Nate’s Notes: Yep. Eggs STILL Don’t Bounce.

*I’ve been gone awhile. I’ll try to explain that later, but the adults in my life basically needed my help….A LOT. And I couldn’t write at the same time. Oh! And I got to see REALLY BIG things in Alaska. I’ll tell you all about that later…first, you gotta hear what Lyla did.

 

I tried to tell her.   But she does what she wants. It’s like trying to wrangle a toddler…or a chicken. Either way, Lyla wasn’t wearing her listening ears. And somehow I got in trouble because of that!

Run Ladies! Run!!!

Run Ladies! Run!!!

See, we were doing chores for the first time together. I decided to LET her come with me to feed the ladies and get their eggs. Lyla was sooooo excited to be near the “bok boks”. That’s what she calls chickens…bok boks…like a baby or something. Pfff.   As usual, I got distracted watching the ladies run. Have you ever watched chickens run? It is soooo funny. You gotta see it.  It might be funnier than watching Momma try to dance.  I could watch them for hours.   If my teeth are hurting or my toys bore me, I just watch our chickens run and feel better. Momma laughs a lot too and that make my heart smile.  

I warned Lyla about the eggs and told her that eggs aren’t balls. So I was watching the ladies run, Momma was talking about the pictures she wants to take, and all the pictures she has to work on (really, can she think of ANYTHING else to talk about???), and Lyla was…somewhere.  

Well…when we weren’t looking, Lyla wandered over to the chicken eggs. I turned around JUST in time to see her with them in her hands. She was yelling, “Ba Ba Ba” (that is Lyla speak for ball).   And then I knew. I knew because I had to find out for myself when I was a baby. These weren’t balls. They were eggs. And eggs don’t bounce. But I couldn’t stop her.   What kind of a big, helpful brother would I be if I didn’t let her learn for herself??!   And what kind of a big, sneaky brother would I be if I didn’t let her get in trouble sometimes??!   So I watched with a teeny, tiny smile. I watched Momma gasp. I watched Lyla get big eyes. I watched Lyla throw. I watched Momma yell just as Lyla threw the eggs. I watched Momma close her eyes and groan.   I watched Lyla freeze and then turn around and run away.   She knew. She knew Momma wasn’t happy. Okay, so they aren’t balls…they are eggs.   Eggs don’t bounce. I knew that. And now, so did Lyla. But eggs STILL make a pretty picture all broken up!

Now…about ALASKA…

Nate’s Notes: I Am NOT Sharing These Legos

Awhile ago I wrote about “Sharing is Caring”. Really? It is? There are big people in my life that like to say this. Actually, big people who don’t even know me, like at the playground or market, like to say it too. Have you ever heard something so silly?!   I hear it often…as if you can reason with my two-year old brain.   I heard it just the other day, about 11teen hundred 67 times when Lyla tried to play with my Legos. MY Legos.

WP_20140522_003Here’s the thing about Legos. They. Are. AWESOME!!! You can build something different every day with Legos. They have great colors. There are big ones, mostly for babies, and smaller, “regular” ones. Actually these smaller ones we call “Uncle Tim Legos”. My Uncle Tim and Legos go way back. He is kind of a super hero with them. And these Legos were FROM HIM. FOR ME. He gave them to me, NOT Lyla. I am the one who broke my collar bone, NOT Lyla. I am the one the doctor called a SUPER HERO, NOT Lyla.

Seems like I should get to play with them and only me.  And besides, big people don’t share everything.   They certainly don’t share much with me. I watch. I listen. I know.

So back to these Legos. I don’t plan to share anytime soon. In fact, I’m bringing some on the BIG boat and adventure we take in a couple days!!! Uncle Tim is going too. Only Uncle Tim gets to play Legos with me. NOT Lyla.

That’s all.

Nate’s Notes: Cars, Trains, Buses, Boats and Planes- OH MY!!!!

