Monday, January 30, 2012

The Antics of Harriet Alice

It's time to do a little update on the ol' HarriEd.  She is so-very-close to being nineteen months old, you see, but she acts like she's five or six or something.  Her father can't believe that she is only going to be turning two this summer.  Surely she is older than that.

Harriet has really progressed into more imaginative play over the past few weeks.  The above picture shows Harriet in her beloved "bucket" (a turquoise plastic gardening tub, to be precise) with her pillow and blanket.  She is pretending like it is her bed.  Sometimes she pretends like she is sleeping, complete with snoring noises, but she keeps her eyes open lest we fall prey to her trickiness and think that she is actually asleep.  Harriet puts everything useful into the bucket.  Today her yellow plastic table is in the bucket.  I don't really know why it is so exciting to sit on top of the table inside the bucket, but there you go.  Maybe layers of toys are just better?

In addition to the bucket infatuation, Harriet is also recently attached to these Wiggles slippers.  She found them at her grandparents' house yesterday, the slippers having once belonged to a Small Aunt, and she flat out refuses to remove them from her feet.  She calls them her silly shoes and giggles rather ridiculously as she putters around the house.  She even had to wear them over her real shoes into the grocery store.  (I win major mom-props for that, okay?)  As you can see, Harriet suffers from a rather rambunctious case of bedhead no matter the time of day.  This has to be from the Rodgers gene pool.  It has to.

The other great excitement has been the gifting of a Tunnel from her Rodgerian grandparents.  This tunnel is actually part of a lovely indoor/outdoor tent situation, but Harriet just likes the tunnel.  In fact, she greets it every time she comes into the room and cries when Steve puts it away.  Harriet likes to sit and read books in her tunnel, crawl through it quickly and make loud screaming noises, and attempt to get Flori to go through the tunnel on command.

If I could sum up Harriet in one word it would be: BUSY.  It seems like the only time this kid will stop moving is when she is watching Timmy Time, but even then I will glance over at her and see her little foot tapping in time to the theme music.  She is also very quick to point out when anything isn't right.  She repeatedly announces when things are "broken" or "stuck" or "yuck" or "messy."  Sometimes she makes the mess and then loudly says, "MOMMY! MESSY!" while pointing to the disaster.  Tonight's unfortunate pooping in the bathtub episode was rather traumatizing, however.  It was definitely a "yuck."

A fun mess to make is helping Mommy cook.  Harriet sits very safely on the counter and eagerly helps me "dump" whatever ingredients I need into a bowl or pot.  Today we made oatmeal cookies and I was glad the recipe called for applesauce instead of eggs.

I'm trying to be more intentional about our afternoons.  Harriet usually just chills in the morning and does her own thing or helps me with chores and errands.  But the afternoons can get rather testy if we don't have a plan.  Thankfully, the weather has been super duper nice lately, so our afternoons usually involve some outside time.  But when we can't do that, Harriet and I like to do some crafting.  Her fine-motor skills are astounding.  She can accurately stick foam shapes onto surfaces like this Valentine's Day card that she made for her Granmom.  She is also really good at stringing beads onto pipe cleaners.  That is my new favorite non-messy activity.

Harriet doesn't really know what to do about the idea of a Baby E yet, and I don't expect her to.  As clever as she is, it is impossible to explain the abstract concept of a Baby Edmund coming out of Mommy's tummy.  She doesn't even try to repeat my warm preparatory remarks.  She just looks at me like I'm crazy.  We pulled out all of E's clothing this evening to take inventory and she kept saying, "Edmund's suit!"  So I guess she'll be prepared to dress him.

Just a few more weeks of it being Only Harriet.  I hope we can make the most of it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Miscellaneous pregnancy thoughts

I went to my 36-week doctor's appointment today.  I don't know why I was so anticipatory, but I guess I felt like it was the final hoorah! before the weekly appointments begin and I'm always excited to see Baby E and his cute little self doing so very well.  When the nurse was checking my vitals, I asked if I was supposed to have the routine GBS test and the nurse said, "Well, usually we wait until 36 weeks, but since you're at 34.2 weeks, I don't think it's going to happen."
 I stared at her in a rather stupefied manner and said, "Actually, I'm at 36 weeks.  I was at 34 weeks the last time I came in."  
"Nope," she replied confidently.  "The Wheel says that you are at 34 weeks."

