I am a Leap Year Baby…well, not baby anymore but…

Today is my birthday. That sounds like Vida’s Dora Doll singing: “Today is your birthday, hoy es tu cumpleaños!” And this year, it actually IS on the 29th.

So much of my life has been in that limbo land of what-day-do-you-celebrate? No, not the 28th, I was born on the 29th. No, not the 1st, I was born in FEBRUARY not MARCH. When Nathan and I were first dating, my birthday failed to come. I was far away from home, missed the phone call from my parents, and had this crazy boyfriend who decided I didn’t have a birthday at all. His compromise was to combine the hours of the 28th and the 1st, divide by 3 and give me the middle third of the hours for my “fake birthday”. Let’s just say he learned a very painful lesson about how NOT to celebrate my birthday on the off years. Because of his “creativity”, we started taking BOTH days in their ENTIRETY for my day…the calendar already shorts my birthdays, don’t dare try to do even more chopping with my UN-DAY!

So today, depending on how you choose to calculate it, I am turning 13. I decided that, now that I have entered the teen years, it’s probably time to perfect each new age. Apparently it takes me longer to get my lessons learned at each age, and that is probably the reason God decided to pop me into the world on this odd date. Those of you who know me are probably a little bit afraid. I have a lot more confidence this time around, and experience. But there are so many things I wanted to try or learn or do when I was sort of 13 that I didn’t do, so…..

I gave Nathan my selfish wish-list: a really good camera and a photography class so I can learn how to use all the parts of my camera. I find that…(oops–my 120 lb dog just climbed into my lap for some love)…while there are so many things I enjoy–like sewing–but I don’t really have time to do it anymore the way I would like, and with so many little bodies all around, it isn’t really the safest way for me to pass the time. A camera–small in size, big in potential.

I guess in a sense I would like to be a camera–capturing images of life and revealing a facet of its beauty. Sometimes in the most insignificant or unexpected ways. So, Nathan, that Canon EOS Rebel T2i would be just great! Feel free to surprise me.



(Through the eyes of my son-in-law–check out his blog at justmeandmyboy.wordpress.com)

Well the plan worked out.  My wife figured that if we could have a baby in late November or early December she could once again make her annual trip to Nicaragua to work in a clinic down there, with the baby being at least 2 months old, thus having one round of shots, but without being pregnant during a trip.  I guess God liked her idea and made it all happen.  The little guy was born Dec 3, just enough time for even 2 rounds of shots before we left on Feb 18.  I don’t even remember my expectations and am not sure of my wife’s, but reality usually ignores expectations and has a mind of its own.  So off to the Crazy adventure we went.

The trip started with a 5am arrival at the airport, where there initially was no record of an infant traveling with us, which stalled us for about 30 minutes at the ticket desk.  Divine intervention #2, first class tickets, got us in the short line for security and to the gate with time for me to have a second breakfast even before 7am, much to my liking.  Not sure how we lucked out with First class seats on 2 of our 3 flights eachway for no extra charge, but pretty sure thats the only reason we survived our long travel days.

We eventually made it to Managua at about 11:30pm that night, with very little baby drama. The next 2 days baby schedule were topsy turvy but by the third day he got himself on a his “Nica” schedule.

5-5:30: Wake up and eat

7:30-8: go back to sleep for a morning nap in dad’s baby carrier while he and mom worked in the clinic (wouldn’t we all like a nap at 7:30am)

10-10:30: wake up to the surprise of the Jalapenos (what the folks from Jalapa call themselves) who I doubt have ever seen a blonde haired blue-eyed infant in real life and Probably never will again.

1-1:30: head back to the hotel for n nap with Dad.

3:30-4: return to the clinic for the end of the day and more laughs and pointing from the locals.

7-7:30 go to bed for the night to get ready for another hot sweaty day with his Nordic Prince father.

Every where we went the Jalapenos pointed, laughed, and rambled on in Spanish about, about the ghost baby in their presence.  They even called him a doll, as if he wasn’t even real because of his fair skin and almost non existent head hair.  Our team of Pediatricians, dentists and a surgeon saw over a 600 patients and the dentists pulled nearly 1,000 teeth including at least 14 from a couple different mouths.  An incredible experience as always working with Los Pepitos.  They are a group of disabled kids who get pushed aside by the health care system, but come out in their Sunday best and giant smiles to see the doctors from the states for their annual check ups.

Most of the excitement again surrounds gastrointestinal fire power.  He went a couple of days without making a mess of a diaper and making his mom worried, so after a little deposit to make things happen, the flood gates let loose.  Not only did he fill a diaper, but half way through the change he let loose again and overflowed the banks, lucky for us he was on a vinyl changing pad to keep things somewhat under control.  After that things got a little more normal.

Until the trip home that is.  By 1pm he had already leaked through 2 diapers and 2 sets of clothes. the second happened just after we started our second of 3 flights.  We had to wait to get to cruising altitude and the beverage cart to get out of the way to make it to the lavatory hoping to avoid any further overflow.  These issues however I contribute to some diapers that seem void of any absorbent quality, with the poo just flowing where ever it pleases including making a little puddle in my lap.

We made it back without much incident, and with a rare experience of a week in a small village in a developing country with an infant,  Cant wait till he starts talking and telling us how crazy we are for the decisions we make.

I hate pacifiers, binkies, nukies, whatever…

 I have a hate-hate relationship with pacifiers. As a professional Nana for little guys, as well as watching my grandchildren, I have come to totally, and without reservation, hate pacifiers. Those things are nothing but nuisances. Unless, of course, you want your child to get quiet because you can’t sleep at night…

One of the little ones that I watch each day has become so dependent on his binky that it has to be a particular brand and size or we all go nuts. Let’s just say that we have all gone nuts today. And this Nana feels more like a ground up nut than a whole one at that after enduring the last two nap times without said binky.