11teen more days. 11teen. It feels like so much, and not so much. I try to count out 11teen cars and books and planes, just to see how much that is, but Lyla keeps interrupting me. Little sisters…pfff. Just 11teen days separate me from my BIG adventure. Momma says this isn’t just any adventure. She tells me we are going to the land of BIG things. BIG mountains, BIG wild spaces, BIG bears, BIG ice cube thingies, BIG days (Momma says the sun goes to bed for only a couple hours), and BIG fun.

Even better, we get to go on a BIG boat- or ship – as part of our trip! Even better than that, I get to do all this with a lot of my BIG people!! I get to go with Papa, Gram Spam, Momma, Daddy, Lyla (eye roll), Auntie Kate (I can’t wait to read with her), Uncle Tim (maybe he will play Legos with me), Auntie Christine (she makes me smile and gives the best hugs), cousin MoMo (Dance party!!!), and cousin Brooke (she’s fun, has my birthday, and has the best smile).

First we have to go by car from our house all the way up to Canada. Still not sure how I feel about road trips and being strapped in the car for such a long time, but Momma and Daddy both make it fun. I always get to see new things. And guess what…take MORE pictures along the way (eye roll). Then we get on the BIG boat with everyone else. I’m pretty sure my brain will explode if I try to think about all we will see on the boat, from the boat, and when we get off the boat. Momma has been telling me stories and showing me pictures, but c’mon…I’m two. I can handle only so much.

After the BIG boat, we get to go on a train to the BIG mountain that starts with a “D”, like “Daddy”. A train!!!!! After the train, a bus will take us all around that BIG mountain where we might see BIG bears, BIG cats, BIG goats, BIG flowers (eye roll), and BIG trees. Just think of all the pictures!!!! Wait…did I just say that??!! (eye roll).

After the trip to the BIG mountain we get to take another bus and have more adventures before we get on a plane to start home!! My very first plane trip!! Momma and Daddy look scared when we talk about the plane ride with me and Lyla…but I will keep them safe and sound. A plane with me in it!!! In the sky!!! Brain…exploding.

I’m so excited I could pee my pants!!! Don’t judge.

11teen more days. Then it’s time for my BIG adventure with my family, full of BIG fun and lots of love. I’ll be sure to take pictures and share with everyone! Yes, I said that. There must be something about cars, trains, buses, boats and planes that makes me not care about the cameras and pictures!! I am one happy boy.

Nate’s Notes: Teaching The Next Generation

Ever since I fell and broke myself, I’ve had a lot of time to think. My big people don’t let me do too much stuff. So, with all this “rest” time, I think…and I scheme. No, just kidding!! I don’t really scheme, I’m two!

Back to the scheming, I mean thinking…So yea, as I get older, I find I do a lot of thinking anyway. Where do the birds sleep? When can I see the new helicopter movie with Dusty Crophopper? Why can’t I see it now? What if I feed my nemo fishies too much? Will they grow so big and break the tank really? Why does Momma not like sharks, because they seem nice enough in that movie? Why can’t I stay up all night and read? Is Lyla really staying forever? When does the boat for Alaska leave? Will it come here? Is the train on the boat too? And the plane? And the bus?  Why does Momma keep asking me what my name is or Lyla’s name is? Does she really not remember? Will I turn into a watermelon if I eat too much? Will I turn into a prune if I stay in the bathtub forever? Why can’t I use Daddy’s camera? (I already know how…pff). Is eating dirt or leaves really that bad? Does the bobcat really hug the chickens and take them back to his house?

Whew…it is exhausting really. One of the biggest questions I’ve been asking myself lately (since I haven’t been able to take pictures) is about who will take pictures when we (me, Momma, Daddy and the “others”) stop? Will Lyla? Certainly not at this rate. By the time I was her age, I was already taking my own pictures, and had been given two cameras. I guess it is up to me to show her…to teach the next generation.

If you want to beat your head against the wall over and over again…it might be easier than trying to teach Lyla about cameras!! Oh man. I. Have. Tried. Trust me, I’ve tried it all. Since she didn’t seem to get the camera lesson, I decided to show her what some textures were. Start simple. Once again, my actions were misinterpreted as shoving her face in the carpet, the driveway, the couch, dumping water over her head, painting her legs, and pushing her against the wall. I simply wanted her to see the textures up close, to focus. All Momma saw was the last part of all of it.

