Category Archives: Kid Stuff

Captain America Turns 4.

I thought the title of this post was appropriate seeing as how this was Anna Takle’s birthday blog back in 2008. How do I love thee, Jett Takle? Let me count the ways. My friends with three children always told me before Jett was born, “There is just something about that third kid.”

 

I’m here to tell you. There is just something about that third kid.

 

I’ll admit. We don’t enforce some things with Jett the way we did with our first two. Here are some our parenting philosophies that were thrown out of the window after Jett Takle was born:

 

“High chairs are required in restaurants just like carseats are required in cars.” (Now, we just try to coral him within a 100 foot vicinity of our dining table. Shout out to the patio at El Toro Loco.)

 

“Bed time is 7:00, because moms and dads need time to themselves.” (Have you seen those sweet feet in those flannel pajamas and felt him snuggled next to you on the sofa?)

 

“Do not leave the table without asking, ‘May I be excused?’” (Don’t judge me. We get tired.)

 

“Kids should be potty-trained before they reach the age of 3.” (Whatever.)

 

“Using the word ‘butt’ isn’t appropriate for children under age ten.” (Every time he says “butt,” the entire family erupts with laughter. Also true for “crap.”)

 

“One treat a day.” (We stay stocked up on popsicles like Jerry Seinfeld stays stocked on cereal.)

 

“Be careful what your children listen to in the car.” (He knows every word to Zac Brown Band’s “Sic ‘Em On A Chicken.” Again, don’t judge me. We live on a farm now.)

 

“Never leave a child unattended.” (Ok. This is still true. But, we did lose him once. We found him in the chicken coop smashing eggs. Perhaps, we should be careful what our children listen to in the car.)

 

We’ve relaxed in a lot of ways. Perhaps, we’ve relaxed too much in some respects. BUT, we have adopted some new parenting philosophies since he’s been born, too:

 

“So, what if you’re kid stays up a little longer? Some of our best conversations happen at night.”

 

“Don’t stress over the small stuff and hard seasons. They’re just seasons. Sometimes, they just need a few more birthdays.”

 

“It’s okay to be friends with your kids.”

 

“ENJOY every season. You’ll blink your eyes, and they will be in Kindergarten.”

 

Jett Takle, we have all been in love with you since the moment we met you. You are our bright light. Our sweetest snuggler. Our charming smile. Our favorite superhero. The other day you told me, “Mom, you’re a great web shooter.” Jett, you are a great kid. A great little brother. A great son. I can’t even think about your future without getting so stinking excited. Because, you are destined to do great things. Until then, I’ll keep slinging webs and protecting the universe with you.

 

Thank you for teaching me how to enjoy being a mom. I love you so very much.

 

Happy 4th Birthday, Captain.

 

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My Favorite Girl In All the World.

When you were a little girl, you could exhaust me with your determination. Determination to wear fleece in the summer and tattered tights with shorts and boots in the winter. Determination to fasten your own car seat. Determination to complete a puzzle all by yourself. Determination to order your own food at restaurants. Determination to be YOU.

Now, I watch as you are still determined to accessorize on your own. Determined to not let fear grip you when you hop on your brother's dirt bike. Determined to step outside yourself and assist in the birth of a baby calf. Determined to read bigger books. Determined to put Norman's halter on all by yourself. Determined to be the very best student you can be.

Determined to grab my attention and share your heart.

Anna Takle, I love your determination. I love it that you are so comfortable being who God created you to be. I love that you have made a decision to be who you are. Because, I am amazed at who you are. I fall in love with who you are a little more every day. I love it that you come to me and listen. And, you receive. You trust me and the Spirit inside of me. And, that trust blows me away. I think it astounds me, because of your determination to be you, and do things on your own. Yet, when it comes to matters of the heart, you absorb my every word. Just as you have grown to trust in me, I watch you growing to trust in Him.

And, I think that trust in Him makes me most proud of you.

You are beautiful. You are brilliant. You are discerning. You are compassionate. You are hilarious.

You are my favorite girl.

 

 

I love you, Anna Takle. Happy 9th Birthday.

Love,

Mom

 

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His Last First Day.

 

I prayed over them both. I rubbed their backs. I nestled my fingers in their hair. I talked to them about the first day of school. I kissed their forehead. And before I left each bedroom I heard, “Mom, don't walk me into school tomorrow. It's a little embarrassing.”

 

I knew this day was coming. You're just never really ready.

 

Anna's first day of school clothes were displayed across her bed. Every single item new. Every single item very Anna Takle. She knows what she's doing. After all, she's the girl who stops me before I walk out the door with “You need a fashion check?” And, I'm the one who always bites the bullet and says yes.

 

John Henry, on the other hand, had older, a little more tattered clothes poured across his bed. I asked him why he wouldn't want to wear something newer. Something a bit nicer.

