Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No nap catches up with her!

Hours before her normal bedtime and she has crashed on the floor, right after a bowl of ice cream!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

New toy for the family!

We got a Flip for Christmas! Here is my first video post...the princess playing and Grandma and Katherine making cookies.

In January we will be moving. Currently we are about 3 1/2 hours away from James' parents. After the move we will be more than 10. So, we will see them much less frequently. My hope is to use the Flip to post videos fairly frequently so they can see the kids. I hope this works out well!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas...Eve

I am sitting here, getting ready to bake a couple pies for our Christmas dinner tonight and marveling at how good God is. My mother and brother are here to share the season with us. My family is safe and in good health. My kids are aglow with the excitement of the season. We are blessed with truly amazing friends. Even in this terrible economy we have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed well beyond what I deserve due to the grace of God.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Prayers, Please

I know it has been forever since my last post - more on why later. Right now I just want to ask for your prayers. Two days ago a member of our church fell to her death during the first performance of our Christmas show.

Please pray for her family, her friends, our church community and our church leaders. We are shocked and saddened by Keri's untimely and tragic passing. When I've processed more, I'll post more about the amazing show she was a castmember of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back online...sort of

Whew, switching computers is really a mess! Mine finally bit the dust so I got a new one as my Christmas present (and birthday, and mothers day, etc.). I think I like it. I ended up getting a bigger screen on this one, so everything about it is a little bigger - including the keyboard! I have really ratcheted up the typos because my fingers aren't used to stretching so far to find the right keys.

Unfortunately I don't have all of my programs loaded just yet, but I'm getting there. I guess it gives me a chance to determine what I really need and what I can do without! Hopefully I won't have to do this again for another few years!

Hmmm...right now I think I'll download some of my photos so I can at least change the background on the desktop!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Almost standing alone!

This picture was right before he got really into chewing on the toy and fell backwards. He is getting so big!
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fake Empathy Gone Wrong

I woke up this morning to several tweets about a new ad appearing on Motrin's website. The ad campaign attempts to empathize with moms, saying "we feel your pain." Great concept, extremely poor execution. The ad at the center of the mounting controversy has a voiceover of a "mom" talking about how much of a pain it is to wear your baby and how she does it for her child, but only because it is fashionable and/or "supposedly" good for them.

Really? Generations of women across the globe have been wearing their babies for fashion? The countless women today that wear their babies do so based upon the idea that it is "supposedly" good for them? Really? You feel my pain as a mother?

I think not. Countless studies have shown real, measurable (i.e. proven) benefits to wearing your child. Even if there were NO scientific evidence that wearing your child was beneficial for the child I would wear my children. I wear them to be close to them, I wear them to comfort them, I wear them to comfort myself, I wear them because it is more convenient that a stroller, I wear them because it is easier than lugging around a baby in an infant seat, I wear them because I love them...I could go on.

I do not wear them because of scientific research (although it is nice when studies prove what moms have known all along). I do not wear them because it is fashionable (although we are blessed that mainstream culture has found it acceptable and that has increased the choices we have for carriers and accessories).

Motrin hasn't shown empathy, they have just ticked us off. Do you need proof of that? This morning when I first heard about this ad, other moms on Twitter were tagging their tweets with #motrinmoms. Curious, I googled motrinmoms (ironically as I was trying to decide which carrier to take with me to church) and got 50 results. This afternoon I refreshed my earlier google search and found 1,390 results. I think there is even a Facebook page now!

I hope that the ad execs get a virtual hailstorm of responses from us. I want to say that someone deserves a bad day tomorrow, but alas, nobody deserves a bad day. I just hope this is a learning experience!

I am proud of all of the moms and dads out there who have reacted to this ad. I hope that our responses will send a clear message to Motrin. We aren't idiots, don't insult us by treating us like idiots. Does my back hurt after a long day spent carrying my child in a carrier? Yes (how badly depends on the carrier). But to suggest that I do it for fashion or because there are merely supposed benefits is insulting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Babywearing...Not just for moms!

In honor of International Babywearing Week Stephanie over at Adventures in Babywearing is celebrating all week. She has invited fellow babywearing bloggers to join the celebration by posting their babywearing stories, photos, and tips.

One thing I love is that babywearing is not just for moms!

So celebrate the baby and the babywearers in your life by blogging about it. Share your link at Adventures in Babywearing and you could win a sling from Nonny & Boo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look at this big boy standing up!

I can't believe he is so strong and mobile already! Time has flown by.
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Table shots...

