Monday, November 22, 2010

A sweet week~

So last week was really good. Things have been a little slower around here...or a least they're supposed to have been since Dirk's still recovering from his hernia repair surgery. Now if that doesn't sound middle aged - then I have no idea what does. But truly we're not feeling it... after my recent birthday I am that age which conjures up images of women in weird shirts who snort when they laugh. But that's not me or us . I guess it is all relative after all.

Anyway...I digress. Last week was good or it sure looks that way from the rear view mirror of Monday. Little Ainsley has started to speak a bit about our Lord. She calls Him Jeez-ut. Which sounds an awful lot like Cheez-It. She'll randomly (or maybe not) say "Jeez-ut here" or "It's Jeez-ut," which reminds me all the more that these little lambs are angels among us. They are so much more open to the happenings in the spirit realm then we are. We'd do well to pay more attention.

So on my birthday little Ainsley woke up and was calling for me from her bed. "It's scary, mamma," I heard her say. Though she surely didn't sound very frightened. Nevertheless you tell me you're scared and I'll be there in a hot minute. She must have known this trick. But it was sweet, our time together that night. Her warm body nestled in my arms I was drunk on love for her. I know these times are passing by at warp speed. She won't be small enough for me to hold her in my arms for long. When she's sleepy like that she is so supple, so small. She smelled so good as she strummed my rib cage beneath my nightshirt (one of her favorite things to do when it's just we two). When she'd had her fill of milk and was good and sleepy again she simply said quietly, "Blanket, bunny," which meant that she'd sure like it if I'd put the three of them back in that snug little bed if I pleased. That time right there...really was one my favorite parts of my birthday. Sleep interrupted or not.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthday today~

It's my birthday today :) Which means that until Dirk gets home tonight the day's pretty much like any other. Emie's already attempted to argue her point that birthday cake always tastes best first thing in the morning. Shouldn't we just have it noooooooooooow and save daddy a little slice? Delayed gratification never did come naturally to a single soul.

So on this day of wishes I do sort of wonder just what to hope for the coming year. I do hope for more wisdom, more selfless love, more love for Jesus. But what about the fluffy wishes? Like that really cute blue sweater I saw at Anthropologie the other day or some fun curtains for the Family Room? I'm reminded of precious Ainsley who when asking for things often says, "Can I want this?" She wants to know if she can have something but I love her phrasing as it kind of captures my heart today. Can I want this? Is it okay, in an already ridiculously blessed life to want for more. And not from a place of malcontent or lack of gratitude....but from a place of understanding just how much my God loves me. He is the giver of all good gifts after all.

The thing is if I never get one more thing in this life I will be one of the most blessed and full people on the planet. I have so much more than I need, deserve, and even desire. Thanks for everything sweet Jesus~

Happy Birthday to me :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Claire through and through

There are a lot of girls in our family. I have eight nieces -- but there is only one Claire. She will be five in January, is incredibly bright, fiercely determined, and precious to all who know her. I'm ever amazed at the simple and profound observations she makes about the world around her. She's an extraordinary girl... and not just because of her adorable ways... She is set apart from the others because she is unable to walk without the aid of leg braces, cannot bend either of her arms at the elbow, and wears glasses that are held on by a strap around her precious head every moment that she is awake.

I never really stopped to consider what it would be like to stand out in such a way. To be so uniquely made such that it caused others to stop and stare. That is until Saturday when we all went to the Mall of America together. I didn't realize how much I'd taken for granted the affirming glances, complements, and smiles in the direction of my own lovely daughters I steadily received until I walked hand in hand with Claire. The isolation was palpable. People looked to me, then to her, then back to me and back to her. Their eyes stayed on her and stared... without a smile. In their defense I'm sure they had no idea what their faces betrayed as they tried to understand just what the matter was. She doesn't look like everyone else. Just what were those things wrapped around each of her legs from thigh to foot? And perhaps further confusing was the fact that me (a lily white mama) was clearly in charge of this very Chinese little one with a body that was unlike any they'd perhaps seen before. We didn't fit in.

