I could attach a video clip to this blog somehow! Today at lunch we finished off the birthday cake and ice cream with our friends Victoria, Ashley and Candace and Aunt Corina. Timothy had managed to drool his ice cream down the front of himself, onto his leg and down onto the chair in a nice, white, sticky river. I stripped him down to his shirt, diaper and socks and let him keep playing outside on the deck where we were eating. He finished his dessert and got onto his tricycle and started pedaling around the deck singing Jesus Loves Me in his own little world. What a cute sight that was! He didn't care what he looked or sounded like! He was having the time of his life!

Christopher has been practising his first word: mama!!! Well, actually, it seems to be more of something that he says when he wants something to eat, but I'm going to take it for what I hear: Mama! What a little cutie! He has now been introduced to cake and ice cream (thank you, Auntie Claudia) and creamed spinach with green onion and garlic (thank you, Oma) and just about anything else that he can grab while he's sitting on someone's lap at the table! He loves a variety of food and still gets the most excited when he sees the Cheerios and saltines boxes come out of the cupboard! He prefers to feed himself, especially with things like cheese cubes, chunks of sweet potatoes, pieces of banana (when he can finally catch one), broccoli pieces, etc. He is also very accepting of any spoon offered to him, no matter what it is holding. I don't think he's going to be a picky eater!

The house is quiet now at nap time. I enjoy taking advantage of this time to write, but I must get some work done, too!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday, Stephen!

Happy 4th Birthday, Stephen! It's hard to believe that our little miracle is already four years old! You surprised us that May 19th, 2003 when you were born because we weren't expecting you until June 27! What a wonderful way to celebrate a warm and sunny holiday that year. You are our miracle baby because the specialists told us that we only had about 10% chance of ever having children, so you ARE a miracle! You are a miracle because when you were born, the cord was wrapped around your neck and somehow you had managed to tie two knots in it, too! You ARE a miracle! You are a miracle because Psalm 139:14 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God knew all about you before you were even knit together in my womb. You ARE a miracle!!

We love you, Stephen, and we hope you have a wonderful year of being four years old. We pray that your heart would always be full of God's Word hidden deep down inside. We pray that you will become the man of God that He wants you to be. Happy Birthday, Dear Stephen!!

Daddy and Mommy

Friday, May 18, 2007


Stephen loves to make up words. These have come from a three-year-old's mind.

Impistible - too much water coming out of a carwash
He told us that he didn't like carwashes because they were too impistible.

Slopes - dandelions that have gone to seed and can be blown in the wind.
We went on a walk last night and he had to stop and either pick all the slopes, or put his piratescope over each and every one.

Piratescope - an attachment from the vacuum cleaner that can be used as a spyer, also known as a piratescope.

He also likes to go around the house making up sounds and jibberish. I asked him one day what he was saying and he replied, "I don't know. It's in German."

He cracked me up last night on our walk. He had grabbed my vacuum cleaner attachment and told me that he needed the spyer to spy things on our walk. He was wearing a railroad engineer hat, a jean jacket and his sweats were tucked into his rubber boots. Everyone we passed had great big grins on their faces because of how into his role he was. I wish I would have taken a picture, or a video of him skipping down the path, spying things and sticking them over the "slopes" (dandelions) that found. He was having a great time! Ahh, the carefree days of childhood!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Humility, Forgiveness and Being Childlike

Matthew 18:2-5 {2} And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, {3} And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. {4} Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The other night these verses swarmed in my head, unrelenting like a mass of mosquitos that won't leave you alone. Fred was away at a meeting and I was on my own to get the boys ready for bed and eventually IN bed for the night. We were doing fine, following through our nightly routine of snacks, pajamas, Bible stories, teeth brushing, etc., but then something snapped. Christopher decided to start an unusual screaming fit, Timothy was throwing the biggest tantrum a two year old can throw, and Stephen decided he was going to do the exact opposite of whatever I asked him to do (why did I teach him the concept of opposites recently?!). Well, I hit the breaking point when Timothy, already in bed, was screaming so loud that he sounded like he was ready to throw up. I went into his room and verbally let him have it! I know that I should have acted with more control, but at that point there didn't seem to be any left. I blasted him for his behaviour, ran into our room and just screamed to God, "What in the world is going on here tonight?! We're out of control!"

I poured my heart out as quickly as I could just so that I could regain my composure, and also because I didn't hear Timothy anymore and I was getting worried. I decided that I needed to go in and apologize to him for my behaviour and ask him to forgive his mommy for screaming in his face when all he wanted was to have his socks put back on his little feet. I didn't really want to humble myself and apologize to a 2 1/2 year old child, but I knew I needed to. I walked into his darkened room, bent down to whisper my apologies, and saw that his eyes were closed and he had already drifted off to sleep. Oh, my heart sank! I didn't even get to show him that I loved him and that I didn't want him to hear my screaming as the last words before he fell asleep!! I knelt by his bed and told him anyway and asked him to forgive me. He didn't respond. He was already asleep. This is where these verses started to haunt me: be converted (that means change my ways!!!), become as little children (simple and innocent), and humble myself as a little child (get out of my I'm-the-mommy-I-have-the-right-to-scream thinking).

The rest of the night I kept thinking about how Timothy heard his mommy screaming at him as the last words before falling asleep. Would he remember it in the morning? Would he remember it for the rest of his life?! Oh, the wonders of childlikeness! In the morning, not only did he not remember it, but he was happy to see me and give me a hug and tell me that he loved me, as if nothing had happened the night before! I want to be like Timothy: childlike and forgiving. Before I can do that, though, I need humility. It amazes me that these guys can forgive me so quickly for my words and actions that can hurt them deeply. Oh, I want to be like them!

Lord, help me to be childlike and forgiving when I am hurt by other people's words and actions! Help me to love them back immediately and have a clean slate each time I see them! Help me also to maintain control when I'm frustrated with my children so that they hear words of love before they fall asleep instead of screaming. That's what I love about You! I hear words of love and affection instead of accusation and frustration before I fall asleep. Help me to be childlike ... and Christlike at the same time! Thank you for humility, forgiveness and childlikeness!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yes, I Update Now!

On April 21, our family was honored to be invited to Marjie and John's wedding in Akron. What a fun wedding this was to attend! We got to visit with people that we haven't seen for ages ... including one friend that I had gone to the Akron Area CFG with for years. While my sister, Liz, and I were talking, this friend came up, so excited to say hello to us because we hadn't seen each other for probably 15 or so years. He said how glad he was that I was able to make it to the wedding and had wondered if I would be there. Commenting that I wouldn't miss this for the world, I wondered why he was so excited that I would be at Marj's wedding. He proceeded to ask when I came in to town and how long I would be there and seemed quite surprised that it was for such a short amount of time (Friday night until Sunday afternoon). He said, "I really enjoy reading your updates that you send." Liz blurted out at me, "YOU update?!" "No, I don't update!" "Why don't you ever send ME your updates?!" "Because I don't update!" Oohhhh.... he thought I was my sister, KAREN!!! No wonder he was so surprised that I would come all the way to Marjie's wedding from Paraguay for such a short weekend! After we got the confusion all cleared up, we enjoyed catching up briefly with everyone and went on our way. This whole incident got me thinking though, that maybe I SHOULD "update" like Karen does. So ... this is for you, Liz, and for all my other family and friends who would be interested in my updates.

More on our family in future posts, but just a note here tonight: we have thunderstorms today in Kitchener. Tonight as we were reading our bedtime stories there was one particularly loud and rumbling boom of thunder and Timothy said, "That thunder made my body wiggle." That's one for his book, Mom.