My MIL had the greatest idea. When she wanted one of her kids to keep occupied when they were still in the just lay there phase she would put a comfy blanket in the middle of the kitchen table, lay them on their backs, and let them look up at the ceiling/lights/etc. She discovered with grandchild #7 that they would also enjoy looking at themselves in the mirrored tiles of her table!

So, while visiting there a few weeks ago we had a photo shoot (or two or three) on her kitchen table! Here are a couple of the best shots (that room gets great natural light as well):
Even a few short weeks later we are beyond our window where this works. He is perfecting the army crawl right now and I have no doubt he will be really crawling soon. Maybe it is time for something like the Stepping Stone Play Mat to capture his attention and get him going. MomDot has a review about it (and a giveaway!). Hmmm...maybe for Christmas, or would that be too late?

The perfect Christmas gift for Katherine!

This thing looks really cool! I know I am a gadget freak and my children will likely be influenced by my love of all things electronic (you should see the way Jack already lunges for electronics - remotes, cell phones, cords, iPods, etc.).

So, a Christmas idea for Katherine - how about the VTech Create-A-Story. Melanie over at Livin With Me! is giving one away. What a great gift idea!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's a trooper!

Poor little guy has his first ear infection. Jack went in for his 6 month check-up last week. Doc said he looks great...other than the virus he was apparently sporting (fever, rash, no big deal really). So, we couldn't get his shots at that visit and had to schedule a visit for this week hoping he would be over the virus. Well, he is over the virus (no more fever, etc.), but has an ear infection. No wonder he hasn't been sleeping!

Despite being a little cranky and a little clingy, he has really been super smiley and active. He has started pulling himself up to standing and is almost really crawling. He does this cute army-crawl kind of thing, but doesn't lift his body off the floor in order to get places. So, gone are the fleeting days where I can set him down somewhere and expect him to be there for more than a few seconds!

He is chewing on absolutely EVERYTHING so I hope he actually cuts some teeth soon. We will all sleep a little better that way, I think!

He LOVES his big sister. She is quite a ham and provides no shortage of opportunities for him to smile, laugh, and grab. Now that he is a little more mobile, she is learning how quickly he will grab her stuff. She is definitely not a fan of that!

Tell time all over the world with Mom Most Traveled

It’s Tea Party Week at Mom Most Traveled! Enter here for your chance to win a Baby-G watch from Casio!

Check out this great blog and really cool giveaway!

Monday, November 3, 2008

running for fun.jpg

Do you remember what it felt like to run just because it was fun?
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bad day for college football in our house

Ugh, so both Michigan and Georgia lost today. Not a great day for watching college football in our house. First we listened to the Michigan game on XM. Then we watched the Georgia game on TV. At least Michigan had a chance, Georgia was just disgraceful!

I am thankful for caller ID on days like this so I can choose not to answer the phone when my Gator-lovin brother calls to talk smack (sorry Kevin). Oh well, I really didn't think we were going to win anyway. After our end-zone celebration last year I figured the Gators would be pretty ticked! This game is always so emotional - even if we were better than they were it wouldn't guarantee a win.

I guess I just have to start rooting for a third SEC national champion, it just won't be Georgia!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pony Tattoos

Do you remember My Little Pony from the 80's? Plastic ponies with long tails and manes you could brush. Like Care Bears (another wonderful toy from the 80's) they each have names and are emblazoned with a picture that characterizes their name. The bears have their personality on their bellies, the ponies have theirs on their hind quarters.

Well, both toys are still around (or have made comebacks). Katherine received a couple My Little Ponies for her birthday. They are cute and some of them even come with plastic clothes and shoes! Katherine was playing with her ponies this afternoon (her horse obsession is another post) when she came up to me saying "Look Mommy, she has a tattoo!" She was pointing to the picture on the pony's hind quarters.

So funny! Hmmm...I wonder if her knowledge of tattoos comes from the temporary tattoos she has gotten at fairs, etc. or mommy's real tattoo!

Friday, October 24, 2008

You have got to check these out!

If you know me at all you know I am an avid babywearer. As such, I have a small collection of baby carriers. I have ring slings, a pouch sling, mei tais, soft structured carrier (Ergo Baby Carrier)...more than my husband thinks I need.

One carrier that I really want to try is the BECO Butterfly. It is a soft structured carrier made with the most amazing fabrics! Right now you can Win a Beco Butterfly from babySNAZZ!

