Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Friday!!

Okay friends, I know random posts are a total blogger copout, but I'm exhausted, my mascara is smeared, my tummy is empty and my body is attempting to crawl into bed as I type. It's making this whole sitting at the computer thing a bit awkward.

So! Random post! YAY!

-My husband asked me three times if he had received a package in the mail today. I told him No, he did not, every time and then on the fourth time he asked me I suddenly remembered that Yes! He did receive the package! It's on the kitchen table!

-Dear Husband, Get ready, life will be like this until June. Or until 2028. Love, Katie

-I made amazing homemade pumpkin bars and documented the whole thing and eventually I will put the recipe here. Because they are that good. The recipe is from a friend's Mom.

-As soon as I sanitized the car attached to the front of the shopping cart at the grocery store today, Cub attached his mouth to its steering wheel.

-Two friends asked me today how I was doing after the ultrasound and I am humbled by the blessing of compassionate friends.

-When my husband came home from work, toys were scattered on the floor, the kitchen was covered in flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and frosting, and Cub and I were sitting at the kitchen table, with me stuffing my mouth with (non-raw-fish) sushi, saying, "I'm thorry the houth ith suth a meth I've had a very crathy day!!" as Thomas the Train (Thomath the Twain?) played noisily from the TV.

-I typically have the toys picked up and dinner on the table when he walks in. He was nice about it.

-I had a crazy day because I hosted my first party as Party Coordinator on the women's ministry team at church this evening and I did a lot of baking today (hence, pumpkin bars ... and homemade hot cocoa in the crock-pot! YUM!). It was fun. There were amazing sweets there but I controlled myself and only ate two. Now I am going to eat dinner and it is late.

-I need a good shampoo and conditioner recommendation. Anyone have any ideas? My hair gets greasy easily (HORMONES) and is color-treated, so I have to take that into account. I'm not a hair product snob, but so far Biolage works the best. Suggestions welcome!!

The End. Have a lovely weekend friends. And thank you for putting up with me!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Simply Clutter.

Okay, so, my name is Katie and I have a problem.

I have piles in my house. Yes, piles.

Now, before your mind wanders to jaw-dropping episodes of Hoarders with homes crammed full of science magazines dating back to 1982, let me assure you that I do not have THOSE kinds of piles. My piles are small and exist primarily in our bedroom. On our bureau. And they are recent. Say, a church bulletin here, a Bible Study folder there, a music book, a photo album, an envelope of pictures, a stack of CDs ... you get the idea. 

Also, I routinely rid our room of these piles once a week or so. And yet, they return to haunt me, frustrating me with their "Katie, You MIGHT Need Me" allure that restrains me from throwing them away. Yes, I might need them, but where should they go? We don't have a CD player in our house, so I have no place for the CDs. The music books are too thick to fit on the piano and I really want to keep the pictures, but unfortunately they aren't supposed to go in the album they happen to be stacked upon. I know I need to just CREATE space for these things, to categorize them and plunk them where they should go and that's that. And yet, when I stare at them, I find myself overwhelmed with their, um, pile-ness, and I timidly step backwards until I am out of our bedroom and onto another project, like organizing the laundry room. I think I secretly hope that the piles will simply disintegrate or that each superfluous object will spontaneously sprout legs and run to its appropriate spot and that when I return to my room, the bureau's surface will be clean and smooth and everything will be in its place. Because, there's a place for everything, right?

And my bureau top is NOT THAT PLACE.

So, geesh, I need help. Once I get a system down, I'm organized. But this is one area of organization that drives me CRAZY. Because I HATE PILES. I HATE THEM. EVEN IF THEY ARE SMALL AND MAYBE CUTE. 

So, there. I've admitted my problem when it comes to being a good housewife/homemaker/Oven Catcher On Fire-r.

What about you? What project (or chore) makes you cringe??

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

June 21, 2010.

That, my friends, is Baby Baskins' official due date.

We have a little Bean.

And if I were a good blogger, I would have scanned in an ultrasound picture. But, I hate our scanner and our scanner hates me, so you will have to picture the token Baby Bean ultrasound.

It's amazing.

But the story was not what we expected.

When we went in for the ultrasound, my doctor began the procedure and immediately asked if I had had any complications with the pregnancy thus far. The tone in his voice worried me and I told him that everything had been going well. He murmured, "Good," and continued with the ultrasound. I nervously asked him if he saw the baby. He said that Yes! There's the baby! and we saw our little Bean clinging to the side of the screen. The heartbeat came over the monitor and my husband and I smiled at each other and wiped away tears (it's just as exciting the second time, by the way). I asked the doctor why he had asked about complications, and he zoomed out with the screen to show a bigger picture of what was going on.

Just below Baby Bean's sack, there was another sack.

And it was empty.

The pregnancy had started out as twins. 

But, somewhere very, very early on, the second baby stopped developing and never grew beyond a cluster of cells. The doctor told me that they don't even consider it a miscarriage, as the pregnancy was literally hours along before it ended. I never "lost" the cells physically as with a miscarriage--they were absorbed. And, within the next few weeks, the sack will be absorbed, too. Because my ultrasound was done so early, we were able to see the original intent of the pregnancy. Had we not had the ultrasound until 8 or 12 weeks, we may never have known.