You see, Claire, in her winsome way, had asked me if I would hold her hand just a few moments before. I was delighted to do so... my own girls laughing and playing with their other cousins and auntie. So it was me and Claire - hand in hand. When we decided to go on a ride together I got the tiniest taste of what parents of those with extra needs go through each and every day. Beyond the looks of confusion and even's no small thing to get a 35 pound child whose legs do not bend into a bench seat to enjoy a ride. She needs a little lift - but that's it. Otherwise she is smart as a crack, sweet as a peach, and lovely as a dolly. She's just different in ways that are visible at first glance. The rest of us have the luxury of covering up, masking, hiding our brokenness so that others don't see it all over us in a quick glance across the mall.

The coolest part is this: Claire seems blessedly unaware of the differences between her and everyone else. Of course she intellectually gets that she's not able-bodied as others around her are but she carries it all with grace. As if it's the same for all of us since compensating in one way or another is a way of life for we mere mortals. Yet for most of us it's about choosing the most flattering jeans and top - while for her it's learning to move through life with limbs that betray her. Yet she doesn't seem to have a shred of bitterness in her spirit about it. It's just a fact like shoe size or height - it's just how it is for her. Anything but ordinary is this lovely girl.

Claire came into our family in an atypical way - but it wasn't unnatural to any of us. She was left outside a building in China just a few days after she was born. In a culture where imperfections are intolerable it's likely that her family just couldn't accept her the way that she was or simply didn't have resources available to help her along. She spent the first few years of her life living in an orphanage where she soon became the darling of the caretakers there. But her future did not look bright. She was visibly broken and was thus not at the top of any of the lists for suitable adoption candidates. Until her sweet picture came across the computer screen of my most generous sister and brother-in-law. They new immediately that she had a forever home and it was in their family. They traveled to China to bring her home when she was nearly three years old. After a number of surgeries (10 for those counting), and innumerable hugs and kisses, she is thriving here in the US in this family where it seems she was always meant to be. To us she isn't the orphan from China or the child who can't walk - she is Claire. Our niece... our love.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tangled Up and Two

Well I've never been one to buy into the "terrible twos" moniker for the toddlers among us - baffling though the age may be. Sometimes their emotions just seem so much bigger than they are and life is just bewildering. Today was such a day for Ainsley and me too for that matter. Neither of us could put our finger on it but we both just felt kind of tangled up inside.

Ainsley just wanted to be in my arms, rocked for that matter under our new (and fabulous!) sherpa blanket. Emie tried to get in on it as well but precious Ainsley just wasn't up for sharing me at that moment, "Go!" she said to her sister with not a drop of softness. We settled on having Emie on the ottoman near to us which seemed to please Emie quite well and at least not rattle Ainsley any further. We sat this way a good long stretch - forgoing our plans to head to the health club. We just rocked and chatted and sat for a good bit.

It just seemed like what all of us needed. And to me, this is the very best part of setting the schedule for one's life as a mom - you get to decide the tenor of the day. And if it's not a day to rush -- then you just simply don't do it.

So we both seemed to hit our stride as the day wore on. Me after a good while in the Word and in prayer and she after a good nap. And then we were back to the routine of driving Emie to and from ballet and reading stories at bed. A different day. A good day. I'm grateful for the room in our world for the tangled up times. For the moments when just rushing everyone into the car just because it's what we always do doesn't have to be what we do today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Autumn full of beauty~

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

In celebration of this gorgeous season and the end to our family's tour of duty in Operation Stomach Flu 2010, Emie and I collected as many different leaves as we could gather.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's a bug

So little Ainsley woke from her nap in the mood she's best known for: jubilant. As we came down the stairs from her room she paused and sat on a step - patting the space next to her for me to join. With no particular place to go I couldn't help but oblige her sweet request. We sat a couple of minutes while she looked down at her little top and happily remembered that there was a dear little puppy stitched on the front of it. She pointed to it and said "puppy," happy to know he was still there even after a long sleep.

But just a moment later everything in her expression changed. Her eyes filled with panic and her full lips closed awkwardly in a hurry. Now any mom knows this is recipe for disaster, but before I could connect all of the dots she was in full throttle upchuck mode. A big mess for both of us. The force of the moment scared her a good bit and she couldn't keep from crying. It startled me a bit too, truth be told. Nothing like going from chatter to scatter in a matter of seconds.

After a wildly quick and thorough cleaning we were both back in our positions to visit. This time on the floor in the living room. She seemed fine. Like it was just a fluke and maybe somehow bending over so far to see the puppy on her shirt was what had caused the upset. But in a few minutes all bets were off of my "she's not really sick" illusions. It was a bug - like it or not. She spent the better part of the evening sitting with her sweet little hand over her mouth hoping the Big Terrible wouldn't happen again. I mean, seriously. Who wants to throw up? It's pretty much the worst and how about if you're two and have no idea why this heinous fate is yours for the evening.

