Thursday, April 27, 2006


Congrats to babies M and J. Congrats to the new moms and dads, too!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vacation's Over

Rachel's starting to ask for people she once knew, like after church she wanted to have lunch with Kinley and Kira. We'd often go to Taco Bell and find those two there with their mom and dad. They moved to Colorado a few weeks after we moved here. She's also been asking about Uncle Rich and Aunt Christi as well as Abby from church and Robbie and Alexander from her old daycare. I think she's starting to notice that she hasn't seen these people in a long time, that this isn't just another vacation, but that things are different. She still doesn't seem to be showing any negative signs as a result of the move, but maybe it's not just as out-of-sight-out-of-mind as we had thought.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And then there were two...

The more I learn about the place I'm temping at, World Vision, the more I am just amazed at the passion and concern, and the level of excellence with which they attack the root problems affecting children around the globe.

If anything, I wonder if World Vision suffers from a image problem where many people like me knew them mostly just as the place that allows you to send them money each month to sponsor a child "for less than the cost of a cup of coffee" but not really understanding what that really means. (I would always think to myself "who buys coffee every day?")

I've learned in my short time here that World Vision isn't just about sponsoring children, it's about changing the world and making it a better, safer and healthier place for children. Considering how much I love Rachel, the thought that these people who work around the globe to give opportunity, security and love to children makes my eyes well up with tears.

To that end, meet Alexsandra of Brazil. She's not our daughter. She has a mother and a step-father. We won't take their place. We can only love her from afar with our prayers, our letters and gifts and our tiny little monthly pittance. Maybe someday travel to Brazil and meet her.

We aren't singlehandedly changing the world, but we're helping a tiny little spark and hopefully giving Rachel a lifelong friend to grow up with, to help her better understand her place in the world and be grateful and amazed by the opportunity she has here in America and why it should not be taken for granted and why we should do what we can with the abundant blessings we've been given to try to improve someone else's odds.

Alexsandra was born on 06/30/04, a few weeks after Rachel. There are many, many children still hoping to find sponsors, especially older children because people like me keep going in and sponsoring the younger children.

Please consider sponsoring a child.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Will the real Che Che please stand up?

Some children create and give names to imaginary friends. Our 22-month old has given herself a nickname.

Che Che apparently lives about 20 minutes in the future of Rachel, doing things Rachel wants to be doing, for instance "Che Che is eating Cheerios." equals "Rachel would like some Cheerios." or "Che Che home." means "Rachel wants to go home." (But then, thanks to family members, "Home, James!" also means Rachel wants to go home.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Crime and Punishment

I've wondered about how much infants and toddlers can understand about punishment. By now, willful disobedience is possible, but when punished, can a toddler make the connection? We've commited not to using violence to punish, because how can you teach a child not to hit if you hit them to punish them. I was raised in a pro-spanking household and Lori was not, but we both turned out fine. It pains me enough to see Rachel in pain, either from being sick or because she's somehow hurt herself. For me to intentionally inflict pain as an attempt to prove a point? Bloody ridiculous.

I mean to paint my own parents in a bad light, or suggest anything negative. For them, spanking was an acceptable method of punishment. I eventually learned to fear the punishment and choose not to go down a path that would probably lead to it. Of course, guilt was also eventually used as a the weapon of choice. This one, I hated more and in some ways still suffer a little bit from. But we're not here to talk about me.

Rachel has a habit of clearing her tray when she's done eating. And by this I mean she throws things to the floor. Food, bib, sippy cup, plate, fork, spoon, you name it. Frustrates Lori to no end, and sometimes infuriate might be the more appropriate word. Well, tonight I found myself more responsible for Rachel's feeding and clean up. So, in my laziness, I came up with a new idea. Rachel already likes to help and she likes to put things in the trash, and she likes to clean. So tonight she picked up all the food she had thrown on the floor and put it in the trash. Then she picked up her spoon and I lifted her up to the sink to put it in the sink. Lastly, I handed her a wet paper towel and asked her to clean the floor.

Of course, she enjoyed it. And her hands-and-knees cleaning job of the floor was more fun than anything, climbing under the table and whatnot. Certainly won't give Lori a week off from the mopping. But, maybe, just maybe, I'm hoping that night after night as Rachel cleans up the floor and it stops being fun that she'd realize there'd be less to pick up off the floor if she threw less on it.

We shall see.

Other milestones are being hit but I find myself more and more these days thinking about what she will think if she someday finds this. When I started it, it was all about me and what I was experiencing becoming a dad. But now as this little life begins to take on more and more individuality I start to realize that it could affect her as well. So I've been hesitant to write and avoiding discussing some neat things only because I think they could be potentially embarassing. She, of course, will not be able to appreciate this until she has children of her own.

Congrats to D&J on the birth of C and B&K on the birth P. Welcome new little ones!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Prayer Time

Toddlers love routine. And when you fail to provide them with the routine, they will let you know. She had her bath, said goodnight to Grandma, I read to her from the Bible and we put her into her crib, but we had forgotten something.

"Pray" she said, standing in her crib, arms out to us. So we took her hands and Lori said a short prayer as is the norm. When we were done she requested "pray" again.

So we asked if perhaps she wanted to pray and she said yes. So we all took hands again and we asked if she was going to pray to God. Her words were not clear, but they were clear enough to understand what came next: "Thank you Jesus for Allison and Josh." I may be paraphrasing just a bit (it was probably more like "Thank you Jesus something mumbled Allison Josh") but the sentiment was there and heartwarming. Especially since Allison's someone she's only met twice and Balash (who she's calling Josh) once.