Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, my Mr. Rives.

Don't you love that line in "Emma" where she says, "Now I need not call you Mr. Knightley. I may call you my Mr. Knightley." Mmmhmmm, me too.

So Kristopher is 36 today. I met him just a day or two after his 29th birthday. And I was 24. And now we are an old married couple. And I rather like it that way.

So I would like to wish the very happiest of birthdays to the guy that won the "How Much of Jamie's Crap Will You Put Up With?" contest. First prize: Jamie.

My Mr. Rives is my very favorite person in the whole world. I love him. And I am so thankful for the 36 years he has been given (particularly the last 7.)

It is his birthday. But he is the gift.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Something." It's kinda like "all," but different.

So as I opened up the ol' netbook and gave some thought to posting, the tape (CD? mp3?) in my head started playing that song about how I have no good pictures and no clever ideas and no touching insights to share so I might as well not even blog.

But I'm really trying to do that thing where I do SOMETHING as opposed to NOTHING even if that SOMETHING is not EVERYTHING.

So without further ado, I give you...something.

The big boys are at Mamaw and Poppy's right now. When did their house get so fun? I grew up there and do not remember it being the enchanted land that it apparently is. This means that it has been just Simeon and me today because Kris was at his class all day (He is taking a systematic theology class at Reformed Theological Seminary Houston.)

Simeon totally did me a solid and slept until 8:45. I woke up at 8:30 and looked at the clock and panicked of course. I ran into his room and was relieved to hear his sweet little snore. So we ate breakfast and got ready to run a few errands. While running errands with one child seems like it would be easier than running errands with 3 children, if that one child is 7 months old and not, say, 4 years old, it's really not that much easier. Walking, unbuckling on your own, flexible eating schedule: these are the qualities of a good errand-running buddy. Simeon, while utterly adorable, is still rather high maintenance. But its fun to focus on just one kid. I enjoyed my day with him very much indeed.

We got to have dinner tonight with some friends that Kris has known for a long time but that I have only known through blogs and facebook up until now. We talked and laughed and exchanged stories. It was so refreshing and encouraging--exactly what Kris and I needed. They are heading back overseas soon so we are really grateful that we were able to catch up with them. This girl lives in a foreign land, has 5 kids (the youngest of which they adopted from Ethiopia), and homeschools. So she's basically my hero.

Incidentally, I was totally "that mom" tonight--you know the one who has her INFANT out way passed bedtime. The one whom I usually shake my head at and mentally comment on their irresponsible, selfish parenting. So I guess I'll stop that now.

Mamw's birthday was Thursday. Jude wanted to buy her a new train (the one from the Thomas series named "Molly" because that is Mamaw's name, you see.) Asher wanted to buy her a new laptop. But instead, we went to Target and they each picked out a small gift and helped me wrap them up. Asher personalized his:

"It's for Mamaw From Asher"

I tried to seize the teachable moment and discuss the use of apostrophes but I guess we'll work on word orientation first.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boy Crazy

So the Masters seems as though I should mention them. They are quickly growing and barely giving me time to catch my breath at one phase before we enter another. As at least one person feels compelled to tell me each time we go out, I have my hands full. It is usually said with a smirk or a chuckle or a tone of pity. But I assure you, even on my worst day, the idea of life in the alternative looms heavy over me and I give thanks. "Oh, you should see my heart," I tell them. "You don't even know full."

The youngest manchild I am currently rearing is Simeon James. He will be 7 months in 4 days. Does this completely blow anyone else's mind? Did I not just post about his birth. Granted that was only about 4 posts back, but it still seems unbelievable that he should be so old.

At this writing, he is in the middle of an unfortunate combination of a cold and teething. This means from about midnight to 5 in the morning, he sleeps a total of about an hour. The past two nights have been like this. He sucks his thumb, you see, so a stopped-up nose makes his normal nighttime guilty pleasure impossible. Which makes him MAD. Which makes him even more tired. We're all exhausted over here. But thanks be to God, this is the saddest news I have to report.

