{Mommy Journal} Monkey Vocabulary


When you’re a mommy, and 95% of what you do is spend time caring for, playing with, and enjoying your baby/toddler, you think there’s no way you’ll ever forget all the adorable little things he does and says. But then you do.

I’m so glad for what I’ve been able to write down, but wish I’d written more! This is a simple post to share with you and help me remember what Caleb’s vocabulary looks like these days. He says more, but these are the recognizable staples I can brainstorm right now. :)

Bick (book)
Wa-wa (water)
Mick (milk)
Nana (Banana)
Caw (car)
Daw (dog)
Kit (cat)
Baw (ball)
Bay-Baw (baseball)
Oop (hoop)
Wuck (walk)
Baff (bath)
Muh (more)
Gock (clock, sometime socks)
Ish (George, as in Curious George)
Eees (cheese or shoes)
Ay-baw (rainbow)
Essh (glasses)
Ack (snack)
Bop (Popsie)
Ama (Grandma – although this varies slightly)
Ampa (Grandpa – also varies each time)
Eat (street)
Ess (stairs)
Onk onk (honk honk)
Bup (button)
Bee (bird)
Knock knock

{Mommy Journal} Where’s the Chocolate?

DSC_1763It’s been one of those long stay-at-home mom weeks, as my baby has had a drawn-out flu bug leading to restless nights and fussy days. My “tired” this week pales in comparison to most mothers’ tired, but I struggled with it nonetheless.

In many little moments of feeling emotionally and physically spent, I noticed thoughts like this skip across my head.

I need a few minutes to put my feet up and watch a grown-up show. Chocolate would make everything better right now. I really need a nap. I need a washing machine in my apartment. I need my mom. I need a husband who isn’t buried in homework. I need a break. 

But guess what? I didn’t need any of those things. We’re a little over halfway through Whole30 right now (a restrictive 30 day nutritional reset diet), and if nothing else, it has shown me how quickly when I’m feeling sad or at the end of my rope, I turn to food or something else for the comfort I’m craving, without even thinking about it! I didn’t eat any chocolate this week, and I said no to a lot of other desires as I realized that these small trials are meant to push me not to comfort food, a nap, or a break, but to Jesus Christ Himself. On good days and on bad days, Jesus and Jesus alone is what I need.

I long for my first impulse in the difficult moments not to be “Where’s the chocolate?” but a humble cry to my Savior. When life’s hard circumstances, big or small, have me down, I want to instinctively run to sit at His feet, by meditating on memorized Scripture, singing hymns in my head, or poring over an open Bible.

This week, as I’ve recognized my sinful tendency to skip Jesus and seek joy from material gifts, I have experienced the lasting benefits of instead denying my flesh and “seeking the things above, where Christ is” (Col 3:1b).

It takes surprising discipline to do this–to meditate on the gospel while I’m cleaning a sick little one, or praise God for Who He is when I’m getting up for the 10th time at night–but the reward of real peace and contentment is well worth the struggle to think heavenward.

One specific thought that has encouraged me this week came from a chapter I read from Here is Our God along with Revelation 4-5 a few days ago. I’ll leave you with this quote.

“Let’s never forget that this heavenly scene, with God’s throne at the center, is the center of the universe NOW, with this ongoing worship of our Creator God. There is a throne in heaven now, awesome and sovereign. Don’t doubt it. It’s right there right now as if just through a door. Let’s think of this throne when we wake up tomorrow morning… Let’s never think of our sufferings or our joys–or others’ sufferings and joys–without letting live in our imaginations the picture of this sovereign throne and our awesome holy God and this worship of Him ringing right now at the center of the universe.”

(Kathleen Nielson)

Clarification: Chocolate, washing machines, naps…they are all gifts from God that can be used and enjoyed. This post simply seeks to point out my tendency to start (and often end) with those things, rather than running to God with my troubles. 


{Mommy Journal} Sign Language

I’m neglecting to write down so many things I want to remember about Caleb! He’ll be 14 months on Friday, and he is more and more fun every day. One exciting thing to watch develop is his sign language. It’s been so helpful that he can communicate certain things with us, but it can also be very frustrating when it seems that he’s trying to sign something and we don’t know what it is! He has learned these signs from Andrew and me, but over the past three months or so he’s watched very limited Signing Time, mostly just when we have been sick, so a few of his signs have probably been reinforced through that. Here are the signs he knows to date:

more/please (one sign for him) =)
all done
thank you
touchdown (okay that’s not really a sign)

He just started signing “outside” today so we’ll see if it sticks. Sometimes he relapses and forgets a sign. He did that with “thank you” for a long time. I’ve been working on “drink” forever but that has not clicked yet!


{Mommy Journal} The “Yes” Cupboard


I have gleaned a lot of wisdom from experienced mothers throughout this journey thus far. I’m so thankful for God’s design of older women who can mentor and counsel and advise as we first-timers stumble along. I thought as time allows, I would start sharing little parenting tips that have been passed along to me.

An older wise woman in our Bible study, who has several of her own (almost) grown children and currently nannies little ones, strongly recommended having a “yes” cupboard in the kitchen: one cupboard that Caleb was allowed to get into and do anything he wanted with.

“You want him to be in the kitchen with you, don’t you?” she pointed out. “So designating a cupboard that he is allowed to play in is a great way to encourage him to ‘help’ you.”

DSC_0676This was around the age of 8 months, and although I liked the concept, I was skeptical that Caleb would understand the difference between the “yes” cupboard and all the other “no” cupboards. But I gave it a try, and sure enough, through training, Caleb learned within a couple of days which cupboard he had the green light on. He had already been taught that all the cupboards were off-limits, it wasn’t difficult to show him that one special cupboard was his to enjoy.

Now, he frequently joins me  in the kitchen and goes straight for his cupboard. I keep the pots and pans, a rice cooker, and a basket of bottle accessories in it. He usually pulls everything out and makes a racket, plants roadblocks for me to maneuver while cooking, and creates memories that I’ll treasure forever.