Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Boy on the move

So I frequently comment that pictures don't work as well to capture Colin's moments. He moves too fast. :) So I finally had the forethought to film him. And here's the boy as he's meant to be seen:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Breakfast snatcher

We are calling Chloe 'Ooch' these days. She has figured out how to wriggle forward on her tummy by 'ooching' all her arms and legs. It's not crawling but it will be soon. And this opens a range of possibilities for her ideas. Lately, she has been coveting her brother's breakfast. I have come in several times to find her gnawing a piece of his toast. (Which is of course taken away immediately. :) ) The first time I saw his scrambled eggs on the floor I thought he had done it. (Cause he does) But I think she did. Anyway, caught her in the act:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Giggling Girl

Our miss is trying out a whole range of sounds these days. Just love it and managed to capture it here! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Some thoughts on Umbrellas

I should say at the outset that this is not a light-hearted post about English rain and the subsequent need for portable shelter. Much could be said on the topic indeed, but I am here for another more somber reason.
My grandmother died on Sunday.
Writing those words just now made it more real since I'm over here in England and she lived over there, there being Oregon in the US of A. It's hard to be apart at a time like this--a time when all of my family will be gathering to honor her life and to commit her to sleep next to my grandfather until the trumpet shall sound. I wish so badly I could be there in body. But that is not possible for many reasons, and really, it is okay. Her passing was expected, even longed and prayed for. She is rejoicing in the arms of her Savior and it is fabulous beyond imagining to think of those whom she is meeting right now.
But we grieve here for a little while.
God decided that Lois Garfield would be the last of my four grandparents to leave the Shadowlands. And with her passing, a chapter is ended in all of our lives. We've all officially been promoted you see.
As a child it was always comforting to know that there was someone else above you--a parent, a teacher, perhaps an older sibling. There was what some refer to as an 'umbrella' sheltering you from various things. But I think that God prepares us to be that umbrella ourselves throughout our lives.
I recall first being made aware of this in a significant way when I became a high school Senior. That was it. We were the top. Thirteen years and here we were in the coveted position. And suddenly all the responsibility of that position came upon me as well. We would be expected to lead. To be good examples to the younger students. To take on more responsibility and ultimately prepare for our leap out into the world. It was scary at first. But it was good practice.
The next umbrella was actually not being a college Senior. While those were good years, I didn't feel quite the same way. No the next umbrella was the first year post college--my first year as a teacher. Goodness--the weight of that responsibility was heavy--so much so that I do not remember my first two weeks of teaching. I know they happened, but it was a blur of responsibilities and the realization that these children saw me as the authority. The buck stopped with me. But I make mistakes!! I'm not always patient and don't always think of others ahead of myself! These parents and students will see my flaws! Ack! But I loved my job so very much and I grew into being that umbrella as well.
Then of course, came marriage, but that was not an umbrella. I gained an umbrella in my husband. I think he knows that too. :) No, you can likely anticipate the next umbrella and that was when Colin was born. Suddenly I am the parent. The hints I had from being a teacher of other peoples' children flashed into high definition focus with my own. I understood my own parents so much more. I understood the fears and weariness, as well as the rich joys and new discoveries. And I've grown into that umbrella too.
But my grandmother's passing has solidified that status. Because you see, now my parents are the grandparents. There is no one else above them. And that means, officially, that me and my siblings are the parents.
This may seem like stating the obvious, but you see, because we still had grandma, all of us could hang on a little bit to the status we had growing up. We're the 'kids'. We're the ones playing in Grandma and Grandpa's fabulous back yard with the creek and the swing and the zip line. We're the ones running into the waves on the beach while the parents tell us not to go too far and the grandparents enjoy walking hand in hand on the sand. We're the ones giggling with the cousins on sleeping bags in the Sherman house while the parents and grandparents play games downstairs or watch a film and other boring (!!) stuff. We were the ones who had all the fun after all. :)
And now...Now we're the parents tucking those kids in and coming downstairs to enjoy that glass of wine and relax. We understand now the great joy of watching our kids splash in the waves and dig in the sand and the joy of putting them to bed so we can unwind and laugh together.
I've wondered over the years many times when I would feel 'grown up'. And here is the moment. I don't mean that I will never understand the joys of being a kid again. I will always hold onto that. But I do feel grown up as well. It hurts a bit to make that transition, given the cost. But it is something we all must go through. It's the way God made things.
My parents (and aunts and uncles) are a different umbrella now. Grandma has relinquished that role. It's hard for me to let her do that. Part of me wants it all to stay as it was, with all our categories intact. But then we wouldn't grow. Grandma knew that. And I thought I should share some of the words she gave me in our communications over email. She sent this right before I moved to England with Mark and shortly after our wedding:

Hi, Sweetie,

Do you feel as though you are standing on the brink of something? 
Well, you are, and I know that you know it. Of course, you've already 
taken the first big step, but there is still a great big deep breath 
needed for the next steps. l hope you and Mark know how happy we all 
are for you, and I trust that there is a lot of excitement built into 
this big step, as you'll be together finally and can make your 
apartment your first home. I have a feeling that there will be some 
traveling, too, as you have the opportunity. Do have lots of fun together...
You're going to have a wonderful life, dear, so the ones to feel sorry for are your sweet folks. I have a feeling that they'll miss you so much that it won't be long before they'll have to come over to see you...

