An attempt to take a picture with the laptop. The little guy kept pounding the keys so I had to hold him back. So, what you don't see are little fingers reaching for the keyboards and my knees bouncing wildly in an attempt to distract/entertain the baby while we took the picture. :)
Monday, September 28, 2009
When I was a sophomore in college, my dear roommate and I had an answering machine that said, "Hey! You've reached Jamie and Katie's room! Leave us a message! And remember, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade!"
Cheesy, yes. So, very, much.
But it actually sounded somewhat cute and usually people were laughing while they tried to leave their message, so we kept it all year.
I think I am a lemonade kind of person. I typically try to find the good in things, sometimes to a fault. I'm an optimist, albeit a tad cynical at times, but I've found that having a positive attitude really does make a huge difference in pretty much every circumstance. In my mind, life's too short to be bummed all the time. And, really, sometimes being negative is easier, and I'm always up for a challenge.
Say, like, yesterday for example. Yesterday started out as one of those days where, from the moment I awoke, I knew it was going to be a bad day. I woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed and everything sort of gently crashed around me as the day continued on. From a cranky baby to a lack of laundry detergent, I quickly realized that I was allowing very small (though somewhat significant) things drag me down. Breakfast tasted bad. The bed needed to be made. The bathroom towel was on the floor. Plans for the evening had to be cancelled a la sick baby. Finally, around mid-morning, I gave up. I sat at the kitchen table and started to pray.
Okay. I use the word "pray" potentially incorrectly here. A more appropriate word might be "vent", or, rather, "EMOTE". I am very grateful that God is extensively and eternally patient, nay, long suffering, because sometimes (often ... often times ...) my prayers consist of me trying to work it out in my head and justify every way I'm feeling and wah wah wah until I finally settle down and enjoy silence. I write a lot about silence. That is because for me, SILENCE IS A CHALLENGE.
And I like challenges, right?
So, I finally shut-up after much EMOTING and let my head hit the table. I sat there, sorting my thoughts, mumbling prayers here and there, feeling stupid for whining about such feeble things anyway, when I felt the table wet under my cheeks. I sat up and realized I was crying. I looked around, stunned, wondering why in the heck I was crying. What happened? Then I started to think about Cub being sick, and the tears started again. Aha. That was it. I was, apparently, more worried about Cub than I had realized, and that anxiety was spilling into everything in my morning, making it all seem much worse than it actually was. I wiped my eyes and shrugged my shoulders and mumbled, "Okay." After a few more moments I sighed and then apologized to God for my senseless rambling. Then I asked Him for a good attitude.
Good grief. Good grief, I thought. Of all of these crazy happenings in my morning that pile up and make me feel like they are out of my control, the one thing I CAN control is my attitude. And I need a good one today.
And that was it. A fresh perspective and cup of coffee later, I felt like it was a new day. I geared myself up for the unpredictability of having a sick Cub and even accepted defeat in the laundry department. But, later, I found laundry detergent, tucked away in our laundry room cupboards. Then, after his nap, I noticed Cub's right eye wasn't as bad as his left. And all of the sudden I realized that a simple change in my attitude had allowed me to calm down enough to open my eyes. To open my eyes to what was right in front of me. A good attitude not only makes you optimistic, it makes you realize the good in the small things. By the end of the day, I was able to look back on the day and see that it wasn't so bad. God even nudged me to take the time out to check on some friends of mine and see how their days were going. Fresh perspective. It helps you make a nice big pitcher of lemonade.
And goodness, lemonade tastes so much better than lemons.
Even if it's made a little late. :)
Caleb has an eye infection and feels like crap and when I tossed him in the air to make him smile, he hit his head on his ceiling fan. Then we both cried.
And today is laundry day and I'm out of detergent.
And I can't get out to get any.
Friday, September 25, 2009
As the weekend comes upon us and we have company coming for dinner, I've decided to dedicate this week's open-ended post to etiquette. You know, doing things proper and such.
That's right. I wrote proper instead of properly. It is difficult to emulate redneck accents through type.
So, I'm going to leave you with a few rules my Mother taught me, plus a few of my own, regarding the importance of details in hosting.
1) Always keep fresh flowers in the house.
2) When company is coming, set the table first before working on anything else that needs to get done. That way, if you are running behind as company arrives, the set table will show them that yes, you were expecting them (and they won't know you're running behind!).
3) Sweep crumbs under the rug.
4) Light a candle.
5) Always do your best to make your company feel special, no matter how casual the gathering.
What about you? Do you have any special rules you follow when company comes?
