Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Holiday Letter

A Silent Night




We paused for a moment tonight after cleaning up. The doors were locked: lights off. A still night in the "Ander-inn". We reflected as we gazed through the front windows.

Radiant beams from the moon pour in. Avalon is snuggled in heavenly peace upstairs. Smooth baby skin, wispy brown hair and wide eyes that see if you happen to have something that she wants. Should she happen to spy this object, she will proceed to point and yell until you finally turn it over- once you hand over the object, she'll blow you a big kiss- as if to say "thanks so much!!" This precious action seems to completely erase the previous rudeness.

Atlee and Beckett bunk together tonight. Such close friends (and every once in a while, bitter enemies). They have a fascinating connection. Unbelievable communication (ie, half of the time Atlee acts as translator when we can't understand him). Favorably inclusive with little Avie (if she isn't pulling her screaming stunt)...and Riley (our dog).


"Dad, Beckett and I need our ice water and will you tell me a story of when you and mom were dating...or one from when you were a little boy?" This is the sentence that we here nearly every night. But now, words are over...lips rest.

On this damp night, drips of water bead on the windows. Each droplet represents provision from the past year.

-Atlee's kindergarten debut in a wonderful classical/university model school...she seems to love every minute of learning, and this is a joy to watch!


-Beckett's perseverance over a few health scares (see former blog entries for more details). His generous spirit truly melts our hearts.


-Avalon, healthy, expressive(!) and alive- we are so grateful for her especially when we remember our Rhogam incident of '01 that gave us no promises that we would be able to carry a baby of differing blood type...we have fallen in love again!!



-Bible Study Fellowship has been food and water for our souls.

-Jeff passing the Texas Counseling Exam! Now he has an official license to show for all those hours in Seminary!!

-Trips to Cancun, California, Kansas...

-A great church that teaches and models the beautiful character of God.

-8 years of marriage, dates over sushi and lots of nights spent on the couch watching a movie or "the office" re-runs after the kids are tucked in bed.

-Friends and family like you that provide true fellowship.

May the coming year dawn an increased understanding of God's redeeming grace and how we can better orient our story to His. We are grateful for the kindness, patience and purpose He lavishes on us.

Happy New Year...and Much Love,
Jeff and Nikki

Saturday, December 22, 2007

six.



dearest atlee nickole,

are you really six? i can still vividly picture that beautiful sunday morning that dr. mcalpine handed you to me. the room was dim, daylight was just beginning to break...you were covered in all that had encompassed you the past 37 weeks- and your eyes, they were so big and beautiful...i remember thinking that you looked a bit stunned those first few minutes- but then, it seemed to me, that you felt at home in my arms...you were the most precious thing i had ever held- and held you we did...if you weren't in my arms, you were usually in dads. your little room was directly three steps from ours (in our spacious 800 sf apartment), but that seemed like too far to me...most nights you slept snuggled between daddy and i or in your bouncy seat next to our bed. we never had a "game plan" so to speak...when other babies had consistent naps and bed times- yours changed with my mood- and your disposition. most of the time you were so content that daddy and i would keep you up until we went to bed. when i compare your babyhood to that of your brother and sister, yours had the least structure, the least predictability, the least order- now, how is it that you delight in routine, you thrill at having everything "in its place", and you have your own little patterns that you repeat with diligence?

you seem so big to me- you tower over beckett and avalon, you can read, you can write, you dress yourself, you embroider and you can chop cherry tomatoes for bruschetta and make guacamole, and the most daunting of all is the way i can no longer carry you in my arms with ease (which says as much of your stature as it does of my lack of muscle!) however, each time i pick you up at school i marvel at how tiny you still are...in the sea of upper elementary, middle school and high school kids you still look small- and i really like that.

a few nights ago, i laid with you in bed, i was feeling especially sensitive to all of the pressure you must feel at the oldest child- all the conscious and unconscious expectations i have of you. as we laid there i told you how proud i am of you and how much you have changed in six years...you quietly took my words in and then beamed beautifully when i said "atlee, you are getting big, but you are so little- and you will always be my baby no matter how big you get- always"
"even when i grow up?"
"even then, especially then".
love,
mom

Thursday, December 20, 2007

bad teeth, "breeding treatments" and a dinosaur bite.

poor little beckett has had quite a month...

