We are finally settling into some normal days around here, after being consumed with everything house-related for what seems like months. Today was one of the first glimpses at a regular day for us, and it was very enjoyable!
[Not pictured:] An hour and a half of planting trees with Grandma after lunch while I got a haircut. They played hard this morning and now they're sleeping hard. It was a good day for the Knapp boys.
Okay, so this is actually from yesterday morning. But I didn't take a picture of the boys watching Wall-E and besides, the sweeping Tommy did this morning was a direct result of this play-doh experience.
Learning how to sweep. I've enjoyed reading about the Montessori method of teaching life skills, which encourages parents to teach their children, in a step-by-step manner, how to do tasks like sweeping, washing dishes, folding clothes, and wiping tables. Kids doing housework? Sounds good to me!
Using the dustpan to sweep up his dirt pile.
Simple childhood joy of riding bikes through puddles.
Not sure if it shows up in this photo, but I love the look of joy on Ben's face as he anticipates zooming through this puddle!
Lunch of peanut butter & honey sandwiches (their favorite food in the world right now), strawberries, and avocado from our own tree. Ben says, "But I don't like adado [avocado]!" He ate some anyway.
At last I finally had a few moments this afternoon to putter around the computer and compile a few before & after photos of our new house. What we didn't realize before I put these photos side-by-side was how colorless the house was before. Most of the photos look like black & white photos, and now we have beautiful rich color everywhere. We are so happy with the way our home turned out after so much hard work. We are slowly settling in and unpacking, and it's feeling like home a bit more every day.
It's been quite awhile since I've written an update about you! Life has been very busy for our family in the past two months, so our normal routine of library and playground visits, play-dates, family walks, and puttering around the house has been upended.
I've heard a lot of frightening things about the age of three, that it makes the Terrible Twos look like a day at park. So far I haven't found this to be true with you. You do have some emotional issues that we are consistently working through (like whining and crying at inappropriate times), but you're generally as obedient as anyone could expect a 3 year old to be.
Your gentle personality is shining more and more as you grow. You share your prized possessions with your brother spontaneously and frequently: one day you got two M&Ms as a potty reward and you said, "Mommy, I want to give one to Benji, because that would make him happy!" (melt my heart). Another time, you gave Ben half of your bread at dinnertime, which is very special because you love bread.
Your drive to help around the house is kicking in too. We've been doing a lot of moving and cleaning in the past two months and you seem to really enjoy helping load up Daddy's truck and unload it into the house. You also enjoy helping me clean, do dishes, and fold laundry. It's a lot easier for me to do these tasks myself, but I'm purposing to stop and take the time to show you how to do these things. We both end up having a good time together, even if the tasks takes three times as long as it otherwise would.
You have a soft heart for animals and bugs. The other day you found a roly poly and carried him around with you for about an hour, until I told you that he would be much happier in nice bush. Full of concern for your new little friend, you took him outside right away and found a new home for him. You're also very friendly with snails.
Shows: You haven't watched much television at all since we started moving. When I do pop a DVD into the laptop for you to watch, invariably it's Wall-e or Letter Factory, since those are your dedicated favorites.
Food: You are still very much a vegetarian. We've been eating take-out a lot these days (which means a lot of Chinese food), and you positively gobble up all the broccoli and other veggies in sight. You're open to trying new foods, but invariably fall back on your favorites: bread, fruit, and vegetables.
Toys: Currently your favorite toys are something you call "sound gears". Daddy found them for $2 at a garage sale about a year ago and you're now just old enough to play with them on your own. You create amazing things with them, like this design you called a "water tractor".
Activities & Skills: You like writing letters and things that you claim are sentences. You will writing a string of your favorite letters (currently H, I, O, and T) and then tell me "This says, 'I love great grandma!'". Your pictures are getting interesting. For a few days you went through a phase where you drew many variations of suns. Here is a "sun man" that you drew:
For the last month, many people have been working hard to make our house beautiful before we move in. The floors were finished early this week and now it's finally time to move in! Someday when I have a lot of time on my hands (ha!) I'll post before/after pics so people can grasp the full depth of the transformation that occurred here.
