Tuesday, July 31, 2012

UPDATE ON POTTY TRAINING

This month has been crazy.  I feel like I say that all the time, but this time, it is really true.  John and I just got back from a long weekend in Portland (more in another post), and if you have read the news at all about CFA, you know we have a crazy week ahead of us.  Before I forgot it, I wanted to write an update post about where we are at with potty training.

Last Monday, this sweet girl and I headed to the child psychologists office.

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(The backstory can be read in this post and this post.)  We stepped into the office, which had tons of fun toys that immediately grabbed Lily's attention.  The psychologist started interviewing me about where we were with potty training, Lily's general disposition and what I felt like we needed help with.  At first, she was a bit confused about why we had been referred to her, since Lily is only 3.5.  She said that usually she wouldn't be seeing a child until they were 4 for this issue.

After talking for a while, she told me she understood why her friend/our pediatrician would refer us to her.  Lily has some unusual tendencies and has manifested an extremely strong will, and I have tried everything that anyone has told us to try or that Google could possibly recommend.  And now I am dealing with a motivation issue.  And a control issue.

She kindly told me that I was doing a great job with Lily, which is probably why there was no official diagnosis to give (like oppositional defiant or some other fun like that).  That encouragement was really wonderful to have.  And, because there is no diagnosis, she told me that we should not come back until after Lily is 4 years old, because insurance wouldn't cover it.  I appreciated her looking out for us on that front.

After about 45 minutes of talking, she gave me some more options to try, which is what I needed.  I needed someone to brainstorm with who has seen unusual stuff.  She said that I will eventually need to just take away the diapers, most likely.  However, until we are ready for that, she told me that I need to make it cost Lily to continue wearing the diapers.  So, for right now, Lily is changing her own diapers.  I told her she is a big girl, and if she won't wear panties, then she needs to be in charge of changing diapers and throwing them away.  (I help a little with the dirty ones.)

She hated it at first, which was the point, but, unfortunately, she is adjusting pretty well.  She also tries to help with changing Bella's diapers.  The psychologist recommended maybe having her do chores to earn the money to keep buying diapers, so I may have to come up with a system for that next. I am trying to convince Lily that wearing diapers is not for her, because I can see that until she decides she is ready to be potty trained, we are nowhere with it.

And that's that.  The sad thing that I learned, which I suspected all along, because this is true of most things in life, is that there is no "magic bullet."  This is going to be a long process.  And no one is going to do it for me, least of all, Lily.  I have realized over and over that God gave me Lily and her battles, because if I had had a compliant child, I would have been in danger of thinking myself a great parent.  I am, unfortunately, wired like that.  However, with Lily, I am able to see all of my short-comings quite clearly, and I know that any good that comes is through perseverance, hard work and a lot of prayer and most of all, God's grace.  I am so thankful for that grace.

Now, if only I could figure out how to get Bella to stop biting.

(And though we will not be heading back to the psychologist any time soon, she gave me her email and phone number and asked for me to please keep her posted, because she is very interested and curious about how all of this goes.  Me too.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

BEING HOME FROM HONDURAS

You know you must be in rough shape when the college guy living at your house takes one look at you and says, "You look exhausted.  Is there anything I can do to help?  Watch the girls?  Do the dishes?"  This happened in my living room yesterday afternoon.  (Roberto is really sweet.)  I didn't take him up on it, because I'm happy to be seeing the girls and there really weren't any dishes since I haven't cooked in ages.  But, it did help me realize that I am tired.

(I posted about the actual trip in this post and this post, in case you missed those!)

Being in Honduras was really good, but it had some really heavy moments.  This blog post from Rage Against the Minivan sums up a lot of what I am feeling.  Going to a 3rd world country is always an eye-opening reality, but since I have had that shock several times, the shock has worn off.  Now, I have a greater understanding that this is reality for the majority of the world, and my little life in America is the real anomaly.  I am thankful to be partnered with organizations that are making a difference in people's lives here and around the world.

Here are some of my lighter lessons learned from this past week.

-  Leaving my children for the week was worth it, and I would encourage other young mothers to do the same if the opportunity arises.  It was great to be known as myself for a week, and to have a chance to focus on things outside of my home.  Jenn and I (the other "mom" on the trip and one of my very best friends) had a great time serving together.

