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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tearing Up the Driveway

Funny thing happens when you have a second child. You don't manage to get near as many pictures as you did with an only child. On Christmas morning, Husband was busy between the camcorder and webcam with Grandpa and Grandma M at the other end of the broadcast. I was busy overseeing the frenzied wrapping paper ripping and getting increasingly backlogged with toys stuck in their little Fort Knox boxes. What is with those gosh-awful dura-tough twist tie wire things? And why, in the name of all that is good, do they have to use SO MANY of them to package toys these days? SHEESH! At several points Grandpa H, Grandma H, and I were all three simultaneously going at a toy that refused to be extricated. There were random exclamations of, "I need scissors!" "I need a screwdriver!" "How many of these stupid wires are on here?" and lots of mumbling under the breath. Meanwhile, the three-year-old and one-year-old both added their squeals of excitement over what new treasures they just unwrapped and squeals of dismay over not being able to get their little hands around them until the adults could figure out how to get them out of their boxes.

We didn't manage to get many pictures. Here are a couple of Daugher tearing up the driveway with her new mini micro scooter. Last summer she admired the "big kids" on their scooters, and she would say, "Maybe when I get bigger I can have a scooter!" This little scooter is perfect for her size with a wide foot bed and set low to the ground. She's getting pretty good at it despite the annoying rocks left over from the city's attempts to "help" with the three inches of ice that covered our neighborhood at the beginnig of the month. The ice is long gone, but those irritating rocks, I fear, will linger for a good long while. Good thing I gave up rollerblading.

On the third day following Christmas I have finally plowed the house out from under cardboard boxes and wire twist-ties and wrapping paper scraps. Yesterday I began trying to organize and put away the toys. The few spaces in our "great room" that still held items belonging to the adults were demoted to remote corners and boxes as I filled them with toys and books and puzzles, and games. As I've said before, it's a good thing to have a "great room" in order to contain the kids' "great" deal of stuff. As we continue our house hunting, Daughter now says, "We need to get a bigger house so we have room for all the toys!"

It was a great celebration, and we are very blessed. I think of the children in the world who have no idea what it is like to have so many toys that there is not enough space to contain them, and I am overwhelmed with our abundance.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

I’ve read the Christmas story or heard it in church nearly every year of my 34 years of life. That’s a lot of times. This morning, however, I heard it a little differently. It was, in part, the way it was shared (thanks to our contemporary, no-putting-on-airs church). I think it was also in part because this is the first coherent Christmas I’ve experienced as the mother of a baby boy (last Christmas was anything but coherent). Prior to this morning, I never even considered what it would have been like to be Mary, holding her son, the Baby Jesus, knowing the fate that was before Him. This morning, however, I heard the story of Jesus’ birth through a mother’s heart, and I haven’t been able to cuddle my son ever since without pausing to try to imagine how Mary might have felt. I end up feeling something indescribable, albeit, I’m sure, nothing close to what Mary must have felt. As I rocked my baby boy to sleep tonight, I admired his innocent, sleeping baby face in the glow of the night-light, and I paused on the thought of how much God loves us to have entered into the world in the most lowly and least visible way possible and die in the most visible way possible. Graphic scenes from The Passion of the Christ haunted me. Being unable to grasp any of these concepts, I settled on the thought of how much I love my children, which is more than I can describe in any words. Then, just when I thought I was close to being able to understand it, I considered that God loves my children—and me—even more. That’s when it eluded me again. Elusive as these concepts are, I’m reminded of how God uses our marriages and families to deepen our understanding of Him, and I am thankful for the deeper understanding of the birth of Christ that I’ve gained through my relationship with my baby boy.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Old Mom Complex

Being an “old” mom really stinks sometimes. Like when I feel tired all the time and have to schedule coloring the gray out of my hair between my one-year-old’s naps (but hey, that still sounds much better than fitting it between my new-born’s nursings, which is how I used to do it).

Yesterday I was playing games with Daughter on her new Nitro Notebook, and before long my eyes were heavy and I simply couldn’t stay awake. Since I used to believe only “old” people fell asleep while sitting up in their chairs, I momentarily tried to delude myself that I was wrong before and that semi-young-ish people who are parents to young children also fall asleep in their chairs. Then I quit deluding myself and I accepted that being 35 years old without children may still be considered semi-young, but being just weeks away from becoming a 35 year old mother with a three-year-old and a just-turned-one-year-old turns me into an “old” mom and escorts me through the right of passage that grants me permission to fall asleep sitting in my chair.

Other thirty-something moms, after all, are typically ranting about the challenges of parenting teenagers while I am still elbow deep in poopy diapers. Not that I am anxious for my kids to become teenagers. I am honestly terrified of the thought and in serious denial at this stage of my life about my kids EVER becoming teenagers. Nonetheless, my thirty-something counterparts will be empty-nesting by the time they approach forty while I will still be busy doing elementary science projects with my kids. Heck, I won't be empty-nesting until it's time to move into the "old folk's " home.

A couple months ago I considered just letting the gray go and doing the whole “salt and pepper” thing. I even convinced myself it would look distinguished and might even be a positive image change for my career as a licensed professional counselor. Then I took a poll among the adolescent girls I work with at their group home (since some of them have noted my gray roots), and they all shot down the salt and pepper idea. So I colored it again. This morning, as I eyed the inch and a half of gray roots that have re-appeared, I wondered when I could make the time to color again and debated whether I was more tired or more vain. Old mothers of small children who also have part-time careers really have enough to manage without having to add coloring their gray hair to the list. I think I need to poll a new audience about the salt and pepper thing. Meanwhile, it seems that coloring the gray this weekend will depend on whether or not I can keep my eyes open long enough between Son’s naps to accomplish the deed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, "Bub"!

Li'l Bub is one year old today! Last night I went to bed early and with great relief that I was not instead in labor and heading to triage and about to stay up all night giving birth like last year. Today I have had recurring waves of relief throughout the day that I am not a few hours postpartum chained to wires and a catheter bag with a newborn screaming to be fed and changed every 90 minutes. Today, on the first birthday of my wee-est one, I have also looked on him with overwhelming love and adoration and thankfulness for the beautiful healthy baby he is.

We had a great birthday bash for "The Bub." When Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat come, we like to throw really long parties that last for days. At Daughter's 3rd birthday, she woke up on day three or four (the morning that Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat had left), and as she lifted her sleepy head from her pillow, the first words out of her mouth were, "Is it sill my birthday party?"

To be fair, this time we were also celebrating a little early Christmas with G. Uncle Ron and G. Aunt Pat, which was followed by a birthday party for "The Bub."

Li'l Bub is starting to walk as long as he can cling to something for support. He can't decide if he'd rather push his new Thomas engine or ride on him. One thing he does know for sure, however, is that there better not be anything in his way, or he will get mad and tell the whole world about it.



We had a "Bub--I mean Bob--the Builder" theme.





Don't be fooled by the pictures. Son really does not like cake. He liked playing in it, but a taste or two was as close as he got to eating it. He made faces and spit it out. This is the same little boy who scarfs broccoli by the handful and prefers anything green in the vegetable family to dessert. This also the same boy who tasted his first raw tomato the day after he tasted his first birthday cake. The cake got spit out while the tomato was gnoshed. I wonder what the odds are that his taste preferences will last through toddlerhood and beyond?

Christmas Cookies




















Daughter had fun making cut out cookies with Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat last weekend. We got a little funky with the icing colors. Notice the purple, pink, and orange. I've always preferred to march to the beat of my own drum. We used Great Grandma H's cookie cutters. It was Daughter's first time making Christmas cookies. We found out that a little icing goes a long, long, long way. You had to be there.

Friday, December 08, 2006

COLD!

It's been cold, cold, cold around here. It was two degrees this morning when we woke up. Good thing Great Grandma made new stocking caps for the kids...especially "Lil Bub" who doesn't yet have much hair to keep his head very warm, as you can see in the picture of him talking to the cows in the backyard.