I would love to try one!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Let me start off by saying that I am truly blessed. No matter what our economy looks like right now I am still one of the middle class in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. I have never really wondered where my next meal would come from. I have a wonderful (strange, but wonderful) family who love me very much. I am in a very loving, committed marriage with a man whose faith I admire. I really don't have much to complain about.

That being said, I really just want to go back to bed and start today over...surely this is a bad dream. I woke up with the tentacles of a migraine beginning to creep around my brain. I thought I was doing well to get both kids in the car in plenty of time to drop Katherine off at preschool having remembered the fruit I had to take since it is my week for snack, and her lunch since she had lunch-and-learn after school today. Then my wonderful husband (not being sarcastic there) came out to tell us goodbye since he was leaving before Katherine got home and won't be back until tomorrow. Somehow when going over schedules for the next couple of days as we buckled the kids in we had a disagreement and ended up leaving with hurt feelings when I won't see him for at least 36 hours.

Back home with Jack for the morning, he slept for a mere 25 minutes during his morning nap time...grrr. He finally fell asleep for another hour or so, but only in my lap and I had to wake him up to go pick Katherine up. Since he was in my lap asleep I didn't get lunch (not good for the migraine). I actually remembered the DVD I had to return to Blockbuster and the school picture order form I had to turn in today (and my checkbook so I could write a check for said school pictures). We dropped off the DVD and went through the drive-thru at Wendy's so I could finally get lunch (not very healthy, but close and convenient). Katherine asks to finish her sandwich in the car on the way back.

We pull into the driveway and I go open the door to find that the dog has upturned the kitchen garbage, strewn everything all over the kitchen, and eaten half a loaf of bread. Wonderful. So, into his crate he goes.

I go back to get the kids and realize Katherine has thrown the crusts from her sandwich on the floor of the van and dropped her big girl water bottle (no valve like sippy cups so leaks when on its side on the floor) onto the floor as well. Excellent.

I sent Katherine directly upstairs to bed since it was naptime anyway. She starts what eventually turns into an hour-long fit. She is in her room crying/screaming and I have to set Jack down so that I can clean up the kitchen so he is crying. So, I am on my hands and knees cleaning up garbage as both kids cry in different rooms and the dog stares forlornly from his crate. Sweet. This is so much fun!

Eventually Katherine went to sleep (after an hour of screaming, arguing, and bargaining) and even Jack slept for about an hour (by himself in bed!). I got to replay the hilarity of the day with my husband and blog my frustration out!

The rest of the day will be cake, right?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pink Princess Party

The definition of insanity should include a short video clip of a birthday party with four three-year-old girls throwing elbows, pushing, taking toys, and crying for no ascertainable reason. Overall it was great to hang out with our friends. Three couples that we are close to also have 3-year-old daughters. So, we decided to start with the theory that you should allow your child to invite one friend per year of existence. Since Katherine was turning three we invited three friends.

Her only real request was a pink birthday. James had an out-of-town speaking engagement that night so we decided to do breakfast. Thus, the Pink Princess Pancake Party was born. Of course we are NOT morning people so the official start time was 10am. We had pink pancakes, pink/red fruit (watermelon, raspberries, strawberries with bananas and apples thrown in for good measure), princess goodies for each girl to take home, and four very cute princesses.

I don't know if it was a full moon, if it was just the wrong time of day, or if we didn't feed them enough, but it was like watching mini cage fighters in dresses (just kidding). Really though, they were whining, crying, pushing, hitting, wrenching toys away from one another...it was such chaos you just had to laugh.

In the end we were all well-fed, the parents got to socialize, the girls had fun overall, and the little brothers got some socialization in too. Not bad for a 3-year-old party!

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Amazing costume. So decadent, and perfect for Katherine's dress phase!

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Kindness of Friends

Wow...what can I say. I sit here with both kids asleep on the last night of a week with James out of town. I finally have five minutes peace. I could not have made it through this week without such great friends, a wonderful mom, and an attentive husband.

The week started horribly with Katherine getting sick on Sunday. That caused me to forgo attending and serving at church and to keep her home from school on Monday, even though she was fine by then (not to mention stir crazy). Tuesday our friends Jae and Trish invited Katherine over for dinner with their daughter Elizabeth. I got a couple hours of relative quiet with just Jack when I was able to make and eat dinner, make rice krispie treats (pink of course) to take to Katherine's class for her birthday, and sort of watch a movie in the background. When I got Katherine she had eaten dinner, done a craft, taken a bath, put on pajamas, and eaten her before-bed yogurt. We were able to come straight home and get to bed.