first, a sweet friend presented him with an amazing pair of "ulgy teeth"- beckett considered these the best invention ever! he deeply loved these teeth, he wanted to wear them everywhere, and when we drew the line on certain places (mainly church) he kept them safely in his pocket...his fascination with these was brought to an abrupt end when is was reported that they contained 400 times the safe level of lead. when i discovered the news, i quickly placed the offending teeth in a ziplock bag, put them out of reach, and then called our doctor, the response: "though lead poisoning is quite rare, you better bring him in to be tested- since he spent so much time with them in his mouth"- and that was trip #1 to the doctor.




the lead tests came back fine, however, a few weeks later i noticed that a persistent cough seemed like it was making it difficult for him to breathe. the big tip off was one morning when he laid his little head on my lap and his tiny chest caved in with each labored breath. i called the doctor their response was "how far do you live from our office? ok, get here as soon as possible" we rushed in and found out that the persistent cough was actually asthma...we were issued a nebulizer and have been continuing the hated "breeding treatments" ever since.



the third strike happened a few weeks ago when he and atlee were racing down the hall and they bumped, becketts head collided with the baseboards- resulting in what he described as "the baddest dinosaur bite in the whole world"....and what the emergency room doctor described as a "head wound that would require four staples" the following picture describes his feelings about the entire incident.




here's to good health in 2008!

thanksgiving 2007


we spent the holiday in kansas city with my parents and some very special family...it was a wonderful time! atlee and beckett expeirenced jumping into a big leaf pile, a beautiful light snow and a few fun filled afternoons with their beloved "mellema cousins".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

sink thoughts.


we had potty talk...so why not sink thoughts!

i have this area above my kitchen sink where i post things...a verse i am thinking about, a quote from sunday's sermon, a line from a book. as much as putting up a new one, i love to look back at the old ones- they remind me of the things i was thinking about for those weeks that it sat there. my newest thought comes from the book i am reading now- "through gates of splendor"...i'm sure many of you have read it- but this is my first time...i am (hopefully!!) being changed by it's pages.

a few nights ago i read this: "wherever you are, be all there. live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God" i pondered it for a minute- it struck me as wise...what does it mean to "live to the hilt" my marriage- (even when we don't have a babysitter lined up:) what about motherhood- how do i "live to the hilt" these days with atlee, beckett and avalon by my side (i think for me, this has something to do with watching my tone, not being grumpy- and being intentional about how i fill the hours that we spend together-trying to switch out the tv for books more, not answering the phone when we're in the middle of a game, making eye contact when they speak-simple courtesy that i find easier to extend to a stranger than my kids) and what about in my friendships? relationships at church? so much to think about! as jeff and i lay in bed that night i shared these thoughts with him.

the next day i happened to read a devotional about being still before God...i was taking in her thoughts, and then she wrote "makes me think of a quote of jim elliot's- wherever you are, be all there. live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God" -there it was again! she writes of "living to the hilt" with regards to stillness- hadn't thought about that one. later that same night jeff and i tucked in and watched a movie...during one of the more dramatic points, the main character looked at the actress opposite of him and said- "a long time ago someone told me two words that changed my life: be present." i am beginning to wonder if someone is trying to teach me something!

the photo above is one of those moments...it's me, studying avalon for the first time. fully present, totally there, living it to the hilt in the stillness of the room.

Monday, November 5, 2007

potty talk


i hesitated posting this pic...knowing that there are sick-o's out there who will blow this picture up and judge me based on how clean my bowl is (which it isn't)...if you're one of those people, stop- just read the story.


the following is the actual conversation between beckett and i around the toilet.

me- "beckett, do you know what this is?" (knowing full well that it was in fact a piece of the salmon that he was having for lunch- i had heard the plop in the water, investigated- but waited to bring it up until he had finished the rest of the salmon, all his green beans and had picked out his dessert)

beckett- "i think it's poo-poo"

me- "i don't think so, look again"

beckett- (totally straight faced) "it must be diarrhea"

me- "beckett,(deep breath) be honest."

beckett- (now fidgeting) "if i tell you it's salmon will you give me a han-ken?"

fyi: he didn't get a "han-kin"...i just tossed dessert (a pack of dots from his halloween candy stash) in the bowl too and flushed it all down- reserving one in my pocket to give him once i saw a truly repentant heart.