We have a lot of work to do. See for yourself. The pictures say it all.  

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TMG Philosophy: Inspiration

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration, whether from images, gestures, or words. Sometimes we need quite a bit! Recently, I’ve been looking at readings and favorite quotes for some much needed comfort and inspiration. Part of the reason I journal is for just such a reason as this.  I thought I’d share some of those I’ve collected, and those that jumped out at me today. It occurred to me that some of these personify our TMG Philosophy perfectly!    

 

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. – Sam Ewing
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

“I think that to find meanings, you have to look at things from different directions.” – Bev Doolittle

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

“Although I make mistakes, I am not a mistake.” – Anonymous

“We become brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle

“People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” – Anonymous

“A picture is a poem without words.” – Horace

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ― Gloria Steinem

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Nate’s Notes: Bone Pictures

“8 little monkeys jumpin’ on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, ‘No more monkeys jumping on the bed!!’” I love that book. Actually, I love any book. I mean, WHO DOESN’T??!!! Oh wait…Lyla doesn’t. Give me a break.

Actually, that happened. I mean…I got a break. Yea. I was just reading my book. Maybe I was sitting on the bench in a way that Momma told me not to. I’m not saying I was, just that it is possible. I’m two. C’mon.

So yea, I was reading this amazing book and I fell. It happened fast and probably is the most scared I have ever been. I cried. I kicked and I cried. I cried so loud and hard that I couldn’t breathe. Momma was right there to hold me.   She kept telling me I was safe. She kept telling me she was there and that Daddy was coming soon.   She rubbed my head, sang me songs and loved me. But all I could do was cry. I cried so much that Lyla started crying.

Everything started to get cold. It hurt so much that I started shaking and shaking. Momma sang louder then and told me again I was safe, I was loved. I felt like if I just went to sleep that it would be better.   I don’t remember Daddy coming home, but when he did, I was almost asleep.  

Momma called the doctor and the doctor said… “Bring him in.”   So I got to go to a big huge doctor’s office. It was called a hopitoo. No…hospy. No…hospital!! Everyone was really nice there.   The nice doctor even called me a superhero. He called me a brave boy!!   It hurt when he tried to move me, so he said we needed pictures. He said it was probably broken. Wait…what??

Oh perfect. Him too??!!! Great. I’m surrounded by people who take pictures. What could this doctor POSSIBLY want to take pictures of at a time like this?? Can’t I catch a break??!!   Wait, I’m broken?   Did he just say I was broken????   That didn’t sound good. Not at all.

A woman came and got me and Momma. We got to wear capes and stand on a stool. Then a big big machine came at me. The woman told me it was going to take pictures of me. So I smiled. She told me not to. Someone’s a grumpy pants. I stood really still and the machine took pictures …of my bones!!!   My bones!!!   Now, THAT is a cool camera. I’m asking for one for my next birthday.  

After the pictures, we got a special brace for me. It hurts. But the doctor said Momma and Daddy would help me feel better, and keep me safe.   I broke my collar bone. Whatever that is. It just feels like my shoulder is on fire.

It isn’t fun. Everyone tells me to stop doing this, and stop doing that because I will get hurt. Everyone watches everything I do. I do get to read a lot of books, which is cool.   But I can’t run that much, or jump…or do EVERYTHING a two-year old boy NEEDS to do all day long. I DO get extra hugs and cuddles. Momma and Daddy do keep me safe.

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RSWL: Girly Images and Textures

Yep, girly images. Let me explain. For those of you who don’t know, some of the people on our team of photographers consider nature pictures, well… girly. It’s kind of an ongoing joke…I think. Hmmm…

When in the field taking pictures, some of us tend toward architectural elements like doors, windows, manhole covers, etc. Others of us gravitate toward mechanical elements, or electrical objects. Still others of us are drawn toward nature, or girly “stuff”. That would be me. I would say the biggest percentage of my own image library for the websites is National Parks, landscapes, skies, rural images, vegetation, or flowers. There is something refreshing and uncomplicated about these images.