Wednesday was her birthday so I was finally able to take her to school and actually leave the premises! It was liberating. I used my new-found freedom to drive up to Chick-Fil-A to grab breakfast. Jack fell asleep during the drive so I had some quiet time. I stopped by the mall so I could go to the Apple store and get a case for my new iPod - with a 3 year old around I don't want to take any chances with scratching it up! It was nice to have only one child to tote into the mall (a place I really dislike to go). Jack and I then attended the first half of his music and learning class. Katherine was supposed to go directly from school to an after-school lunch and learn program. Apparently she was having a rough time so the school called and I picked her up early. Hopefully next week she'll make it all the way through!

Wednesday night our friends Mike and Lisa were nice enough to invite us over for dinner and cake for Katherine's birthday. Luckily I had used Katherine's nap that day to make cupcakes which she and I decorated and took with us to dinner. Their daughter Mara is one of Katherine's best friends (her designation) so they had a great time (when they weren't fighting like sisters). They have a son Aaron about six months older than Jack so we have a lot in common and really enjoy hanging out together. We also have very similar parenting styles so it is very comfortable to be around them with the kids.

Today we went to church so I could do my weekly volunteer duties, came home for lunch, and went to the doctor for Katherine's 3yr check-up and Jack's 5 month shots (we are spacing them out a bit so have to go more often to avoid so many at one time). The doctor said Katherine looks very healthy. She has grown about 2 inches in the last year and gained about 5 pounds. I swear most of that growth must have occurred this summer. All of a sudden her 2T pants are too short and all of her shoes are too small (except her Crocs, the only shoes she has really worn all summer).

Jack is such a trooper with his shots, he doesn't even really cry for more than 10 seconds - long enough for a big tear to drip from each eye. I really think it helps that he only gets 2 shots at a time rather than 4. I am so thankful that our pediatrician was open to letting us do an alternate vaccine schedule. Jack will get all of the vaccines that are recommended by the AAP, but will get them in a different order and at different times.

We ordered dinner in tonight (gotta love pizza delivery) which helped me a bit. After a week with no help the house is a wreck and I'm just overwhelmed. I'm in survival mode, avoiding too much extra stuff and relying on close friends for support. This is not the first time I've been the solo parent for an extended period of time and it will not be the last. It is getting a little easier, I think. I am still not the mother I would like to be, nor the one I believe God calls me to be. When I am tired, overwhelmed, and stretched thin I lose the grip on my emotions. With His help I haven't been as angry this week - at least not compared to two weeks ago when James was gone almost the whole work-week. It is amazing how someone so small, so young and so innocent as my little girl can push my buttons faster than anyone else and to such an extent that I have to leave the room or bite my tongue to avoid saying something I don't mean.

I am blessed to be able to stay at home with our kids, but that brings with it a host of its own issues. But, there are pros and cons to every situation. The most important thing right now is that one of us is there every day raising our children. Everything else (good and bad) is secondary.

Anyway, enough pouring out of my soul for the night. I get to see my wonderful husband in less than 12 hours - woohoo! And, it only took me two hours to write this post between getting up to put Katherine back in bed, getting Jack back to sleep after Katherine woke him up, using my stern voice with Katherine when she just wouldn't give up, nursing Jack back to sleep after I woke him up using my stern voice with Katherine...you get the picture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday My Sweet Girl

I can't believe that Katherine is 3. Where has the time gone? When did she become this tornado of laughter, pigtails, dresses, and...to my chagrin...whining? She is talkative, expressive, impressionable, and absolutely beautiful!

She is in preschool three days a week and has started to assert her independence at every opportunity. She can clear her plate from the table after a meal (take it to the kitchen, dump the remaining food in the garbage can, and put the plate/cup/utensils in the sink). She can feed the dog and cat. She knows how to access the basic functions on our video iPod, her clock radio/cd player, and her portable DVD player.

She can undress and dress herself (but we are unfortunately embroiled in a battle of the wills over potty training). Lately she has inexplicably decided that she must wear a dress EVERY DAY. She whines something about not being a princess or not going to the ball if she isn't in a dress - drat those Disney princesses! I was somewhat of a tomboy, I am mystified by the NEED to wear a dress every day - I still avoid them unless absolutely necessary.

She loves taking care of her baby brother Jack - unless he spits up, she actually gagged the other day when he spit up on her. She always wants to be at the front of the pack, becoming very frustrated that our dog Hunter doesn't let her "leave the way."