"superman with bad teeth"



the above was his own description of his costume...he looked much cooler without the teeth-however, we were unable to convince him of this.

dorothy & alice




("alice" is the director of children's ministry at trinity chapel)

the mermaid

Monday, October 22, 2007

a day at the fair






we had a wonderful day at the fair! atlee took a ride on the ferris wheel with her grandad- which was exciting, but not as exciting as riding the wacky shack, swings, or a roller coaster...we watched the bird show and the pig races. avalon had her first taste of cotton candy (a personal favorite of mine) and beckett spent much of the time trying to recover from the log jam ride that we thought was sooo fun- and he thought was sooo traumatic!!! we didn't try a fried coke, fried latte, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich or fried cookie dough, but we still managed to have a great time!

changing perspective.



for the past year i have been in love with a bed that is sold at urban outfitters...it's really just a headboard, but i simply adore it. i pull it up online every once in a while- and dream how i would change the look of my room (and, maybe even my life!!) if i owned it. i stare, and then i practically remind myself that i have a perfectly good bedroom set that is meeting my needs-i may not love it- but, it's material, so i'm not supposed to love it anyway, right? subtly, the way i felt about my own furniture drastically changed- i went from liking my set, to being indifferent about it, to really disliking it...it was the same, i was different.

a few days ago my wonderful, supportive, and stylish husband suggested that we list our current set on craig's list- "give it a shot, if it sells- great! use the money to buy what we want- if it doesn't sell, we'll keep what we have." so, we made the bed (which we do each morning)-but we took a little extra time-making it look just so, we fluffed the pillows bigger, took the books off our side tables and then we snapped the picture. as i looked at the picture displayed on the back of my camera, my perspective changed...i liked my furniture in the picture, it looked simple and nice..it was the same, i was different.

since then, i've been thinking some about perspective and how the accuracy of mine is within my power...that's really neat, and scary.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

orphans


atlee and beckett love to play orphans...let me explain: they take all of the pillows off of the couch, they gather a few stuffed animals and then the couch turns into a boat (keep following me) atlee rides on the boat and beckett "swims" by and asks for "new parents", she then pulls him onto the boat and then they repeat this.

i've begun to wonder if i should be offended that they play this, not just sometimes, but all the time- even today i saw them outside collecting pecans- and they were referring to the nuts as "orphan food"...i think this fascination may be stemming from our recent viewing of "pollyanna"...but i am not sure!

Monday, October 8, 2007

consumer or producer?



the above picture is avalon tonight at dinner- consuming blueberries...what a mess!!anyway, we've been studying a bit about the food-chain around here...about how there are two basic parts: consumers and producers. it got me thinking, in my life what am i? do i produce or do i consume- or do i do both (which i do) and, if so, is it balanced as it should be? in my marriage, in my friendships, in my neighborhood and in my city, with the environment, with my kids? i hadn't even thought of it within my relationship to the Church- until sunday when our pastor shared this quote (from the stop consumer christianity movement): "the only customer of the Church should be God. the people who attend the Church should come with the expectation and excitement to serve God and others. we are the employees, not the customers."...wow and ouch. in life, is it apparent to all that i am working to produce fruit for the eternal kingdom? probably not.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

this holiday life





we were lucky enough to have a few visitors this past weekend...jeff's brother bobby (far right in the above pic) as many of you know, is part of a great band called "this holiday life". the guys are on tour right now and had a show in dallas friday night. they are north bound with three upcoming shows in the kc area- one of which is at habitat shoes! we loved having them here with us...they held avalon (she was especially fond of mark and would cry when we took her from his arms), jumped on the trampoline, played swords with beckett, and much more! seems too lonely around here now...we miss you guys!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

cherish and nurture




someone asked me the other day: "so, what did you do all day?" their question was posed with a sort of confused yet curious look in the eyes...i thought for a minute, really hoping that i could come up with something that could prove that i had, really in fact, been quite busy. after all, it was 6:45pm, dinner wasn't ready...the house was mostly straightened (but not at all "clean"), i hadn't showered and we hadn't gone anywhere (this was obvious since beckett wasn't wearing pants). "uh, well, we read some, really just mostly hung out i guess." that is what i came up with- that is all i came up with. the confusion left their face...but the curiosity remained- it was though i could hear their thoughts: "what are you doing all day in that house with those children by yourself?" as life is, as soon as they walked away, i thought of how i wish i had answered differently- not so much for my own esteem (although, that would have felt good), but i wondered why i felt insecure admitting that really i hadn't done anything all that important- but everything i did do had felt quite significant...changing diapers (and taking a few extra minutes to study avalon's growing toes), games of uno (and realizing that atlee is quite competitive), reading "just one more" book (and then asking beckett to explain the story back to me), jumping on the trampoline (and thanking the Father for the beautiful sky), a cat nap (so i'd have a little extra boost of energy for jeff). now, not everyday around here is this way...many days i need to accomplish a list of things in order to help our home run smoothly...and then, i hate to admit it, but there are days when i struggle to really "play" not because i have "necessary things"- but because, i simply don't feel like it.