Being in nature, or looking at pictures of nature…err, girly pictures, is relaxing. I believe being in nature helps us focus on that moment. When we watch a sunset paint the sky, stop to admire the beauty of an opening flower or patch of wildflowers, or watch waves crashing on a beach, we pay attention to what is happening right then and there. We, even if only briefly, forget about the groceries, the errands, the appointments and whether or not the quilt on our bed needs replacing. We are in the present moment and nowhere else. We enjoy the beauty in front of us.

If you can’t get out in nature today or that easily in general, take a look at some of our girly images and see for yourself how relaxing and inspiring it can be!

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Nate’s Notes: Even Superheroes Need a Break

Before you keep reading you should know this is Nate’s Momma. He had a little accident last week and needed a break, some time to heal. So I thought I’d write his little “note” today. You should also know that not all his “notes” are Momma-approved…but who am I to squelch his creativity?!

When Nate isn’t stealing my computer to write, taking pictures with everything BUT his own camera, leaving notes about how our day should go, and bossing his baby sister around, he actually does regular, 2-year-old boy stuff! Believe it or not, he does. He reads, plays with cars, planes, trains and Legos. But then I guess you probably know that. I’ve read an entry or two.

Well, last week he was being a 2-year-old boy when he fell off the bench and snapped his little clavicle bone all the way through! I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye as I picked up his cranky baby sister. I knew. I knew it was a bad one. Not the last, I’m sure, but as the first, it felt traumatic.

The break!

The break!

At the emergency room, the attending doctor warned us it was a bad break, that it might be hard to see the x-rays and hear that news. Nate, however, was charming everyone there, making friends with all. When we left, the doctor told him he was a superhero.

We already knew that.

The days that followed his accident have only proven that, as if we had any doubt. You see, here is a 2-year old with a broken bone that can’t be cast and thus, is constantly reminded of the pain as he tries to use that arm and shoulder. Here is a 2-year old who is the poster child for a running, jumping, climbing, non-stop boy, and yet isn’t allowed to be physical for awhile. Try telling him that!!  When I watch him move, wince, cry and quietly declare, “I have an owie…I feel pretty sad. Maybe I will feel better toonono,” I get a little sad. Nate doesn’t miss a thing, and notices this. He is the one hurting, and he comes up to me with those eyes and takes my hand saying, “It’s okay Momma. Don’t be sad. You will be fine.  I love you. I will keep you safe.”  Be. Still. My. Heart.

He takes my breath away. His tenderness and ability to touch my soul amaze me. He is my superhero. But it seems, even superheroes need a break. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be back to writing next week!

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TMG Philosophy: Beautiful Details

There is beauty all around us. Some of it is loud, some of it is soft.  Some beauty surprises us. I know, I know…I’ve written a time or two before about looking for hidden beauty. Last week, though, I was reminded of the many forms and places beauty takes shape.  Sometimes this splendor isn’t always in the pictures I look for, the images I capture with my camera.  Sometimes the beautiful details are in every day life.

I repeatedly preach (occupational hazard of being a Pastor’s daughter?) to anyone who will listen about not missing opportunities to see the magnificence that surrounds us. Sure a sunset, wild flower, sculpture or mountain landscape practically blind us with splendor. Looking closer at grass blowing in the wind, white puffy clouds, the fluid patterns of rusted metal, or the reflections of light from a pile of broken glass reveals concealed loveliness that waits to be noticed.

Every day, I try to notice new beauty, find opportunities to discover those patient details waiting to be noticed. Sometimes though, I get in my own way and miss it completely. Last Tuesday was one of those days.

Last Tuesday, in a courtroom before more than 25 witnesses, we signed papers that finalized our daughter’s adoption. That’s a pretty big deal. Yes, early in the case, while we were still fostering her, we knew it would be quite possible to adopt her. We knew the risks. Yes, she was “ours” in our hearts from the day we met her. We knew we wanted for her to be with us forever. We waited. We loved her and waited.

