Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and such

(Company + a holiday + staving off a round of mastitis + my husband being home for six days + nipping a sore throat + laundry = no blogging.  'Nuff said.)

As Thanksgiving drew nigh this year, I couldn't help but think about that momentous Thanksgiving two years ago when Steve came to my house for the first time.  He wasn't scared away by spending the night in the Omaha Children's Hospital with my dad and whining post-surgery sibling since that was as far as his carpool would take him.  He wasn't scared by being surrounded by talkative girls.

He wasn't phased by the general chaos of Thanksgiving day and making a billion mini cornucopias with me.

Nor was he turned off by the day of cookie baking, the double-date with my parents, a horrible dinner and seeing Fireproof.

Meanwhile, I was a complete basket case who, after each late nigh...er, early morning talk would bang my head on the bathroom wall wondering how in the world I was going to survive if this guy didn't like me back.  (My sister is my witness here.)  Like, DUH, Amelia.  Not too many guys would endure all of that and still be pining on the car ride home.

I'm really glad I don't have to worry about that any more.

Now, two years later, we are splendidly married and have this little muchkin:

Who helped me bake lots and lots of pies:

We certainly didn't stay up late this year, nor did we make lots of cookies together, but we did enjoy having Steve's mom and dad here for the entire week:

And eating a wonderful meal with 23 other folks at my grandparents' house.  And playing Risk without having to substitute my stuffed kitty as one of the players.  And just chilling for the first time in weeks.

God is so very, very good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fantabulous Friday: Just Doing It

This week I didn't go to bed with dirty dishes still in my sink.

This week I did a quick clean of the bathroom every day after I showered.

This week I exercised at least 30 minutes each day (except for Wednesday - but lugging a baby carrier around for eight hours while running errands should count, methinks, since I was sweating).

This week I tried my darndest to eat only meal with a carbohydrate per day.

That sounds all good and jolly and "Wow, aren't I just splendid!"  But do you know what?  It was hard.  There were many days and many times that I didn't feel like doing any of those things.  I wanted to snap my Mary Poppins fingers and make my house instantly clean.  I wanted to sit on my couch and eat the dark chocolate chip cookies that Steve made (lots and lots of them).  And yet, since I don't live in a television fantasy land, I couldn't do those things and still have the sparkling house and the healthy and fit post-baby body that I want.  I still had to do it.

Sure, I'm really grateful for all of the tools available to help me do the things that I need to do, especially since adding sweet Harriet to the mix c.  FlyLady sends me an email every morning that reminds me of my cleaning "flight plan" for the day.  It's nice to not only have a list of daily tidying needs, but also reminders to tackle the cleaning nasties...like scrubbing the air vent in the bathroom.  (Major yuck.)  It's nice to be reminded that these chores only take a few minutes a day.  But having the reminders won't get my house clean. I still have to do it.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to go to Jazzercise three nights a week, and the option of having not one but four different exercise DVDs to pick from on the non-Jazzercise days.  It really helps to have the accountability of my mother and sisters who go with me to exercise.  It's great to have DVDs to pop in when the weather is so cold, and to have an exercise program that Harriet can do with me when she doesn't feel like watching me jump around to The Biggest Loser workout.  But having Jazzercise or the DVDs on my shelf won't burn calories.  I have to get up and do it.

There was a song on Mr Rogers Neighborhood that addressed this very issue (listen to to music, too):
You can make believe it happens,
Or pretend that something's true.
You can wish or hope or contemplate
A thing you'd like to do.
But until you start to do it,
You will never see it through.
'Cause the make-believe pretending
Just won't do it for you

You've got to do it.
Every little bit
You've got to do it, do it, do it, do it
And when you're through,
You can know who did it,
For you did it, you did it, you did it.

If you want to ride a bicycle
And ride it straight and tall.
You can't simply sit and look at it
'Cause it won't move at all.
But it's you who have to try it.
And it's you who have to fall (sometimes)
If you want to ride a bicycle
And ride it straight and tall.