Cadance, little dancing eyes grandson of mine, had (still sort of has) a thing for “lovies”–you know, those little blankets with a cute animal head attached to it? He loved his lovies so much that he was known to sleep with FIVE of them arranged around his head on his pillow. (Lest you are gasping, he was 3 years old, not an infant, so it was safe!) And the one he held, well of course it was the silkiest and softest one of the bunch. The others were arranged in a particular order and without all of them in place, he just couldn’t get comfortable.

Vida, curly head crazy granddaughter of mine, is apparently permanently attached to her thumb and the longest curl she can wrap her other fingers around. She made it all the way through weaning from her bottle without the need for her thumb or a pacifier only to pick up the “it used to be cute” habit of thumb-sucking from another cherub in my charge. Great! Now we have a thumb with cracked skin–and if you try to put ointment on it, one must be sure it is safe to be ingested, because she will lick it off.

As I work through my annoyance with pacifiers and other such comforts for little creatures, I must be honest and admit that I have my own comforts that make me feel safe, calm and secure. For example, I only like MY pillow. When I travel, it gets a free ride. I like to sit facing the door…no matter where I am. But I guess the most important security feature I have is the one that assures my final destination–that is my salvation.

I John 5:13
(Phillips translation)
I have written like this
to you who already believe
in the name of God’s Son
so that you may be quite sure that,
here and now, you possess eternal life.

Wow–I remember learning that verse as a child and holding onto it–for as sure as the night came, so did my doubts. That verse gave me something concrete, certain and sure–my future was, and remains, secure. It was secured for eternity at the cross. Now that is a pacifier you can NEVER LOSE!

For the beauty of the earth…

the various stages of this flower--beautiful at each stage

the yellow is such a happy color--bees drawn to these

pollination--continuing the cycle of life

lovely colors of green and purple in miniature star shapes

the most gorgeous colors i have ever seen in one bloom

such a cool stone



I Fail

Ye Call Me by Geoffrey O’ Hara

Ye call me the “Way” and walk me not.
Ye call me the “Life” and live me not.
Ye call me “Master” and obey me not.
If I condemn thee, blame me not.

Ye call me “Bread” and eat me not.
Ye call me “Truth” and believe me not.
Ye call me “Lord” and serve me not.
If I condemn thee, blame me not.

Is this the reality of your life? I only ask because I find that too often it is true of my reality. To KNOW something yet to fail so utterly in fulfilling it completely. To claim to live by faith, yet be without hope. To claim an intimate relationship with the Savior of the world, yet be filled with anxious thoughts and the “I have to figure this out myself” approach to problems. My daily life continues to be one of warring worlds: my human world at war with my eternal, spiritual world. It is the unfortunate consequence of a life STILL becoming that perfect (complete/mature) and entirely submitted life. I am tired of the battle; I yearn for the ultimate fulfillment of rest—and that rest being the perfect rest of Hebrews, in the arms of my Lord.

Some days are so glorious in their upwardly heavenly thoughts and reminders, yet other days are so firmly planted here on the earth by the sin-gravity that weighs me down. Oh Lord, release me from my weakness and strengthen me by Your word. Continue to completion the work You have begun in me—may I become more useful, less temporal. My innermost desire is to be found faithfully abiding in You, pleasing in Your sight, my life a fragrant perfume. Continue to chip away at those things in my life that hinder my walk.

Dancing Eyes

Of my four grandchildren, three have very dark brown eyes and one has blue eyes. When I say very dark, I mean it is difficult to see the pupils. It does make for a challenge when checking for a concussion, and given how many times these three brown eyed beauties decide to jump from increasingly greater heights, or tear down the driveway with breakneck speed, concussion potential runs high around here. (Let me just add that we have a tremendous slope from the street toward the creek, and the kids find ever new ways of utilizing that slope and increasing my risk of heart attack every day.)

Sean has been the cautious dare-devil, surfing down the driveway on Tonka trucks and anything else he can squeeze his little body on, in or over. Cadance…well let’s just say he is more fearless than his brother.

Cadance is named for music and rhythm and dance. Superman and I can tell who is walking across the floor upstairs just by the foot steps. Sean walks with a heavier step and very purposeful. Vida races–a fast run wherever she is going. And Cadance sounds like Tigger–bouncing down the hall. Talk about a spring in his step…I think Cadance was the inspiration for the phrase.

As an infant, Cadance was like a tightly wound spring. We were concerned because he seemed to be in a constant state of physical tension. But as he learned to crawl and walk, we realized he was just preparing to bounce and jump and dance. All three of my black-eyed Susans and Stevens walked well before age 1, and truthfully, they were almost running by their first birthdays. So Cadance was just keeping up with genetics.

But Cadance has dancing eyes. Sean is more serious, Vida more crazy…Cadance’s eyes just sparkle and dance. He sees delight in everything. He loves music and movement…and he has some smooth moves. Where Sean is more artistic and creative with paper and markers, tape and recycling bins…Cadance can move to any kind of music and have it make sense. He is funny and bubbles with silly humor. Cadance is the one who initiated the “toes in the papa belt hang on the back” maneuver, and one night actually fell asleep on Papa’s back while he was bent over laying tile on the basement floor.These little loves each have a special place in this Nana’s heart. Not because of eyes, or athleticism or artistry, but because God has entrusted them to us to love and guide. The opportunities to minister to the very souls of these children is a precious gift. We pray that we might be faithful in leading them to the Lord and letting the Lord Jesus shine through their lives.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.