Archive | Children’s Chatter RSS for this section

Oakley the Only

fullsizerender-7

As the last but not least, youngest but no longer a babe, and sweet son we cherish, Oakley Andrew fills an essential role in our family.

Oaks turned four last week. Four! Four is dangerously close to five which leads to way big stuff like six, seven, and eight, and is so separate from little kid stuff like two, or even three. I was in so much denial I asked Awesome Aunt Nat for 3T Christmas jammies. Unfortunately for me, and Nat who had to negotiate a return, Oakley’s leg length was 4T long before October. I simply hadn’t noticed due to summer shorts as his only style.

Now that I’m on board, mind set and heart happy even, I am writing the Oaks bday blog. 10 days late.

Oakley, as Osborne kid number three, not much is new for you. Daddy and I have been parents before, Eli and Andi have been siblings, and all our baby stuff was worn in well by the time you slept, sucked on, or sat in it.

However, you are the only you we get Oaks. And, you are prized and precious just the way you are, just because you’re you. img_0094

Here are some only Oakley things I celebrate and remember for you Oaks: 

  1. Planned on purpose. You’re the only baby Daddy and I decided to try for, waited for, and for whom we welcomed a positive pregnancy test without great surprise.
  2. I did not have a c-section with you after having one for both deliveries of Eli and Andi.
  3. You took to trains. You are our only kid who has enjoyed playing with trains. Thanks for introducing us to Thomas. Surely we would not have made it through parenting toddlers without that friendly tank engine?
  4. Life’s realities came fastest to you. Eli and Andi cared about you and loved you. Andi especially enjoys intentional time with you. However, since they are four and six years older, you got life handed to you a little faster. As a much younger kid than E or A, you got: candy, movies, Kidz Bop, tackles, Nerf guns, your own room, language( “What the heck in the world?” and “Boom! Heck! What?!” you say as a three year old.), and an 8:30pm bedtime.
  5. Closest to cousins. Oaks, you’re lucky to be only two years older than your closest cousin instead of the nine and seven years Eli and Andi spread between June. I’m grateful you’re loving all your little cousins (June, Wilson, Vienna, and Henley) now and know you’ll love being their littlest big cousin and friend. photo-2-13
  6. I enjoyed you all by yourself. I love that Eli and Andi were close in age and feel like life with both of them at once was my best parenting. However, I cherish and celebrate the solo shot I got at having you, later, on your own. I liked being older as a woman and more experienced as a mommy which meant I got to give you some of my best too. (**see number 4 for how I gave you not the best sometimes)
  7. Most intense medical history in our first decade of parenting. You went to the CMH ER for stitches on your ear in February 2014. Nothing worse than ear infections for Eli or Andi!photo-4

Oaks, it’s because of you we are doing the Gap Year. I loved my days home with you but wanted Eli and Andi to have the same chance to enjoy you as I did. I wanted you to get to know them really well, to play with, fight with, and learn with them.

Oaks, it’s because of you we get to laugh, slow down, be amazed and enjoy the little things through your eyes in a way we would miss if you didn’t share so well with us.

As you grow up, we will celebrate your uniqueness and affirm your connection to a life bigger than yourself. You are blessed Oaks,img_0637 to be a blessing. You have strength and sweetness, words and great ideas, humor and energy that can make a difference if you’re kind, intentional, grounded in Christ, and brave. I believe you can do big and hard things, and I promise to watch, process, and help as I can.

“It’s a good thing we have Oaks.” Amen. For sure.

Summer Summary

When the sun was shining in 2016, we were soaking it up.

Our Osborne 2016 summer highlights include:

  1. Celebrating James’ birthday and America at the Celebration at the Station Memorial Day weekend
  2. Having the Bruce’s come live with us. Mornings with June x Cousin time + Adult shared life = Joy IMG_7279
  3. World’s Of Fun Season Passes and fun days at Worlds and Oceans- even an anniversary afternoon for Drew and Linds at Oceans- almost Jamaica, but not quite. IMG_6691
  4. Swimming on the Coves Swim Team for the third year with Oaks joining the team as a Little Croc. All three kids made huge strokes towards personal successes and new strengths, plus had so much fun with their swimming neighborhood friends.IMG_6382IMG_6644
  5. Colorado 4th of July with a Henke Family reunion and street fireworks with Daddy in front of Nat and Johns. IMG_6934 (1)
  6. Bearing rings and flowers and a marriage license for Michelle and Alex Mead as we celebrated their wedding July 9th and will forever be their friends and fans. IMG_6990 (1)
  7. Going to Young Life camp at Castaway with my Park Hill and Park Hill South friends for a week of amazing fun and and depth. We made major memories and moments for God to call deep into the lives of ladies with love. IMG_6712 (1)
  8. Going to Young Life camp at Castaway on assignment as a Summer Staff Coordinator Session 3. I was privileged to lead, listen to, walk with, and learn from the strong and sweet college students who brought their brokenness and their bravery to set themselves up to serve, share, and change. I loved my friend Alex the Castananny but not nearly as well as she loved my kids. I was challenged and cheered on by good leadership and friends, new and old,  full of integrity. IMG_7213IMG_7142 (1)IMG_7162
  9. Turning 36 and splitting my life loyalties. I have now officially lived HALF my life in Colorado and HALF in Missouri. And of course, many a summer month in Minnesota. Also, Drew turned 35,  Eli turned 10, and Drew and I turned 12 years old in our life together. IMG_7182
  10. Ending the summer Osborne style with the ever-epic Z and C End of Summer Cookout, and then a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks with GG, Pops, and special attendees Mary Kate and Walking Wilson. IMG_7297