The Wheel.  Have a mentioned how much I despise that little wheel that the nurses pull out to check my dates?  It is wrong every single time and they insist that it is correct - like it is the Almighty Infallible Wheel That We Mustn't Anger.  Not only is it so tiny that it is impossible to read, but it is made out of cardboard.  Surely there is some other way to figure these things out.  Like, oh, asking the patient if she thinks that The Wheel is accurate.  Because I can count, people, and I know that I am 36 weeks.  You can't just magically "lose" two weeks of a pregnancy, just because The Wheel told you so.  Bah!

My blood pressure returned to its normal state when my doctor came in and the first words out of her mouth were, "You are not 34 weeks.  You are 36."

Really.  Thank you very much.

In other Baby E news, he is all cleared for landing when the time comes.  It's a dangerous thing to tell me that information because I want to get all excited when in reality he could come in three weeks, or four weeks, or more.  But knowing that he's all set to go is encouraging and I find that my anticipation exceeds my extreme dislike of being poked and prodded and hospitalized.  It's a different feeling than with Harriet.  I was so focused on the labor and delivery aspect and how well I would perform that I really had no idea how fantastically wonderful and frightening it was to have a newborn.  Now I'm most definitely thinking more about actually having the kid and getting to enjoy him than I am about the birthing process.  (It also helps to just plan on getting an epidural.  Call me an unwomanly wimp, but I love those things and the thought of actually enjoying labor is so freeing.  Also, I saw the anesthesiologist at the tennis courts the other day when Steve and I were playing.  I was thinking, "That guy looks so familiar.  Where have I seen him before?"  Then I remembered.  Part of me was glad that I hadn't made a lot of eye contact, and part of me wanted to run up and tell him to get his stuff ready and not take so long this time around....)

The issuing forth of Baby E is probably on my mind not because I am extremely uncomfortable or all that sick of being pregnant but rather because the Braxton Hicks contractions are very prevalent and strong throughout the day.  I never felt these with Harriet at all, so this is just a new experience all around.  Hey, I'm all for my body doing the work without my being in horrible pain.  Keep on squeezing!

Baby E has quite the collection of clothing now, thanks to the purchases of grandmothers, aunts, and friends.  I didn't know if I would really find a style of boys clothing that I like, but I think that we have settled on classic stripes and plaids, zoo animals, robots, dinosaurs, and happy monsters.  Sports will make their way in, naturally, but preferably no fire trucks or trains.  Oh well, those will make their ways in I'm sure.  He'll be adorable no matter what type of hobby he is advertising.  So far H hasn't decided to put Baby E's clothes on her baby doll, but she is ever so busy changing its diaper, pushing it in the stroller, and sleeping with it.  Baby E may come as a bit of a shock since he a) won't be as flexible, b) will not appreciate being carried around by the head or dropped on the floor, and c) probably will want Mommy to change his diaper.

I can't believe it's almost February.  Can not believe it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday night ramblings

Steve isn't back from work yet.  This is the second night in a row that he has been rather late.  There is chocolate pudding cake waiting for him on the counter and it's in his best interest to get home soon so that I don't eat it all.

I had a very pleasant birthday, thank you all very much.  Several things about my twenty-fifth birthday stand out:

  1. I decided that turning twenty-five is a pleasant, mid-twenties-with-children sort of feeling.  And I really like it.
  2. I thought that it was really the best idea to make my own Fun on my birthday, so I did.  I received several coupons associated with all of the silly rewards cards that I have (Qdoba, Starbucks, Runza, etc.), so I used as many as possible and that was fun.  I also finished a quilt that I started a whole year ago and generally made the choice to be in good spirits and not let the crummy weather or Sunday sleepiness affect me.
  3. Steve did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.  Since I abhor cleaning the kitchen this was the best gift he could give.  He also gave me flowers.  And he was called "ma'am" many times at the Runza drive-thru which made me laugh really super hard.
  4. Since 2006, I have only spent one other birthday with my family.  It's really special to hang out together, eating lettuce wraps, wonton soup, chocolate trifle, and getting such thoughtful gifts.  Hooray for The Food Matters Cookbook, a pedicure gift certificate, earrings, a CD of all of the pictures of Harriet, and moolah for a post-pregnancy wardrobe update.
Here is the husband after all.  Goodnight!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Movies of Harriet

Steve's parents generously gifted us with a Flip camera for Christmas.  This was a welcome gift since the Flip I bought for Steve last year was mysteriously crushed in our computer bag.  (And this is when I start to wonder why I even bother putting stuff where it belongs....)  Most of you are aware that I am really bad about capturing those precious, once-in-a-lifetime moments on any sort of photographic device.  But recently I have been making a feeble effort to grab the Flip and get some of this on film.  Or digital bits.  Or whatever.