My reaction was ... confused shock. I sat up and the doctor handed me the pictures and I stared at the picture with both sacks, one carrying our sweet little Bean and the other, empty. My eyes began to water and I felt the tears run down my cheeks. My husband rubbed my hand and my doctor put his arm around me and told me it was okay to be upset. He encouraged me that sometimes our bodies just can't handle two pregnancies at once and we are so fortunate to have one healthy, thriving baby. And, he's right. This sort of thing happens more than we know, but, like I mentioned, they don't consider it a miscarriage. I just didn't know how to feel. I believe life begins at conception, which means I lost a baby ... but the baby never had the chance to even become something that my body knew how to reject. It's just ... I'm not sure. Crazy? Weird? Does the word "weird" sound immature or disrespectful? I just don't know. I wiped my eyes and focused on our little Bean and smiled at the due date printed next to the picture. It's just difficult to imagine that our little Bean had a twin, if only for the briefest of time. Fraternal twins skip a generation in our family and my Mom is a twin and I'm her only daughter, so we knew this was a possibility. But this wasn't what I expected.

But. 

I'm happy. I'm thrilled, actually. Little Bean is growing and healthy and so far, things look amazing. It's a lot for me to process, you know? I know as time goes by and the baby continues to grow, I won't think about what "could" have been. God created our bodies to take care of themselves and for some reason or another, one pregnancy was what my body could handle, so far. And we are so thankful and grateful and excited for what lies ahead with our little Bean! And, as we've learned through experience in the past, we trust God with every step. Even when we don't understand the steps or why we are taking them. He is so good and so faithful and so gracious to bless us with another baby on the way. And we won't lose sight of that.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and encouragement. And thank you for joining me in this journey, one precious day at a time!! :)  

The Big Day.

Today we go in for our first ultrasound. I think I am officially six weeks along, but I won't know for sure until my appointment. I'm realizing that we may or may not hear a heartbeat and that may or may not be a bad thing (sometimes it's too early to hear it). We are still immersed in the "if's" and the reality that this pregnancy may not make it. But, I really believe that our chances are just as good that it will make it. I'm allowing myself to be excited, but when I stop and think about it, I realize I'm really, really nervous, too.

I think I just want to know. You know? I just want to make it to the appointment and go from there. But, really, things could always change, so I can't throw all of my hopes into this appointment, you know? There are always "if's" and questions ... we just have to acknowledge each day as a gift and live it accordingly.

I know I say that a lot. I think I need the frequent reminders. :)

So, friends, I'll update you as soon as I can. Here's hoping for a healthy Baby Baskins!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mommy's Okay, Really.

On Sunday afternoon I went into the nursery to get Cub up from his nap. We settled into the glider like we always do, to rock and sing and wake up. As we rocked and giggled, I suddenly felt it.

NAUSEA.  NAAAAAUUUUUSSSSEEEAAAAA.

Uh-oh.

Cub clung to me for dear life as I made a beeline for the guest bathroom. I plunked him on the tile and then made it to the toilet just in time. After it was all over, I turned my head, brushed my hair out of my face, and saw Cub still sitting there, staring at me. His eyes were wide and his little mouth was open.

Like, "Mom, that ... was ... AWESOME."

Then he started clapping.

I scooted towards him and he crawled into my lap and wrapped his arms around my neck, patting my back, as he does these days. I squeezed him tight. Sure, this round of nausea will be tougher with a little Cub in tow, but it might be a little sweeter to have my cute little man there to give me a hug when all is said and done.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TEEFS.

Well, folks, we are in full-blown teething mode here at our casa. I don't exactly have a lot of experience with this baby-teething thing, as Cub was 10 months old before his first toofer poked through.  And now he's working on number three.

Yes, three. My son, who recently turned one, only has two teeth thus far.

Of course, everyone tells us that his teeth will be nice and healthy, since they are taking so long to poke through. I think they are saying that to be nice, rather than saying, "Oh wow, you have to go through teething and the beginnings of toddlerhood at the SAME TIME??" I prefer the former rather than the latter. Thank you, friends. We better have some BEAUTIFUL TEETH on the way.

But, as is par for le Cub, I didn't actually notice that he was teething until today. A few nights ago he began to randomly cry out in his sleep, which is usually an indication of something, be it illness or poopy diaper or the like. Then the drool kind of started a few days ago, but today I noticed LOTS of drool AND a (clear) runny nose. So, just as a precaution, I rubbed my finger along his top gum and sure enough, that top tooth is trying to push through! I remember when Cub was four months old, rubbing his gums, thinking I felt a bump. Surely I felt a bump. Surely teeth were coming. Wait, what does a bump feel like? Is that a bump? Or do normal gums just feel that way?? Apparently, I was feeling nothing but baby gums, but even now I cannot say for sure that I know what a tooth bump feels like. A little swollen, perhaps. 

Anyway. There is a tooth coming. 

I don't exactly remember Cub's symptoms with his first two teeth. The Pediatrician checked him out one day on a routine check-up and tapped his tongue depressor against Cub's bottom gums and it made a clicking sound. Like the depressor was hitting something hard. Like the top of teeth. I stared at The Pediatrician, wide-eyed, feeling like Ultimate Failure Mom for not knowing he had sprouted his first two teeth, but, he didn't behave any differently and the teeth weren't really visible yet, so how was I to know? I do not routinely tap Cub's mouth with a tongue depressor, so I was, apparently, oblivious to the two new teeth. But, they were there!

And now the third one is coming. I'm curious to see what this teething adventure will be like for the Cub. So far it has meant a lot of drool and clear snot. He went down for bed just fine, but he wanted Mr. Lion right there with him. I gave him some Tylenol and so far, so good. 

I'm still crossing my fingers, though.

And trying to imagine what my little Cub will look like with a mouth full of teeth. 

Probably very much like a big boy and not so much like my little baby Cub. Sigh. Here we go!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Could Be The Pumpkin Cookies.

