Category Archives: Brookelyn

…While We Were STILL Waiting…

So where were we?
Oh yea, that’s right.
In CA waiting for the birth of grandchild #3.
 While waiting for the baby,
we were reminded of the simple fact~
babies come out when they’re good and ready.
They don’t understand due dates.
They don’t understand schedules.
They don’t understand about which midwife is on call.
They don’t understand because they’re on the Lord’s schedule.
They are wise enough to wait for His perfect timing.
They just don’t have any way to encourage their mommies
during the waiting,
so they kick,
and squirm,
and punch,
and wiggle,
and push
and kick some more.
They like to make a grand entrance by making
their mommies totally miserable just prior to birth.
It’s the Lord’s way of making a woman actually
want
to go through labor.
It works, doesn’t it?
Pregnant women will go through
anything
 just to get that baby out of there.
But, meanwhile, Mommies need to pass time while they’re
waiting.
Target was a favorite destination
because Gwamma had to buy the kids presents, of course.
We had to buy little monkey outfits for baby, too.
This Gwamma loves monkeys.
This Gwamma is really sad nobody made baby clothes with
monkeys on them when she was having her monkeys.

Brookelyn entertained us by marching into the living room
 in this beautiful ensemble and announcing, “I’m Jana.”
Her actions inspired a full-fledged  fashion show,
with Rebekah and Brookelyn modeling and announcing.
While waiting,
we ate a lot of snacks.
Kids and preggo mommies love snacks.

Beka helped pass the time by setting up a library story hour.
Both of the listeners ended up being banished from the library
for being naughty.
They had to take an early nap.
The librarian read to herself.
We had to eat a lot of IN-N-OUT Burgers while
waiting.
They really took the misery out of waiting.
I think both Jana and I gained weight while
waiting.

Since food seems to be the favored way to pass time while
waiting,
we also had to go out for gelato.
While her Mommy was in the bathroom,
I tried taking a picture of Brookie with chocolate drips on her face.
She refused.
I won’t be outsmarted by a three year old.
I told her she could stand on the tall chair and pose for a picture.
There ya’ go.

At the street fair there were some gnarly lookin’ pirates.
Why do people think pirates are fun for kids?
Unbathed murderers?
EEWWWW.
No wonder the kids didn’t smile.

Speaking of eating while
waiting
-our first Funnel Cake!
It was so good.
We slopped powdered sugar all over our faces,
fingers and clothes, but the mess was worth it.

A little bit of running and jumping always occupies people
who are
waiting,
waiting,
waiting.
During one of our conversations,
Jana said that despite her discomfort and her anxiousness to have the baby,
she trusted the Lord for His timing.
“His timing has been perfect with Brookelyn and Brayden,
His timing will be perfect with this one.”
One night, because we were hungry and needed some female bonding,
Jana and I put the kids to bed and went out for a snack.
Believe it or not, there was yogurt underneath all this candy.
Nice, healthy, supposed-to-be-better-for-you-than-ice-cream yogurt.
But, by the time I ate all the candy,
I didn’t have room for the healthy yogurt.

With baby curling up on her tummy,
Jana knew she didn’t have a lot of room for yogurt,
so took a nice, polite helping.
You know how people claim the last thing they did
 before going into labor causes labor?
Then, it’s official.
Yogurt causes you to go into labor.
And, Jana was right.
The Lord’s timing was perfect.
(stay tuned…)

How To Wait for A Baby

In June,  my youngest daughter, Rebekah,
 and I hopped a plane to Orange County, CA
to visit my oldest daughter, Jana,
who was expecting her third child.
Because we had plenty of time at the airport,
we “rode” the sidewalk a few times.
For those of you who are used to the Fargo airport
with four terminals and about 32 stairs,
 the Seattle airport has
this cool sidewalk thingy that moves so you can get
to your destination more quickly.
I knew you’d be impressed.
To further enlighten my daughter,
I told tales of riding the only escalator in Montana
during a shopping trip to Great Falls.
It’s still one of my prized childhood memories.
Small things thrill people from small towns.
Beka wasn’t as thrilled with the retelling.