She has several "best friends" and goes into hysterics that any pre-teen worth her salt would be proud of if we can't visit them the absolute INSTANT she deems it necessary. She greets her friends with the most excited scream/hug/kiss combo you will ever see and introduces complete strangers as her friends (or even her sisters). Luckily these strangers are usually pint-sized and followed around by a mom of their own so the stranger lecture isn't necessary in this particular context.

Her capacity to feel emotion (good and bad) is exhausting. The sheer joy she finds in some things (often exhibited by sounds only dogs can hear) is infectious (unless I have a migraine). The sadness she feels in the face of even the most trivial slight by a friend is amazing. The mischief in her eye when she is pushing the limits (or more often, barreling through them) can be lovable and infuriating.

Her soft hair curls at the ends when put into pigtails. Her eyes are a complex patchwork of color. She is petite, yet strong. Essentially, she is just amazing. All of this and she's only 3. Sweet Girl, you have made me more aware of who I am - my positive attributes and my shortcomings. You are a force of nature. I pray that God helps your Daddy and I be the parents that you need to grow strong, confident, and self-assured yet humble, faithful, and sympathetic.

I love you. Happy Birthday.
- Mama

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Alone again and the kids are sick...ugh

Well, James is off again for work. His company has a conference each fall and in recent years they have invited fewer of their associates to actually attend the conference since they would likely have to fly them in and put them up in a hotel for the duration. So, it was great that he was recognized and asked to attend, but it also means being away from home for seven days.

I know it is rough on him so I need to remember not to ignore his feelings when considering my own because, let's face it...it SUCKS to have him gone so long. That by itself would be bad enough. But, this morning Katherine woke up suffering from some sort of stomach bug. I mean...gross!

I am a bit of a contradiction where this is concerned. I have a degree in biology so you would think that I would have more of a stomach for ick, but it is conditional. I can dissect things any day - blood doesn't bother me. It is the other bodily fluids that I just can't handle. Spit, snot, vomit, excrement of an abnormal sort...it makes me a little crazy. So a stomach bug with no help is not going to be fun.

Oh well, I guess that is motherhood!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wow, what an observant little girl!

I don't know if it is a sign that we have been watching too much of the presidential election coverage or a sign that we watch too much tv in general, but this just cracks me up...

We are sitting in the living room waiting for dinner to be finished, watching the nightly news when a campaign ad for Sen. Obama comes on. Katherine looks at the tv and says, "Barrack Obama mommy, Barrack Obama." Hysterical. I don't know what this says about our tv watching habits, but hopefully it is a sign that she will be politically aware in an age when too many young people (and old, for that matter) feel like their vote couldn't possibly count so they don't bother engaging at all.

You may remember my early post about taking Katherine with me to vote. James and I both believe in engaging in the political process. With a dad who has a degree in political science and a mom who graduated from law school I can only hope that our kids will have an appreciation for the democratic process.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The family that convalesces together...

...is a sad, grumpy group! Well, we've all been sick with a pretty nasty head cold since late Thursday. Yuck! What a way to spend the holiday weekend. I'll spare you the gory details, but lets just say we spent a couple of days in bed, have watched a lot of movies, and used a TON of tissues.

At some point I'll catch up and post more photos. Right now I'm just waiting for my head to clear!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finally Home

Well, we are finally home from our last major road trip of the summer. I am happily exhausted. In the midst of each of our trips I wondered more than once why in the world we had decided to take two kids under the age of three on such long road trips and so many of them in one summer. But, in the end I am happy we went on each of them and have been blessed by the experiences.

Where did we go? Our summer began with a week-long trip to stay with James' parents in Wadsworth, OH. James had to be on-site at one of his clients all day every day that week so we stayed with grandma and grandpa to get out of the house and get some help! We traded in our SUV and got the van the last day of that trip, enjoying the additional space on the way home.

A few weeks later we drove to St. Louis for a convention I was attending (and volunteering for). Daddy and two kids cooped up in a hotel wasn't the most fun, but he was brave and took them both out to see the city. We also used a babysitting service a couple of times so that James could get out of the hotel and enjoy a few hours free of kids on the golf course. After six days in St. Louis we continued on to Kansas City where James had several meetings and a training course for work. Now it was mom's turn to be cooped up in a hotel room with the kids. The first hotel we checked into was spacious, but not nice at all (dirty - I never let my feet touch the carpet, I wore flip flops the entire time). So, we checked out after a couple of nights once we could get a room elsewhere. The second hotel was even more spacious and very nice. After five days in Kansas City we drove home (all 10 hours in one day).

