Archive for January, 2007

How do three girls spend their morning together? They divide their time evenly between kitchen duty, necklace crafting, and baby care, of course.

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After three rounds of hugs, Ava waved goodbye to Ruthie and Lydia and then looked up at me and said, “I had great time today, didn’t I?”

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i wanna dippp!

Hands down, Ava’s favorite snack is graham crackers dipped in water. Seriously. She asks for it nearly every afternoon, and she dutifully reminds me that you can’t “dippp” your crackers in water at church.

Her daddy has one word for her this messy treat: Disgusting.

According to Ava,
it’s good to the last crumb.

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what ava is teaching me

or what God is teaching me through Ava.

Ava, like all children, is present and immediate. Therefore Jesus is not a story or a religion or a theology. He is not even someone she goes to church to learn about. He is her friend. She talks to him, often. He is the one who heals her owies, who provides her food, who takes care of her, who will give her Mama a new baby. He is even the one who “gave Ava to Mama and Daddy.”

Yesterday as I was getting Ava out of the car she said to me, “I like Jesus, Mama. Do you like Jesus?” As I responded in the affirmative, I was struck with what it meant to like Jesus the way Ava likes Jesus. “Truly, I say to you,” says Jesus, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Do I really like Jesus the way my child like Jesus? This is the question on which I have paused for the past two days.

Yes, I love Jesus. I worship Jesus. I long honor to Jesus. He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Hope, and in these past months my sweet Comforter. But am I enraptured with him? Is he my hero? Do I spontaneously feel affection for him so much so that I must declare audibly, “I like Jesus”?

I remember my prayers before I learned how to pray. They may have been the purest form of communion that I have ever had with the Lord and they rarely had words. I was just awake in the presense of God: he read my heart and I felt his nearness. It was that simple. I didn’t know that I needed to make it simple; it just was. Watching Ava has been a reminder of this; of what it is to know Jesus before you know about Jesus.

Knowing about Jesus is important, learning how to pray is important, but the newness and nearness is lost in the acquisition of knowledge. And then it is given again through the gift of children. Jesus tells us that God chose to reveal things to children that are hidden from the wise. One of those things, I have learned from my daughter, is knowing Jesus simply, fresh with wonder and glory.

It is a joy and a delight to see Jesus through the eyes of Ava. Like tulips that first lift up their heads in March, her Jesus smells so sweet. He loves little children and brings them to his lap, he seeks out a little, unloved man from the top of a tree, he puts his hands on nasty, oozing owies, he tells a very scary storm to “be still.” Yes, Ava, yes. I like this Jesus.

After I had answered Ava’s question, she said, “Jesus likes it that I like him, doesn’t he Mama?” “Yes, Ava,” I replied, “he does.” She paused for a moment and then declared with the utmost certainty, “And Jesus will always be with Ava! Always.” Amen.

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city girl

CAR SEAT: “…cows are animals and pigs are animals and sheep are animals and farmers.”

DRIVER’S SEAT: “Farmers are people.”

CAR SEAT: “Farmers are people, but they’re not real people”

DRIVER’S SEAT: “Yes, Ava, farmers are real people.”

CAR SEAT: “No they’re not. Mama. They’re not real people.”

DRIVER’S SEAT: “Ava, farmers are real people.”

CAR SEAT: “Farmers are real people like Mary Poppins is a real people. They’re a puppet show, but their eyes don’t work.

***does anyone have a farm we can go to?***

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Ava and her buddy,
Henri scraped up
snow in coordinating
fur lined hoods.

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2007 marks Ava’s very first haircut. One too many tear had been shed over the merciless tangles that had overtaken her hair, so I finally pulled out the scissors.

It took one piece of gum, one sucker, and one candy cane to get through the ordeal, but I think we are all happy with the results.

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"take ’em away!"

“Ava, you can’t have a candy cane right now,” heard Ava after pushing a dining room chair over to the ledge and climbing up on it to be closer to the jar of treats. “Ava,” repeated her daddy, “no candy canes.” She hopped off the chair and looked up at the sweets again.

