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Big Jesus and Little Jesus

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Had an AWESOME day in the Lord.  Got to watch 4 hours of great basketball while hanging out with NE.  Got to coach NE’s game.  Saw and heard about some amazing God moments.  Enjoyed a nice dinner with the fam while hearing all about SD’s afternoon with her new friend.  It’s past their bedtime, but I’m enjoying giggles from the boys’ room.  Not sure what they’re doing, but I haven’t heard NE giggle like this in a LONG time.  Bubba’s bedtime prayer:

“Dear Gaw, dank you for food.  Dank you for Cheerios.  Dank you for cankakes.  Dank you for movie.  Dank you for Pireman Sam.  Dank you for new sheets.  Dank you for mommy.  Dank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.  Amen!”   In defense of NE, the “big Jesus and little Jesus” originally came from him.  Doesn’t matter what prayer we’re saying, be it mealtime grace, bedtime prayers, or any prayer throughout the day, NE you won’t let us end without saying “thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Not sure where you got it, but it’s your thing.  If I forget to say it, you’ll say, “Dad! You didn’t say thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Sometimes, you just add on to my prayer as a P.S.  It has quickly become a staple in our daily prayers, and I love it…almost as much as God does.  Either way, I couldn’t say it any better.  Amen!!

Love,

Dad

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I’m Not A Rock

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I don’t know when this started occurring.  I know it’s been several months, but exactly when it started, I haven’t a clue.  I do, however, remember the first time it happened:

NE, you’re three as I write this, so for argument sake, we’ll say it was about six or eight months ago.  You would have turned 3 only a few months before this first occurred.  I was tucking you into bed after reading you a story.  We had just prayed together, like we do every night.  You were laying down, all snuggled up under your blanket looking up at me with those bright eyes of yours filled with such love and admiration.  You were happy.  I’d have given just about anything to have been able to read your mind at that moment in time.  Truth be told, I’d give just about anything to know what goes through your mind at any time of the day.  To watch you play, read, run…just to watch you process what’s going on around you brings about so many different facial expressions that evoke wonder on my part…wonder about how a three-year old processes all of that data differently than a 37-year old.  I digress…

Kneeling by your bedside on this night, I’m proud to be your dad.  Proud of all that you are…not because of what you’ve done, but just proud to know you and proud to be given the responsibility of being your daddy.  As I look down upon your smiling face, I say three simple words to you.  Words that any adult who reads this will hear and think nothing other than, this is a dad praising his child.  Three words we hear all the time, whether in being said to friends and family, or in mainstream media.  When composed in the order I chose to use them, they make perfect sense…to an adult.  In the mind of a three-year old, however, the same three words mean something completely different.  And until the mind of a three-year old is unleashed upon the world, no adult can ever be prepared for what comes next.

Three words…In my mind’s eye, I’m trying to tell you so many different things with these three words.  In my three words, I’m trying to tell you that you’re awesome…that I’m proud of you…that I’ll always be proud of you…that I’m here for you…that I’m blessed and proud to be your daddy…that you mean the world to me…that my life would never be the same without you…that you make a difference in my world…that you have a magnetic personality…that others are drawn to you because you’re a great person…that you’re a great helper…that you’re an awesome big brother to SI and an amazing little brother to SD…that you’re smart…you’re funny…you’re beautiful on the inside and the outside…that you’re good at problem-solving…that you’re compassionate and caring…that you think of others first…that you have a servant’s heart…that your decision-making is impressive for a 3-year old…that you’re a loving person…that I love you.

Three words that in the mind of a three-year old have no correlation to any of what I’m really trying to say to you.  Three words that in the mind of a three year old mean something completely different than their intended meaning.  As I look down upon your innocent smiling face, all that I want to say to you to express how much you mean to me is, “NE, you rock!”

And after saying all that I want to say, you look up at me with a puzzled expression on your face.  A brief smile breaks across your mouth as you tell me in all seriousness, “I’m not a rock.”

Not what I was expecting, but you are son.  You are more than you’ll ever know.  All of you are rocks in my life…rocks past which the river of my life flows and is blessed to have in its path.

