Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christopher Joseph Sunjae Watson

man. that's a long name! what were we thinking?...

this is a quick post about my favoritest little boy, Topher.

i don't know how we did it- but we survived this year! not without quite a few tears (on his end and mine) and a lot of laughter. Topher's sweet and amazing personality has really come out a lot these last few weeks, and we are loving it! his nana tells me that he is so much like his dad, which is kinda the best compliment he could get. though he loves to laugh, he enjoys making other people laugh more, which i have to admit- is an amazing trait for a one year old!

Topher is defnitely 'talking' more than his sister did at this stage in the game. he asked for a 'kaka' (cracker) the other day, and said something that sounded a lot like 'purple' after i said it this morning. maybe my mommy-ing skills are getting better... or maybe Topher is just naturally one smart cookie...

one of my favorite things that Topher does is when he sees something soft, he lays his face on it and smiles. it's cavity-inducingly sweet. and when he has a tantrum, or he is just sad, he sits with his legs in front of him, and just folds in half and puts his forehead on the ground. sometimes he cries, sometimes he just grunts, it's always so funny to watch.

yesterday we had 35 of our closest family and friends over here to celebrate Topher's first birthday. there were quite a few people missing (work schedules, living out of town, recovering from surgery, lame excuses like that... :) but it was such a blessing to have so many people around us who really helped keep us sane, and alive this year! lots of people forewarned me that this would be the hardest year. and it was definitely very trying at times. sometimes it still is- like this morning for instance! (sick babies + big birthday party + not enough sleep = cranky mommy) but are we having fun in the midst of the difficult times? of course!

there is a korean tradition, where at a baby's first birthday party, you set a few things in front of them to see what they will become. i forgot to do it at Lily's birthday last year (cause i am not a very diligent korean person) and this year because Jeehon was here, she set it up for me in the midst of all the partying madness (i love that woman!) so she set up a stethoscope (it has cookie monster on it. very professional looking!), a fireman's hat, a little computer, a basketball, and chris' police badge. Topher was so cute because he hustled his cute little behind over to the items across the room and stoped. he sat there and really contemplated each item. or at least that's what it looked like. and then much to the chagrin of his father, he chose the fire man's hat.
we will have to see how 'prophetic' this little game really is in a few years...

well, i just wanted to thank all of you dear readers- most of whom were at the birthday party yesterday, for all the love and support and prayers and diapers and babysitting you have poured on our family this last year. man, we are blessed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2 years

I really should be asleep right now. It's past midnight and we are going to the zoo tomorrow morning. And the zoo really wipes me out. All that walking and pushing of the heavy double stroller! (That's my secret to weight loss post-two-babies!) The zooreally does need to invest in those conveyor belt sidewalk things like they have at the airport. Maybe they could line the animals up in a nice little row so my kids can see them as we zip on by, expending little to no energy. A mom can dream...

Anyhoo, I am not sleeping cause I just finished doing the dishes (I was procrastinating. I watched some tv.) But as I was doing the dishes, Lily woke up. She had a bit of a rough time going down tonight, maybe cause she knows it her birthday tomorrow! (Well, the 19th. That's kinda today already I guess). She had a pretty full diaper, so I changed that and stood in the middle of her room rocking her and singing her 'our song'- "Jesus loves me." This is 'our song' cause I used to sing it to her almost every night as I was putting her to sleep. And I didn't sing it all the time to be pious or anything- it was kinda the only kids song I knew at the time! Or the only one I could remember. Now with Topher, I can sing him a wide variety of songs and nursery rhymes thanks to the most annoying CD in the world that has over 50 songs and nursery rhymes that is on heavy rotation in the minivan.

She finally went back down, but now I am up. I have been pretty contemplative these last few days as we have been preparing for birthday season in the Watson household (TOpher's birthday is next week!) I know there are so many things I could have done better as a mother. And unfortunately I made quite a few of the same mistakes I made with Lily on Topher. Apparently you're supposed to get better with every child, not worse... Anyhoo, I thought about how she has only learned to really say about 32 words (Yeah. I counted. 27 of them are in English and 5 of them are in Korean. I may have missed some. But who knows. It's past midnight people!) And then I thought about how she wasn't walking by her birthday last year, and how she now runs 'really fast', and sometimes runs from one couch to the other, kicking up her legs like a bucking bronco when she gets to her destination point. It's so easy for me to make light of Lily's accomplishments. Too easy in fact. I just have to KEEP reminding myself that she is working really hard to do all these things. And I need to keep working hard at helping her to accomplish these things and more- at her own pace.