So I'm praying the precious girl sleeps it off and is back to her busy and beautiful self tomorrow. But I have to say that having her fall asleep in my arms for the first time since she was a wee peep was not at all lost on me. She's as precious as the day is long. And yes, the days are long.

~~Note that I do love your comments. Please keep 'em coming~

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall is here

Well it's autumn in Minnesota. Growing up in Illinois fall was the best. It meant the end of the humidity and the beginning of your favorite sweatshirts and sweaters. Walking with the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet.

In California it meant facing the Santa Ana winds and wondering just how a breeze could possibly be so hot.

In Minnesota - it's glorious. Beautiful, sunny, colorful, and brief. So brief that we all try to pretend it's a season and not just a few days. Days that precede the longest season known to humankind. But today, well it was just a taste of heaven. Colorful leaves flew all around while the temps rose to the 80s. Like we forgot for a second we aren't coastal at all. Thanks Upper Midwest for giving me a little taste of my California home. The warm wind through the windows took me a thousand miles west.

The girls were in on the revelry... piling up the leaves and jumping in wearing their capris.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A week in the life

Just a few little moments to note of varied randomness:
  • Worked out at the club only to be paged once I was good and sweaty -- mid work out. Went to the child care center to find the manager horrified that Ainsley, who was wearing a dress, had taken her own Pamper off and was letting her sweet little cheeks fly in the breeze.
  • Feigned shock and did not reveal that anybody who lives here knows the girl is a self-proclaimed nudist. Replaced Pamper and returned to work out.
  • Heard myself paged again. Returned to child center to find she had filled the brand new Pamper to the gills and needed a change.
  • Change her again and cut my losses... head straight to the shower.
  • Went to the market at 9:30 pm and glance at O magazine while waiting to check out. Read her urging us all to "Own Your Power." Know I don't have any power aside from what's God given and realize I could use a little surge right about now.
  • Proudly noted that Ainsley ate an entire kosher beef hot dog without me having to cut it up for her.
  • Later found it on the floor gnawed into like a corn cob.
  • Smiled 'til it hurt when I heard Emie sing from the backseat tonight, with the window rolled all the way down, "I love everything -- and Jesus love it too" The girl's onto something there in her little soulful tune. He do love everything :) 'cept sin, a course.
  • Got chill bumps all over when an expectant friend told me today she heard her baby's heartbeat for the first time. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Room for more

I was awakened by Emie this morning whom I could barely see. Not for the blurred vision that is mine without either glasses or adequate sleep but for the mountain of plush she was carrying with her. She said, "My friends wanted to see you," and proceeded to pile the bed with her warm little body and their furry ones. This is how she left them after we both got up. My mom might like to know that the sweet little dolly with the blue cap has been named Polly. :)

It's nice to know her friends like me. This might not always be true so I'm gonna enjoy the moment. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remember me?

Hello blog world. I know the three of you (smile) are wondering where I've been lately. And the things is, I do so very much want to chronicle the wonder of these days of mothering my young ones. But my days are so filled doing just that, that I don't always take the time to fill everyone else in on what's happening around here.

Things have been so good and rich in the Mattson home. Precious Ainsley turned two years old last month. I'm entirely without explanation as to how this is possible so soon. Suppose I could remember the "full days" sentiment I just spoke about. These seasons really do pass us by in an instant. And oh how I want to be present in the moment so I don't miss a thing.

I want to be present enough to get that in simplicity I will find the profound. The other day after Emie told me that her tummy hurt I found her lying on the couch. She was so quiet I was sure she was asleep. I walked over to check and found her eyes clenched tightly closed, hands folded, while she spoke these words, "Dear God, would you please help Emie to feel better. Thanks." I want to take a moment and realize that this is the whole deal right here. The whole point. And how cute is it to refer to yourself in the third person in prayer? So good to remember that all I'm investing into this mothering bit is to encourage my girls to go to the Lord Jesus with their hurts, their thanks, their lives. When someone prays without being asked to you learn something about them. You see that they have an understanding of where their help comes from. The privilege of overhearing her gave me the golden opportunity to remind her of that request and point her to the Lord's answer when she told me later that she was feeling better. She got to experience the power of prayer first hand and see that you know what - it actually works. Not a bad day's work for either of us in the world of learning life's lessons.