Well, I've officially had to store my size 4 jeans in the closet and pull out the size 6.

Already.

At almost 6 weeks.

Bloating? Swelling? SOMETHING? Surely my sesame seed-sized baby is not the culprit. SURELY.

...

IT BEGINS!!

:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Desperate Napping.

I just took a nap in our car in the garage. Cub fell asleep on the way home from running errands and it wasn't technically his nap time, so I knew if I moved him to his crib, he'd probably wake up and stay awake.

And I, myself, was rather tired.

So, I turned the car off, reclined my seat, curled up, and enjoyed a catnap to the sound of Cubbie's soft, sleepy breathing.

At least I'm showered. :)

The Bathroom or The Bed.

Cub is napping right now and I am faced with the looming challenge of Do I shower? or Do I take a nap?

I feel like I should take a nap, as I'm growing more and more tired these days, but then I look in the mirror and think, "Ew! Shower, girl!" Hmm. What to do.

The only thing I CAN'T do when Cub is awake is nap. I can shower, but it's a little tricky leaving a one year old free to roam the bathroom while I scrub my hair. It's doable, but it's challenging. Hmm. Maybe I should shower quickly and then hit the bed for a quick catnap. Pregnancy with a little one running (crawling/walking) around is definitely going to be an adventure, I can already tell. With Cub I was able to sleep when I wanted to and be all kinds of lazy. Now I've got my little guy to keep me on my toes. My weary, sleep-deprived little toes. We've been fighting sickness in our house, too, of the cold variety, so between that and pregnancy, life has been a tad interesting this week!

So, back to my conundrum. Sleep or shower. Either way, BLOGGING isn't on the list and I should probably stash the laptop away and choose one of my former options. Hmm. We'll see. I think shower might win at this point.

Have a lovely day. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cubbie Thus Far.

So! In the wake of life and such, I realized I haven't done a Cub update in a while! And, as this blog primarily exists to document his life, I figured it was time to actually, well, document it!!

High five, Mom. High five.

So! Here you go. I even broke it into categories, to pretend like I'm organized. Yippee!

TOYS
Cub's favorite toys right now still include the most random things: A cardboard box here, a random plastic wrapper there, a spoon, a piece of fabric, a hanger, etc. He loves his cars and trucks and toys that play music and toys that go, but I'm amazed at how content he still is to hold a pair of keys. It's refreshing. One BIG toy that he loves is his new Radio Flyer All Terrain Wagon. We pull him around and he grins the whole time. My husband was particularly excited about giving it to him, since he had almost the exact same wagon as a child ("But this one has PNEUMATIC tires!"). And he loved his wagon. And Cub loves his wagon.

ACTIVITIES
Cub is now a pro at patty-cake, "SO big!", waving, peek-a-boo, and the like. He loves to hold a blanket in front of his face and slowly lower it to "peek" during peek-a-boo. He loves to pound things and make big noises. He walks as he wants to, a few steps here and there, and then he crawls again. At this point we realize that Yes, he can definitely walk, but he's just being lazy about it! We're still working on baby signs and he is picking them up more quickly, although they are still definitely a work in progress. He has "milk" down okay, "more" is alright. He still plays alone like a champ, but we play together a lot, too. It's nice to know he can entertain himself while I do chores, but I do make it a point (and it isn't very hard) to sit down and read, play patty-cake, say memory verses (me to him, not him to me :)), and to just play. I love playing with him and he loves to play. He loves to entertain and will do anything for a good belly laugh. He loves to be swung, hung upside down, and to view the world from his perch on Daddy's shoulders.

WORDS
Hm, not many. He can say "Mama" and "Dadda" and "Nana" (banana) and "ball", but I can guarantee that if we met up in the grocery store, he would not say them to you. This is the thing with children--they make liars out of you!! So, while his vocabulary has, at times, expanded to "cracker" and "GO!", he rarely repeats it, especially in front of others. He definitely babbles all the time and I love hearing him from his car seat in the car. I always wonder what he is saying and I look forward to actually knowing!!

SLEEPYTIME
Cub goes to bed around 8:00-8:30ish and sleeps until 7:30-8:00ish. Normally. There are always blips and blurps and setbacks (like, say, a trip to Aruba), but he typically adjusts back to normal and we very much appreciate that!! He sleeps with his favorite stuffed animal, "Mr. Lion", who is only a sleepytime friend. As soon as I pick Cub up out of his crib, we say goodnight to Mr. Lion and toss him back in. Mr. Lion is not allowed to leave Cub's crib (with the exception of travel, as I've mentioned in earlier posts) as I do not want him dragging him across the stage with him at his college graduation. :) His naps have wittled down to one, and he typically sleeps from 11:30 or so until 1:30 or 2:00ish. It's working out pretty well!

FOOD
Cub still eats like he has the palette of a 35 year old frenchman. Yesterday he ate cherry tomatoes as his snack. CHERRY TOMATOES. I didn't start liking those until I was in college. I'm not sure where Cub's appreciation for all things gourmet comes from, but I can guarantee you that we are continuing to attempt to expand that appreciation, as we realize one day he will wake up and only want a banana. Because he LOVES bananas. Filet mignon, yes please, with a side of banana. Sliced. He drinks around 16 ounces of milk every day. I don't make him finish his milk before he eats (the doctor said his calories come primarily from his food AND too much milk will make him him full and not want normal food) so he typically drinks it throughout his meal, so he still gets the needed amount. And I warm up his bedtime milk. He drinks it cold just fine, but for some reason, I think warm milk at bedtime just sounds good. A silly Mom thing, I guess!

So! There you have it! Random Cub updates. Now I must go--time to play!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Get Ready--This One Is Long.