Jana looking beautiful with her baby bubble.
When the Lord described Mary as “heavy with child”
in the Scriptures, He once again validated in my mind
the accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible.
Little Brookie in her Pwincess finery helping with luggage.

This waiting for the baby business is a lot easier when
you are NOT the one who is pregnant.
It also goes better when you drink a lot of coffee
and a lot of lattes.
Luv me some coffee.
I loved drinkin’ coffee with my first baby who is ready to have her third baby.
We sat and sipped and talked and enjoyed our adult relationship.
But I also marveled at our lives.
Where did the years go?
How can she be old enough to be a Mommy?
How can I be old enough to be a Gwamma?
Don’t get me wrong, I love this stage of life,
 it’s just that my baby stage went by way too quickly.
One day I had a house full of toddlers,
the next day my child has a house full of toddlers.
Back to the waiting…

Daily splashing definately passes time. 
Just so ya’ know, this pool easily holds three kids
AND
one adult.

Tea parties in the backyard can eat up minutes.

Time is also wisely spent “fixing” things.
Little Bubba,
(doesn’t every Red Neck Minnesota family have a Bubba?)
fixed every broken thing he could find.

Sitting outside in the Cali sunshine makes
waiting just a little more pleasant,
as long as you aren’t the one with the beach ball sized bouncing baby
on your lap. 

Taking a lot of pictures is also a wise use of time.
A child who has grown up with digital photography,
Brayden kept looking at the back of the disposal camera asking,
“Where picture go?”

Enjoying friends is a wonderful way to pass those waiting moments.
Mark and Kirsti, dear friends of ours from Minnesota,
were in the area on vacation and joined us for a day.
When the heat is unbearable,
and people are starting to get cranky,
a trip to the play area at the mall always works.
 
Auntie Rebekah loves playing with the kids.

And if you’re still waiting for a baby,
a trip to the Bounce House can eat up almost a half a day.

This probably would be strenuous enough to make a pregnant
woman go into labor, but Jana stayed firmly on the ground.
And yet, after days of playing and splashing and
waiting…
the baby still hadn’t come.
Since my pregnancies were overdue,
I  remembered the feeling that
glaciers could melt,
mountains could be moved,
and I would
still
be pregnant.
I had to remind Jana a few times
that she would actually have the baby.
Nobody stays pregnant forever.
Although you know this factually,
it’s hard to live when you are
heavy with child,
waiting, waiting, waiting…
 
(stay tuned….I know you want to hear how this ends)

Flowers That Won’t Fade

Sometimes I’m a little slow in getting a blog post done.
I made these headbands over a year ago,
but you probably didn’t need to know that.
I started with silk flowers from the Dollar Store,
and a wide headband from the Dollar Store.
I like my flowers to be really full, so I began by taking the flowers apart,
and throwing away all the plastic pieces.
I know some of the craft bloggers would probably make
something really cool out of those pieces,
but I needed to get them in a garbage can before they ended up
my grandchildren’s noses.
Of course, my kids didn’t do strange things like that,
but my grandkids sure do. 
Don’t know where they get some of their habits. 🙂
Any hoo…
I prepared my supplies.

The layers of silk flowers were sewn together,
then sewn onto the headband.
I used a lot of stitches.
Kids can be rough on things.
 
Isn’t she loverly???
I love huge flowers on beautiful little girls.
Brookelyn, my first granddaughter.

Grandson Brayden, is also adorable, but yanked this off his head.
He doesn’t like fluffy stuff.
After all, his nickname is Bubba.
Doesn’t every family need a Bubba?

Done.
$2 each

He definately didn’t like the pink one.
Silly family.
Why would they put flowers on a little boy and take his picture when he cried?
I dunno.
Cuz’ he’s so stinkin’ adorable?
My daughter, Rebekah, (far left) is in a Keepers at Home
group with these girls and their moms.
The Lord brought us together in a wonderful way,
all four moms have older teenage kids,
and second grade daughters.
I’ve been teaching the girls handsewing,
so this was the perfect project to work on their skills.
Some of the girls chose to hot glue a large button
 in the middle of their flowers.
 