Every little bit
You've got to do it, do it, do it, do it
And when you're through,
You can know who did it,
For you did it, you did it, you did it.

It's not easy to keep trying
But it's one good way to grow.
It's not easy to keep learning
But I know that this is so.
When you've tried and learned
You're bigger than you were a day ago.
It's not easy to keep trying
But it's one way to grow.

You've Got to Do It
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1970

Consequently, I've been singing this song all week to myself when I want the results, but I don't want to make the effort.

I can develop discipline in chores and health habits...what about spiritual disciplines?  What about praying and being in the Word?  To be quite honest, I just haven't felt like doing it lately.  I know that I should, I know that it will only bring joy and an increased desire to know Him.  But I keep waiting for that spiritual feeling which will undoubtedly prove that I'm a good Christian girl and make me feel good about spiritual disciplines.  What if I kept waiting to do the dishes until I felt like it?  Or the laundry?  Or exercising?  They wouldn't happen.  I can't wait until I feel spiritual before I embark on spiritual disciplines.  I have to just do it.

But thankfully, there is a tool to help.  More than just a tool, actually: a Person.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, New King James Version)
(Amen and amen!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something's Gotta Change

I have been fighting the temptation to be grumpy all week long.  Sometimes I have been grumpy and then I fight the temptation to throw things, shred things, or yell at things (mostly People).  I could supply a comprehensive list of the reasons:

  • I am a human being.  Therefore, even though I'm saved, I still get to battle with my stinkin' flesh every day.
  • PMS is out to get me.  Seriously.
  • We have been super out-of-the-house busy for the past three weeks.
  • My husband works a night shift and we never see each other when we are both fully awake.
However, the a-number-one reason why I feel grumpy and sluggish and irritable and completely unmotivated is because...


I'm not getting any quality sleep.  Ever.

Before my dear darling HarriEd began waking up every hour on the hour all night long, I was prone to think somewhat critically of parents who spoke of their children's sleeping habits.  Let me just say that I completely recant: when a mommy isn't getting any sleep, figuring out how to make that change is the only thing on her brain.  And her only conversation topic.  So please bear with me.  

(Just don't bare with me....)

Harriet's present nighttime drama goes something like this: 
  • she nurses to sleep between 9-10pm.  As a co-sleeping mommy, this means that I have to be completely ready and in bed because she will wake up completely if I try to get out of bed causing us to have to start the process all over again with much fussing and fuming.
  • she sleeps for about 1.5-2 hours and then wakes up and has to nurse to get fully back to sleep.  
  • she stays asleep as long as she is touching me...preferably laying in the crook of my arm...and as long as I don't move or breathe.
  • she repeats this sequence each hour until I am a complete basket case and finally get out of bed anywhere between 4:30am and 6:30am because I can't stand it anymore.
  • she is glad that she is cute because that makes me less angry.
The problems are easily identified.  Harriet has a different getting ready for bedtime routine every night.  She won't be consoled without me.  And the more awake I am the more tense I get which makes her more jittery. 

Something has got to change.  This week, guided by the principles in The No-Cry Sleep Solution, we're going to embark on a Solve the Sleep Issues Adventure.  I'm going to move things around in our bedroom so that the crib can be next to our bed and she can sleep close to me, but not with me.  I'm going to move the rocking chair into the bedroom (it'll be a tight squeeze!) so that she can have quality consoling time with her daddy.  I'm going to have a consistent going to bed routine each night that begins at 7-8pm.  Harriet will go to sleep without drama and I will spend some time alone before hitting the hay.

I have to admit that the Solve the Sleep Issues Adventure is a little frightening.  I feel like I don't have the energy to tackle such a project, but I know that we will all benefit in the end.  Harriet will sleep soundly, I will sleep soundly, and Steve won't have to worry about defending himself from the resident witch when he gets home from work.