The whole saying about 'not sweating the small stuff' barely applies to raising a toddler- this is kinda all big stuff! Sometimes when I wish I wasn't a stay-at-home-mom, Lily does something for the first time ever- and it blows me away- cause it's the first tme she has EVER done that one thing. And had I been working, or off doing the dishes, or sulking in the corner sucking my thumb while in fetal position- I would have missed that very elusive First Time saying 'kaka', licking a lemon and making a sour face and then licking the lemon again, discovering that she is a wild stallion/bronco trapped in a little girl's body, etc. etc...

So I would just like to wish my little Miss Lily Jaye Nara Watson a superhappy 2nd birthday! And I hope and pray that I will be a better mama to her this year, and that she will be a joyful, kind, and confidant little girl because of it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So Proud

I have been a Christian for a pretty long time. I think I really figured out that I was in love with Him when I was in 6th grade going on 7th, even though I 'rededicated' my life to Jesus at EVERY single retreat and revival I went to for the next five years after that (which means I have accepted Jesus enough times for me and a small African village). This also means I have been going to church very regularly for a very long time.

I primarily went to one church with my family in Toronto, but then a bunch of not-nice thing happened there, which coincided with my leaving the country, so I stopped going there. Then I went to a ginormous church in Seoul. Seriously ginormous- well into the thousands. That was good too. I knew a good number of the pastors, so I felt like I 'belonged' more than if no one on the pastoral staff knew who I was. Then I came to Arizona and we started going to Sun Valley Community Church, mostly because Robert, Chris' brother, is a pastor there.

And I have to say that being at Sun Valley has been absolutely amazing! I have made most of my best-friends-in-Arizona connections through this church, but my faith has seriously grown just by seeing the Holy Spirit at work in this place day in and day out. This last weekend was no exception.

So as I mentionned in my last post, an elder passed away during the Saturday night service. Though I didn't know him, I have the pleasure of calling his only daughter, Katherine, a friend of mine. She is presently preparing to be a full-time missionary in Africa. How amazing is that? Katherine is a serious go-getter type, but the best move she ever made was actively pursuing a relationship with her father. She has three brothers, and her dad wasn't all that close to any of his four kids while growing up. He loved them to be sure, but to have a deep and intimate relationship with your kids takes a lot of work- on both ends. And Katherine decided to do that work. And man did it pay off!

Apparently Katherine's dad went to be with the Lord right after taking communion. How crazy is that timing? Though the whole situation freaks me out some- it's also kind of amazing and almost makes me want to die at church while praising Jesus!

All the pastors and staff dealt with the situation amazingly, and I have to give it up for the Sun Valley pastors- cause they deal with every situation with such compassion and grace. After the elder was taken out of the sanctuary by the EMT, service continued and 100 people were baptized that night. The next day at the 3 following services, the pastors talked about the elder who had passed, we praised Jesus for the life that he lived, and 100s were baptized thereafter. Over 400 people were baptized this weekend! It was such a blessing to be able to witness even just a quarter of them! I have never cried so much- from sadness and elation, during a Sunday morning service before in my life. And boy was I glad I don't wear eye makeup, cause I would not have been prepared for that.

Even though Sun Valley is a pretty big church, the pastors try very hard to meet all their congregants and make everyone feel welcome. When small groups started out, the pastors went out to EVERY small group to meet all them members. On two separate occassions we had three pastors meet our group. Scott Ridout, the lead pastor, has been blessed with the gift of remembering people's names. After being in a home with us for about hal an hour, he showed off by going around the room and reciting everyone's names. There were two 'new' people there that I had met two or three times before and I still couldn't remember their names! I will probably never be the head pastor of a church...