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Flowers are a reminder for one of my favorite promises in the Bible,
I Peter 1:24-25
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the LORD
 endures forever.”

These girls are being raised with more than just helpful skills,
for their future lives.
They’re being raised with the enduring Word of God,
for their eternal lives.

Using Your Imagination

Little kids
view the world with eyes of excitement. 
Everything is
interesting,
fresh,
and full of wonder.
Who doesn’t get excited when a toddler
spots a plane in the air.
“Pane!  Pane!”
It’s as if we’ve never seen a plane before.
How about watching ants crawl around carrying crumbs?
How about touching a roly-poly and make it roll into an
armadillo tough shell, over and over again?
Kids are even thrilled by watching a fan rotate
or a cat twitch its tail.
Not only is everything worth watching,
everything is worth imitating.
Our oldest child, Jana, entertained us often
 by pretending a high heel was a phone.
She’d answer over and over,
and we would laugh over and over.
Then our friends would come visit and
we would make her perform all her tricks over and over.
Now Jana has her own comedy act to follow.
Her Little Munchkins provide her hours of laughter.
This is Brookelyn’s yo-yo.
Use your imagination.
Yea, we know it’s a skirt hanger on a string,
but to Brookelyn,
it’s a yo-yo.

This is her butterfly garden.
She tore up beautiful pieces of bright pink tissue paper
and put them in mommy’s pan.
The lid, of course, keeps them from flying away.
This was the genius of all geniuses.
Can ya’ guess what they were pretending?
Can ya’
Huh?
Huh?
Huh?
Wrong.
It’s a blizzard.
Brookie needed a snow storm,
so covered the ground with white stuff.
Snow is white.
Diapers are white.
Works for me!
Of course, I’m the Gramma, and I didn’t have to clean it up.
Jana’s Little Munchkins provide more than hours of entertainment.
They provide hours of restoration management for Mommy.

Mommy’s soon learn the mess is a necessary price to pay
in cultivating an imagination.

(stay tuned….tomorrow I will be blogging more about
cultivating an imagination in your children)

*****
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?
It just makes me feel glad to be alive–
it’s such an interesting world.
It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it?
There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Lost and Found Mission

Our 8 year old daughter, Rebekah, was given a digital camera for Christmas,
and we quickly discovered it came without a memory card.
Big brother Jon remembered he had an old one kicking around his room.
Beka had a thrill when I downloaded her first batch of pictures.
Look what we found!
Little Baby Brookie

Isn’t she adorable?

Isn’t she a good eater?
I wonder if  rice cereal is a beauty treatment?
Do ya’ think it keeps away baby acne?

She still loves her deet-dee.  (pacifier)

And she’s still adorable.
It instantly brought us back to the time when she was so small,
she fit doll clothes and when she smelled like a  baby.
I love the smell of baby!
She loved to be held. 
Now, a busy 3 year old, she might let you hold her occasionally,
when she isn’t pretending that her Build A Bear Monkey won’t stop climbing on her,
when she isn’t busy exploring with Dora,
when the “westwant” in her playroom isn’t open to serve plastic pizza,
when she isn’t coloring another picture for “du fwidge.”
We were mostly thrilled that pictures that once were
lost
were now
found.
Don’t those words just send spiritual shivers through your body?
lost
and
found
Or, did you  skip the shivers and go straight to singing?
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
Luke 15 is all about lost and found things.
The shepherd went after one lost sheep, although he had 100.
Luke 15:7 And Jesus said,
“…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner
 who repents than over ninety-nine just persons
who need no repentance.
 The woman went after one lost coin,  although she had ten.
 v. 10 “… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
 over one sinner who repents.”
The father longed after one lost son,  although he had two.
v. 32 “for your brother was dead and is alive again,
and was lost and is found.”