On the night of Cub's first birthday last week, I sat in the bathroom, nervously eyeing the pregnancy test setting next to me on the counter. I took a deep breath and said a prayer. I prayed for calm nerves and, most importantly, peace. Peace with whatever the test revealed. I thanked God for the life I had now--for our home, our family. And I told Him I was truly satisfied with my life and grateful for it. I again took a deep breath, and this time it was out of contentment. Life is good. And I'm so thankful for what we have.

And the test was positive.

I gasped. The tears rushed to my face before I could stop them and I laughed and sobbed at the same time. My poor husband came running into the bathroom to check on me and, not wanting to ruin the surprise, I said (with a huge smile on my face and tears streaming down my cheeks), "Oh, I'm just not feeling well!" Yeah. Great fake, Katie. He peeked at the test in my hands and asked me if I was happy or sad. More tears came as I smiled and nodded. Then we both cried.

That's right friends. We're pregnant. Five weeks, to be exact.

:)

So, of course, there are questions involved once you make an announcement like that. Like, "WHAT?? So SOON??" and "You're telling at only FIVE weeks??" Okay, okay, those questions have been the exception rather than the norm (the reception has been overwhelmingly positive), but I figured this is a good vehicle through which to explain myself, as such an announcement often renders some sort of explanation.

Firstly, the "WHAT?? So SOON??" question.

Why, thank you for asking! Yes, Cub and le bebe will be close--twenty months apart, to be exact. Four months short of two years. I don't have a deep, philosophical or even logical explanation as to how we calculated the precise time to conceive (because we didn't), other than the fact that we simply want our kids close together. Yes, we know it will be chaotic, especially at first. Yes, we know we will have two in diapers. No, I'm not sure if I will be seeing straight when all is said and done. However, we're more excited than anything. We are, obviously, very aware of the "adventure" that lies ahead with two little ones, but we're so excited to jump in. And, who knows. Maybe after le bebe comes, we'll decide we were insane and wait a little longer for the next, if we choose to expand our little pack beyond two.

Also, a big factor in the decision is Cub himself. His personality just rocks. He IS his father's son. He's mellow and, well, easy. I realize toddlerhood brings a whole new slew of challenges and we're geared up for that. But, the truth of the matter is that Cub is just a low-maintenance, content baby. And we realize that. If Cub had, say, MY personality, perhaps we would be waiting longer to add another baby. :) Cub is the reason we want another baby. And he is also the reason we feel as confident as we do in having another one so soon.

Secondly! "You're telling at only FIVE weeks??"

Yes, yes, I know, we're seven weeks shy of the kosher twelve weeks. Believe it or not, there is an actual reason we are telling so soon, even though I don't believe you need a reason at all. People should be able to make the announcement whenever they want--it's a personal decision. But, like I said, we do have a reason. As many of you know, I miscarried in December 2007 and at the time, we didn't know why. In February 2008, I found out I was pregnant (with Cub) and six weeks into the pregnancy, my progesterone began to drop dangerously low. The doctor immediately put me on a progesterone supplement (that made me just a liiiiiiiiiiiittle crazy) and, as the previous pregnancy had ended at six weeks, they assumed the low progesterone was the culprit. So, this time around, the doctor is being extremely cautious. As soon as his office opened the next day after I found out I was pregnant, I called and they immediately sent me to our local hospital for blood work. That was last week. Everything looked good, thankfully, but I went in again today to check it again, as I am nearing the six week mark. Next week I will actually see the doctor and we will have my first ultrasound.

So, for us, the process of going to the doctor (and the hospital) began immediately. We wanted our friends and family to know so they could pray for Baby Baskins and go through this journey with us. And, once the cat is out of the bag, you might as well just tell everyone!! We are very aware that our pregnancy at this moment is considered high-risk and we're praying we make it through these next few weeks.

And, amidst all of the explanations and the questions and the "right" or "wrong" way of doing things, we are confident that, at this moment, this is God's plan for us. We prayed from day one that God would bless us with another baby only if it was His will and we were constantly (and are still constantly) so grateful for Cub and the joy our one baby boy has brought to our lives. There were several weeks of prayer and truly handing this desire over to Him, piece by piece. I found myself going to my knees and surrendering that desire. More than a baby, I wanted to trust God's plan. And His sovereignty. And it was only when I was truly, and I mean TRULY at peace with whatever He had in store, did we conceive.

And we still don't know how this will end. We never know how things will end. But we rejoice in the moment, in this moment, when I'm in the nursery rocking Cub and the precious baby inside of me at the same time. And we praise God for this moment.

And, we pray for more of these moments to come.

Party Pinwheels.

Cub's first birthday party was this weekend. WOW. It was fun, but I'm exhausted! It was so great to see his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts and uncles and great grandparents gather to celebrate the first year of his life. We did a family-only party--and there were almost 30 people there!

Since there were going to be mostly adults in attendance, my menu included pinwheels, black bean and cheese quesadillas (on garlic herb tortillas) with peach salsa, a veggie tray, boneless buffalo wings, and, of course, lil' smokies. Because if all else fails, lil' smokies are difficult to ruin.

Although I'm sure I'd find a way. :)

Anyway. So! Here are the step-by-step instructions for the pinwheels that I made. They were super-easy and quite delicious, if I may say so myself!

Roast Beef and Red Pepper Pinwheels

1 jar roasted red peppers
1 package large tortillas
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 package thinly sliced roast beef
1 bag leaf spinach

On a tortilla (I used jalapeno cheddar tortillas--just a little kick!) spread a thin layer of cream cheese.