A little over a week later we were in the car again to drive to Memphis for a convention James was attending (and also volunteering for). While I was solo parenting for much of the week, it was much easier since we were staying at a friend's house and I was essentially house/dog sitting while he worked the convention as well. We have friends in Memphis from when we lived there so it was nice to hang out with them again while we were there. We were also able to drop in and see some friends in Nashville on our way to Memphis and on our return home a week later.

We were home for two days, then packed the car again to head to a lake in northern Michigan to hang out with James' family. I was kind of nervous about camping with a three-month-old, but we ended up staying in James' brother's camper and had a great time! We were also able to attend a friend's baby shower while we were up that way and saw some extended family as well! After five days we headed home, dropping James off on the way home at a golf tournament.

A few days later, my mom arrived! This was her first time seeing Jack and the first time we had seen her since Christmas. James went back up to Michigan that weekend (last weekend) for a reunion with the guys he lived with his senior year of college. Mom was a great help while he was gone!

Three days after James' return, we all packed into the van and headed to Atlanta to see my brother. Lucas looks amazing! He is still confined to a wheelchair for a while longer since he can't put weight on his heels yet. He is out of the plaster casts and wearing removable walking casts. His spirits are high and he is working again, part time.

We also had the chance to hang out with some great friends who we never get to see anymore due to the distance! What a great trip. We toured the Coke museum and went to the amazing Atlanta Aquarium. We had a truly wonderful trip and brought home many wonderful memories that we will cherish forever. What we won't cherish is the big souvenir we brought home, a crumpled front fender. We got in a minor accident leaving the aquarium on Friday. Everyone is fine if not a little embarrassed. It drives fine other than a little scraping that occurs when we make right turns. So, we drove home making as few right turns as possible! We got in late last night and unfortunately had to say goodbye to my mom today. She flew back to Tucson today after a wonderful visit. We will miss her a lot and look forward to hopefully all getting together in December!

Whew! What a long summer. At last we are home and can hopefully settle in and get back to normal over the next week just in time for James to go back to work. We were blessed to have him on sabbatical from work for the month of August.

Now we just have to get the car fixed!

Friday, August 15, 2008

They should be prosecuted...

There are so many times that you put your life and the lives of your children in the hands of others out of necessity. Using mass transit, flying in a plane, booking a hotel based on their brand, website and reviews, and renting a car. You trust that the people in control are diligent in their maintenance, safety reviews, and operation. You trust that they will live up to their promises (both those they state explicitely and those they assume based upon their status and industry). When they do not earn that trust, it often puts you (and your family) in an inconvenient and possibly dangerous situation.

That is what has been happening with this story. You don't have to be neurotic about the safety and wellbeing of your children to appreciate the situation that many rental car agencies put parents in. I happen to personally be a little neurotic about carseat safety so this story struck a particular chord with me. But, any parent who has relied upon the integrity of a car rental agency to supply them with not only a safe vehicle in good working order, but a safe and well-maintained carseat has literally put their lives in the hands of that agency. Debbie, the mom behind the DeliciousBaby blog has been in that situation.

She first blogged about Advantage Rent-A-Car's unsafe carseats last year after what can only be described as a horrible experience. Thankfully for the rest of us she and her husband had the presence of mind to document the experience and as any good mommy would, share it with others to serve as a cautionary tale. The pictures actually make me sick to my stomach. The condition of the available carseats (which you have to pay an extra fee for, by the way) is deplorable. Some of the carseats had been subject to recall, others were well beyond their expiration date, all of them were so dirty I wouldn't want them in my car, let alone put my child in them. It further validates our decisions in the past to travel with our own carseat - a decision that brings with it a whole host of other issues, but that is another post.

The local press got wind of her plight and picked up the story. The result at that point was promises from Advantage to clean up their act and completely overhaul their available carseats. As Debbie is realizing, mommy bloggers are becoming a source of information and a source we put our trust in. Her most recent update to the saga regards a mommy who chose Advantage based upon their stated promises to provide their renters with safe, clean carseats. What she found was far from that. Here is a quote from the story:

Exhausted after a long flight, she struggled for two hours to find a seat
that could be installed safely in her rental car and finally drove away with
what she thought was the best of the bunch... a dilapidated car seat so old
that the manufacturer and California State Law both recommend that it be destroyed.

