This is my 3-yr-old. 

With his warrior heart, silly storytelling, and impossibly large brown eyes, he is a source of daily joy to me. Daily joy and daily frustration.

Today he earned his first trip to the Emergency Room, which turned out to be my first close-up experience with stitches.

Three of them. 
One for each year of his life. 

He was a trooper, though, as they say. We're still not sure exactly how it happened. One minute he was sauntering into Gramma's shed, the next he was stepping into the sunlight and screaming, blood running down his face and soaking into his favorite Texas truck shirt.
He says he tripped over the pedal tractor and bumped his head. The ER nurse said it best when she asked him if it was a John Deere pedal tractor and upon hearing the whispered confirmation, stated, "well, it was worth it then!"

They asked me to hold his feet down during the stitching and it was the second time I assisted in holding down a boy in the ER and again I noticed primarily the smell. 

If I do say so myself, my son and I were BOTH troopers today.

His dad promised him ice cream for being so brave. I got some too.

This is the same three-year-old that sneaks out of his bed every single night with an impish grin and says he needs to go potty. This is the same three-year-old that I respond to every night with, "Hurry up! I'm so tired of this every night! You're going to get yourself a spanking!" and the fact that I've never followed through on the threat probably renders the genuine anger fairly useless.

Tonight he tiptoed into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth and had the same impish grin on his face. 

My tone tonight was kind. Loving. Patient. 

I sent him back to bed with two hugs and several kisses. The impish smile remained.

And so did the lingering thought in my mind: why was I so willing to be patient and kind tonight? Obviously because he had a rough afternoon.
But what if he had, God forbid it!,  a chronic illness? Cancer even. 

I'm guessing my tone would always be softer. More sympathetic.  My mind would be more attuned to the eternal.

But he does have a chronic illness. We ALL do. Each of us is born with the chronic illness of sin on our body and soul. Why do I forget this each night? The best cure for sin is the love of Jesus Christ. So why do I forget to administer this medicine each moment of my days with my children? 

Instead of yelling and being frustrated and tired from long days of mothering, I promise to now take a deep breath and remember how tenderly us parents care for our wounded babies. Then remember that not all wounds are physical or visible. We must treat each moment as the precious gift that it is.
 
 
The good life is not just good. It is indescribably awesome. I thank God every day for the blessing of such a wonderful simplicity.
 
 
What better way to dream away winter blues and cheer on spring than to get some of your flowers and veggies started indoors? Buying packets of seeds is a lot more economical than waiting until it's warm out and buying plants from a greenhouse. You can also get a much better selection from seed catalogs rather than having to take whatever the local chain store has on sale.

We started our seeds in April this year, but started collecting the containers much earlier: January. We've been saving up eggshells for a few months in anticipation of spring.

First we had to fill up the eggshells with seed starting soil:

Then we put them in the greenhouse to settle and warm the soil. (Okay, that's a big fat lie. We put them in there because we ran out of time to plant and because I wanted to do the majority of the planting with no kidlets around distracting me!)
Prairie Sue got to plant her own carton. She chose three kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, and three kinds of sunflowers to start in her eggshells. (Yes, a couple of weeks lapsed between the two pictures. She got a haircut in between!)

And here they are, a few weeks later, sprouting out and looking promising...
 
 
 
 
This might not look like the face of trouble, but last night my baby discovered an easy method for getting himself out of his crib.

YIKES!

He was out at least two dozen times before I got wise and traded out his mattress with a relatively flat playpen pad. That stopped him, but we had to switch it back before Neil and I went to bed because I didn't want him sleeping on that thing all night.

I worry about him escaping his crib and going out one of the exterior doors of the house, or just doing his favorite thing: turning on the faucet in the bathroom. This might be my fourth child, but this is the first one to give me this kind of issue. The others were all 2 1/2 before they had the freedom to come and go as they chose.

Any suggestions are appreciated ;)
 
 
Ever notice how children can give you spiritual insight far beyond their maturity or understanding?
My 3-yr-old son does this for me often. I think I'm close to him because we are similar in personality and I understand his thinking patterns.

I listen to this kid's prayers every night before bed because they are infused with so much carefree creativity and belief that it's inspiring.
This morning, this is what he told me:
"When I'm quiet, then sometimes God talks to me and you know what He says? He says, 'No hitting your sisters! No scratching your sisters! No pinching your sisters! You have to be nice to them.' God said it's our job to take care of everybody in the whole world, but right now I have to take care of my girls and my whole family."

I love this kid! How right is he? It's our job to be the hands and feet of Christ -- to take care of the world by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs. Your own family is a great place to start. This can be accomplished by the authority we have in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

What an encouraging start to the day. :)
 
 
The kids and I took a tour around the pond last week. In 2011, the spring was so wet and the summer so accommodating that there was water in the pond all season. Some years it's just a damp patch where the nearby corn fields drain.

I hope this year is like last year. Neil and I have been toying with the idea of getting a mini backhoe out there to excavate it deep enough to hold water year round. The pond is central to my landscaping. I can't landscape around my house yet because it will get trampled and destroyed with the upcoming remodeling. So instead, I'm focusing my attention on the back 40.

As the kids and I walked around (and through) the pond area, I noticed some cream-colored nautilus shapes against the black soil. Upon pointing it out to the kids, they exclaimed, "Seashells!" I continued to refer to them as pond snail shells, but apparently my use of the correct term did not deter them from their romantic notions of life in the sea.

They collected handfuls of them and brought them back to the house. Their next rainy-day project is to paint them. I'm not sure what happens to them after that, but I know I will find out soon enough.