Well, dear, you know that you will be in my prayers. I love you so much, Grandma 

I love you too. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Busy Boy

So slowly, but surely, our firstborn, the one who was a baby just yesterday, is finally talking. A lot still sounds like Ewok, but we're starting to learn it through the immersion method. ;) But he has the important things like the names of all his immediate family members and has this week accomplished saying the names of one set of godparents. Granted Will and Katie have become 'Wuh' and 'Kitty' but we'll take it.
And my goodness is he a MAN now. He has people to see, places to go. He loves our back garden and would happily run around back there for hours. I can already see I need to get him a plastic gardening set as he loves being out with me and our plants. (and dirt. Lots of dirt) He loves the small park near us as well and has recently discovered the sky. He's noticed things IN the sky, like planes, but all of a sudden he was pointing at clouds. 'Whats'sss?' is a question we get a lot. And I had some people tell me how tired I would get of this question. Nope. I adore his thirst KNOW. And I keep looking at him and thinking that I must hold on to these moments and feed that thirsty little brain because all too soon he'll grow up. I don't want to be maudlin, but after teaching 9 years, I learned well just how fast those small little 12 year olds were graduating because I blinked. So I am holding on to the 'whats'sss?' days with joy. We'll have our lives to talk about deeper things and well formed thoughts. Right now I love answering the factual questions over and over.
The other thing Mark and I love seeing is the how much Colin loves his sister. As she's sitting up now, it's as if he has truly SEEN her as a person and he loves to interact with her. And my goodness, does she adore that. And him. He is so tender with her and sweet. Not perfect, no, but his natural tendency is to love on her. And we love that. He can climb into her crib and he's been doing so in the morning when we go in to get her. And she laughs and he sits beside her and grins at me in his boy toes and curly hair. So he may be crazy and the most energetic little being I know--one who can wear me OUT--but my lands do I love him so deeply. And those boy arms hugging me tight more frequently these days, I will treasure and hold on to him as long as he'll let me. So here's our guy. Ta da!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chloe's turn!

It really is appalling how I neglect this blog. So many things happen that I want to write down and then I get overwhelmed and then time passes, and --- you get the idea.
I think therefore I need to resolve to try and write once a week, even if it's late. I hate losing those unique moments and I'm terrible at grabbing the camera fast enough, so I need to depend on descriptions in writing to remember so many of the things going on in our crazy little small person world right now.
Anyway, my little girl is 7 months old and counting! HOW did that happen? I think I've mentioned how bewilderingly fast time seems to pass for me. I knew as a teacher, that each year went by more and more quickly. No one warned me that as a parent I would enter warp speed. (Okay everyone warned me all the time, but warnings and reality are very different things)
We now have one person in our family who wakes up happy every time. Doesn't matter if she's only had 5 minutes of sleep or if I'm getting her up at an odd hour, she wakes up and smiles. Melts my heart. And this is good because Mummy and Daddy and Colin are not people who wake up well so we needed one of us to be chipper. I'm reasonably hopeful this will last. :)
She has fully achieved Gerber baby cheeks and has the blue eyes to go with them. She has recently discovered her toes and so we now all share the same fascination. I LOVE baby toes. Can't get enough of them. Daddy and Colin also love Chloe toes and it's fun when big brother comes to pinch them. Because Chloe adores her big brother. She smiles and spits and growls for him and is now able to grab his hair in a lightening fast swipe in order to bring him closer to herself. This does not thrill Colin for some reason, but it provides us with great amusement. She is doing her utmost to sit up and view the world and it looks like she does baby crunches. We haven't quite got our balance yet, but she's getting there!
Chloe is definitely a cuddler as well. She likes nothing better than to sit on someone's lap and be part of the social scene. And I like nothing better when two small hands frequently come up to pat my face and assure herself that I'm there.
Sometimes she has to take on her super hero alter ego of 'Leech baby' where she grabs our faces to bring them to her wide open mouth. Not sure how this saves the world, but she seems pretty confident in the method.
I was always a bit nervous about having daughters since girls can be tricky for me. Don't get me wrong--I love em to bits but I find that girls have always been able to push my buttons so much more easily. Likely because I think like them so I see more of the flaws. But I'm so grateful for a daughter. I love pink. I love the pretty bows and shoes. And yes, I know the challenging part is yet to come, but I welcome that. I wouldn't trade my sweet Chlo for anything. :)