Snow Princess

That's my girl, making snow angels. She loves the snow as much as I do. Our first snow of the year was last weekend. We only got a few inches. A couple of them were truly snow, and the rest
were sleet and ice. That's what I hate about the so called "snow" around here that I really loved about the snow in Idaho. In Idaho it snowed like it meant it, not like it couldn't make up its mind.






Ah, well. Guess we gotta take what we can get.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Dolt

Daughter: "Mommy, it's gonna be a long time until I'm a dolt like you."

Me: "A dolt?"

Daughter: "Yeah! It's gonna be a long time before I'm a dolt like you and Daddy!"

Me: (blinking my eyes blankly and looking, I'm sure, quite like a dolt) "...Oh! You mean an ADULT?"

Daughter: "Yeah! A dolt!"

I'm sure it probably is the same difference in the eyes of a three year old.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lingering...

It’s been awhile since I felt that old ache. I made it through the decision that Son had outgrown his exersaucer with little more than a feeling of relief in being able to let go of another piece of cumbersome baby equipment. I’m handling the two additional teeth finally poking through Son’s gums with even more relief. The demon-baby fits have subsided. We still don’t know if they were attributable to teething or needing to poop, but hopefully it is now a moot point. Son’s budding skills at cruising the perimeters of the furniture also brings a feeling of relief. By the time spring comes around again, son will be walking well enough to make trips to the park bearable. To this point he has had to be strapped in his stroller or a park swing or held in my arms in spite of the fact that he screamed and wildly stretched his entire body toward the ground longing to roll around in the dirt while his big sister climbed the monkey bars and flew down the slides. And I simply cannot overstate the sheer RELIEF of Son’s recent achievement of sleeping from 8:30 pm until 7:30 am without waking up hungry at 6:00 am or earlier. Even the fact that son is just about done with all bottle feedings and is drinking whole cow’s milk instead of formula feels like a relief. Those $20 cans of formula add up, not to mention bottles are a major pain. Daughter never drank formula or used bottles, and it was really a lot easier that way. Even Son’s upcoming first birthday feels like a relief, as it is attached to some very strong THANK GOD! feelings of relief that I am not about to give birth as I was at this time last year. Nope, not a single hint of an ache on any of those accords.

BUT, I did feel that ache again last night as I cradled my son in my arms and rocked him to sleep. I stood by the side of his crib rocking him in my arms thinking how big he is getting, how he is pushing into size two toddler clothing already, and I noticed his legs dangling far beyond my cradling arms. I looked at his sleepy eyes growing heavier by the second as he lay contently in my embrace. I kissed his chubby cheek, his nose, his chin, the top of his fuzzy head, and I lingered. I chased a flashback of holding Daughter the same way and considered how quickly the past three years turned my newborn baby girl into a budding pre-schooler who wants to know all about constellations and outer space and tells me she wants to grow up to be an astronaut. I held Son a little closer and a little longer, and there was no relief in that moment. There was just that ache, and a deep longing to somehow make the moment last forever.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving Day Daughter was riding her tricycle around Grandpa and Grandma H's cul-de-sac and we were all breaking a sweat. I should have dressed her in short sleeves, but who'd have thought that it would have been over 70 degrees on Thanksgiving?

Friday we did our annual traditional trip to the local Ace Hardware to pick our tree out of the parking lot. Yes, I still think this is a terrible way to pick out a Christmas tree, and it really loses something in the translation of having a live tree. But life here just isn't the way it was in the Pacific Northwest...in a whole lotta ways! It was nice to have Husband home on Friday after Thanksgiving...something that hasn't happened in several years and one of the drawbacks of working in a network of banks and banking services on the busiest shopping day of the year.

We revved up the ol' '67 Chevy beast....there was some smoke and a burning smell. Husband assured it me it was just a wire that caught fire. I hoped it wasn't a wire we needed to get from point A to point B. A little more monkeying under the hood and about four attempts to jump start the old tank, and we were on our way. I love that truck. Most of you know the story and history of the truck, but some of my newer readers may not. That pickup was the one I used to ride in next to my Grandpa H on the farm in Iowa as long ago as I can remember. He bought it brand new, and I probably rode in it with him from the time I was three years old. It's made a couple trips across country to Oregon and back again. It's in it original condition...well, except for nearly 30 years of use and wear. But like everything my Grandfather owned, it was very well cared for, and it has great sentimental value for me. One day I hoped to restore it. And maybe we still will. It's not a big priority right now as it will be many years before we can drive our kids around in it, and it is definitely not an everyday run-around-town sort of vehicle.

For now we hope to just keep it running in its current condition. Husband assures me that it only needs a new battery (and I'm guessing it now needs a new wire to replace the one that went up in smoke), but since we only get it out a few times each year, he wasn't sure a new battery was worth the purchase as he figured without more use it would still require a jump to start those few times per year. And that is why it sills lives in our garage and gets to come on our annual trip to get our Christmas tree from the Ace Hardware store.

I packed the kids up in the Accord and Husband followed us to Ace so we could all pick out a tree together. It was still hot outside, so I opened the sunroof and thought about how un-festive it felt not only to go pick out a Christmas tree from the Ace Hardware parking lot but to also do so in our short sleeve shirts wiping sweat from our brows.

But despite it all...doesn't Daughter just looked pleased as punch? She reminds me so much of Little Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch that Stole Christmas.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Gingerbread Houses, Sandboxes, and Laundry

I keep having this recurring thought as the holidays continue to grow closer and I get flashbacks of the holidays a year ago: THANK GOD I'm not about to give birth!

I am hoping to actually be able to remember the holidays this year and not just remember the miserable blur that they were a year ago when I was overwhelmed with the trauma of post-surgery recovery, sleep deprivation, and a whole lot of other miserable post-birth ailments of which I will spare you the details.

That being said, I couldn't be more thankful to have a beautiful healthy son who is about to turn a year old. So there's a perspective to remember here.

I intend to enjoy the holidays and festivities thoroughly this year, and so I indulged a whim to make a gingerbread house with Daughter last weekend. I didn't actually set out with gingerbread houses in mind, but on our weekly trip to the local stuff-mart, I was picking up a box of graham crackers to make a Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake when we discovered ginger flavored graham crackers (compliments of Nabisco) and on the back of the box was a recipe for gingerbread houses. That was all it took for Daughter. We were calling Daddy up at home to see if we had powdered sugar to make the fosting-glue.

I've intended to post a note about the sanbox adventure a few weeks ago, but that all got lost in the shuffle of...well, life as I know it during the past few weeks.

Daughter really wanted to play outside but it was a bit on the chilly side, though sunny. Son was up from his nap, and wouldn't need another one for awhile. I decided to bundle up the kids and drag a blanket out to the deck where Son could play while Daughter played in the sandbox. I predicted Son would not want to stay on the blanket. I also predicted he would be very curious about the sand. I did not, however, predict that he would insist on climbing into the sandbox and belly surfing in it. He looks pleased about the whole thing, though, doesn't he. *Sigh* It wasn't worth the battle of keeping him out, so I let him be. He only tried to eat the sand once, and apparently once was all it took to convince him not to do it again. So I figured there was little harm in having two wiggly piggies covered with sand. I've given up on having a clean house anyway--at least for the next decade or so.



And since this turned out to be a mishmash post anyway, I will include a picture of Son helping with the laundry for those doting relatives that don't get to see the kids often enough. Son loves to "help" with everything these days.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One of THOSE weeks

Has is already been over a week since my last brief post? It has been crazy in my world! I've been quite focused on getting Christmas shopping done...with a good amount of shopping being done online. It's easier than trying to drag the kids around or trying to find time without the kids to shop. It's amazing how absolutely NOTHING else can get done when you have small children except for managing said children. Those who have never had a minimum of two children aged three and under probably would assume that since I only maintain an average of 8 to 10 appointments each week that I would have all kinds of time to clean my house and go shopping. Unfortunately there is considerable addtional time spent on other necessary aspects of my work such as phone calls, treatment notes, billing insurances, etc, which all has to be done from my home with my kids underfoot. This week in particular has been challenging with a whole lot of the ETC. Something about the holidays always seems to trigger at least a few of my clients into erratic behavior. I currently have two teenagers that have run away, one who landed in the hospital after trying to commit suicide, and one in the hospital for self-mutilating. I have been communicating with caseworkers, parents, and insurances in nearly every spare moment and many moments that aren't spare.

