Sunday, April 26, 2009

Before 8:30 AM on a Sunday Morning

  • Snuggle Jack
  • Prepare a bottle & feed it to Jack (an excuse for more snuggling)
  • Review alphabet using colorful letter magnets
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Pull Jack out of the open dishwasher where he likes to climb if given a fraction-of-a-second opportunity 
  • Prepare Sunday Big Breakfast for three
  • Clean up Sunday Big Breakfast mess
  • Dispose of 1/4 of SBB in the garbage disposal
  • Put 1/4 of leftover SBB in the fridge for a quick Jack Snack later in the day
  • Hand wash pots and pans
  • Empty the trash
  • Diaper count: three
  • Tickle count: three
  • Number of balls bounced: two
  • Number of balls thrown away because Jack took a bite of of them and choked: one
  • Books read: one
  • Blog entries mentally composed for the morning's happenings and emotions: two
  • Blog entries actually posed: zero (before 8:30... one, obviously, after that.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

It Is Official

Well, there is no going back now.  
Andy and I are officially grown up.  Or at least, grown-ups. 

Earlier this week we met with our very own financial planner.  We outlined long-term financial goals and established retirement accounts, beyond the 401 offered by Andy's work. 

We discussed saving for Jack's college and realized that now that we are parents, we need to make a will, so that in the event of our untimely demise, there is a plan for Jack's well-being.  You can bet that conversation made me cry.  No decisions were made. We will come back to that when I feel a little more stable.

Gosh.  Just one year ago, I never even thought about these things.  And now look at me.  All grown up and responsible. 


In other growing up news, Jack will have his first overnight stay at Grandma's house this evening.  I'm going to a conference tomorrow that requires that I leave at 6:00am, and that is much too early to be dropping off a baby... so the next most obvious choice is that Jack just spends the night, so that he gets a full nights rest and my mother-in-law doesn't have to get up at 5:30 in the morning.

But I'm kind of freaking out.  Well, not really.  But I want to.  I know it needs to happen sometime. I'm hoping to fly to Nashville in September for five nights or so, and I guess if I really am going to do that, I better take some baby steps toward letting my little boy spread his wings. 


All this talk of wills and of Jack getting so big...

It's putting me in a funk.

Or that could just be the residual brownie guilt, the whining extra child today, or the fact that I only made it to the gym once this week.  

Whatever the reason, I need to snap out of it.  

So I've opened my windows and guzzled a great big glass of ice water.

I've got a gal-pal coming over for lunch and a plan in place to walk both babes to the park after their naps.  That makes me excited.  

Have I told you how much Jack loves to swing?

A lot.

Maybe that is what I need.  I good swing-session.

It shall be done. 

I hope you are entering the weekend funk-free and that you maybe even get a chance to swing a bit.

Wishing you loveliness today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Colors of My World

Deep Breath

Let's have an honest conversation, shall we?

Being a mom is hard. 

Being a wife is hard.

Being a woman is hard.

Being a Christian is hard.

Every day is full of a bombardment of lies masquerading as truth, relationships and their perils, emotions that come from nowhere.

It would be untrue if I told you that I am always happy, always put together, always godly, always tactful, always loving, always healthy.

It would be much more accurate to tell you that I ate a brownie for breakfast (again) and immediately felt guilty, or that I ran three miles last week and felt on top of the world only to remind myself that it really isn't that far, or that I want to write and make things beautiful but I'm scared that the things I create don't matter. 

It would be painfully transparent to confess that I daily have to remind myself to keep realistic expectations about my marriage, that I struggle to be inspired as I read my bible, and that I feel so small in this world. 

But there is beauty in struggle.  I can see it.  I can see the sun coming through the windows. I can see rain feeding the desert.  I can hear Jack laughing at some small pleasure that I have missed because of my grown-up responsibilities. 

This morning I was talking with a friend who has been processing difficult emotions and struggling to see where truth is in the midst of pain.  And I was reminded of how big God is.  Of how wise.  Of how compassionate.  

He is not caught unaware by my emotional surges or my questions or my confusion.  He is not ruffled by my anger or indifference or forgetfulness.  