“Take ’em away. They’re bothering me.”

(At the young age of two, Ava has discovered that the best way to deal with a temptation is to remove it. She has also learned that it is good to have a back up plan.)

As soon as her daddy had shut the cupboard door concealing the sweet temptations, Ava announced: “They’re for later when my grandma comes over.”

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  • 12. Tie: “I love you, Daddy” and “I love you, Mama” ~ Ava is very affectionate and has truly embraced this phrase this year. We love you too, Ava.
  • 11. “Have juice please may I” = may I have juice please ~ Ava’s roundabout, polite way of asking for nearly everything.
  • 10. “I need it!” ~ Ava’s not so polite way of asking for something. We have discovered that two-year-olds have lots of “needs.”
  • 9. “I need to help you, Mama, ‘kay?” ~ One of Ava’s needs to assist me whenever I am doing anything that looks the least bit interesting, and this is generally declared while pushing a step stool or chair in my direction.
  • 8. “…’kay?” ~ This sentence add-on is so common that it deserves a line of it’s own. It is is quickly followed by, “say yeah Mama, say yeah.”
  • 7. “Which ones can I have?” = What can I play with. ~ This is Ava’s response to being reminded that she can’t play with my make-up or vitamins or permanent markers or jewelry box or anything else that is not for two-year-olds.
  • 6. “Let me smell” ~ A couple months ago Ava had a nasal sensory awakening and is now eager and determined to smell everything, I mean everything: candles, lotion, soap, ornaments, socks, dryer sheets, rocks, everything
  • 5. “That’ll be GREAT, won’t it!” ~ Ava is very enthusiastic about her ideas, and our ideas too.
  • 4. “HELP!!” ~ This is more of yelp than a phrase and applies to all sorts of situations
  • 3. “I need to go potty.” ~ Ava is fully potty trained, which means we get to visit all sorts of interesting, public restrooms. “Ava, don’t touch anything.” “What can I touch, Mama?” “Your legs, put your hands on your legs.”
  • 2. “What’s your name?” ~ Ava’s greeting: the first thing she says to all people at all places (even people she knows)
  • 1. “Let me do it.” ~ What can I say, she’s two.

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Ava came out of her room this afternoon and announced, “Ava got dressed all by herself. She looks pretty, doesn’t she? She did a good job, didn’t she? She did it all by herself. That was a good job. Doesn’t she look pretty, daddy.”
Yes, she is wearing three shirts (t-shirt, then tank top, then sleeveless blouse) and yes, she now narrates her own stories in third person.

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new year’s gift

On New Year’s Eve we went to an early, family New Year’s Eve party at our neighbor’s house. Ava was delighted to find so many kids there and was soon immersed in bubbles, blowers, party crowns, and confetti sprayers. And Nate and I were enjoying the rare freedom of chatting with the adults, yet we were always in the same room as her. At about 8:30, I walked by the front door and saw another mom pulling Ava’s boots off her feet.

“Ava,” I said, “you don’t need to wear your boots in the house.”

“Ocean just saved your daughter’s life,” was the mom’s reply. I stood their bewildered as she explained that her son, Ocean had found Ava walking down the sidewalk outside in the snow. Yes, our two-year-old had put on her boots and left the party.

The horror of this reality did not sink in until I was laying in my bed that evening. Suddenly all the other possibilities and scenarios filled my mind, not to mention the news blurb: “Toddler found wandering in the snow while parents are at a New Year’s Eve party.”

Ava has never ever tried to leave any building ever before. One moment she was at the table blowing bubbles with Cedar and then next she was alone out in the cold. We think that she must have been so intrigued by the snow. She has been waiting and waiting for it to snow; it finally snowed on New Year’s Eve.

What really struck me as I lay there awake shuttering about the precariousness of life and safety is that God truly watches over his little ones. He saved our little girl from the cold and the dark that night and we are so thankful.

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