A Poetic Moment

00-3350.jpg We have this poem excerpt, witten in calligraphy by Auntie Audrey when Pippa was first born, framed in the girls’ room.

Song, from Pippa Passes, by Robert Browning

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven –
All’s right with the world!

On a whim today, I read it to the girls as I was getting Romilly up from her nap. Then I asked them, “Do you know what that poem is called?”

They didn’t know.  “It’s called ‘Pippa Passes’, ” I told them.

Groggy, but never to be left out, Romilly was quick to pipe up, with a disgruntled frown on her face:

“Ro-Ro passes, too!”

What will the teen years be like???

Do These Mean What I Think They Mean?

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‘Cause I’m pretty sure they do!

I am so excited about spring this year. I’m not entirely sure why, except maybe it’s just that the novelty still hasn’t worn off of being back in the land of changing seasons after six years in Scotland. To be fair, there are seasons in Scotland. They go like this: cool and rainy, warm and rainy, cool and rainy, cold and rainy. Of course I didn’t mind it while I was there, because the castles more than made up for it. Being able to walk to a castle from the front door of your apartment? Never gets old. Listening to people talk with a Scottish accent every day? Ditto. Totally worth the weather, but I never realized how much I missed seasons until I got home.

Whatever the reason, the girls must have thought I spotted a unicorn in our backyard for how excited I was when I called them over to see these flowers. Ro obligingly spent a good few minutes squatting next to them saying, “That a pretty flower!” about each and every one.  Sweet girl.

How fitting that this new life in our back yard should come now, just as we begin to remember  Christ’s death and resurrection especially this Easter weekend.  Romans 6:4 reminds us that:

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Praise the Lord for new life in every form!

Amazing Grace: A Musical Review

51eagreeysl_aa240_.jpgWell, if you came here hoping to see me sporting dance shoes and singing show tunes, then you’re in for a disappointment.  If, in fact, you were hoping to hear my thoughts on my current favorite CD in the whole world, then you’ve come to the right place!

This CD,  Amazing Grace: Music Inspired by the Motion Picture, was an inspired gift from my wonderful hubby and has been in the CD player of my van for the better part of a year (I’m very loyal when it comes to music.  And jewelry.  And purses.  Jeans.  Lipstick… I guess I’m just very loyal).  I am honestly not tired of it yet.  I look forward to car trips that are just me in the girls so that I can sing at the top of my lungs listen to this CD in a comtemplative and worshipful frame of mind. As an unexpected and happy consequence, the girls now love it too, and can both sing the choruses of most of the hymns right along with me.

This CD is not a proper soundtrack.  It doesn’t have actual music  (score) from the movie.  Instead, it features modern recordings of great old hymns by contemporary artists.  What could be better?

So, in no particular order, my favorites from this album:

  • It Is Well, sung by Adie and Jeremy Camp – This one has the distinction of being the song that, when the intro music starts, Romilly immediately announces, “Mommy, this you song!”  This is my favorite hymn anyway, so I’m a  little biased, but this is a really great recording.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Are nailed to the cross, and I bear them no more!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh, my soul!

I just love the idea of talking to my own soul, and showing it who’s boss on days when it doesn’t feel inclined to remember what has been done for it.  Lovely!

  •  All Creatures Of Our God and King, sung by Bethany Dillon and Shawn McDonald – This one gets off to a slow start, but not in a bad way, just in a thoughtful sort of way.  Then there’s a fun little twist in the middle that I just love.
  • Holy, Holy, Holy, sung by Steven Curtis Chapman – Well, Steven and I go way back.  He was my jogging buddy in college (in my walkman, that is, can you imagine actually jogging with Steven Curtis???)  This is an absolutely beautiful arrangement of this hymn, which, again, is a favorite anyway.
  • Just As I Am, sung by Nichole Nordeman – Hmmm… is this really a hymn or is it a modern hymn that they’ve thrown into the mix hoping to fool me?  I’ve never heard it before, anyway.  No matter.  It is a beautiful song with lyrics that remind me of where I’d be without Christ every time I listen to them.
  • My Jesus, I Love Thee (Tis So Sweet), sung by Bart Millard – I guess, again, it’s the hymn itself that I love here.  This one just really speaks to me.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

