Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Post For Nathan On His First Birthday

Happy Birthday! to my sweet Nathan. As your name means, you have certainly been a gift to us. An unexpectedly expected one.

I had a son already. I loved having a son and loved Justin in particular- so dearly... so I was elated to discover we were having another boy.

So I think this was the mindset I was under... totally excited, but totally not ready to be blown away, again.

There I stood, after a short and intense labor, holding you in the tub... surrounded by your Daddy, our doula, our doc, and a confused nurse. My jaw was dropped, my eyes frozen in a "deer caught in headlights" kind of look. They were all so excited and were encouraging me to look at you. I'd take a quick glance but then look back at them in disbelief. I pushed you out- or you pushed yourself out is probably more accurate for how it felt- quicker than I expected. And I had no idea I would be overwhelmed by love for a child, again.

I expected you, but I did not expect to feel so shocked, so in love, again.

Today marks your one year anniversary. Day after day, I have experienced the unexpected gift that you are. Without realizing it, I ponder that I've seen this or that stage of development before... but then you get there and it blows me away, again. As your own sweet, unique personality emerges, I enjoy you at each step and I learn to receive you as your own person.

I love how you shyly smile and hide in my shoulder when someone says hi to you. I love that the 2 of us, we share a battle story of all the ups and downs that have come in our nursing relationship... we both fought for the opportunity to continue to be nurtured by each other and have experienced victory and grace upon grace. I love that your big brother copies you more than you copy him... that you have a special way of getting in your own little world that begs the curiosity and entrance of even your older brother. I love how you dive into our lap when you want to hide in us and cuddle. I love seeing your eyes peek through your open fingers as you play peek-a-boo. And although you are a very early riser, I love that you greet me with an enormous wave as I peer over you in your bed.

In every way you are a gift of unexpectedly expected grace to us, Nathan. We adore you and receive you with open arms, again and again. Happy birthday, our precious son!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Moment with a 'Shroom

It happened so fast. We were outside in the backyard. Nathan sat on a towel with a pile of toys to peruse, while Justin pulled out his riding toys. I was outside with them on the phone. A friend/alumni came over for dinner. She played with Justin while I finished my conversation. As I hung up, I noticed a wet, chewed up piece of white mushroom next to Nathan.

I rushed him inside and briefly looked for one of the hundred Poison Control magnets I've received and subsequently lost since embarking on parenthood. I gave up and called 911. The dispatcher transferred me to Poison Control and summarized my situation to their representative. Little did I know that we would be on the phone with her several more times over the next 24 hours. She walked us through the process of inducing Nathan to vomit with ipecac... as well as caring for him in general- what symptoms to look for, etc. By the way, we had to call a couple pharmacies to find it... so it might be worth grabbing a $3.99 bottle to have on hand in case of an emergency.

Nathan is totally fine and we're relieved and thankful parents. We found no pieces of mushroom in the vomit... so he probably spit it all out. Doug found pictures of the likely type of mushroom online, and it was indeed poisonous, so we were thankful for the conservative approach of Poison Control.

It was a scary and nerve-racking experience, but we were well-cared for along the way. Our friend's presence made Justin none-the-wiser to what was going on with Nathan... which freed us up to care for Nathan together for the next few hours. She was a huge blessing! Thanks, Sarah! And I was very impressed with both 911 and Poison Control... their professionalism, their wisdom, their gentleness and assurance, their take-charge mentality. They held our hand well at each step and told us in small amounts (as much as we could emotionally handle, for sure) exactly what to do. I hope you never have to deal with them, but if you do, I hope you have the same positive experience.

Summer and fall are common seasons for mushrooms to suddenly appear in your yard. We had never previously seen mushrooms in our yard. We later found our culprit 5 feet from where Nathan was sitting... so Justin probably rolled over it with his toy car and/or one of us kicked it unknowingly towards Nathan. So watch out for those 'shrooms!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blog Update and What are you doing for Halloween?