Then there is the mystery of Son's behavior in the form of frequent fuss attacks over the past 6 weeks. He had a couple good weeks in there where he was his old self consistently. Otherwise he has had these random spells that we attributed to teething in the past. Interestingly, no more teeth have found their way out of his little pink gums. Now we are attributing the fussies to needing a big ol' poop. It seems he goes in these cycles of fussies for a few days and then finally has a poop fest all day long and gets cleaned out and is happy again. At this particular time, I have one particularly strong sentiment in response to this past week: "POOP ALREADY!"

Yesterday morning Son sat in his highchair for breakfast and grimaced and pushed with the whole facial expression thing going on and cranked out more toots and noises than I've ever heard in a 15 minute time period. I was worried that his diaper was not going to contain it all and had visions of poop squishing out everywhere...you know how it happens when they crank out a doozy while they are strapped in a sitting position and it squishes up their backside. Yet when I got brave enough to change his diaper, it was like a phantom poop. There was NOTHING in his diaper. I was looking under the changing table and in his clothing to find it, becuase I was sure it had to be there somewhere.

Glory be, that child has some issues with gas! He's been that way since he was a few weeks old. As I've said before, he is ALL BOY! What is especially funny is when he sits in his highchair clapping his hands and tooting. Husband starts clapping back and chanting "Hercules, Hercules!" which he reminded me was from that scene in The Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy remake) when the whole family is sitting around the dinner table and the grandfather and the kid are trying to out-fart each other and Momma Klump keeps clapping and saying "Hercules, Hercules!" Yeah, that's my boy...farting away and cheering himself on. And my husband...cheering him on, too.

And so I am out of time, and I have somehow managed to fill this entire post with descriptions of farting and pooping. Yeah, that's the kind of week it's been.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mexico?!

At bedtime tonight Daughter was gazing out the window at the Waning Gibbous and twinkly stars that hung brightly in the sky, and she said in an awe-filled voice, "Mommy, that looks like outer space!" She has a thing for Outer Space ever since seeing the "Are You My Neighbor?" Veggie Tales video. Here's how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: "Well, it IS outerspace, Sweetie Pie!"

Daughter: "Well then why aren't there any space ships out there?"

Me: "There are, but they are so far away that you can't see them!"

Daughter: "How far away is it? Is it as far as Mexico?"

Me: (Wondering where my precocious barely three-year-old learned about Mexico) "How far away do you think Mexico is?"

Daughter: "It's really far. It's as far as the park by Grandpa and Grandma's house!"

For the record, I have no idea where the Mexico thing came from...I didn't even know she knew that Mexico existed. And the park by Grandpa and Grandma's is roughly 12 miles away. Apparently when you are barely three years old, the concept of distance to places like the park, Mexico, and Outer Space feels about the same.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Direct Line

Daughter: "I heard you talking to God on the phone the other day!"

Me: (blank look as I wonder who I was really talking to and what in the world I was saying to give Daugher the impression that it was God) "Well, Sweetie, I don't think I was talking to God because I can't call Him on the telephone."

Daughter: "I can talk to Him on MY phone because I have a very PARTICULAR phone and I can just push that button and all the lights light up and I can talk to God!"

Me: "Wow, Sweetie! Can I borrow your phone sometime?"

I hope Fisher Price doesn't get wind of this!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scrub a Dub Dub...

...two monkeys in a tub. It's a competition to see who loves bathtime more. Son is definitely posing a challenge to Daughter on the issue. Truth be told, I think Mommy has them both beat...as far as her own bathtime, not bathing the monkeys. Unfortunately however, Mommy doesn't get many long hot but bubble baths anymore. Something about chasing two little monkeys around doesn't leave time for that type of leisure.

As you can see, as soon as the water starts running, Son can't wait to climb in. And then the splashing begins. We've begun throwing both the monkeys in the tub together as this saves on time and damages, however, this cannot be undertaken without at least two pairs of adult hands. One pair to hold the slippery littlest monkey, and one pair to scrub the littlest monkey while he swims, stands, splashes, squeals, and pulls every tub toy within sight into the water. The biggest monkey manages to hold her own during this time, but is quite amused at all the commotion and splashing. Truth be told, all four of us tend to get our baths at the same time this way.

Unfortunately, we were having some camera problems, so none of the pictures of both the monkeys in the water together turned out.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

10 Month Tricks

I can't help myself... Brace yourself for a few pictures! Here is my darling son practicing his proud new skills of pulling up on everything. Comes in handy for getting into Big Sister's stuff! ...And to say he is proud of himself is majorly understating it!














Here is the little darling demonstrating how he loves to attach to random objects that capture his affection and then drag them around the house.










And here is Son thoroughly enamored with his new Halloween maracas. He's been attached since the first moment he laid eyes on them. The exersaucer isn't much good for sitting in anymore since Son is MUCH too busy to stay in one place these days. But it does serve as a fun place to climb in and out of.



And Daughter is quite amused with her "googly eye" Halloween glasses.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Poking Holes

Following a previous discussion about what daycares are and the fact that some Mommies and Daddies both work all day while their kids go to daycare:

Daughter: "Why do you get to stay home with us most days, Mommy?"

Me: "Because Daddy makes enough money so that Mommy doesn't have to work all the time. Isn't that nice?"

Daughter: (Pausing to ponder a minute) "But that means Daddy has to work all the time."

...uh, yeah...well...I didn't say it was a PERFECT plan...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

