Dean Family Blog

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Let the Craziness Begin!
The Christmas season has officially started and life seems to be moving twice as fast already. We spent last weekend in Illinois eating, playing, eating, visiting and eating. Josiah had a wonderful time with his cousins and did great in the 'big boy bed.' It's nice to know he can behave in one, but we're not planning to move him out of his crib anytime soon. Until he figures out how to climb out, he's staying. I've heard way too many stories about his buddies sneaking out of bed!

Grace had her first solid food at Thanksgiving (she turned 6 months old yesterday). Nanny got to give her the first meal (rice cereal) and she seemed to sort of like it, but wasn't quite as excited as Josiah was. As we keep trying here at home she's starting to show more interest.

The kids were amazing travelers. With over 8 total hours of driving we didn't have a single crying spell! It snowed Sunday and we came home to about 3 inches of snow. The boys were very excited and ran outside to build a snowman while Grace and I stayed warm inside and got cocoa ready for them. Josiah drank his in the tub while he watched his pet snow ball melt. It was a beautiful snowman, but a little structurally unsound and it fell over a few hours later. They are planning another one already.

The Christmas tree came out Monday night and Josiah is very proud that he helped Daddy put it up. We turned on Christmas music, popped some corn and Josiah had a sippy cup of cocoa. He is really into Christmas this year and just kept running around the room with a big goofy grin on his face...and grabbing huge hands of popcorn and making us eat them. As we prepare the house, we've been reminding Josiah that this is Jesus' birthday coming up. He's already talking about helping Jesus eat his birthday cake! We also got out the nativity set Mama bought him last year (the one where the cow has no ears, Joseph is missing a hand and one of the wise men is decapitated...he was a little hard on it last year) and started acting out what happened. I wanted to try an activity where you set up a manger scene in the living room and Mary and Joseph slowly make there way across the house, until on Christmas Eve they get to the manger. The wise men come along later. Well, according to Josiah Mary and Joseph live on the coffee table, the wise men live next to the scrapbooks, the shepherd boy and his animals live in a red barn (the red TV stand will have to do) and the animals had to be moved there by a John Deere tractor. Jesus gets carried all over the house. Oh well.


We decided it was time to (once again) try to teach Josiah how to play by himself. I keep ending up with both kids wanting to be held or entertained at the same time and it's just not working. If Grace had her way (and she does a lot) I'd hold her all day long and if Josiah had his Philip would be making trains for him all day long. Since Philip has to go to work, I'm the next best thing and I am just not as patient. So room time started again this week. We set the timer for 10 minutes and he's allowed to take any toy he wants with him. The first day it took him about 10 seconds to come out screaming that there was a scary dragon in there trying to get him. We opened the curtains so I could show him it was just the rose bush scratching the window. So we tried again...and he spent the whole time screaming like someone was beating him and pushing as much of his hands under the door as he could. Apparently 2 year olds don't feel the need for alone time. We tried again today and there were no hands under the door, but he sat right by it crying the whole time. This is not the mini-break I was hoping it would be, but hopefully it'll get better.

We're all packed and ready to go when Philip gets home. We'll be heading to Nanny and Papa's for Thanksgiving and Josiah is very excited. He has his Pooh Bear sitting by the door so he can jump in the car when Daddy gets home.


Tractor Heaven
How do you get a 2 year old to stop asking for cartoons early in the morning? A John Deere combine in the front yard seems to work. It was pretty cool.

Obey the Lord
We've been working with Josiah to teach him obedience. We've explained what it means, that it makes God and your parents happy when you obey and sad when you don't, that there are consequences for obedience and disobedience and his second Bible verse is 'Obey the Lord.' He's getting the hang of it and gets excited when he realizes he's obeyed. He also tried to 'pank me with the 'pankin' 'poon last week when I didn't play trains with him because I was being disobedient. Ok, so we've still got some work to do.

