Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've moved

So awhile ago I started blogging elsewhere. But I didn't tell anyone. Nobody really reads this thing anyway, so I was doing it just for me. But yesterday I posted some pictures of Jesse and Matty (They turn 2 on Saturday!) and thought I'd mention it.

So you can find my new blog at:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On A Lighter Note...

Last Saturday my friend, Rachel Owens, agreed to do a family photo shoot. It was chaos, but a fun time. She sent us a few pictures to preview and they look great. Above is a sample (our lovely new "The Coutts Family in Scotland" header). I am sooooo excited about them. I will be sure to share more when I get them!

Later that day we were playing in the backyard. For some crazy reason I decided I wanted to get a shot of the 4 boys. Here they are, in order:

Elijah: "Mom! Matty's got dirt all over his face! Is he trying to eat another rock?"
Jesse: "Let me in here!"
Mattias & Brady: "Cheese!"

Me: "Elijah, don't worry about it, just hold onto Jesse and smile nice for the camera!"
Jesse to Elijah: "Mmmmah! Mmmmah!" (he loves giving kisses)
Matty & Brady: "Are we done yet?"

Me: "Come on, let's try one more time."
Elijah: "How's this, Mom?"
Jesse: "I'm outta here!"
Matty: "Come on, Mom"
Brady: "Cheese!"

Jon: "Come on now, Elijah & Jesse! Mom wants one nice picture of you guys!"
Brady: "I'm going to lose it, Mom. I can only smile for so long."
Matty: "Look! I have fingers!"

Me: "Okay, last try. For real."
Elijah: "Cheese."
Jesse: "Mmmah!"
Matty: "Is that a rock?"
Brady: "Cheese!"

And so it goes. Luckily we have some better shots from Rachel!

Friday, March 19, 2010

loving anyway

It is difficult to raise children on the best days. I somehow thought that perhaps once my kids grew up enough to go to school, things might get a bit easier. I was wrong. Instead I have come to the realization that it is getting (in many ways) much more difficult. And I think a big reason has to do with the introduction of different worldviews into my boys' lines of sight. Suddenly, the way we see things is not the only way, and most times it isn't the best/funnest/easiest way, either.

I was really struck by this when we had a classmate over after school a few weeks back. It was so very evident that the structure of his upbringing was vastly different than that of our sons.

On the walk home he asked me if I watch a certain show (a British soap) that I would never ever consider letting my kids watch. He said he watches it all the time with his mom. I was shocked and slightly taken aback. Why would his mom let him watch that kind of show?

But as I thought about it, I realized that this boy, who is like my own in so many ways, is growing up with a completely different set of standards and as a result, he is very different than they are. He has a completely different set of values. A completely different way of viewing the world. Who am I to say it is wrong of his parents to allow him to watch something that has questionable (to me) subject matter? He comes from a family with their own set of standards that are not guided by Scripture. Trying to thrust my standards upon them and then judging them based on those standards is not only a waste of time but a way to alienate me (and my kids) from them.

It is one thing for us to discuss such issues with fellow believers. Once someone has accepted and believes that Jesus died for them and is desiring to follow him, then as brothers and sisters in Christ we are to "exhort one another and build each other up" (which I sometimes think we don't do enough of, but that's another subject that I'll save for another post). But until then, I believe that judging a non-believer's actions based on biblical standards is wrong. I need to love and accept this boy and his mom as they are.

But that doesn't make parenting my boys right now, with their non-believing friends, an easy task. Because just as I desire relationships with their parents, I want my boys to desire real relationships with their classmates. I don't want them to see themselves as somehow less than the other kids, nor do I want them to think themselves better. How do we go about instilling strong ethical principles in our children that are not laced with judgement and/or a feeling that they somehow have it better/worse than others? I feel like I am constantly telling my boys things like: "It doesn't matter that so-and-so does that. That is not something that I want you to do." Or, "just because his mom said it's okay for him, doesn't mean that it is okay for you." I hate it when I say things like that. But I'm not sure what other choice I have.