Have a lovely weekend, friends!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When I became pregnant, I remember feeling as though I had entered into a whole new world of womanhood. I could now relate to certain women to whom I had previously had no connection, all because of a little life growing inside of me. When a pregnant friend would lament over the fatigue and nausea, I actually understood what she was talking about--my sympathy had morphed into empathy. I now understood the depth of that fatigue, oh, the plunging, never-ending, insatiable depths of pregnancy fatigue. Oh. Ohhhhhh.
In my church community, there were several women who were also pregnant when I was pregnant, only they were pregnant with their second or third child. It opened up a whole new realm of friends and I welcomed their advice and wisdom. And, once our babies were born, those friendships continued and have caused me to grow close to some really amazing women.
When Cub was born, that whole new world I had stepped into in pregnancy evolved into the new world of Motherhood, a world where I was immersed in diapers and late-night feedings and cooing and baby talk and toys. Just as my sympathy had morphed into empathy during pregnancy, that same empathy carried over into being a new Mom. Moms became my heroes. I thought I was encouraging and understanding of my friends who had gone before me and had children before I, but oh man, I was wrong. I had no clue. My respect for Moms flew through the roof, and my respect for single Moms or Moms of multiples flew through the roof, crashed through the atmosphere, and soared to outer space. The "just wait"'s I had heard throughout my pregnancy began to come true. And not just the blow-out diapers or the spit-up. The LOVE. The INTENSE LOVE. Nothing could have prepared me for how much I love my Cub.
Not only was I immersed in the day-to-day tasks of Motherhood, I was also immersed with a new group of women. A group of Mothers. The concept of Mom's Clubs and such kind of made me want to break out in hives before I had a baby, but now, as a new Mom, I began to recognize the significance of such groups' existence. Moms need each other. Play groups are really support groups in disguise. As I learned the importance of socializing my baby with other babies, I also learned the importance of socializing myself with other Moms. It's easy to get stuck in your own world when you become a Mom, a world where you think that everything you are doing is the right way to do it, at least in the sense that you never think to question it. I gleaned so much wisdom from other Moms ("More feedings during the day means more sleep at night!" "The rice-cereal-in-the-bottle is a myth--they're either good night sleepers or they're not, and that's okay!" "Who cares if they can't drink from a sippy cup yet. They won't take a bottle to college.") It wasn't unwelcome advice at all--it was a group of Moms settled together in a room, sipping coffee and talking together, Moms who share the same vision of Motherhood but who all carry it out differently. Sharing wisdom and sharing stories, laughing at each other and with each other. I learned to relax. And, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I learned that Motherhood is less about doing things right and more about doing things well.
Motherhood not only brought me my precious Cub, it also brought me new friends. And I love them. Yet another unexpected blessing. :)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Please note that the days where I choose to highlight random updates are, in themselves, random. This week: Tuesday!
Here we go:
1) I purchased Luvs diapers for the first time in a long time. My Pampers were just a bit too much of an indulgent purchase (and by "my" I mean that I bought them, not that I am the wearer) and while Luvs were always a guaranteed leaky product when Cub was smaller, they have proven to be leak-proof this time around. And a Luvs pack of 108 was FIFTEEN DOLLARS CHEAPER than a pack of 98 Pampers. They were even cheaper than the Target brand (on sale). Score!
2) Pumpkin Spice Latte. Mmmm. Soon: Gingerbread Latte. Mmmm.
3) In an effort to help the environment (and, um, save money because our local grocery store rewards you for using them ...) I actually stopped in the produce section yesterday at the grocery store, turned around, and went back to my car to get my reusable bags after accidentally forgetting them. It was a blustery day and I struggled to open the car door and grab them. I stuffed them in my cart with Cub in tow, and a huge gust of wind came and started blowing them out. I frantically scrambled to collect them and once collected, I breathlessly secured Cub back in the cart, and hoisted my way back into the grocery store. I was going to save that dollar, dang it.
4) Happy fall! Today is the first day of fall, right?
5) Cub had instant oatmeal for the first time this morning. Survey says: YES.
6) My husband and I are debating what to purchase Cub for his first birthday, which is less than a month away oh my gosh. We are tossing around some ideas. Any ideas out there in Internet land? We have a pretty good idea of what we want to get him, but ideas are welcome, too. :)
7) Speaking of his first birthday, I finally got the invitations out! Yay!
8) I need to go to our local pumpkin patch and take his one year pics.
9) Ooo, our play group should go to the pumpkin patch together, soon!
10) (Mental note: Write "e-mail play group" on To-Do list for today.)
11) These rainy days that usher in fall always remind me of a passage from Robert Frost's My November Guest: "... these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be ..." Unfortunately, his "November Guest" is Sorrow and the poem is truly a bit sad, although one might assume that Frost secretly admires the change of season by the end of the poem.