First, some personal thoughts about this blog. When I started, I found myself loving the writing part of blogging. It fed my soul in ways I had never previously experienced by this craft. It felt like I was discovering a new talent, enjoying a new creative outlet. Blog post ideas were bursting from my brain and the words to write them well flowed easily.

I've been hitting some bloggers' block for some time now. Sometimes I have little to say. Currently, I have lots of post ideas but my time has been eaten up by family needs of late. More importantly, I feel like I've lost the umph in my writing- and therefore the desire to sit down and put those posts "on paper." Maybe I never really had it, but it sure did feel like good writing for me anyway! It's like my blog has lost its music, to quote a line from Sonship about how the Gospel for many of us tends to lose its music over time. Anyway, all that to say, thanks for continuing to read my blog... and at this point I trudge forward, still thankful for the learning and connection I receive through blogging.

What are you doing for Halloween? Out of laziness and also the desire to maintain some margin in our life, we have not participated since we've had kids. The last 2 years, Justin has been too young to know he missed it, and Nathan was only 59 minutes old when the 31st rolled around last year. We're not scared of it, and don't think it's evil. We do shy away from keeping our kids up late. And we love that Justin still knows little of the existence of candy. I also hypothesize that Justin would freak out if we tried to dress him up in some sort of costume.

But I also think it could be a good opportunity to hang with some friends and/or get to know some neighbors better. A little initiating on our part could be a significant link in the chain to building some deeper relationships on our new side of town.

So there are our thoughts. I'm not sure if we'll participate in some way, or simply close the blinds to the world and cuddle on the couch. What are your thoughts on Halloween? What have and will you and your family do to celebrate?

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Big Now, So Small Later

Nathan slept until 6:00am this morning! That's so late for him, wehoo! After we got him up, we groped for our coffee and tried to shhhhhh! the little guy who loves to enter the day with happy but REALLLLLYYYYY LLOOUUDDD screams at the TOP of his lungs as he plays.

At lunchtime, Justin spilled a cup of milk on the floor. The milk splattered from one corner of the room to the other, including getting on toys, books, walls, etc.

Previous to lunch, we went for a walk where Justin put his rock findings in the lower pockets in my cropped pants. I had forgotten about said rocks until cleaning up the milk mess... during which those rocks dug into my knees and spilled onto the floor.

After lunch, Nathan pooped out of his diaper. He hates getting changed, so as he was kicking and screaming, I tried desperately to minimize the damages on him, his clothes, the changing pad, and me.

While working on that, Justin entered the scene having pulled of his very first painting from last spring off the fridge, something I'd been saving because it was so special to me. He ripped it in half.

While I continued to minimize poop damage on Nathan, Justin then went to his room and knocked over his large rocking chair- "Boom!"- and proceeded to pull off all the "padding" Doug had put on to protect the floors.

After all that, I let them play and cleaned up the kitchen, trying to take a deep breath. Then, I heard a large boom and a loud, helpless cry from Nathan... Justin the culprit was hovering over his victim, looking guilty.
"Justin, why is Nathan crying?"
"I knocked Baby over."

Justin did not go to sleep at nap time, but instead cried "I want your Mommy!" (He's still working on mastering pronouns... which is quite humorous. I always imagine which Mommy he could be referring to.) He did this for quite some time, until I consented and brought him out. I had some reporting that was due today for my job that I had to complete... I completed it with him on my lap. Don't you know there was some quality in that piece?!

"Done," I called Doug in desperation, "Please tell me exactly when you'll be home so that I can have that exact time to look forward to." We then decided it was a Chic Filet night (hallelujah!) and headed over to the playground at the mall to meet Daddy later. That event on the whole was fine except when the kid-who-was-way-to-old-to-be-in-the-toddler-playground (there's always ONE, isn't there?) ran over Justin which left him in tears. And then at dinner time, Justin spilled his water again... ice cold this time... all over his lap-soaking his clothes; we had no spares. Back to the sippy for a while.

My back and neck are so sore from all the picking up of these 2 big boys, all the getting up and getting down. And I can't afford my chiro until my next car wreck.

