Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{ Ten Months }

Lainie turned ten months old last week, and over and over I've found myself exclaiming to her papa, "She looks like a big girl now!"

Maybe it's that when she's in her carseat, she leans as far forward as she can and actually looks out the side windows. Maybe it's that she is finally too heavy for me to carry up and down the condo stairs in her carseat, so now the carseat lives in one car or the other. Something's changed about her face too--she's just looking more and more like a little person, less and less like an infant.

Then there's the clapping, which she learned how to do on April 17--the day before my thirtieth birthday. It still delights and fascinates her to no end that she can slap her hands together and make noise--every single time she tries! Often she randomly starts clapping, and the ecstatic grin on her face is priceless. She especially loves it when others join in {or initiate} clapping with her. I can just imagine her thinking, "Wow, they all know how to do it, too!"

About two and a half weeks ago, Lainie realized she can get to things she wants by rolling to them. For the first time in her life, she doesn't stay exactly where I put her until I pick her up and move her. Crazy times for both the small girl and her mother! I have a feeling, given the scoochy movements she attempts when she's on her tummy, that she's not far from crawling.

:: playing with mama's birthday balloon ::

She's graduated to big girl baths, in the kitchen sink or the bathtub, out of sheer necessity: She is longer than the baby tub. Her head practically dangles off one end.

Speaking of that darling little head, her hair is starting to grow in. You'd never know unless you've seen her sweet little almost-bald noggin daily; it's only by comparison to a few months ago that one can say her hair is getting long and thick. Which are two facts Mike and I exclaim over regularly. Sometimes it's all frizzy from rubbing on the sheet when she wakes up in the morning. Especially these couple of wild hairs on top--there are just a few of them, but they are a couple inches long!

We've been making lots of little trips to the beach on nice afternoons. Lainie finds dogs, seagulls, and pigeons fascinating {which may or may not be because those are the only animals she's seen in person!}. She makes little "oof oof" noises at all of them--it is beyond precious. Once, instead of just strolling our way along with her in the stroller, I carried her and set her down at intervals on the rocky beach. Not such a good idea: all the girl wanted to do was put rocks in her mouth. We are sticking to the stroller or sitting on logs for now! There is a nice little playground too, and yesterday I put her in a swing for the first time. She was alternately giddy with laughter when I pushed her, or studying her surroundings from this new vantage point very, very seriously.

:: "I can't reach any rocks..." ::

At nine months, I weaned Lainie from night feedings, and the transition was surprisingly smooth. Immediately she started sleeping till 5-6am, and now--for the most part--she sleeps until 7-8am before waking. The past few nights she's been teething, but I kind of don't want to talk about it because she is such an easy teether, I don't want other mamas to get jealous!



...ok, ok, I'll tell you. When Lainie's teething, she wakes up once at night crying...and no matter how you try to soothe her, nurse her, give her Tylenol, etc., she will be awake for about an hour and fifteen minutes {fitfully, clearly tired and trying to sleep} before finally falling asleep. She wakes up at her normal time, takes super long naps during the day, and after a few days, TA-DA! A tooth shows up! She is the most ridiculously easy teether I've ever heard of. She cut her third tooth last Friday, fourth tooth on Monday, and fifth tooth today {Tuesday}. I fully expect tooth #6 to pop through in the next day or two--I can see it bulging through her gums!

We've taken Lainie to restaurants and to friends' houses for dinner a number of times recently, and she does remarkably well. It's so nice to be able to go out to eat, or to a party, and know that some finger foods in her high chair will keep her happy and well-fed. I think she feels secure in her high chair--and I am so glad we chose to get the portable kind that buckles onto a regular chair! We take it with us everywhere.

Lainie loves to eat oatmeal mixed with yogurt, applesauce, bananas, hummus, rice cakes, cheerios, and bread of any kind. She likes fruit, some veggies, and things that are more flavorful/spicy, but not so much meat and eggs right now. It's so interesting to me how she really does seem to go through eating "phases" like I've read.