The Father sent His Son on a lost and found mission.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man has come to seek

and to save that which was lost.”




I was found in 1982.

When were you found?

The New Improved Me

Early in parenting,
I had a hard time discerning when my kids were “naughty”
and when they were “just being  kids.”
To me, it all seemed naughty.
Smearing Vaseline all over my bathroom?
naughty
Shaking a whole container of baby powder around the green shag carpeting?
naughty
Biting baby brother’s toes and leaving a dental imprint?
naughty
Writing all over my Bible with a green permanent marker?
naughty
Gluing the pages of Job together in Daddy’s Bible?
naughty
 
Some older, wiser friends lived in a beautiful older home with their four kids.
Their four year old son had taken a permanent black marker
and carefully drawn  X’s and O’s
all over the brick fireplace in the master bedroom.
Apparently, he’d been watching older siblings play Tic-Tac-Toe.
Appalled, I asked the Mom, “Did you spank him?”
Equally as appalled she answered, “No, he didn’t know any better.”
She went on to explain that it wasn’t naughty
because he had never been told “No.”
It was the first time he had written on something
and he did it out of curiosity and new-found skill, not rebellion.
At that point, he needed correction. 
He needed to be taught the correct behavior.
Once a child was aware that the behavior was wrong and they repeated it,
then they deserved to be corrected AND disciplined.
I was always thankful she took the time to explain that to me,
although to this day she probably thinks I am a horrible mother.
She would be happy to know I am a very understanding Gramma.
 
Brookie had found a small hole in my couch,
and decided it needed to be big enough to fit her arm in it.
Sounds like a plan to me!
I was so busy watching her dig, I didn’t look down.
When I looked down, I was a little surprised.
How did she ever think up a stunt like that?
Her conscience must have been nagging,
because she quickly began stuffing the fluffy white stuff back into the couch.
At this point I just had to raise my voice,
just a little.
“Stop, Brookie! 
Don’t put it all back!
Gramma needs to go get her camera!”
She politely waited, then allowed me to take these pics.
Then, she restuffed my couch and I quietly explained to her
it probably wasn’t a good idea to unstuff Gramma’s couch.
A few days later, Rebekah proudly walked me to the couch.
She had taken a darning needle and thread,
and sewed up the hole for me.
Rebekah fixed the couch,
but we haven’t quite conquered the bedroom yet.
But, that’s OK.
The Mom in me would have stayed up until midnight cleaning.
The Gramma in me knows how to make a path to the bed,
and keep the door to the room shut so I don’t have to see the mess.
The Gramma in me knows we’ll eventually get to it.
The Gramma in me
is the New Improved Me.
The model is slightly older,
slightly run down,
but definitely wiser.

We’ve Lost Our Touch

In my prime of parenting many small children,
rarely did a sight or sound escape me.
I could tell from the creak of a hinge,
even if my I was blow drying my hair,
which cupboard the kids were getting into.
I could tell from the shake of a box,
even if I was vaccuming the carpet,
if they were eating cereal or crackers.
I could tell by the crinkle of packaging,
even with my head stuck in the dryer,
what they were umwrapping to eat.
I could tell the difference between teasing slaps and fighting slaps.
I could tell the difference between a clean room,
and a “I shoved everything in the closet” room.
I could hide candy and presents so well,
I couldn’t find them even when I wanted to find them.
Together, Scott and I were an Army of Two.
The kids sat when we told them to sit,
they ate what we told them to eat,
they slept when we told them to sleep.
We were good.
In our day.
During the last visit with the grandkids,
we had to admit defeat.
We’ve Lost Our Touch.
I didn’t even know a chapstick was anywhere in sight.

I certainly didn’t know it was in Brookelyn’s sight.
I have failed as a Gramma.
I have a precious memory  of my Grandma Geneva
 teaching me how to put on lipstick.
She carefully edged my top lip with pink,
then taught me to smoosh my lips together to spread it to the lower lip.
I thought everyone did it that way.
Gramma was just saving money.
Most women apply lipstick to their top and bottom lips.
Brookelyn must know the Depression is over.
She used all the lipbalm she wanted,
without lessons from Gramma.