 

“Mom, you can't wear your best stuff the first day of school. You can't be the kid who starts off the school year with brand new clothes. I'll throw in some nice clothes randomly.”

 

And, somehow, I actually got it. He didn't want to look like he was trying so hard. I get it.

 

I also get them not wanting me to walk them in. Even if it's a BRAND NEW SCHOOL. Even if I went to bed and cried to Kris and made him relive with me every funny thing John Henry did from 10 months old to age 4.

 

Even if it's the last first day of John Henry's elementary school days.

 

I get it. As much as I love to relive Anna Takle as Super Girl. John Henry as a Buzz Lightyear. Anna yelling out “vuck” to her pre-school class for words that start with V. John Henry peeing on the dog, because, well, it's something to do. Anna telling me, “You're a monster!” John Henry touching home plate and running out to ask, “Did you see that, Mom?” The two of them together playing in mud puddles. Sliding downstairs on an air mattress. Laughing. Fighting. Forgiving. Loving.

 

Being small.

 

As much as I love these years. I know it's better that they grow. That they need me less.

 

Because the less they see their need for me, the more they'll see their need for Him. And, while I will sometimes fail them, He never will.

 

So, grow. Become strong. Become conscious of Who is within you. Become aware that you already have everything you need to do all God's called you to do. Because, HE is with you. Beside you. In front of you. Behind you.

 

WITHIN you.

And, when you need me…..

 

I'll come running.

 

 

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You Make Everything Better.

Jett - 3year wp

Me:  “Remember that summer when I said, ‘Hey, wanna have another baby?’”

Kris:  “Oh yes.”

Me:  “That was a good call.”

Jett Takle, you’ve been more than a good call.  You’ve been the mint in my chocolate.  The creamer in my coffee.  The salsa to my chips.

You make everything better.  Everything complete.  And, I am so glad you turned our world upside down by becoming the caboose to our train.

We may have said goodbye to a four-door sedan for the next several years, but we opened our arms to a super-hero who flies through the sky.

A cowboy who gallops around our family room.

A Buzz Lightyear who takes us to infinity and beyond.

A thumb-sucking, flannel pajama wearing, blankie holding charmer that gets us out of bed to make waffles.

An air guitar that makes me happier than Sting.  (I know, right?)

A laugh that makes us forget any worry that may have crept in our minds.

A smile that lights up our home.

Jett, you make me stop and soak in moments more than I ever have.  Maybe, it’s because you’re the littlest Takle.  Maybe, it’s because I know now how fleeting these perfect moments are.  I breathe in a little heavier when I put my nose to your blonde head.  I place your feet on my cheeks and I leave them there a little longer.  You sit in my lap, and I postpone bedtime.

Thank you for making life so much sweeter.  Thank you for teaching us what’s really eternal.

Father, thank You for placing Jett Takle in my arms three years ago today.  You are so good.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jett Man.

I love you with every single part of my being.

Love,

Mom

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Happy Birthday, Anna Takle.

“Oh, I just love the British!”

That was her response to her new British friends, George and Josh, at a Disney resort back in September.

And, that’s how it just goes in raising Anna Takle.  We never know what she’s going to say.  Or wear.  Or do.  But, I do know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.  She’s has been my good time girl, full of wonder and surprise, determination and wit, since the beginning.

She was 3 ½ when I first started blogging.  Today, she is 8.  EIGHT!

Anna Takle,

You somehow always teach me more about myself than I thought possible to learn from one of my children.  I not only love the young lady you are, I admire and respect you.

I admire how you feel comfortable in your own skin.  You’re never afraid to stand out and simply be you.

I admire how you are constantly creating.  You pen beautiful words.  You brainstorm a different way to accomplish a task.  You frame lyrics to a song that inspire me.

I admire how you fear so little.  You take risks.  You put yourself out there without regard to whether you will be embraced or not.

I admire how love to learn.  You love exploring new things.  You keep an open mind about the world we live in.

I admire how you respect the earth.  You take seriously caring for our planet.  You commit yourself to being kind to it.

I admire how you listen to your dad and me.  How you take to heart discipline, instruction, and allow it to settle into your spirit.

I admire how open you are to the things of God.  And, how you are allowing Him to work in your life.  How you have decided you want to write songs that “worship Him.”

You make me laugh.  You keep me on my toes.  You remind me not to judge others.  You stir me to want to be more adventurous.

You inspire me to trust Him more.  Because, you trust Him so much.

I can’t imagine my life without you in it.  I can’t imagine this world without Anna.

And, I can’t imagine all of the amazing things you are going to do.  And, the lives you are going to touch.

But, He can.

Happy Birthday, Anna Takle.  I adore every fiber of your being.  I love you more than you’ll ever know.  And, I’m so thankful you’re my girl.