And of course there was all the daily stuff mixed in... the food preparation, the feeding, the nursing, the laundry, the kitchen clean-up, the many other poopie and wet diapers, the clothes changing, the discipline, the moderating playtime, the many towers and books read, the singing, the walk around the block, the many times Justin spontaneously hugged me, the peek-a-boos with Nathan, the moments of Nathan's head on my shoulder, getting him after his nap and having him him wave to me, all the times Justin was so sweet and obeyed so fast, etc. etc. etc.

The more I think about it, the more I realize even on a day like today, there are so many sweet moments nestled in there. The hard moments, which feel all-encompassing and big now (don't they feel SO HUGE in the moment?!) will certainly be so small later... and will probably even be funny... and maybe, just maybe, even be missed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Seven Things about Me

Twosquaremeals has tagged me write seven things about me. Thanks for the tag, 2square! Which things did you already know about me? Which are surprising or even horrifying?


1- I love living in urban-style neighborhoods. Love the variety of faces, noises, economic levels, etc. Love the natural beauty of the "nonmanicured" look. Love being challenged by people who think differently than I do. Love how sitting on my front porch lends itself to interactions with my neighbors.

2- In my past life (pre-kids), i participated in lots of
running events: 5ks, 10ks, and one half-marathon, and
triathlons as a part of a team with my family, including one half-ironman I did with my brothers... I always did the swimming leg. (Now I'm lucky if I get my rear around the block! But I'm getting motivated, I just bought new running/walking shoes!)

3- I love to make large quantities of food at one time... eating some, giving some away to friends having rainy days, freezing some for our family for later. I love tearing up the kitchen in this way, love not having to cook for a while afterwards, love giving away stuff, love feeling so productive. Food I tend to make in large quantities: banana bread, apple bread, zucchini bread, marinated meat, spinach-mushroom quiche, baby food, chicken veggie soup, etc.

4- I gave birth to my second son standing up in a bathtub. Thankfully, he was caught by someone! (my beloved family doc... who only had time to put on one glove.)

5- While I declutter often, I rarely clean my house. My new goal is to clean my bathrooms once/month, which horrifies my mother, who cleaned her bathrooms twice/week while she had young children. Love ya mom, but that trait didn't get passed down!

6- My very favorite thing to do right now is to go for a walk with our family. Boys in the double stroller, Daddy and I walking hand in hand behind. (Until we hit a big hill and then I return Daddy his hand!) Part way through the walk, we let Justin out to walk. I love seeing the world from his perspective (I never knew so many different kinds of rocks existed!), seeing Justin and Nathan sitting next to each other so happily, love the chance to talk with Doug (almost) uninterrupted while the boys are still awake, love enjoying the feel of community on our side of town together, love noticing work being done on homes, love chatting with passers-by, love watching people sitting outside to eat on the patios at the local restaurants.

7- I clog toilets often. I eat lots of fiber and things love to move on through! To help this situation, Doug installed the "Cadet 3, Large Trap Toilet." Thanks, sweetie! Thanks to his thoughtfulnes I've only had to plunge once in our new bathroom. Now THAT is love.

So now I tag Melanie!

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Few of my Favorite Things

Hi everyone! I'm ending the day tired... mostly from having a yucky attitude at all the normal parenting pursuits. The boys are fine, but some days my heart isn't. Today, even though I've had the partnership of my wonderful husband and boys' Daddy present all day, I end the day tired of the daily activities of caring for 2 small children. So I thought I'd end the day sharing a few of my favorite things I'm thankful for... to try to end on a good note. Think Oprah's "Favorite Things," except I won't be purchasing things for you.

We had a great family day perusing a local orchard. Sounds fun and beautiful and productive, right? Well, we searched and searched... and after even more searching, we found 4 apples the size of glorified grape tomatoes. Unfortunately, a late spring freeze killed the crop. Wisely of the orchard, their building was nonetheless stocked with apples from nearby local orchards that faired better. We enjoyed the search with our friends and were glad to discover a new favorite kind of apple.