  • I Need Thee Every Hour, sung by Jars of Clay – This song is really the special one for us.  It’s Pippa’s song.  I really don’t even remember how it became Pippa’s song,  I guess she just told us one day that it was her favorite, and it stuck.  Now, when it comes on, literally as soon as the first few notes of the intro have been played, Ro announces, “That Pippa’s song!  Pippa, that you song!”  For a while, she’d even get upset if anyone else tried to sing along, but we’re all allowed to sing now.  I tried to get a video of them singing in the car, which is just the cutest, but it’s not the safest thing to do while driving, and the one day I had my mom with me to get it the camera was playing up.  So, here is a reenactment at our table.  I think the girls are a little mesmerized by the crazy patterns on the computer screen, as they’re a bit less enthusiastic than usual.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: go buy this CD!  I could say something about almost every song.  (Although, if I had to award one, the Not-So-Much Award would go to Natalie Grant’s Fairest Lord Jesus.  It’s just a little too… Evanescence-y.  Not that I mind Evanescence, but this has got to be the most cheerful hymn I know, and why add angst into a song that is totally angst-free?  Don’t get me wrong, though, I still belt it out.)  I really do feel that, provided the kiddies are relatively content in the back, I actually get to worship while I’m driving, and I get to where I’m going feeling more joyful and peaceful than when I left home.

By the way, if you ever happen to see me driving and belting out my Amazing Grace CD, please don’t tell me about it. It is really one of the greatest joys of my life to sing in the car, and if I had any idea how ridiculous I look to other drivers, well, it might just spoil it for me a little bit.

I’ll leave you with this verse from David Crowder’s recording of Rock of Ages:

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;    

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

She Is No Man!

Today I was trying to zip Romilly into her sleeping bag for her nap, and she was fighting it and sticking her leg out the side (to my knowledge, she is still awake now that it’s two hours later – what’s up with this kid?!?).  I gave her a stern “No, Ma’am”, which she has taken objection to before, and did again today.

“I is a man” she insisted.

“No,” I told her.  “You’re not.  I’m sorry.” (How do I always let her sidetrack me like this?)

Then, with bitter tears in her eyes, “I wanna be a man!”

I think she’s in for a rude awakening when she’s discovers this is not among the many career options now available to women. And Pippa might be too, when she discovers that choo-choo train has also been left off the list.

(Brownie points for anyone who gets the movie reference in my title!  Ironic, considering Trevor’s choice of movie-reference title today…)

He Says, She Says Saturdays: Why I Blog

normal_ink-quill.jpgAs I write this, my poor sweetie has been in bed for the better part for the last 18 hours, so I’m not at all sure we’ll be hearing from him today, but I’ve taken the liberty of choosing what I thought would be a pretty easy topic for us to address, even with a slightly foggy brain.

*         *          *         *          *

As I write this, it is now Monday morning, Trevor is back on his feet and at work (he’s such a trouper!), and a power failure on Saturday night combined with a super-busy Sunday kept either of us from doing any blogging this weekend.

On to the topic at hand.  I guess I’ve already touched on this a bit here and there.  We’ve had a website since Pippa was born that has primarily showcased photos, but has also served as a record for us of what we did when, what the girls were doing at different ages, and what life was like for us at any given time.  Once Pippa started talking, I began to feel that photos just weren’t capturing her enough, I needed somewhere to write.  A lot.  My technological whiz of a husband set this blog up for me, I had no sooner written my first post then I discovered Romilly was hot on Pippa’s heels in the talking department.   In the process of writing my second post, I ran into some technical glitches that ended up keeping me quietly frustrated with blogdom for the next several months.

During that little hiatus, in addition to having a baby and enduring what felt like an eternity without a well-functioning computer, I spent some time seeing what some other people were using their blogs for. I began to see the appeal again, and Trevor and I had several conversations that went something like this:

Me:  I think I really want a blog.

Him: You already have a blog.