Love,
Mom

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Double Digits.

This awesome kid is ten today.  I couldn’t just write ten things I love and admire about him.  I could write one-thousand.  I could write for days.  Because, every moment I’m with him, he gives me another reason to thank God for his life.

John Henry,

I love you.  I love every second I get to spend with you.  You are the most well-mannered, ten year old boy I know.  I love how you are so considerate of other people.  How you are genuinely concerned about the well being of those around you.

I love how your hand-shake is firm.  But, it is confidence wrapped in humility.

I love how you know how to be a gentleman.  How you tell a lady, “You look really pretty,” and always prefer them to yourself.

I love how when you see a need, you meet it if it’s within your ability.  You are always so aware of what’s going on around you.

I love how you are so quick to forgive.  How you really do make allowances for other people’s faults.  And, how you quickly acknowledge your own and are the first to say you’re sorry.

I love how truly thankful you are for everything you’re given.  And, how the gifts you love most are the people in your life.

I think I’m just amazed at how much you already imitate Christ.  I’ve prayed your entire life that you would seek Him always.  That you would grow in Him.  But somewhere along the way, you stopped growing in Christ….

And, Christ began growing in you.

I guess in many ways, I kind of look up to you.  I mean, I’m still your mom.  I’m still going to discipline your behavior and train your character.  It’s my job.  But, I respect you.  I admire the young man you are already are.

I’m so thankful God gave me you.  And, I’m thankful He gave you to this world.  You remind us all that chivalry isn’t dead.  You remind us to be kind and considerate to one another.  You remind us that greater is he is within us than he that is in the world.  You remind us to be thankful.

Happy 10th Birthday, JH.  Thank you for being you.

I love you,
Mom

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Jehovah Elohim (Part One)

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein

I wish this quote meant as much to me when my older two were smaller as it does now. I was a bit of a realist. I didn’t want to “do” Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, because I didn’t want to feel I was lying to my children. I didn’t want to make them believe in something that couldn’t possibly happen. Kris disagreed with me. Even my father, a pastor, disagreed with me. So, every year, Santa comes down a chimney here. And, this year, an Easter Bunny will leave little gifts.

I didn’t tell them an Easter Bunny gave them anything last year. I told them it was from us. John Henry came home from church in tears. “Why didn’t the Easter Bunny come see us? He came to see all of the other kids.”

The realist in me just wanted to tell the truth. And, I certainly didn’t want to take away from the true meaning of Easter.

But, this idea of “realism” can do just that. It can take away the meaning of Who God really is.

Jehovah Elohim.

Creator.

Jehova Elohim formed the world with His words. Since we are created in His image, we are also creators. Likewise, we form our world with our words. We create the chaos. We create the blessings.

With. Our. Words.

So, if God, by nature, is a creator, that means He is creative. Yes?

Creativity is inspired. It’s inspired that believing that ANYTHING is possible. And, when we believe that anything is possible, we aren’t afraid to create. To do. To be.

As a mother, I am making some changes in how I inspire my children. We will read fairy tales. We will read stories in the Bible that, well, seem impossible. We will get excited in a few days when a little bunny delivers surprises.

We are creators. Inspired by believing in the impossible. Inspired by believing we can make a difference in the world. Inspired by the One who thought of us long before He created this incredible world.

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” – G.K. Chesterton

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, Kid Stuff, making an impact, Motherhood

The Terrific Twos.

You may call them terrible. I call them terrific. Perhaps, it’s because I now know firsthand that I will blink my eyes, and Jett Takle will be in Kindergarten. And, if you have children who have already graduated from high school, I really don’t need to hear how that day will be here for me faster than I can say, “Let’s play Candy Land.” Granted, I have days I dream of an empty nest, and Kris and I relaxing in the Caribbean somewhere. We give our grown children our mobile numbers, but we don’t tell them where we are. It’s true. I do think about it. But, most of the time, I think about how much I love these years. With its chaos and laughter and discoveries and first words and piano lessons and guitar lessons, and so many assorted cereal options in one pantry that even Jerry Seinfeld would be jealous.

I love this life.

And, I am so thankful for that day I looked at Kris and said, “You know, I think I do want one more baby.” Because, two years ago today, Jett Takle completed our family. He makes us smile bigger and more often than we ever dreamed possible.

Jett, I love the way you love eating apples. I’m so glad Mr. Jenkins at Piggly Wiggly lets you eat one from the produce section to make my grocery store trips easier. And, I’m so glad you let the cashier weigh your half-eaten apple with the others so, we can pay for it.

I love the way you love “driving” the truck on the farm with your daddy.

Your big brother and sister don’t even ask to drive any more. Probably, because they know you will beat them to it.

I love the way you love learning new things. Like fishing. And, I love how you look to your daddy so many times for his approval on doing it right.