You will probably be more interested in this stuff if you are related to Harriet.

In this movie, Harriet shows off her skills at using edible fingerpaint.  (It took a lot for me to let everybody get this messy, but it was definitely worth it.  We're so totally doing this again.)

Here we have Harriet revealing that she can match colors correctly.  I was shocked.

And finally, Harriet's bath time opera, accompanied by her mother.  Ooh, lala.

Ta-ta for now....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Grace-filled Parenting Looks Like for Me (rather lengthy)

The following psychoanalysis needs a bit of a back story.  Here we go.

The Television Crisis
There has been a crisis in my mind over an issue the past few weeks that reached a breaking point yesterday afternoon. It's the issue of How Much Media Should Harriet Consume in a Given Day.  I'm not sure why this is such a big deal to me right now, but I've run over the entire scenario a million times in my head: how much "television" she watches (primarily in the form of Wiggles, Timmy Time, and The Muppet Show) each day, what the motivation is behind her being allowed to watch these shows, what end result I want her to have from consuming media, etc.  I've talked about it with Steve.  It all checks out.  Fine.  Dandy.

But for some reason, it's not fine and dandy.  My brain won't rest from the relentless whispers....

"Her brain will turn to mush."
"She will prefer media over creative play."
"She will grow up to be a stupid every other American kid."  ("But she'll be a happy stupid person," Steve helpfully says.)
"She doesn't watch as much TV as [insert name of person].  It can't be that bad."
"My friends don't let their children watch movies.  I'll be judged."

And then I internally combust, burst into tears, and declare myself to be a complete parenting failure, while Harriet looks on with horror.

Upon further mental inquiry, I discovered that television is just one of many areas in which I feel tense when it comes to parenting.  What about her diet?  What about her naptime and bedtime routines?  What about her relationship with Steve...or me?  So many things send me into a tizzy, and television just happens to be the breaking point this week.

The Deeper Issue

This anxiety really has its root in a much deeper issue, as I was to realize.  I have been reading Grace for the Good Girl off and on since I wrenched it back from my mother's clutches, and the chapter on being responsible really struck a chord with me.  The author talks about hiding behind a mask of responsibility and strength and never wanting to look weak, have the wrong answers, or ultimately fail.  She defines responsibility as "liable to be called on to answer; liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent; being the cause or explanation."  In many real ways, I am responsible for Harriet; because she is my child, I am called to account, as her parent, for many many aspects of her life.  I am responsible for caring for her physical needs, her development, and for sharing the Word of God with her.  But there comes a point at which I stray from being responsible for Harriet to managing Harriet - in other words, I assume responsibility for aspects of her life for which I am ultimately not responsible.

Here's what it comes down to: I believe with all of my heart that God is the only one who can save Harriet and bring her into a right relationship with Him.  However, my actions and my continuous fretting reveal that I do not believe that He will sanctify her and finish the work that He has begun. Somehow, it's up to me to manage her life, present her with only the best and right and perfect life choices, and therefore make her into a healthy, functional, creative, perfect human being.  There is no room for grace in this mindset, only room for fear and terror of messing up in so many ways.  (Because I will mess up, and if I haven't already bombed it on a thousand different levels, it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes and she goes on a Wiggles marathon.)

The scariest thing about this position is that my intensity to get it all right all of the time is going against everything I want Harriet to understand about her relationship with God.

"Sure, Harriet, God is gracious and loving and gives grace in abundance for our every need.  But that doesn't apply to your mom.  She's all freaked out about getting everything right and not messing up.  There's no grace for her parenting."


The Need for Grace-filled Parenting

There's a lot of chit-chat in the evangelical blogging world about some recent books focused on grace-filled parenting.  While I haven't actually read these books, I have read numerous reviews of the various titles and grasp the general jist.  Many of them focus on extending God's grace to children in discipline and some even go so far as to encourage bringing up the gospel constantly in every day conversation.  This is lovely stuff.  But I was thinking about what it means when kids can not only receive grace from their parents, but can see their parents being able to receive grace from God.