Recently there have been lots of "conversations." She'll say the same syllable or two over and over, varying the speed, inflection, and tone so that it sounds like she's carrying on a real conversation. If I respond, either in English or baby talk, she responds to me, and often gets more and more worked up till she's practically yelling, her lil eyebrows furrowed and waving her hands around for emphasis.

It's such fun being ten months old!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{ where I'm going from here }

A few weeks ago I told you why I haven't been posting as much recently. {Besides the obvious one--the almost-ten-month-old reason why I don't have time for a lot of things I used to do before she was born!} To all of you who read, thank you for listening to my heart. To those who responded, thank you for sharing your perspectives. {I replied to your comments in the comments section of that post.} It really, really helped me to see this from your viewpoints, helped me get outside the little ruts in my brain and think about it from another perspective. Thank you.

I'm not quitting blogging. It's the most realistic creative outlet I've got right now, I enjoy it, and honestly, I never intended to stop--I'm just re-aligning my parameters. {Realistic meaning I actually do it...it's not messy...no clean-up required...no supplies to shop for...doesn't cost anything...I can do it any time of day or night when I have access to a computer. I can spend five minutes or two hours. Blogging really is kind of the perfect "hobby" for mamas who are verbal and visual and feel overwhelmed every time they look at their bins of scrapbook supplies and think, Rats, I'm SIX YEARS BEHIND.}

So, yeah. I'm not going anywhere. I'm just maybe not going to post quite as much about Lainie. Mike and I have discussed it, and I think there is a balance to be found here. I don't want to go psycho and give our kids fake names and go out of my way to camouflage every personal detail that I possibly can. That's taking what started as a healthy desire to protect and turning it into a something ugly and burdensome and unnecessary. At the same time, I'm not going to glibly spill every single little adorable tidbit about her and us. {That would bore everyone except me and Mike, anyway.} There is a point where I need to stop being too serious and worrying about whether or not that photo I posted of Lainie at 2.5 months old is going to somehow ruin her life when she's in college. I think I'm working toward that point. ;-)

So here are some recent snapshots of Life with Lainie:

:: quite proud of what she can accomplish, given some chili and a little time ::

:: helping mama test batteries on tea lights for the Good Friday service ::

:: her standard pose after eating ::
This kid just gets cuter and cuter every day. Last Wednesday, the day before my birthday, she learned how to clap, and I'm pretty sure she thinks it is the coolest thing that has ever happened. When she starts clapping, she totally forgets whatever she was doing and gets a huge smile on her face. And if the people around her start clapping too? You should see her delight! I can't even believe she will be ten months old on Saturday. This weekend also marks one year since we found out that she had a diaphragmatic hernia. Yep, that just-for-fun 3D ultrasound was on the last Friday of April. Again, crazy--how has it been a year? That means it's been a year since we finished the childbirth class, a year since I was 30 weeks pregnant, a year since life suddenly jolted down a path we never, ever imagined.
Thank You, Jesus, for that path. Thank You for going before us down that path. Thank You that Your plans are so much bigger and better and more glorious than ours! And thank You for going before me down this blogging path...You know where it's going to lead so much better than I do.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

{ a letter to April }

Oh, April: You always enchant me. I'd like to think it's not just because you're my birthday month. Though I'm sure the presence of gifts around April 18 does enhance your allure.

You are so full of promise. You come bearing a little more sunshine, a little less rain, temperatures a few degrees higher than your predecessor, March. Sure, stiff breezes may skip through those sunny days; these golden sun-filled hours may be chillier than I expect; but I smell spring on your breezes. Cherry and apple trees literally burst into blossom, spilling their delicate, breathtaking extravagance into the air and onto the ground. You may not be full-blown spring here in the Pacific Northwest, but you bear the promise. You bring the first glorious lungfuls of fresh grass...rain-splattered warm air...cherry blossoms...apple blossoms...daffodils and tulips and that indescribable scent that whispers Spring is coming!