Now its all over and school is in session and our school session is at home.

With summer behind and our gap year now rolling, we lift our eyes to the sunlight and anticipate adventure.

Little Kids, Big Questions

The title is ironic. I think my kids are still little but in all reality, Eli is 3 days into being 10 years old and Andi is not far behind. They are mid to upper elementary school age. Even Oakley, at three, is bigger than little. I mean, June, our live in cousin, is “little” at age 1, and so cute and smart too!!! Waking up with June in our house is a gift. but I digress. My kids are big but in the scope of aging humanity, with medical miracles and God’s grace, they should live many more decades.

IMG_6699

So assuming they are all actually still little, I’m reeling from and relishing the conversations we’ve had this summer.

Conversation #1: The Sex Talk

It was early June when Andi found a condom in our bedroom- she plays in small places…I guess her imaginary world was under our bed that day. When she asked me what it was, I said, “It has to do with sex. Do you want to know more about it or just know it’s for sex?” She said she definitely wanted to know more so I told her she had to find Eli and I would find Dad. Oaks came too and we had “the talk”, a bit spontaneous and completely open with Eli and Andi. We were all five in Andi’s room; Oaks played in his own world on the floor.

We talked about the purpose (for connection and creation) and the mechanics (they had anatomical questions). We talked about the ways it can go wrong and how absolutely great but private and intimate it is. They had questions about frequency and were a little surprised to know we have decided for sure on no more babies. Yes, the small package that started the whole conversation, is stopping the sibling expansion.

I said that day, and in the next month to my high school campaigner girls (not planned), that I love to talk about sex. When I talk about sex I love to say:

  • Sex is good, precious and powerful. So good, precious and powerful, it’s worth protecting and saving. 
  • Sex is healthy and good to talk about with the right people. Don’t hide your questions or feel like you can’t ask them.
  • Sex is part of who we are and works with what God wants us to do as people who love, know and follow God.
  • Sex is best with one person who really loves you, and always will.

Conversation #2: What is the meaning of life?

One night with Drew at bedtime and the next day with me at lunch, early July, Eli posed the question, “What is the point of life?” Like I said, little kid, big questions!

I asked it right back and they had ready answers.

Eli said, “I think its to have fun, make friends and do work.”

Andi said, “To love and be loved. To have water, family, food, home, and clothing…so you can really live.”

I feel like I should have an answer for them too. Do I say,  “It’s to live as a child of God and ambassador for Christ, making God’s kingdom real on earth with reconciliation and love?”.

Or, simply, “It’s to live loved so you can go love“.

Or, “Life is about relationships. To know and be known, love and be loved. Life is about living in relationship with God for full life on earth.”

It’s fun to think about and I hope they keep asking.

Conversation #3 Birthday Attention 

Eli turned 10 on July 17th and we marked the moment. I hosted a Decade of Parenting Party to toast with my friends about our 10 years of lessons and laughter in parenting. We shared what we learned, how we messed, up and what our kids have done to change our worlds. Then we listened to my friends, who have young 20 year old kids, share about how to make it through the next decade. What was shared that night is worth it’s own post!

Then we had an Epic Eli bday party on Saturday the 16th. With a few friends and some of Eli’s adult friends, had lunch, played Nerf Capture the flag, and went to Oceans and Worlds of Fun.

I had 10 people write craft a page and made a book celebrating Eli’s life so far and cheering him on for the days and years ahead.

On Sunday, Eli went to church in the morning and the end of the season swim banquet at the end of the day with a family party in the middle. He was grateful and said so all throughout the celebrations. Here’s the conversation part.

Me: “Eli, did they know it was your birthday at church? Did anyone say anything?”

E: “Nah. No one knew. No one said anything.”

Me: “Did that bother you? Did you want them to?”

E: “No. It’s fine.”

Me: “Really? I love people knowing its my birthday!”

E: “Yea. I just don’t really like the attention of people who don’t know me very well being paid my way. “

Indeed- Eli meant not to disparage the relationships he has at church. He was simply stating reality. His birthday is about relationships, the knowing and being known, the celebrating and having fun, should be with people who are invested in his life. The obligatory “Happy Birthday” from stranger or acquaintance wasn’t necessary to expand or deepen his weekend. He was humble and honest and I think, very mature. That 10-year-oldness fits him.