The truth is that Harriet can see me hemming and hawing with nervousness every time I push the play button on another episode of Timmy Time.  She can hear me grumping about "never getting the house cleaned up like it should be."  She can hear me complaining about always being a failure and feeling defeated.  When I stop and consider this, I am ashamed and convicted.  It is far, far, far more important for Harriet to understand that I can receive grace from God for the challenges of each day than it is for her never to see me mess up.

Does accepting God's grace for my parenting instead of living in perpetual fear mean that I throw all caution to the wind?  Does it mean that Harriet eats chocolate ice cream for dinner and spends her entire day in front of the television? Absolutely not.  It's still my job to teach her to make good, wise choices that will ultimately glorify God.  But it is not my job to stress about making sure that Harriet turns out okay.  That's the huge difference for me.

Back to the Aforementioned Crisis

So the need for me to accept grace in my parenting of Harriet slapped me in the face yesterday afternoon.  As you can imagine, I love black and white, right or wrong answers for parenting issues.  But living in grace-filled parenting means that I will have to seek God in all of the multitude of gray areas - those areas, like media consumption, for which John Piper hasn't written an essay on exactly what to do. (Laugh now, please.)  I thought about how this change of heart would apply to my anxiety about Harriet's media intake:

 - Instead of limiting or being liberal with media consumption, I would look at the structure of our day in making a decision.  Do I need time to finish some homework?  Does Harriet need some downtime while I'm exercising?
 - I would consider how media consumption affects our relationship.  Am I popping in the Wiggles because I'm copping out of actually spending time with Harriet?  Or are we engaging in an interesting DVD together? (A perfect example of how this played out yesterday:  Harriet woke up in a horrible funk, fussed the whole time she ate breakfast and got dressed, and finally settled down in front of The Muppet Show.  Twenty minutes later, it was like she had pushed a reset button on her attitude: she was happy and fun for the rest of the morning and instead of getting more and more frustrated with her behavior, I enjoyed her company.)
 - I would not beat myself up or compare myself with other moms who make different choices about media consumption.
 - I would seek God about if we need to make changes about Harriet's media diet.

The Bottom Line

This concept of moving from intense management to embracing grace-filled parenting is still percolating in my brain.  I'm praying that it will become more than just a good idea, but actually make a difference.  Harriet will undoubtedly model what she sees.  Will she become a manager and live in constant defeat in taking on responsibilities that are not her own?  Will she rebel against all of those "silly standards" that her mom stressed about keeping in place?

Or will she make wise choices in light of living in the grace of God?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Five of Parenting (thus far)

I saw this neat post idea over at Maybe Matilda (check her blog out for some super cute crochet tutorials and general fun-ness) and I thought to my little self, "I need to regain some perspective on parenting the H, especially before Baby E arrives.  This looks like a fun way to go about doing it."  And in all reality, I like doing writing activities that trigger new lines of thought.  So here we go: the top five of various aspects of parenting Harriet.  These are in no real order, just as they come to mind.  I'm sure I will forget something, but who's perfect?  Not me.

Top Five Victories

  1. Getting Harriet to sleep through [most] of the night and to go to bed three hours before I do.  Those of you with needy nighttime children can understand how much of a victory this is.
  2. Nursing for 11+ months successfully.  Breastfeeding made me nervous prior to H's birth because I was afraid to mess it all up.  Thankfully, that didn't happen and she was more than enthusiastic.
  3. Teaching Harriet to enjoy all sorts of delicious food.
  4. Not succumbing to Harriet's whining when I know that I'm the Mom and I'm in charge.
  5. Having a little girl who genuinely wants to be around me.

Top Five Defeats
  1. Feeling pressured to do certain parenting things just because everybody else is doing/talking about them.
  2. Knocking H's head on the door when I picked her up after she fell off of the bed (tons and tons of screaming).
  3. Feeling like I'll never be able to do enough.
  4. Letting H get away with bad sleeping habits for much too long.
  5. Being inconsistent with my decisions just because I want H to be quiet for two seconds.

Top Five Awesome Things She Does
  1. Harriet loves, loves, loves to sing and dance.  It is beyond adorable.
  2. She loves to be around other people, especially her aunts and uncles and cousin, and genuinely expresses interest and concern for them.
  3. She totally helps me cook and put laundry away.
  4. She can "read" What's Your Sound, Hound the Hound? like a pro.
  5. She loves to be chased and tickled by Steve and then follows up her squealing with a disapproving, "Daaaaddddy...." 