Add a layer of thinly sliced roast beef, keeping the slices away from the edge (it will be excess anyway).

Sprinkle a layer of spinach leaves, stems removed.

Add roasted red peppers in a line that matches the direction you will be rolling.

Roll the tortilla tightly.

Wrap the rolled tortillas in either plastic wrap or tinfoil. I prepped mine the day before so all I had to do was slice them up on the big day!


Remove from wrapper and slice in 1/2 inch slices. Enjoy watching them disappear!!

On some of the rolls, I removed the red pepper and used turkey instead of roast beef, to give some variety.

The theme was "King of the Jungle", so my antique wooden carved lazy susan fit right in to hold my chocolate cupcakes. I even attempted homemade frosting. Hmmm. It tasted good, but the consistency was a tad ... dry. Thankfully I had some white frosting stashed in the cupboard for back up!!



Most importantly, Cub enjoyed his first sweet treat. And even avoided smearing it in his hair. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Savory Sweets.

Tonight before we left her house, my mother-in-law graciously stocked my husband and I with pumpkin cookies. She makes the BEST pumpkin cookies. Seriously. They are moist and tasty and have a dollop of frosting on top. I love them. I hadn't encountered pumpkin cookies until I met my husband in college. And, obviously, I'm hooked.

My Mom always made pumpkin bars when I lived at home. Mmmm. She would slice through the thick deliciousness and serve up a wedge of yummy that tasted just like fall. The cream cheese frosting put the whole thing over the top. YUM.

As you can see, I love fall-y foods. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie ... yeah pretty much everything with pumpkin. And then there's cinnamon! Snickerdoodles, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread ... I absolutely love the sweet treats that accompany fall and welcome us into winter.

And, while I love me some good pumpkin and cinnamon, my favorite cookies to make when the days get chilly are Russian Tea Cakes.


Of course, in my classy and refined household, we refer to them as "Snowballs".

I loved making these as a kid and I still love to make them as an adult. The powdered sugar and real butter melt in your mouth and I always stash an M&M in the center to finish off the experience with a bit of chocolate. Because every good experience should be finished off with a bit of chocolate, in my book. The true recipe includes walnuts, which I don't exactly love, so I just omit the walnut and toss in the M&M. An adequate trade, in my opinion.

So! What about you? What is your favorite treat of the season?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ay-men!

I've been trying to think of a way to pray with Cub and so far my ideas have been few and far between. Sure, I can hold him and say a prayer at bedtime and such, but I wanted a tangible way for him to begin to know who we were praying for. I had heard of a prayer book before, using pictures and simple words, and I was reminded again of it this week. So, Cub and I loaded up and headed to Hobby Lobby for supplies. After some sticking and trimming, I think our little project for the day turned out quite nicely.

Of course, I say "our project" loosely. He sat and watched me while I did everything. And he giggled. And raised his arms over his head to show me he was SO BIG! Also known as THROW IT IN THE PAN! when we play patty cake.

Anyway. When I finished, I sat on the floor with him and we opened the book. And it was AWESOME to see how his face lit up with each picture. He recognized each one and giggled and pointed. It was so cool! I know this book is going to go through the ringer and I'm seriously considering wrapping each page in packaging tape, but for now, it's a go!

(The cover!)

(The First Page!)

(Parents!)

(Extended Family! Grandparents on both sides! Uncles! Aunt! Cousins!)

(Friends!)

This was so fun to make and I know we'll treasure it as he grows older. Yay for fun projects on cold, rainy, autumn days!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ...



Cubbie meets the sea.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Babies On A Plane.

This past week, Cubbie embarked on his first international flight. We had a one hour flight and then met a connecting flight that lasted almost five hours and took us to the sandy beaches of Aruba. And, we survived! We did it!

Key word: SURVIVED.

So, after this experience, I thought I would share some tips and pointers that helped us along the way. You know--sharing ideas and stuff. Here it goes.

Firstly: Know the seatbelt guidelines of the airline!



Cub was a ticketed passenger, which means his seat was paid for. Babies under the age of two do not need their own ticket--they can simply sit on your lap. But, given the length of the flight, we thought it would be best to have as much space as possible, hence, Cub got a seat. Only after his ticket was purchased did we realize that he would need to have an FAA certified car seat in his seat so he could be buckled in. BECAUSE! Every ticketed passenger must be able to buckle up legally. Ah yes. So, I brought Cub's infant car seat, that he still miraculously fits into, rather than his huge Britax convertible car seat. Thankfully, the flight attendants were very kind and allowed us to either hold Cub or put him in his seat during take-off and landing, so having the extra space paid off. I was worried he'd have to be strapped in the entire time, but that wasn't the case at all.

Secondly: Accept the reality of what is about to happen.

Whether in their nursery, on a merry-go-round, or on a plane, a one year old is bound to get bored after being in exactly the same place for almost five hours. Five hours is just a long time to be stuck ANYWHERE, much less a crowded and cramped plane. I went into it thinking that if we kept him entertained enough, he'd be an angel the entire time. But, the reality was, as I mentioned before, five hours is a LONG TIME. Cub got sleepy but didn't fall asleep easily on the plane. So, he had his moments of crying. And the crying TERRIFIED me and I felt so bad for everyone around me. Needless to say, we both spent some time crying in the lavatory in the back of the plane! But, all things considered, he really did do well on the plane. He cooed at the fellow passengers and played with his toys. He did as well as I would expect any one year old to do.

Thirdly: Be gracious.