100 Things About Me

  1. What can I say…I haven’t had a lot to blog about lately
  2. Which is unusual, because usually I have so much to blog about that I can’t find the time to blog it all
  3. The reason I can’t find the time is because I’m so busy chasing my 10 month old son and my 3 year old daughter
  4. My kiddos are the cutest kiddos on the planet (except yours, of course)
  5. But there are times I want to set my “cutest kiddos” on the curb with a “free to good home” sign
  6. Fortunately those moments are fleeting, and I bring them back inside before someone takes me up on it
  7. I love being a 75% SAHM
  8. I also love being a 25% professional mental health therapist
  9. Sometimes it’s hard to love my career and love being a SAHM at the same time
  10. I can’t believe people PAY ME to listen to their problems (you probably can’t believe it either)
  11. I have taught college courses as an adjunct professor
  12. I decided to let go of that position when my son’s birth was near
  13. I really miss teaching college
  14. I once used the word “ass” in front of my college class
  15. Since it was a Christian college, I had one student who accused me of cussing
  16. I don’t consider “ass” a cuss word. Fortunately, neither did the chair of my department
  17. I continue to be asked to come back and teach in spite of the “ass” incident
  18. The two best places I've lived are in the wilderness of Northern Idaho at the Canada border and near the Oregon coastline
  19. I don’t care much for the scenery of the Midwest, but the houses cost a lot less
  20. I have a bachelor’s degree in classical piano
  21. I rarely find time to play the piano much anymore (see number 3)
  22. I also have a bachelor’s degree in creative writing
  23. The only writing I find time to do is on this blog (see number 3)
  24. I also have a master’s degree in clinical psychology
  25. I was granted the award of “Outstanding Graduate Student” for the year 2002 by my college
  26. I didn’t know the award existed until I was granted it
  27. I was also granted the award of “Outstanding Psychology Graduate Student” for the year 2002 by my region’s Psychological Association
  28. I didn’t know that award existed either
  29. I didn’t study psychology in undergraduate school
  30. Not a single class—not even general psychology
  31. I had a cat that lived to be 19 ½ years old
  32. He was getting really sick from cancer, and I had to put him to sleep
  33. His name was Frederick
  34. I really miss him
  35. I’m really independent and relatively antisocial
  36. That’s why I don’t have many friends
  37. And why I don’t really care
  38. I watch Lifetime movies when I run on the treadmill
  39. It’s really irritating
  40. I can't stand it when I get sucked into one and have to miss the ending
  41. I don’t have enough time to watch a movie all the way to the end (see number 3)
  42. I have a kind and tolerant husband that will record the end of really stupid Lifetime movies for me to watch later
  43. The only network television show I ever watch is ER
  44. I don’t have time to watch television (see number 3)
  45. I hate hot weather
  46. I hated hot weather even more when I was pregnant (both times)
  47. I gained 48 pounds with my first pregnancy
  48. I lost it all
  49. It took a year and a half
  50. Two weeks later I discovered I was pregnant again
  51. We hadn’t exactly planned to get pregnant again just yet
  52. I gained 50 pounds with my second pregnancy
  53. I gave birth to my second child 10 months ago
  54. I had lost 35 pounds last time I checked
  55. I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism
  56. That explains why I can’t seem to lose the last 15 pounds
  57. I’m not giving up
  58. I started running again
  59. And lifting weights
  60. I fear being fat
  61. I ordered my husband to hide the scale because I obsess about things
  62. One time I obsessed about the Duggar family after seeing them on The Lifetime Channel
  63. It was all I talked about for several days
  64. I couldn’t let it go until I knew WHY they have 16 children
  65. I could never have 16 children
  66. Two children is just right for me
  67. My body doesn’t know how to give birth
  68. That’s why I had to tolerate two c-sections
  69. My two c-sections were the freakiest things I’ve experienced so far
  70. I thought I wanted two girls
  71. I don’t know what I was thinking
  72. My husband and I accidentally met in an internet chat room
  73. Three months later we met face to face
  74. Six weeks later he asked me to marry him
  75. I said, “Yes”
  76. Three and a half months later we got married
  77. Some people thought we were crazy
  78. Our 10 year anniversary is February 2007
  79. Apparently we made a good decision to marry each other
  80. But I still I wouldn’t recommend for others to do what we did
  81. It really was a little crazy
  82. But I know a good man when I meet one
  83. I had met a lot of bad ones before
  84. I moved 6 times between 1994 and 1997, including one cross country move
  85. Frederick came with me every time
  86. I also changed jobs 6 times between those same years
  87. I was really tired after that
  88. I don’t have any addictions
  89. Except chocolate
  90. I also love popcorn
  91. I used to be addicted to Diet Coke
  92. I gave up soda pop of all types 6 months ago
  93. I don’t miss it
  94. I also gave up sugar
  95. I missed it at first
  96. I don’t anymore
  97. My favorite color is red
  98. If I could go anywhere in the world it would be Alaska
  99. I would live there in a log cabin on a mountainside where the moose and bears run wild
  100. That’s the only thing I would change about my life

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Demons OUT!

I’ve really never been much for wild parties…at least not since I was 19 and living in the dorms at college. Now that I'm in my thirties I tend to like things to be calm, in control, and predictable. Just typing those words...calm...in control...predictible...is like a salve to my jagged soul and I find myself pausing to meditate on them.

However, current reality is nothing like that. The current norm at our house is the appearance that we’ve had some kind of wild party that lasted for days. Only instead of empty beer cans and pizza crusts littering the floor we’ve got half-empty sippy cups and Cheerios everywhere--along with laundry that is lucky to have made it all the way to the washing machine but has never quite made it back into the dresser drawers and closets. Who knows which mound is clean or dirty anymore. There’s a sink overflowing with dirty dishes. I still can’t figure out how feeding two young children a single meal always results in two dozen small dirty bowls and half a dozen dirty eating utensils. And I think we could feed all the starving children on the planet with the crumbs and food pieces that lay to rest on the floor all around the kitchen table (Dear Son is learning how to “self-feed,” if you want to call it that).

Furthermore, Son is getting quite proficient at finding all the drawers and cupboard doors, and they ALL have to be open and any contents inside must be pulled out and explored…and then left at random while he goes off to take apart and explore the next thing. Simultaneously, Daughter is in this interesting phase where she likes to tuck her dollies and stuffed animals into any type of container she can find that resembles a bed and cover them up with clean dishrags and dish towels that had actually succeeded in making their way back to the drawer in the kitchen before she pulled them out again. She actually does have REAL baby blankets and a toy cradle for her babies, so I think she does this just to add to my insanity. There's an endless foray of random misplaced objects throughout the house in general, such as the spoon I found upstairs in the pocket of the rocking chair in Son’s room last night and the socks that Daughter doesn't want to keep on her feet so she leaves them on the couch, in the middle of the kitchen floor, and under the furniture.

Usually I can handle all of this with minimal exasperation. However, I’m having hormone problems. Really, I am. Apparently my thyroid gland has decided it doesn’t want to work as hard after assisting my body with the process of birthing two live beings into this world. This means, among lots of other problematic symptoms, that I am fat and irritable, my hair is frizzy and falling out, and I’m tired all the time. Since my metabolism is malfunctioning, the 60 minutes of running 4-5 times per week and 30 minutes of strength training 3 times per week and following the advice of my nutritionist to the letter only helps minimally. I ordered Husband to put the scale somewhere where I will never find it before I lose my mind and commit harry carry. Yes, I have lost 35 pounds since Son’s birth, but I managed to gain 50 pounds during the pregnancy, and I am still at least 15 pounds too fat to fit in my clothes and apparently still at least 15 pounds too fat for my wedding ring to fit (swollen fingers are another hypothyroid symptom). I summarize this paragraph by stating that I am simply not at my best these days and it doesn’t seem to matter how hard I work to make it better, it’s all for naught.

Because I am not at my best these days, Dear Son’s teething trauma is especially stressful. My typical easy going little boy has taken to banging his face into the floor and engaging in screaming fits as if he’s demon possessed. Hours and days and weeks of this (combined with the hormone fatalities) has left me with my own personality alterations. I’ve been holding daily exorcisms for us both. So far the demons are just laughing at me.

Juggling my career responsibilities in addition to hosting these wild parties is an interesting experience, too. It’s not unusual for me to need to have telephone conversations or teleconferences with other professionals from my home. This is tough to do with Son’s crazy fits, and lately I’ve had to explain that I’ve invited some demons over for a wild party so please just ignore all the noise in the background.

In the midst of all this we have managed to have a couple recent outings…to the zoo a couple weeks ago and to a fall festival last weekend. Here is a picture of Daughter after getting her face painted like a kitty and a picture of her in the inflatable jumping house (her favorite activity).















...And a picture of Daughter and Grandpa H at the zoo...



...And just for cute value, a couple pictures of Dear Son pushing down his crib bumper to see what he was missing during his nap...


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Learning Some "F-Words"

I've been working with Daughter on an alphabet and phonics activity that consists of designating a page of construction paper for each alphabet letter and then cutting and pasting pictures out of magazines that start with the given letter. Then they are put into plastic sleeves and into a three-ring binder. We completed several letters one day before I left for work and Husband managed the kids for the evening. The next day, while Daughter was sitting at the table waiting for her lunch, she casually stated, "I learned some F-words with Daddy yesterday." Husband is not one to swear, so I paused on that for a moment before I remembered that Daughter and I had ended with the letter "E" the previous afternoon. I didn't know Husband worked on the letter "F" with her after I went to work. *Whew!*

Friday, October 06, 2006

It's a Boy Thing!