So, with fear and awe, gratitude and joy, I can only hope these big conversations keep happening with my little people. 

 

 

A Hole: Half Full or Half Empty

To the tune of “There’s a Hole”

There’s a hole in my backyard dear reader, dear reader. 

There’s a hole in my backyard, so deeply, a hole.

Who dug it, you’re asking, you’re asking, you’re asking, 

Who dug it, dear Lindsey, who dug it so deep? 

It’s Eli! and his friends, and buddies, and siblings, 

It’s Eli! and his friends, and with shovels and buckets!

IMG_6381

10 days ago Eli asked if he could dig a hole under our swing set. I was happy to say YES! Not able to fully gauge the scope, or should I say depth, of this request, I knew at least this was a good spot for a hole. Other areas, other times (ie: 1. Beside our deck when Oaks was a toddler and the 12 inch hole filled with water- not a good place! or 2. Right after the neighbors moved in under their deck without asking- not a good time or place!) were not good ideas but here, under the swing set, the grass grows high and waits for a whacking. There isn’t much else to do under there. Yes, Eli, go ahead and dig.IMG_6386

He wasted no time. Eli thinks about the hole at first waking and heads out for some digs before school.  He comes home and drops his backpack by the rakes in the garage and heads back out to the hole. His clothes are filthy, his shoes filled with dirt, and his soul singing.

There were a few days where the hole brought neighborhood havoc- hole leaders Eli, Will, and Drew wanted to charge fees for touching the hole ($.25 per day) or $1.00 for full hole membership. There was the scale conundrum where only those weighing 60 pounds could jump on the shovel in an attempt to dig deeper.

I intervened with what I thought was a great lecture about how greatness created should be greatness shared.

“Think of all those free apps you like playing on your phone.” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Wouldn’t that stink if you had to pay $.25 every time you wanted to play?”

“Yes.”

“Just like great games, created by someone who worked hard and made something cool,  we share the hole so everyone else gets to experience what cool thing we made.”

The scale was put away and no fees have been charged or collected. IMG_6383

The hole is a WIN!

  • Impressively deep and wide and made completely by kids
  • Lots of kids have participated, played, and worked together and hung out for hours around the hole.
  • Eli loves an adventure and project and goes intensely into what he sets his mind to. This is one I encourage and enjoy watching wholeheartedly.
  • And my favorite part, the hole reminds me of my brother Scot who dug a hole when he was nine in our backyard in Colorado. Along the way he dug up three shoeboxes of bunnies we had buried after their stint of being our pet passed. I remember the bunnies and then I remember the bottom or the hole. It was deep and wide and cool in the shade of the giant pine tree it was under. I don’t remember all the hours Scot spent digging, I don’t think I helped much. But I do remember being proud of him. He had made something great, by himself. With muscle, grit, and determination and back then too, help from friends.

Now, I’m proud of my mom as well. She said YES to Scot when he thirsted for adventure that would make a mess. This is not always easy for me.

The hole is a PAIN!

  • Have I mentioned the dirt? Dirt in the shoes, on the carpet, in the entry way, on their clothes, in the kitchen, in pockets, caked on socks…
  • Where do we put the dirt that’s dug out?! I readied a spot along the fence and very quickly, it overflowed- completely covering my baby and barely there lilies. We rescued them…I think.
  • The dirt is all over the grass right around the swing set box. This grass is probably dead. We work so very hard to not have our grass die.
  • Eli wants a snack at a most inconvenient time now…not right after school as regularly scheduled and when Andi and Oaks have theirs, but later. Like 30 minutes into hole digging when he is covered in dirt, surrounded by other kids, and wanting it served hole-side.

But mostly the hole is just another reminder of how lucky we are to live here and call this home. Like the hole, our family in this house is: a bit messy, unstable in parts, crowded and loud, but deep and fun and open for hard work alone or with a crowd. IMG_6384IMG_6389

Come on over…bring a shovel.

And beware, if your kid reads the book Holes 3 times, the digging itch will probably take root.

 

 

Throwing Up and Growing Up

“Comparison is the thief of joy”…absolutely. I agree. But what about comparison when there is no joy?

My comparison in question is the sheer number of public place pukes that I have mopped up compared to other moms in their first decade of parenting.  Over the past 10 years, my poor kids have thrown up in public a pretty serious amount of times.

Public DOES NOT equal the our van/child car seats which, as locations unto themselves, have endured more than five “events”.

Public DOES NOT equal the basement of my in-laws house, the closet of the VRBO mountain home we had over Christmas in 2013, or our home…bunk bed, kitchen floor, couch, or crib.