12) I'm a nerd.
13) I am going to leave you with My November Guest. Even though it is only September.
My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad the simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.
14) Have a lovely day.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Oh my goodness, life with an 11-month old. CRAZY.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I imagined all of the different stages of parenting. We knew that there would be a lot of changing diapers and feeding and such, but I think that both of us would agree that the stage Cub is in right now is the stage we imagined the most.
Cub is full of energy and is busy, all the time. He loves to be held, loves to be tossed, loves to hang upside down, loves to ride on his Daddy's shoulders (sometimes mine, but he prefers his Dad). He scurries towards us and immediately involves himself in whatever we are doing, whether it's folding laundry or reading a book or checking e-mail. The grandparents have received several
e-mails that consist of a very random assortment of letters and numbers, lots of d's and e's and 7's and y's, in a large massive paragraph, signed "Love, Cub".
Besides his voracious appetite, he has taken it upon himself to attempt to feed himself, and he rarely allows the spoon to reach his mouth before he grasps it and tries it himself. His aim has become quite accurate and he will now take the spoon and dip it into his food before returning the spoon to his mouth. It is, predictably, a very messy endeavor (and often one that is only attempted with orange veggies or green veggies ... never the clear-ish fruits, like pears or apples, which would really be more convenient), but we mostly just let it roll. After all, we would, at some point, appreciate it if he could feed himself without our help, as we do not foresee ourselves feeding our teenage son with a spoon when he is perfectly capable of handling it himself. :) So, the self-feeding ensues despite the mess that inevitably follows.
His Daddy loves his stage. They wrestle and tickle and play. Cub has taken it upon himself to help his Dad wind down at the end of the day by untying his shoes. My husband will pop back the recliner and prop his feet up, and both of us smile as we see Cub's little blonde head moving towards the couch. He pulls himself up and, with a little smile, he grabs his Daddy's shoestring and pulls. He has even begun to do this while my husband is standing, unaware of the little Cub busy at work with his shoes.
I knew that parenthood would be fun, but I never expected it to be THIS fun. I never expected to laugh this hard or to be this absolutely delighted in another human being. The noisy toys, the sound of a little Cub's hands and knees thumping the floor as he crawls from room to room, the facial expressions, the belly laughs, and the hugs--it's just all really, really great.
I've always enjoyed each stage and welcomed the next, but I would be okay with this stage lasting for a long time!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Since I am the primary grocery-shopper in our family, I do what I can to get the most bang for my buck. I've gotten better about clipping coupons and, most importantly, choosing the generic stuff over the pricey brands.
I've been pleasantly surprised, actually, with most of the generic stuff I've purchased. From frozen waffles to cream soups to wheat pasta, I haven't found much of a difference in quality at all.
However, there are just a few things that can't give up. A few brands that I hold near and dear to my heart and no matter how much I try to go cheaper or generic, I just can't part with them. I just can't. I've tried.
This category includes Viva paper towels, Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Mrs. Renfro's salsa (garlic is my personal favorite). I've tried buying the cheaper paper towels. BUT I JUST CAN'T STICK WITH IT. Viva paper towels are so ... so ... soft and cloth-like. Why compromise? And the olive oil? I can't part with my Bertolli (perhaps it is the way I roll the "r" that makes it so appealing to me). And the salsa ... well, I've tried going with a generic or with Pace, but I just can't wave goodbye to Mrs. Renfro.
So. What about you? When you make your menu for the week and hash out the ingredients, what are the things that you know you won't be able to compromise on?
Have a lovely weekend, friends!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This morning started out as one of those mornings where you desperately wish you could rewind it and start all over again. You know the kind. Where you groggily open one eye and wonder, "Really? Am I really starting my day already?" and then the proceeding events only confirm your desire to crawl back into bed and beg for a redo.
I had a bad dream last night. It wasn't scary, but it was stressful, and thusly I place it under the "bad" category because it was by no means a "good" dream. I think it involved me driving to the airport to catch a flight and getting stuck in traffic and running late. Scary, no. But bad? YES. I awoke with a start and grabbed my cell phone, only to find that I had slept in later than I had wanted. I crawled out of bed and as I stumbled to my "spot" for a prayer (albeit a quick or potentially incoherent prayer), Cub suddenly screamed over the monitor.
Now. Cub doesn't typically wake up crying. He usually wakes up quietly, cooing and giggling, and there are times where he's awake for several minutes before we hear him. We've considered ditching the monitor, since he is definitely old enough and our house is small enough for the acoustics of hearing a crying baby, but he's just so quiet. Anyway. I digress.