I definitely have a boy on my hands. At not quite 10 months old, my wee-est one is boy, boy, BOY! I really hate to stereotype on any issue, but I just can't deny this one. Dear Son gravitates to any toy or object he finds that resembles a "tool" of some sort. This includes sliverware, pens, a xylophone mallet, the remote control, screwdrivers, any kitchen utensil, etc. He wraps his pudgy little fist around the object of his affection and GI Joes himself about the house clutching his prized possession. He finds any opportunity to bang said object on cupboards, pots and pans, the floor, his sister, his head. He also loves any type of sports ball second only to "tools." He plays catch with himself by dropping them on the floor, letting them roll, and then scooting to retrieve them. Dear Son is also attracted to anything with a mechanical function. Remote controls, computers, even things as simple as drawer pulls, cupboard doors, buttons, knobs, switches, levers. If he can manipulate it to perform some sort of function, he will repeat it over and over and over and over again as he disappears for an extended period of time into the trance of some sort of pre-testosterone nirvana.

...and fearless. This kid is fearless. He will scoot his way about the house without regard as to where his Mommy or Daddy are. He will turn to look over his shoulder and offer a grin as he heads out a doorway and off into the sunset. He pulls himself up on the side of the bathtub (yikes!), tries to look into the toilets, pulls large electic appliances out of the kitchen cupboards, takes off up the stairs....Childproofing our house is taking on a whole new meaning and dimension than it ever did with Daughter.

And so I will go against the grain of my usual and customary practices to confront something I just can't deny: What we currently have on our hands is MOST DEFINITELY a boy thing!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shall We "Mosh"?

I realized this morning that I go around in circles a lot these days. It goes along with parenting two young children and managing a marriage. This morning Husband caught me in an embrace as we did our usual morning bumping-into-each-other dance, spinning in circles around each other in the kitchen pulling together breakfast for the three-year-old and nine-month-old who sat expectantly (and not very patiently) in their places at the table. In that moment of pause with my husband’s arms around me, I caught the curious and slightly amused look on Dear Daughter’s face. “What are you guys doing?” she asked. “Indeed,” I thought to myself, “What ARE we doing?” Only mine was a much more loaded question than Daughter’s was. Apparently the dance has become splintered and frenzied enough that Dear Daughter is unaccustomed to seeing intentional body contact between her parents.

During the first several years of our marriage (6 ½ years, to be exact), I remember looking forward to the weekends when Husband and I would spend a great deal of time together hiking, biking, taking drives to the Oregon coast to hold hands at the ocean’s edge, going out for dinner or a movie, or just meandering about together doing chores like grocery shopping or yard work. We did pretty much everything together. But that was before the metamorphosis.

Now, two rug rats later and nearing the 10th year of our marriage, the only hiking we do is to Daughter’s britches when they need adjusting, the bikes are buried under huge piles of dust and debris somewhere in the garage, and there aren’t enough hands to juggle wee ones and all the necessary “gear” let alone have a free hand for each other. We no longer know the meaning of the word, “meander.” Meandering requires TIME. To be sure, the dance looks much different after 10 years. Husband and I tend to spend the weekends running in opposite directions—running in circles—running into each other in the mess of it all—“You manage that one, and I’ll manage this one.” I am thoroughly thankful for those 6 ½ childless years in which we enjoyed the comfort of a quiet waltz for two, and I occasionally draw on the memories of those years when I find myself pummeled about in the “mosh pit” of chaos that we currently call “family.”

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More Nine Month Tricks

Dear Son figured out how to stick out his tongue last week. I honestly can't remember
if he started it or if I started it, but when he did it to me, I was supposed to do it back at him, and when I did it to him, he would do it back to me. It was great fun for both of us, and I'm still not sure who had the most fun.












Just being a happy-go-lucky nine-month-old boy is fun, too. Always lots of charming grins. And yes, his eyes really are THAT blue!



Friday, September 22, 2006

Smarter Part II

Last Tuesday Grandma H recounted a conversation she had with Dear Daughter while I was at work. They were enjoying a walk when they found a fuzzy caterpillar. Grandma, thinking she was teaching things to Dear Daughter, commented that the caterpillar would eventually become a butterfly. Dear Daughter (having the butterfly turning into a caterpillar thing already covered) replied that indeed it would, "but first it will be a "chrysalis." Grandma was a bit stunned. I told her I knew how she felt, and that often when I try to teach Dear Daughter something, she ends up "teaching me back" about an even more complex issue.

After the "new moon" thing I was thinking about how much we have always read to Dear Daughter, from the time she was only weeks old. Then I considered her love for books, how many she owns, and our weekly trips to the library. A bit of quick math (weekly trips to the library for the past 13 months, multiplied by an average of 10 books per trip, added to the number of books in her "personal library") gave me an estimate of at least 600 books that we've read to Dear Daughter. Of course, we have probably read those 600 books an average of 10-15 times each, so counting all the repeats, we have quite easily read her 6,000 books.

But I still have one troubling question: I wonder why I don't seem to be getting any smarter?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nine Month Tricks

Dear Son no longer likes to spend much time in his exersaucer. At 9 months, he is beginning to sit up on his knees and pull up to his feet sometimes. He is much too mobile and too busy exploring his environment to sit in one place and bounce up and down. This morning he was not satisfied with my decision to corral him in the saucer while I cleaned up breakfast. He's figured out how to throw himself back in the saucer to give it enough oomph to inch it forward. In this way he can still "go places." He oomphed himself over to the refrigerator first and began grabbing at the magnets and Dear Daughter's artwork.






When I took away his prizes from off the refrigerator, he did a 180 in the saucer and decided to head to the dishwasher where he spied more treasures.






This photo is actually an action shot.
Look at the angle of the bottom of the saucer and you will see he is pulling back with all his might...getting some oomph going...

...hands raised in concentration and anticipation...










...and, SCORE! He captures the new object of his affection!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Gift...

…from the God of the Universe. That’s what occurred to me while I sat in the darkness cradling my sleeping baby boy--his pudgy hands clasped over his round belly that gently rose and fell with soft baby breaths, and his angelic face illuminated in the dimness of the nightlight. My heart ached as I thought of how we hadn’t really planned him, but the laws of nature and God’s sovereign plan came together despite ourselves. We flirted with the odds that single solitary time, knowing where babies come from, knowing that someday we wanted another child, knowing that we didn’t think we were ready for it just yet.

Then I wondered for the next couple weeks. Dear Hubby dismissed me when I pointed out the possibility. I tested at the first possible opportunity. Negative. I was relieved. Dear Hubby was unfazed, unconcerned. He didn’t believe in the first place that it was a concern. I resumed drinking Diet Coke. I scrubbed the kitchen floor with ammonia and other assorted chemicals. I dyed my hair. I wished I’d gone ahead and taken the Sudafed I had wanted a week or so earlier when I was fighting off a miserable cold. But despite the negative test result, there was still a nagging “perhaps?” in the back of my mind. I waited another week, counting the minutes, impatiently waiting for the next opportunity to test again. This time it was positive. There were definitely two lines. I didn’t know how to respond. I handed the test stick to Dear Hubby and waited for his response, which was something like, “Hmm” as in—“Well whadda ya know?” We didn’t say much else about it, but went on about our workdays while it began to soak in. And I tested again the following week for good measure.

We wanted to try for a girl whenever we were ready. There’s some science behind it. It worked when we conceived Dear Daughter. I counted the days of my cycle and factored in the day we conceived and I knew we had “blown it.” I hoped and hoped for the next 20 weeks that the ultrasound would show a girl. It showed a boy. It became clear that none of this was going the way we would have planned it.

“Thank God none of this went the way we would have planned it,” I thought to myself as I sat in the dark holding my beautiful, perfect baby boy and contemplating how he came to be…amazed at how God often blesses us with so much more than that for which we ask (Ephesians 3:20)…amazed at how God knows us so much better than we even know ourselves…that His ways are Perfect. Amazed at the beautiful gift that is my son…a gift that no “accident” or simple force of nature could produce…a gift from the God of the Universe who somehow saw fit to create this child and place him in my arms in the midst of it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dear Daughter is Smarter Than I Am

Dear Daughter: "A New Moon is when you can't see it"

Me: "huh?"...as in duh?