By public I mean,

  • the carpeted elevator lobby of my grandparents posh retirement home
  • the upper deck of Coors Field during a Father’s Day Rockies game
  • the 2nd grade classroom coat rack right next to the trash can,

and just yesterday,

  • the small arcade section of our local Walmart.
  • Plus, I think I’m leaving one out. 

Don’t other families have kids who get to toilets for throwing up more often than mine? But again, why despair and compare?

I’m really writing today to acknowledge that a major shift has occurred in my relationship with Eli. He has grown out of just care-demanding-dependence and into a maturity that allows him to work for his own survival (watch him serve himself cereal on a Wednesday morning!), thriving (so much reading!), and just recently, in major ways, as a co-collaborator with me in trying times.

There was a rough night two weeks ago when Drew was out of town, Andi was at a sleepover, and  my boys and I  had a night to ourselves. Through a random course of events, with details too many to mention, my doubled Chipotle burrito bowl went into the shopping bags of a tight-lipped but kind patron three people behind me in line.

Slipping right off my tray and onto the floor, table, and their stuff (shoe boxes, a backpack, and ugh…two pairs of athletic shorts), my dinner and decorum were lost.

Eli steadied our shaky ship. He and Oakley sat at the table and ate their food, the food that Eli had carried smoothly on a tray to the table. As they sat, I slid the guacamole off the shoe box, wiped salsa off the shorts, and apologetically handed the soggy receipt to the forgiving family. Eli was strong, stable, and unwavered by the raucous. He calmly ate, interacted with Oakley and asked very few questions. He held his head high and helped me make it through.

Then yesterday, I had all three kids at Walmart in the 6:00 PM hour. I don’t do that, like ever, and don’t encourage it either.

We shopped for essentials and lolly-gagged through toys and that clearance aisle. Christmas scented candles for $2?! A small Star Wars saber for $1?! And, “Oh Mom, a kitten cuddles calendar for $.50!!!!”

Oaks had said back in the toys that his tummy hurt. I checked in shortly after to see how serious it was and it didn’t seem dire. Still, I was trying to move us out of there. I had 24 items in the 20 item check out line and was hustling. They all three asked to go look at the arcade 10 feet away and I allowed it. 

After check out, I went to the arcade to round them up. Eli and Andi had three discoveries to explain and Oaks, ignoring my request to get in the cart, climbed into the Mickey Mouse car ride. As I approached to get him out, he threw up all over the seat of the car, and then onto the floor.

I had nothing. Except regret about all that clearance aisle shopping.

I grabbed a produce bag sitting in my purse (randomly) and tried to wipe Oaks off with the thin plastic. Not working.  I told Eli to please go ask a worker for help. I left it as open-ended as that.

Eli came running back in seconds with a giant roll of paper towels. When I asked him later what he asked he said, “I went to aisle 6 and said, ‘My brother threw up in the arcade and we don’t really have anything good to clean it up with.’ and she handed me the towels.”

I was able to seat Oakley in the cart and mop up the mess. Andi and Eli diverted their eyes and kept their freak out emotions completely in check. Their calm helped poor Oakley endure. Almost done with the wiping, I asked Eli and Andi to head to customer service and let them know they needed to come clean/sanitize.

They were back in 30 seconds and had secured that maintenance would come and clean more thoroughly. Once again, Eli had calmly and honestly explained the situation.  I hope the maintenance man was pleasantly surprised when he came to see all the chunks were already cleaned up. I left towels covering the fall out area so no other kids would ride the tainted ride.

Eli returned the towels to aisle six and we left. At the car, I stripped Oaks out of his clothes, covered him in my sweat shirt and headed home to a really late dinner. During which, Oaks with his head on my lap on the bench, threw up again, five minutes into the meal.

All of this to say, I’m appreciating how steady, headstrong, calm, and capable Eli is being these days. He might not appreciate how many opportunities his burrito spilling, Walmart sick-kid toting, Mom is giving him, but since we are living it, I might as well mark it with gratitude, a little bit of awe, and a “I see you Eli and cheer you Buddy.”

If you’ve read all of this and are still hungry or interested in being my friend, you too are a strong person.

 

 

Some Mom Moments: I said YES so WE…

…Held a Home Amazing Race and went on a Mommy/Daughter Date!

I hold it as a hallmark of my parenting, or at least my best intentions, to say Yes as often as possible. I want to be a “Yes-Saying Mom” to allow my kids freedom to express and employ their own ideas, to allow them to risk and enjoy, and to let go of my own control. Last week, because I said yes, we had some marked some major moments.

Some back stories:

Drew and I have loved watching CBS’s The Amazing Race with it’s whirlwind races around the world and complicated drama on the two-some teams. We love seeing the world and appreciate the edits that offer humor concise story telling. After watching 15 or so seasons together, Drew and I decided last fall, to let our kids in on our amusement. They loved it…even Oaks. They appreciated the challenges, the beauty and awe of the places they traveled on screen, and the nuances of the game as it was played between teams.