Me:  Oh.

I think what  I was trying to express, albeit in very  simple terms, was that I wanted  (a) a pretty blog, (b) a blog that I knew how to add pictures to and that wouldn’t (just occasionally, on a whim) put an entire paragraph into one enormously long straight line (anyone else have this issue with WordPress???), and (c) a blog with a bit more purpose, that would be worthy of spending my time on.

So here I am now.  I guess that was more of a history than  a reason.  Probably there are some posts that don’t fulfill any of these purposes, but here is why I blog now:

  •  To remember.  As I said in my very first post, I don’t ever want to forget this sweet sweet time in my life, or the way my girls are right now.  I know I can’t hold onto it forever, but I also know one day I will cherish the moments I record here.
  • To celebrate.  Something about turning a thought, conversation, or event into a blog post somehow makes it bigger and more significant.  Blogging makes me notice the little things that make life wonderful and thank God for them, and even the ones I never get around to turning into posts are more note-worthy for my having that mindset.
  • To think deeply.  A mom of three little ones doesn’t often have the mental energy, the time, or the brain cells to think deeply about life, but blogging forces me to make the effort.  In the process, I can (sometimes, hopefully) turn my thoughts upward and see how God is present and working in my life.  There is so much real meaning hiding behind the apparently mundane tasks of a wife and mother, and I don’t want to miss that while I’m caught up in the middle of it all.

I wonder why he blogs…

My Kind of Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
Welcome! If you’re here because of the Ultimate Blog Party, I look forward to ‘meeting’ you! If you’re just here because you’re one of my five (six maybe?) regular readers, then you are probably wondering what on earth this post is all about. Well, it’s a big old party right inside my computer! How great is that? I just love that I can write this post in my PJs, and then hop around visiting everyone else’s parties in my PJs too (if, in fact, you are wearing your PJs right now, then this must be your kind of party too!) I’m a little late getting in on this, since I only figured out today how to put the little Blog Party button in my sidebar. (I’m pretty new to blogging, so I feel like I should be putting words like “button” and “sidebar” in quotes, but I’m resisting. Happily, thanks to this party I now know what a “widget” is, too. Sort of. Almost. A little bit.)  To get us in the party mood, here is one of our girls’ favorite toys that we get to endure play with over and over again at our home.  Lucky us.  Feel free to sing along!

I suppose an introduction is in order, especially since I’ve never officially done that on my blog.  My name is Jodi.  I am recently(ish) 30.  I am blessed to be married to an amazing Englishman who loves the Lord.   We are both eternally thankful for God’s love for us.  You can read more about my faith by clicking on any of these highlighted words or by clicking the God category at the side.

We have three wonderful little girls under the age of four (my “baby” was three and a half yesterday!) The big girls tend to steal the show most of the time. Here they are in some transfer T-shirts I made them (more on them to follow!)
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This photo really captures their personalities, since Pippa is our thoughtful, reserved little English rose (okay, some of the time), and Romilly is the crazy American chatterbox.

Little Bea sure is starting to give the big girls a run for their money, though. She can steal the show back from them just by being in the room.
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Well, what is a party without cake? And what is a cake without icing? Hey, let’s just skip to the icing, okay? I’ve never done a giveaway before, so this seemed like a good occasion to have my first. Here’s the deal. You hop around a little bit and see if you can find a post that gets you thinking, or makes you laugh, or warms your heart or something, then come back to this post and leave me a comment about it (and make sure you include your e-mail address, please).  You can even just tell me you like this post, because it has a free giveaway – I’m not fussy about the comment love!  I will choose one at random using Amanda’s patented random number choosing system, and I’ll post the winner here (and e-mail you, too!)  The winner will receive, as quickly as I can put one together, a personalized transfer T-shirt or onesie with your little one’s name (or yours, if you like) in a street sign or a book title or wherever I happen to find your little one’s name.  (Like the ones my big girls are wearing above.)  Details are all totally negotiable, and we can discuss after you win!  Again, make sure you leave your comment on my party post, or I might not find it for the drawing, which will be after this whole sha-bang is over.