And our day came. Tuesday’s day in court meant we were a forever family. It meant we don’t have to look over our shoulders anymore, or have people looking over ours. We have rights now as her parents! We don’t have to explain the situation to people about different names and paperwork they have to fill out, or paperwork we have to show them. We can breathe.

We couldn’t help but remember the sentiment of our son’s adoption, finalized just 17 months earlier. This day was certainly no less emotional. The significance of this day was huge. We shuffled in to the courtroom with friends and family around, waiting to see “the judge”.   As he walked out and approached our little family at the table, I couldn’t help but notice how casual he was. No robe, cowboy boots.

He greeted us, sat, chatted with Nate, and tried to engage Lyla. He spoke to us about the meaning of the day, showed us the papers, had us sign on our lines, and then signed on his own lines. With a quick flip of his wrist, a smile in his eye and a hand shake, he congratulated us and invited us to take pictures in the courtroom. That’s IT?!!! I remember feeling disappointed at Nate’s finalization because it was so fast. This time, it was even faster!! He didn’t even make a declaration or announce her name to the courtroom!!! Just a hand shake???!!! What the….

I wanted to yell, “WAIT! That’s….IT???!!!”. But I just smiled back. The whole time pictures were being taken, I marinated in my indignance and disappointment. I smiled for the cameras and kept thinking…

We went through 67 social worker and lawyer visits, 38 bio dad visits, 12 doctor visits, and lost 60.88 days of sleep since Lyla came to our home in April 2013. (Yes, I can provide proper calculations.)   All that, and a guy in cowboy boots and no robe comes out, takes 6 minutes to talk to us and sign some papers, doesn’t make a proclamation and that’s it?!!!  

I stewed like this for days. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful, relieved, and filled with joy. But somehow I lost sight of that joy and peace because I thought those 6 minutes didn’t match the enormity of that day like I thought they should. I missed the beauty in those minutes.

The Moment

The Moment

When I took the papers out of the folder just yesterday to file them, I looked at them again. And then I saw the beauty…it was there all along. The judge’s signature, Lyla’s name, our names, the SAME last name, the names and signatures of our family and friends- perfect details. How could anything be more beautiful? How had I missed that?

Nate’s Notes: Safe and Sound

At night sometimes I wake up scared. I don’t know why, or what scares me, but I feel like running as fast as I can. That’s when I scream and scream because I don’t know what to do with those big feelings. They are just so…big. And they make me feel really little. Momma and Daddy always come running to find me and help me. They hug me and rub my back. They squeeze the scared right out of me with big arms and soft songs. They always tell me the same thing: “We will keep you safe and sound…you are safe, you are loved.” I guess it is what big people do for little people.

Sometimes when those big feelings come I try to grab a stuffed animal, or my lovey, or just shut my eyes tight. But nothing makes it all go away like Momma and Daddy. When we go somewhere new and I feel that scary stuff coming up, I tell myself (and Momma and Daddy in case they forget) “you will keep me safe and sound. You will keep me safe and sound.” They always smile at me to tell me yes.

I think Lyla gets scared at night too, and when we see someone, anyone, new. So I tell her she’s okay. She is safe and sound. But she just doesn’t get it. Such a baby.

Momma was asking about a cemetery the other day that she wants to go take pictures in, and Daddy started clearing his throat. I already knows that means he is upset. He thinks, and honestly I do too, that Momma’s thing with cemetery pictures is strange…and scary. But she is kinda strange. In a good way, I guess. But still strange. I watched him and could tell he needed a hug. He said he would drive, but stay in the car. I knew it…he DID need a hug, like I do when I have big scary feelings.

I walked up to him, grabbed his hand, and said, “It’s okay Daddy. You are fine. I will keep you safe and sound. I love you too.”   Both Momma and Daddy scooped me up and seemed a little sad because their eyes leaked a little. But they had big smiles.  

Well, we got to go on that field adventure for Momma to take cemetery pictures. And I kept Daddy safe and sound. And he kept me safe and sound. Even big people need to be taken care of sometimes.