After we watched three shows, Eli’s self spilled out.  Mid-episode, he said, “We should do our own family Amazing Race.”

This is quintessential Eli. He does not just consume or view life, he enacts it. He likes to make his own bands, sledding jumps, snow boarding practice hills, Rube Goldberg’s, arcades, restaurants, and even has one CD. (It features Drew on lead vocals and finds its way to be played when random adults guests are popping in.)

I digress. All this to say, I love to say Yes but sometimes, because Eli wants to actually create so many real life situations, I sometimes have to say No. “No we cannot build a salmon ladder for Ninja Warrior practice in our back yard…. “etc..

However, I wanted to say yes to this family/neighborhood Amazing Race request.

And I did so on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week. I spent a day and a half writing clues, collecting items for the challenges, painting a check-in mat, and stuffing 40 envelopes with Route Info, Detours, and Road Blocks. We assembled teams with neighbors and some of their sleepover friends and had ourselves a little COVES Amazing Race 2016.

I was thankful my friend Taylor was wiling to enter the fray having very little idea what she signed up for when coming over that day. Turns out, she’s a strict but fair judge and a quick distributor of clues.

The four teams wore matching t-shirts (Drew and I have tons of the same clothes!) and completed nine tasks including: completing two mixed up puzzles, unscrambling block letters to spell the next destination (“fridge”), eating “gross” foods (cashews, pumpkin seeds, deer jerky, or pickles), climbing the tree to grab a bandana, sorting two shuffled decks and putting them in suit and number order OR creating a marble run track (that was the detour!), memorizing a quote by MLK Jr. (“Our lives will end when we stop caring about the things that matter.”) and scoring an air hockey goal against Goalie William.

IMG_6072

Andi and Sydney- first place winners!

IMG_6070

Team “#Speedy” reading their clue…ready to memorize.

The rules were simple. Read the whole clue. Work together always. Don’t give up. First team back to the mat wins. IMG_6057 IMG_6063 IMG_6066 IMG_6076

They pushed through puzzle confusion, playing card overwhelmedness, and memory-blocked memorization.

They were patient with and encouraging towards their partners.

Each kid impressed me at some point with an overcoming of a fear, a tenacity towards a task, or a patience with their peer. They all had fun.

IMG_6069

Background: Mallory and Lydia sorting decks. Front: Kiley and Kaitlyn on the other half of the detour, building a marble track.

  • You can do more than you think you can if you’re put to a tough task
  • It’s worth sticking it out even when it seems hard or impossible
  • Helping another person through something is a victory
  • When you’re competing, you try harder, faster and with your whole self (instead of sometimes giving up and walking away when you’re on your own)
  • Scavenger hunts are always fun.
  • Being on a team is a good thing. We need each other in life.

I was exhausted Monday night but will do it again…probably in the summer..and at the kids’ requests, with more of the neighborhood in play.

By Friday, I had revived my mom mojo and was ready for another YES.

Backstory. Andi has been wanting to go ice skating all winter. And, Andi did not want to attend the showing of Charlottes’s Web at school because Charlotte’s death moves her to tears and she wasn’t in the mood for a PTA sponosored sob.

When I asked Andi if, instead of going to the movie night at school which Eli was excited to do, she’d like to do something with Daddy, she said, “I want to do something with YOU Mom.” I was surprised- it’s usually Drew who gets picked for the fun extra stuff. Alas, I was a definite YES for this invite from Andi-girl.

She caught me checking on ice skating hours on my phone so I went forward with the ice skating idea- shucking off the scares of a 20 degree evening, 20 miles of driving and $20 of costs. It was worth it to see the light in her eyes, the enthusiasm in her gait, and the audible excitement in her speech all day. She felt it was going to be so great to be just us girls. I did too.

We went skating, shopping and to Starbucks. She did a great job skating and was undaunted by the falls or the falling temperature. She spun and smiled and took special care to stop and ask me, mid-loop, “What was something you did with Oakley today Mom?” It was a shot straight to the heart of this mom who LOVES thoughtful questions. Andi one-upped herself later in loving me, when she asked if the radio could be turned off so we could “just talk” while we drove. This girl!

After skating, we shopped for loud leggings (she really wants pants with cupcakes, cats, or dogs on them) with no success, and then went to the Plaza Starbucks for hot chocolate and whatever else she wanted, which ended up being a blueberry muffin and a chocolate chunk brownie. IMG_6092IMG_6096IMG_6087

The night was magical. And because I said YES to Andi, I learned a lot about how we are together.

I realized most of the context of my mothering of her exists in instructions, requests, demands or questions. I think I mostly tell her what to do instead of simply slowing down, stopping everything, and playing with or listening to her. Or, when I do slow down and lean in, I’m also still half invested in cooking a dinner, or often interrupted by a brother, a text message, or a trip to the bathroom.