I didn’t know the fingernail polish was left at  the eye-level
of a 3 year old Do-It-Yourself Diva.

She came walking into the living room with her hands folded
in front of her, as if she was praying.
Grandpa thought he was smart enough to figure this one out.
“Whatcha’ got, Brookelyn?”
She shrugged with the practiced indifference of a teenager.
“Let Grandpa see.”
He was expecting to see something IN her hands,
not all OVER her hands.

We used to have this cool rule about playing with one toy,
then putting it away before you took out another.
See this same living room a few years ago.
I promise it has been clean a few times inbetween.
When Grandpa sat on a few toys, he thought about reviving that rule.

We never used to allow toys in any rooms but the family room
and the kids’ bedrooms.
Now, every room is a play room.

They dared to leave BOTH the kids with Grandpa and Gramma one night.
At bedtime, Grandpa got the bottles ready.
I said, “Um, Scott, the kids don’t drink out of bottles anymore.
They actually haven’t for a long time.”
His response, “They do when Grandpa babysits!”

Happy grandchildren getting bedtime milk.

We were trying to get both kids in their pj’s and sitting on the couch quietly.
We’d get one settled, then lose the other one.
We’d find the missing one, then lose the settled one.
Yea, we’ve really have lost our touch,
but found a crown.
Proverbs 17:6
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, “
We’ve been crowned and our hearts’ desire
is to cast these crowns at the feet of the Lord Jesus
when we stand before His Holy presence in Heaven.

Anything You Say and Do…

This is a reprint, slightly edited, from the very first blog I posted.
**********

I have another new form of punishment and torture for my children – the Internet. Now that I blog, they are under constant scrutiny to provide the next fodder for my cyber-soliloquy. I even carry a small notebook in my purse, and doodle random actions and exclamations, and keep a running OneNote document on each child.

For years I have attempted to journal the comical things they say and do on my daily calendar, or in small notebooks for each child. But, who can keep two decades of calendars? The notebooks were read and re-read so many times the pages fell out. So, now I have the means of chronicling their lives and not only broadcasting it to a much wider audience, I can have it preserved forever

*as long as my hard-drive doesn’t crash (again)
*as long as I remember to backup my computer
*as long as someone doesn’t spill milk on my computer (again)
*as long as I remember yet another password

Now, when I hear bickering, I pull out my notebook, not always so discretely, and begin writing. If I don’t have a notebook, I grab a napkin or a scrap piece of paper. When they notice the writing, they sometimes begin to elevate their diction to a level of acceptability.

Sometimes, I may just casually ask, “What did you just say? I’m not sure I got that right?” with hands posed industriously with pen or keyboard, and they give me THE LOOK.

We all know THE LOOK. All kids use THE LOOK on their parents. It is when their eyebrows and lips morph into the expression that quietly shouts both “What are you thinking?” and “Are you really my parent?”

Then I give them the PARENT LOOK back.

We all know the PARENT LOOK. All children have seen the PARENT LOOK after they have dared question the superior wisdom and authority of their parental unit. It is the look when the eyebrows raise and the lips barely smirk, and we are quietly and victoriously shouting back,

“Yes, I AM thinking” and
“Yes, I AM your parent” but it adds,

“And if you don’t behave better, I am going to wear leopard stretch pants or a sweater with beads, mirrors and sequins sewed all over it the next time I take you out in public…and THEN I am going to blog you. Because, remember,

Anything you say and do, can be blogged against you.
 You were warned, Grace Face.
 So were you, Rebekah.
Bethany should be leading by example.
Even our Fearless Father learned to mind his P’s and Q’s.
(What are P’s and Q’s, anyway?)
Jon learned that present and past actions are up for scrutiny.
The grandkids were warned, too.
Well, I guess they will be when they are old enough to understand.
Just reminding anyone in my world,
for the 499th time,
Anything you say and do,
can be blogged against you. 

