"Thank You, God, for everything. Thank You, God, for everything we have and You give us. We praise God and thank God. We praise God every day! Thank You, God, for my Mommy and my Daddy and my friends. Jesus!! Praise Jesus!! I love you, Jesus!!!"
This is what Lana is saying in her crib at this very moment. She is in there falling asleep, and it's been quiet for a while, but she just started talking, getting louder and louder until she was almost shouting "I love you, Jesus!" It's quiet again now. I've been typing as she was talking - it brought instant tears to my eyes and was too precious not to write down.
This is what the Word means in Deuteronomy when it tells us to teach these truths to our children as we "sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up, write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates so that your days and the days of your children may be long upon this land that the Lord has given you."
We talk ALL THE TIME about everything good coming from God; we strive to praise Him in all things, to be grateful in all circumstances. Sometimes I wonder how much of it she understands - I feel like the Lord gave me a glimpse into my child's heart tonight as I listened to those words pour out of her mouth. I am renewed in this battle I wage for my child's heart. Thank You, God, for this sweet gift tonight!!
Today after Lana woke up from her nap, we packed up and went to the pool for the afternoon with our friends Kelly and Bradley, and their little girl Julianna. It was so relaxing after a long week of training at preschool...the girls enjoyed the water, we had pizza delivered to the pool for dinner, and Dan & I enjoy time spent with Kelly & Bradley so much.
After a few hours in the pool, Lana looked at her fingers and said, "Mommy! My fingers are scratchy!" At first I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, but when I looked at her "scratchy" fingers, I figured out that they were all wrinkled up from being in the water for so long. I LOVE that she called them scratchy!!
Daddy doesn't usually write in this journal, but we had such a fun day today.
So, Daddy decided (with some persuasion from Mommy) to write about our time together today, just you and me. Well, the fun started when you woke up this morning about 8:00 a.m. So I jumped out of bed to come get you so we didn't wake mommy up. We grabbed our tooth brushes (and product of course) and hurried downstairs.
I made you a waffle and some toast for me and we headed for the door. I was excited about taking you to the park and eating breakfast outside only to open the door and find it raining.
So, I moved to plan B, get in the car and drive somewhere. Before I could get us out of the parking lot it hit me, "the tractors are working today". Which is something you always remind us of as we drive past them each day. So, off we went to watch the tractors "work that dirt,"as you say.
As we pulled up I noticed the tractors were working very close to the road, so I even got excited a little. I pulled you from the car seat and your face was priceless as you stared in amazement at the size and noise of the huge tractor that was literally only a few feet away. I'm not sure why I thought trying to feed you while you were completely distracted was a good idea, but it worked. You actually ate every bite of your waffle and a couple of bites of my toast. As you can see in the pictures, you were unwilling to part with your "Hollywood" shades, even though it was one of the cloudiest days we've seen in a while. Your mind raced and questions flew with each pass of the tractors and graders. "What's dat boy doing?", "Where dat tractor going?", "I want to drive it!", "What's a grader?", on and on they go. I gladly answered each one the best I could knowing that one day you might remember the morning we ate breakfast in the back of our Trailblazer and watched the grader "work dat dirt."
You eventually finished your waffle (and my toast) and turned to me and said "Daddy, I ready to go to my home." But I just couldn't bear to let the fun end yet. I suggested we head up to the gym at "Daddy's School" (SEBTS) and play some ball and you excitedly answered "let's do dat Daddy!"
So, we were off again, making our way to the Ledford Center to play some ball. We finally found a parking spot, jumped out in the rain and made a dash for the door. All along the way you were shouting, "hurry Daddy! hurry!" After several funny looks from passers by and a few ankle deep puddles we made it to the door without crashing or getting too wet. I went to the desk and got a couple of basketballs and we headed up to the gym. You ran like the wind around that place. Throwing your ball and then chasing after it over and over again.
After a while the only thing that amused you was me running around chasing my missed attempts at shooting three pointers. You were more excited when I missed then when I made it. It was a good reminder for me, Lana. I couldn't make enough three pointers to come close to the value of one of your sweet laughs. It's not always about being the best or making the most, sometimes it just about connecting to the one that is watching.
Sometimes Lana, I think this is how God looks at us. He doesn't always want us to be the best or do the most. Sometimes he just wants us to come closer to Him.
Well, our awesome morning was topped off when you looked at me and said "Daddy, I need to go get my Mommy now." How can I say no to that request. It was so nice spending the rest of the day with you and Mommy.