He loves me, not just in spite of it, but through it.  He is present and active and attentive.  He is not distant, just giving a passing grade.  He is near.  Teaching, holding, laughing, weeping.  My Jesus.  My Friend.  My Companion and King.  

I can't say that I know where to go from here.  Or that I have a plan of how to love Jesus more, or make things easier.  I sort of wish I knew those things.  I like the feeling of control that a plan of action gives me.  

But I don't need one.

I know that Jesus has a clear vision for me, for my days, weeks and years.  He sees where I intersect with other lives, how I influence decisions or the development of a precious child.  He sees so much beyond what I can even imagine or comprehend, that for today, I am not even going to try.

I am simply going to trust him and love him.  

Let him lead.

Let him love me.

I am going to be still and know that he is God. 

Ahh. *big breath in*

It feels so good. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jack Attack II

Jack Attack I is here.

So what has my boy been learning lately?

Well, he is now a champion communicator.  He signs "all done" when he is done eating his food, or ready for a new activity.  I also think that he says "done" when he does it, because he has a very clear "doh" sound that he makes consistently as he signs. He has also started letting us know when he wants to eat by patting his open mouth with his hand when he feels ready for a nosh. 

His ever-growing word list:
bottle (ba ba)
thank you (You may find this one hard to believe, I do too.  But both my mom and Andy have noticed it too.  I choose to believe the best of my baby, so I will assume that what sounds like "thank you" is really meant to be thank you.)

He is also finding brilliant ways to get what he wants (usually without any tantrum involved... though we did have our first all-out tantrum yesterday as I ushered him away from the bathroom.  He was already on the cusp of needing a nap, so I kindly put him in bed to finish his screaming and, what do you know, he was asleep within just a few minutes!).  I carry snacks in my purse for when we are out and about.  One of Jack's favorites is the dehydrated strawberries from Trader Joe's.  I had given him some from my purse earlier in the day.  When we got home, I was putting away our purchases and I heard him rummaging in my bag.  I turned around and He had pulled out the package of strawberries and was walking toward me with them.  He said, "ah! ah!" and handed me the bag and then proceeded to sit on the floor and look up at me expectantly as if to say, "Mom, I would like some of these please.  I will sit here nicely and eat them."  I gave him some, and he did sit there nicely.  Just like that.  Genius boy!

I can see that his uncommon intellectual ability is going to cause problems though.  Saturday, he discovered my shoes.  As I was putting my make up on he began to carry my shoes, one at a time, and throw them into the bathtub.  I quickly shut the shoes up, but left out a slipper that he had grown especially fond of.

I'm not joking about the slipper.
It is black and very fuzzy.
He started carrying it around like a lovey
and giving it tight hugs.
He always remembers where he leaves it
and when he needs a little comfort he picks it
up and rubs it on his face.
True story.

Last night, he was in the bathroom with me again. He threw something in to the tub and wanted to get it back out.  My rule is that if he throws it in there, I don't give it back to him, so I just let it stay in there.  He stood at the side of the tub for a while, tried stretching his arms, stood on the tip-toes of one foot and strained for it.  He was far from reaching it, so do you know what he did?!  He found another slipper in the bathroom, next to the tub, and very purposefully stood on top of it, as if he knew that standing on something else would make him taller and more able to reach in the tub! Oh dear.  I think we'll have a climber on our hands!  

Jack is also making jokes, and loves to find things that make Andy and I laugh.

He plays well with others and doesn't mind hanging out with other adults. 

All in all, he is totally charming, ever delightful and such a joy. 

He is also extremely heavy.
25 pounds.
My right bicep is huge.
  So huge in fact that I flexed for Andy
 and he said, "holy cow!"
 Yes, I am proud of that.

Cheers to Jack!  A wonder among babies! 

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm No Expert But...

I need a second opinion.

I think this book may be misinforming and confusing young minds.  

Care to take a peek?

First:  You will notice that the cover highlights "letters," 
leading you to assume that your child will be exposed to, 
at the very least, colorful A, B and C.  Nope.
 Nowhere in the book is there any mention of "letters."