Top Five Baby Purchases

  1. The SleepyWrap now-called Boba Wrap.  I would not have survived without that thing.  Not in a million years.
  2. Indestructible book
  3. Stroller 
  4. The Baby Book
  5. Hyland's Calms Forte

Top Five Conflicting Feelings

  1. Wanting time for myself vs. not wanting to just plug Harriet into the Wiggles.  Again.
  2. Feeling inadequate vs. knowing I'm the best mom for H.
  3. Needing sleep vs. wanting to get up and spend the morning with her.
  4. Loving how she loves to spend time with others vs. wanting to spend all of the time with me.
  5. Thinking that I'm the only one who can parent correctly vs. letting others give me a break.

Top Five Traits I Want Her to Develop
  1. Saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
  2. A brain that can really think, but is able to relate to people.
  3. A love of books and England and Playmobil and learning (most of all)
  4. A desire to serve her family and to be a good big sister
  5. The knowledge that her worth is not based on her being a good girl.

Top Five Pieces of Advice Thus Far

  1. You know your own kid better than anybody else and you know what is best for her.
  2. Harriet is truly a high-maintenance baby.  You aren't insane.
  3. When all activities fail, read.
  4. It's okay for her to scream sometimes...and it's okay for her to be weaned.
  5. Use Lansinoh.

Top Five Perks of Being Harriet's Mommy

  1. Getting squeezing hugs.
  2. Having people notice what a cutie-patootie she is.
  3. Sewing outfits for her.
  4. Dancing around the house to Wiggles songs.
  5. Watching her become her own unique, intelligent, insightful, purposeful person.

(January 11 - 3 yellow things that strike you as fresh mercy: my beautifully cheerful yellow walls, my yellow Fiestaware dishes, and yellow Emergen-C which perks me up when my body says otherwise.

January 12 - Something above you: the amazing stars which Harriet now points out to me.
Something below you: my sewing/crafting spot in the basement which brings so much personal creative fulfillment.
Something beside you: snuggling in the security of Steve every night - not just on four-nights-off.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A little project

Yesterday started out rather roughly.  It actually started at precisely 3am when the illustrious Harriet decided that it was just the right time to launch into an inexplicable temper tantrum that lasted for an. hour.  Now, I don't go to bed particularly early because Steve doesn't get home particularly early - and there is something about that uninterrupted husband time that is rather vital to my sanity.  So when H started screaming when I had had about 2 hours of sleep, I was not terribly enthused.  She slept restlessly until 8am when my alarm went buzzing off under my pillow (I had neglected to turn it off after getting up for church on Sunday).  Then she started screaming again as if she were offended to discover that she had ever stopped.  Brilliant.  After whining through her breakfast and getting-dressed routine, I made the maternal decision to plop down with her on the couch and watch an episode of the Wiggles.  Oh blessed Wiggles.  Forty-five minutes later, Harriet was sufficiently recovered to behave quite splendidly for the rest of the day.  And although I was exceedingly tired, having a not cranky child was delightful.

But this post is about a project, right?  You see, Harriet slept for over two hours yesterday afternoon.  It was incredible.  I finished my schoolwork for the week and promptly marched downstairs to work on a sewing project.  I saw this bag on Pinterest and immediately fell in love.  I need a bag to tote my Jazzercise mat and weight around in and my drawstring bag was completely falling apart.

I made the bag from my absoballylutely favourite home dec fabric in the whole world...which was found on Pinterest as well.  (The fabric was actually the leftovers from my wondrous living room curtains - now I can carry my favourite fabric around with me!)This yoga bag is fully lined and has three pockets on the outside to carry keys, cellphone, water bottle, etc.  There isn't a whole lot of room for the weights in the pockets, so I roll them up inside my mat and that works swell.

As typical with Amy Butler patterns, the instructions leave nothing to the imagination and sometimes this attention to detail made the instructions not very clear at all.  I read through them, got the global picture, and then kind of took off on my own.

At one point in the process I realized that I was mentally narrating everything I was doing.  With a British accent.  That, my friends, is how you know I'm completely zoned out and in my happiest of places.

