Monday, October 22, 2012

30.

Today I am thirty years old.

I've been looking forward to this day for a couple of reasons. 


First, for years I've been told I don't look old enough to be a high school teacher, much less to have been teaching as long as I have been.  "You're so young," has been a popular statement among my co-workers, friends, and even complete strangers.  Those statements began tapering off with pregnancy and mommy-hood, but now I'm 30.  Yes, that's young when you consider the big picture, but no longer am I fresh out of college, new to my job, new to marriage.  As one of my students said the other day, "anyone over 25 is really old."  Yes! I'm old! (But not out of touch, hopefully.) 

Second, I have full expectations that my 30s are going to be better than my 20s.  My 20s haven't been bad; on the contrary, there has been a lot of really incredible stuff.  Graduating college, getting a job, becoming a better teacher, finding my man, marrying him, being best friends with my sister as we both are grown up, having my first baby. 


But they've also been hard.  Marriage is really hard, did you know?  Mommy-hood and parenthood is really hard, too.  Both of our families have gone through a lot in the last few years, and it's been a challenge at times. 

But I hope in the One who gave me this life, and I know that as I continue to grow, my 30s are going to reflect that and (hopefully) Him.  Which means that although I am sure there will still be some lots of hard stuff, I'm going to consider it joy and look forward to the opportunity to become the woman I long to be. 

Today hasn't been a particularly great day, so far.  We're in one of those difficult seasons.  But I choose to look forward to this next decade with anticipation, with joy, with delight in the things to come.

Oh, and as for my 30 before 30 list, well, I'm amending that to a "30 before 31" list, okay?  It's my birthday, I can do what I want. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh, Hello.

Taking a quick minute to let you know that yes, in fact, I am still alive.

Last night (or should I say this morning), we finished up Homecoming Week.  As the Student Council Advisor, I have spent the last month or so planning, organizing, and preparing everything for the week.  Countless hours have gone into it, and finally, the week arrived.

Each day held a different spirit day with different dress-up clothes required.  We put on a huge bonfire, held a Powder Puff game where (only) three girls got (minorly) hurt.  We spent hours transforming the gym into a "theater" for an assembly, the likes of which you've probably never seen.  We then spent even more hours re-transforming the gym into a dance floor and the cafeteria into space, complete with a huge 3D moon, MARS rover, and hundreds of stars hanging from the ceiling.  And then we spent one hour cleaning it all up and putting it all away.

It was an AMAZING week.  My kids did an incredible job.  There were tons of students dressed up each day, hundreds at the bonfire, and at least 1,000 at the dance.  Many said the assembly and dance were the best of their high school career so far.  I'm so proud of my team.

Needless to say, I'm pretty tired.  I barely saw Will all week, but I am happy to report that he and Husband connected a lot and that things went well overall.

In theory, I might have a little more free time now.  You know, time to actually get on the computer and/or even blog.  What?  Impossible, you say?

Well, it might not happen, but I'm going to try.

To hold you over until I post Will's (overdue) 6 month update, here we are last weekend at his first big football game.


I'll be back (soon, I hope!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dear Blog,

I know, you're feeling awfully neglected.  It's been weeks since I've visited you, checked to see if you had any comments for me, wrote you a message, or visited any of your other blog-friends.  You're wondering if I still like you, or if I'm mad at you, or if I just don't care about you anymore.

I DO like you, I'm NOT mad, and I DO care.  I know it's cliché to say this, but please, don't take my neglect and absence personally.  I'm just busy.  And I know I've said that before and have made promises to be a better friend, to write you more often, to stay in better touch, but seriously, this is a whole new kind of busy.

My mornings are spent quickly getting ready and getting Will dressed, fed, and out the door as close to on time as possible (which is laughable - on time now means a few minutes late).  My planning periods, where I used to take a few minutes to visit you, are now used down to the last second with grading, planning, and StuCo stuff.  I hurry out of school as quickly as possible to go pick up the boy, and we play, eat, and be together.  And after he goes to bed, I have to grade or plan or do online work or something, and then I have to get all the baby stuff ready for the next morning.

Simply put, I just can't seem the time to visit and do the things I need to do.  It's not that I haven't had things to tell you - I've written you a dozen messages in my head.  They just haven't made it to you.

Know that someday (hopefully sooner than later) I'm going to get it together enough to re-establish our friendship, because you and all your blog-friends are important to me, and I miss you.

Love,
Beth

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Joining Leagues and Orders

Clearly, you can tell that the school year has begun, because once again, I have dropped off the face of the world.  Well, the blog world and other computer-related world.

What better way to try to get back into things than a Five-Minute-Friday post?  I have class in 20 minutes and have to make sure I'm ready to teach those 30 lovely high schoolers, so I really can only afford 5 minutes, anyways.

Today's topic?  Join.


Here goes.

It's the beginning of the school year.  This is the part of the year where connections are made.  Connections between myself and my students, connections between students and students, connections between "real life" and "work life" or "school life."  Everyone here is joining something.  Joining a new class, a new group of friends, a new idealogy for what life is going to be like this year.