I want my kids to love as Jesus loved. Sure he was aware of the sin around him, but that didn't stop him from living with and loving those around him. And then change happened in those lives. Jesus' love and forgiveness broke through and changed hearts.

Change my heart, oh God. Help me to love like Jesus.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Learning to Trust

I've been thinking about trust. What does it really mean to trust someone? And at what point in life does trust develop?

I've heard it said that babies trust their parents. But do they really? I'm not so sure. I think to say they trust their parents implies they recognize that those parents might let them down.

When I am holding a baby or two and things get precarious, as worried as I might be that I could drop one or both of them, they are oblivious. I don't think they are trusting me to keep them from a long and hard tumble to the ground. They can't imagine that I am anything but in complete control. So much so, that they often squirm and make things even more difficult! It's not even a matter of confidence. It's just fact: Mommy is holding me and so we're good!

Saying that, though, I think that Jesse and Matty, now 15 months old, are beginning to learn trust. Up until rather recently, when I would quickly run upstairs to grab the laundry basket or to go pee and I left them locked downstairs I knew they were okay because I could hear them crying. They would follow me to the stairs and looked longingly up through the mesh of the gate as they cried. I wonder what they were thinking? Were they worried that I was gone for good? Or just mad that I didn't take them up with me?

Lately, though, they still often end up following me to the bottom of the stairs when I make my mad dash. But instead of crying, I can hear them talking or playing with the toys that they brought along. If I wait long enough, I might hear Matty calling for me or Jesse yelling at me (yep, they are 2 very different boys!). When I head down the stairs and they catch sight of me, Jesse will give me his goofy grin and maybe say "hi" before heading back to play. On the other hand, Matty often gives me a very sad look and starts to cry, letting me know that he was not impressed with my decision to leave him. But it is completely different than it used to be when those cries really seemed to imply that neither of them thought I was ever coming back. Me reappearing seemed as much of a surprise as me leaving them was.

Yeah, yeah. Object permanence, blah, blah, blah. But do you see what I'm getting at? I think they are learning about trust and learning to trust me.

The crappy thing is that I will let them down. It's only a matter of time before I drop them in one way or another. I already have! How many times have I said or done something that has been the opposite of what Elijah and/or Brady expected? Or the opposite of what I told them I would do? And still they love me. And forgive me. And trust me. What a blessing and a challenge it is to raise kids!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Our first Christmas in Scotland

Our first Christmas in Scotland was great. We were blessed with three special visitors: Grandpa and Grandma Coutts and Uncle Jeff! We had lots of fun, despite the unexpected ice and snow that kept us from sharing our "normal" life with them. Here we are at Dunnottar Castle on the North Sea.

Christmas holidays began with a bang! Not only was December 18th the last day of school, Brady's birthday and birthday party, but it was also the day it started to snow! It snowed and snowed and snowed. We ended up with ice and snow on the ground for over 4 weeks (apparently this doesn't happen often) and it seemed that nobody here knew what to do with it. The boys were due back at school on January 5th but school was cancelled because of the snow that was on the ground. They did get to go to school on the 6th, but they weren't allowed to have recess outside until the snow was gone, which was more than a bit frustrating for them, especially for Elijah!

December 23rd: We took the bus downtown and managed to shuffle-skate our way around a bit. Here is a shot of the boys with Grandpa (and Uncle Jeff and Jesse behind) at the end of Union Street.

December 24th: Here we are in our annual Christmas pyjamas, sent from Grandpa and Grandma Zed.

December 26th: A beautiful day at the sea.

December 29th: Here are the boys with Grandpa and Grandma Coutts on the train to Edinburgh. It was a fun trip (we love travelling by train) and it was nice to stay in a hotel for a night!

Edinburgh Castle

As the sun was setting, Jesse and Matty were mesmerized by the lights.

The boys sure love their Uncle Jeff.

Our last group photo (taken at the hotel the night before Jeff left for home). Matty was just so sad to say goodbye to Uncle Jeff!