A "Wetter" for Gwamma

At three years old,
my granddaughter, Brookelyn,
is now old enough to write a letter
She laboriously drew all these trees and filled them up with apples.
It was to remind me of a walk we went on when I visited in September.
It was a nature walk and we were picking up leaves,
admiring a huge snail,
watching ants,
playing with roly polies,
not to be confused with Roli-Polis,
and I thought I spotted an apple tree.
I was all excited and we talked about apples
and picking apples and eating apples.
I was on a roll.
Until my daughter, Jana, graciously pointed out that it was, actually,
an orange tree.  Unripe oranges are green and look like apples,
when you refuse to wear your tacky reading glasses.
And, at three, Brookelyn can talk on the phone,
when she feels like it.
Sometimes, she doesn’t want to talk to Gwamma,
‘cuz she’s pwaying.
Although we chatted for 15 minutes,
I didn’t think to type it up until we were done.
I couldn’t remember enough of her precious jibberings.
Whatchu doin gramma?
Oooooh.
Gwamma, guess what? Mommy is gunna’ hava  BA BEEE!

Gwamma, ummm, Bubba got a big scwatch on him face.
Guess what, Gwamma? Mommy got fwowers.
Teigen’s mommy gived them to her.
Dere pitty.
Dere pink and white.
Gwamma…I got a big girl bed. It’s pink.
and the best line of all,
I wuv you Gwamma!
*****
I love you, too, Brookie,
because you made a dream come true –
you made me a Gwamma.
When a child is born, so are grandmothers. ~Judith Levy



Not a Mini-Me

This blog was inspired after reading my daughter’s blog, an honest reflection about the ways she’s like me and the ways she isn’t.

I realized we’ve been tugging on opposite sides of this struggle in life from the very beginning.

The best advice my Lamaze coach gave me when I was pregnant with my first child had nothing to do with labor, contractions or breathing.

It had to do with the appearance of our newborn children.  She shared her story of expecting a petite, dark-haired little girl, a little miniature of herself.  Instead, she had a chubby, red-headed little boy with freckles.  She adored her little guy, but was in shock because he didn’t look anything like her or anybody else on either side of the family.

She warned us, “Have no expectations about what your child is going to look like.” 

I have thought about this over and over –  her wisdom has permeated many aspects of my life, whether she intended it to or not.

Not only did my first child come out with hair and skin so dark I would have thought they handed me the wrong baby if I hadn’t been awake for the whole thing, but as she grew,  I realized she didn’t always think like me, either.

I learned to have no expectations.

From a young age, I learned she had her own ideas in life about the world around her.  She didn’t see the world through my eyes, she saw it through her own.

It wasn’t wrong, it wasn’t rebellion, she wasn’t rejecting me.

She just wasn’t a little Mini-Me.

She didn’t follow my exact taste in clothes, decorating,  or crafts.  She didn’t like sewing.  She didn’t like museums. She didn’t like camping. 

As I learned to let go of my ideas on how things should look, should function and should be, I was blessed to see her own taste, confidence and faith develop. 

This was a valuable lesson to learn, since she was the first of six children.  

I am not raising children to be imitators of me, I am raising children who were knit together in my womb by the Heavenly Father, who created them with their own personalities, gifts and abilities.

If they are to imitate anybody completely, it should be the Lord Jesus.  Our example is supposed to point them to Him.

1 Corinthians 11:1
Imitate me,
just as I also imitate Christ..
Jana and I celebrating her gradution from High School
at the top of the Space Needle.
She doesn’t like this picture of herself,
but I think she is beautiful.
Jana likes this picture, but I don’t like the picture of myself.
We still don’t always agree.
Even though I tried to not conform her into my image,
and even though she tried not to be just like me,
we ended up a lot more alike that we ever imagined.
Ya’ know what?
We’re both really, really happy about that.
3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy
 than to hear
that my children walk in truth.