When we were out together, I had nothing to do but be with Andi. It was amazingly apparent we need more of these times.

We were glad to come home, giggling and tired, and learn the boys had a good night at the movie too.

I don’t get it right all the time and surely give my kids a fair share of struggle with me as their mom, but I think the race on Monday and the date on Friday will be memories we all share that tell the bigger truth: we are a family who does love, adventures, invitations, and yeses pretty well most of the time.

 

Turning 3 for Oakley

Sunday will bring the Royals to the ALDS Game 3 (Let’s GO ROYALS!) and our family to the celebration and recognition of Oakley’s Birthday 3.IMG_4156

Oakley was born on 10-11-12 which means for the last THREE WHOLE YEARS, I have been:IMG_2529

  • Carrying Oaks in my arms, or on one hip
  • Reading 6-10 books aloud daily
  • Rocking in our rocking chair ( A precious gift from Drew’s grandpa-christened by Eli and Andi. The comfort and coziness, cuddles, Curious George books, and occasional crying are all held in the beige rocker we cherish.)
  • Saying, “Drew! Look!” and pointing out something cute, smart, precious, or fun that Oaks is doing
  • Watching Eli laugh at something Oakley does and help him out.
  • Watching Andi play with Oakley and bring him into her worlds
  • Singing songs in my voice that brings adults to cringing but my children, so graciously, to smiles and sleepy send-offsIMG_1614
  • Strapping him into carseats (only after E and A could buckle themselves did I go ahead and have a baby and start all over in the car seat category!)
  • Watching in awe as he sees something in the world or someone else and lets it light up his whole face with joy.
  • Saying, “Thank you” as Oakley is a gift for which I feel undeservedly blessed.IMG_1706
  • Making food for Oaks that will help him grow.
  • Balancing a baby/toddler and working from home.
  • Asking for help from family and friends who have stepped in care for Oaks when I’m working or away.
  • Smiling
  • Loving having 3 kids and being our family.
  • Wondering if I’m doing okay as a mom.
  • Sharing Oakley with Parent’s Day Out teachers, Jacob’s Well volunteers, babysitters Emma, Carly, and Abby, and our family. Hearing what other people notice in Oaks affirms or deepens my understanding of who he is and where he’s heading.
  • Holding Oaks in tears.IMG_1884
  • Hugging Oaks in early morning exuberance.
  • Sneaking peaks and back rubs while he sleeps.
  • Playing with Oaks- keeping up with his energy and imagination best I can.
  • Taking deep Mom breaths and wondering why I get so overwhelmed
  • Balancing 2 kids in school and one at home.
  • Giving Oaks prayers and blessings.
  • Enjoying simple days at home just me and Oaks.
  • Taking him to non-kid places that I have to go
  • Affirming Andi’s wise words a year ago at his party: “Good thing we have Oaks!”IMG_2007
  • Welcoming the chaos, loving the surprises, treasuring the wonder, marking the moments, paying better attention in my mom maturity, making mistakes, kissing, laughing, taking notes, being outside, and being so so grateful that he is mine, and ours, and 3 big-boy-years-old.IMG_3136IMG_4066

I celebrate Oaks as a gift and pray God grows Oakley up secure in God’s great love for him in Christ, and gives Oaks reminders of the presence and power of the Spirit to help, heal, and offer hope to the world.

We love you Oakley Andrew Osborne!

IMG_4391

Salvation-simply.

I’m not sure I can call myself a theologian but I do hold a Masters of Divinity. What a sobering degree- I cannot master the Divine.

Today, however, a friend how to explain salvation to her eight year old. I immediately admired the astute question of her deep, little person, but couldn’t respond right away. After thinking, I’ll suggest, very inexhaustibly, the following.

In seminary, I wrote salvation can be understood in two ways: as atonement (to set things right again) and reconciliation (brokenness restored to wholeness). These are great words but still unhelpful to a well-read, but still-in-the-concrete-operational-stage, eight year old.

So in concrete and logical terms, salvation is…like super glue

Salvation happens right now and is something that will happen in the future.

When salvation happens right now, its like something broken, gets put back together. If a tea cup gets dropped and cracks into three pieces, it needs to be “saved”. A broken tea cup will not hold any liquids; it cannot be what it is meant to be.Super glue can save the tea cup. When super glue brings the broken pieces back together, the toy will work as its supposed to work.

Right now, salvation means help in hard times. Salvation means being saved from a disaster- big or small. Salvation is when broken things get put back together.

It’s not just toys that break. Relationships can break too. If we get mad at our brother or sister or mom or dad, it’s kind of like our relationship is broken. We don’t talk to them like we normally do, or we do mean things instead of loving things. Salvation happens when the relationship is glued back together with forgiveness and a love that goes deeper than disappointment, anger, or frustration. Forgiveness lets the broken part of the relationship go away so the fun and loving parts come back.

If you’re grumpy and you get over it, salvation has happened in your heart. If you are mean to your sister but then say you’re sorry, salvation has happened.