Anyway, if you are new to the Valley, and you are looking for a place to worship the Lord (the music is a bit loud, but it's pretty great) and make amazing friends, and meet pastors who cry almost every Sunday while preaching because their hearts bleed for the lives of their congregants- I would strongly recommend Sun Valley.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Strange Week

This week started off as usual- on a Monday. I went to the office with Topher as usual. Chris had court that morning which is the only reason I brought Topher with me. Since it is tax season, the office has become an increasingly more not-baby-friendly area, which makes perfectly good sense. Then Chris' day finished early so I drove Topher home and came back to work for a few more hours. One of the headlines on YahooNews was about the NFL players that were missing from their fishing trip. This seemed sad enough, but not at all related to me or my life, so I just heard about the news and went on with my day.
Then I got a call from one of my friends asking me to pray for our other friend who had just hopped on a plane to Florida because one of the missing men was our other girlfriend's best friend. Small world. All of a sudden I couldn't get enough of YahooNews and this insane tale about missing men who were less than six degrees removed from me and my life!
That story very unfortunately did not have a happy ending as most of us know. And it makes us think about the fragility of life and how we are absolutely not in control of anything.
Then today happened. We just finished '40 Days of Purpose' at our church. And to celebrate we were going to be having baptisms at every service (we have 4 services). Sign ups started two weeks ago or so. By Friday, I believe the count was up to about 400 people. FOUR HUNDRED people wanted to get baptized at our church THIS WEEKEND. That is mind-blowing and amazing! Well, apparently right before the baptisms were about to begin at our Saturday Night service- one of our elders died. Right in the middle of the service. Insane is the only word I can think of right now.
Obviously when a Christian dies, it's only sad for those the follower leaves behind. Cause the believer is going home to be with Jesus. Which is pretty awesome. But man oh man. What a way to leave and be called back home. He was sitting beside his wife and one of his many sons. Dang. For some reason I have thought a bunch about what is worse- having your husband die beside you, or your dad. Neither one is a pleasant thought. And there isn't one that's better than the other.
So what's going on here? Spiritual attack to be sure. This elder's daughter happens to be a missionary, and is presently in Africa on a vision trip. She is on the long, long road home as we speak. She was supposed to be there for about six weeks, so her trip is about four weeks shorter than planned.
So, for those of you out there who are reading this and are into the whole 'praying thing', please say a prayer or fifty for this elder and his family. And for those of youwho are reading this and are into the whole 'not taking a single day for granted thing', please keep on keeping on. And for those out there who don't do either, might I suggest taking both 'things' up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Silly Lily? Or Genius Lily?

Lily is pretty much the funniest little girl in the whole wide world. Though we are still waiting for her to talk in complete sentences, she has become a very effective communicator in her own right. And no one knows what she is saying better than her poor little playfriend and cousin Sungu.

Lily's new 'thing' is to be bossy and 'discipline' Sungu, the way we discipline her. My biggest 'thing' right now is getting Lily to come to me when I first call her. If she doesn't come running as soon as she hears me call, then I count to three in korean: 'hanna... dool... seht!' and if she stilldoesn't come then I will go over to her, spank her heinie, go back to my original spot where I had first called to her, call her again with my arms out, and wait for her. I will do this as long as it takes for her to come running. Sometimes it doesn't even get to the spanking point, sometimes it gets to the point where I actually have to pull her diaper down some so that I can spank bare flesh- which she hates. I have to admit that when Lily is running around naked, she will usually come running to me as soon as I call her since she knows if she gets to the spanking part- it will automatically be on bare flesh. She is so smart! If only she would use her powers for good...

So I have caught Lily spanking Sungu numerous times now and it is so cute. Especially since Sungu seems relatively oblivious to what is really going on. Lily will start 'counting' a few feet away from Sungu, with her hands out in front of her motioning 'come here' with her fingers. She usually starts counting at 'dool' (2) and pretty much screams out 'seht!' (3). She sounds like a crazy person, which makes me stop and wonder if I sound like a crazy person, since that is who she is clearly immitating.

The other day we were at Walmart with Lily and Sungu in the basket part of the shopping cart, and Topher sitting up front. I know this may not be the 'safest' thing in the whole world, but when you are grocery shopping with three kids- you let me know what is more important to you in the long run- safety, or sanity. And for the record, none of our kids have ever gotten hurt by being sardined into one of these shopping carts. Anyhoo, the kids also get to eat crackers or snacks while in the shopping cart (it's a sanity-saver people!) and Lily holds one out to Sungu and says: "Say 'kaka' " which is their word for 'cracker'.

It is pretty funny that Lily thinks she can tell Sungu to do stuff that she herself is not really good at doing herself (as in being obedient, and a good talker), but it does make us laugh every time she does it. I guess in the grand scheme of things though, we are all hypocritical know-it-alls who boss others around when we in fact know nothing and should have no authority over others (except our children. They definitely need authority!). Hmm... is that the thing Lily is truly trying to immitate when she is copying me?...