As I mentioned before, Cub had some crying fits on the plane. And, as I mentioned before, it terrified me for the sake of the other passengers. But I learned that if I tried to calm him down, or if I walked him, or if I took him to the back, then the other passengers could at least see that I was aware of the situation and that I was doing what I could to rectify it. Obviously babies cry. It's what they do. But I do not necessarily expect all of the other passengers to understand that and give me sympathy. Let them know that you recognize that it can be frustrating. I even took the step of apologizing to a couple sitting in front of us. They were extremely gracious and told me he was doing great and that they could barely hear him (which I believed, since his cry is about as powerful as an aggravated kitten)! We Moms always think it is worse than it is. But it is always a good idea to remember those around you.

Fourthly: Dress the part.

I love wearing cute dresses. I just do. So, naturally, for the flight home, I slipped on a cute sundress and focused more on looking like a competent mom, rather than dressing like one. Not necessarily a great idea. I'm not saying you have to wear pajamas, but when your entire day is going to be spent either on a plane, in line, or in an airport, comfort is key. You never know where you're going to have to change a diaper or what you're going to have to bend over and pick up. People will know you're a competent Mom based on your child, not based on what you're wearing. Anyone can dress stylishly. But not everyone can take care of their children well while traveling! I found myself being very self-conscious when I had to sit or squat or do whatever else is required to handle a one year old! I wore jeans and a cute top (and my TOMS) on the flight down there, and I wish I would have done the same on the way home!

Fifthly: Bring out the toys!



We purchased a handful of toys and gadgets in the dollar aisle at Target and introduced them slowly to Cub throughout the flight. From slinkys to tape measures to ribbon, every toy we brought kept him entertained for at least a little while. Use that one toy as long as you can before introducing the next! We also brought along Baby Einstein, which Cub only watched a few times, but it was still helpful to have as a back-up. Also, utilize what is around you. Cub loved to play with the latch on the tray table, the shade on the window, and the safety instruction booklet tucked in the pocket below the tray. Utilize it all!

Sixthly: Familiarity is a good thing.


We brought Cub's "Mr. Lion" (a stuffed animal that Cub's grandparents brought him from Ecuador--it is made of alpaca fur! Very soft!) that he sleeps with at night. It helped to calm him down and also gave him something familiar to keep with him. Mr. Lion is usually ONLY a bedtime toy, meaning he can't have it outside of the crib (we don't want him dragging around Mr. Lion everywhere he goes), but we definitely made an exception for this trip!

Seventhly: Stay calm.

Just do. The baby feeds off of you. I was not calm at first on the flights. I was freaked out. I cried in the lavatory, after all! I thought it would be easier to hold it together, but, in reality, I was tired, too!! So, give yourself a break and take a deep breath. It's going to be fine.

There you have it! Helpful hints for a long trip with an almost-toddler. Babies change quickly and don't nap as easily everywhere the older they get, so get ready for an adventure if you fly for a long time.

So, would I do it again? Would I take Cub to Aruba?

Absolutely.

Having him there with us was a blast. Sure, it was more work, but being able to experience such a cool place WITH him was awesome. We had my in-laws there as well, which definitely made it easier, too!



Have a lovely day!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Year.

Dear Cub,

Good grief. I'm already crying.

One year ago, your Dad, giddy with joy, videotaped me as I waddled into the emergency room, thirty-seven weeks pregnant. Fifteen hours later, we met you for the first time. We were there when God gave you your first breath while simultaneously taking ours away for a moment. Time stood still and in the blink of an eye, we two became three. The couple became a family. 



We weren't exactly sure what was in store for all of us. Parenting was a new thing for us and, as was predicted, it held its fair amount of challenges. We expected that. But, what caught us off guard was the joy that was in store for us as well. No one could have told us enough how much joy you would bring to our lives. Your Dad laughs more than I've ever seen him laugh. You are his delight. You've brought more smiles to my face and more tears of joy to my eyes in this past year than I've ever experienced before. And trust me--I'm a crier. So that's saying something! :)



Over the past year, your Dad and I have watched our names morph into simply "Cub's parents" and we are so proud to hold that title.



When I think of how you've changed over this past year, my mind is overwhelmed with the enormity of it. Watching you open your eyes. Watching you smile. Seeing you roll for the first time. Watching your little finger wrap around mine. Seeing your little head pop up in the crib. Watching your personality burst through and keep on bursting through as you continue to grow. I remember all of the milestones--sleeping through the night, sitting up, drinking from a sippy cup, taking solid food, crawling, and now, walking. You took eight steps yesterday and four more today, several times. I can't believe it.



But, when I think about your first year, what I think of the most is, again, that joy. This past year we have walked through some huge challenges. We've passed through moments of pain, fear, and rejoicing. Life felt inconsistently unpredictably frustrating at times, but you were still our happy baby boy through all of it. God showed His overwhelming love and faithfulness during those times. And we're so glad you were here with us, too.



God is so good. And He loves you, Cub. Oh, He loves you.

You are friendly, timid, bold, and cautious. You are quiet but full of joy. You are independent but are an amazing cuddler. You are meticulous yet boisterous, small and sweet. We've seen this from the beginning and you continue to show it as you grow. We still remember your first giggles and belly laughs. I'm pretty sure our hearts melted. They still melt.



You aren't the only one who has undergone growth this past year. I've always been a sister, a friend, a daughter, and now later in life, a wife. But you gave me a new title: Mom. Being your mother has been the most empowering experience of my life. Trusting God with your growth and your life has grown my faith and grown my confidence. I'm bolder now than I've ever been. It's hard to explain, but the person I was before you were born and the person I am now are a little different. And I like this new person more. Being your Mom has truly changed my life.