Me?  I've joined the League of Moms Who Work Full Time.  Moms whose babies spend more time awake during the week with their daycare provider than their mommy, Moms who leave work on time (a first!) to go pick up and snuggle that baby.  Moms who love their jobs,  but love their babies more.  Moms who learn to operate on not-enough sleep, becuse there is no way to get everything done without staying up a little later and getting up a little earlier.  Moms who teach themselves to be disciplined and orgazined and think ahead, because otherwise the normal 5 minutes late out the door in the morning is 25 minutes late.   


I've joined the Order of Women Whose Husbands Work and Go to School.  Women who try to support and challenge and be there for their men.  To encourage, to edit, to do our own work while they do their homework.  Women who try to put meals on the table around their husband's class schedule, who stay up later to make sure they get to have a good conversation with their man, who want to do everything possible to help Hubby be successful.

I want to write more, but my five minutes are up, and I don't have time to "cheat" and expand on my thoughts, anyway.  So here's to joining Leagues and Orders and being the woman God would have me be, okay?

Lastly, today is my little man's 5 month birthday.  As a present, I took him to the doctor and got him an antibiotic for his very first ear infection.  Yeay!  But seriously, isn't he cute?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to Make a New Working Mom Feel Bad... and What Will's Doing for DayCare

Note: This post is a little snarky, or maybe a lot snarky.  Please don't take offense at it. Be sure to read my commentary at the end.

How to Make a New Working Mom Feel Bad:

1. Assume she isn't going back to work.

2. When you find out she is going back to work, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment.

3. Assume she found a "desirable" daycare situation for her baby, like family, or friends, or, at the very least, an in-home daycare. 

4. When you find out the baby is going to a regular old daycare center, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment. 

To really hit this one home, say something like, "Can't your parents take him?" or "My friend is using this website to do background checks on home-care places.  I could get it for you."  or "I bet if you ask around, you could find a home-care place.  I knew a lady who only took teacher's kids."

5. When you find out the regular old daycare center isn't a fancy special one, but just a Kindercare, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment.

6. Offer platitudes about how it will all work out to try to make her feel better.



Okay, so, first, please note that most of my actual friends have not said these things to me, as they've been in the loop on the situation the entire time.  It's actually mostly been acquaintances and near-strangers who've commented.  And if you are my friend, and you have said something like #4, know that I know that you weren't trying to hurt my feelings; you were just trying to be helpful.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing I've discovered in the last week as I've prepared to go back for work is that somewhere over the course of the last several months, I have learned to believe that by sending my son to a daycare center, he's not in the best situation he can be in.  When people ask me "who is taking care of him?" I respond with "He's just at a daycare center."  Just?   No, not just.  It's a very nice facility, with a staff that seems lovely and well-trained and very caring so far. 

I shouldn't have to feel guilty for going back to work.  I'm not here just because we need the money, but because I love my job.  LOVE it.  Being a SAHM wouldn't work for me, although I admit that I could probably go part-time if the finances allowed. 

I shouldn't have to feel guilty for putting him in a daycare center.  I asked around.  I put out feelers for a home-care situation.  Nobody I knew was able to recommend someone to me, and I just wasn't comfortable finding a place online, regardless of how well it was rated.  So I visited a few centers near school and home, and picked this one based on several factors.  It's not just a daycare center.  I'm not going to let myself say that anymore.

The reality is, I'm a full-time working mom.  I love my job, and I love my son.  I love my son more than I love my job.  I wasn't going to put him somewhere that wasn't good for him.  We'll see how this goes, and if doesn't work out, I'll find somewhere else.  But for now, I'm happy with it.  He's doing okay, he's getting adjusted.  And I don't want to feel badly about my choice.

I guess I'm saying that it's really not all the fault of the people who've made those faces and comments, because I've set them up to say them by saying he's just at daycare.  I've believed that family or friends or home-care is best, too, and I've felt guilty.

But I'm done with that, okay?

From now on, here's what I'm going to say:  "Will's at a daycare center really close to our house.  So far, the staff seems really lovely.  I really like the directors, and the lady who is with him most of the day is this Bosnian-grandmother type who clearly loves babies and wants to take really good care of him.  He's only been there a few days, but he seems to be adjusting pretty well - I think he really likes watching the other babies and can't wait to be able to sit up on his own and play, too."

So that's that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

4 Months

Will officially turned four months old onTuesday, the 24th, the same day his Great-Grandpa Bob turned 97 years old.  Grandpa Bob loves being with Will, so we made sure to go over to my parents' house for Gpa's favorites: spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and carrot cake for dessert.  Grandpa gave Will lots of kisses, and Will got lots of attention (as always).  I'd say it was a very successful "birthday" for both!




Development:  We went to the pediatrician on Thursday (whom, by the way, I absolutely love.  We actually see the PA in our office most of the time, and she is just incredible.  The doctor that is technically ours was also my childhood pediatrician, but as she is super in-charge of the whole medical group, she doesn't work too many days a week and is harder to schedule) for Will's four-month Well-Child Check. 