With your advent comes longer days. Oh sweet bliss of springtime sunsets, of waking with the sun instead of hours before its arrival. This, of course, also means that it's broad daylight when it's time for Lainie to go to bed. Which in turn means that her nursery is now decorated with the most unfashionable dark brown blanket clothespinned to the curtain rod. If anyone reading knows where I can find blackout curtains that aren't hideously ugly and prohibitively expensive, please do share. The fact that I prefer a fuzzy brown blanket over her window to the blackout drapes I've found speaks volumes to how ugly and expensive they are!

You also bring with you asparagus, and strawberries that don't cost a small fortune, and make me want to wear dresses and gallivant about with a crown of flowers in my hair. {The dresses bit the world can handle, the flower crown I think not so much.} Lainie and I have gone to the beach a couple of times in the past week, and if you continue to provide such lovely weather, I hope to haul us down there every day that I possibly can. Probably not on grocery day, because that task pretty much uses up all my schlepping abilities by itself.

Birthday cards are still rimming countertops. Gerber daisies are still perking up the dining table. Windows are opened as frequently as possible to let the fresh air come in and play. Oh April, you are good to us. I'm going to miss you, come May.

Friday, April 19, 2013

{ jump }

Linking up with Lisa-Jo over at Five Minute Friday. This week's prompt: Jump.


it's contagious
if you're around someone who isn't afraid to jump
head first
feet first
just jump
into whatever wild and terrifying and beautiful unknown Jesus places in front of you
i've loved him for five years
been married for almost four
and i've prayed so, so many times for the courage and desire i see in him
the courage to jump

i see both of us in her:
the slow, methodical examination of whatever new thing she's got between her tiny chubby fingers
and then the wholehearted SHOVE into her mouth
she's not afraid
she will accept any new challenge you give her
sure, she thinks about it first
gets familiar with it--a little--
but always, she jumps
into the unknown food or toy
{not so much into the arms of unkown people, but that's another story!}

i have prayed so many times that God will change my heart
take away my fears, my propensity for hesitation, the way i drag my feet f.o.r.e.v.e.r before i timidly dip my toes in
maybe that's not all bad.
maybe it's good that i am cautious, concerned, not running recklessly
maybe that's why God gave me mike
and gave me to mike
so we can learn from each other
grow with each other toward the God who made us
Who made one of us uber-cautious
and the other one a lover of risks
so that together, we can jump
because underneath are His everlasting arms


Thursday, April 18, 2013

{ thirty }

thirty. i've been trying not to think about this birthday, while simultaneously trying to figure out how i'm here already. how i can already be 30 years old. i'm not ashamed of this birthday...truth be told, it doesn't really bother me {yet!}. this morning i realized that in some ways, i'm glad it's here. i think i feel like being thirty years old gives me permission to be me, without any apologies or explanations or sideways glances at the proverbial Joneses to see if i'm keeping up.
thirty is being comfortable in my own skin.
thirty is springing for that overpriced bouquet at the supermarket, because life is too short to live without flowers.
thirty is confidence in my interior design choices.
thirty is a confident, comfortable, damn good-looking wardrobe.
thirty is also wearing sweats all day if i want to.
thirty is speaking up. not being afraid that my voice, my experiences, my struggles, my opinion will be unwelcome.
thirty is realizing that i will probably be tired as long as there are little folks in the house, but that's no reason to drag through the day like it's drudgery.
thirty is embracing the acne, spotty skin, and extra "poufs" that motherhood has given me, and wearing them with pride. i get to be a mama. so many women who want to, can't, and these "scars" are an immeasurable treasure.
thirty is setting my alarm for no reason other than being able to make breakfast for mike before he goes to work.
thirty is spending time with Jesus like never before.
thirty is realizing that Jesus really is all that matters. everything else is so not lasting. but He is!
thirty is letting go of perfection and loving what is.
thirty is short blog posts because i'm a mama.
welcome, thirty. may these years be the best yet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

