Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life with Lana today (3 years, 5 months)

Sleeping: Oh, the bedtime battles.  Lots of tears and hugs and spankings…it’s just endless, especially on the weekends when Dan is working.  I’ve tried putting her to bed earlier, not wanting her to be overtired.  I’ve tried putting her to bed later, not wanting her to be wide awake.  None of it works.  We are doing lots of praying for discernment during these times….sometimes it is a battle of her will, and sometimes it’s a genuine need for some more closeness.  We want to be sure to handle each instance the best way we can, and it just seems like we have to take it on a case by case basis, while trying to be as consistent as we can. 
Eating: When we had Tucker, we were so fortunate that friends brought us meals forever…literally every other day for 2 months!  It was a blessing in the most profound way possible – just a beautiful expression of the Body of Christ doing what it does best.  Most of those meals came complete with a scrumptious dessert – much to the delight of my husband and daughter!  I rarely make “dessert,” instead serving fruit or applesauce for something sweet.  Well, my lovely friends spoiled my family rotten, and now Lana thinks that we are SUPPOSED to have dessert after every meal.  She’ll eat a little and then ask “How much do I have to eat before I can get some cake?”  She’s still shocked when I tell her there IS no cake!
Talking: All.  The.  Time.  That’s really all I can say about that.  She wants to talk to us, listen to us tell her a story, sing to and/or with us, talk to her babies, ask about what’s going on….it’s endless and precious and sometimes tiring.  When we’re riding in the car and Dan & I are talking, it’s very common for her to pipe up from the backseat during a break in the conversation: “What are you guys talking about?”  Her little ears are always listening!
Discipline: Those crazy temper tantrums we were seeing last month have become increasingly more rare, although they’ll still rear their ugly head at bedtime sometimes.  We have been encouraging her with Deuteronomy 5:16 (the first commandment with a promise): “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live long and that it may go well with you.”  We are pointing out to her the correlation between how her life goes well when she obeys vs. the pain and suffering she experiences when she disobeys.  We are teaching her that the reason we must be careful to teach her to obey us is because we want her to obey God well. 
Play: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

"We share everything we have."

Tonight at dinner, Lana & I were eating hotdogs.  I had mine on a bun with ketchup and mustard, and I licked a drip of ketchup off.  We have a strict "no licking" rule about ketchup in our house.  If we let her, she would put ketchup on her finger and lick it off the entire dinner time.  We tell her it's only for dipping - she has to eat something WITH the ketchup.  

Anyway, she of course noticed when I licked the drip.  She said, "Mommy, you licked that ketchup?"  She pointed to my ketchup and stuck her finger in it, accidently, I think.  

She grinned and licked the ketchup off her finger.  "I want some more of your ketchup," she said.

"No way, Lana!  You can't just lick it, you have to eat something with it.  And you have your own ketchup," I told her.

"But I want some of yours!  And you say we share everything we have!" she insisted.

I cannot believe that at two and a half, she's already using my own words against me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I love you more than...

Since the time Lana was born, I have played the "I love you more than...." game with her.  For the past six months or so, she has played with me by repeating what I say to her.

I would tell her "I love you more than there are stars in the sky," and she would smile so big, immediately repeating back to me, "I love you more than the stars!"

Tonight for the first time, she came up with her own!  As I was rocking her before bed, I said, "I love you more than there are people at the mall."  She smiled and said, "I love you more than I love to eat at Chick-Fil-A!"  I laughed out loud, and said, "That's a lot, Lana!  I love you more than there are lights on the trees."  She responded with, "I love you more than I love to eat at CiCi's.  That's a lot, Mommy!"  

Life can't get any better than this....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life with Lana today (2 years, 4 months)

Here's my monthly journal entry about what life is like with Lana.  I wish I had been doing this since she was born - there's so much that I might remember, but can't quite remember exactly when it happened.  Glad I'm starting now!

