Sunday, February 19, 2012

Abigail's Top Twenty

I saw something on Pinterest (yes, I am now pinning all over the place) to do with your children to make a record of their "favorite things," be they bright copper kettles or mac n cheese. Here is what it suggested:

Starting at age 3, every year on their birthday you ask the same questions and see how their answers change over the years! Add a pic and make a book out of it. 20 questions: 1. What is your favorite color? 2. What is your favorite toy? 3. What is your favorite fruit? 4. What is your favorite tv show? 5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? 6. What is your favorite outfit? 7. What is your favorite game? 8. What is your favorite snack? 9. What is your favorite animal? 10. What is your favorite song? 11. What is your favorite book? 12. Who is your best friend? 13. What is your favorite cereal? 14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? 15. What is your favorite drink? 16. What is your favorite holiday? 17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? 18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? 20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I changed #18 to "What is your favorite movie?" I didn't get to start this when Abi was 3, but I asked her some similar questions when she was 3 1/2. I decided to get her answers for her 4-year Favorite Things. Then when she turns 5 this summer we'll be all caught up! Here's her 4-year Top Twenty!

1. What is your favorite color? Rainbow, pink, and white (in that order)
2. What is your favorite toy? B the Goat (for the 4th year running!)
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas
4. What is your favorite TV show? Word Girl (funny, she JUST discovered this show on PBS Kids and it is now her favorite!)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
6. What is your favorite outfit? Her Hello Kitty dress with striped leggings
7. What is your favorite game? Princess Chutes and Ladders
8. What is your favorite snack? Apples and peanut butter
9. What is your favorite animal? Goats and sheep!
10. What is your favorite song? You're My Little Girl (by Go Fish)
11. What is your favorite book? The Three Billy Goats Gruff (of course!)
12. Who is your best friend? B the Goat was her first answer. After some prodding she delightfully declared that her mommy was her best friend and that her family was her next best friend. LOVE.
13. What is your favorite cereal? Multi-grain Cheerios and Kix
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride tricycle and go to the park
15. What is your favorite drink? All kinds of juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you take to bed with you? B THE GOAT!
18. What is your favorite movie? Beauty and the Beast
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Lasagna and cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? An artist! And I never influenced that decision, but I can't say I'm surprised. She loves to draw :)

I love my oldest girl. She's so sweet, innocent, pure, intellegent, clever, beautiful, fun, and brave. She's my one-of-a-kind Abi :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lucie's got a Funny Bone!

Here are some of my toddler's greatest hits as of late! This kid keeps me laughing!

* Lucie walked out into the living room with a big pouty lip holding her hand after pinching her thumb in the closet door. "Oh Lulu, do you want mommy to kiss your thumb?" Mommy asked while taking her hand. "Yeah," she wimpered pitifully. Then she added cautiously, "Don't bite it!"

* Lucie looked around herself suspiciously. "I smell sumfin," she said. Then she seemed to realize something and stated, "It's my toot."

* Lucie dumped the bag of barettes out on the floor. "Oh Lucie," said Mom, "you're going to get a consequence." Lucie thought for a moment then responded, "I don't want a consequence. Moses got a consequence inna Bible story and HE DIED!" (my personal favorite!)

* "I don't love orange. I love pink and rainbow. I love brown and purple and cupcakes. And I love birds that fly with me like this," (flap, flap) then she squawked a bit. "That's what a bird says."

* Dora: "To go slower we need to say 'espacio.' Say 'espacio!'"

* After a breakfast of Cream of Wheat, Abi and Lucie decided to play princesses. Abi declared she was Princess Belle. Lucie decided she would be the Queen of Wheat.

* Lucie was trying to get Daddy to eat her Cheerios.
Daddy: "No thanks, that's Lucie's Cheerios."
Lucie: "No this Cheerio is for Mommy and for Daddy."
Daddy: "No thank you,"
Lucie: "But it's got bacon in it! You like bacon?"

