Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On A Happier Note

Nate is growing faster than I can keep up with. I don't know how much he now weighs, but he's in mostly 6-9 month clothing! He's all hands, too - if he's on my lap at the table he tries to grab for things. He's a happy little guy.

We started potty training Levi! OK, truth be told I started and then stopped. And I know this is a dangerous thing to do. I'm not sure exactly what derailed us, but we were off to a good start last week, and I plan to continue in the coming days. Levi kept talking about going to the potty several times a day, and in the course of pulling out warm weather clothes he found some Wiggles underpants. Prime opportunity, I thought. We spent two mornings with him in several pairs of Wiggles undies. He did ok, filling his little pot once or twice, but we've got a ways to go.

We tried to get Sam and Levi to model the Mexican shirts they wore to church last Sunday, courtesy of Uncle Dave and Aunt Kelly. Here's the best shot we got - doesn't exactly showcase the shirts, but nice to be in the picture with them. :)

If Mom's Not Happy...

Oh, boy, I think I've hit a wall.

With each of my babies I've come to a point when the sleep deprivation has taken all I can give, and I start to get a little, ahem, cranky. I think I'm there.

The process goes something like this:

Month 1: not bad... hard to get used to not sleeping as much, but hubby, family and friends provide tons of help so I get lots of naps.

Months 2-3: I get tired of going to bed at 8pm, wanting to do more with my life than feed, clothe, and wash other people. I am a little tired during different points of the day, but after the kids are in bed I get my second wind and stay up too late. (A friend has coined the term "late-night internet obsession".) I get less sleep, but hey, soon we'll get into a groove and it won't last that long, right?

Month 4-5: I stop getting that second wind in the evening. I fall asleep reading distant friends' blog posts at 9pm. I am super cranky in the morning. I am desperate for sleep.

And here we are. This morning was particularly trying, since I had gone to bed relatively early with hopes of a good rest, but I saw every hour of the night on the clock. And then Sam and Levi were up at 5:15.

And here's the kicker: when Mom's not happy, nobody's happy, which makes Mom even less happy. And a lot more cranky.

For whatever reason (possibly something to do with their relatively patient mother snapping their heads off) both Sam and Levi decide to join in the game. Here is an example of some of the shenanigans that took place in our house this morning before 8am:

I didn't think to take the picture until after I had washed his arms and face, which were also covered in hieroglyphics.

But here's the good news: We are taking steps towards normalcy. We have begun teaching Nate to fall asleep in his crib, which is going really well. He is also widening the times between nighttime feedings. We're getting there, and it can't come soon enough. :)

Oh, and Mike and I are going out on a real date tomorrow night!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thoughts About God

Sam: Did God make bears?

Me: Yes. (Recently bears represent all that is dangerous to Sam.)

Sam: Then he must be a little bit bad.


Sam: How can God never get tired?

Me: Explain about how we live in human bodies, that they get tired. Explain that God isn't limited by a body like ours. Talk about creation, what He made on each day, and that God rested on the 7th day.

Sam: What did he do on the eighth day?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hon

I have the best husband in the world.

What, you don't believe me? Well, let me just prove it to you: Mike is a fantastic father, minister, and friend. He strives to live life in an honest way. He is disciplined, evidenced by the 7 marathons he has run, each of which took 4 months to train for. He's a romantic, which I and my practical self need to learn to appreciate more. He's smart, and enjoys a friendly theological debate for the sake of hashing out scriptural understanding. He is one of the most loyal people I know, not only to me and our kids, but to his extended family, to his calling, to his friends, to his colleagues, and to his ideals. And to his coffee.

And today is his birthday. Yay! Yesterday, he received his "big" present in the mail: a Nesco coffee roaster, complete with a catalytic converter so that the roasting would not burn down our apartment building. In fact, it doesn't even set off our smoke alarm. It does, however, take him up a notch in his coffee snobbery. So far I've had one cup, and it's yummy.

But he hasn't been able to try it out more than once because he got on a plane this morning to go a visit his dad, who is in the hospital because of a heart attack that took place on Sunday night. Although the doctors have confirmed that the damage his heart sustained was mild and blockage is not bad, Mike is going to keep him company as he recuperates, and just because he is his dad.

And the ironic part is, today is also his dad's birthday! So, father and son get to spend their birthdays together, something they haven't done in probably 20 years.

Mike, we miss spending your birthday with you, but we'll celebrate when you're home. Thanks for being my Family Man. I love you!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Lately I've been feeling a bit inspired when I have a camera in my hand. Part of it is that my kids are so enchanting. Yeah, I'm their mom, and of course I think that. But I'm also keenly aware of how fast this whole baby stage goes, so I'm probably trying to capture the present so that I can revisit it when I'm actually getting a full night's sleep.

I've also been inspired by some creative bloggers, and one in particular is the Pioneer Woman. She's got these great pictures and though she admits to doctoring them with Photoshop, they are amazing.

So I've been keeping my camera on the kitchen counter and grab it throughout the day. When we go to the park, the camera comes with us. My first goal was to just take more pictures. Here are some of my favorites.

Sam and his friend E were gardening at the little plot next to the park. They spent an hour picking the weeds!