Jesus said salvation came to Zacchaeus in Luke 19 when Zacchaeus decided to stop taking money unfairly and return what he had stolen to the people. He was saved because he accepted Jesus’ love and justice as the better way to live. Salvation for Zacchaeus meant he could be who he was really supposed to be.

Salvation is something that will happen in the future.

God is always working for good; God is always light in dark places. God loves the whole world and all the people and doesn’t like when people break the world or each other with anger, abuse, fighting, sickness, pain, or waste. God’s future salvation will happen when all the broken parts of the world are fixed and the world can be the place God made it to be- a place of healing, hope, health, safety, sharing, peace, fairness, freedom, love, fun, joy, and beauty.

Until God’s final salvation comes, we are supposed to make salvation happen here, right now, whenever we can. We can bring salvation to a friend who feels left out by inviting them to come play. We make salvation happen when we clean up trash around the park so it looks prettier for everyone who comes to play. We make salvation happen when we admit we are wrong, work to be different next time, and make things right with the sister/brother/mom/dad/friend with whom we fought.

Jesus saved with love instead of hate…we can too.

When I asked my own elementary school kids, after school just now, if they knew what salvation meant, they said, they had heard the word but didn’t know what it meant.

I said, it’s close to the word “saved”, “What do you think it means to be saved?”

It’s when you’re about to be hit with a dodge ball and then someone jumps in front of you and catches the ball.“- Eli

Like when a kidnapper is going to take you but someone stops them and gets you back.“- Andi.

Indeed- salvation is like getting to stay in the game instead of being knocked out.

Or salvation is like being ripped out of the arms of someone who means to take you from the life you’re supposed to live, and being held by arms that will keep you safe and take you home.

Foot Rubs and a Facial

I was gifted the experience of a relaxing Sunday afternoon with a friend and an elaborate spa facial a few weeks ago.

The vulnerability of laying naked-faced with someone picking at every pore was simultaneously raw and relaxing. I was forced to give my fears about my face away, and chose instead to relax into the moment- accepting that this was the face I received in my genes, takes me into the places I live, and will be with me til the end. Yes, I need to take care of the skin upon it, but to altar it greatly cannot be done. I must live in my face with grace.

By far the best part was the hot towel face wrap. Spinning two warm towels over my face with just a hole in the middle for breathing, the technician pressed down hard on the whole of my face under the warmth. The firm pressure released tension and felt wonderful.

Two weeks after the facial, I went to a yoga class- my first at a yoga studio instead of a gym setting or prenatal DVD in my living room.

Led by a highly qualified instructor (yogi?), the class was very hands on with multiple instructors working around the room to push us deeper into already uncomfortable-but-good-for-me poses. After being let out of the last stretch, we were invited to lay flat in the quiet with eyes closed and body still. I was once again vulnerable to the experience around me- in the middle of a busy day, I found myself far away, in the dark, and in peace. After three minutes, one of the instructors started to massage my feet. Between four of them, they massaged every foot in the room. Oh, the feet they must encounter and the gift they give in touch.

Driving away from yoga that day, I had the thought that I should give my kids a facial and a foot massage. Within the week, I took action.

After dinner, I grabbed whichever one was closest and clipped long finger and toe nails. The clipping revealed some stink and stuck-in gunk in their toes so I started them on a foot soak around the table. Simple soap and warm water, they soaked and splashed. Oaks, with a huge grin, had his bowl on the foot stool.

After the soak, I heated up my heat pack and got three hot towels. I lit candles in my room and gave them each a pillow to lay on. In a line, they alternated between face towel relaxation, heat pack heart warmth, and lotioned foot massage. Oakley lasted the first 3 minutes and chose to forgo a face towel wrap. Drew finished the Oakley spa evening with stories and bed.

For Eli and Andi, they appreciated the ambiance, the attention, the touch, and the presence. They loved the feeling of massage on face, calf, and foot. Andi especially relaxed and enjoyed the physical touch- she is a very physical child and this positively filled her up. Eli, usually moving too fast for touch, laid impressively still with his body, but kept his mind and mouth in continual motion as usual. They both expressed gratitude audibly and in their reluctance for the experience to end.

Mostly, I was moved. I got to touch and see, handle and hold my big kids’ bodies in ways I haven’t for a long time. In rubbing their feet, I fell in love again with how small and precious they are. As I rubbed their face, I spoke affirmation over who they are and encouragement for what they might do. I held their head in my lap and was very, very overwhelmed with how much of a gift they are to me and the world.

The next day meant socks and shoes and peanut butter lips on those small feet and faces. Underneath and deep down however, we were all a little more in tune with each other and the life inside our skin.

 

Why we have so many balls and books.

