John Turns Six

Six Years Old

I can’t believe that John is six today. I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for us with our little boy (who’s not quite so little any more.) I have thoroughly enjoyed John being five. He started Kindergarten last fall and little did I know what a little wizard I had on my hands! He has LOVED school and loved learning. He was always excited to not only go to school, but work on his homework, and now his summer packet. He enjoyed his classmates and he looks forward to seeing them again soon.

John is very inquisitive and always asking questions. They are not questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Where do babies come from?” More often than not, they have to do with theology, “Where does God live?” “Does everybody sin?” “Where does God come from?” “Why does God make restaurants?” Those are the more mild questions. I find myself telling John, “That’s a good question for daddy.” A LOT!

Fireman John

He also has a lot to tell people. When Aaron took him to the fire station for his birthday instead of listening to what the fire chief had to say, John was the one explaining what firefighters do! He has also learned a lot about animals from Wild Kratts and has a new vocabulary thanks to Word Girl. He loves to read and is happy reading to Lydia, me or just by himself. He’s beginning to understand the world around him and it’s interesting as a parent to watch him discover life – the good and the bad.

His favorite friends are Tyler, David, James, Roman, and Jaran. He loves the colors blue and green. He wants to be a mail man or a fireman when he grows up. His favorite books are anything Curious George and his favorite food is mac and cheese.

He’s a good kid. He’s my favorite 6-year-old!

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Sin is like…

Sin is like being born in house arrest. You have freedom. You can eat your choice of any ten different, delicious dinners. You have ten different solid gray-scale shirts to choose from each morning. You can go outside to swing or toss a ball around. You can see the sun and the sky each day.  This is not prison. You do not feel stifled at all. You have always felt free and safe. You know there’s an outside world, but it’s a frightening, unknown place. You’re convinced it has nothing to offer you and have been told that there are rules you must live by, which seems incredibly oppressive. You can’t imagine why anyone would chose to live under rules when you had complete freedom in your home.

Then one day your ball bounces over your fence and you walk down the street a little way to retrieve it. In your neighbor’s yard you notice a slide and you begin to become curious about it. But your ankle monitor doesn’t allow you to travel any farther. All of a sudden the next day, you’re a little put out by having to stay in your yard. You want to experience the slide. You begin to notice that you don’t have every freedom that you would like to have. The next day you decide to make a run for it. You run to your neighbor’s yard and slide down the slide. Of course the monitor goes off and a guard is at your side within minutes dragging you back to your house.

You’ve now tasted a bit of freedom and begin to wonder what life is really like outside of your house. However, you’re beaten down and feel alone and scared. Not being content with your home any longer you begin to seek help and plead to be released from house arrest. Finally, you are granted mercy. You may have complete freedom to roam about the world, but your ankle monitor will remain on your leg. That’s ok with you, it hardly weighs you down.

You leave your house and walk past your neighbor’s house. You leave your street behind and finally your neighborhood. You are exploring the wonderful freedom that has been lost on you before. You realize that there are millions of different, delicious food options. You see people dressed in clothing of all different colors and styles. As you continue to travel you experience the snow in the mountains and the beaches in the tropics. Eventually, encounter the rules you were told of. However, even the rules seem to be in place as a protection for the people. For example: Rule #3 “Don’t jump in front of a moving train.” “Really,” you think, “that leads to death, why would I want to do that anyway?”

Along the way someone trips you, but you get up again. However, it begins to happen more often. You get tripped and brought down and you begin to think of the beautiful safety and freedom of your house. It was such a beautiful little cottage, with flower boxes in the window, luxurious green grass, and the most comfortable of beds. The comfort that it always gave you. Without even realizing what you’re doing your feet lead you automatically toward home. It’s been an easy trip with no one tripping you along the way. Ah yes. Life is just so easy at home.

As you walk up you begin to notice things you never noticed before. There are bars on the windows and several large, heavy locks on the door. The grass is brown and ugly. The ball barely bounces. The food you once found delicious is disgusting and leaves a stench throughout the house. The clothes in your closet are drab. The bed is hard and lumpy. You decide this wasn’t what you remembered or want out of life, but it’s too late. The home automation system has already locked you in for the night. Feeling helpless and hopeless you decide to sleep.