Will weighed in at 13.5 pounds, three more than his two-month check up.  He's still in the 30% for weight, but that's okay, because he's been consistent in his growth all along.  His height moved up to the 35% percentile as he has officially reached two-feet tall, being exactly 24 inches long.  No wonder he doesn't fit as cozily anymore!


In other developmental areas, this was a big month for Will.  He's learned to roll onto his side, so I bet to his tummy isn't too far away.  He can see you from across the room and smile at you.  He discovered his voice - the first few days of that were non-stop cooing.  And, in the last week, he's started reaching for toys and is fascinated by their bright colors and fun textures.  We didn't really have many toys, just a clip on elephant for his carseat, but a friend sent a package that had some fun little squishy blocks that crinkle, so we're set.  His little legs are in constant motion - we have no idea where he thinks he's going, but he's apparently going to be a sprinter, cyclist, or swimmer based on his movement.  And he's working really hard at taking the pacifier out of his mouth and putting it back in on his own.  After a while of not quite being able to get it, he usually sticks his fingers right in, which brings me to the drooling.  Yes, we've started the slobber-fest that apparently indicates pre-teething.... but no signs of any actual teeth yet.  Thank. Goodness.


Personality: This little boy wants to be a happy little boy, he truly does.  Sometimes, when he's starting to get unhappy about something, he'll still smile at you even in the midst of his tears, before he gives in.  He is a very smiley baby and is content much of the time.  He likes to be social and visit with others, and he drinks in the world around him.

But when he's unhappy, well, he is unhappy.  As in screaming.  Usually it's because he has a problem of some sort and thinks we should be able to fix it instantly, and when we can't, he tells us about it.  He tells us all about it.


Sleep: Right after our three-month update, Will moved from our room to his own room.  We'd been sleeping in the basement, due to the fact that the smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire kept us from being able to open the windows and cool off our near-90 degree house, and when we moved back upstairs, it seemed silly to re-set up the pack'n'play.  So to his room he went.  He's really adjusted quite well, I think.

The other big change, and again, this only in the last week, is that we've stopped swaddling him.  He was too big for the swaddle we had and was continuously "busting out" of a blanket swaddle and waking himself up.  A friend gave us a Woombie, which we love and would still be using, except for the fact that it's been so hot in his room when he goes to bed that I didn't feel right about it.  He was sweating and crying and just seemed miserable, so we decided to tough it out and let him learn to fall asleep unswaddled, as well as to put himself back to sleep if he wakes up.

It's going.  There have been some rough moments, some "this is breaking my heart" moments, and a couple of "I should just go get him" moments.  But overall, he's been doing really well.  In the big scheme of things, he doesn't cry as long as I have heard many babies do, and he definitely is getting it.

The first night time sleep lasts anywhere from four to six hours before I feed him, and then the second one has been getting longer, also.  I'm hoping we're getting to a place where he's going to be on a good schedule for the school year.  Naptimes are less regular - he still is only a cat-napper, so he takes several little naps throughout the day.  The pediatrician said that might be in his favor when he starts day care - many babies who are long nappers have trouble taking their regular naps in that setting and get over-tired, so he might be in like already being a cat-napper.  We'll see.


Overall, I feel pretty good about where we are sleep-wise.


Eating:  Still doing the pump-to-bottle thing most of the day and nursing at night, with some nursing or formula during the day, depending on the situation.  We're trying to stock up on frozen breast milk for day care.  He's slowly starting to spread out his eating times.  By that I mean he can now wait two and a half or three hours to eat, instead of every two.  None of those four of five hour periods for us.  I was afraid he might be eating too much as a result, but since his weight gain was consistent and good, I'm not worried anymore.  He'll eat as he needs it, I think.  We're not quite ready for solid foods yet - maybe in a month or so.  Husband did let Will lick a banana though; my-oh-my was his facial expression hilarious.  Total disgust.  His mama agrees.

Likes/Dislikes: Will likes his scrunchy-crinkly blocks.  The elephant on his car-seat.  His Graet-Grandma Harriett, who got him to giggle a lot while she was here last week.  Doggies (his new fav!).  Apparently, watching the Olympics. 


Actually, there isn't much he actually doesn't like, except being hungry, being tired, and having tummy troubles.  Really, who can blame him?

Milestones: His first "road-trip" up to Estes Park.  Many of the aforementioned developmental things, like noticing toys, sleeping in his own room, more and more control of his head, and even pulling himself up almost towards a sitting position.  Noticing his first baby, his cousin Henry.  His first hike, his first trip to the pool, his first rodeo (all chronicled in this post).



 

Mommy Update: I'm doing pretty well.  Gearing up to go back to work, and mostly excited about it.  I know leaving him is going to be hard, though, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that.  Weight and health-wise, I'm not doing too much better, but I'm also not doing too much worse.  Getting into meal-planning and grocery shopping to assist my eating habits and hoping to get to do some exercise a couple times a week once we establish good bedtime routines with the new school schedule.

My, How We've Grown

Coming soon, an update on Will at four-months, which he turned the same day as his Great-Grandpa Bob turned 97.  For now, a quick visual on how he's grown!