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-  I learned how to tease my hair from a girl that names her combs.  That made me really happy.

-  Riding in a bus with the windows down will make anything you have done to your hair completely pointless.  See exhibit A.

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-  Wearing scrubs every day is a luxury.  They are so comfortable!

-  It really is okay for my girls not to match.  I had to laugh when I got this picture text from John of the girls at the Museum of Discovery.  They look bright, well-cared-for and happy - which is more important than being coordinated.

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-  I have the world's best Mom-in-love who was willing to come help John care for the girls.  Really, it is a win-win-win.  In a beautiful twist of fate, I ran into her at the Houston airport, and I was so thankful to hug her neck in person and thank her for taking such good care of my family.

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-  Bella is on a personal mission in life to destroy almost anything she touches.  This was reinforced when we had to pull out the vacuum twice in about 40 minutes on the first morning I was home, as well as stop her from coloring on our bedspread and couch.  Here's what she did to John's floss while I was gone.  (This picture text was accompanied by John saying, "I bet you are really missing stuff like this right now.")

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-  There is nothing more American than nachos with processed cheese in the airport on the way back.  My lunch of champions.

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I have been trying to recover from this trip quickly and soak up time with the girls.  I had forgotten the way they felt in my arms during my week away, and I love cuddling their sweetness.  Now I am trying to clean our house and prepare for our next adventure!

Monday, July 23, 2012

HONDURAS: PARTE DOS

In many parts of Honduras, Coca-Cola is cheaper than water.  It leads to cavities and a 27 year old needing every bottom tooth pulled out by our dentist.  I must say, coming home and seeing the water that my lawn gets is a bit hard to swallow.  Even harder to swallow is the reality that even if I stopped watering my lawn, the Honduran people would not have access to cheap, clean water like we do here.  I wish the world were a simple place with simple answers.  But, it is not.  And, I am forced to deal with the inequities and injustices that I help perpetuate.  As I said in yesterday's post, I feel that the Lord is dealing in my heart in this issue, and I am not yet sure where it will all lead.

The last two days of our brigades were spent in a slightly more rural area.

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The days were slower, but no less rich for it.  I spent time in the optical area, being a total poser running the Auto-Refractor Machine; it reads people's eyes and gives part of their prescription.

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It was while sitting here that I found my hardest moment.  This girl and her mother walked in.

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She has down-syndrome, though she does seem to be pretty high-functioning.  Her mother was asking for help from us that we could not give.  Then, I screened the mother's eyes and found out that she is beyond legally blind.  She was the worst I screened all day.  My eyes filled with tears throughout their time in our booth.  It was the realization that she does not have options.  She does not have resources.  Her life is unimaginably hard most days, and yet, she must go on.  I know that pity does her no good, so even now, I pray that God gives her strength and grace for each moment.  I hope that she turns to him.

It was a wonderful, potent reminder that I have nothing to complain about ever.  I need those reminders.

The rest of my team was hard at work with the Honduran people, which was such a blessed joy to watch.

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(I never did figure out why she had this saw.)
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(Dressed beautifully for a Honduran Holiday)
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(Combing out more lice, never-ending lice)
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Which brings me to my team.  God knew exactly which people needed to go down to Honduras this past week and getting to know each person was an unexpected joy.

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This group of girls, in particular, was such fun.  It felt like I was in college all over again.  (Also, people kept telling me how young I looked, which made my vain little heart happier than it should have.)  We would stay up talking and laughing and developed inside of jokes and saw more of Jesus in each other as the week wore on.  What a privilege!  Thanks, girls, for letting this mommy feel very young at heart all over again.

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And, here's one last picture of most of the ladies on our combined teams (two other AR teams were there with us!).

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Such fun women, with hearts for the Lord who want to serve the poor.  I think tomorrow I will do one last wrap up post.  It is wonderful to be home, but I already miss these people.  Funny how one week can knit your heart with others.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

HONDURAS: PARTE UNO

Last night, just around this time, I was being welcomed back into Little Rock by JPS and the two little girlies.  Glorious moment.  So good to see them all.

I am still processing everything from this week, so in this post, I am mostly going to talk about what we did, with pictures from the first part of the week.  We went with World Gospel Outreach to Tegucigalpa, Honduras on a medical mission trip.  We spent time doing medical brigades, partnered with two separate local churches.  Our team had several actual medical staff, including a doctor, dentist and several nurses, as well as little lay-people like me, who could serve in a variety of areas.