Waking up with the house bathed in morning light, it no longer seems so bad and you’ve once again become accustomed to the stench and taste of the food. “It’s not so bad here,” you decide. You easily slip into your old habits and routines. Then one day, as you’re sitting out on your swing you feel the breeze and it snaps you out of your daze. You remember the humid, salty, coconut scented breeze of the beach and you suddenly can’t remember why you’ve come back and certainly not why you’ve stayed so long.

You set out to leave, but it’s hard to do so again. You’re ankle monitor, which has never bothered you before, suddenly feels like it weighs 100 lbs but you drag your leg out the door. It’s a battle moving down the street.  The further you get from home the heavier the ankle monitor feels and weighs you down. The harder it gets to move. You give up and head for home. Again you find contentment in your old habits and routines.

After a while you begin day-dreaming day in and day out of the freedom you once knew. You decide to leave again. Once again the ankle monitor weighs you down, but you’re more prepared and more determined. It slows your journey until one day you realize it feels weightless again. You begin to revel once again in your true freedom. The more time you spend away from your  house the more and more realize that your house was the true prison and now you were experiencing true freedom. That even the rules that were put in place for your own protection and allowed for far more freedom than the oppression of the barred windows, drab wardrobe and tasteless, smelly slop you ate for food.

Even with this knowledge, your house still haunts your heart and yells out to you calling you home. You even decide to go home again. But standing across the street, you once again are shocked by prison-style house that stands in front of you. You break into a run to put as much space as you can between you and it. Every so often it creeps into your thoughts. But this time you have truth on your side. When you picture your house in your mind instead of seeing flower boxes you remember the bars. Instead of believing your bed is the most comfortable of feather mattresses you remember the hard lumps. Armed with the truth of your past imprisonment you began to become adept at pushing thoughts of your house away.

The thoughts and longings come less and less often the longer you’re from home. And one day you wake up and realize it holds no draw to you. You wouldn’t go back there even if someone paid you a million dollars. You swing your feet around the bed and place them on the floor and you’re astonished to find that your ankle monitor is not snapped. The lock has somehow come undone. Without hesitation you take the last piece of your life linking you to your past prison, drive down to the beach and chuck it into the vast ocean before you. You are free. Truly, completely, and totally free. As you sit down on the beach drawing your knees to your chest, you think back on your life and are astonished that you once thought your prison was freedom and that true freedom was a prison.

February 9th 2011

Simple things that happened on this day.

**I was excited to see 6 rotten bananas at work.

“oooo Banana bread!”

coworker chef: “Huh. Oh those will be thrown out.”

“Really? Can I take them home and make banana bread?”

coworker: “Someone will take them home or they’ll be thrown out. You might as well take them.”

WOOOOHOOO! That’s 3 loaves of banana bread.

 

**I saw that my friend had a Google OS computer. I was surprised thinking they hadn’t come out yet. Man! I was jealous. Aaron and I had both signed up for the free beta computer in exchange for our opinion about the thing. Not kidding, 15 minutes later there’s a knock on our door from the UPS guy. It was a package for Aaron. John desperately wanted to open the package, and so I had him call daddy and ask. Of course Aaron said we could open it.

So, I got a knife and cut the tape and opened it up. Within the box was another box that looked like a computer box. Don’t ask me why or how I know what a computer box looks like. Let’s just chalk it up to me be married to a computer nerd. Anyhow, I was VERY confused, since I knew Aaron wouldn’t order something like that without talking to me about it. Then I realize… It’s the GOOGLE OS COMPUTER! Holy cow! Aaron was chosen. And after seeing Sarah’s response to my comment on her status, sure enough Sarah was chosen for the beta computer too!

We are feeling so blessed and excited. A free laptop… who wouldn’t?!

 

 

**Last night I went to an open house for Monticello Academy, a local charter school. On the way home, waiting at the light to from the exit off the interstate Lydia could see the McDonald’s here’s the resulting conversation…

Lydia: I want French fries.

Me: You want French fries?

Lydia: Yep! And cookies!

Me: And cookies?!

Lydia: Yep! And juice! (Sprite)

Me: And juice?!