Dear Daughter: "A New Moon is when you can't see it, and a full moon is when it is all the way round, and a crescent moon is when you see just part of it."

Me: silently wondering to myself if she was right about the "new moon" thing; I never was a science buff and they didn't teach me this in grad school. I knew Dear Daughter knew how to identify full moons and crescent moons, but I'd never heard her talk about a "new moon" since I'd not taught her that.

Dear Daughter repeats herself more loudly as I sit in a stupor thinking all these thoughts

Me: "Where did you learn that stuff?"

Dear Daughter: "From my Leap Frog book!"

Me: thinking to myself that my daughter is an amazing sponge of knowledge and is either a really really smart just-turned-three-year-old or else I am a really really stupid thirty-something-year-old...or perhaps both

Next thing I know, she'll start talking about a "Waning Gibbous." I better go back to pre-school.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Precious Moments

Dear Daughter had her first experience eating at McDonald’s this weekend, and she thought it was pretty neat. Yes, it’s true that my just-turned-three-year-old had never stepped foot into a fast food restaurant until last weekend. You may think that’s “un-American,” but I say that in spite of loving what my country is about, there are more than a few “American ways” that I don’t love.

Nevertheless, we were out doing errands, and as I’ve mentioned before, Dear Daughter LOVES to go places. We were having fun lollygagging a bit as we shopped like girls do (I’m enjoying that part of Dear Daughter being three years old). Our errands ran into lunch, and we were getting hungry. I suggested we get some lunch, and of course she wanted to go to Applebee’s, which is just about the only restaurant she’s been to except TGI Friday’s once for her last birthday.

I didn’t want to spend that much time and money on lunch, so I suggested McDonald’s. Dear Daughter replied, “McDonald’s? What’s McDonald’s?” And that’s when I realized that Dear Daughter had never been there, nor had she been to ANY fast food restaurant yet. So told her they have chicken fingers like Applebee’s, and she was excited to go to a new place. After I placed our order I heard a little voice at my side timidly say, “…and a drink!” I think her favorite part of eating out is that we let her have Sprite, so she wanted to be sure I didn’t forget about that part. As I was grabbing napkins and ketchup at the condiment bar, she was visibly excited as she eyed the tray of food on the counter above her head. “Oh boy!” she squealed. “We are having a FEAST!” I laughed out loud and resisted an urge to grab her up in my arms and squeeze her.

We headed to a booth and scooted to together on one side of it. I sat part of the time with my arm cradled around her side, holding her close to me. She sat like a “big girl” on the bench, without a booster chair, and she seemed so tiny and lost at the big table. I was savoring the sweetness of the moment, and the image of the two of us pressed together on the bench bumping hands in the French fry box and sharing soda pop from the same straw made me feel a little like a love-struck teenager. I pondered the analogy of being in love with my little girl with all the intensity of a love-struck teenager at times, but with a love that goes so much deeper and is much more mature…and forever. Then I kissed her chubby little cheek and whispered in her ear half-teasing, but more than a little serious, “Please don’t ever grow up and leave me!” She looked in my eyes with all the reassurance a carefree, almost-preschooler is capable of mustering, and replied with the words I’ve said to her so many times, “It’s okay, Mommy. I’ll always come back!” And my heart hurt with that familiar bittersweet ache once again.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Goodbye, My Friend

Typically I reserve the main topics of my posts for the wee ones in the family. Tonight, however, the eldest and feeblest of the household gets the place of honor. Tonight I had to follow through with something that I have dreaded for a very very long time. I prayed many times that Geriatric Cat would just go to sleep one night or day and not wake up. I hoped, against the odds, that when his time was up, he would just go peacefully and that I would never have to find myself in the position of deciding when is the right time for him to die. After all, I believe God is the author of life, and it seems that if He is the one who breathed life in my lifetime furry best friend, then He is the only one with the authority to end it. *sigh* I also know that God gives humans charge over the animals.

So, in the midst of this struggle, I gave into what seemed was the only humane way out for Geriatric Cat. I think he would have held on for a very long time, because he’s just got that kind of determination. But the reality is that he was blind, or nearly so, with one eye completely obscured by a glaring red internal cyst and the other one cloudy—probably due to cataracts. We suspected he was deaf or nearly so, as he often seemed unresponsive to audible sounds and our voices. He was suspected by our dear veterinarian to have lymphoma. He had what we all guessed was some nerve damage due to the probable cancer. This led him to paw at his mouth viscously after eating. He was skin and bones, having dropped from 13+ pounds in his prime of life to 7lbs and 15 oz. He no longer groomed himself much, and did very little but sleep on his favorite couch. Often he would have jitters and shakes in his sleep that would get so violent at times that he would fall off the back of the couch with a thud, and sometimes not even wake up. More than once I watched this happen and thought the old man had died. Each time I tiptoed to have a closer look, I could see his sides rising and falling with breath and I felt both relief and sorrow. While I didn’t want him to die, I also wanted him to go on his own. But he didn’t. I held on only as long as I could before I began to question what was more humane: to be allowed to live or to die.

He continued to have his good moments all the way to the end. He still got his occasional “all is well with the world” look about him at times while he perched on his couch. He still became animated and pranced across the vinyl kitchen floor when he heard the telltale sounds of the refrigerator opening and a can of his food being opened. And he still frequently joined the hubbub that happens constantly on the floor with a just-turned-three-year-old and a crawler. He loved to sit right in the middle of the activity, and he always put up with chubby little fingers poking and patting him. Just a couple days ago he was right in the middle of our floor activity and Dear Son got his chubby little fists wrapped around his neck in a death grip. Geriatric Cat just sat stone still--eyes a bit wild with anxiety—but patiently waited to be released. He never nipped at the kids or acted cross at them in spite of their raucous loving.

I can’t remember life without Frederick, and that is because I’ve lived more years of my life with him than I have without him. I spent more than twice as many years sharing my bed with him than I have with my husband. He came into my life before I even had a driver’s license. He traveled cross-country with me at least twice. He saw me through every fleeting teenage and adolescent romance and the heartbreak that came along with them. He came with me on and every move. He was my best friend at my lowest points in life, seeing me through times that I didn’t believe I had a single human friend in the world.

In the peak of his life, he was full of personality. He greeted people at the door and loved to “talk.” Sometimes he started the conversations, and sometimes he just went along with the ones others started, but he always had something to say. While he never cared much for being held, he loved to be right next to his humans. Sometimes he loved to sit in a human lap, as long as he was the one who initiated it. I can’t count the number of people who told me they had never met a cat like Frederick. People who professed to be “cat haters” ended up falling in love with Frederick. He was just charming and charismatic like that.

But tonight he gets to rest. He doesn’t have to be blind or deaf anymore. He doesn’t have to fall off the back of the couch anymore. He doesn’t have to paw at his mouth anymore or have any more pain. I don’t know if animals go to Heaven, but I’m soothed by believing that at least some of them do. And I imagine Frederick in Heaven, young and plump again with two big green shining eyes, chasing butterflies on green grassy hills. Maybe somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge Frederick is experiencing Heaven, and when I get there one day, we will find each other and he will chat me up something fierce and sleep on my pillow again just like old days.

I miss you, Old Man!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Motherhood IS a Mental Disorder!

A year goes fast these days, and the impending change from summer to fall seems to be triggering lots of memories of life one short year ago. The weather has been hot hot hot this summer. Yet, while people around me complain of this being one of the hottest summers that they can remember, my own memories are a bit different. Bertha the Beluga Whale was looming large a year ago, and while we may well have not hit the century mark on the thermometers last year, as we frequently have this year, the sheer mass of my body and the amount of energy it took to create another person made it feel much hotter to me last summer. Not to mention that the 90 degree days hung on well into October as my mass continued to increase rapidly.