So, I turned tail and rushed to the nursery (with my husband right behind me--I love him. I really do. He's great.) and there was Cub, standing up, with huge alligator tears pouring down his red cheeks. We picked him up and his diaper was soaking wet. It had soaked through the diaper and through his clothes, PLUS his little bare feet were cold. What a miserable way to wake up. And, given his sleeping routine as of late, he actually woke up early, which is never fun. We took care of the diaper and the clothes and started our morning. All during breakfast, Cub would take a bite of oatmeal and then stick his thumb in his mouth. Take another bite, stick his thumb in his mouth. I stubbed my toe walking from the nursery to the kitchen and it made ME want to cry, and as I sat at the kitchen table with my bedheaded baby, I myself a morning mess, I chuckled at what a miserable pair we must make on this haphazard morning.
After breakfast, as Cub was playing with his toys, he slipped while he crawled and hit his head on the wood floor. The cry that followed was one of pain and exhaustion. Kind of like giving up. Like, "Good GRIEF, already!!" I picked him up and cuddled him and kissed his little head, and he relaxed against me and rested his head on my shoulder. I snuck into the nursery and sat him on my lap to sing to him (we always sing before sleepy times). He sat sideways, leaning against me, and when I looked down after one round of "You Are My Sunshine", I saw his little eyes were closed and his breathing was heavy and slow. I peeked up at the crib and then looked back down at my little snuggly Cub. I settled into the glider and wrapped my arms around him and we rocked together for quite a while. I took a deep breath and said that prayer I had meant to pray before my nutsy morning began. It was just what I needed.
Sometimes it would be nice if life came with a "rewind" button. That's for sure.
But I'll take "pause" any day, too. :)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My husband hasn't mowed our backyard in weeks. It's kind of like our dirty little secret--as those who pass by our freshly trimmed front lawn and then find themselves next to a privacy fence, oblivious to the field lying only inches from them. My favorite thing about our kitchen is the massive kitchen window that takes up most of one wall next to our table. Every morning Cub and I sit at the table and I look past his little head through the huge window. It allows the light to fill our room and it makes our generally happy kitchen all the more happy. And now, when I stare out the window, I see a little field. A field surrounded by a privacy fence.
I don't mind that my husband hasn't mowed. I can't blame him, actually. Our front yard is larger than the back, so we typically play with Cub out there, since he isn't walking and isn't really quick enough as a crawler to zip to the street before one of us notices. And I know what my husband is doing with this non-mowing. He's waiting for the first frost to move in and declare for him that See! It didn't matter that the back yard wasn't mowed! It's dead now anyway!
Of course, this means, inevitably, that the first frost will not occur until December and those oblivious pedestrians who frequent the sidewalk next to our fence will soon notice the grass peeking at them over the top of the boards. Until then, though, I am enjoying the little field. These stormy days that are bringing in the fall have also brought the most wonderful breeze and I love watching the very tall grass wave in the wind. It rolls gently. I like it.
The only member who remains a tad confused by our large patch of overgrowth is Bailey, our Boston Terrier. The grass reaches high above her now and she stealthily maneuvers through it, and no doubt she is expecting a large jungle cat to leap from the grassy folds at any moment. We like to keep her guessing.
And so, the fall is here. Or, at least, it is coming. And the seasons that herald change are always my favorite because I am usually ready for a change. This season of life has definitely been unlike any other season in our lives, bringing experiences that have tested the words of faith that we easily speak and, through the fire, realize we actually believe.
I know that the grass will eventually die with that first frost and the next season will be upon us. But, for now, I am resting in this interim, this period of time that is settled between seasons, reflecting on the season past and anticipating the season that lies ahead. And I'm appreciating the overgrown grass that has seen sweltering summer days and has risen beyond it, to become a little field, gently rolling in the breezes of the fall.
When Josh and I were first married, I distinctly remember my vain attempts to decorate the house for fall. Having never been a homeowner before, I was a little overwhelmed with the somewhat daunting task of making our home seem warm and cozy and, well, fall-ish. I love fall, and I wanted to make sure everyone knew it.
After some frustrating encounters with piles of raffia, the end product made it seem as though a scarecrow exploded in our house. Raffia on the cupboards. Raffia on the shelves. Raffia on the kitchen table. Raffia on the front door. Raffia raffia raffia.
And, what's worse, I don't even like raffia. Or scarecrows.
So, over the years, I have learned that less is more. A subtle change here or there can make a difference without going overboard. And, given this month's financial crunch (notice below post), I didn't exactly have superfluous cash lying around to haul off to Pottery Barn.