Lydia: Yep! And milk!

Me: Oh my word.

Now imagine it in her two-year-old voice and language… SOOOOO much cuter!

 

**When Lyddie and I got home. She walked up to daddy and started “spitting” (sticking out her tongue and blowing) in Aaron’s eye. It was a sign of affection for sure!

 

 

**Lydia has a princess chair that folds out to a bed. She loves it. Last night she wanted to sleep on it, but it usually stays in our room. So I told her she could take it to her room. She started to drag the end but was having trouble, so I enlisted John’s help. But he wanted the white blanket. I told him he could take that too. So he put the white blanket over his head and held one end of the bed while Lydia held the other end and carried it through the house… it was really cute! 🙂

 

2/9/11 was a good day.

Lunchtime with John and Katrina

So… I kind of walked out of the house today, just needing some time off. I decided to go have my favorite salad at Applebee’s for lunch.

As I walked up to the restaurant I realized that this was the place Katrina and I had first really talked by ourselves and it reminded me of something funny that happened.

So, I’m not quite sure when, in the timeline of our adoption, this happened. But… I’m sitting at the table with Katrina eating lunch. I think she had already chosen us for her adoptive family, but I’m not sure. Anyhow, it was really the first time us hanging out by ourselves and our relationship was still very new. John was probably about 19 or 20 months old and he has always been a very active, busy little boy. The previous Christmas he had learned the joy of dipping foods, like chips into dip or french fries into ketchup. What ended up happening more often than not, however, is that he would lick the dip off the chip or french fry and plunge the food item back in with all his little slobbery germs.

Well, he was in a stage where he wan’t eating much and so I wasn’t pressuring him, but gave him some french fries and ketchup. When Katrina’s food was brought out, she had a side of Ranch dressing. John wanted that Ranch dressing more than anything, so she gave him a little bit. He had also been obsessed with our drinks and so he had a straw all of his own. Within minutes my son mixed the ranch and ketchup and was licking it off the dipped straw.

You can imagine my thoughts as a hopeful adoptive parent… “There is no way she’s going to want me to raise her baby, as I sit here and let my son eat ranch and ketchup for lunch!”

Our little bundle of joy
Our little bundle of joy

Thank the Lord Katrina did chose us as the adoptive parents for her daughter. Lydia has been such a joy to us and I’m constantly amazed at how overwhlmingly beautiful she is! As I smile at the memory of this story I send my thanks, again, to Katrina for our darling little Lyddiebug.

John’s First Day of Preschool

Today was John’s first day of preschool. He goes twice a week for 2 1/2 hours at a local Christian school. I’ve been very excited about it. I’m hoping that John will learn more social skills; how to follow directions, share, talk, interact, etc. etc.

I got him up and changed his clothes, put his new tennis shoes on him, gave him his backpack and headed out the door… with the camera of course! We took a few cute pictures and headed off to preschool. Yay!

Johns First Day of Preschool
John's First Day of Preschool

At John’s preschool, we don’t have to get out of the car, an adult comes to get him, and then snaps him back in his carseat at the end of the day (which is actually quite convenient when having a toddler in the backseat.) Anyhow, as I waited in the line of cars, John kept up a constant jibber-jabber. He was counting, singing, reciting his Bible verse and just talking. He got out of the car put on his backpack and just trotted on into his classroom (with a little help.) As I started to drive away I realized that I was enveloped in absolute silence. Whoa! That was a total change! Silence. And as the silence crept in the tears started coming.

What was I doing? My little boy. I had just dropped him off. Wait! Can I get him back? Maybe I’m not ready! It’s too quiet. I need my little ray of sunshine, my little ball of energy. My little baby boy is growing up way too quick! Where has the time gone?

But I continued to drive and simply enjoyed the silence and the easy quick trip to the store to grab the eggs and butter I forgot yesterday.

As the 2 1/2 hours progressed I enjoyed myself with my precious daughter and then gave her a quick nap. The house was amazingly peaceful, but interrupted by the laundry buzzing and cell phone ringing. I was still contemplating that my little boy was old enough for preschool. Amazing.

