Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{ Elaina: Eight Months }

You are

more joy
more wonder
more kissable
more exhaustion

than I ever dreamed imaginable.

Two tiny little pearls betwixt rosebud lips.

Knowing how to play peek-a-boo.

Giving "crying it out" another try--please, sweet Jesus, let it work!!

Excitement so fierce you flap your arms uncontrollably and grin like a fool when Daddy comes home.

:: just chillin' with my Pops ::

Saying Mama--melt my heart!--and other random "a" syllables {we're working on Dada!}.

Trying any food we offer you, and exploring it with gusto. So far you've tried and enjoyed
sweet potato
bell pepper
barbecued ribs
roast beef
hard boiled egg
and others I'm sure I'm forgetting


No more swaddling, which means finding you sleeping in the most adorable positions when I check on you: usually curled on your left side, but sometimes on your tummy or holding a crib slat with one hand.

No swaddling also means one hand is constantly roaming--grabbing, pinching, patting--while we bounce you to sleep.

Unpredictable naps.

Unbridled joy when I walk into your room to get you.

Very interested in watching me do a few signs--all done, milk, and eat. Earlier this week, I thought you might have signed "all done" a couple times, but brushed it off as a fluke. But last night, after eating and playing with the food on your tray, you made eye contact with me and signed "all done!" Way to go, baby girl!!

We've started putting you in the nursery at church on Sundays, and much to our surprise, we only had to come get you early the first week {even then, you lasted over 45 minutes!}. Bravo for you, little girl!

Sitting up by yourself.

Using your tongue and lips to play with your teeth. All. The. Time. It's cute.

Sometimes, when I come in to soothe you when you have trouble falling asleep, I find you sucking your thumb.

You recently moved into size 6 month clothing, but they're already getting snug. I predict you'll be ready for 6-9 months around nine months old {and maybe size 9 months before you're a year?!}.

Monday, February 25, 2013

{ date }

baby at Grandpa and Grandma's
crowded coffee shop
caramel lattes with
perfectly-swirled foam
oatmeal raisin cookie {for him}
sweet potato sage scone {for her}
good conversation
Skip-Bo {he won}
a perfect Sunday afternoon date


Friday, February 22, 2013

{ What Mama Did }

Linking up with Lisa-Jo at Tales of a Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. This week's prompt is not a word, but a phrase: What mama did. Ready, set, go!
Five Minute Friday
The door was always open, pantry stocked, extra places set around the dining room table at a moment's notice. More evenings and noontimes and Sundays-after-church than I can remember, unexpected guests joined us for a meal, games, a movie, endless conversations around equally endless plates of snacks and desserts.
She's hospitable, my mama is. Never met someone who was a stranger, and no matter how tired she was, how exhausting the day had been, how sick she was of cooking, how unkempt the house was, she never turned someone away. Never decided not to invite someone over. Our house wasn't the biggest or nicest, and we definitely weren't the most exciting--but no matter.
Anyone was--still is--welcome.
Countless afternoons and overnights and mornings babysitting neighbor kids. A literally infinite number of meals. Hours upon hours cooking and talking and cleaning up and sitting and chatting with neighbors, friends, visitors of every stripe.
Now that I'm a mama {of just one, not four!}, I don't know how she did it--ran a household, a homeschool, and had time for all these people that she welcomed into her heart and home. Even though it seems daunting, I know this for sure: I want to be more like her.
 ~ my parents and I when I was a day or two old ~

Sunday, February 17, 2013

{ On a Weekend in February }

It's been a good weekend, y'all.

Started on Friday evening, when we babysat Julia--our friends' daughter and the only other baby/kid in our Bible study group. Julia is two and a half months older than Lainie, and let me tell you: Watching them interact is a hoot.

Julia crawls. Julia crawls fast. Julia explores, licks, tastes, opens, closes, pushes and pulls rapidly and thoroughly. Julia jabbers and growls and eats with gusto.

Lainie sits and watches, shocked, as though there is an invader in her home but that invader might actually be a lot of fun but she's really loud and it's kinda intimidating that this moving-growling-other-baby apparently is more skilled at playing with Lainie's toys than Lainie herself is.

It was so much fun to see what the next stage is--what Lainie will probably be doing in a couple of months! And it made me realize how very un-child-proofed our house is. *sigh* I am not looking forward to childproofing. Though Lainie was a bit intimidated by such an active playmate in "her" space, I think they had fun together.

Saturday I got a haircut, but there are no photos yet so we aren't going to talk about it. At least not photos I'm willing to post on the internet. There are a couple self-portraits Mike and I took on our date {see below} but we both look slightly crazed and incredibly anemic, so just use your imaginations.