Here's my little man (as confirmed by his shirt) sometime in April.  Didn't capture his feet, but they were right at the edge of this picture.



And here he is a couple of weeks ago, in early July.  Check out those long legs dangling off the Boppy!  Regardless of his size, it's still one of his favorite places to chill out.


A hint of what's to come in his four-month update: He's grown 5 inches since birth and is now 24 inches long - that's right - he's two feet tall!  (In case you were wondering, which you probably weren't, Charles Stratton, aka "General Tom Thumb," only grew to be 25 inches tall and stayed that way his entire life.) 

He's also started to do a few more fun things than before, like reach out for toys and talk talk talk. 

I'll tell you about sleeping and what I'm thinking about going back to work (which I do next Monday).  Tomorrow I have my first experience with leaving him with someone other than Dad or Nonna, as I have Jury Duty.... it makes me cry just thinking about it!  I'm hoping that "nursing mother" gets me sent home right away.

Anyway, stay tuned for the update within the next few days!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catching Up: On Husband

This is the perfect day to catch up on what's going on in Husband's life, because this day is about us.


Today, in case you are wondering, is our 4th anniversary.  For years ago we said, "I do," and promised to walk with each other through each day of our lives, through the ups and the downs, the goods and the bads, the beautiful and the ugly.  I'm so proud to be married to this man, to be going through life together, to be learning each day how to be a man and woman who love the Lord, love each other, love our son, and to do life well.


I'm ready for four more years, and then forty more after that, and forever even after that.

A while back I posted these two posts (He Answers and What He's Listening To) that had to do with Husband's job.  After four years with the same company, he was no longer going to be employed there, and we were completely unsure of what was in store for him and for us.  Much time was spent discussing what he wanted to do, what he thought would be satisfying, where he could go to grow.  He'd known for a while that he didn't want to be doing manual labor his entire life, but without a college degree, being an electrician was about it.  And, just for the record, we were really proud of his accomplishments as an electrician so far, too.  He'd gone through a four-year trade school program and graduated with honors.  He'd tested for and received his Journeyman's License.  He'd really pushed himself to do well in that field, and continues to do so.  But it isn't what he wants to do with his life.


After much prayer, consideration, and lots of talking about all the difficulties we would potentially face, Husband decided it was time for him to give college another try, and this time, hopefully, to walk away with a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering.  He did a ton of research about the program, meeting with academic advisors and the Dean of Engineering.  He found out about financial aid and was awarded a Pell Grant for this year.  And, at the beginning of July, he started his first three classes.  For this term, two of them are online and one is in-building, on Monday and Wednesday nights.  So far, he's doing pretty well, although we've definitely seen already the effects of the change in our evening schedule.  The nights he is home, he has homework.  The nights he has class, he has homework to do when he gets back.  It's been a blessing that I haven't been in school yet, so we can sort of deveop a routine for him that works before I added my schedule requirements to the mix. 

We're excited, but also apprehensive.  School is hard for Husband.  Somewhere along the line of his education, he began to believe the lie that a person who has trouble learning quickly is stupid, the lie that a person who has trouble in math is stupid, that a person whose brain doesn't organize information easily is stupid.

In essence, he began to believe the lie that he is stupid. 

So school, and this degree in particular, holds a lot of scary things for him.  A lot of math, a lot of complicated things to study, to learn.  I am confident that he can do it, but I know it's going to be hard.  He is learning how to be organized, how to study, how to not give in and quit when the going gets rough.  I'm learning how to not be a know-it-all (school is my forte), how to be supportive and enouraging, how and when to turn teacher-mode off and when to turn it on.

And, of, course, Husband doesn't just get to go to school.  He also has a full-time job.  At the beginning of June, he found a job at a company located on the southern end of the city.  After two days of working there, Husband was completely discouraged.  Without going into a bunch of details about an electrical company, I will just say this: it was not the right fit for him.  We thought for a while that maybe if he stuck it out, it would get better, but day after day, he came home exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  The pace was frantic, the hours demanding (60+ a week, including every Saturday, and he was leaving the house before 5 am to get to work), and the organization of the company somewhat lacking.  The potential pay, while really good, didn't appear to be worth it, at least not for us.  Not with Husband starting school, me going back to work, and a four-month old son at home.  We just didn't see how he could stay there; it seemed like the job was sucking every bit of joy right out of him.

God, thankfully, allowed Husband to leave that job.  A man from church works for another company in town, one pretty close to where we live, and after an interview there, Husband was hired.  Four days on the job and he already seems so much happier.  He's got a spring in his step again, even though they asked if he could work this Saturday.  Working Saturday at this place means overtime, whereas before it didn't.  My favorite part?  The owners of the company and at least one of the other higher-ups are Christians, and they get together once a month to pray for the company.  Husband has never worked at a place with Christians before.  While the company doesn't appear to be labeled as "Christian," he will have the opportunity to work with and for people who believe the same as he does, who, in a field with pretty low moral standards, will hold themselves and him to higher ones.   It's awesome.  You can just see the weight lifted off his shoulders.