At 11:15 I jumped into the car to go back and get John Caleb. The teacher brought him out and said, “We worked on teaching our routine today because when we start to play, no one wants to stop.” [Is she saying this to every parent, or is it just a polite way of telling me that John didn’t want to stop his play time and gave them trouble?…] “So, we’re teaching them play time, table time, rug time, potty time, play time again.” And asked me to reenforce it at home.

As I drove away and onto an long errand, my car, of course, became noisy once again with John’s jibber-jabber and the kids’ laughter  as they entertain each other. I talked to John. I wanted to know how his first day went.

“John Caleb, did you have fun at preschool?”

“No.”

“What did you learn?”

“No.”

“Did you see Chloe and James?” (His friends from church in the same preschool class.)

“No.”

“Did you play?”

“No.”

“Did you sing songs?”

“No.”

“Did you color?” (As I’m looking at his colored page)

“No.”

“Did you eat a snack?”

“No.”

“Did you go down the slide?”

“Um….. OK!!!!” (This is the only thing that he didn’t do!)

So, I guess I’ll never know exactly what happened on his first day of preschool or how he felt about it, but I’m pretty sure he had fun. Maybe by the end of the school year he’ll talk to me more about his day.

I love my little boy!

August 2009 in Review

1st Aaron and John lay in lawn chairs and let the water from the sprinklers come down on them.

5th – John figured out how to stick his foot in the toliet while he peed, and peed on his foot.

6-7th – We survived an 18-hour power outage.

8th – You can see Midvale’s firework show from our north windows. John LOVED watching them yelling, “FIREWORKS!” It was a cold evening so it was nice to be able to watch them inside.

10th – Went on a reconnaissance mission for Lydia’s bottles.

11th – Was at the park with friends for Park Day. I had my eye on Lydia but asked my friend, “Do you know where John is?” She said, glancing my way, “Oh, I think he’s over there playing with James.” A good 30 seconds to a minute later, I realized my almost-40-pound son was sitting on my lap drinking his sippy cup.

13th – I changed John’s shirt before going somewhere and asked him to put the stained shirt in the laundry as I went to change Lydia. Instead, he walked in with his yellow shirt on inside-out over the blue shirt I had just put on him. He was so proud of dressing himself.

17th – So, I decided to stop for a breakfast burrito at a local place where they’re amazing. So, we’re in the drive thru and John says, “Fry, fry!”

“No, sweetheart, we’re not getting fries.”

“Why?”

Umm… “Because they don’t serve them.”

“Why?”

Umm… “Because this is a Mexican restaurant.”

“Why?”

Ummmmmmmmmmmm…. “Because sometimes people like a different kind of food.”

Luckily the guy came out the window just then and saved me from another why?!

19th – Went to Lagoon (an amusement park) with the youth. Cassie screamed so hard/loud that I laughed so hard I cried.

20th – Woke up t othe police calling me to make sure my car wasn’t stolen. It had been parked in the middle of  the parking lot for a late night game of Ghost in the Graveyard.

– The kids and I had a dance/jam session in the car.

– John and Lyddie tag-team kissed me!

22nd – I was taking a nap and woke up when John did but was still in bed. A bit later he came into the room and put me down for night-night and even sang, “I love mommy I do, I do. I love mommy I do. She is a sweet and precious mommy. I love mommy I do.”  (I sing John Caleb to him.)

24th – I found John at 2:30 am watching Curious George eating Goldfish and Apple Jacks.

I finished knitting my first dress!

25th – John asked, “Mommy what’s that?” I said, “They’re coupons.” He responds, “Yeah. Poop-ons.”

26th – Lydia swivels her hips better than Elvis.

27th – John’s obessed with the toaster.

– John made a peanut butter sandwich by himself, with his hands.

29th – John, out of no where, started singing Happy Birthday!

30th – After trimming John’s nails, I told him, “Go wash your hands.” Somehow he interpreted that as, “Take a can of non-stick butter spray and spray it all over your arms, the bathroom sink, and the the floor.” Next time… I’m using visuauls. –Aaron.

31st – After watching John play, Lydia picks up the wiffle ball, puts it on the T-stand, and hits it off, all by herself.

June 2009 in Review

1st – Lydia sits in my lap and proceeds to manipulate my hand so she can give me “five” and she’s so proud of herself.

