Nine Years of Pippa

Long before there were six, there was just one.  And long before there was a bike-riding, piano-learning, reading, writing, baking, crocheting 4th grader (!), there was just our baby girl.

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From the moment she entered the world, she stole our hearts and changed our lives forever.  She turned a couple of ordinary twenty-somethings into parents, and she persuaded us that we wouldn’t mind doing it all again.  And maybe again.


Of course the wonder is always there, no matter how many times you welcome a new human being into the world, but there is something remarkable about the little person who brings you over that threshold for the first time.  And this little girl has made it all a joy.


Philippa Violet, you have taught me so much more in 9 years than I could ever teach you in a lifetime.  I am humbled and honored that God chose me to be mother to such a treasure.


And I am so very thankful that He chose you to break me into the world of motherhood.  You have made it all a pleasure.  I could not have picked a more perfect person for the weighty job of Big Sister Extraordinaire to this crazy household of ours.  It’s a big job for a little girl, and you handle it with elegance.


It is a privilege to watch you grow into the young lady God made you to be.  But you will always be my baby girl.

Happy Birthday, Pippa!

My Girl Is Four

Saturday was Pippa’s fourth birthday.  I don’t even know what to say.  I am the mother of a four-year-old.  I am constantly looking around my life and asking myself how I got here.  I put together a little montage of Pippa’s life in honor of her birthday, in large part so that I can watch it and go, “Oh, yeah.  That’s how.”

(Click the link to view.)
View this montage created at One True Media
Four Years of Pippa

I feel so incredibly blessed to be this amazing little girl’s mother.  I can take credit for absolutely nothing about her (except for maybe the nail-biting and the curls), but I am no less the proudest mother in the world.

Ch is a Useful Sound

Pippa still struggles to make a few consonant and double consonant sounds.  It’s normal for her age, and usually, we can understand each other just fine.  This morning, not so much.

Pippa came out of the playroom where all three girls were playing, I *thought* out of harm’s way, while I cleaned up a broken mug in the living room.  She was quite worked up, and this is how it went:

Her: Mommy, come tick!  Bee-tix is eating sock!

Me: (Not really that concerned, bigger fish to fry, what with the broken mug and all) She’s eating… a sock?

Her: No, Mommy.  SSS-ock!

Me: Uh… truck?

Her: No.  SSSS-OCK!

Me: (Running through every consonant she does that sometimes sounds like an S, but totally blanking) Okay, honey, I’ll be there in just a second once I throw away this glass.

*      *      *

Just a second later, I found this girl, happy as can be, eating…

Ohhh… CHALK!

What Mommy and Daddy Do

Over the weekend, the girls were talking to Trevor about their future goals and aspirations.  Romilly wants to be a doctor (not bad at all), and Pippa wants to be a fairy (how does she even know about fairies???).  Trevor wondered aloud why neither of them wanted to pursue our chosen career paths (his, research chemistry, and mine, teaching science, once upon a time), then he wondered…

Daddy: Pippa, do you know what Daddy does?  What does Daddy do?

Pippa: (quite confidently, and without skipping a beat) Yes.  Daddy makes coffee.

Daddy: And what does Mommy do?

Pippa: (hesitating, should I be offended or did she just not know where to begin?) Mommy makes lunch.

Well, true enough.   I just wonder why we wasted all those years and all that money on a college education.  For the record, she used to be able to tell us that “Daddy makes medicine,” but I guess we need to keep practicing that one if we want it to stick.  Otherwise we may have Starbucks beating down our door if the rumors get out that he’s actually an accomplished barista.

I Knew I Loved This Kid

Lately, in the upheaval that inevitably follows a ten-day vacation chased by a week of 10 o’clock bedtimes thanks to attending our church’s VBS program, I have been wondering if I would ever see my sweet, calm, role model of an eldest child again.  Last week was fraught with whining, silliness, disobedience and where-did-I-go-wrong? moments.  I was crying out to the Lord to make up for my weakness and work in Pippa’s heart.  This morning I saw a glimmer of hope that my sweet girl is on her way back.

At 7:45 this morning, I awoke to the usual sound of stirrings and goings-on in the girls’ room, so I went to greet them and start our day as I always do.  My efforts to open the door to their room were met with resistance.  At first I thought maybe Romilly  (who only recently has freedom to get out of bed since we converted her crib a little over a week ago) was sitting against the door.  I pushed again, thinking she might have felt the pressure of my first attempt and gotten up. Instead, the push back was even stronger, and I heard this:

“No, Ro-Ro, Daddy says we’re not allowed to open the door!”  (We’ve always had the rule that the Pippa has to knock and wait for us rather that leaving the bedroom on her own, since their door is right at the top of the steps and we have worried about middle of the night tumbles in the dark if she was in the habit of coming and going as she pleased.)