We know that we're entering a stage of life that has the potential to be very difficult, but we're ready to take it on.  My man, my husband, is tackling something huge, something he wants, something he's excited about.  He's doing it while working a full-time job, being a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a worship-team member, and, most of all, a Jesus-follower.  I am so glad to be able to be the wife that believes in him, that supports him.


These next four (or more likely five) years will probably holdsome of the downs, the bads, and the ugly I mentioned earlier, but they will also be full of the ups, the downs, and the beautiful as we continue to do life together.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catching Up: A Mountain Trip

My family has never been the "family vacation" type.  It's not really that we didn't want to, but rather that, given the chance, we'd rather go see our extended family, the same mentioned in this post yesterday.

We have, however, taken family trips to this place for more than twenty years.


Welcome to Rams Horn Village, nestled near the town of Estes Park and at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my family's favorite places to be.  My grandma found Rams Horn many years ago, and we've stayed there nearly every summer for practically forever.  It's tradition now.  We go hiking in the park (we have several favorite trails), we walk the town and do a little light shopping, we eat good food, we go to the pool if the weather is cooperative, and we rest.  It's awesome, and one of the things we most look forward to each summer.  Some of our favorite memories come from our trips here, especially those with my grandparents.


A couple of weeks ago was Will's first trip to Estes Park to stay at Rams Horn.  He, his Nonna (my mom), Grandad (my dad), Tia (my sister), and I headed up midweek, but poor Daddy (Husband) had to wait until Friday night to join us, due to his job.  The weather was pretty much gorgeous, but unfortunately they are doing major roadwork in RMNP, cutting off access to most of the trails we usually hike (and the ones I felt I could do with Will strapped to my front).  Still, we were able to drive around the park, watch as a wedding party took pictures at the Illuvial Fan, and hike to Alberta Falls, one of our favorite easy hikes.  We even saw a huge herd of elk... a first for all of us!  We have only ever seen a few at a time before.








Not only did Will go on his first hike, but he also went to his first rodeo.  Estes Park is home of the Rooftop Rodeo, voted the PRCA's Best Small Rodeo.  We love the rodeo, and were pretty bummed when we discovered our Estes Park trip coincided with the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, meaning we'd have to miss out.  Sister and I were pretty estatic to see that the Rooftop Rodeo was going on while we were there, though, so rodeo-ing we went.  On a whim I'd thrown this little outfit in the suitcase, so Will was the best-dressed in our family.  It was a great little rodeo, with some of the best bucking horses I have ever seen and an incredible view - Lake Estes and the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.



Will's other first was a couple of trips to the pool.  He only spent a few minutes in the pool each time, and I'm not totally sure he liked it, but he didn't hate it, either.  What he did hate was getting out - he cried and cried - but he cries getting out of the bathtub, too.  He was pretty stinking cute in his little bathing outfit, though.







The rest of the time was spent hanging out, walking around town, and just being together as a family.  We did absolutely no work and were able to, I think, truly get some much needed rest before things get going again.  Wish we could have stayed a few more days!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Catching-Up: Family Visit

As I get ready to head back to work in a couple of weeks, I am working on getting us into some good and healthy routines, and getting back into the swing of things, including blogging.  Before I get into anything new, I have a few posts coming to catch you up on our summer.

 Tia and her favorite nephew.

First, we were so excited to have my Aunt Mary, Uncle Blair, cousin Caroline and her hubs Jake, and their baby boy Henry, come to visit at the beginning of July.

 Caroline, Jake, and Henry on the porch.

I've posted about Caroline before - she's been one of my bestest best friends since birth, literally.  Exactly five months older than I am and with best friend moms (sisters), she and I have spent countless hours playing, dreaming, swimming, walking, talking, growing up, and living life together.  Despite the distance between our homes, we've stayed close.  Her little boy is just over three months older than Will, so we are already planning their best-friendship, too.   Jake, Caroline's husband, is a welcome addition to our family, and we were really glad he was able to come on this visit, too!

My aunt and uncle come out a few times a year, since Mom and Aunt Mary's dad, my grandpa, is here and can't really travel.  We have always been pretty close, but I would say the last few years have been the best - being an adult-kid adds a new level to the relationship.  Since they've been here often, they have also gotten to know Husband.  He loves being around them, too.  We're just comfortable and happy together.

 The two Nonnas and their grandsons.

This visit was different than those of the past - two babies really does change everything.  We still, however, made sure the best part of our family time still happened: breakfast and coffee at the kitchen counter and time on the front porch.  Will and I made sure to leave our house early enough that we wouldn't miss that oh-so-important time.  From pancakes to scones to Mom's incredible biscuits and many, many cups of coffee, we indulged and enjoyed. 

The men got to play golf and catch a couple of movies, while the ladies did a little shopping, a lot of chit-chatting, and, of course, a ton of baby snuggling and smiling. 

Henry and his Nonna, and Will with Caroline... he was having a rough day, but he still loved her!