3rd- I was cleaning up the kitchen and the living room, and without being asked John found things he knew how to clean and cleaned up all by himself!

– John dipped goldfish in ketchup.

4th – John and Lyddie have a BLAST playing with the swing box.

5th – John decides that Teddy Grahams would make a good cereal… I can’t say I disagree.

7th – Lydia is definitely more of a walker than a crawler.

8th – Went to the Shawan’s for dinner. We hear Heather, their 3-year-old, yelling, “Bring back my underwear! Bring back my underwear!” Then we see Lydia walking into the room proudly showing off the underwear in her hand.

11th – Omi came to town!

12th – Visted the Tracey Aviary and had a great time.

– John purposefully puts his shoes on the wrong feet.

13th – John, sitting on the bathrrom floor, poured baby oil on a brush and brushed hair, which lead to an empty bottle of baby oil on himself, the floor, and consequently VERY oily hair.

14th – It’s been rainy (and cold) for almost 2 weeks, but when we walked out of church it was beautiful and sunny. So, Aaron decided we should go out and get a cheap grill so we could cookout and have a nice dinner on our patio. So, we went to Walmart, picked out a grill, got some hot dogs and finally drove home… Only to have it start raining as soon as we drove into the driveway.

15th – My mom took John to the potty. Afterwards he gets a prize and he picked out both a chocolate and a car. Mom asked if he got both and I said, “No, only one.” When John heard me say that he proceeded to pick out another car and another chocolate.

Papa came to town!

16th – I went to the youth retreat until the 19th.

– After I left, my parents drove to and explored Park City. They stoped in at the Chocolate Factory. While my parents were paying for what they had picked out, John as quiet as a mouse, slowly sneaked over to and around the counter and with a very mishcevious, “I hope no one catches me” look on his face, he was slowly reaching his hand into the chocolate case when my mom caught him just in time!

17th – I’m caught outside in a hail storm!

18th – At the youth retreat we were separated into teams. Darren, our youth pastor, and I were on the same team, however he was officially the team leader. On this day, however, he needed extra time to work on his talks that he gave during the week. Wouldn’t you know they did a relay where the leader, now me, sat with an empty 2-liter bottle on top of their head while the students filled it up with water until it was full. We won, but Darren sauntered (ok, walked and innocently didn’t realize what had happened) back just in time for me to be completely soaked.

20th – John and Lydia emptied my pantry and dumped my rice and instant mashed potatoes into the sink.

21st – After church my parents took John outside to play for a bit. He rolled down a little hill and I went over to get him. I told him to go see Omi and Papa and he started running straight for a muddle puddle so I yelled, “John don’t run through the water!” He didn’t divert his path. Instead, as soon as his foot hit the puddle his hand covered his bottom knowing what was coming from his disobedience.

– John dumps out and he and Lyddie play in the rest of the bubbles.

22nd – John, walking up the stairs to the house, was in the shade. When he saw the sunny part he walked across the step into the sun and continued walking up the stairs.

23rd – Over at the Summer’s house. John, James, and Chloe are all the same age. At one point, all three of them, one at a time, came up the stairs crying/screaming draging a stuffed animal behind them. It was almost as though they choreographed it!

25 – Got back late and had to take Maggie home, meaning I had to wake up the kids and take them with me. John was still awake (although lying quietly in bed) but I let him get up before we left. He had so much energy he was like the ball in the pinball machine.

26th – The kids were playing with the water in the blow up pool as I pulled weeds. When I went to put the weeds in the trash I realized that they had my cell phone and were playing with it in the pool  water. My cell phone is dead.

27th – Being both clumsy and a dancer, I’ve become pretty good at turning a trip into a dance move or a graceful fall. Well, Lydia just triped and then gracefully disguised it as though she really meant to end up comfortably laying down on the ground.

28th – Found John standing in the toilet.

29th – Got the kids’ pictures taken. There was a river/pond that a bunch of people were playing in. So, after the pictures I took off John’s shoes and pants and let him go at it. He had a great time.

30th – Lydia fell down and started wimpering, so John went over, patted her saying, “Ok Lylia.” hugged her, gave her a kiss and she started crying harder!