Deplorable. Absolutely unacceptable. I can't even imagine what must have been going through this mom's mind. The last time I was there, they didn't sell new carseats at the airport. So, even if she could have dropped over $100 to purchase a new seat of her own, she would have had to place her precious six month old child into the horrible excuse for a carseat that the agency supplied her with in order to drive to a store, thus putting her child in danger out of necessity.

I get so angry thinking about it, I can't think straight. So, spread the word to anyone you know with kids. Consumer demand is going to be the only way the car rental agencies are held accountable for living up to their promises and THE LAW. Clearly, existing law is not enough incentive for agencies to provide safe carseats. I know this is not a universal complaint. There are agencies and locations that do provide adequate seats. However, until there is a national standard that is universally followed, it isn't enough!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One Crazy Summer

That is the title of a movie my little brother and I watched when we were kids. Thinking back, it was really a silly movie, but the title seems to aptly describe our summer this year! We can't seem to stay home for more than a week at a time.

We were gone for almost two weeks beginning mid-July, were home for a week, have been gone for the last week, will be home for two days, gone for another four days, home for almost a week, then finally gone for a few more days! Whew, what a whirlwind summer.

I am glad that any travel we are doing from this point forward will not involve one or the other of us working/volunteering. Being a solo parent for days on end in an unfamiliar place, possibly confined to a hotel room, is no fun at all! We both had our turn to experience that kind of fun.

I will post more photos over at the Kanary Nest, but here are a couple of photos from the road...
We ended up switching Jack to the Britax Marathon carseat between our trip to St. Louis/Kansas City and our trip to Memphis. We didn't really take the infant carseat out of the car much and we hope that the convertible one puts him in a slightly more comfortable position, minimizing the pressure on his tummy, thus reducing the impact on his reflux. He did seem less fussy when in the car for long periods of time the second trip.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beautiful slings reviewed at Simple

Blogging via blackberry tonight, but couldn't wait to post about the amazing slings reviewed over at Simple this week. Rockin baby slings and pouches are simply breathtaking! Head over to Simple Reviews to check them out!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Safer beverage consumption for the toddler crowd

Ok, so I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to sippy cups and bottles (and grown-up beverage containers too) free of bad plastic that leaches chemicals into our beverages that could harm us. So, it was with great interest that I saw a post over on The Soft Landing about the new and improved Safe Sippy.

If I remember correctly the Safe Sippy debut was received with so-so ratings due to some leakage and a less than user-friendly design. I am super excited to try the new design! Head over to the Soft Landing to check it out!

Friday, July 25, 2008

On the road...again

So, all of the catching up I intended to do after our first marathon trip didn't happen and here we are ready to leave again in a couple of days! I'll have to post about our travels sometime soon. This next trip I won't personally be so busy above and beyond the normal craziness that is being a SAHM of a dramatically precocious 2 1/2 year old and an adorable 3 month old. So, if the place we are staying has wireless internet I hope to get some blogging done during naptime, etc.

We haven't even really unpacked from the first trip and I now have two days to unpack, launder, and repack our stuff for this next trip. Fun stuff!

On a side note, our cute little Jack has already begun a modeling career. Not really, but a friend of ours is launching a website to sell these adorable hats that she knits and Jack is one of her models. She has one pic up of him that I took a few weeks ago and she came over today and took a few more. Katherine may get in on the action at some point too. Her shop is called Buttons and Bows and the hats are just too cute! The website is under construction as she has only done these locally so far (the one Jack is wearing below was a gift from her when he was born), but she hopes to have a much more extensive gallery soon.

The look on his face in this pic is hysterical. She used a different one of him in this hat on her site.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On the road...

We'll be on the road in a few hours for a 10 day road trip to St. Louis and Kansas City. Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I swear she isn't a sleeper...

...but by the looks of these photos you would think she sleeps all the time!
In this photo she was in the basement watching a movie while I was doing something upstairs. When I realized that I hadn't heard from her in a while I went down to check on her and found her fast asleep in the Baby Papasan. She ended up sleeping like that for three hours!
In this photo we had been up WAY to early. She woke up around 5:30 (I think) and just wouldn't go back to sleep. So we eventually made it downstairs where she was sitting in the living room, eating cereal and watching a cartoon (Super Why on PBS, I think) while I did dishes in the kitchen. When I finished I came in to see if she was finished with her cereal and found her like this, fast asleep!
She is finally sleeping on her own through the night. Sometimes we can even leave her room before she is asleep and she stays in there and falls asleep (not without much protesting). Amazing how far we've come!