He sits up on his own fairly well but is still a little wobbly at times so I put the boppy around him. He loves the Johnny Jump Up and exersaucer. He adores his big brothers and finds them endlessly entertaining. I can eek out a few extra minutes of whatever I am doing by asking the boys to go talk to Simmy or make him laugh. He will do a little inchworm scoot to try to reach a toy but he scoots backwards so he's got a little work to do there. He loves to eat and so far has only turned his nose up at avocados. I cannot blame him because if my avocados aren't salted, cilantroed, and served on a tortilla chip, I don't care for them either.

I have no idea how long he is or how much he weighs. He is bigger than a breadbox. His thigh rolls give him away if his eyes don't--he is definitely a Rives boy!

The past two days not withstanding, he is a happy, smiley little(ish) thing. He babbles on and on. We call him "Simmy" or "Simmy J" or "Simmy Shake"(long story.)

The middle, misunderstood, sweet-as-pie, force-to-be-reckoned-with child is my Judah Kristopher (or Jude as he is called.) He is still inextricably connected to his "lovey" and resists all suggestions that perhaps he should reserve his thumb-sucking for bedtime. He loves trains and drums.

He is two and one half as of this month but has his sights set on three already. He is the most interesting, frustrating, baffling combination of tender and tough. Baby and Big Boy. Meaner than a snake yet first to share what he has or help a brother out. He keeps us on our toes suffice it to say.

His favorite things to say right now are "You pay wif me, Mama?" and "Here, I show you" and "I do it my own self." He still has a sweet "babyness" to his voice and I love to hear it. His favorite song is of course "Hey Jude" and he sings it quite well.

The eldest is Asher Owen. He will be 4 in just two weeks! He is a lot like his daddy--very intentional and sweet and prone to go get his guitar whenever he has a free moment. He is very sensitive I am learning how to best direct this (a challenge indeed.)He loves music (as does Jude) and is always staging concerts for anyone that will listen. He and Jude have constant disputes over the creative direction of their band.

He is typical first born--loves order and routine. Gets very agitated when those can't be found. He can write his name and loves to type notes on the iPod touch. He would prefer to eat every meal out and for friends to join us at these meals. Very social, that one.

Ok, I feel better now. The mom-guilt has been assuaged (as far as blogging goes.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

ALL or nothing

It's a poisonous way to live life. And yet, it's what I do in so many areas. Because I'm not The Pioneer Woman, I'm not going to even bother blogging. Because I'm not Ina Garten, I'm not going to even bother cooking adventurous meals. Because I'm not John Piper, I'm not going to even bother praying. Because I'm not Sandra McCracken, I'm not going to bother playing my guitar.

It makes sense in my head at the time. Behold, a syllogism:

The goal of everything should be perfection.
If you can't achieve perfection, you shouldn't even bother.
I shouldn't bother with anything hard because there is NO WAY I will be the best, thereby accomplishing my goal AND securing lots of accolades from onlookers (that of course being the secondary goal.)

Now, I'm no Aristotle, but I feel pretty safe in saying that this is not logical.

Why are you writing all this? Can't you just put up a picture of your kids and be done with it?

I could go on and on about this for years probably and never run out of things to say about how truly dysfunctional I am. But the reason this topic is on my mind is because of the book I started today called Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. Laura recommended it and after reading the sample, I quickly downloaded it. So many thought-provoking ideas have grabbed hold of my mind as I read. I'll save my book report for another post, but this is why I have been examining my "all-or-nothing" mentality today:

In her chapter called "In the Rock Tumbler" she begins be reminiscing about her rich spiritual life when she was in junior high. All the spiritual disciplines came so easily and so joyfully. I think about the time in my life that was like that. Bascially anytime prior to becoming a wife and a mother. Basically when all I had to think about was me. Basically when I lived a self-centered exsistence that naturally lended itself to uninterupted prayer times and painted toenails and meeting up for coffee with friends. I don't mean I never struggled or dealt with lack of desire for the things of God, but I had the luxury of only having to worry about my sin. My problems. My needs.

The author compares this to a rock being refined in a gentle, slow-flowing river. Yeah, the rock is being smoothed out but the change takes a long time. There's not a lot of resistence or struggle, but there's not a lot of growth either. It's sweet. It's refreshing. But it is not where sanctification gets its hands dirty and scoops out that corruption.