I was so excited to take my bag to Jazzercise.  When I got there I discovered that we were going to do the entire routine without the mat and weights.  Bah.  Oh well, I'll have something to show off next week.

(January 10th 
A gift that's sour: my Norwex rag smells rather sour right now, but my kitchen consequently does not.
A gift that's sweet: seeing Baby E's sweet little nose on the ultrasound this morning.
A gift that's just right: Harriet Alice.  Learn more)

Friday, January 6, 2012

What I Managed to Create Over Christmas Break

I start classes again on Monday.  Instead of taking five classes at once, I'm only taking two: The Literature of C.S. Lewis and Conflict Resolution.  This semester is going to be a breeze - a much desired breeze since the advent of Baby Edmund will undoubtedly increase my responsibility levels.  But what better way to reduce stress than by reading Lewis?  I can't think of many.

In any case, I wanted to do something purposefully craft-y before the blessed break came to an end.  I wanted to get the supplies for a project and actually finish it - something that rarely happens as evidenced by the chest of drawers and 3-4 Rubbermaid tubs stuffed with fabric and unfinished projects.  Steve remains gracious and encouraging and said that I could buy the yarn to make the H a sweater.  I found this pattern on Pinterest and bought brown yarn with a hint of a gold sparkle.  And after crocheting off and on for nearly a week, I have the final results:

Let me just say that I LOVE this crochet pattern.  The stitch pattern created a tight but flexible design which is perfect for a toddler's sweater.  It doesn't oooze and lose its shape like so many other crocheted sweaters.  The sizing was also super accurate.  I compared the measurement of the 12-month size to teeny-tiny Harriet and it was perfect.  

The obligatory Cousin Hug.  We are trying to convince Harriet that she will never remember a time when she did not have matchy-matchy pictures with Jemima.  Clara and I feel that this is only fair after all of the matchy-matchy pictures we had to endure.

Anyways, I'm really pleased with how the sweater turned out.  It feels great to have a completed project on my super cute stinker of a kid.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A rather miscellaneous conglomeration about Harriet, Baby E, and How We've Spent the Holiday

And now we come to my very favourite time of day: when Harriet is in bed, the dishes are done, and all I have to do is wait for Steve to come home from work.  Don't get me wrong: I love spending time with the H, but there is this feeling of blessed relief when she is finally settled down and I can settle down, too.

Harriet is an incredible little person and that's all there is to it.  We love to watch her roam around the house, busily organizing her toys or looking at books or moving her clean clothes to the dirty clothes basket (it's at that point that I usually intrude upon her private affairs and put an end to the clothes transfer).  She has become so much more interested in playing - not just looking at her toys or carrying them around, but making them interact.  We bought her a Playmobil dollhouse for Christmas and she loves to set up the family in their respective beds, make them eat their supper at the table, and arrange for hugs between the mommy and daddy Playmobil.  She calls them her "Guys."  Today I noticed that, instead of putting her animal puzzle pieces back onto the puzzle board, she lined up the pieces and made them "talk" to each other.  It was adorable.

Harriet talks non-stop pretty much all day.  She has opinions about everything and knows how to ask for whatever she pleases.  I'm pleased to say that she is a polite person most of the time and showers us with "pleases" and "thank yous" as appropriate.  Her favorite sentence is "Mommy, please?  Otay," usually accompanied by the sign for please, just to emphasize her point.  The tricky part comes when she simply cannot have what she so desires.  The other day she found an empty Gerber cheese puffs container in the car (don't get me started on how much she adores said cheese puffs) and asked very nicely for some more.  Since I was unable to produce cheese puffs out of thin air her polite asking soon turned into horrific wails of "MOOOMMMY!  PLEEEEEEESE!  CHEEEEESE CRACKERS! OTAY??"  It was pathetic.  Harriet is also combining more and more words to make sentences.  Today she informed me, "Go outside. Baby, stroller, walk.  Otay?"  I'm really glad that she communicates so well at such a young age, especially since Baby E will be showing up shortly.  I know that we will have our share of challenges, but at least I can understand what she wants and she can communicate with me.