Saturday evening Julia's parents, Travis and Krissy, babysat Lainie for us so we could go on a date. Because we are so young and adventurous and full of excitement and don't go on dates as often as we should nowadays, we chose to spend our date night at home...making dinner...followed by a little TV.

I can't believe we are those people!!!

I mean, I can, and it's not all bad, it's mostly really really good, and I think all of our other dates post-baby we've gone out, so it was really nice to just chill at home, just the two of us, but still!

In our defense: Lainie has been so hard to get to sleep at night {usually crying off and on for a couple hours} that the idea of a nice, leisurely, quiet evening at home, relaxing and enjoying a really yummy dinner and uninterrupted conversation without keeping things at a whisper and taking turns getting baby back to sleep, seemed divine. And it was! We made homemade macaroni and cheese--one of my absolute favorite comfort foods--followed by oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. I saw them in Pinterest and knew we had to make them--what could be more decadent than a mashup of our two favorite kinds of cookies?

Be forewarned: These babies are monsters. I think we were a little generous with the cookie dough, but regardless, each "cookie" is the equivalent of two chocolate chip cookies plus an oreo. They are ridiculously dense and filling.

And the ultimate "eat it with milk" cookie. They were a fun experiment, but I don't think we'll make them again--too huge, and rich, and just too much. As a matter of fact, we gave half our batch of 12 away!
Then we headed to a restaurant to meet up with Mike's parents, sister Amaryah, and her fiance Lawrence. Yes, Lawrence finally popped the question on Friday night, and Amaryah said yes! {We had to make a little detour to Travis and Krissy's so I could feed Lainie, since she is refusing all bottles these days, but that is another story for another day.} We had yummy drinks {Mike and I were too full for anything else} and hung out and talked weddings and watched the ferries twinkling across the water. It was fun because it's the same restaurant where we went on our first date, and on the night Mike proposed--we could see the pier where he asked me to marry him from our table. We couldn't be happier for A + L and are excited to see them transition from boyfriend/girlfriend to husband and wife. And I'm excited to see what Amaryah comes up with for their wedding...she works as an event planner, so I'm sure it will be a really lovely affair.
And then Sunday: I managed to get Lainie and I to the 9am church service on time {Mike was already there since he helps with setup} and for the first time, Lainie stayed in the nursery for the whole service! Apparently she cried a lot, but not to the point where they had to call us to take her. It wore her out, though, and she fell asleep within five minutes of getting in the car.
Now it's just a nice, quiet Sunday evening. Baby Girl is playing with her food. Mike is working {still crazy busy for a week or two}. I am slowly whittling down the monstrous pile of dirty dishes that used to be our kitchen. I'm hoping the kitchen will be visible by tonight. Because somehow, we have to get to the fridge, and that leftover mac and cheese...

Friday, February 15, 2013

{ Beloved }

Linking up at Tales of a Gypsy Mama for this week's Five Minute Friday!


Five Minute Friday  
I can feel it in his gaze, how much he loves me. He always whispers "Goodbye, I love you, have a good day" when he slips into the dark of our bedroom to kiss me goodbye before leaving for work in the morning. And the first thing he does when he gets home? Before he loves on that bewitchingly chubby little girl? Kisses me and tells me he loves me.
I know what it is to be someone's Beloved. I know what it is to be so, so secure in his know that I can count on him no matter what. Looking back, I know now that I didn't expect it. Not even after I said yes and he put the ring on my finger. I couldn't fathom anyone knowing me--and still loving me. Not just "still" loving me, but loving me more each day, loving me more with the passage of time, more even though he knows even better how I'm broken and dirty and how I've hurt him and how I'll inevitably hurt him again. Because we're both human, you know?
He's not perfect. Neither am I. But I am his Beloved. He's always finding new ways to show me. Last night it was sea salt caramel gelato and a Skor bar--and I said I didn't want anything for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{ Some Days }

Some days I realize I will never be able to say enough thank-yous for the graces drenching my life
His living Word
renewing and transforming heart, mind and soul
perfect for each day
that He wrote us a book so we can know Him and His love--

Mike--this man who makes me coffee in the morning before he goes to work
and warms my coffee cup with hot water
and sets out the cream for me
and always kisses me goodbye
working so hard so I don't need to provide an income
cheerfully, daily, laying down his life for his girls
and counting it all joy
This babycakes girl
healthy--so healthy!
chattering up a storm
studies everything intently
happy to play with strings and straps
always always reaching for me
naptime snuggles
chubby dimpled fingers and elbows
eyes that smile like her Grandpa Duck's
This sweet little treehouse
easy to clean
painted colors I love
minutes from beach, lighthouse, so much beauty
shared meals
tears and prayer
how did people stay in touch before?!
So much.
So thankful.
So daily.
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{ Seven and Half Months }

guess who said mama last night

several times!!