today in the "home training lesson" that i picked up at BSF , i read this:

"These unique years are to be cherished, for
there will be no other time like this.
Later your child will be influenced by a myriad of others outside your home,
but for now his parents are his principal teachers and his family is his world.
You will never again have such unchallenged credibility or
control over what your child learns
You may never again have the
concentrated time with this little person that you do now."



so, next time i get that question, on one of "those kinds of days"...i know exactly what i am going to say:
"oh, today i just cherished and nurtured"


Monday, October 1, 2007

tempting a gorilla

video

we just finished reading james and the giant peach...and now, for atlee and beckett, a peach pit is so much more than just a seed (if you've read the book, you'll understand why). when we went to the zoo last week beckett was thrilled to find a discarded peach seed lying on the ground...jeff and i hadn't realized that he had picked it up and proceeded to carry it all over the zoo until we reached the gorillas and watched him do this:

"hey gorilla, lookatthis" (three words in one)

"lookatthis"

"lookatthis" (by the way, this is his manly gruff voice, if you couldn't tell)

"it's a peach seed!"

i think he was a bit disappointed that the gorilla didn't respond to him...but not nearly as disappointed as he was when jeff told the kids that all of the animals were real at the zoo, except for the gorilla- and it was just a man in a costume...unfortunatly, i don't have a picture of that. (don't worry, he fessed up shortly after)

bedhead


for the second time in a week i have had a sweet stranger look at my kids and say "wow...three girls- what fun!!" i guess i hadn't really noticed how long it had been since jeff took the scissors to beck's hair...i don't remember his last hair cut...maybe june or may? so, i know it's time to cut it again, although, the minister to children reminded me yesterday at church that the guys in the college class work hard to achieve the "foe-hawk" (sp?) that beckett can score merely by a good nights sleep (aka "bedhead").

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

proverbs 31:10

each wednesday atlee takes sewing lessons...one component of the class is scripture memory- this was her verse for today...i thought she did a smashing job...and i look forward to watching her recite the entire poem by the end of the year...one extra bonus- in helping her memorize- i'm forced to memorize too!
video

Friday, August 31, 2007

big B turns 3!


beckett turned 3 on august 8th...we celebrated his birthday at tyler and areamy's home in wichita surrounded by much precious family- including his six cousins!

happy birthday baby




avalon ryan turned one on august 18th. i know everyone always says this...but i can't believe how fast this year passed by!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

first day




this is atlee on her first day of kindergarten! when she got home she reported "i didn't think i was going to like it...but i loved it!"

following my leader wherever he may go

one of those sweet moments when you realize that the scream of your kids
needs to be the cry of your heart.


video

Friday, July 27, 2007

losing teeth


imagine our surprise a few weeks ago when our precious atlee discovered her first loose tooth...ironically, the tooth loose in her mouth was in the exact spot that avalon was growing her first tooth. for weeks atlee wiggled the tooth until last night at the dinner table she attempted to turn it in a circle (it was that loose) and it popped right out into her hand. jeff and i exchanged a glance...that somehow communicated "wow, she is getting big...a remaining tiny piece of her babyhood now gone" and then we went on to celebrate the moment. the tooth was passed around, everyone inspecting it...we began to speculate what the tooth fairy would bring...and soon the dishes were left on the table and atlee and beckett dashed upstairs to take a bath. the next half hour was a blur, somehow teeth got brushed, the baby got a bottle, bodies got washed, stories got told, good night kisses were given, and re-given and everyone got tucked into bed. jeff and i found ourselves back in the kitchen reflecting on the events of the day and getting caught up on life. jeff was washing dishes, i was wiping the table when i asked "where is the tooth?" "right by my glass, on the table" jeff said as he turned his head around. and, it was at that moment that we relized the tooth was gone. now, take a moment a reflect...what color would you consider a tooth? white? - not really, more like- tiny bits of salmon mixed with pasta and onions satued in butter- which is exactly what we had for dinner! how convenient!! we searched the trash...no luck...we searched the garbage disposal- nothing. so now...the tooth exists only in a picture- and that's okay...and lucky for us, the tooth next to the empty spot is wiggling too.

Life in the Inn full of Andersons