Sleeping: Lana is such a great sleeper.  She's had a cold and a pretty persistent cough, along with her two year molars breaking through, and she has slept through the night without a problem.  On the other hand, she's starting to test us at nap time.  I guess she's gotten old enough to realize that she'd rather be playing, so when we give her the 5 minute warning for nap time, she starts telling us "I'm not sleepy.  I'm busy.  I need to play!"  For a few days, she was crying quite a bit at nap time, asking us to come in and get her.  Finally, I had to tell her that Mommy said it was nap time, and if she chose to pitch a fit instead of sleeping, she was disobeying.  It isn't as if she doesn't need the sleep - when she finally goes to sleep, she's napping an hour and a half to two hours.  Hopefully this phase will pass, soon.

Eating: One of the hardest things for me to adjust to when Lana turned one was the change in her eating habits.  When she was a baby, she ate on a pretty consistent schedule, and pretty much the same amount each time.  When she turned one, all that changed, and now that she's two, it's even more hit or miss!  She eats a wide variety of things and will try anything at all, but her appetite is so unpredictable.  Some days she's starving and will eat as much as Dan does at a meal; other days, she just picks and will hardly eat anything at all.  We never make eating a battle - we want her to learn to listen to her body's signals to eat when she's hungry and stop when she's done...none of that cleaning her plate business.  So if she doesn't eat much at one meal, we just make a point to not give her a snack until the next one, so she'll eat well then.  Today is Thanksgiving Day, and she's been a big eater!  Sweet potato fries were the huge hit today - she couldn't get enough of them.

Talking: She is learning to reason and try to convince us to do things her way.  It's so funny!  "Mommy, I'm not sleepy, so I will just read a bunch more books."  or "Daddy, I don't want to get dressed.  I'll do that later."  It is so fun to be able to communicate with her.  She's listening to everything we say.  We hear lots of things that her teachers say.  She told me today, "Mommy, you don't talk while I'm talking!  You just listen."  I'm CERTAIN her teachers have had to tell her that a time or two.  I wonder what they hear at school that we say here at home?  She's been watching her LeapFrog Letter Factory movie a lot, and she can identify lots of letters and most of their sounds.  She can often spell her name if we ask.

Potty training: We intended to spend this Thanksgiving week potty training, but my friends Lindy Hayes and Melissa Black really encouraged me to wait until after the holidays.  It makes so much sense: even if we were really successful potty training this week, we are only here for 3 weeks before we are traveling for Christmas.  To have her so newly potty trained and take her out of her environment, routine, etc. is a recipe for disaster and regression.  We decided to not add that stress to our holidays.  We're going to hold off on the "intense" training until we get back from our Christmas vacation.  We'll have a week or so before we have to go back to preschool, so we're going to hit it hard and heavy then.  In the meantime, we'll keep encouraging her to let us know if she needs to use the potty, reading lots of potty books, etc.

Discipline: "Obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart!"  Sometimes I wonder if she'll ever "get" it, and then I'm reminded that I still don't obey my heavenly Father that way all the time.  Sometimes I'm slow to obey, or just obey the parts I want to, and obey grudgingly.  Whenever I get frustrated with Lana, I have to remember that it's the kindness of God that leads me to repentance, and in turn, I want to use kindness to bring her to repentance.  She is such a tender girl, and usually accepts discipline and instruction willingly.  She's been testing us lately.  It seems that if we slack off even for a moment, if we allow her "slide by" with being disobedient once or twice, she runs with it, and we have to really tighten up.  It's so interesting to me that her obedience to us in so dependent on our consistency.  It makes me realize when I'm seeing a lapse in her good behavior that I need to check my own!

Playing: This month, Lana is such a homebody.  It's winter and dreary outside, and Dan & I will try to come up with fun things to do: "Let's go play at the Factory!" or "Let's go get ice cream at the mall," or whatever.  No way.  Almost without fail, she responds with, "No, I just want to play at home."  She's lining up EVERYTHING these days!  It's so funny to watch...her animals, her letters on the refrigerator, her nativity characters, her babies - everything goes in a straight line.  Today she had all her animals lined up, and she accidentally walked backwards into them and knocked them over.  When she was trying to set them back up, they kept toppling over, domino-style.  It drove her BESERK!  She was in tears over these animals falling down - they had to be in a line.  It was really quite funny, although she didn't think so.  She really plays well with others, loving especially older kids.  She will follow them around, doing exactly what they do.  I better be careful who we schedule play dates with, right?!?  She loves playing with our neighbor Julianna, and her friend Olivia at school is her favorite - she talks about her all the time.  We have already begun praying about the friends she will choose when she's older, about the company she will keep.