There is no doubt. You get your immense passion for farm life from your father. I love the way you start “mooing” as soon as we drive up to the farm. You make your daddy follow those cows all over. And, you are certain to cry when we leave them.

And, it’s really no surprise one of your first words was “airplane.”

You are fascinated with them.

I have a feeling that once you figure out your daddy flies them, he will be an even greater rock star in your eyes. If that is even possible.

I love how you take your big brother’s hand. I love how he lets you take him anywhere you want to go. I especially love how you call him “Bubba”, and he calls you “Bubba” right back. Melt. My. Heart.

I love how you love crawling up into your Sissy’s bed to watch her draw.

Just a word of advice: Try not to touch all of her stuff in her room. It’ll save us both a lot of heartache.

You make our lives so much richer. You make us so much more aware of all of the good stuff around us. You make us press pause and soak in the joys again of blowing dandelions. And, roaring like a lion. And, rolling in the grass. And, eating popsicles. And, cheering, “Yay!”

Happy Birthday, Jett. I pray that over this next year you begin learning about your Creator. Because, when He made you, He really made a wonderful thing.

I love you to the moon and back one million times,

Mom

;

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Taking More In.

It’s been seven days since I put down social networking.  It was an awkward first two days.  You know, I wasn’t shaking or anything.  I jest.   I do.  No, really.  One of my colleagues asked me yesterday morning what I hoped God was going to work in me through this.  I didn’t really have a definitive answer of what I hoped He would do.  I told her I felt that by giving it up, I would inevitably be replacing it with other things.  Things that would invoke me to be more personal with my children.  With my husband.  With my friends.  And, I am doing just that.

Through becoming more aware of the people in my life, I find myself becoming more aware of God.   After all, doesn’t God live in each one of us?  So, by being totally present with people, we become more present with Him.  It’s really a pretty awesome phenomenon, I tell ya.

A couple of nights ago, Anna climbed into bed with me with her book, The Lorax.  She wanted to read it aloud to me.  She would pause throughout the book, and we would talk about it.  If you’re unfamiliar with The Lorax, it’s a wonderful story to encourage readers to take care of the earth.  I listened as Anna talked about her desire to be nicer to the planet.  Through conversation with my seven year old, I began to see God in His creation.  Again.  I acknowledged His handiwork in shaping every part of it.  It made me want to be a better steward with this undeniably amazing planet.  So simple.

I’m loving the simple.  Breathing in the simple.  It’s wonderful.  It’s life-giving.

Here are a few of my favorite things I’m taking in:

I’m pretty sure that this is the “full” John was writing about.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

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Filed under Favorite Things, God Stuff, Kid Stuff, life, Life Experiences, Motherhood

Next Year, I Might Say, “Be Mine.”

Can I just be honest and say that Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday of the year?  I don’t mean to be a love humbug.  I mean, I love love and all.  I just don’t like using it to celebrate Kris.  And, he is not allowed to buy me a Valentine’s Day gift.  I know this makes me odd.  And, I’m okay with that.  I’m sure Kris is, too.  Not to worry about my littles.  We certainly lavish on them on this day of “Be My Valentine.”

So, instead of making the day about recognizing how much I love Kris, I pick a person really needing to feel some love to bless.  I started this tradition two years ago.  It’s kind of given me a reason to look forward to the holiday.

However, yesterday ended up being one of my favorite days of the year.  No expensive gifts.  No over-priced roses.  But, a string of texts, notes, and unexpected surprises made me so thankful for the relationships in my life.  Several members of Eagles Way Church surprised the staff with the most heartfelt, delicious lunch at the office.  Kris surprised me….and I do mean surprised me, by cleaning the house before he took off into the wild blue yonder.  An unexpected text from a friend simply expressing her appreciation broke me.  And, then?  A surprise knock at my door with none other than my father bringing me my favorite hummus and pita bread.

I spent the rest of the evening playing Pictionary on the Xbox with my big kids and laughing at this littlest kid while he saw himself being videoed.

Why do videos start and stop on the most awkward of facial expressions?  Have. Mercy.

Anyway, my heart swelled with an immense gratitude for the people in my life.  A gratitude that I get to wake up every morning to the most incredible beings in my home.  A gratitude that I get to be Kris Takle’s wife.  A gratitude that I get to be a mother.  A gratitude that I get to work at the greatest church on the planet.  A gratitude that I get to be a pastor.

I am so rich.  So rich in relationships.  Rich in love.  Rich in contentment.

So, perhaps, after days like yesterday, I just might become a fan of Cupid.  After all, I am definitely a fan of lunch.  And, a clean house.  And, sweet messages.  And, hummus.  And Eagles Way Church.

And, Kris Takle.

And, these little love bugs.

 

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Filed under giving, gratitude, Kid Stuff, Love, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships