Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and India (but not Christmas IN India...)

We had a great time this Christmas!

Ingrid had a list she sent to Santa this year. Here it was:

1. A yo-yo. (She saw an episode of Arthur where they were playing with one, and she decided she needed one!)

2. puppets from the Baby Einstein DVD (she had a DVD from when she was really tiny, and we recently got it out for Rowan. There's a part with puppets, and she wanted those puppets badly!)

3. a princess skirt to match her "tippy" shoes (she has these dress-up shoes that have heels on them--she calls them "tippy" shoes because her feet tip up in them...)

We were so excited that Santa was able to find all of those things!

Santa found the "yo-yo ball" that comes back up automatically and the puppets both on Ebay! The princess skirt I found through Kindermusik. It came with a book & CD about a little girl, Tressa, who has a baby brother and she saves the day after "taming" her teething baby brother with her magic wand. Perfect for her. Of course, she got all kinds of other things.

Rowan just liked looking at the Winnie the Pooh/Tigger wrapping paper. He opened ONE present--an Elmo in a boat for the bathtub--and didn't care about the rest! I finally got him to open a fire truck that lights up and rolls by itself, and then he played with those two things. The other present he liked was this toddler hammer/nail set where the nails are actually worms that pop up and hide when you hit them with the hammer. We had to wake him up!

So, anyway, here's a picture journal of our Christmas, starting with the early December decking of the halls:

We had fun with Papa putting up the tree...

Mama and Ingrid put up the Nativity scene...without Baby Jesus for now...and we recounted the Christmas story...

Here's Ingrid with our Christmas Stockings. She's a literal little girl...apparently. :)

Here's Ingrid putting up the Baby Jesus in our Nativity scene--he wasn't born till Christmas morning! :) We did this before we opened any presents. Jesus was our best gift!
Beginning the opening of the presents...The book _Where the Wild Things Are_ from Aunt Colleen and Uncle Eric! I love educational gifts! (We've read it about 10 times since then... They both love this one because there are all kinds of voices I can do when I read it...)We decided we felt bad that Rowan was missing out on the action. We decided to go wake him up!Rowan was so funny. We ususally had a gate around the tree to keep him from pulling it over and eating the glass bulbs, but we took it down to put the presents around the tree. He didn't care about the presents. He was really excited that he could finally touch the pretty lights! :)
Ingrid got one of her puppets she wanted!
He was having so much fun with his hammer! Cute.
Rowan loved looking at his tigger wrapping paper. He kept walking around going, "woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" tigger-style! He was a little sad about tearing the paper... :)
Rowan and his Elmo boat

Another thing we did was get an aquarium and 4 fish from Grandpa Darrell and Grandma Mary! Their names are as follows:

Ingrid's fish is named "Bobby" (Named after her 2 imaginary friends, Bobby Sewell and Bobby Nervous...Don't ask. We don't know...)

Rowan's fish is named "Ish"

Andrew's fish is named "Bengal" (Ingrid can't remember this one, so she re-named it "Spikes". Not sure why...)

Mine is named "Anna Karenina"

Thanks, Grandpa Darrell and Grandma Mary! It makes us think about feeding fish off your dock in Minnesota this past summer!

So, the day after Christmas, Andrew said goodbye to the kids and I took him to Washington, DC to the airport to catch an airplane to Chicago and then to New Delhi, India! He's going to meet his friend Ram who co-founded the ArTRAN (http://www.autismtheatre.org/) network. Ram visited us this past Spring to present on his work with theatre and autism, and now Andrew is visiting him there and giving trainings and presentations on his work with kids with autism here.

He left home Thursday evening and just got to Bangalore this morning! LONG trip and 3 nights in different airports and a 10 hour delay from New Delhi to Bangalore... But I just heard from him today that he was fine--just exhausted. Internet is finicky there, and he doesn't have his laptop, so we're all waiting on him to send pictures when he can figure out how... He said he's got a little culture shock right now, but reading between the lines, he's anticipating a real broadening of his worldview and expecting the trip to change him for the better. Not sure how it couldn't! :)

If you would like to follow his trip (somehow or other, we'll figure out how to do this...), visit his blogspot at http://indiaautism.blogspot.com/ ! Prayers for all would be appreciated... He'll be back January 15th! We miss him, but we're so proud of him for taking this leap and being brave enough to do this. Can't wait to see what he's seeing!!!

Next: NEW YEAR'S EVE!!! Stay tuned for a Rowan/Isaac photo shoot with their new matching Christmas outfits... :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will you come with me, Mama?

I keep trying to upload pictures, but Blogspot has been difficult. I've had this entry done for about a week and a half now, but can't seem to get it to work! So, I've got some catching up to do! Forgive the randomly put together pictures. We've had a fun Christmastide together!

Back when it started to snow, and it wasn't time to put up the Christmas decorations, I decided we should do a little activity together and make snowflakes to put around the house! We had fun. Ingrid is starting to like to use scissors, and I happened to have some glitter glue, so she had fun making them sparkly. Eventually, I ended up making the snowflakes and letting her unfold them and put the glitter on them. We hung them from the ceiling and the windows! It made it snow inside!
We also had to make sure Ingrid had a new Christmas dress--Rowan got a little cow outfit. They were so cute! Ingrid wore her dress to her Christmas play. This year, instead of red, we did pink--because she says that pink is her favorite color...probably because Gramma Camra started her out in pink any chance she got! :) Aunt Sarah would be proud, too!
Ingrid was in her first church Christmas play the weekend before Christmas. She was so cute. She knew every word to every song, and sang in key more than most of the other older kids... :) She's a natural singer. Of course we think she is practically a prodigy... :)
She also had one line.

"Peace on Earth."

And she refused to say it. She's so unabashed during her singing, but when it came to saying her line, she just clammed up! I couldn't get her to want to do it, and she wouldn't say it when the director (or her little 4th grade friends) told her to. Oh well. But her singing is so funny! :) She even dances a little. And she's very serious about it. Reminds me of myself... She stood on the stage in her little angel outfit and waved at me at every opportunity...usually when it's not such a good idea to be waving to me. She makes me giggle.

Here is a snippet of a rehearsal. She did well at the performance, too, although when she stepped out onto the stage, she froze and just stared at the audience... It was so funny! She was only the second one out--everyone else was waiting for her to move in order to get out onto the stage. She stood there until the other little girl who walked out in front of her came back to get her. It only took her one song to get back to being comfortable, though. Later, we asked her what she was thinking when she saw all the people. She said it was different with all the people there. It was funny. This is what makes the kids' growing up worth it to me. I've always dreamed of seeing my kids in plays or recitals or sporting events--being the Mom in the audience. :) How fun!

video

Rowan loved watching. He sings to me and dances and claps with all the kids... He's going to be a natural, too...albeit probably a bit more of a card than Ingrid. Ingrid is really funny, but she isn't being funny on purpose, really. She just is funny. Rowan, on the other hand, knows when he's funny, and plays it up! He'll be a little comedian, I think... He'll be the kid in the play that does something for America's Funniest Home Videos. Who knows? Maybe he'll make us some money someday! :)

The other night on the way home from play practice, Ingrid was trying to stay awake in the car and started up a conversation about Jesus.

From the mouths of babes...

Here's how it went:

"Mommy, how does Jesus talk?"

"Well, he talked just like us when he was a man--he was born like every other baby, grew up into a little boy like Rowan, then into a man like Papa, and then God said that His work was all done here on earth and he wanted him back in heaven with him, so he died--but then he came back alive and went to heaven so that we could go with him when our work is done. Now he talks to us with dreams or ideas or feelings mostly."

"I want to go to heaven."

"I do, too. Jesus came back to life so we could go with him. All we have to do is believe that he's alive and the son of God, and he'll send for us when our work is done here. Landon (my cousin's son who passed away 2 years ago) is in heaven with Jesus!"

"Landon's mommy, Landon's daddy, and baby Landon?"

"Well, no, just Landon. But he's very happy with Jesus. God told us that there will be no tears in heaven. We won't be afraid or sad or hurt anymore there. Sounds like a pretty great place, huh?"

"Yeah. (pause) But will you come to heaven with me, Mama? I would be afraid if you left."

This is where the knife in my gut twisted... After I fought back some tears, I finally said:

"Oh, sweetie...We'll all be together in heaven someday. We might go at different times, but I'll meet you there, I promise. It's like when you go stay with Aunt Anita, and I always ome back? That's the way it would be."

"Okay. Will Papa come too?"

"Yes."

"Okay."

Shew. These are the moments nobody tells you to prepare yourself for when you're driving your kids home on a cold, ordinary, sacred, irreplacable night... But I suppose it's not something you can prepare for.
I keep coming back to a prayer Sara Groves prays in one of her songs "Prayers for a Child"

"I only have two eyes,
Be all-seeing...
I only have two hands,
Be everywhere...
I do not know enough...
Be all-knowing.
I give this baby up
into Your care.
I do not know how to pray for this child..."
I keep thinking about that verse in Luke that tells us that after the shepherds visit, Mary ponders in her heart all the things they tell her...
And the Spirit promises me that it will intercede for me in groans I cannot speak....

Merry Christmas to All!