Will and Henry definitely took notice of each other, and Will even picked up a few tips from Hen over their few days together (read: Will discovered his voice and started coo-ing non-stop after hearing Henry babble and laugh all the time.  He also began drooling, in apparent effort to mimic his cousin's "drool bombs."  Makes sense he would want to copy his cousin, as I always wanted to copy mine.)  We can't wait to see how the interact the next time they are together, when both are a little older!

Henry also got to meet his great-grandpa Bob, who turns 97 tomorrow.  (I'll be posting on him, don't worry.)  Grandpa loved seeing Henry and Will - we think the babies give him a new lease on life.

Henry and his Great-Grandpa Bob

Family is definitely one of the most important things to me, and this particular family some of my favorite people in the world.  So glad we got to spend a little time together and have our two baby boys meet and begin what we hope is a lifelong friendship, just like ours!

 All kinds of cousins!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Knew?

Who Knew That...

... some babies don't like to take naps for more than 30 minutes at a time, making it nearly imposisble to get anything of substance done?

... sneaking all sorts of bits of chocolate and other things here and there during pregnancy would indeed make it a little lot more challenging to lose the preggo-weight (read my plea for accountability here?

... a bedroom could seem so much bigger when you take the pack-and-play away and have the baby sleep in his own room?

... making a meal plan for the week and buying the groceries accordingly actually helps you stick to the budget and eat healthier?

... your house is never quite as picked up as you'd like it to be when you have a child, no matter how old they are, I'm guessing?

... you can memorize some of those children's books pretty quickly?  The sun has set not long ago, and everybody goes below... I don't even read that book anymore, I just recite it as we rock before bed.  (The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton)

... figuring out how to cut your spending to find a seemingly exorbitant amount of money to pay for daycare is quite challenging?

... coming up with creative, non-mommy things to blog is also challenging, since my day is mostly mommy-ish?

... that, even if I wanted to tell you about something non-mommy-ish, like the yummy homemade lettuce wraps with quinoa, chicken, and veggies I made yesterday, it would sort of be pointless because I didn't think to get a picture because I barely had time to make them?

...watching your baby's face light up in a huge smile when he sees you could so totally make your day?

... that Jesus still has a lot to say to you, if you'd just take the time to listen?

... and that He doesn't mind if your quiet time is interrupted frequently by attending to the baby; He still wants to talk?

... it is nearly impossible to grasp what life is going to be like when I go back to work and Husband starts school?

... how much I would miss Husband when he went back to work, even though I was (am) glad he was able to get a job?

... how freaking adorable it is to see my son sleeping in his crib, a little baby in a big bed, with his arms flung wide out of the blanket since he is apparently incapable of falling asleep without being swaddled but also incapable of not wiggling free?

... it's hard not to wish I had more followers or comments and wonder how I could grow my blog, while simultaenously stubbornly refusing to take the time to find, go to, read, and comment on others' blogs, which I think might be the trick?

... that I would be annoyed with myself for caring about something stupid like followers and comments?

... that the Bumbo may not be something our Peanut likes, even though you'd think he would?

... that DVR would be one of my almost favorite-ist things, especially upon discovery of some fun Food Network shows?

... that I end up staying awake way later than I should to grab some "me" time and put the house to sort-of-rights after Will goes to sleep, so I secretly sometimes wish his bedtime was a little earlier?

... that I could easily come up with a bunch more things I didn't apparently know?


You probably knew.... but I'm just learning them. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 Months and a Plea for Accountability

Note: I wrote this the day after Will's 3 Month Birthday, which was the 24th, but, due to the fires, I was distracted the rest of the week.  :)



Yesterday morning I sang "Happy Birthday" to Will to celebrate his 3 Month Birthday.  He smiled, laughed, clapped, and of course, I couldn't get it on camera.  The second he saw the little "picture about to be taken" focus light, he was wide-eyed and startled looking.  Still cute.


Development: I have no idea how much Will weighs or how long he is at this point.  I suppose I could try to weigh him and get out the tape measure, but I'm lazy.  He's bigger than he was before, that's what I know.  I'll tell you what the official result is at his 4 month check-up.  Let's just say that he fills in his car seat and your arm gets tired after holding him more than before.

He's able to hold his head up quite a bit without bobbing all over the place, and he's rolled over twice.  The first time, my friend Brooke and I were sitting and chatting while he had some tummy time and then both were like, "wait, did that just happen?!"  Actually, since I started this post, Will has proven that he officially has learned to roll over from his tummy to his back.  Put him down for tummy time, and within a minute, he'll roll over.  We've started having him sit propped up more, too, to take in a new world view.


He's alert a lot more of the time, and definitely taking in the world.  He's very verbal - he tells us about everything and I can't wait to hear more. 

Personality: Will's moods can change in the flash of an instant.  One minute, a piercing temper-tantrum throwing scream.  The next?  He's all smiles.  Really, he's wonderful.  I do think that, once he's old enough to get it, we quite possibly will be working on learning that having a fit is not the way to get something you need.

He's learning to contentedly spend time independently - in his crib, on his mat on the floor, in his swing, but he also really enjoys his "people time," too.  He really loves being held upright and checking things out.