But things changed. For me, it happened by God sending a husband and children into my world. When this occurred, I was thrilled of course (and still am!) But, as Mrs. Jankovic puts it, your rock is taken out of the serene, gentle stream and placed into a rock tumbler. It's loud and disorienting and jarring. It's dirty in there. You get hit a lot. But, by God, you are changed!

Seriously, your kids are cute. Just upload a picture of Asher playing his guitar and call it a day.

Here's where I'm going. I spend a great amount of mental energy wishing I was more spiritual, beating myself up for not being more disciplined, and wistfully longing for the days when I could read my bible and have my quiet time, and spend meaningful time in prayer without having to accomodate anyone else's needs or schedules. I am comparing life in a stream to life in a tumbler. And then, in my all-or-nothing fallacy-based mindset, I reason that since life can't be like it was in the stream, then why even bother?

But you know what I forgot? That I don't change me. All the faithful practices in the world will not change me. Of course God uses those means, but if he places me in a stage of life where I have the time and stamina for a few desperate words of prayer and a chapter or two of Scripture, then I can trust that He will do all that needs to be done with that meager offering.

But instead, I blow it off all together most days. Because I can't do the "all" that I have decided I must do. But the reality is, I am being changed. In this season that appears to be the least spiritual, the most removed from time with God, He is actually doing the most in me I think.

And probably, one day, I'll get put back in that peaceful river. Much smoother, much more polished than the young stones around me. And I will let them know that God is here, but He will be even closer in the tumbler.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why, Hello There.

**tap, tap, tap**

Is this thing on?

Hello, my beloved readers. I'm assuming you have all been clicking refresh on your browsers since November just praying for a new post to pop up. Well click no longer, dear ones. I refuse to put off the outpouring of verbal creativity that has welled up within my soul, lo, these many weeks.

Or maybe Cheryl has updated her freaking blog three times in the past three days and I don't like to be outdone.

The only problem is...I'm not sure where I want this blog to go. I can't deny the mommy blog-ness that goes on here. I have incredible brilliant children so I must from time to time fill you in on all the terribly impressive things they do and say. But I'm not sure I have found my niche yet.

I'm not a photographer so a hip blog full of my well-edited pictures is out. Most of my craft projects turn out looking like I was drunk and blindfolded while doing them. I do cook, but only out of societal pressure to conform to my gender role. So there goes the crafting and cooking genre. I love Jesus, but dear God, I'm afraid you need to be a little less cynical before you write a weekly devotional blog. I enjoy exercise, particularly yoga, but what's say I drop this last 15 before I try to knock Jillian Michaels off her throne.

So where does this leave me? Not sure. I shall continue to ponder this.

In the meantime, I'll just complain about a few things. This I feel equipped to do.

Let's start off with what must be the biggest thing happening on the planet right now because I swear it's all that was on the news this morning...The Trenta. Yes, 31 ounces is a lot. Yes, it will probably cost $5 after tax. Yes, our population is overweight and we drink too many empty calories and blah, blah, blah. There is a demand and Starbucks is supplying and that's what makes this little system we all enjoy so much go round and round. So if it offends your moral and ethical sensibilities to be in the presence of such blatant gluttony, brew your coffee at home and shut up.

So I really like being in my thirties. I feel more confident and less prone to be affected by the drama that begins in jr. high and never goes away. I think there is a "coming in to yourself" (I don't know what that even means, but go with me here) that happens, slowly but surely, and it's nice. You still envy those people in their twenties that always dress cute and get to do amazing things, like sleep, but on the whole, I wouldn't go back to those days. But for crying out loud, what is up with the dark under-eye circles? I mean, come on! Whatever the switch is that flips and makes weight loss so much more fun in your thirties also controls the pigment of the skin below your eyes apparently. Concealer is no longer optional if I would like to appear, oh I don't I haven't been in a fight? I'm not a fan. Notatall.

My neighbors have a goat. As a pet. That they walk. I think this is weird.

Ok, that's enough complaining for now.

So bear with me as I figure out what this blog is. I've narrowed it down to nothing hip, creative, enviable, or impressive.

And for crying out loud, Cheryl, don't post tomorrow. This is exhausting.

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