Love,

Dad

A New Bed

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As I put this site together and try to organize all of the random thoughts that cross my mind on any given day…all the things I would want you to know in my absence…all the stories of your childhood that you’ll enjoy reading to your own children, I’m remembering stories I’ve either shared with friends and family in person or as short Facebook posts…stories of the things going on in our life at any given moment in time.  As I start to add to this “Daily Grind” chapter, I’ve been putting a lot of thought and consideration into what the opening of this chapter should be.  I can come up with nothing better than the following story I originally wrote as a Facebook post on February 21, 2011:

We finally assembled the bunk beds for the boys that we bought back in December.  That was a 3 hour process that surprisingly, went rather well (I’ve always been better at breaking than building/fixing…hence the reason I’m not in construction.)  Tonight, our family night consisted of Ju driving the kids in circles in the parking lot while I was at the chiropractor for 45 minutes.  I’m usually a once-a-week popper of the spine, but life has kept me from it for 5 weeks, so extra maintenance required a longer visit than intended.

A quick run to the grocery store and Target for some plastic sheets for the new bunk beds and new shoes for the boys.  NE wanted nothing to with any shoe except Lightning McQueen.  The red lights in the lightning bolts on the sides amaze him, and he walked around all night saying, “Lie Queen.  Kachow!  Kachow!  Kachow”!  He rocks.  Afterward, we stopped at the pet store for some feeder fish for our Oscar.  At home, we all sat and watched as Oscar (Ostrich is his SD-given name) ate 8 of 9 within about 5 minutes.  The lone survivor found refuge in the corner behind the heater.  At SD’s instruction, I chased him out of the corner so Ostrich could get to him, but he found his way back to the safety of the heater.   I told her that he’s earned the right to live another hour or so, so we’ll leave him be.  Honestly, the older I get, the more enjoyment I get from watching this than from what’s on TV anymore.

It’s 9:45.  The boys went to “bed” at 8:00.  NE likes the new bed so far, although he gets scared on top so he’s up and down between beds.  Unfortunately, Bubba loves the new bed even more.  While he has moved from his crib to NE’s old crib/toddler bed, it’s not working out so well right now…he is NOT ready to be in a bed without 4 sides.  So, tomorrow I’ll add the 4th side back to it to convert it back to a crib.  He was bouncing on the toddler bed earlier and did a somersault out onto the floor.  Never once flinched and got right back up for more.  On my 8th trip to their room to investigate the commotion, Bubba is on the top bunk with NE.  He’s wearing his bike helmet. I guess he figures a somersault off the top bunk requires a little extra safety gear.  Note to self, I need to put safety bar over the ladder tomorrow.

On a subsequent trip, (by this point I’ve actually lost count…it was a lot!), I told NE to just let Bubba crawl in with him on the lower bunk if he kept getting in his bed and crawling in with him.  On Ju’s next trip to investigate the commotion, NE had indeed followed my direction.  Bubba was in bed with him…and had NE in a headlock.  I really need to convert his toddler bed back into a crib tomorrow.

On the umpteenth trip NE made to our room to tell us how SI has again crawled out of bed, I’m done.  I’ve moved into their room and sitting on the floor as I finish writing this.  I think we’re making progress. 🙂

As a postscript to this story, it’s March 6th.  Two weeks have passed since we put your new bed together.  NE, you’re not so sure about the top bunk at night yet, so you’ve been sleeping on the bottom.  I can understand that.  It is a big bed for such a small child.  Your little body doesn’t even take up 1/4 of the available space.  SI, I really should have listened to my own advice from the above story.  I still have not put the 4th side back on the crib yet, so you easily “escape” your 3-sided bed.  At least we’re down to only about 30-45 minutes of sending you back to bed before you finally give up the fight and let sleep get the better of you.  Every night, though, you wake up at least once…more often than not several times, and every night, the pitter-patter of your little feet fills the silence of the night as you make your way to our room.  Over and over again.

Love,

Dad