Sleep:  Night time sleeping is going pretty well!  He's going to bed between 8 and 9 most nights, and usually wakes up between 1 and 3 to eat.  Lots of times he wakes up again between 4 and 5, depending on how early he woke up before, but if I bring him to cuddle in bed for a little while (don't judge), he goes right back to sleep until about 7. 



Nap time is the thing that's hard.  He really only will sleep for about 30 - 45 minutes max, no matter how sleepy he really is.  I'm hoping that he'll figure out the longer nap, soon.  He's certainly being awake for longer, so I think he needs to nap longer, too.  He just gets himself so tuckered out!  But he also hates falling asleep for naps - he's already not wanting to miss things.

Eating: No changes here.  Still eating every 2 to 3 hours during the day.  We do a mixture of breast-feeding and pumped bottle-feeding, with maybe a bottle of formula a day, too, depending.  He has a healthy appetite, for sure.

Likes/Dislikes:  Ceiling fans.  He loves ceiling fans.   Today he laid on the floor at my parents' house and just laughed and smiled as he watched the fan go round and round.  He likes his little ducky blanket, as you can clearly see here.  This little video makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

video

He sincerely dislikes falling asleep for naps, as I mentioned, but there isn't much else he truly seems to dislike, aside from situational things.  He's really pretty good natured, except for when he isn't. :)

Baths are something that he sort of likes, like maybe.  He's pretty squirmy, and we might be moving to be a bigger baby bath soon, because he's filling up the little one pretty quickly.  The thing he doesn't like about baths is the cold air when he gets out, even though the house has been 80 degrees for the last week.  However, we've found that swaddled into this fun Lil' Husker towel, given to us by some friends, he doesn't mind it quite so much.



Milestones: I've pretty much already given these away!  He's taught himself to roll over, so that's huge.  I'm quite grateful he hasn't learned the back-to-tummy roll yet, though.  And he's a laugher, which to me is a milestone.  We've also narrowed daycare down to two places, and are leaning towards one, which may not be a milestone for him, but certainly is for me.

Mommy Update: Mommy is quite unhappy with her figure these days.  I'm going to just be totally honest and show you the two pictures that make me cringe.  And I mean C.R.I.N.G.E.   I don't want to be hung up on body image stuff, but the reality is, I don't feel good about myself, and if that doesn't change, going back to work is going to be really hard.  I need to feel healthy and feel like things are improving, so it's time to get my act together. 




And I'm asking you to help hold me accountable. 

There are a few things I really need to do to start to feel healthier and better about myself:

One: Develop a better eating schedule that I can take into the school year.  

I often don't eat breakfast, so my metabolism doesn't get going as it should.  And during school, sometimes I barely eat lunch, too.  As a result, I eat a ton in the afternoon and evening.  Recently I found out that this is how Sumo wrestlers gain weight.  Obviously that diet has clearly got to go.   I also tend to eat compulsively when doing "sitting" activities - grading papers, watching T.V., reading a book.  That needs to stop, too, unless I'm snacking on green beans!

Two: Eat better and in the right amounts.

I'm a salt and starch addict.  Give me cheese and crackers, nachos, bread and butter, and I'll be a happy girl.  Until I look at those pictures again, and realize I am starching my way into misery.  I'm mostly cutting out those types of things and loading up on the lean meats and fruits and veggies.  I'm limiting the sugar in my coffee and not drinking soda at all (except for when we go out for pizza).  I want to snack on things like grapes and almonds, but not look down and realize I've eaten the whole back of almonds in one sitting. 

Three: Exercise.

No matter how hot it is, or how much Will wants to be held, I know I can find 30 minutes to do a workout video, get on the treadmill, or go for a walk.  It's just about me getting off my lazy rear end and stopping making excuses.

That's the theme here - no more excuses.  It's time to just do it, because I need to feel good about me.  Will you help me?  Seriously, I would love to hear from you now and again asking me how I'm doing, and holding me accountable to posting periodically on my journey to better health.

Speaking of which, I'm going to go cut up the pineapple and watermelon sitting in my fridge so I can snack on those tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Power of Fire

I have never shared where I live on this blog (although if you have paid attention, you would have figured it out, at least the state).   But to share with you what we have been going through, well, I have to tell you where I live. 

This is my hometown, Colorado Springs.  I show you these views of Pikes Peak and of Garden of the Gods, because these are the places I have grown up looking for most of my life.  These mountains, these gorgeous, forest-laden mountains, hold places I have often visited, trails I have often hiked, and friends' houses I have often visited.



And if you've been paying any attention to the news in the last few days, those mountains are on fire. 
(In actuality, Colorado is on fire... on Sunday there were 8 forest fires buring across the state, including this one, the Waldo Canyon Fire, and the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, which has burned more than 80,000 acres.)