Happy Thanksgiving from Wake Forest, NC

It has been such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!  Although we missed being with our family in Alabama, it really has been a treat to have a quiet, grateful day with the three of us.

We started the morning at the airport.  Our friend Courtney's husband Jerry has been in Iraq for a year, and got to come home for a few days.  A group of us brought flags and big smiles to welcome him home on Thanksgiving Day and tell him our grateful we are for our sacrifice.  It was a lot of fun! 

On the way home from the airport, I reminded Lana that it was Thanksgiving Day, and I asked her what she was thankful for.  I uploaded a video of her telling you...what a treasure for Dan and I.

We came back home and got busy preparing our Thanksgiving lunch!  We had a honey glazed ham, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato fries, rolls, cherry pie, and sweet tea.  It was all of our favorites!  We all ate until we were stuffed.  Lana could not get enough of the sweet potato fries!  

As we ate, we talked about what we are thankful for.  This year, Lana could participate, and we made it such a special time.  I jotted down all the things that she is thankful for in her own words - we'll do this every year.

After lunch, we cuddled and watched the parade and some football and then when we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore, we all went down for a Thanksgiving nap.

After nap time, we all had another piece of cherry pie.  Yummy!  We lounged around reading and watching football and playing until around 5, when we took off to watch the sunset.

We've found a little hill where we can see the sun as it sets, and it's beautiful.  Sometimes we see deer when we go there.  We park the car, let Lana climb out of her seat, and we all cuddle together in the front.  

After the sunset, we came back home and decorated for Christmas!  Lana LOVED putting on the ornaments, and the lights on our little tree.  (We don't have room for a big tree, so we just do a table top one.)  We brought out her Little People Nativity for her to play with, and talked about Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  I love having a nativity that she can touch and play with.  

Then we watched Miss Pattycake's Christmas.  On the DVD, Miss Pattycake uses the book "What God Wants for Christmas" to tell the Christmas story.  It has little treasure boxes to open that makes it really interactive.  We have the same set for Lana, so she got to open the boxes along with Miss Pattycake!  You have never seen a little girl so excited.

It was a really good day here in the Davis home.  I think we've started some traditions here that will last a long time. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lana's favorite things at 2 and a half

Favorite nursery rhyme: Jack and Jill (she can sing both verses)
Favorite book: Biscuit - she loves that puppy!
Favorite song: the B-I-B-L-E
Favorite snack: apples and pears
Favorite part of her lunch: gummies, otherwise known as fruit chews
Favorite inside toy: baby dolls & her farm animals
Favorite outside toy: her scooter
Favorite drink: milk or water
Favorite meal: spaghetti
Favorite dessert: anything chocolate
Favorite free activity: to go play in the gym at Daddy's school
Favorite comfort item: lovey, of course
Favorite movie: LeapFrog Letter Factory - she knows almost all of her letters & sounds!
Favorite restaurant: CiCi's pizza and Chick-Fil-A

I forgive you, ball.

Today just before naptime, Lana was rolling a ball across the floor in our living room.  She wanted the ball to go under the chair, but it wouldn't fit. 

After a few tries, she brought the ball to me and said, "Mommy, this ball is being disobedient!"  

Choking back a big belly laugh, I said, "Well, Lana, what happens when we disobey?"  
"We get a spanking," she said.  "And only mommies and daddies spank.  So you spank that ball, Mommy, for disobeying!"  So I spanked the ball, of course, and then said, "What do we need to do now, Lana?"  

She took the ball back, hugged it close, and said, "I forgive you, ball."  "Now you need to pray," I reminded her.  She thought about it for a second, folded her little hands, bowed her head, and said, "Dear God, this ball not obeying.  Please let ball obey.  Amen!"  