{ Why I've been quiet }

It seems like every time I have the urge to write a blog post, life prevents me from doing so. There's a small girl who doesn't much care for mama being glued to the computer screen for long periods of time--well, for any amount of time at all, really, and I think she's utterly right--and when she's napping, there's dinner to make and bills to pay. By the time she falls asleep at night, my brain is wiped out. I've never been a night owl by choice, and regardless of how energetic I feel, after 8pm, my brain just doesn't work the way it does during daylight hours. {Wow, that was a lot of d's in a row.} Words don't just flow. I struggle to adequately express what's on my heart, let alone wax eloquent.

Apparently I wax best during the day...maybe y'all should consider yourselves lucky!

Part of the reason for my long pauses lately is because I'm re-evaluating just how much I want to share here. I've read a couple of blog posts lately that have made me re-think how much personal information I want to put out there, preserved indefinitely and in a completely public fashion, on the internets. Spurred on by this article, I'm trying to figure out how much of Lainie's life I want to put on this blog. I hadn't given a lot of thought to her future "online identity" and how what I'm sharing about her now may be tied to her as an adult...maybe forever. That's sobering; it's the nature of our current digital age, isn't it? A few weeks ago, I was going through my blog archives trying to remember what we've done on Easters past, and I came across a post I wrote three years ago, in which I talk about why I started blogging. The first reason I listed was "to better keep in touch with family and friends who don't live in the area." That's still true, but even if you're not paranoid about crazy people, publicizing too much information about yourself online may be dangerous. {I cannot tell you how much that lady's experience freaked me out!} And then there's the fact that I am now also responsible for how much info about a certain little lady gets put out there, and well...I'm not exactly sure where to go from here. I don't want to make this a private blog, but I also don't want blogging to be something I worry about. {As a side note: I was a lot funnier back in 2010. I'm all serious and businesslike and "here's the list of things I have to check off" nowadays...which I know I was like then, too, but boy! My posts were a lot funner to read!}

Fellow bloggers, why do you blog? Has the focus or purpose of your blogging changed over time?

Fellow mama bloggers, how do you find the balance of what and how much to share about your children? What are your boundaries?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

{ Spring Cleaning, Wardrobe Edition }

:: tulips Mike gave me last month, just because ::
Whenever I take my clothes to the consignment store and most of them are rejected...which is every single time...I'm torn between two conflicting emotions.

Should I be relieved that I'm getting rid of the "right" items--clothes that are definitely out of style--which is proved by the fact that they are not cute/trendy/etc. enough to be sold at a consignment store?

Or should I be mortified that I've been wearing clothes so frumpy and out of the loop that a consignment shop won't even attempt to sell them?

Which is it???

Ages and ages ago I stumbled across The Tiny Twig and her e-book, The No Brainer Wardrobe: Get Dressed with More Confidence and Less Fuss. I wanted it, but it wasn't until last week that I ran across her site again and spontaneously bought the e-book.

Perhaps it's that spring is in the air. Perhaps it's the fact that I haven't had a good purge in a long time {it's much harder to indulge in one's OCD idiosyncrasies when parenting an infant}. Maybe it's that over the past few months, I've noticed that I wear the same things over and over and over again. {This isn't bad, because I generally look good in the clothes I wear repeatedly, but it's been niggling at me that my closet is full of clothes I haven't worn in years--and not just because I was pregnant last year.} Maybe it's because I'm the same size I was pre-pregnancy, but I'm definitely not the same shape--my ribcage and hips appear to have permanently expanded, for example--and everything fits a little differently. Whatever the impetus, here I am, about a quarter of the way through The No Brainer Wardrobe, and I just took four paper grocery sacks full of clothes to the consignment store.

Three of them were rejected as un-sell-able.


That means 75% of my cast-offs were too ugly for the consignment store!!