* Lucie: "My mouth tastes funny,"
Mommy: "Why does your mouth taste funny?"
Lucie: "Because I ate a rock!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One-Two, Buckle My Shoe

I realize it's several months after her birthday, but I needed to celebrate my little Lulu being 2! She continues to be fiery and passionate in every area of her life. The little poem about sugar and spice and everything nice was written about her. Especially the spice! Don't be fooled by that demure little face in the picture. If you ask her to make a face she will give you several poses displaying a wide range of emotions. All of you better get your picture taken with her because you will be able to say you knew her when she becomes a famous Broadway actress, a stand-up comedian, a race car driver, and the next Marie Curie.

She is incredibly independent. Her sister is two years older than her, yet she insists on doing everything her sister can do. "NO I DO IT!" is heard often around our house. She can put on her own socks, shoes, and pants using nothing but her own willpower, and the only time you will see her quietly focused for more than 30 seconds is when she's attacking the buttons on her sweater. She will either button that sweater herself or perish. She also potty-trained herself. I wasn't going to attempt this project until after our newborn was sleeping through the night, but sometime this summer she just decided she was done using diapers. She also decided around 11 months that she was perfectly capable of using a spoon herself.

Her joie de vivre is like electricity. Someday it will be channeled properly and will light up cities with joy, hope, passion, and love. However, during her toddler years, we find ourselves daily electrocuted! I pray every day we will make it out alive and heading somewhere near the right direction!

Lucie not only looks exACTly like Jon's baby pictures, but she embodies his wacky nature in female form. If she has a choice between something zany and something normal, you have to bet she will chose the former! Or if a zany option is not available, she will create it. Her favorite color is orange. Not pink, not purple, but ORANGE. She was fascinated with ants this summer and would follow them around on the sidewalk being careful not to step on them. She'll wear a bucket on her head around the house, her face deadpan, until someone notices her. Her favorite literary characters are Curious George, Frog & Toad, Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and (ugh) Elmo. Her favorite numbers are 11 and 12 and I'm pretty sure she learned how to count just so she would have an excuse to say "eleven" and "twelve." Whenever she says her ABCs she does it as fast as she can, usually while running. Sometimes she gets stuck on the letters H and I and repeats them throughout the rest of the song. It's not surprising that she frequently turns up her nose at my hotdish, but warmly welcomes all of Jon's spicier (he would say "flavorful") dishes, and asks for the extra dash of black pepper whenever daddy has it. She hates cooked carrots and will pick them out of her food, but she doesn't mind raw carrots (I think it's because she's allowed to walk around while eating them).

She wants desperately to express herself, and she is frustrated by her own developmental process. She wants to tell you ALL about what she's thinking and feeling and seeing and doing and hearing and wanting and needing, but she can not form the words correctly enough for her audience to completely comprehend. This results in the throwing of many toys and tantrums. Abigail is often asked to interpret (and she is very good at it!) She can climb tall ladders and goes down the big slides at the park with no help. She often camps herself in her sister's bed which is the top bunk with a book and her Pooh bear.

She is incredibly relational. Abigail is her best friend and when they're getting along they take turns playing the most ridiculous games. When Lucie is feeling particularly mischievous she usually takes it out on Abi, and she harasses her to no end. Her other best friend is her little brother Jonathan. Wherever Jonathan is, Lucie is too. She holds him, pets him, kisses him, and loves on him. She piles his baby toys on top of him so that just his face peeks out. One of her favorite activities is "cuddles on the couch." Her favorite word is "WHY?" and she has the best sniffer of anyone I know. She can sniff out an animal cracker in my mouth from across the house faster than I can swallow it.

I've taken to calling her my little "ginger snap" because she's spicy and sweet at the same time, and yes, she has a bit of snap to her. (Read "sass") She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, and she makes me proud of her every day. I just adore my little Lulu and I love the role she has in our family!

(P.S. To Lucie's future husband: we have begun praying for you. Trust me. You're going to need them.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Atta Boy!!

I know it's been three weeks, but our little guy hasn't been formally introduced! Meet Jonathan Richard Gill, Jr! He was born Friday, September 23, at 11:10 pm, weighing 9 lbs 3 oz, and measuring 22 inches long. (For those of you unfamiliar with baby lengths, that's pretty long!) He was officially "early" if you can count 50 minutes before his due date as "early."