Second: Since when is "ABACUS" classified as a first word?

Third: Why not just call it a watermelon?  I'm pretty sure that in the US, all other melons have very distinct names, cantaloupe, honeydew... Perhaps there was some sort of licensing trouble with the whole term, watermelon. Hmm. This leads me to a dilemma when I read the book to Jack.  Do I read the word melon, because that is what is written, or do I call it a watermelon, because that is what is pictured? Do I write in "water" before the "melon" or do I just say, "Jack, this is a watermelon.  The word says, 'melon' but the picture is of a watermelon.  I don't know why they did that, but maybe they just didn't know."?  What is a mother to do? (The answer to that is, "As a mother, don't you have better things to worry about?" but I wasn't really asking for an answer, so we'll just move on.)

Fourth: I like to think I am pretty well versed when it comes to fruit.  
And I'm pretty sure these are not peaches, but apricots.  
Anyone with me on this one?

Fifth: This is a kid.  A baby goat.

Sixth:  This is also a kid.  A baby goat.  
Masquerading as a lamb.  
Just because you are white, does not mean you are a lamb.
The fur is all wrong.  The face is all wrong. 
 PEOPLE!  Just take a picture of a lamb! 

What is this world coming to when apricots are called peaces and kids are called lambs?!  You can't see me, but I am shaking my head in sorrow at this very moment.  


Despite the erroneous information in this book, Jack is getting smarter by the day.  I hope to have a post of all his new tricks in the very near future.  Maybe even later today!  But I just had to get these things off my chest first.  Thanks for hearing me out friends. I feel better now. 

Friday, April 10, 2009


Because our home is pretty tiny, Jack's room has doubled as a storage room for quite some time.  We always do our playing out in the living room, and he's not old enough to care that we use his space for storing our overflowing amount of stuff.

But that changed yesterday.

I was seized with a great NEED to clear it out (This has happened before.  I don't know how it collects so much stuff so fast, but I think it might be a lifelong battle).  So all day yesterday I sorted through clothes (his and mine), put a limit on the number of shoes I can own at one time, and created a heaping pile of items to take to the thrift store.  

One of the things that I sifted through yesterday was a box of letters and cards that I have been saving.  Notes that people have written me, valentines, and letters.  There were some from 1993!  I've saved them because at some point in my life, they have been significant. 

While Jack was taking his nap and the cleaning in the actual room was put on hold, I brought out the box of letters and began to sift through them.  

Many, many letters from my mom, dad and Lizzie.  Written while I was a summer camp counselor, living in Colorado with Annie, or away at college. Cards for birthdays, graduations, and our wedding. 

Some from people I don't even remember, some from now-broken friendships, and even one from an old boyfriend.

It is a common misconception
 that I did not date anyone before Andy.
  Mostly because it was kind of a joke. 
Less than two months,
 and mostly because... 
 I don't know really.
  Maybe just because he asked. 

It didn't really make much of an impact on me.
  I remember
an awkward trip to the zoo,
 getting lost on a hike,
 and actually using the phrase,
 "I think it might be better if we were just friends."
 We weren't friends.

I saved the letter for Andy
 to read when he got home from work.
We both had a good laugh
 at the poor grammar and
my only attempt at boy-girl relationships before him.
  The positive outcome
 of that one prior relationship
 is that Andy and I now have a first kiss story
 that makes us laugh every time
we talk about it.
Maybe, if you ask real nice,
I'll tell it to you some time.

I truly am a words person.  I love compliments and I love the way you can make words work for you.  Because of that, it was hard to part with so many things people had taken time to write to me and about me.  

I did saved some, from significant phases in my life.  I kept ones that brought back memories, made me laugh, and reminded me that at some time in my life, I have encouraged and supported friends. 

It was also fun to remind my sister of what a goof she is.

On the envelope of one letter she wrote me: "Rah rah ree! Kick him in the knee!  Rah rah rass!  Kick him in the other knee!"

When I told her about it over the phone she laughed and laughed and said, "I used to say that all the time!" She has now promised that she will revive it.  I don't doubt that she will.