It was just a few days later that her little friend had suggested they eat a sugary treat at her house without telling me about it. Emie told me instantly about the plan and told her friend that I don't like secrets. She makes me proud of her so many times but I don't ever want to call it common. It's not. It's extraordinary. And the best part for her... she still got to go over to the friends and eat the fruit snack (read: enhanced candy) cause life's about balance any old way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big Party Five years ago. . .

Somehow before you know it five years goes by and you go from here to there in a flash. Emie came into the world with great celebration and the merriment and the fun pretty much hasn't stopped since.

She has such a contagious zest for life it is seriously impossible not to smile around her. Everything is cause for celebration and if her precious mouth isn't in the shape of an "O" to exclaim her excitement about something then she's smiling or laughing about it instead.

Five years old. Hard to believe it's been that long since Dr. Cho said the words I really hoped she would, "It's a girl!" But I never could have dreamt what I was in for. Spirited, lovely, playful, joyful, bright, winsome you Miss Emerson Hope the very first. You delight my soul.

I love watching you grow and learn and do learn quite plenty from you as well. I've lost count of the number of times you've said, "Good job," or "You're doing that well," to me or someone else. Your gift of encouragement is unmatched and such a treasure to those around you. Your tenderness with your sister is beautiful and frankly quite wise beyond your years. Noteworthy since Ainsley love is known to yank your hair or pitch your glasses in her efforts to explore the boundaries of social graces. But you laugh it off and call her Noodle Doodle or Silly Baby and don't hold it against her. It's a great way to go - to keep no record of wrongs and laugh not only at the days to come but at the one were in this very moment as well.

You almost always know what Ainsley needs when she's sad or crying and are so careful with her that it melts me to no end. Just the other day I was struggling (for the third or fourth time that morning) to get that girl's Pamper back on since she is so fond of whipping it off and running around buck naked. She was fighting me in this and had no interest in being hindered by the confines of a diaper (why this feels like a ball and chain to her I don't yet know) but you said, emphatically but with respect, "Mamma, just let her be. Please let her be," so I did. I just laid down the Pamper and let the little love run naked all a giggle. What was the difference anyway? We were the only ones home and we do have wall to wall hardwood floors for some reason after all. The point is this: you knew enough to tell me to stop majoring on a minor. To remember that our value is full, abundant life and a little naked behind waving in the breeze never hurt a soul.

I love you, girl. So much my heart aches inside. You sparkle, shine, and make our lives beautiful. Happy, Happy Birthday. Five looks so good on you.

p.s. I love that even waiting in line for the rides on your birthday you look nothing short of gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So I was out the other evening for a bit and Dirk was hanging out with the girls. I came home just as he was leaving Emie's room after putting her to bed. He told me she'd been asking about me and thought she'd be especially pleased if I went in to bid her goodnight myself. I walked into her room to find her snug under her quilt happily whispering, "Mommy!" to me as I walked toward her. After kissing her head and cheeks and nose a number of times she asked "Would you like to sleep in here with me?"

I told her that I wanted to be sure she'd get plenty of rest because the next day was a fun playdate with friends so I'd have to decline. She graciously said, "Okay - and I'm sure daddy will be so happy to see you." Now if that just isn't too precious for words than I'm not quite sure what is. Not only did she accept my no without one bit of fuss but she went on to exclaim just how much her not getting what she'd hoped for would bless her daddy all the more.

She's nearly five so we have our moments where we're both exhausted beyond measure...but she gets it right so much of the time. I love the lesson for me: God's "no" always means there's a bigger and better yes coming and it might just allow me the opportunity to be available to bless someone else in the process of accepting His plans instead of demanding my own.

There's Only One Ainsley and that's a Cryin' Shame

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gettin' the job done

I never thought I was a control freak - still don't actually. But it's fair to say that I like a fair amount of control where the care of my little lambs are concerned. Reasonable, say you - thank you - until you learn that this control extends even into the realm of the precious girls' daddy. I know, I know. But I do like it the way I like it.

He knows that I have a system that makes this ship sail smoothly and he's awfully good about following orders even when I'm gone. (smile). He knows that cute really is a non-negotiable where clothing and hair accessories are concerned and the rest is of his choosing once we know the girls are out of danger and covered in love. Always are when he's around - lover of the girls that he is.