What really shocks me, though, is how a lot of the clothes in those sacks made it through multiple wardrobe purges in the past. I can think of four items off the top of my head that I have worn one time each. One of those times was eleven years ago, and two of the others were about eight years ago. Sheesh! I've let guilt {I spent a lot of money on that or This was a gift} keep a lot of things I don't like and don't wear in my closet for years. Part of the "problem" is that I haven't changed sizes since I was about 14 years old; clothes that I no longer wear still fit, and I feel guilty for getting rid of them. And then there are the clothes I've loved and worn so much that they are getting tattered, but not quite dead yet, so I feel bad throwing them away, even though I don't wear them anymore because they are raggedy.

The great part--Mike especially will agree with this--is that there is very little, if anything, I need to buy. Isn't that crazy?! With all those unworn clothes removed from circulation, there still aren't really any gaps in my wardrobe. It's simply that the clothes I actually wear, the ones that look good on me and make me feel good, are no longer surrounded by lots and lots of clothes that I don't wear, that don't look good on me. I still have plenty of wardrobe. Maybe now getting dressed in the morning will be easier: I have a lot fewer choices, and I know that the options I do have are all ones I like.

So I'm okay with the consignment people not wanting my unworn clothes. I don't want them, either!

Have you got spring fever this year? What are you itching to do?

Monday, April 1, 2013

{ Resurrection Sunday }

When it comes to Easter, it seems that Mike and I are well on our way to making a tradition of changing things up.

Easter 2008: This was a few weeks before we started dating; Mike spontaneously got baptized at church {he'd been baptized as a young boy, so this was more of a reaffirmation of faith}, I briefly met his parents for the first time, and we had a potluck dinner with a huge group of church friends.

2009: Right around the time we got engaged, I honestly don't remember what we did...I assume spent the day at church and with Mike's family.

2010: We visited my family in Idaho. Mike fell deathly sick Easter morning, barely surviving the post-sunrise-service breakfast, and spent most of the day in bed. I remember games and lots of laughter--crying and gasping and sides burning laughter--with my parents, brothers, and their friends...in between tending to poor sick Mike.

In 2011 our church rented Qwest Field in downtown Seattle for Easter. My parents and two of my brothers spent the weekend with us, so our tiny two-bedroom home was packed to the brim! We toured Boeing, went to the tulip fields, visited the Museum of Flight, and had a post-church potluck at Amaryah's apartment building in dowtown Seattle.

Last year, my brother got married--in central Oregon--the day before Easter. On Sunday morning, Mike and I went to the early service at a little church in Bend and spent the rest of the day driving home.

This year, Mike helped with setup and teardown at church. I got up early with him and we shared coffee and Rhodes cinnamon rolls. Should I feel guilty that the only time my family gets cinnamon rolls is when they are from the freezer section? I have never made them from scratch. I come from a long line of from-scratch bakers and cooks, and yet I don't feel guilty that I buy frozen cinnamon rolls. It makes me a little uneasy that I don't feel guilty. But when you realize how good they taste, that they bake in only 30 minutes flat, and that the time you'd spend making them from scratch probably makes the commercial version cheaper...well, Rhodes gets my vote. ;-)

I didn't realize it until after choosing our outfits, but Lainie and I totally matched. We met up with Mike at church and had our picture taken at the photobooth. {A somewhat embarrassing side note: I also realized that I wore the same dress for Easter five years ago. I told Mike, and he said, "Small world." I retorted, "No, it's more like small wardrobe!"}

Pastor Scott asked Mike to do baptisms with him after the service. It was amazing to realize that, on Easter five years ago, Mike got baptized...and now, five years later, he's in the dunk tank as one of the baptizers.

Here are Mo and I with our babies. Cracks me up because Lainie and I look HUGE compared to Mo and Josiah. I'll have you know that we are the same height, I'm just wearing 4" heels. And the babies? Well, Lainie does have six months on Josiah...

We are going to miss Scott and Mo so much when they move to Texas to plant a church!!
I can't wait to see what we're up to next year...maybe Easter in Texas?