Here's the layout of the labor story for all you collectors of birth stories (i.e. every mom in America):

Wednesday, September 21: I had my 39-week appointment at my clinic. I was seeing the midwives who are on call at our hospital (Fairview - UofM). And although I had been having contractions on and off for the past 3 months, I was only between 1 and 2 centimeters at my check-up. Not that that's bad; I was just hoping that with all the contractions I'd been having that I'd be at 3. I chuckled with the receptionist when I scheduled my 40-week appointment. We both hoped I would not have to show up for that.

3:30 pm, Friday, September 23:
A set of contractions were starting again. They were similar to the sets I'd had the week prior: short, weak, and sporadic. They would be anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart, but not strong enough to be worried about. I called my clinic and the midwife on-call called me back and told me to wait it out a bit, but not to underestimate how quickly things can progress. Well I did wait it out for a while at home. I called Jon to start wrapping things up at work and head home. I also called my friend Karen to come over and take care of my girls while I labored (I didn't realize how difficult it would be to keep my girls occupied and fed while having progressive contractions!!!) And I called my beautiful mother-in-law to come over to my house after she got off work to watch the girls that night.

6:30 pm: My contractions finally started to regulate and were strong enough that I was confident they weren't going to disappear upon arriving at the hospital. So Karen and my girls prayed for me, and Jon and I left for the hospital! On the way, I was preparing to be disappointed. I knew I wasn't very far along. I had been laboring all afternoon, but I could just tell. Sure enough, they measured me and I was at 4 cm. Then Kris (my midwife) stated cheerfully, "You're having this baby tonight!" My disappointment melted into excitement! Yeah I was! I might have 6 cm to go, but this was it! It might be tonight, it might be tomorrow, but I was going to meet my son very soon. So I spent the next 3 hours bouncing on the exercise ball, sitting in the tub, and roaming the halls. All the while, my coach & hubby rubbed my lower back with a tennis ball, brought me juice & ice water, sprayed my tummy in the tub, held my hand in the hall, and was the quiet support I needed so much.

While walking the hall, Jon turned his head to a room we had just passed. "I hear a baby crying!" he whispered to me. Moments later a charming "Twinkle, Twinkle" melody chimed softly throughout the wing, sweetly announcing the arrival of new, beautiful child. We both teared up. "We're going to have a little baby tonight, too!" I clutched Jon's hand.

10:00 pm:
I was at 6 cm. Yes, I was progressing, but it was slow. I had already been laboring for 7 hours which put me at less than a centimeter per hour. At this rate it would be the wee hours of the morning before we got anywhere, and no one knew when my water would break. I was still in good spirits, smiling and cheery. "I wish I could just fast-forward to the end!" I joked with Kris. We discussed what to do next. She said I could either continue along at this rate, which was fine, or they could break my water. Well, I knew that would speed things along, but it would also increase the intensity. Since I was still upbeat and feeling pretty strong, we decided to break my water.

"Whoa," I whispered to Jon after my next contraction. A dozen thoughts crowded my head: that's more like it, now we're getting somewhere, I almost forgot how painful this was. Fear tried to creep in, but God was there with me. And Jon was holding my hand. The nurse came in and Jon whispered to her, "I think she's turned the corner. Tell the midwife," I considered an epidural at this point. I knew I could handle this for a while, but what if this lasted for hours and hours?

11:00 pm: "You are almost there! You're almost at 10!" Kris announced. I looked at the clock. One hour had passed since they broke my water. Are you serious?! Already?! You mean I progressed 4 cm in ONE HOUR?! I couldn't believe I was there already! I had prepared my heart to wait all night. Jon had even told his mom not to wait up, that the baby would be born tomorrow. 5 minutes later Kris was cheerfully exclaiming, "Push already, Brenda! Push that little guy out!" My reaction: "Are you serious? Already?!"

11:10 pm: I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with Abigail. I pushed for 11 minutes with Lucie. Jonathan was born with three pushes! And suddenly, there he was! All tiny and warm and perfect! And boy could he cry! I couldn't believe it; this amazing child in my arms had been kicking me like crazy the day before. Jon cut the cord and announced the birth of his son! He was beaming with pride. After they stitched me up, my new little baby and I nursed for as long as he would stay awake. This was the part I had been looking forward to for so long. Welcome to our family, little Jonathan!