During our weekly field trip to the library this morning, I was pondering the unfathomable metamorphosis that turned my two year old toddler into a three year old preschooler and estimated that it was roughly a year ago when we began these weekly library outings. Sure enough, when we brought our materials to the checkout desk, the librarian requested to verify my contact information. "We have to do it once per year,"€ she said. Apparently the anniversary date was just a few days ago. The thought of a year going so fast nearly triggered a panic attack. I then had multiple flashbacks of last fall when I took Dear Daughter to the library and struggled to get up and down off the floor while digging for books on the children's shelves. And then the traumatic flashbacks got worse as I remembered those awful sensations of never being able to keep my pants up while pregnant. Why in the world can't someone create maternity clothes that don'™t have to be either too tight or too loose? I spent the last three months of pregnancy wavering between the dilemmas of drawing attention to my big ole€™ caboose busting out of my pants seams or dealing with the crotch of my pants hanging down to my knees.

On the topic of triggering memories, I was taking inventory last night of my stash of unisex baby clothing when I found a pair of blue jeans that Dear Daughter was wearing when she started walking. They are sized 12-18 months, the size that Dear Son is currently pushing into. And then I had a mind-warp-moment thinking of a picture in our scrapbooks of Dear Daughter wearing those particular jeans as she strutted around the cul-de-sac in front of our house, excited over her newly learned skill of walking. It was late fall, there was a chill in the air, and the leaves were at their peak of color. I considered our current weather, teasing just a bit about fall being near again, and then I let my mind go there--for a split second I imagined Dear Son repeating this scene in the same blue-jeans, and I wanted to scream, "STOP!"€

Apparently, in addition to losing brain cells, motherhood also causes time to race and mental illness to set in--especially that type of mental illness characterized by panic attacks, racing thoughts, and traumatic flashbacks. And let us not forget about the voices in my head.

Note to self: when assessing for an anxiety disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Schizophrenia, consider the differential diagnosis of "Motherhood." Perhaps "€œMotherhood" should just be added to the DSM-IV and be granted the mental disorder labeling it most certainly deserves. *sigh*

Here'€™s some new pics from the loony bin. Dear Son is sprouting a new tooth and a second tooth is following close behind. We broke out the teething biscuits. As I watched him practicing aiming for his mouth, I had more flashbacks of Dear Daughter at this stage. So here'€™s a picture of each of them at this stage of life. Dear Daughter was actually only 6 ½ months old in her picture while Dear Son is 8 ½ months old. While he's been slow to get teeth, he's not been slow with his motor skills.



Here are some pics of the Demolition Man plowing into his big sister's train set. He's just GOT to check EVERYTHING out, and don'€™t even THINK about stopping him! He is much bolder than his big sister was at this stage. He will GI Joe his way out of the room and around the corner with all the courage of an army man in the midst of war, on a mission to check out his surroundings. I've had to chase him into the office to get him out from under the computer desk (power cords galore!) when he slithered his way out of his bedroom and around the corner, and I've had to chase him out of the bathrooms and kitchen many times as he finds his way around the entire house. He likes vinyl flooring because he can get some real tummy speed going. I caught him just in time the other day when he made it around the corner of the living room all the way across the kitchen and under the table on a mission to snack on the leftovers under big sister's chair. This one is definitely going to keep me busy, and I have no doubt life is going to get quite interesting when he figures out how to walk and run!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Photo Galleries

In case you hadn't noticed, I finally got a "Photo Galleries" link in the right sidebar. That makes life easier, huh? At any rate, I am still working on organizing the galleries, but they will get organized and updated little by little, so feel free to keep checking in on the progress. Also, I discovered that I am only allowed a maximum of 15 galleries. Fortunately I decided to continue the organizing from the most recent and go backwards and had not gotten around to organizing all the very old photos when I realized this. I will have to delete the oldest galleries as I create newer ones. But you can always view any or all the photos from my zoto home page as you would have had to do before. I just hate the chaotic look of it. Also, I learned by accident a few months ago that if I edit my photos prior to publishing them to Zoto, the date of the photo will not be retained. That is why you see so many photos that say "unknown date." Once I realized this, I stopped editing them before posting them whenever that was possible.

That's all my time for now. Dear Son awoke from his nap and is chattering away for me to come get him, and Dear Daughter is singing songs in her bed instead of napping, and I just finished clearing up some insurance billing problems for my work, AND I am simultaneously cooking potatoes for Dear Son. I will have to carry him on my hip while I throw the potatoes in the food processor for his evening meal and I made plenty to put away in the food cubes to go in the freezer for future meals. Dear Son loves to ride on my hip while I work on these things. When he was 5 months old I turned him from the sideways lying down position in the sling to the front-facing "baby kangaroo" style position--he loved watching the world like a baby joey. Now that he's getting bigger and heavier I think I will figure out how to adjust the sling hold to help support him on my hip and free up my arms and hands better. Guess I better go get busy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Teeth!

I guess I spoke too soon on the teeth issue! Yesterday I thought I felt something sharp on Dear Son's lower gum, but then I couldn't seem to feel it again. This morning he was doiing more of his angry biting on things, and when I felt his lower gum there was definitely a tooth poking through. When I looked closely, I could barely see it. Maybe he will have teeth in his head by the time he's a year old after all. But as far as hair goes...well, that's another story.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Doing Some Things Right

Motherhood is filled with moments of self-doubt. From the time her firstborn child's head exits the womb, mommies typically begin to question themselves. Did I handle the labor and delivery right? Did I choose the right name? Should I breastfeed? If I breastfeed, how long should I breastfeed? Should I bottle feed? Did I choose the right formula? Should I use cloth or disposable diapers? Heck, I don't even know HOW to change a diaper! How do I get him/her to stop crying? I guess I should let him/her cry...(followed by)...How could I have let him/her cry? Do I have a safe enough car seat? Did I/my husband install the car seat correctly? I should immunize. I shouldn't immunize. I must be enmeshed if I am a stay-home mom/don't use daycare/homeschool. I must be neglectful for going back to work/using daycare/sending my kids to public school. You pretty much can't win because someone along the way will always try to tell you (or imply, at least) that you've done something wrong...regardless of what choices you make.

Yesterday, however, it really hit me. In spite of all the questions and doubts I've had along the motherhood-way so far, I have done some very important things right. Lately Dear Daughter has been "mothering" her dollies, her Taggie Book, her baby brother, the geriatric cat, sometimes she even tries to mother me. What comes out of her mouth are words hauntingly familiar, words I've spoken to her dozens of times, and words that are nurturing, loving, and sometimes (whew!) even patient. I know I've done well when she calls her dollie "Sweetie Pie," gives her Taggie Book hugs and kisses, reassures the geriatric cat that "it's okay, I still love you!" and tells me, "You are my favorite Mommy!" I also see the evidence of doing a lot right when Dear Daughter's budding self-image shows through...when she smiles at herself in the mirror and says, "I look beautiful!" or "I look like a princess!" But best of all, was yesterday when I took her out to the "backyard beach." She plopped down in her toddler-sized deck chair as I filled her wading pool with the garden hose. Several minutes later she still sat silently and patiently, and so I finally asked her, "Whatcha doin?" She then stood up and stated, "I was just relaxin' for awhile." I then experienced an overwhelming urge to grab her and squeeze her tight and smother her with kisses. Since I was still holding the garden hose, I settled for asking her, "How did you get so cute?" And she replied, "Well...I dunno! I guess Jesus just made me that way!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

8 Month Updates

Dear Son turned 8 months old a couple days ago. Has it really been 8 months since that dramatic night he joined us in the world? Time flies...
...when you're sleep deprived.

Yes, that's a picture of the Bubster eating his first cracker. He was trying to grab his sister's graham cracker, which he couldn't have (due to the honey). So I figured it was time for soda crackers. He thought it was quite a treat and did pretty well getting his chubby, slobbery cracker crumb coated hand to his mouth to munch on this new snack.

Other 8 month accomplishments include scooting forward. He can do some GI Joe moves with speed if he sees something he really wants. He is generally infatuated with electrical cords (yikes!) paper, magazines, and pretty much anything new or novel looking.