Now our home feels fall-ish and cozy. And our wallets feel comfortable, too. :)
1) Magnolia wreath from Target
2) "Be Thankful" candle from the Yankee Candle Store
3) Gourds from our local grocery store
4) And, well, some stinkin' cute plaid pajama pants in fall colors. This little decoration tops them all!
Happy fall, everyone.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Replacing the shattered window in our Civic after it got broken into: $200
Replacing the fan for our air conditioner/furnace: $315
Filling empty cupboards that are bare from us being away: $125
Finding a coupon for free Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets: Priceless.
It's the little things, you know?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Toys (and Southern Living).
The Toys (and Southern Living).
The Russian Chocolate.
(Umm ... okay so maybe Mom loves that, not Cub.)
Lots of grass on which to play.
Lots of good food (and a bib with sleeves for extra protection).
And, of course,
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Today you are eleven months old.
More than ten. And almost touching twelve. I can't believe it.
When I think of this month, I think of lots and lots of tickling and giggling, lots of wiggling, lots of babbling, and lots of mimicking. You will now shake your head, wave, high-five, and do SO BIG! on cue. You now definitely know me as "Mama" and Daddy is "Dadadadadadada".
And son, you LOVE your Daddy.
You've always been excited to see him and your face lights up when he gets home from work, but I'm noticing something changing beyond that, too. There are now moments where you prefer your Daddy. Rather than spontaneously reaching for him, you now consistently want him to hold you. If he and I are in a room, you zip right over to him, doing your sweet and speedy little crawl, giggling and laughing the entire way. I am the one who comforts boo-boos and gives kisses and snuggles, but your Daddy is the one for FUN. Lots of tickling and wrestling goes on in our living room and there is nothing sweeter than the sound of baby belly laughs echoing across the wood floor. He is your father and you are his son. And I love watching that unique relationship develop.
You are continuing to eat like a horse. Our little food processor gets lots of work as we chop up chunky Mexican soup, spaghetti and meatballs, roast and potatoes, chicken and rice, and whatever else we happen to be eating. I think you're storing up for the next phase in your life: Walking. You've gotta have some chunk to lose once you really start to get going! You definitely prefer to feed yourself and your lone tooth definitely gets a workout during meal time. We started you on whole milk and you LOVE it. I think your newly refined palette decided that formula tasted like chalk. I tried heating the formula, giving it to you in different cups, and all sorts of other methods to change your mind. But, you just didn't want it. And thankfully you love milk cold or warm (I like to heat it up before bedtime ... I know, I'm weird. I'm your Mom. It's a comfort thing!!). Either way, we sure appreciate your very hearty appetite. :)
You pull up, cruise, free-stand, and can crawl with astonishing speed, but you show absolutely no interest in walking whatsoever. It's adorable. And we're fine with it. I know I'm going to miss the sound of you crawling, your little hands and feet slapping the wood and tile beneath you.
Lately you've been sleeping from 8:00-8:00, with one long nap (maaaaybe one short nap, too) during the day. I'm chalking this pattern up to a growth spurt, given your eating habits, too. But I'm enjoying it while it lasts! You also love to snuggle at bedtime, which I love. After you drink your milk, I wrap my arms around you and you wrap one arm around my neck and stick your thumb from your other hand in your mouth, and we rock together as I sing to you. It is a sweet time that I look forward to every night. Your Daddy used to put you to bed, but I've taken over again, helping to calm things down after you two play!! I love it.
We love you, Cub. And we continually thank God for the delight you have brought to our lives. There are times where we still look at each other, in awe of you, overwhelmed that God has placed you in our care. We are so blessed.
For the longest time, my Mom would refer to Cub's sippy cup as a "tippy" cup. It drove me crazy. I couldn't figure out why in the world Mom would mix up her "s"'s and her "t"'s when it came to properly pronouncing Cub's preferred method of liquid consumption. I'd never heard her refer to "sassy" as "tatty" or "sweet" as "tweet", so I chalked it up to a minor mental block and let it go.
I was very relieved when I realized that my Mother did not, in fact, have a speech impediment, but that she was actually referring to the original sippy cup, the sippy cup that paved the way for our current and fancy new sippy cups:
The Tommee Tippee Cup.
Apparently, this is the type of cup I used. And I've recently learned that they are still in production and are quite the hit in the UK. What made the Tommee Tippee cup so spectacular was its rounded bottom which prevented, well, tipping. Hence, Tippee (why, oh why, is it spelled incorrectly? WHY? Why do they do that?). Back in the day, these babies were less than spill-proof, but apparently their modern counterparts are quite spill-proof AND tip-proof. I'm not sure why a cup needs to be tip-proof if it is also spill-proof, but, well, no need to over-analyze the engineering that goes into infant drinkware.