Our brigades consisted of different stations around the church including a pharmacy, an optical area, dental, medical, and evangelism.  We also poured concrete floors for nearby families and had a children's program.  One thing I really appreciated about WGO is that they want to address physical and spiritual needs.  We worked with Honduran translators to accomplish any of our jobs, and it was such a blessing to hear their stories and see their commitment to the Lord.

Some of the sights of Honduras -

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(I, personally, am a huge fan of "clean, fresh and nutritious" chicken by the "Chicken King")
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We rode this bus everywhere, and it always seem to be wedged tightly against something.

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Here's the line of people waiting to be seen by us.

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I am always humbled when I see the needs that exist in the third world.  It is hard to fathom and understand why such inequality is so alive and well around the world.  It is even harder to realize that I contribute to it in ways that I don't even see.  I can feel the Lord dealing in my heart in this area, which is painful, but good.  I want to really see people for the ways that he sees them, and getting this up close look in Honduras opened my eyes that much wider.

Our brigade on Monday and Tuesday was in a more urban setting, and we saw close to 900 people each day.  Staggering, I know.

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I spent my time in the evangelism area on Monday, which meant I got to share the gospel and pray with people as they were leaving.  I was amazed all over again at how truly great the Good News is, and how it is a beautiful fragrance to those who are perishing.  I was so privileged to pray with several people to accept the Lord and to give their information to the local church to be able to follow up and hopefully disciple them.

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It was a heavy day, hearing their stories and seeing their pain.  Wading in the pain of another's life is never easy.  But, it was worth it, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

On Tuesday, I was with the niƱos (kids), where we presented the bracelets that we made with the Gospel.  We then checked their hair for lice and did treatments on those who needed it, which was about 75% of them.  The hardest part of that day was when we had two groups of about 25 girls each, all with long, dark, thick hair, many of them with lice.  I felt I would dream of combing through it Tuesday night.

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Sending them back to their homes that are full of lice was heart-breaking.  However, I did feel it was an opportunity to be the hands of Christ to them in that moment, and we styled their hair with little barrettes and headbands, as well as the ever popular four pigtails in the front look.

Tomorrow I will share more pictures, as well as more of my thoughts and learnings from the week.  God got bigger, and I am so thankful to have spent the week in Honduras seeing that first hand.

Friday, July 20, 2012

DOWN MEMORY LANE: ESTES PARK 2010

Continuing my series of old trips that never got blogged, here's our family trip with my family to Rocky Mountain National Park - one of John's favorite places on earth (mine too).  Since we had amazing photog Luke along, the pictures are particularly amazing.  I was preggers with Bella on this trip.  We had a fantastic time.  Here are the highlights!

Family hiking fun.

Loving the lilies on the water.

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(this photo by Luke)
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(this photo by Luke)
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(photo by Luke)

So brave.

Climbing a cliff.


We really enjoyed checking out this guy's backpack sweat stain.  Does that make us mean?

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We played Monopoly Deal like it was going out of style.

Playing Monopoly Deal.  We did a lot of this.

Brother and Bro-in-Law taking rock jumping pictures at every opportunity.

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(photos by/from Luke)

We had an amazing off-roading adventure.

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I rode on top of the car, at times splashing through water.

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(photo by Luke)
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We encountered a giant puddle where Luke got stuck for a while.

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Here are the drivers conferring on which way John should go to not get stuck.  I love that John tested the water with both feet.  We made it!

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Mom with the wind in her hair.

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Trail Ridge Road

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(another photo by Luke)

John and my brother, Mike, hiked Long's Peak - a serious 14er.  They did great.  They did come across a guy who had been struck by lightning on his head and spent the night on the top of the mountain unconscious and got to help get him emergency help.  So glad they were safe.

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While the guys were hiking, we girls spent the day in Estes.

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(more pictures from awesome Uncle Luke)

John and I took a tour of the New Belgium Brewery.  Here's Lily posing as a "Beer Ranger."

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Good times.  I'll leave you with this great picture, by none other than, Luke.

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Colorado is so beautiful - we haven't been since this trip and we are hankering to go back.