Here's a nice smile from Nate:

Sam started t-ball this past Friday. He was so excited, and it made for a great photo op, too! Not only did I capture him making memories of his first t-ball experience, but some of his best friends from school were there, too.

Levi even got in on the action. He's covering 2nd base. :)

So after experimenting with everyday candid shots, I decided to pull out all the stops and create a photographer's canvas. We have great natural light that comes through our windows and into our play area during the middle of the day, so I draped a white sheet over the gingham couch and - voila - I had a studio. I did this about a year and a half ago and got great results.

Here are some of my favorites:

I really do love all of these. But this one is my day's masterpiece. I'm going to call it "Saturday Morning". Or maybe "Hair that Defies Gravity".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lovers and Haters

Four years old must be the age of extremes. They loooove things; they hate things. Happiness brings a "yessssssssss". Sam feels things so passionately these days.

Some examples:

  • As I've mentioned before, he just can't get over how cute Nate is. Today we were in the car and I heard him say, "You're so cute. Nate, you're my best friend ever."

  • Last week there was no school in observance of Emancipation Day. We stayed home so that Nate could nap and I could get some things done around the house. Sam and Levi had fun playing all morning, and when Levi and Nate were both down for a nap I told Sam I needed some quiet time. He responded, "But I need some Mommy time." So we sat and talked a little, and he told me about how he missed his friends from school. Then we started talking his friends pets, about dogs and cats, which resulted in going through my old photo album so that he could see pictures of my childhood pets and friends... I still got my quiet time, but I couldn't resist such a sweet request for "Mommy time", especially when I can see in the not-so-distant future that he won't want me around so much.

Sam hears these new words used, and is struggling to figure out what is appropriate. Sometimes he comes right out and asks:

  • He told me today, "Geneva said 'I hate you' to someone." We talked about it, about why she said it (the person in question had hit her) and how that might have made him feel. I love that he talks to me about these things, and that I can be involved in the way he processes these experiences.
  • He also tries words and phrases without asking first. One example: stinky-poop-butt. This one got the kibosh. No, I'm not in denial that I have a house-full of boys and that Nate will likely be saying phrases like this before he turns 2, but I'll control it as long as I can.

And then there are the times when he just takes an outside concept and logically and thoughtfully applies it to himself:

  • Last week we went to Chi Alpha's water baptism. Before we went Sam asked, "Why does Daddy baptize people?" We've talked about this before, so I reminded him that it is the way people show that they love Jesus. His thoughtful response: "Well, I guess I should do that too, then."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My little Two-Year-Old

Levi turned two last week! And we knew it right from the start. Not that I really like the term "terrible twos"... It's just that he has, well, entered some new stages and these things seem to be manifesting themselves just as his third year has begun...

Let's start at the beginning.

We decided to keep the festivities a family event, since Levi doesn't particularly have any playmates yet and because he usually cries for the first 20 min. of any guest's visit. (He has a terrible case of stranger anxiety right now.)

I decided to go very kid-friendly and served hot dogs, fries and fruit salad which were enjoyed by all, especially Sam and Levi!

After the yummy meal, we brought out the cake and candles. Levi was very impressed with the candles but didn't quite understand how to blow them out. Sam and I helped.

Levi has entered a stage where he doesn't like to touch or even look at anything gooey. This includes play-do, mashed potatoes, and sadly, frosting. So he happily ate one orange off the top of the cake, but the next one had been adulterated by frosting and he just couldn't stand to even sit at the table after that.

The rest of us enjoyed it immensely - "Pig-Pickin' Cake". It was very yummy.

Having a 2-year-old birthday party is a hoot, because they just haven't been around long enough to know what happens at a birthday party! So next we introduced him to the concept of presents (he didn't seem to recall his Christmas experience). First he unwrapped the farm playset. We played with that awhile.

Next came a Sandra Boynton board book. We had to convince him to take a minute break from the farm toys to take a look.

BUT, then came the Mother of All Birthday Gifts, sent in the mail from Nana and PawPaw... The Big Red Car.

This car is equipped with the 4 Wiggles: Greg, Murry, Jeff and Anthony. Not only is it a car with the Wiggles, but give the men a push on their heads and the car takes off down the hallway to the tune of "Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car."

Levi is obsessed with this song. Now he is obsessed with the car. He played...

... And played...

... And played with this thing.
After playing with it for about a half an hour, the batteries started to go. The next morning I changed them. By 11am, the Wiggles couldn't get through the whole song anymore. This is because it was played with nonstop for 4 hours!

A week later, it remains the toy of choice in our home. Levi wakes up saying "Toot Toot Chugga?" Sometimes, when we leave the house, he says, "Bye bye, Toot Toot Chugga" and kisses the men on their little heads.

Two. It is the best and the worst - a singing, cheerful, affectionate Levi or a tantrum-throwing, screaming, spitting Levi. But none of that lasts long, and he breaks my heart every day with his sweetness and makes me laugh with his antics. In fact, the worst is almost endearing, because I know that he will grow out of it so quickly, as quickly as he'll grow out of some of the sweetness. But certainly he won't outgrow it all.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I knew motherhood would make me a better minister. :)

“An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” ~ Spanish Proverb