Sunday, May 31, 2015

How God Sees Me

Lately I've been pondering thoughts relating how I feel about Tracey Ann as her mother, to how God feels about me as my father... and frankly, the more I think about it, the more my mind is blown and the less able I am to comprehend it.

For one second, I'm going to call a spade a space and admit that Tracey Ann is a completely normal baby.  She has not mastered quantum physics, she has not sat down at the piano and played a Mozart Concerto, she is still working on English let alone Greek or Latin... her accomplishments and developments are completely average, healthy, and normal.

However, as her mother, and Hubby, as her father, are BLOWN AWAY by her development.  We are so incredibly in love with her that we sincerely believe she is one of the most brilliant children on the planet.  We have high expectation for her intelligence, and obedience, and communication skills, but we are still overwhelmed with pride when she meets or exceeds our expectations.

She is a very typical child, but to us, she is the only child.

Is it seriously possible, that God is equally proud and enamored and pleased with my average self as I am with Tracey Ann?

I am so confused here because I think God has very high expectations for me, and I fail to meet them all the time.  And yet, the Bible confirms time after time after time that I am God's child, that God delights in me, and that His love is without measure.  That would mean that he is as, if not more delighted by me as I am with my daughter.

That would mean, God does not see me as typical or average, but sincerely loves me every day regardless of my actions, regardless of my inability to meet His standards.  That would mean that He is in love with me and is proud of me as though I am His only child... but He is God and so He can literally express that to every one of His children.  Just like I know Tracey Ann in a closer, more intimate way than anyone on the planet, God really does know me better than I know myself -- He really knows the number of hairs on my head, and how often I shed them.

Evelyn Underhill said, "If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped."

The more God reveals truths to me about His love and about His character, the more I understand the power and truth of this statement.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tea Party

There is nothing better than watching an adult friend enjoy spending time with your child.  Hubby and I got to see that the other day with our friend Jenny who enjoyed a tea party with Tracey Ann.

These times really are so precious.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Salt Lake City Weekend

We had a great weekend in Salt Lake City.  We went to see my friend from college, Mary Carol, who was in town working on her Stanford post-doc project.  Tracey Ann and I got to see her a few months ago when she came to Denver, but Hubby didn't get to come, and the Denver trip was SO quick -- 3.5 hours there, 3.5 hour visit, and 3.5 hours home.

Salt Lake City was so much better because we got to meet her for dinner, then I got to spend some 1 on 1 time with her while Hubby watched Tracey Ann, and then we got to see her again the next day for a late breakfast/early lunch.

The only downside to the trip was that Tracey Ann was sick when we arrived, and then I was sick by the time we left.  Tracey Ann had been battling a cough, but she was staying pretty constant -- not getting better, not getting worse.  Then, she spiked a fever our first night there, but then, the good news is, she just got better thereafter.  Our second day there, I could tell I was coming down with her virus, and I have gotten sicker ever since.

Below are some pictures of our time there, and don't forget to read about our great experience with families and children at Chic-Fil-A.

Lexie got to come with us this trip -- Lloyd stayed with the dog-sitter.

Fun in the hotel room.

Her favorite thing to do was climbing up on and standing on our cooler.

"Can I take pictures with your phone, Mama?"

On the cooler again.

I love this outfit.

I think this is the closest we've gotten to a picture of all of us smiling and looking at the camera.

Tracey Ann made a new friend at the restaurant... here she's waving at them.

Tracey Ann and Mary Carol

Group picture

Here Tracey Ann is pointing at a deer head on the wall
Finally, here's a smile, because I'm tickling her -- and my wide-mouth laugh.

She LOVED riding on the cart

She had so much fun in the Chic-Fil-A tube slide

Bye-bye Dr. Mazza

What a cutie

A little Memorial Day gardening once we got home

I love this Memorial Day dress

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Salt Lake Children at Chic-Fil-A

This past weekend, Tracey Ann, Hubby and I went to Salt Lake City because a good friend of mine from college was in town on business.  I will write about our weekend tomorrow, but for this post, I just want to take a minute to discuss how wonderful the families and children in Salt Lake City are.

Yes, I know, that is a wide generalization... but, the children and families we met while we were there were wonderful.

On Monday before we headed home, we met my friend for a late breakfast/early lunch at Chic-Fil-A.  We like supporting the Chic-Fil-A company, and they always have a children's play area where Tracey Ann can wander around.  It is not the biggest play area -- in terms of fast food play area real estate, McDonald's gives kids a four-story Play Mansion, Chic-Fil-A provides kids a modest two-story play area.