Cub has discovered a new favorite sippy cup and it's quite the rage here at our house:
The Gerber Graduate Fun-Grip Cup.
This is the first cup he's had that has a stopper, but we've been able to leave it in while he sucks his milk down. He loves and it and we're glad he does. This has been his (and our) favorite cup by far. It's leak-proof, small, and the spout is stiff but still soft. Love it!
And, I must announce, Cub has moved on to whole milk. I was going to be good and wait until he was a year old, but he just got to a point where he was not digging formula. At all. He was drinking maybe 10-14 ounces a day, maybe, and he just hated it. I talked to some other moms and they gently encouraged me to just go to whole milk. So, at a play group last week, one of my friends gave him some cold milk and he sucked it right down. Now he's drinking about 24-28 ounces of milk a day, which is awesome. He loves it and we love that he loves it. AND it's way cheaper than formula!!
So. That is the infant drinking habit update from our home. I hope you enjoyed it. :)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I'm enrolled in the "Called to be a Keeper" bible study at our church. The basic principles of the study are to learn God's priorities for our lives, especially as women. Yesterday was the first day and I excitedly sat down at our kitchen table to do my homework for the day.
I took a deep breath, settled in, and opened the first page. I scoured the first two pages, drinking in every word, focusing on the story, and imagining it in my mind. The tone turned to priorities and how we organize the priorities in our life. I continued reading, smiling at the thought that this study is exactly what I need, that I am so easily distracted, it is necessary for me to really focus and clean up my nutsy life a bit.
Then came the Big Kahuna question: What is it you live for?
I rested my chin on my hand and thoughtfully considered the question. Hmmm. Thoughtful ponder thoughtful ponder.
Then. I heard it.
The past few days here have been unusually warm and a little family of flies decided to make my kitchen their home. One of them woke up, apparently, right as I was pondering the depths of life with my Big Kahuna question.
Bzzz. Bzzzz. Bzzzz.
I opened my eyes widely, blinking ferociously, attempting above all attempts to get that buzzing sound out of my mind, to concentrate, to be, you know, a good Keeper and all.
I leapt up, grabbed the fly swatter from atop the fridge and SMACK! That fat fly didn't even see me coming. I tossed it in the trash, placed the swatter on the fridge, and settled back in my chair. Okay. Minor distraction, but it's okay. Distraction now gone. Initiate focus. Deep breaths.
What is it you live for?
Then I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye. Another fly, crawling across the table. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. Ignore the fly, Katie, ignore the fly. Think about good things. Think about life and Jesus and happiness and priorities and IGNORE THE FLY.
My right eye popped open to see another fly crawling on the window. My left eye popped open to behold a fly peeking out from the sink.
The next few moments are a bit of a blur, either from the speed at which I swatted or from my mind attempting to erase the massacre. I was swinging madly. Everywhere. At everything. The flies couldn't fly fast enough. I was trying to STUDY and they were obviously UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF EVALUATING ONE'S PRIORITIES IN LIFE.
DISRESPECTFUL LITTLE FLIES.
I smacked and swatted and screeched and stomped. I jumped. I flew. The swatter came down with a force of strength and swiftness I did not know I possessed. If the flies didn't die of swatting, they died of fear.
And then, all was quiet.
I stood there, swatter in hand, frozen. My ears strained for the tiniest bzzzz sound. But none could be heard. I released the breath I didn't realize I was holding and once again returned the swatter to the top of the fridge. I settled in my chair, smoothed down my hair, and picked up my pen.
What is it you live for?
And without a second thought, I miserably scrawled: DOING. I LIVE FOR DOING.
I allow the tiniest of insects to completely take me away from my task at hand. I do without thinking. The flies could have been handled later. I could have simply moved to the living room! Or my bedroom! By the time my kitchen was quiet, I had missed the point of making it quiet in the first place. And good grief almighty, I hope this study helps me learn to think before doing.
The insect community will be grateful for it. :)
I think the biggest struggle I face with Dad having cancer and dealing with chemotherapy is our lack of communication. My Dad and I usually talk more than Mom and I, so transitioning to a time in our lives where he doesn't really want to communicate--rather, it's just too hard for him--has been very, very ... weird. And I use the term "transition" lightly. It seemed as if overnight he suddenly stopped calling and when I called, he didn't have much to say.