Two weeks ago I came to have  bit of a breakdown. The month of February was a busy and the tasks, roles, sickness of family members, volume of children noise, and pent up winter energy in our, “yes-it’s a bigger, but our kids are bigger too”, house, took me very literally, to my knees. In tears and through prayers, I picked myself and my life back up.

Adjustments needed to be made both in how I built my days and funneled my expectations and frustrations, as well as in how my kids channeled their energy and exercised their listening skills and obedience avenues.

We went back to the drawing board and chalked it up to progress. IMG_4933

With the Farmers insurance theme song in mind, we sought to define our values and actions:

“Dum, dum, dum dum dum- We are Osbornes!”

I started the list with intentional language about how we try, respect, and act. The kids had buy-in along the way and added their own ideas, some in their own handwriting.

To direct our hearts, heads and hands, we intend to: *denotes kid specific contribution

  • love lots
  • respect adults
  • respect kids
  • forgive
  • try our best
  • always do the right thing* (helpful to have this song in our heads often)
  • do jobs ALL the way
  • PLAY!
  • tell the truth*
  • DANCE and Jam
  • SING
  • try hard *
  • read
  • meet people*
  • share*
  • help*
  • Be nice*
  • be silly*
  • do adventures

The list is long but inherent- some are extra tasks but most are ways of being as we do any task. We listed human behaviors that good, kind, responsible, respectful people can do and be in all of their ways and days. I share it with you as accountability for where we’re headed, and as an invitation for what you might tweak in your own spirit as the season moves towards spring and starting over.

What are we about? What defines our direction in daily life and big decisions? 

With a direction in mind, we have a couple staples in our team tool box. Who you are mandates certain possessions.

Right now, and pretty much for the whole of our life since 2006 (Eli’s birth), we have possessed books and balls. 

We read to our kids early and often as babies.  By extension, our rocking chair and footstool, the reading seat, is our favorite piece of furniture.

For the past 4 years, we’ve taken to getting gobs of library books at a time.

I learned from my friend Jessica who used to work at the library, there is no limit and that the library will still have books for other kids, even if you take a bunch home to your kids. My mind was blown when I saw 34 books lined up on her fireplace. Blown both because the books were in a nice straight line, and because of the sheer number.

My library account currently reads: 55 checkouts, 5 holds ready for pick up, and $0.00 in fines.

Eli, Andi and Oaks love to read. They enjoy trips to the library to pick out new books, finding new installments of favorite series, or digging up a whole new non-fiction book based on current interests (right now, for Eli, it’s disasters and tragedies. Ask him about the molasses flood or children’s blizzard in 1818.) Andi made the shift to chapter books a few months ago so the whole right half of the library is now open for her reading pleasure! Oakley spends quality quiet time by himself flipping the pages of picture books or sitting on my lap and listening to stories read aloud. He has even memorized a whole board book so he can recite it now…reading “all on his own.”

When we come home after library days, reusable bag bursting at the seams, the house falls quiet for an hour and a half. They absorb the new books, sort through them, finish a whole one, and scatter them around the family room.

We read books before school, before bed, in the car, in the bathtub, while waiting somewhere, behind the couch, on the floor, on our own, or all together. Books give us information, entertainment, and time together. The library is our favorite use of government resources and a gift for which we are very thankful.

IMG_4934

Current kid stash on “library shelf”- just organized so we can walk through the family room to the garage now.

Beyond books, we have lots and lots of balls! Our ball bucket boasts:

  • old and new balls
  • foam favorites each with a bite out of the end (infant Andi loved biting!)
  • lacrosse for Crossfit muscle rubbing
  • plastic golf balls
  • bouncy balls and super bouncy ones
  • tennis balls a-plenty
  • the “Hover ball” from a TV ad that doesn’t deliver
  • foam baseballs for indoor play
  • one small hand sized football
  • one small foot sized soccer ball
  • colorful balls that used to go to toys we no longer have
  • marbles (if you can classify these as balls- Oaks is into them currently)
  • one of those balls covered in bumps
  • a plush soccer ball from Aunt Nat
  • Nerf balls
  • rubber basketballs for shooting hoops- Oaks does daily practice
  • balloons that count as balls for indoor tennis (a genius GG invention!)
  • and more

We use balls in our family room, living room, down Hot Wheel tracks, for indoor ball games, for throwing with and at siblings, for whacking with a golf club, and for the sheer joy of having a bucket that’s best unloaded- scattered balls begged to be tossed back in!

Balls are key to our kid raising, and I wager they apply to your adult sanity as well. If you have a ball with you, you can make fun happen or stress alleviate. Throwing and catching a ball behind your desk, catch as a background for a deeper conversation, or to invite or share in a game or play with others, moves your body and mind in sync. I try to have one in the car and on every level of the house at all times. Where do you need a stash?

Regardless of our adherence to the list of intentions, as a family, we are making our mark on each other and the world. Hopefully, whenever we set out in our van, or stay in with our selves, we will be better for having read, tossed a shot in the hoop, and loved.