Idared... Doug calls it a mix between a granny smith and a gala... a little tart and sweet... and with a red skin. Notice in the linked picture the apples were on a tree. Again, we did not see this. I originally bought some in the hopes of making apple pies. Doesn't that sound scrumptious? But then I got real... and bought them just to eat. They are amazing.

I did buy a large bag of golden delicious for which to make Nathan's applesauce. It's so yummy that I think I'll save some for us this time. If you were to try it, you'd never guess it had NOTHING added to it. And it's so easy! After 45 minutes, I had ~25 servings of applesauce for Nathan... at the total cost of $4 or $5. Not bad! But the ease of the making leads me to share a couple more of my favorite things:

Williams and Sonoma Apple Peeler/Corer
my VitaMix.
The Apple Peeler/Corer makes dealing with apples so much easier/faster... especially when working with a large quantity. I use my VitaMix almost every day and totally recommend it. The website is helpful if you're curious. It's expensive; you might have to take a 2nd mortgage out on your house, but it's been well worth it for us. The ease and high quality of this machine has made making baby food, smoothies, soup with fresh veggies, grinding nuts, and much more... commonplace around our full house. And I wouldn't be able to do these things without its help.

On a snackier note, have you tried the new Fire Roasted Tomato and Olive Oil Triscuits? Yummy. Try with a slice of cheddar cheese and your favorite red wine. Or even snuck out of the pantry when your toddler isn't looking. Either way they are amazing.

So there are a few things for ya. Off to sit on my tail on the couch w/the hubby and wind down this heart with him and the Lord... tomorrow our week begins.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hello from my Silence

Hi there!

I've not had the blog vibes of late. I've been motivated to work on some things around here when I've had those "free" moments.

Some things I've been working on:
--helped to throw party for a friend which was way special and fun. great to see more of her world and was a great excuse to provide chocolate from my favorite place. think dark chocolate with raspberries, dark with toffee, dark with espresso, dark with trail mix, dark with mint. it's sad i just wrote just as much about the chocolate as i did about my friend and the party.

--yesterday i cooked 4 spinach mushroom quiches to freeze, made this yummy cauliflower dish with cream cheese... totally did NOT taste like cauliflower!, cooked several other veggies including baby food for nathan, etc. i get in these "sprints" where i wipe out lots on my to-do lists. and then i'll crash for a few days. i definitely don't pace myself well but that's just how i'm wired i'm realizing!

--i've also been in a little season of longing for adult conversation and community a bit more than usual. after nathan was born, i was like, "give me a play date today or i'm going to scream!" i realized i needed to be more content home with the boys- since that is where i wanted to be, so i worked on staying home and pushing through those hard places-- not calling someone to come over or throwing them in the car and the first gut urge to do so... and thankfully the Lord worked on my me and gave me a content heart. i began to embrace the space and the gift of time with them so much more deeply. i found myself not living for nap times and all that.

but i'm a little back in that place. perhaps i was so thankful for this new season but then started to wrongly think i was "done." perhaps i thought i, the extrovert, would no longer struggle with the inevitable isolation that comes with staying home with kids. and perhaps i started leaning on my own strength for my peace. well, i'm back longing for adult conversation a bit more than in a healthy way. while it's certainly good to long for community, i can feel the difference (usually) when i'm longing for that community to meet my needs more than than going to the Lord for that. it starts to become an idol.

funny thing is that i've had lots of time with friends lately. it's interesting how the needs of our flesh can be insatiable... we chase after other things and those things never do meet the long-term itch.

--I've enjoyed going through the Sonship course with an amazing small group of women from my church who all live on my side of town. we are mostly in different stages in life so it's been a gift to learn from them and become better known by them. The course has been a great way to see my need for the Gospel every day and for that I've been grateful. I might expound more on that another day.

--we're working on helping nathan sleep better at night... he's gotten in a bad-habit-zone. he's doing much better but now i'm having a hard time sleeping! so i've been dragging around in super-fatigue world for a few weeks now.
There are other things of course going on but i'll stop with that. thanks for reading all the lowercased letters and rambling! Blessing to you all!