I've had to grapple with my own emotions and allow myself to hurt a little, but then to also get over it and recognize the reality of what is happening in Dad's life. As a parent now myself, I understand the logic behind wanting to run and hide when you are in pain. There is something inside of us that wants to protect our children from being afraid. And I think Dad knows that if I were to see him too much while he is sick, it would stoke my fear. The fear of losing him, yes, but also the fear of seeing such a giant in my life appear so weak and so feeble. Even though he is still very much a giant in my life.
So, the past few months have included very limited conversation. He'll take the phone from Mom long enough to tell me about his latest treatment, and then he hands it back to her before he goes to bed. I know he has a week off between each of his chemotherapy treatments, but I haven't seen him recently during one of those weeks. I've had to fight back a little bitterness knowing everyone in my hometown was seeing Dad when he was feeling good, while I was here, away from him.
But, as has been shown to me in the past, God is still good. So very, very good. I have to remember that He views my life in a much bigger picture than I could ever imagine, and that all of these small moments are pieces to a much larger story that I will only recognize once I look back on it. I've learned to appreciate the small blessings, if there is such a thing. All blessings are huge, I think.
A few nights ago, Dad called me. He called me. He hasn't called me in months. He called me because he wanted to talk. I couldn't believe it. He was feeling well enough to stay on the phone for about 30 minutes and it was incredible. I was giddy with excitement. And, beyond that, he gave Cub and I the green light to come visit him this weekend. It has been hard to orchestrate visits because his white blood cell count has been too low for him to be around babies and he hasn't felt well enough to see anyone. So, this is very, very, VERY good news. And I know my Mom is beside herself, ready to cuddle her little grandson again.
I don't know what the weekend will look like, but I'm already praising God for it. In a situation where it is so easy to dwell on the frustrations and the questions, God continually brings His gentle reminders of hope and peace. And of good days.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The other morning I was going through Cub's books with him in the nursery. We were in the process of moving all of his cardboard-page books to the bottom two shelves and all of his paper-page books to the top two shelves, when a bright notebook caught my eye.
I gasped. I actually gasped.
I hadn't seen that notebook in, well, almost eleven months.
I opened it and I felt my heart immediately swell. This was the notebook where I logged all of Cubbie's feedings his first few weeks of life. Those were such difficult weeks. We had received somewhat vague advice from the attending nurse when we left the hospital regarding how frequently to feed Cub. He had just been circumcised, which means he was exhausted, so the nurse told us to just let him sleep and not worry about waking him up to feed him.
In case you are wondering, that is HORRIBLE ADVICE. Newborns need to eat at least every three hours. He went almost seven hours without eating that day and something just didn't feel right to me. I called our pediatrician and he instructed me to immediately wake him up and feed him. I remember when I was on the phone with him--sitting by the Target pharmacy, waiting for my Ibuprofen prescription. My Mom was with me and we immediately jumped up, grabbed the prescription, and grabbed this notebook before flying home. I knew I would need to keep track of the next few weeks of my new little guy's life.
The next day we took him to our doctor and he was extremely dehydrated. I couldn't stop crying--I couldn't believe that I had allowed him to go so long without eating. I just didn't know. I hadn't even been around a newborn before. It took me a long time to forgive myself. When we got home, we were given strict instructions to supplement with formula and to pump as often as I could to increase my milk supply.
Hence, the notebook. Here is a log from October 15, when Cub was four days old:
12:20am: 1.5 ounces of formula
2:58am: 1.5 ounces formula
20 minutes nursing on left side
6:30am: 1.25 ounces breast milk (in bottle)
9:30am: 1 ounce breast milk (in bottle)
10 minutes nursing left side
10 minutes nursing right side
12:30pm: 25 minutes (right side)
.5 ounce bottle of breast milk
4:08pm: 25 minutes (left side)
.5 ounce bottle of breast milk
7:00pm: 1 ounce bottle of breast milk
10:49pm: 15 minutes (right side)
15 minutes (left side)
No wonder I had just a touch of Postpartum Anxiety. When did I sleep?? When did I eat?? This log starts on October 13 and goes until October 29. I remember not knowing what day it was but always knowing what time it was. That was so crazy. I could have easily gone to formula only and there were days where it was tempting, but I knew I wanted to breast feed. After that first week I was able to go to breast milk only, and it got much, much easier after the first month. But oh man, that first month was rough.
As I read back over my notes, my mind flooded with memories of groggily dragging myself into the living room, scribbling the date and time in the notebook, stumbling into the nursery to get Cub, bringing him into the living room, and feeding him, exhausted. He stayed in our room for only a week--and I couldn't nurse him in bed. With Josh asleep right next to me, it was too tempting to fall asleep myself. So, to the living room we would go!
And now I look at my little Cub, almost one year old, full of energy and life, and definitely with a big appetite, and those days seem like they were so long ago. I'm so much more confident now than I was then.