Also, he is completely weaned from nursing. We made it full time for 7 months and then part time until 8 months. I am both sad and relieved. Of course, I believe breastfeeding is much healthier for babies, and in a lot of ways I think breastfeeding is easier than bottle feeding. No mixing, pouring, heating, bottle washing, wondering how much formula I need to make and how much will he drink and how much will get wasted, etc., and no packing bottle paraphanalia on outings. On the other hand, yesterday was my first long work day without worrying about timing nursings before and after work, finding time to pump, etc. It was actually liberating to have Dear Hubby pick up the kids while I stopped to do an errand before coming home without worrying about whether or not Dear Son needed to nurse or if I was in pain because I needed him to.

Also, at 8 months, Dear Son is just now finally beginning to sleep until 6:30am about two thirds of the time. Other times he is still up at 5am or 5:30am and 4am is finally becoming a rare event. With the whole bottle feeding thing, Dear Hubby can actually take some turns at giving Dear Son that early morning feeding so I can sleep. I've had a few nights of 7 hours of solid sleep recently. Now if Dear Daughter would quit waking up crying that she can't find Taggie Book (it is usually right by her head).

Dear Son also LOVES LOVES LOVES to play peekaboo around the rocking chair with his big sister. He actually LOVES doing anything with his big sister, whom he seems to think hung the moon.

Dear Son is eating lots of different foods. I typically grind up fresh fruit and veggies in the food mill...pears, nectarines (his favorite), kiwi (another favorite), bananas, plums, peas (not a favorite), green beans (another not-a-favorite). He also eats oatmeal, brown rice, barley, cottage cheese, yogurt, boiled egg yolks, prunes, sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, carrots, Cheerios, and as previously described, soda crackers. He loves to sit in his stroller and fish Cheerios out of the cup holder on the tray whenever we go on outings. The other day I took both the kids with me to get a haircut--yes BOTH kids--and it went fine. Dear Son was just as happy as could be to sit in his stroller and munch his Cheerios and watch. Dear Daughter got a haircut while we were there, too. Her fourth one. Yes, the fourth haircut she has ever had in her life.

And, alas, Dear Son still has no sign of any teeth. This seems very strange to me. Dear Daughter was working on number 5 and 6 by this time.

That's the 8 month mark in a nutshell. Note that the picture above of Dear Daughter was a few days BEFORE her haircut. It was looking a big stringy and straggly. And yes, those are cracker crumbs all over the carpet.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Busy Organizing

I have been swamped with my obsession to lose the rest of my stubborn pregnancy weight. This means finding time to exercise while herding two little ones--not an easy task. It requires accepting that the other things that I used to cram into my blessed hour or two of free time while the kids nap don't get done. This "blessed nap time" that allows me a shred of time to myself really only occurs three weekdays each week. The other two weekdays are consumed by my work schedule. Saturdays are for errands and cleaning house and shopping and family time (if there is any time left), and Sundays are for church--when we manage to get there--and whatever else didn't get done on Saturday (which is usually a lot). If the kids manage to nap at the same time on those three weekdays, I get an hour or two in which I must keep up on diagnostic assessments, treatment notes, billing and filing, insurance verifications, returning phone calls, and various other things that I must do to manage my part-time professional counseling career. During that same hour or two I also must clean up endless messes created by a three year old and an 8 month old, (and a geriatric cat--for that matter). If there's time left over (ha!) I get to catch up on a blog post, read the first two paragraphs of a magazine or newspaper article, or pee. Since I've recently been spending that blessed "free time" by running on the treadmill and racing to get a shower, my professional work, housekeeping, blogging, reading, and yes--even peeing, simply don't make the schedule.

However, I have stayed up to 10:30pm tonight (and I really MUST go to bed so I can get up and do it all again) trying to organize photos so that family and friends can view them in a sensical manner. Is "sensical" a legitimate word? Don't get too excited yet, the photo organizing is far from done. I'm just getting started, in fact. But to view the ongoing progress and to review any old photos (kinda makes me feel sappy to see how much the kids have changed in a year and a half), please check out the galleries I am creating by clicking on this link: Galleries

Check in frequently as I will make time to finish cataloging the old photos and simultaneously keep the new ones grouped into galleries. Guess it's gonna be awhile before I have time to pee again. *sigh*

Monday, August 07, 2006

Letting Go

That awful ache came to visit again yesterday as I packed away newborn clothing that Dear Son only wore a couple times. He was born bigger than a newborn in the first place, after all. Then I packed up the 0-3 month size. I held up each piece of clothing and the memories rushed back from Dear Son’s birth. Amazing how it can feel like yesterday and years ago all at the same time.

Every so often, when I indulge myself in some thinking time, I allow my thoughts to amble down that winding lane of mixed-emotion-memories. This time I thought about the night Dear Son was born. I remembered how I had been having contractions all weekend and was up all night Sunday in pain only to have my doctor tell me on Monday that I was not in “real labor” and she would see me again next week. I thought about how I tucked Dear Daughter into bed Monday night before deciding I needed to go to triage. I was equally afraid of being told this was “it” as I was of being told it wasn’t. And I thought about the drama (and the trauma) of the whole birthing experience again. I thought about the labor pain that got so bad that I thought I'd just rather die than continue and I thought about the moment that the doctor told me we had to go to “plan B” again and head into surgery for a repeat C-section. I remembered the dread and anxiety that washed over me and how I felt like throwing up, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. A nurse was giving me drugs to get rid of stomach acid before the surgery. Another nurse was rearranging cords and tubes and preparing my bed to wheel me down the hall. I kept thinking, “Oh my God! No! I don’t want to go through this again!” But those thoughts were all intermixed with the anxiety of wanting to get whatever done that had to be done to ensure my baby boy was okay. My blood pressure had dropped; his heart rate had dropped; I was bleeding. It was dramatic. Then I thought of the moment that I heard the doctor telling my mother (who is a labor and delivery nurse) that they may have to “go the other route.” Other route? I considered for a moment not asking. Did I really want to know? I forced myself to ask for clarification. They were considering a general anesthetic. My head was swimming. All the birthing info I had read said that general anesthetics were so rare these days. I never considered this an option. More anxiety. The anesthesiologist finally showed up. I was turned, twisted, flipped, plugged in, hooked up, pinned, strapped, you name it. And there I lay staring into the big bright lights, arms strapped out on a surgical table that felt only as wide as my beached whale form, with the sensation that I could roll off either side if someone tapped me a little too hard, aware that my abdomen was going to be sliced open momentarily. Then I regained touch with reality to discover I had only packed up about three tiny sleepers while my mind had wandered. Was it a traumatic experience? Yes, I have to admit. Would I go through it again in order to receive Dear Son as my reward? You bet!

More memories raced through my mind as I continued to pack the 3-6 month size. Next it was the outfits Dear Son wore when it was zero degrees outside during the first weeks of his life. I felt the sweat dripping down my back. It was 100 degrees warmer as I packed them up than it was when he wore them a few short months ago. I longed for a happy medium with the weather as I simultaneously allowed myself to think the dramatic thought of how Dear Son will never wear those sleepers, and coveralls again. And I let myself feel sad.

I wondered for a moment what Dear Son would be like when he entered into his third year of life like Dear Daughter is currently doing, and my head swam with memories of the past three years. Then I considered that when Dear Son is turning three years old, Dear Daughter will be five and a half. I could only think of it briefly before I was overwhelmed and had to make myself stop. Seems I can barely reach the point of adjusting to the kids’ current ages and stages and they are pushing onto the next ones. I pondered a moment on the present state of things--how my gregarious three year old girl loves to hug on her baby brother and how my charming son cannot be in the same room with his big sister without looking onto her with adoration and delight. Then I squeezed both my kids close to my heart and held them as long as they would allow, pretending that I could somehow hold time still as long as they were wrapped in the confines of my embrace. And then I did what I didn't want to do but what I knew I had to do--and what I know I will have to do over and over again during their lives…I let them go.