(I love looking down the hallway and seeing the different colors of the rooms shining through the doorways)
Kitchen (from entryway)
Kitchen (from dining room)
Master Bedroom (the sliding window is new)
Master Bedroom, Master Bath, and Office (formerly a walk-in closet)
Extra bedroom (hopefully Knapp baby #3's nursery someday)
I'm normally not fond of posting pictures of myself, but since it's Mother's Day, and well, I'm the mom in this equation, I thought I'd post some memorable pictures of me and the little people who elected me to the amazing position of "Mommy". Without knowing it or even trying to, you boys have taught me so much about patience, sacrifice, unselfishness, and kindness. I look forward to many more Mother's Days with my little people, and hopefully more little ones.
My first minute as a mom...I'm doing a great job so far.
Week two of motherhood.
Month 7 - Tommy is already climbing on top of his little brother, who is about 9 weeks gestation
Month 15, snuggling with newcomer Benji
Month 17, (literally) trying to juggle this new job of being mother to two
Month 23, juggling the little people is getting a lot easier
Year 2 - Sneaking a snuggle from 10 month old Benji
Year 2 - Now the little people are juggling me!
Sick little people are the best snugglers
She's number one! (ha, just kidding, I think Tommy was pointing to an airplane)
Wherever we look in the days and weeks leading up to Mother's Day there is every type of media urging people to buy things for their mom or wife that lets her know how much she is appreciated. Some creative ad campaigns bypass family altogether and aim their message straight at Mom: "Pamper yourself this Mother's Day!" or "You deserve a break on Mother's Day!". It is very easy for me to get caught up in the expectation of special treatment and gifts on Mother's Day, and indeed, every holiday. I have allowed myself to participate in this self-seeking attitude for not only this holiday, but Valentine's Day, my birthday, and anniversary.
For the past few years this has been my pattern when it comes to gift-giving holidays: 1. Drop reminders about the upcoming holiday, so my husband doesn't "forget" about it. Because he doesn't own a calendar and would never even realize the holiday was coming if I didn't remind him every other dayfor two weeks. 2. Drop hints about items I might like or things I might need. You know, subtle hints, like an itemized wishlist from Amazon.com organized by priority of want. 3. Build up high expectations of what the day will be like and how pampered and appreciated I'm going to feel when my husband presents me with flowers, massages my feet, cooks dinner, gives me that long-awaited and much-deserved gift, all while he watches the kids all day to "give me a break." 4. Be disappointed when the day comes and my (extremely high) expectations are not met. 5. Whine to my husband (in a very grown-up way, of course) about how disappointed I am and how unappreciated I feel because my fantasy was not fulfilled.
That doesn't sound very nice, does it? God didn't think so either, so for the past few holidays where this has been my pattern, He has been convicting me of my un-Christlike behavior.
Philippians 2:7-8 says, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!"
Right before Jesus is betrayed, as he is washing his disciples' feet at the Last Supper, he says, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13:14-17
How humbling it was to be reminded of the humility of Christ, who left His place in Heaven to come to Earth to live among sinners in order to save the very people who hated him...andI was whining about not feeling appreciated because my husband didn't buy me flowers?? Who do I think I am? I am nothing more than a wicked sinner who placed my trust and hope in Christ as my savior. I am owed nothing. I have been entrusted with the care of my family and my task is to serve them without any thought of earthly reward. Yes, some tokens of their appreciation on certain holidays would be nice and certainly welcomed, but this attitude that I deserve recognition and appreciation has got to go.
So, this Mother's Day, I haven't reminded my husband about the upcoming holiday (even though I've really wanted to!). I haven't dropped any hints about what I might like as a gift or an activity to do on the day. I am doing my best to not expect anything. But because he's an amazing husband, I have a feeling he'll remember the holiday and will plan something special for me. And he'll be able to do it without the burden of having to face my hissy fit disappointment if he doesn't get it just right.