Pray for us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harriet at Seventeen Weeks

 The other evening, Harriet refused to sleep on the Bronco ride home.  She zoned out during our late-night dinner at Pizza Hut.  She was droopy while I got her out of her carseat at home.  However, as soon as I laid her down on the bed to change her into her pajamas, she revived quite suddenly and launched into the most elaborate, detailed, expressive story a 4-month-old can conjure up.

It was at that point that I said, "You, Harriet, are just like your father."

Harriet likes to help cook from the comfort of her Bumbo.
Ways in which Harriet is like Steve:
  • She looks like him.
  • She has his saggy left eye, especially when she is sleepy.
  • She prefers one-on-one conversation to interacting in a group.
  • She will completely zone out in front of the television or video game.
  • She likes to talk.  To me.
  • She is happiest when she is being snuggled.
  • She needs food and she needs it now.
  • She likes classic rock music...the louder the better.
  • She would stay in her bathtub for hours if she were allowed.
  • She is rather melodramatic.

Turban-head Harriet gets ready for her bath.
 Ways in which Harriet is like me:

  • She desperately needs routine.
  • She likes to get up early and go to bed early.
  • She will only sleep if she is sleeping with someone else (namely, me).
  • She has to be busy doing something all. of. the.time.  No lolly-gagging around on the couch for her.
  • She makes similar expressions.
  • She likes Jazzercise.
  • She wears pink nearly every day.
  • She thrives on quality time.
  • She is quite melodramatic.
Note to father: if you give the kid caffeine, then you get to play with her all night.
Ways in which Harriet is not like Steve or me:
  • She likes to be constantly involved with the people around her.
  • She does not like to sleep.

This adorable pink snowsuit arrived in the mail this week without any indication of the giver.  Who's going to fess up?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday Prep: The Christmas Cards

My calendar tells me that Christmas is just over six weeks away.  Got that?  Six weeks!  My brain could quickly overload with all that needs to be done: mailing cards, purchasing gifts, planning menus, and so on and so forth.  Thankfully, last year my mother-dear introduced me to the glories of the FlyLady Holiday Control Journal, and now I'm convinced that my holiday season will never be the same.  It's all about planning ahead, writing things down in a jolly little notebook, and (most of all) not procrastinating.

So that's why I'm thinking about Christmas cards in the middle of November.  I'm looking at card styles on Shutterfly.com because...

I enjoy their styles

(You can tell that I'm kind of into the one-picture-per-card look this year, but Shutterfly has many different styles available here.  Especially if your fambly can get more than one nice picture.)

I enjoy Shutterfly's services.  I have purchased prints and photo books from Shutterfly for many years and have always been satisfied with the quality of the products.  Plus, if you sign up for their email updates you can snag some pretty delightful deals.  Right now they are offering a promotion for bloggers to receive 50 free photo cards: http://bit.ly/sfly2010 

Clara took some family photos of us this past week:

(Those are the goofy ones.  Most of them were goofy, thanks to Steve's weird smiles and Harriet's ability to look at everything  but the camera.  There was one good one and it's going on the card.  So you'll just have to get a card.)
 1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
         You understand my thought afar off.
 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
         And are acquainted with all my ways.
 4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
         But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
 5 You have hedged me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is high, I cannot attain it.
 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 9 If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me.
 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
         Even the night shall be light about me;
 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
         But the night shines as the day;
         The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
 13 For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them.
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How great is the sum of them!
 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
         When I awake, I am still with You.
 19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
         Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
 20 For they speak against You wickedly;
         Your enemies take Your name in vain.
 21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
         And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
 22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
         I count them my enemies.
 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me, and know my anxieties;
 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
         And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139, New King James Version)

The prospect of moving to a new state and a new lifestyle in about two months is both exciting and freaky.  Last night, it was mostly freaky.  As I lay in bed with the snoring HarriEd all snuggled up next to me, I wondered, "Are we making a mistake?  What if we can't get an apartment, or a job, or the ability to pay for school?"