When we arrived at the restaurant, Tracey Ann was the only child in the play area and so she explored the toddler area, but then, with Hubby's help, adventured into the big-kid area and climbed up the structure to the tube slide and slid down.  She was SO proud of herself and soon began doing that route -- up the stairs, down the slide, by herself (and the climbing and slide were completely enclosed, so we felt good about her safety).

As the day progressed, and the time grew closer to lunch, more and more children were in the play area.  By the time we were done eating, there were easily a dozen children in the play structure between the ages of 1 and 9 (I would guess).  I was very nervous about Tracey Ann going back in because I didn't want her to get trampled, as has nearly happened in other playgrounds with more space and less children in other cities.

These children, in the Salt Lake City Chic-Fil-A were amazing.  Probably due to the fact that there are many Mormons in Salt Lake City, and large families are common, these children were beyond considerate of Tracey Ann as she climbed and slid on the structure.  There were older girls who made a point to look out for her, and there were older boys who made sure to slow their pace when they were playing near her.

At one point, Tracey Ann was coming down the tube slide, and as she got to the bottom, she stood up and slowly made her way to the opening.  Once she finally emerged, the opening of the slide became a clown car -- easily seven girls poured out of the slide behind her one after another after another.  These girls were backed up in the slide behind Tracey Ann, and the did not rush her at all.  They stayed packed up in the tube slide until she took her time and walked out.  Once she was safely out of the slide, they tumbled out like clowns.

I have never seen such respect shown to her in any play setting anywhere in her life.  It was such a joy to watch her play with these children, and I have to believe the children have such respect for toddlers because they have younger siblings and cousins and have been taught by caring parents to respect their younger siblings.  Younger toddlers are not people to push out of the way or fail to notice until you trample them and they cry... they are little people who are watching and learning from you, the older children, how to treat other people.  When you, the big kids, treat them well, they will learn to emulate your behavior.

It was enough to make me want to move to Salt Lake City... or at least remember this lesson and hopefully teach my children to have the same respect for others in the future.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

To Some...

To some, every day is Memorial Day.

We are so incredibly grateful for the sacrifice of generations of men and women who have served this nation, in uniform, and for the families they left behind while serving.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Our Weekend: Part 3

This is the final installment of sharing what we did with Meemaw and Geepaw Miller last weekend in Denver.

** Note: We don't really know what Grandma and Grandpa Miller are going to be called.  Cousin Zivah has started called Grandma, Meemaw, which Grandma likes.  Then one of the aunts said that probably makes Grandpa, Peepaw, which makes us all laugh.  I suggested Geepaw, which he liked a lot more.  Time will tell.

On Sunday night, Tracey Ann had another great night spent with Meemaw and Geepaw.  Monday, we all got up and headed to the Denver Children's Museum.  Tracey Ann was exhausted just from all the excitement, but she still had a blast.

As for my review of the Children's Museum, it was a great place for kids, but I didn't really like that one-year-olds cost money for entrance.  Most places we go, children under two are free, but here there was a cost.  Now, in fairness to the museum, she did engage with a lot of the activities, so I guess that's where the cost for one-year-olds come into play.  I will say, they had a great area for children ages 3 and under... it would have been really nice if the museum staff had told us about it when we entered, as they saw that we had a toddler.  The toddler area was sort of secluded off to the side, so we didn't find it until we were looking for the restroom right before we left.

All that to say, we had a great time at the museum.  They had great activities that were enjoyable for children of all ages and Tracey Ann had a blast.

I thought it was adorable how much Tracey Ann loved pretending to be a dentist because she loves brushing her teeth and her great-grandfather and great-great uncle (my grandfather and his brother) were both dentists.
She LOVED the Vet station... I don't think she realized she was pretending to be a vet, but she loved taking all the animals out of the kennels and giving them hugs.

Don't worry, Kitty, I'll get you out. 

There was a room to create bubbles, and this was a contraptions that created a square bubble around whomever was inside.  I don't think Tracey Ann really knew what was going on, but she held tightly to Daddy and was very brave.

Getting her first carpentry lesson from her Geepaw who is a carpenter.  I don't know that she will be a building protege.

 Exploring tunnels under a cool tree.

She loved gathering balls and putting them into tubes that carried them all over the room

Dressing like a firefighter, and getting a better appreciation for what her Uncle Daniel does for a living.

At the end, we could tell Tracey Ann was hungry because she found pretend peaches and tried to eat them.

Now, this weekend we're headed to Salt Lake City, so more adventures to come.

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