My sweet big girl, thinking it was her little sister and not I who was trying to open the door, was physically barricading the door to try to stop her sister from leaving the bedroom without permission and incurring the requisite discipline. How it blessed my heart to see this protectiveness and desire to model obedience to her sister!  (Believe me, it isn’t that way all the time.)  I can only thank God for answering my prayers and instilling character in her that we, as parents, never could on our own.

The Hand-Me-Down Kid

Last night was Pippa’s last night of the year and award ceremony at her AWANA club. There were so many sweet moments for me: hearing her sing the Cubbies theme song and seeing her face light up when she finally found me in the crowd, but the best came on the ride home.

I explained to her that that had been her last night at AWANA for a while, but that when she went back she would be four and “one of the big kids” with a bear on her vest. We had already talked about how after next year she will become a Spark and Romilly will start as a new Cubbie, and all of this was swirling around in her sweet little mind last night as we drove home.

Her: Mommy, after next year, I will have a red vest. Then Ro-Ro can have my blue vest.

Me: Well, no. Ro-Ro will get a new blue vest so she can put her own badges on it. Yours already has your badges on it.

Her: But, (big breath) what will we do with my vest?

Me: Umm… I guess we’ll fold it up and keep it so that we can always look at it and remember what you did when you were a cubbie.

Her: (with genuine shock in her voice) Why?!?

Me: Why, what, honey? What do you mean?

Her: There must be somebody! Maybe… maybe… maybe we can give it to somebody that haves a kid.

Me: Maybe…

Her: Or maybe we can just give it to God. What do you think mommy? Should we give it to somebody that haves a kid or should we give it to God?

I was stumped.

So, if anyone’s interested, in about a year we’ll have one used blue AWANA Cubbies vest complete with two years worth of badges up for grabs. Yours for the asking, courtesy of one very frugal-minded and kind-hearted little girl.

The Long-Awaited Cyber Playdate

What do you do when your best friends and steady couple have a baby girl less than two weeks after you have yours, but then go and end up 2000 miles away? Well, in this day and age, you organize a cyber playdate, of course! That’s just what my dear friend Carol and I having been planning for the past month or so for Romilly and her little friend Tabitha, who is serving as a faithful MK (missionary kid) in Mexico City. Have a look at the amazing work Tabitha’s mummy and daddy have been doing working with street kids in Mexico .

Romilly and Tabitha have met a couple of times, but it has most definitely been much too long. (Yes, they really are just eleven days apart, but the remarkable difference in size is just as pronounced now as it was when they were 3 months old.)

So, as you can see, it was high time for a reunion of sorts. Let’s call it an e-union, shall we? The plan was as follows: Today, April 28, 2008, Romilly and Tabitha would don matching outfits and participate in matching activities, then we would swap photos and stories to share with the girls, and voila – it’s like we were really together! Hmm… not quite, sadly, but it was still a *fab* way to spend the day and we will certainly do it again sometime.

We started off the day by doing this craft: a picture frame inspired, once again, by my favorite toddler craft guru. It went okay, considering the attention-span constraints involved.

The next item on the agenda was supposed to be a trip to the park and a picnic, but as our weather forecast was for thunderstorms today (none so far, but plenty of rain) we decided to go with Plan B, which was probably more exciting for my girls anyway. (I wish I could say that this was Bea’s first fry, but, you know, third child and all…)

Unfortunately, the Playplace had nothing to offer poor Ro. She just wasn’t big enough to climb up to where all the action was. Happily, she was delighted to sit in a high chair and drink her juice and play with the American Idol Happy Meal toy (do kids even watch this show???), so it wasn’t a complete bust.

Finally, Carol made a rather odd suggestion for dessert, but she is a missionary after all, so I didn’t like to argue. Jelly and ice cream. Okay, Carol, if you say so… (must be some sort of delicacy where they come from. Northern Ireland: they’re a little backwards there.)

Oh, wait… she means JELL-O and ice cream! Now that, I can get on board with, and so could the girls!

Here‘s one of a couple short videos the girls made for their friends.

Meanwhile, south of the border, this is what the other little sweetie pie got up to. Isn’t she adorable and hilarious? I believe there might be some more photos of her day appearing here at some point.

While it was wonderful to “spend the day” with Carol and Tabitha and baby Oscar, it did make me miss them all the more. Wouldn’t these two girls be the best of friends?

Please know, dear friends, that we love you and miss you and are praying for you always. Until we can meet again for zilch and Starbucks, the Internet will just have to do.

Spring Is Here, Bring on the Bubbles!

Today is such a perfect day.  Birds are chirping, my back door has been open all afternoon, and finally, after a whole winter of asking to blow bubbles at least once a week, the big girls got to do one of their favorite outdoor activities today while Beatrix was napping.


Gulliver was delighted to be part of the fun, too, as evidenced by his bushy metronomic tail in this video. I’ll leave you with this. Every day should be this lovely.