Speaking of Baby E, can you believe that he will be here in only seven weeks?  Yeeks!  To be honest, I still forget that it's happening sometimes.  I feel like I should still be in my second trimester and I can't understand why a) I can't sleep on my back, b) I have heartburn, and c) I feel as big as a cow.  This has been such a smooth sailing pregnancy thus far that it wasn't until the other day that I felt ready to actually go through the labor/delivery/nurses-and-doctors-looking-and-poking-in-weird-areas process and just have this kid.  It probably didn't help that it was a post-holiday, oh-my-goodness-I-weigh-500-pounds and I can't do the Just Dance video game to the best of my ability sort of moment.  But Steve kindly listened to my bawling about wanting my body back to myself, I decided that I actually want to have this child (since that is the only logical way to get my body back), and we were all much better.

What in the world are we going to do with a little boy?  I have an adorable Monsters Inc. sleeper for him.  I suppose we will start off by dressing him in that outfit.  Then we'll decide what to do from there.

The holiday season is over and we entered back into reality today.  Steve's family came from hither and yon to celebrate with us and that made it all really special.  Not very many people can say that they actually look forward to having in-laws descend for a week or two, but I can.  That's a blessing and a half.  After opening  and enjoying many delightful Christmas gifts, we spent the rest of our break playing games, hanging out, and eating eating eating.  It was lovely to have Steve home all day, every day.  I could really get used to that.  It was also lovely to have an ample supply of babysitters so that we could go on our "babymoon" to Omaha.  We ate without getting indigestion from hopping about, slept until we were ready to wake up, and spent most of our time just Being.  It was a good reminder of why we are married and I highly recommend that all married couples with children take a babymoon as the opportunity arises.

It was neat to see how Steve's Christmas gift to me and my Christmas gift to him really go together.  He gave me a new cookbook (Ruhlman's Twenty), a book about the Puritans by J.I. Packer, Augustine's Confessions, and the first two books in the Master and Commander series.  I gave him two tennis rackets, a bunch of tennis balls, and Tennis for Dummies.  How do these go together, you ask?  Well, our motivation behind these gifts was the same: we want to create different and meaningful ways to spend more time together.  In short, we want to do things together - and not just sit and stare at yet another episode of The Office.  We want to learn new cooking techniques, venture out into the unknown worlds of nineteenth-century sailors or tennis players, and grow together spiritually.  It just makes me smile to think about how well we know each other - and how much more we have to learn.  Yay marriage!

This is rather rambly, but oh well.  In the nature of rambliness, take a few minutes to check out Clara's photography blog.  She does amazing work and I'm not just saying that because she is my sister.

Good night!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Blog is Back! (And New Year's Goals)

Hello.  I'm back.  I missed writing on this bloggie bloggie, and the New Year seemed to be a perfect opportunity to rev things back up again.  So thanks to the amazing Laura, the blog has a fresh design (isn't it cute?) and I'm ready to get back into the groove of typing.

At the end of each year, my mind wanders to what sort of goals or priorities I want to pursue in the New Year.  Besides having two children under the age of two years and taking two distance classes and surviving (this is a bit of a tall order - I have only about six weeks left before it becomes reality...yikes!), I thought of three goals that have particular importance for me in the coming months.  This New Year, I desire to:

  1. Be fed consistently from the Word of God.  This past year my devotional life has been spotty at best...and I can tell that lack of consistency and discipline in this area makes a difference.  You know those days when you are so busy that you only grab snatches of things to eat here and there and at the end of the day you feel kind of...bleh?  Yep, that's been my spiritual life this year.  Bleh.  To be honest, I'm scared about this goal, mostly because I feel so distant and I don't want to fail.  But I preach about grace constantly and now it's time to live it.
  2. Be more honest and less of a martyr.  I want to be honest about my needs and just give up the stupid manipulation game with people - especially Steve.  I want to be able to judge my motivation: will I be all resentful and bent out of shape if I agree to let him play video games instead of requesting his help with the dishes?  Okay, Amelia, be honest.
  3. Be intentionally creative.  This goal isn't so very hard for me, but I want to keep it up.  I want to have small or easily accessible projects in mind (thank you, Pinterest!) that can feed my creative spirit on a daily basis.  That's one of the reasons why this blog has been revived and why I just bought yarn and started a sweater for H yesterday.  I want to be creative for myself, and I want to encourage creativity in Harriet.  She is one smart cookie, and as a smart cookie she desperately needs things with which to occupy her over active brain.  I want to finger paint and make play dough and just have fun being creative with her.
There you go.  Three relatively simple goals (and this year I need simple!), but I hope and pray that they will guide the daily decisions of the coming months.

I'm glad to see you all again.  Happy New Year!