So what are we calling him? Not Jon, Jonny, or Junior. But almost anything else is fair game. Jonathan, J.R., J.J., Little Jon, etc. Great-Grandpa Richard (for whom Jonathan's middle name is christened) might call him "Ricky," though that does give us a Ricky and a Lucie in our got some 'splainin to do! Lucie calls him, "Jommajinsh," and I'm sure that will morph into some neat nickname! We'll see what sticks!

Thank you to everyone who has helped us in this transition! Three is definitely a handful - but I'll write about that in another post! We are so happy to have our little boy! He's already Abi and Lucie's favorite little "toy." I'm so excited to watch my family grow! Thank you Lord, for your blessings upon blessings! Here's one very thankful mama in love :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ready to Meet You

Hello my little lion heart :) This is your mommy. I've been carrying you around for 9 months, reading about how you're developing, feeling you move inside me, watching my belly grow with each passing week. I have fallen in love with you and I haven't even seen your face. I don't know if you'll have dark hair, light hair or NO hair, but I do know that God Himself has formed you and knitted you together to be a wonderfully unique little boy. I don't know if you'll be laid back, adventurous, or reckless, but I do know that God has fit you for plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. With baited breath I wait for the moment when I will hold you in my arms. I can't wait to start treasuring the moments of learning who you are and who God made you to be.

I was afraid for a long time of the trial I would have to face in order to meet you. It's not an easy or even remotely pleasant task to pass through childbirth. I believe I was "ready" for labor with your older sisters because I was so weary of being pregnant. I didn't care what I had to go through, I just wanted to be DONE being pregnant. This is not a bad thing by any means! I was ready, they were born, and my life was gloriously changed! But with you, my little man, I don't feel the same agony of being full-term. This scared me at first, because I felt without the desire to be UN-pregnant, I would not have the desire to go through the rigors of childbirth. But do you know what? God did something amazing in my heart. He has taken away my fear and replaced it with love. I am willing to pass through the waters and through the flames for you. I'm not doing it for me, I'm doing it for you, and God will be with me. And when it's over, I'll have the greatest reward for any trial any person has ever had to endure. I will have you, my son. There is no greater joy than knowing that.

So here I wait patiently for the Lord to give you the signal. He'll tell you when it's time. I hope it's soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Morning Visit to Italy

Yesterday, as I was lying on the couch trying to ignore a few pesky contractions, Abigail was thinking. I don't really know what she was thinking about, but she was pondering something. And as any of you who have ever had a conversation with a four-year-old can attest to, she ended up saying something both off-the-charts random and heart-wrenchingly sweet all at once. She looked up at me with those Precious Moments tear-shaped blue eyes, her blond curls pulled back into the most adorable pigtails, and her quizzical brow to ask, "Why can't we go on a airplane and visit Aryn?" Aryn is her cousin, a few months older than her, whose dad (my husband's brother) is in the Navy. They are currently stationed in Naples, Italy. She then asked if we could go to the store to get the plane. I told her airplanes live at airports, and we would have to buy a ticket, which to get to Italy are very expensive.

"And," I added, "you wouldn't want to fly by yourself would you? You'd get lonely. And they don't let mommies with big pregnant tummies on the airplanes."

"But I want to visit Aryn at her house," she sighed. I know, sweetie, I do too.

"I tell you what: Mommy will build a plane in our apartment, and we'll take a trip to Italy tomorrow morning and visit Aryn on the computer, what do you say?" Oh this was going to be fun!

She nodded enthusiastically. We drew a picture of an airplane on our calendar to remind us, not that she would need reminding. She talked about it all night! And the next morning we ate our oatmeal and got dressed quickly and gathered in the bedroom to "pack our bags." I instructed the girls on what they could pack in their carry-on and what they couldn't. They each packed a baby doll and a book in their backpacks, but I told Abi she'd better leave her plastic fireman's axe at home. She looked at me like, "why would I bring that anyway?" So I gave them their tickets and we prepared to board the plane!

The girls went through security with minimal problems (they both set off the metal detector, but it was just Lucie's belt buckle and Abi's flower barrettes). Then, proceeding to their gate, Lucie located our destination on the globe: Italy!

Playing their flight attendant, I took their tickets and showed them to their seats complete with 5-point harnesses! After giving the pre-flight instructions about exits in the event of an emergency (remembering that the nearest exit could be behind you!) we took off!