The first tab in the notebook says "Feeding Log for Cubbie". There are still two blank tabs left. And, believe it or not, I can't wait to fill them.
In God's timing, of course. :)
Monday, September 7, 2009
If Parenthood has taught me anything, it's:
1) Expect the unexpected
2) Things won't always turn out the way you think they should
Those are probably the same. But it made sense to separate them in my mind. Anyway.
So, when Cub reached the ripe old age of nine months, we began feeding him table food. I kind of have this small complex about meat in a jar, and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of Cub consuming something that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, so we decided to just give him some of the meat that we were eating. So, we began starting his meals with a fruit and/or veggie (in baby food form) and then simply giving him what we were eating. I thought this would be a challenge, but oh my goodness, this child has a VORACIOUS APPETITE. This morning I made breakfast burritos with egg whites, cheese, whole wheat tortillas, and pico de gallo. That child consumed almost an entire burrito (sans pico) and is looking at me right now like, "What? That's it?"
And he's skinny. Tiny skinny. I cannot figure out for the life of me where all of this food is going. His little tummy IS bulging out just a tad, which is all kinds of adorable, but still. A few nights ago at the mall he ate more of my gyro than I did. Including the tomatoes.
The Pediatrician says to let him be the judge of when he's finished, so that's what we're doing, and so far he hasn't shown signs of a tummy ache. Good grief! Our goal with all of this was to not create a picky eater, but, as I mentioned above, things don't always turn out the way we think they should and tomorrow he might refuse everything we give him. For now, we're loving it!
Of course, this comes with understandable boundaries. We understand that we can only control what he eats when he is with us, and we've accepted that. When he's with friends or relatives, they can do what they want. When he's with us, it's whole wheat or whole grain breads only, no sugar, very very very limited fried food (Chick-fil-A nuggets are pressure cooked, right?), no junk food (chips, etc.), and absolutely, under no circumstances, nothing in his sippy cup besides milk or juice. There is nothing grosser than babies and toddlers downing pop. They have their whole lives to decide to drink that. I would prefer that Cub's teeth come in white, not black!
And that's my spiel this morning.
Gotta run--he's eyeing the bananas!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The kitchen has proven to be a tricky area when it comes to a crawling/pulling-up bebe. While I want him to have mostly free reign of the house, I do get a tad nervous when I'm opening the oven door and he's underfoot. Yikes! He has a big drawer full of tupperware and wooden spoons that he can open and play with as he likes, but, unfortunately, with the way our kitchen is laid out, that drawer is right next to the oven. This is usually fine, except when I'm COOKING. IN THE OVEN. Which, believe it or not, does happen quite frequently.
I was racking my brain, trying to think of a kitchen-friendly distraction for him without lugging his entire toy box into the kitchen, when suddenly I remembered, "Aha! Fridge letters!" I'm pretty sure I had them when I was a kid, so I figured they would be easy to find.
I figured wrongly.
Well, let me correct that. I found some, in the magnet section, that were SO tiny. I wasn't exactly excited about the idea of my son choking on a wayward "T", so I all but gave up the search. Then, a few days ago, I was at the lovely and worthy-of-many-accolades Target, searching in the toy section for a xylophone, when my eyes beheld an adorable little chalkboard and whiteboard that had, yes, letter and number magnets. That were not tiny. These would take some effort to get choked on. So, I added that item to my cart and my Cub and I continued shopping (he made out like a bandit--new sweaters, new jeans, new pajamas, AND new magnets!). When we got home, I opened the pack and stuck the letters and numbers to the fridge (and stashed the whiteboard/chalkboard in his closet--I think it may come in handy on road trips, with the magnets). He loves them! Along with some bright magnetic clips, Cubbie is now perfectly distracted from the oven.
For now, anyway!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I wonder if feeding my little guy burnt pancakes this morning was maybe taking a little too much advantage of the fact that he will eat anything? Maybe? The pancakes would not have burned if I hadn't run out of cooking spray yesterday. I used a dab of olive oil instead, and, if you do not yet know, be warned: OLIVE OIL HEATS QUICKLY IN A PAN.
I make fried rice. I know this.
Apparently, however, this little tad bit of knowledge didn't cross my mind. THANKS MIND. Also, whole wheat pancakes are more susceptible to charring due to their ... density?
Of course, Cub didn't seem to mind, which was great. I smeared a little applesauce on his pancake (and lots of butter and syrup on mine) and he was good to go. Our little almost-11-month old has his Daddy's appetite and his Mama's palette, apparently!
Okay. Time to make the menu for this next week. Which, hopefully, does not include anything "blackened".