Then a still, small voice said, Are you praying about this?

The truth is that we will never go away from God's presence, not even in Missouri.  We will never be out of his sovereign, guiding love.  He knows when we fill out apartment applications, and when we make a moving budget, and what jobs are available when we actually sally forth.  He has planned all our days, before we even existed...the days of baby care and seminary studies and whatever else he leads us to do. 

His works are marvelous: we have heard of how he provided for our families, when we were too small to realize what was going on.  We experienced how he provided for mission trips and for school and for a wedding, when we really didn't have any money.  We know how he provides for us day in and day out as we set up house and have a baby.  He will continue to provide faithfully.

Search me...know my heart...try me...know my anxieties.  Lead me in the way everlasting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Harriet at Four Months

My little baby is four months old today!  (Or actually this morning at 3:33am, to be precise.)  Four months is my favourite infant age of all: they can really interact with others, entertain themselves with toys and basically do other baby-ish things besides sleeping, eating and pooping.  And it's such a happy little period before the dreaded time of teething.

I just absolutely cannot believe that Harriet is this old.  I remember looking at her in her newborn, alien-like state the day of her birth and hoping (praying!) that she would survive to four months.  (Not that it was a concern that she wouldn't, of course...but she was so small and I was so hormonal that four months felt like forty years away.)  Here we are!

Highlights of Harriet's week include liking to sit in the Bumbo chair, meeting two very sweet little boys, getting a slight cold (not. fun), and living it up at the area children's museum:

You can see more of Harriet's four month photo shoot at this here Picasa link:
Harriet at Four Months

Much thanks to her fantastical Auntie Clara with her amazing photography/editing skills!

Monday, November 8, 2010

And so...

...I don't have a blog post ready for today because

  • we had company last week and that naturally precludes spending time online
  • Harriet has been especially cranky thanks to her first bout with a runny nose
  • I washed my cellphone 
  • (no, washing a cellphone doesn't hinder blogging...but it made the day rather cranky)
  • my laundry and dishes pile were unusually large
But I do
  • have pictures of the HarriEd as an astronaut
  • want to share about last week's adventures
  • miss spending time in my little blogging space
  • look forward to a new week
See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Harriet at Sixteen Weeks

Even though we don't "do" Halloween, who can resist dressing a baby up in a ballerina costume?  I certainly can't.

Here is HarriEd at the Bunco costume party last week.

She wore her ballerina outfit from her Great! Aunt Paula.

Please look at the Baby and not my freaky mother.

Anthony and HarriEd were the Bunco Babies, born just two weeks apart.
Harriet is nearly four months old and she is acting like it.  She likes to sit and survey her varied surroundings and look generally wise.  When she is not being the center of attention (but really has no particular needs) she makes grinding noises or squeaking door noises until we talk to her.  Then she starts laughing and "talking" back.  She loves to be in rooms with loud music, so Jazzercise, Rock Band and family practice nights are quite swell.

Harriet's primary trick for the week was learning that Peek-a-Boo is really an exhilarating game.  Steve threw his coat over the top of her carseat and from underneath, in the darkness, we heard a little, "Hee, hee."  We pulled off the coat, said "Boo!" and she erupted into squeals of laughter.  We played Peek-a-Boo again over the next few days, and now whenever I just say "Boo!" she starts chuckling.  Silly Baby.

I also have blackmail material to share at her graduation party or with her future spouse: every morning, before she is fully awake, Harriet lets out the loudest toot you have ever heard.  At first I thought it was Steve, and I was going to give him a bit of a whack, but then Harriet let out another one to prove that she was indeed the supplier of the foghorn farts.  It is so very loud and so extremely ridiculous that I start laughing every morning.  I suppose that it is a good way to wake up, even if it is at her expense.

Oh dear.  

The child doth sleep, and I need to scurry around and get my 'umble abode ready for the company of some dear friends who arrive this evening.  Tally ho!