I served a beverage choice of apple juice or water, and then a snack of popcorn with craisins. The in-flight movie was Tom & Jerry, highlighting "Neapolitan Mouse." We watched for Aryn, but we didn't see her in the streets of animated Napoli :)

When the movie finished (through which the girls stayed strapped in the WHOLE time, even after I told them they were "free to move about the cabin") we watched a YouTube cockpit tour. Abi observed that the cockpit was small and they had small windows. Lucie liked all the light-up switches! Then we flipped through a book and saw how the world looks from an airplane. We located lakes, rivers, cities, farms, and oceans. I pre-screened an airplane landing videotaped from over the wing (I wanted to make sure it wasn't a crash landing) and we strapped ourselves in again for our bumpy landing :) Both girls earned their "wings."

We ate at an Italian restaurant while we "toured" Italy via our honeymoon photos. The girls munched on cheesy pasta while learning about the old buildings in Rome, the white beaches along the Mediterranean, the leaning buildings in Pisa, the Alps in the north, and the streets of water in Venice. Abi could not believe that people there didn't have cars, but drove around in boats instead!
After they finished their pasta, they got a Kinder egg for dessert! I found them in the back of my cupboard, which I believe my dear mother-in-law got for my kids some time ago. I explained that this is a treat that Aryn gets to eat, just like we like to eat Twizzlers and M&Ms.

Lucie got a little dragon inside her egg!

Abi got a little alligator!

After lunch we set up the computer to receive a call via Skype from Aunt Julie and Aryn! The girls sang the ABCs together and Lucie showed Aunt Julie how she can count (3, 11, 12, 11, 12, 11, 12, THE END!). Both mamas sported their respective bumps and held their daughters as best they could in their non-existent laps :) All-too-soon it was time for Aryn's bedtime and Abi & Lulu's naptime. We said "I love you" and "Arrivaderci!" And we returned back to Minneapolis with happy hearts! We had a very nice trip to Italy and back, all in a few hours!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Father's World

I've always been an outdoors woman. I'd rather be out in nature than stuffed up inside. I grew up playing in the creek beds dodging cow pies, climbing on rose quartzite boulders rubbed smooth from when the bison herds used to roam the prairies, skipping stones while my dad fished a hundred feet up the pike, swallowing lake water from splashing so much, camping with my family and feeling closer to God and His creativity than ever. My most intimate memories with both my family and my Lord have been while enjoying nature together. I married an outdoors man. And together we've shared many adventures we fondly remember with a twinkle in our eyes. A twinkle that says, "that was an amazing experience and we probably should have died or at least have been severely injured."

One such adventure that comes to mind took place in the Italian Alps at the end of our honeymoon. We decided one morning that we wanted to take a walk. Maybe up that mountain there. We didn't really have any intention of climbing the whole thing; we only packed one bottle of water each and a light lunch. Never-the-less we climbed all the way up a barely marked trail which included a 100-foot-climb on a metal-rung "ladder" up a cliffside. We ran out of water 3/4 of the way up the mountain (and it was HOT and HUMID). We had not "trained" for mountain climbing, so we were relatively out of shape. We just decided to do it. But God was with us. He gave me courage for the scary ladder. He provided a natural well for us right around the time we ran out of water - a well so deep and pure, Jon couldn't even tell where the surface of the water began. He gave us an easier, faster path back down the mountain and just enough daylight & strength to reach the bottom safely. We look back on that experience thinking, "No one knew we were up there; if we would have gotten hurt, no one would have found us for days. We barely had enough food and water to sustain ourselves. We were not adequately prepared. But WOW we saw amazing sights. WOW we saw the glory and wonder of our Maker's hands. And WOW we experienced the provision of our Father who took care of us while we enjoyed His creation." We look back at that adventure with over-flowing hearts.