Thank you so much for a fun Daddy/Daughter morning and the sweet reminder of God's desire for us to be near to Him.
Lana woke up screaming last night around 3:30 a.m.. It's so unusual for her, so I dashed into her bedroom and to her crib. She held her little arms up, "I need my mommy!" Of course I scooped her up and we sat down in the rocking chair. I rocked and sang, and by the time I finished one song, she was asleep. I laid her back down in her bed, she didn't stir, and I went back to bed.
10 minutes later, she was screaming again. I rocked, she slept. Repeat until 4:30 a.m.. At this point, I am thinking ear infection: it's time for her tubes to have fallen out, and this is exactly what ear infections looked like for us: she would only sleep if we were holding her.
So I did what I used to do when she had so many ear infections...brought her into our bed to let her sleep on my chest while I caught a few zzzz's, too.
Except it didn't work. She laid on me for a few minutes, then rolled over and looked at Dan. "Daddy!" she whispered. "Daddy, wake up. Feel lovey. Lovey so soft, Daddy."
Um, no. No, we are not talking about lovey at 4:30 in the morning. Absolutely not. And at this point, I got the sneaking suspicion that she wasn't feeling bad at all. She just wanted to be awake. So I took her back into her room and rocked her to sleep again.
I laid her back down, and she woke up 10 minutes later, stood up, and started screaming. I mean, holy terror, losing her mind screaming. Stomping her feet so hard she was jumping, shaking the bedrails screaming. And not crying-screaming - she was screaming words! "Mommy, I need you! You come get me! I need to get out of my bed! You come get me, Mommy!!! You do that! You do that right now!!!"
I had turned on her turtle music toy before I left the room, and at this point, she starts hitting it to turn off, "I don't need that turtle! I need my mommy!!!"
5 a.m. and she's screaming like a banshee. Dan & I watched her on the monitor, and I must admit, we laughed out loud. She was pitching a full blown temper tantrum. I wish we could have gotten it on video!
Well, no way were we going in with her screaming at us like that, so we just let her rail on, and she did. For thirty minutes. When she finally was quiet for just a moment, I ran in and told her: "I'm going to rock you and sing 2 songs. Then you're going night night." So we sang and rocked, and I laid her down, and as I did, she started kicking her legs.
At this point, I was done. I knew we were in a battle of wills. I put my hand on her, and told her gently and firmly, "Lana, Mommy said that it's time to go night night. You may not pitch a fit. If you pitch a fit, you are disobeying, and what does Mommy have to do when you disobey?" "Spank me," she replied quietly.
"Yes, ma'am. Do not cry. Go to sleep, and Mommy will see you in the morning."
And that was it. Not one more peep from her until she woke up at 8. (Dan, unfortunately, had to be up at 6:30 to go to class.)
I love listening to my little girl learn the nuances of the English language. We talk a lot about what we did yesterday and what we're going to do tomorrow and then the next day, etc.
This afternoon, she and I were playing outside and talking about tomorrow being the day we go to church and what we're going to do after church, etc. etc.
A few minutes later, in typical Lana style, she was repeating back to me the things I told her. "I playing outside with my friends and riding my scooter and then I take a bath and go to bed and nexterday I go to church, Mommy! I not cry because Mommy always come back." She said it several more times, and I couldn't bear to correct her.
My other favorite thing she's saying this week is "sk" for the "sn" sound. Snake is "skake" and snack is "skack." It's so cute.
(riding in the car, she spies an airplane overhead): "That airplane is flying to Alabama. We go to Alabama to see Nana and PawPaw! I gonna miss them. I gonna miss Alabama."
(Dan & Lana ran an errand without me - arriving back home, she ran to the door and knocked on it as loudly as she could. I opened the door, she flew into my arms and hugged me so tight): "I love you, Mommy! I love you A LOT!"
(In the car on the way home from preschool, she was eating a snack): "Mommy, I save these cheerios for Daddy. When I get home, I share these cheerios with him."
(Bathtime with Daddy): "I want my Mommy. I want to kiss her and love her."
We are venturing into new territory in our family....Lana is struggling with some full-blown separation anxiety.
The past two Sunday mornings, they have had to get me out of church to come get her. She just could not be consoled, kept crying and asking for mommy. By the time I got there, she was hysterical. It was heartbreaking.
She was in childcare at church Sunday night and Monday night, for around an hour and a half each time. They didn't have to get me, but they did confess that she was whiny and clingy.
She has always been 100% Daddy's girl (sometimes to the point that it hurt my feelings), and she still often prefers her daddy, but come time for bed, only Mommy will do.