Cub, I can't imagine my life without you. Your Dad and I both can't. We don't remember what life was like before we met you and we don't miss it. To imagine you out of our lives is unthinkable. In fact, it is something that, for a while, would grip me with fear. I couldn't bear the thought of ever losing you. And then, one morning, God calmed my fears. In a quiet moment, He gently pushed me back to joy. The joy that is you. And I realized that no, we can't ever imagine life without you. But, what I do realize, is the life that we've had with you. The fact that we even met in the first place. Those late nights and the cuddling and the laughter and the joy. Those moments are gifts that were never promised to us and yet, in His grace, God chose to allow us to live them. And nothing can ever take those moments away.




So, here we are. It all started a year ago and now, thousands of diapers, lots of late nights, millions of little laughs, TWO teeth and ten steps later, we stand at one year, looking forward to the moments of joy ahead, and not forgetting the moments of joy that brought us here. We love you, Cub.



Happy Birthday.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, October 10, 2009

ONE!

It's midnight, which means Cubbie is officially ONE!!!!!!!!



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ...



My pumpkin at the pumpkin patch!

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Can Find Me By the Mulberry Bush.

On Saturday I headed to Target with a mission in mind. I parked the car, walked through the sliding doors, and headed past the bright red carts towards my destination.

What was it? you ask. A cute scarf? New shoes? Fall decor? Overpriced hair products?

No. Sadly, friends, no.

I bypassed the clothing, veered away from the shoes, turned my chin up to the home decor and stopped in the electronics section. I took a deep breath, pursed my lips, and stood in front of a section I maybe vowed to never see:

Children's Music.

Memories. Oh, the memories. Memories of my Mom secretly grimacing as my brother and I excitedly begged her to play "our" music in the car. Memories of singing those songs at the top of our lungs, trying to keep up with the kids' voices on the tape. Now, as a parent, I realize that Wow. Mom was a trooper.

I cocked my head to the side, silently scanning my options. Finally, after a few moments of consideration, my arm convinced my hand to reach out and grab this:


A hippo with a camera! A horse with a suitcase! A flamingo with a compass! Let's get on the road, folks!

You see, Cub loves music. LOVES music. Loves songs. Loves for me to sing to him. Old MacDonald cracks him up. Oh, Mr. Moon keeps diaper changes full of giggles. And that one french lullaby is still a guarantee to get him to sleep. Everything from cheesy little made-up songs to old school hymns are amongst his favorite. So, I figured I'd change things up a bit in the car and have something specifically for him. I actually don't mind it (yet). It's fun to remember songs like I've Been Workin' On the Railroad and Camptown Races. The first CD of many, I'm sure. And the grin I see reflecting in his mirror stands as my assurance that this was a wise purchase, despite the fact that kids' music can be, well, very, very, VERY annoying. That little grin is worth it. 

So, move over Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama. There's a new band in town.

And by the looks of it, they take their job quite seriously. :)


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Where in the World?

The first trip I really remember was down into the Baja California region of Mexico. My grandparents built a house there and we would go there frequently. The house backed up to huge cliffs that dropped down to empty beaches. We had to drop a rope down the cliffs and climb down in order to get down there. Needless to say, Mexico was always an adventure. Don't drink the water, and, don't fall off the cliff.

When I was in fourth grade, we drove across the country from California to Vermont. We stopped at several places along the way, like the Black Hills of South Dakota and Niagara Falls. We drove into Quebec and Ontario and visited a cabin my Dad's family had built decades ago on a remote lake. It was rustic, to say the least, and I loved it. We canoed, fished, and fed the chipmunks. We flew to Vermont several times throughout my lifetime to visit family there, but I still think that road trip was better than flying. 

My senior year of high school, my graduation gift was to hike the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim in one day. It was amazing.

When I was in college, I traveled to Europe for the first (and, so far, the only) time. We landed in Paris and stayed there for a few days before boarding the TGV and heading to Zurich, Switzerland. We stayed in Zurich for only one night and then boarded a normal, slower train for our trip into Salzburg, Austria. We had Rick Steve's "Europe Through The Back Door" as our guide and almost the entire trip was improvised, booking hotels only when we arrived in each city and living out of backpacks we carried the entire time. No tour groups and no suitcases to lug around. As I get older, I realize how adventurous my parents were. We listened to a string quartet in Salzburg that played in a marble hall with such smooth acoustics that you couldn't tell when one song ended and the next song began. The sound simply swirled throughout the room. From Salzburg's cobblestone streets we boarded another train for Vienna. Vienna was big, and busy. The United States declared war on Iraq as my brother and I sat in our hotel room, watching the bombing of Baghdad on our small TV screen. Protesters filled the town square outside of our window. We didn't venture out that night. We took a couchette train from Vienna back to Paris and then we flew home.

That next summer I went on my first cruise. I liked Cozumel the best.

We went to Disneyworld for our honeymoon. That was my first time to go to Florida. I can't say I love Florida, but I loved Disneyworld and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. The Mummy ride scared me to death.

I went to the Bahamas last summer for the first time when I was 22 weeks pregnant. No matter how cute maternity swimsuits are, it is difficult to feel cute when you are shaped like a boat. My husband actually dug a hole in the sand for my stomach so I could lay on my tummy. Good grief.

Of all the places I have seen (and I feel like I haven't seen that many--the world is so BIG!), the Grand Canyon is still my favorite. Funny, huh. What I love about the Grand Canyon is the fact that it holds such breathtaking beauty in such an unexpected place. Deserts are dry and barren. But canyons in the desert are stunning. Even in the dry places, beauty exists.