So you'll understand why, after being gone for a mere 52 minutes yesterday afternoon, I walked in to find this reality and could not help but bust out laughing. Ainsley, known to remove her Pamper on any whim, would walk around "nakie" all the day long if anyone let her. Hub had tired quite quickly of refastening the thing around her precious hips several times in my short absence. So, in his male ingenuity, he came up with a fool-proof solution. Duct tape. This picture will never do it justice, ever. But it's a moment permanently etched in my brain for always. A daddy getting the job done - with love, and care, and even a little cute (note the headband). It's not perfect but I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sleeping Beauty~

Precious Emie is so often mistaken for a girl much older than almost five that the expectations often follow right along. This can be a heavy load to bear but Emerson Hope never was one to slight a challenge. But as her mamma, I've got her back like nobody's business in this and every other area. So maybe that's one of the reasons that this picture just slays me. She looks like a mere babe in her bed (which she is, after all) - hair tousled like a doll's. To say she's beautiful just isn't enough. It's like saying birds fly, grass is green, sky is blue... it's just part of God's goodness. He decided to not only give me two miracle children but make sure they were gorgeous beyond containment just for good measure. Much more God that He is.

I've been praising the Lord for Em's maturity, for her ability to understand my expectations and (glory be) meet and exceed them so much of the time. But my favorite part of this stage is that I don't have to chase her down. It just doesn't seem that long ago that my firstborn, exploding with enthusiastic energy and happiness was on the run all the day long. Yes, I'm prone to exaggeration when it comes to my peeps like the rest of you are - but suffice it to say - this girl runs like a gazelle. So to have her at an age where she understands boundaries and rules and still run with wild happiness but I don't have to hightail it after her to keep her from the street, heights, and all manner of heart-stopping activity is enough to make me weep with joy. That is if I weren't so tired from chasing Ainsley love instead.

For those bored with interval training, elliptical workouts, and spin classes - meet the most adorable little high intensity cardio trainer ever to run across this green earth: Ainsley Grace. She is precious as the day is long... and the day is long! But the years do fly. I can't believe she'll be two in a matter of months. It is impossible to understand the concept of time. Some days seem to never end - even in the surroundings of miraculously conceived lamb-girls a mamma gets weary. Yet somehow the minutes turn to hours, days, weeks, and before I know it I'm hearing our beloved pediatrician utter the words no mother of a toddler wants to hear, "It's time to give up the crib." Please, no. Anything else: spinning classes, boot camp, ultra-marathons. But alas, the time has come for my fearless climber to be saved from herself. She has already hopped out of the crib three times with notable dexterity. Landed on her feet and everything. But darling Dr. McCarthy reminded me that she is not yet a master of her own little destiny in the crib-escaping world of climbers. She could fall and he's seen some pretty nasty injuries that resulted. So... this weekend hub and I are going to dismantle the darling little Jenny Lind and empty out her perfectly lovely room. All that will remain are the sweet pictures on the walls and her little mattress on the floor - baby cave bare. Hope she likes it and knows she's not in any trouble ;)

Thanks blog world for taking a look. I have designs on a darling little blog for us but it's only in my head in the moment. So, for now we'll let Blogger host and will make things lovely in due time.

Big love,


Friday, May 14, 2010

toe in the water

No time like the present to get my blog up since the babes are growing all around me. I just need to start somewhere so here I am... Ta-da!

Emerson love is just nothing short of precious. Her observations about the world around her just make my heart swell. The other day we were driving and saw a man running on the sidewalk. Exercise running - not fear running. Emie, from her little booster-clad seat in the back pipes up, "He's running to get exercise. To make his body so strong and healthy. That's why we exercise. But cakes is really good, isn't it mama?" Were truer words ever spoken? I mean seriously - from the mouth of the almost five year old I was reminded that indeed life is full of contradictions. Exercise makes you strong and healthy but cake is really good. That about sums up weighing pros and cons in everything. I loved it.

Ainsley is as tender as the day is long yet strong as a lion. She is mad for shoes. Any shoes. All shoes. As long as they're not her own. Whenever we're at someone else's house she finds her way to the mudroom or closet and starts pilfering the goods. Favorites are flip-flops and sandals. The girl loves anything to do with the sun which should be no surprise since she was made in California.

Just kicking this off with a few musings. I'll be back with more...