Saturday afternoon I came home from Husband's softball games, noticing a plume of smoke in the mountains.  By that evening, we knew a pretty big forest fire had broken out.  It seemed like it was mostly going to threaten areas up the mountain, which was upsetting, but life went on.  We watched the news over the next couple of days, tracking it's progress, noting areas that had been evacuated, but still the experience felt a little far off, even as we watched the plumes of smoke.  Sure, we had to keep our windows closed to keep the smoke out, which meant that, for those of us without AC, inside temps reached as high as 88 degrees, cool, compared to the 100 degrees outside.  (Record highs for Colorado, by the way.) 


My family particularly paid attention as they live in a forest on the northeast side of town, knowing that, with the intense dryness and the intense heat, a small spark could light up their world, too.  With all the fires going on around the state, the smoke making our normal views hazy and frightening, and the heat, everything felt a little surreal, and as if anything could happen.

That feeling increased dramatically on Tuesday.

That morning, I headed out for coffee with my mom, followed by a little shopping trip and then a salad from Whole Foods.  From our location, we could see the smoke moving up the ridge of the mountains, towards the north, towards homes, towards the Air Force Academy.  By that afternoon, many reported literally seeing the flames racing down the hills towards the city.  The smoke descended on us, and ash fell all over the city, including at our home, several miles away. 


Watching the news made me want to cry.  Correction, I did cry.  The images were startling, nightmarish, vivid.  Homes were burning, and places we love, like the Flying W. Ranch, where I went many times with my grandparents and family over the years, including the day Husband and I got engaged, burned to the ground. 




What had felt surreal, yet far away, was suddenly very close.  The idea of sleep was almost unimaginable.  I finally made myself turn off the TV and told Husband not to let me turn it back on again.  As a child, I was severely afraid of fire, but over the last many years, that fear had faded, and I had almost forgotten.  Now, suddenly, I remembered. I  am terrified of fire. 

Wednesday morning dawned with a press conference explaining the damage.  The fire had gone from about 6,000 acres to 15,000 in the span of several hours.  An unknown number (now estimated to be in the hundreds) of homes had been lost.  The wind and other weather factors, unable to be controlled by human hand, had caused the fire to become an inferno.  Devastation had ensued.  The Air Force Academy had been evacuated as the fire threatened to continue on it's way.


Yesterday I spent the day at my parents', helping them mitigate a little, just in case, although if a forest fire really were to break out where they live, I don't think anything could really help.  We waited all day to see if the fire would continue raging, or if it would be a good day.  Small rainstorms scattered the area, bringing hope and fear simultaneously.  A little rain would do nothing, but the lightening accompanying it could do serious damage.  Areas to the north were put on pre-evacuation, including the town where my good friend lives.  As she is on vacation in Mexico, I wondered if I should break into her house and get some things for her. 

We learned this morning that the fire increased to 18,000 acres, which, actually, was good news.  No more structures were lost, and they have high hopes for today, expecting the weather to work in their favor.  I pray it does, as everyone knows that in Colorado, the weather never does what it is supposed to do.  There are over 1,000 firefighters fighting this fire, even as others work tirelessly around the state to put out the other fires, too.  Some stupid people have been criticizing them, implying that they didn't work hard enough, that they lost hope, that they let places burn.  As if anyone could control the raging beast that is a forest fire, or control the wind that blows wildly through the mountains.  I sort of would like to hit those stupid people, you know.  Thankfully, the firefighters continue to work endlessly, and are committed to their task.  They've been preparing for this day, for this season, their entire careers.  More thankfully, not one injury or loss of life has been reported, not for a firefighter or for any of the 32,000 evacuees.


Facebook blew up with photos of the fire and prayers for a miracle.  I confess that very little have I prayed.  I know God is big enough, powerful enough, to send a miracle, to send a torrential rain despite the weather forecast.  I know that He works things for His Good (Big "G" Good, as my friend says, not our little "g" good), and that He can work and is working through this experience.  I  know these things. 

But that hasn't stopped me from wondering what the purpose is, really.  Even as I type, I wonder.  Part of it is that is as if our city is in a bad movie, so it almost feels as if it might not be real.  Our eyes are glued to the mountains, to the progression of the smoke.  Our TVs have been constantly on, as we listen with half an ear.  Yet we've also had to go to work, to make dinner, to continue life.  Will still needs to eat, be played with, have his diaper changed.  There's this odd feeling of "what are we doing?" covering everything.  My mom said it best yesterday.  Even as we were outside raking pine needles to mitigate their property, a man was washing their windows before company comes next week.  "It feels incongruent that we are simultaneously getting the house ready for company as we are getting it ready to burn down."  The whole experience is weird.

I could go on for a long while trying to explain what this feeling has been like, but I think I'll stop now.  Afterall, life does have to go on.  While we wait to see what today will hold for the fire, for our mountains, our city, our friends, there is still work to do and things to be done.  The city has really pulled together, and will continue to do so, I know.  These things unite us. 



And, while I haven't been on my knees praying as perhaps I should have been, I will cling to the truths that God is God of this City, that He is greater and more powerful than any fire, and that, although I really don't think He wills a fire to destroy things, He can still make Good things come from tragedy.



I have a post ready for Will's 3 Month update, by the way, but I decided to save it and share this, for now.
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