We had another adventure this morning. Since moving to our neighborhood, we've always wanted to canoe Minnehaha Creek. It's a gorgeous, windy, well-preserved stream that meanders through the western Metro area from Lake Minnetonka all the way until it empties into the Mississippi under Minnehaha Falls. The logistics of canoeing the Creek have always held us back. For one, we don't have a canoe, so we figured we would have to rent one for a few hours. Two, we'd need to have two cars at two separate locations, one for the drop off, and one for the pick-up. Three, we weren't really sure of our Creek-meandering skills via canoe, so we didn't really want to embark on this adventure with kids in tow. Four, the Creek has to be at the perfect depth for navigation to be optimum. If the Creek is too low, we'll get stuck on sand bars. If it's too high, we will have to portage around all the bridges. Well, finally all the pieces fit together: friends of ours were willing to lend us their canoe & gear for the day, Jon drove one car to our pick-up site and ran back for his morning run so we wouldn't have to make 10 trips with 2 different cars, my parents had the kids for the week, and the Creek was quite high so as to go over the sand bars and rocks, but low enough for the canoe to get through most of the bridges. So we embarked boldly into our adventure!

Even though the weather had been insanely hot the past few days with dewpoints in the 80s and temps in the upper 90s, this particular morning was perfect. Still humid, but overcast. As the canoe sat on the dewy grass, Jon took my hands and we prayed over our trip. We put in 4 miles upstream from the Falls. The current was strong (which I admit, frightened me at first) and took us through level I and II rapids swiftly in the beginning. It was amazing to see my beloved Creek from this viewpoint. As the Creek slowed down near Lake Hiawatha, I felt like I was part of a Monet painting at his home in Giverny. Then the Creek widened up and as we drank in the beauty around us, my heart worshiped God. In the mountains I saw Him in His majesty. Here I could see Him in His tenderness and gentleness as He must have appeared to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

At one point I asked Jon, "Are we still in the City?" only to look down and see an orange construction cone buried in the creek bed. "Yup!" he laughed in response.

There were some less-than-glorious moments, as well! Low-hanging branches gave us many a mouthful of leaves, cobwebs, mulberries, and strange insects. We killed close to a dozen spiders during our trip who landed in our canoe and crawled up our legs (ACK!). There was one footbridge that was so close to the surface of the water that we had to lie down in the bottom of the canoe to get under it! But we never had to portage! About a half-mile from our end point, we started to hear the rumbles of thunder. It was actually incredibly romantic hearing the stream and the coming storm orchestrate together. I was so thankful to share this time with my husband and my God. We pulled into the end point before the Falls and Jon hoisted the canoe up onto the platform. We could see the gathering darkness and suddenly felt a bit of urgency. Jon went to fetch the car as I took our supplies out of the canoe. As I was unbuckling the seats I heard the sirens for Hennipen County start blaring. I looked up at the now very unfriendly clouds, and almost smiled. I knew we needed to hurry, but I also knew that the storm wouldn't hit until we had the canoe back up on the car and we were safe inside. We worked quickly to tie the canoe to the rack on top of the Volkswagon, and sure enough, just as Jon made the last of the hitch knots to secure the canoe, we felt the first rain drops and the wind kicked up. We jumped into the car as torrents of rain cascaded from the sky. As we drove the car through the flooded streets, we mused about the timing of this storm. We knew that this adventure was God-given. We could see His hand in every stroke of our paddles. We knew He was also in the timing of the storm. Maybe He hurried the current a bit to enable us to reach our destination in time. Maybe He slowed the development of this front in order to let us get to safety before we were caught in the storm. Maybe He gave us a little extra urgency in our packing this morning so we put in the Creek at 10:00 instead of 10:30. Whatever the case, God knew the plans He had for us, and He took care of us as a father takes care of his children.

Since becoming parents, we've had few such adventures (taking our almost-2-year-old to Central Asia while being 7 months pregnant was one of them) but they are more stressful. When we were climbing the mountain, it was just us: two adults. Now we have these little precious ones who trust us to take care of their every need. They aren't going to realize they will be hungry in an hour while we're on our hike, so Mommy remembers to pack a snack or two. They don't think about how it will be chilly and maybe rainy when we get to higher elevations, so Daddy packs sweatshirts and an umbrella. And because Mommy and Daddy have planned so carefully, their children enjoy themselves. And their parents enjoy watching them discover the world around them. I get it now. Seeing Abigail's face light up when she sees a beautiful flower or hearing Lucie squeal when she sees a duck makes me want to show them more; it makes me want to love on them more. That must be how God feels when He takes me out into His fields, His mountains, His streams, His spaces. And He's already done the planning. He just wants me to enjoy.