I like to travel. I like to see new places and experience different cultures. If I had my way, every vacation we would ever take would be educational, studying the history and the culture of every place we visit. If my husband had his way, every trip we took would be, well, a vacation. Relaxation at every turn! He typically wins.

So. I've shared a bit about my travels. What about you? This is my open-ended post for the week. Where is your favorite place in the world? Do you travel more for fun or for the educational aspect of it?

And the Survey Says: Communion Wine!

The baby is asleep and I am sitting in bed with the laptop, so I figured I'd do a little taggy-tag survey thing from my friend over at Sassy Times. Then I will do something productive. :)
1. Who was your first prom date? His name was Justin and he was very tall.

2. Do you still talk to your first love? I can't say that I've ever felt about anyone the way I feel about my husband. So, yes, I still talk to my husband, quite frequently. :) 

3. What was your first alcoholic drink? Wine during Communion at a Reformed Church in Vermont. I was in grade school and realized very quickly this wasn't the typical run-of-the-mill Communion grape juice. 

4. What was your first job? Barnett's Dairyette. I made a mean strawberry shake. 

5. What was your first car? I inherited our 1990 Mazda MPV and when it finally died, I drove a 2000 Chevy Cavalier. 

6. Who was the first person to text you today? No texts yet today! It's a Festivus miracle! :)

7. Who was the first person you thought of this morning? My husband because he accidentally whacked me in the face while he was sleeping.

8. Who was your first grade teacher? Mrs. Banks. She was wonderful and had a very gentle voice. She was pregnant when we started school and then she miscarried. I still remember holding her hand while she told us about it, while we all sat around her in a circle on the floor. She had tears in her eyes and we all cried, too, even though none of us really knew what a miscarriage was. We just knew she had her baby too early and now her baby was with Jesus. Wow, my eyes got teary just remember that! I liked her a lot.

9. Where did you go on your first flight in a plane? I think it would have been from California to Vermont when I was in kindergarten. The pilot showed us the cockpit and I remember thinking there were SO MANY BUTTONS. I don't think they let you do that anymore, do they?

10. Who was your first best friend and do you still talk? Alayna in Kindergarten. She moved after Kindergarten and we lost touch.

11. Where was your first sleepover? Alayna's house. I hated sleepovers and would never spend the night at anyone else's house. I was so afraid. I think I had a lot of childhood anxiety!! I got over it, though. It was a fun party. :)

12. Who was the first person you talked to today? My husband when I woke him up. He has made me his official alarm clock. 

13. Whose wedding were you in for the first time? My second cousin Paul's. I was four and I was a flower girl. I loved my dress.

14. What was the first thing you did this morning? Took a shower! Yippee! :)

15. What was the first concert you went to? Pops In the Park in San Diego. I was six, I think.

16. First tattoo? None yet. I keep saying I want one, but I've never done anything about it. Meh.

17. First piercing? My first holes in my ears when I was fifteen. That's right, FIFTEEN. I was a bit of a tomboy before then, I think. Which is kind of funny to think about now. I got my second holes in college when my good friend pierced them for me. No, it didn't hurt, no they didn't get infected, and yes, I still have them! I keep tiny diamond studs in them.

18. First foreign country you went to? Mexico (my grandparents owned a house there) and Canada (my Dad's family built a VERY RUSTIC cabin in Ontario), and beyond that ... the Netherlands on our way to Paris when I was in college.

19. First movie you remember seeing? Hmmm ... that's tough. I remember seeing 101 Dalmatians in the theatre. I had a pink t-shirt with Lucky on the front of it. I loved Lucky the best.

20. What state (province) did you first live in? California.

21. Who was your first room mate? Maggie, our freshman year of college.

22. When was your first detention? We didn't have detention at my school!

23. When was your first kiss? Cody in eighth grade. He was a jerk and he broke my heart. I'm over it now. :)

24. What is one thing you would learn, given the chance? I wish I could play more on the guitar.

25. Who will be the next person to post this? Whoever has time on their hands!

These Shoes Were Made For Walking.

The other day, my mother-in-law and I were discussing baby things and she asked me if I had ever seen a pair of Walking Shoes. I gave her a blank stare and admitted that, No, I've never even heard of Walking Shoes. She began describing them to me and then stated that she hasn't seen any babies wearing Walking Shoes in a while, but that they used to have them all the time to help babies as they learned to walk. Aha! Hence the name!

Given that I only recently learned the difference between rompers/jumpers/sleepers, I thought that perhaps I was simply out of the loop with this Walking Shoe thing. So, I called a good friend of mine and asked her if she had heard of shoes that help babies as they learned to walk. She said Yes! and proceeded to describe something totally different than what my mother-in-law had described.

While out and about later that day, I stumbled upon them. Walking shoes.
They are, apparently, very white and very sturdy. Hard soles, tough leather for ankle support, and, um, they are all white. I'm not sure why they are all white. Hmm. Anyway. They help with ankle support and steadiness, I presume. Because soft soles? NO SUPPORT.

Then I stumbled upon the type of shoe that my friend had described to me:


Very not-sturdy, soft leather soles (like a moccasin), and cute. Cub actually owns a pair like this. They are soft as to allow the baby to learn to walk as though they were barefoot. Because hard soles? HARD WITH WALKING.

Just for kicks, I asked some friends of mine at church about walking shoes the next day. Moms of older children knew what they were, and moms who were my age hadn't heard of them. For the most part. 

Yet another example of how opinions about what is best for babies/toddlers/kids changes and morphs over time. I'm sure Cub's kids will be wearing walking shoes that lace up to their knees and come with removable tread. And cupholders.

What about you? What do you think of when you hear "walking shoe"?