In the spirit of reminiscing, Andy took a stroll down memory lane last night too.  Every time we drive by the Skate Deck on our way to Costco, he tells me stories about how he used to be the most awesome skater and how much he loved it and who he bought roses for... you know, the whole skate deck scene. 

Well last night, our church rented out the whole place for Children's Ministry.  Andy tried to take Ellery to the last one, but it didn't work out.  So this one has been on our calendar for weeks.

We picked Ellery up and she could hardly contain herself.  I tried to warn Andy that she might collapse into tears after her first tumble, but he was optimistic.
(Can you even stand Andy's hunky arms!  Oh man!  What a tough guy!)

It turns out that he was right.  She LOVED it.  She skated with Andy.  She skated with me.  She skated with the woman dressed like a giant peep and she even went around by herself!  

She fell.

She got up.

She laughed.

She skated some more.

By the end of the night her face was red and sweaty.  The only tears came when it was time to go.  

We were all impressed with her skills on wheels.  But my favorite part of the evening was when Andy pushed me around the rink (even though it was against the rules).  I felt like such a teeny-bopper.

Prior to pushing me he also did a lap with Jack in his arms (which Jack loved and was also against the rules). After giving me and Jack rides, he cruised around by himself.  Then, the announcer got on the intercom to remind everyone of the rules: "Please remember: no skating with children in your arms, no pushing others on their skates, and no cross... [I don't know what they called it, but it was the fast kind of skating]."  I think they were just reminding Andy.  My oh so good, bad boy. I love it!

His hunky arms, his great attitude and willingness to fudge on the rules for the sake of a good laugh all contribute to my wearing this last night. 

Yes, my husband does indeed ROCK.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm Not An Evil Mother

Guess what!

Jack finally had a birthday party!

On Sunday we got together at my in-law's beautiful house and had some friends over to celebrate Jack's big day (a week and a half late, but who's counting?).

He LOVED having Happy Birthday sung to him.  I was holding him while everybody sang and he grinned around the patio, showing each person his appreciation for their presence with his big, charming smile.

Then he had a cupcake.

Did I tell you my moral dilemma about the cupcake? 

I struggled much more with it than I probably should have.

My thought was, "If I spend so much time trying to feed him good, nutritious food and teaching him healthy habits, why do I want to give him a big hunk of sugar and fat?"

So I compromised somewhere in the middle.  Or, if not the middle, at least somewhere that I felt I could give him the cupcake and move on with my life.

I found an apple/carrot/zucchini cake recipe on and guys, IT WAS SO GOOD. 

As in, I've eaten a slice for breakfast every day since the party, good.

Please don't do the math.

It was also SO easy, which, when it comes to baking, is essential for me.  

I am also pleased to say, that Jack wasn't all crazy for the cake, or the frosting.  He ate it, yes, but his eyes didn't go all googly and he didn't cry for more when it was gone.  I take that to mean that he has already learned moderation and was really wishing that instead of cake I had given him some sweet potatoes formed into a cupcake-shaped mound. 

Maybe next year baby.  Next year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From Idea to Action


I am feeling so pleased today. 

And really grateful for my mom.

Today I actual DID something that I've SAID I wanted to do for a few months. I planted vegetables!

I'm not sure that I can yet say, "I have a vegetable garden." I'll save that for when I actually eat something that I've grown.

My mom gave me the space and treated me to a shopping spree at the garden center.  What fun! (Thank you SOO much mom!)  Since I have absolutely no knowledge of growing things, she advised about the spacing and arranging and did general oversight and a wee bit o' digging.

The exciting part is that now, I have actually put plants and seeds in the ground.  

Here's the proof!

I am pretty good at dreaming up ideas.  Or getting really excited about could-bes... but I feel like I often fall short on the execution end. 

I'm not sure if I just like talking a lot (very possible) or if I don't like to actually try things because I only really like doing things I KNOW I'm good at, or if I just am lazy.  It could be a tad bit of all three.

Whatever the case, I have really been making an effort to start DOING things that sound good to me.  And a vegetable garden is one of those things. 

Yay for feeling accomplished!

Jack enjoyed it too!