As we work on this with Josiah God is working on us (or at least me). It seems like something that we're teaching a 2 year old should be something that a 30 year old would have learned by now, but I still react in many of the same ways. I get angry, I try to avoid the situation, I try to get away with something I know is wrong. Over the past several years God has been working on me to not worry because it shows a lack of faith in Him. Hebrews says that without faith it is impossible to please God, so obviously this is something I can't just ignore. Lately He's also been showing me that I need to be grateful for all He's given me. Complaining, whining and comparisons are not ok and aren't insignificant sins (God had a pretty harsh reaction when the Isrealites kept complaining). And yet I get tired and frustrated and feel like it's my right to complain.

As I sat here fighting with feelings of ingratitude I came across this quote by Oswald Chambers and it reminded of how simple it really is. The same obedience we expect from Josiah is expected of us, and for the same reason...because it is what's best for us and will bless us.

"God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. It is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. Obey God in the thing He shows you..."


Gracie got her first tooth last night. We knew she was being fussier than usual the past few days and she didn't sleep well at all the night before it came or yesterday. I kept looking for it and didn't feel anything, but when I got home from running some errands last night Philip pulled her lip down to show me the little ridge. It's an exciting milestone, but it's a little intimidating too because I remember how long it took for Josiah to get all of his. Hopefully Grace's will go a little faster.

We had another milestone last night. Josiah took one look at dinner, looked up at Philip and said, "That dinner YUCKY!" He wouldn't touch it, even when Philip pulled out just 3 little bites and told him that's all he had to eat to get his biscuit. Instead he started crying, I mean huge tears, about how yucky his dinner was. It had been a long day and this wasn't exactly the response I was hoping for, but instead of getting mad I got the camera. We decided it wasn't smart to get in a power struggle with a 2 year old, so we didn't try to force him to eat. He went to bed without dinner, but didn't seem to mind since he didn't have to eat that yucky food.

Dad here, on a brighter side, the kids and I had had a great evening together despite the diner adventure. Grace was in a particularly happy mood, at least for a little while. I have more video to put up, but I need to find time to process it all.


Our First Thanksgiving
We had a great time last night hosting our first Thanksgiving. As always seems to happen on holidays, we had enough food to feed twice as many people as we had...yeah for leftovers! The turkey turned out fine and Philip's chocolate pies were amazing. Josiah seemed to enjoy all the excitement and was very ready to tear into the pies he had helped make. We found him sitting at the kid table several hours early, fork in hand, asking "Where are the girls? (All the other kids were girls) Let's eat the big dinner!" Except for one frantic call to Philip's mom to figure out what on earth we were supposed to be doing with the turkey wings (I'm pretty sure those instructions were written by someone in China), everything went without a hitch. By the way, we never did figure out exactly what we were supposed to be doing so I just tied those suckers down so they couldn't do anything weird in the oven. Seemed to work just fine.

Our house was filled with wonderful smells, laughs, screaming (there were 6 kids here 3 and under, what do you expect?) and great company. We decided part of our tradition would be to invite newer people at church so we could get to know them a little better, so this morning at church we had a few new friends. We are very blessed.

PS I made giblet gravy...without the giblets. In fact, I took great joy in throwing those nasty things away. I think that will be another part of our tradition!

PSS The picture is what Josiah spent most of the day doing (or having us, Dad, do). This is how he builds trains!


Brain Fart
Ok, we've had a bit of a brain fart. We decided we'd like to start celebrating holidays a week or so early so we'd have time to make some of our own traditions here at our house and still be able to travel to family for the 'real' holiday. So, we invited 15 or so people over for a Thanksgiving meal this weekend. Yea! And then I realized I don't know how to cook a turkey, stuffing or gravy, we don't own enough chairs, plates, glasses or utensils and I don't own even one cloth napkin or table cloth. Hmmm. After much googling I've got a game plan for the meal and we decided to buy one 'real' part of the table setting each year and just use paper or plastic for the rest. This year we got glasses. We checked out a small table and chairs from church for the kids and I think I've got some fabric I can use as a runner on the table. This should be an interesting meal! If you think about it, send up a prayer that I manage to pull it all together because the back-up plan is ordering pizza. Actually, that sounds pretty good...maybe we should just go that route!

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