I would have give anything for a video camera - it was probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen, and a wonderful reassurance that she understands our discipline process of disobedience, correction, forgiveness, and restoration to each other and to God.  Wow!  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toy Chest 2008

We are overflowing with gratitude for the people of Bay Leaf Baptist Church.  They host an annual ministry called "Toy Chest" for seminary families, and it is one of the greatest blessings of our holiday season.  Let me tell you about it....

The Toy Chest provides brand new toys for the children of seminary students at Christmas time each year.  Now, when I say toys, I mean TOYS, my friend!  You get 7 points for each child, and can get a maximum of 3 gifts.  Each toy is labeled with a point value from 1-6.  And these toys are not someone else's cast-offs. They are AWESOME.

Toy Chest is always on a Saturday morning.  It is such an incredible opportunity that people begin lining up as early as 4 or 5 a.m.   This year, they let the seminary students whose wives teach at the preschool pre-shop on Friday.  It was such a treat to be able to take our time shopping.  And on top of that blessing, some of our fellow teachers (non-seminary students) volunteered to keep our children after preschool so we could shop.  Amazing!!!  Do you have a feeling now for the incredible community that we live in?  How blessed I am to teach at Little Lambs?  I walk each day among spiritual giants.

This year, we got Lana a motorized jeep - not as big as a Barbie jeep, more like a ride-on toy that is motorized.  Perfect for her size!!!  She is going to LOVE it!  We also got her a My First LeapPad and a bug vacuum.  What a wonderful Christmas she's going to have!

We also got to visit the "Quarter Aisle."  These is a row filled with toys that they did not give away last year, or gently used toys that people donated.  We got 2 garbage bags full of those toys, including a doctor kit, crayons, toy ambulance, toy flutes, candyland, a marble game...just tons of really fun stocking stuffers!  We'll save probably half of this stuff for her birthday, too - it's just too much to get at Christmas.

Tomorrow morning, we'll go back for the raffle.  Each family can put their name in for the raffling off of MAJOR gifts for their children.  These big ticket items range from things like a Barbie jeep to Mac notebooks.  You only register for things your kids will use.  So for Lana, we registered for things like a train table and a Barbie jeep, but we did not register for things like the XBox 360 and Ipods.  

And the most unbelievable part of all of it is the attitude of the church as they minister to us this way.  It is NEVER an attitude of "Look what we're doing for you."  Instead, their attitude is complete joy.  It is precious and makes me cry every single year.  

We were able to visit Bay Leaf Baptist Church a few weeks ago and share with them how Toy Chest has touched our life and family.  They considered something that we were doing for them, but we were just so grateful to have the time and pulpit to tell them congregation what a difference it makes in our life, not just for now, but for how we'll do ministry in the future.  I hope that all our seminary friends get to visit Toy Chest tomorrow morning!  

Thank you, Bay Leaf members!  You have blessed us more than we could ever ask for or imagine.  Your sacrificial giving and joy in giving makes the Body beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The shortest way to peace.

excerpt from Charles Bridges book, The Christian Ministry (p. 178):

"It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be overruled for his glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility. The shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too eagerly for present fruit."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mrs. Laurie says....

I wish I had a quarter for every time we hear Lana say "Mrs. Laurie says...."
Mrs. Laurie is one of Lana's teachers at school, and her word is authority.
Here are a few of the things we hear...
  •  Mrs. Laurie says we not take our socks off!  We can take our shoes off, but not our socks!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we sit on the pillows.  Pillows are not for standing!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we don't frow things!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we don't hit our friends.  
  • Mrs. Laurie says just the leader gets to hold the big flag.  I get to hold the little flag.
  • Mrs. Laurie says God is in the Bible.
  • Mrs. Laurie says teeth are not for biting.
  • Mrs. Laurie says our friends need privacy when they go to the potty.
It makes me laugh out loud to envision the scenarios that might require Mrs. Laurie to say some of those things.  Love it!