Today we went to camp at the preschool, and thankfully Mrs. Ashley (her teacher last year) was teaching her class. However, if Mrs. Ashley walked out of the room or had to attend to someone else, Lana lost it.
This just isn't LIKE her. She's always been a little uncertain at drop-off time and when she's tired, she always needs her mommy more, but it's never been anything like this.
I keep trying to figure out what the trigger was for this - her Sunday School teacher said she thinks it started after we got back from France.
It makes me so sad to know that she's sad, and it's also disappointing to me that her caregivers don't get to see what a wonderful, happy little girl she is. I'm praying that this is a stage (a short one!), and that she'll be back to her usual, sunny self soon. She's always fine as soon I as get her...she'll even tell us on the way home from church: "I cry for my mommy at church. I want my mommy to come get me! I have fun with my friends but I want my mommy."
So I'm looking for suggestions...this is new territory for me. Any ideas? Strategies? Tips you've used successfully? I need some wisdom!
This morning we had Lana's Wake Forest birthday party, and it was wonderful! It was at Holding Park, a playground right across the street from the seminary campus. It's a great big park with lots of shade, and it proved to be a wonderful place to have a birthday party! We had cookie cake and popsicles and water and juice, and because it was so simple, we felt like we really got to enjoy Lana and our friends.
Speaking of friends...we were so happy to see many people that we love so dearly come to celebrate Lana's birthday with us! Precious neighbors from our seminary neighborhood, dear friends from church, friends from preschool...we were reminded again how great the love is that the Father lavishes upon us! Wake Forest has become a home away from home for us, and to be surrounded by those we love most here is a blessing of the greatest kind. God made us for community, and we are blown away by what an amazing community He has placed us in.
THANK YOU...each of you...for coming to Lana's party, and for sharing your life with us. You are one of the richest blessings in our lives, and we are grateful for you.
She says "alligator" instead of "elevator." - "Daddy, let's ride on the alligator!"
She has started speaking in paragraphs. We have been talking to her about good manners at the table...not playing with her food, just picking it up and putting it in her mouth, putting her fork or spoon back on her plate when she's not using it, etc. All of a sudden the other night at dinner, she looked at us and said, "Mommy, I just pick my food up and put it in my mouth and I not drop it on the floor cause it's yucky and I have to frow it away! And I pick that spoon up and put it in my mouth and put it back on my plate so I don't make a mess!" Hilarious! It's like she had finally processed it all and had to repeat it to us. She goes on a tangent about her birthday party at least twice a day.
She is having conversations with people she's comfortable with. Skylar asked me in the car if Lana was turning four, and I told her to ask Lana. Skylar turned to Lana and said, "Are you turning four Lana?" I expected her to just say, "I two!" but she said, "No, I not four. I gonna be two years old!"
She has started articulating how she feels just in the last couple of weeks. This morning, I said, "Do you remember where we're going today, Lana?" (We were headed to Marbles.) "I go to Alabama!" she exclaimed. "No, we're not going to Alabama today," I told her. She was quiet for a moment, and then said, "I want to go to Alabama. I miss Nana and PawPaw."
The Lord gave us a great treat this week with a trip to Wrightsville beach with our neighbors, Brad and Kelly Johnson, and their little girl Julianna.
We have been trying to find time to get to know this sweet couple for months, and Kelly suggested we take a trip to the beach together. We planned a day trip, but then found a great deal on Priceline.com. We stayed at a brand new Hilton Garden Inn (normally $200/night) for $60/night!!
We headed down to the beach late Tuesday afternoon, stopped for dinner, and arrived at the hotel at bedtime. We stretched the rules since we were on vacation, and headed to the pool instead of to bed. It was great fun, and we finally got the kiddos in bed around 9:00. We spent the next few hours hanging out in the hallway, playing games and talking the night away. What a wonderful encouragement Bradley & Kelly are to us! They are super fun, positive people, and were just so easy to be with...what a refreshment for our souls!
The next morning, we ate breakfast in our rooms, then hit the beach, which was only a couple of miles away. It was gorgeous, and the girls had a great time playing in the water, sand, and shells. Dan & Bradley jumped waves, and we all just soaked up the beautiful weather and salt air. It was so relaxing for all of us.
After the beach, we went back to the hotel pool, ate lunch, and swam for a while before we loaded up in the van and headed back home. It was a really fast trip, but one that we hope to repeat soon! We've already talked about trips together camping, white water rafting, and skiing! We're so grateful for new friends.