In addition to my little giveaway, there are tons of prizes being offered at the main prize page.  My favorites from the list are 80, 101, and 7 (in no particular order), but of course I’d be delighted to win anything at all, especially something cute for my girlies!

Lovely to meet you!  Love the PJs!

Visitors, Parties, and Sickness, Oh My!

Whew!  I don’t know if I’ve ever been more grateful to come out the other end of a weekend.

After two days straight of cleaning, washing, shopping and otherwise preparing for their arrival, I am happy to report that Trevor’s family got here safe and sound on Saturday night. All five of them! This visit, we have Mum, Dad, and Nathan as well as Grandma and Auntie Audrey, who haven’t been here since our wedding! That’s ten people staying in our wee four-bedroom Cape Cod (you do the math.) It’s a good thing we like each other. So far the sleeping arrangements seem to be suiting everyone: every time I ask Auntie if she’s *sure* she’s comfortable on the mattress on the floor of the playroom she says, “Oh, yes, Dear, it’s absolutely marvellous! I’m taking it home with me.” Oh, how I love her. Nathan might not be enjoying the sofa quite so much, but he’s certainly not complaining about it, and you can handle anything for a week, right?

So, yesterday was the big day:  Beatrix’s dedication and Romilly’s birthday party.
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(Trev’s mum with Bea, and Trev with Ro)

I haven’t actually counted, but let’s see… there were 27 people in my house yesterday! (Remember my house? The tiny little Cape Cod? Yeah, same one.) And it was really fine. I’ll do it again, I think. (You know, not next week or anything. It’s like labor, you have to give yourself time to forget.) Ro held up like a trouper through the endless present-opening (thank you, everyone!) and when she finished, we chose one toy to get out of the packaging and play with before her nap. Do you know, as soon as she got the toy in her hot little hand, she slid off Trevor’s lap and went running to share it with her sister, saying “I need my Pippa!”? I just love that kid. She’s definitely my favorite.

As you can probably tell from the picture of her, the poor birthday girl has been hit with the plague that’s been making it’s way through the toddler Sunday school class, and by the time they went to bed, Pippa was suffering, too. It seems to be mostly a coughing, snotty sort of affair, but when Pippa coughs too much she often gets gaggy and ends up throwing up. So she did a bit of that last night and then took herself off to bed (you know things are bad when a three-year-old does that!) At about ten o’clock we heard her cough some more, then cry a little, and then silence. We let it go rather than wake her up by checking on her. When Trev went to bed a bit later, he peaked in their room as he always does, and found her *covered* in puke vomit hmmm… is there a nice bloggy euphemism for this that I don’t know yet? How on earth do they fall back asleep after that?!? We did our best to clean her up with a warm washcloth, changed her top, and put a clean towel between her and the mess on her bed, but really, short of a bath and complete change of bedding, there wasn’t a lot we could do for her. And she was just *so* fast asleep.

This morning at 7:15 AM, I faced the ineveitable aftermath of the night before, and gave Pippa (and Romilly, who is never to be left out) a bath.  Seriously, I thought I was going to have to shave her head.  I haven’t had to clean up something so foul-smelling and unaccommodating since the time Gulliver ate a stick of butter.  But, we persevered, and I’m happy to report that (by some miracle) she is a picture of health today and we’ve had a lovely day with the family.  Sadly, we did suffer one casualty: Pippa’s little musical ducky that she has had since she was a tiny baby was unsalvageably covered in sick.  She doesn’t know it yet, but he’s out with the birthday party trash.  I’m home now with the napping littles while Pippa and the gang celebrate President’s day with a trip to Valley Forge.

So my house now looks pretty much how it did before I started cleaning four days ago, and the girls’ room still smells a little funky, but there’s nothing like a whirlwind weekend to make you appreciate the status quo. Even when the status quo involves *double* the already large number of people living under our little roof!

Romilly, This is your Life! (aka Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!)

Two years ago today (give or take – we were in a different time zone), you, Romilly Alice, came bursting into the world.