and ate pieces of lettuce

gnawed on chicken

nibbled sweet peppers

and cried for less than four minutes each time she woke up during the night?
{please oh please let this "crying it out" thing work!}

this girl.

gosh she's growing up too fast!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

{ this + that }

Maybe you were hoping {dreading?} that this, my first "real" post since getting back from my trip, would be a delightfully longwinded and photo-heavy recap of our weeklong adventure in Idaho. But nay, it is not to be. Not today, anyway. There are a few hundred photos on my camera, waiting to be downloaded and edited...and that seems like a lot of work. So today let's talk about other things.

Liiiiiiiiiike...teeth! Lainie's first tooth popped through just before we went to Idaho, and two days ago its next-door neighbor showed up, too. We've been incredibly fortunate in the teething department so far: Her only "symptom" for the first tooth was crazy long naps. I'm serious. She slept that tooth through her gums! Second one, she woke up crying at night all.the.time {but only at night--not during naps}, to the point where she spent several nights snuggled next to me in our bed because that was the only way we could get her to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time. The child does snore, though, so regardless I haven't been sleeping much. I think I see the white nubbin of an upper tooth making its way down, so we may have more adventures coming up very soon.

Since our sleep was already all screwed up and disappeared, two nights ago I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop swaddling Miss E. I've been dreading this--putting it off for months--because I know that having her arms free to poke herself, knock out her binky, and in general wake herself up is going to be a nightmare. Stopping swaddling a baby who sleeps like a dream when swaddled flies in the face of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." She ain't broke, but I knew that sooner or later we'd have to "fix" her. {Though I would've been fine with swaddling her till she's six years old if she'd let me...} And while "nightmare" might be a bit too strong a term, this whole sleeping unswaddled thing has definitely been rough. Yesterday she could not stay asleep for her afternoon nap. She was clearly exhausted and would fall asleep almost immediately when I picked her up, but she would wake herself up within minutes of me putting her in her crib. After two hours I gave up. I felt so bad for her: she looked so confused, tired, and frustrated. It was impossible to be upset with her...she so obviously wanted to sleep, but didn't know what to do with her newly-free hands. I kind of felt like a terrible mother at that point. The moral of the story is, I'm really thankful for what a good sleeper Lainie normally is, and am going to stop whining now.

By the way, is it just me being self-critical, or do I whine a lot about the tough parts of motherhood?? Honestly, tell me! Often I feel like my "mommy posts" are kind of whiny after I've written them. I don't mean them to be. I love my daughter, I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I want to be open and honest about both the joys and the challenges of this season. I start to question myself, though, when I compare myself to other mommy blogs. A lot of them seem so...cheery. Maybe it's just the blogs I frequent, but often I look at my blog and think, "Wow, I sure do complain a lot!" At the same time, I don't want to paint an unrealistically rosy picture of motherhood. So, do you think I'm a complainer? Or am I just keepin' it real?

K, I'm off to do things like make popcorn and knit and watch the second half of "Gone with the Wind." Why would I spend a perfectly beautiful, sunshiney Sunday afternoon inside? Because Mike is at work {thankyouverymuch, busy season at work...said no wife ever} and Lainie is napping--hallelujah!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{ Bare }

It's Five Minute Friday over at Tales of a Gypsy Mama, and I'm joining in!

I don't know what it is about exhaustion that makes me feel so exposed, so vulnerable--like my heart and soul are hanging naked in the public courtyard. Like all the worst parts of me are on display. Like sin I thought was being put to death by the Spirit is very much alive.
Today I can barely keep my eyes open. Between the little tooth shoving its way through Elaina's gums, and my decision {brilliant? insane?} to stop swaddling her since she's already not sleeping well--two birds with one stone, ya know--I haven't gotten much sleep lately. And yet, for some reason, this time around the soul-baring tiredness isn't so ugly.
This morning I rocked Lainie to sleep half a dozen times, nearly falling asleep myself. She kept pulling her pacifier out and then wailing in sorrow as she held it between her chubby fingers. And I relished it: the baby smell of her head, her little sleepy-snorey noises, the warmth of her hand rubbing my neck in her sleep. The bare-ness is good today: In it, I am knowing my Jesus and my daughter more deeply.