It was about time. You were due (whatever that means) twelve days earlier, but I had felt quietly confident that you would arrive even before that. After all, my first baby had been on time, and it’s usually the first one that’s late, right? So after eleven days of waiting and feeling increasingly foolish for not having had that baby yet, I waddled into the midwife’s office. “If the baby doesn’t arrive by tomorrow,” she told me, “we really should just check that it’s still okay in there, and if you want, while you’re at the hospital, they can start an induction.” Well, I didn’t want an induction, and apparently neither did you. The contractions began.

Two AM the next morning, your Daddy and I arrived at the hospital. I had hoped to last until 8 AM, when we had an appointment for monitoring and possible induction scheduled anyway. Wouldn’t that have been handy? Once again, you had other plans. We got to the hospital at almost exactly the same time as we had when your big sister was about to arrive. She had taken another 13 hours to make her appearance from when we arrived at the hospital, so we fully expected to be in for a long night. Twenty minutes after we arrived, you were in our arms.
PhotobucketWe were checked in to the hospital (barely) and we were holding you.  Just like that.  We were totally shell-shocked.  The extra twelve days of waiting had done nothing to prepare us for the whirlwind that was your arrival on this earth, and we just sat and marvelled.

You were not a boy, as we both thought you would be for no particular reason. And even more startlingly, you looked *nothing* like your sister. (Now people ask us if you are twins, but that night, in the hospital, you were definitely yourself and no one else.) You were probably just as startled to look up and find me staring back at you. Your speedy delivery had left me no time to put in my contacts, straighten my hair, or apply a much-needed bit of make-up for the inevitable post-baby photo shoot, so this was us:

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A week later you landed yourself back in hospital with RSV. It was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. I worried, on top of everything else, that we would be starting all over again at finding our groove as a family when you and I got home after 6 nights in the hospital, but you were such a part of us all already. Pippa hadn’t been allowed to see you at all while you were on the ward. Would she even remember that she’d had a sister? Did she think we’d sent you back for good? I tested the waters with her in the lobby of the hospital as the nurses were getting ready to discharge you. “Pippa, Romilly’s coming home today!” I told her. At just seventeen months old, she only said a handful of words, but when I said that, her eyes lit up as she looked at me hopefully and signed “baby” by rubbing her tummy. You have been best friends ever since, and I have had the pleasure of watching that relationship unfold.

At the tender age of six months, you became an immigrant.  Uprooted from your homeland of Scotland, you spent the next four months of your life sharing the basement of pop-pop’s house with your Daddy and sister and me.  It was there that you earned your reputation as the smilingest baby *ever*, and I know that you were sorely missed when we moved into our own home a year ago.

Your second year, too, has been full of surprises and adventures.   While most newly-one-year-olds were focussing at least some of their attention on learning to walk, you were never one to give in to peer pressure (long may it last!).  You turned your attention to other things, namely eating and talking.  Dare I suggest that you’re your mother’s daughter?  The day that you did decide to walk (one day before you turned 16 months old), you did it as though you’d known how to do it all along.  You did, didn’t you?  (Cheeky thing!)

Now, you bring laughter to our home all day long. You have a soft heart and a sweet silly side. You make the best faces. Your Daddy and I delight in watching you become the woman God has made you to be, and we pray every day that we will do the job He calls us to do in helping to bring that about. You have been one wonderful surprise after another since even before you were born, and I am so blessed to be the one you call Mommy. I love you, my sweet girl. Happy birthday, Ro-ro!

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All Bible verses end in… Jesus!

I’ve been so caught up in watching Pippa’s language development that Romilly’s advancing speech has really caught me off guard. I lost count of her words somewhere around 80, and I would guess she’s passed the 100 mark by now. Having mastered individual words, she seems to want to go straight to “grown-up” talk now. Always fascinated by her Bible story books, Romilly has started ‘reading’ her Bible stories like this: “A-bah-dah-bah-dah-dah-bah… JESUS, bah-doo-bah-dah JESUS.” The inflection is priceless and so grown-up. Oh yeah, and she always reads her Bible upside down. Always. At least we know she’s getting the most important stuff!

(circa June 2007)