Not Yet, Please

Don't cut your teeth yet, Jack. The last week or so has found our little guy gnawing on fingers and chomping on a pacifier if its put in his mouth. If he can get his fists anywhere near his mouth, he practically growls trying to get them far enough in to chew on them. He has also been drooling like a madman.

I know that even if these signs do herald the beginning of teething, he may not actually cut teeth for a few months. But, he is not even 10 weeks old! Oh well, hopefully he follows his sister's lead and doesn't become a biter.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's great to buy items made by moms!

That is why I LOVE Etsy. It is a website where you can buy and sell things that have been handmade. Not all things are made by moms, but you can find a ton of cool things and many are made by either moms who work at home or moms just trying to get their craft on while making a little extra money for their families.

For example, as you can see from previous posts I am a babywearing advocate. I was in the market for a carrier that went over both shoulders, but wasn't quite as bulky as the Ergo carrier (which is great for longer hauls and bigger kids). I found a woman on Etsy who makes mei tai baby carriers for a fraction of the cost of the more well-known designers. The kicker is that they are SO well-made! The people who sell things on Etsy take pride in what they produce so I have found the quality to be amazing.

I can't say enough about this site and the people who sells things on it!

Win a Babywearing Dream Stash!

How AWESOME is this!
Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)

You could win one of each of the major types of baby carrier from Along For The Ride. Enter the contest, then head back to the main site to peruse their great collection and learn something from their information section!

My husband has begun to raise his eyebrows at my growing collection of carriers and baby carriers are my new favorite baby gift because as they say at Along For The Ride, babies are born to be worn.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I thought I'd seen this pose before...

So funny, they really do look alike! Isn't it crazy how some people have several kids who look TOTALLY different and others have several kids who look SO MUCH alike? These were taken by two different cameras in two different houses by two different people, but they look alike to me.

So sorry, I've been overwhelmed.

Wow, a week without a post and so much to post about. First, an update on my brother: Lucas is doing well and in high spirits. His surgery on Wednesday went well. I'm not sure exactly what they did, but it involved plates, rods, and screws being put either in his back or his left foot. They sat him up in bed today (the first time he has been able to sit up in a week) so I think that made him feel better mentally. They hope to re-introduce solid foods tomorrow. Pray that he doesn't have the same reaction he did last time (he couldn't keep anything down in the beginning). Depending on how the next couple of days go, he may be out of the hospital by mid-week next week and could possibly be home the first week in July. Thank you again for all of your prayers.

On the homefront it has been a really stressful couple of weeks on a variety of levels. My body chemistry is slowly returning to normal after having Jack (can you believe he is 7 1/2 weeks old). This means that I am having longer stretches where I can be gentle and tolerant with Katherine. Although, I think having an extremely active, intelligent toddler can be trying for even the best of mothers (at least I like to think that).

It doesn't help that James' job has been taking him out of town so much these last couple of weeks. You've got to love the end-of-quarter heroics that must be performed to make stock holders happy. So, I have basically been a single mom (without the brief reprieve of work outside the home) for the better part of two weeks.

I pray more during times like this, but often feel farther from Him when I lose my cool and become a mother I don't like very much. I think God tries to give me moments of respite or reflection via a new smile from Jack, a thoughtful gesture from Katherine, a beautiful bird landing outside my kitchen window, a ray of sunshine that filters beautifully through the canopy of leaves on the tree in my front yard, reading a blog post that really resonates with me and makes me realize I'm not the only one who struggles as a wife, mother, or believer...

Thankfully He has put us in a place where we are surrounded by friends and neighbors who, although not biological family, have become our chosen family. We are blessed by these people in large ways and small on a daily basis. Whether it is my neighbor Jae bringing our garbage cans in from the curb when I've been too overwhelmed to even notice they are still there, his wife Trish offering to have Katherine over for a play-date so that I can get something done with only one child, Balaz ans Suzanne walking our dog Hunter (or even hanging out with Katherine for a while), or Lisa inviting us down the street to join them for dinner so I don't have to make an entire meal for myself and a 2 1/2 year old...these people have become like family and I thank God for them.

We are truly blessed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank You and an Update

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been thinking of and/or praying for Lucas and the rest of our family! We are overwhelmed with the support. God has truly been at work in this situation (I'll blog later about some of the amazing ways He has shown up).

Update on Lucas: We have more concrete information on his condition (two broken feet and several dislocated vertebrae) and have been told that he will undergo surgery in Barcelona on Monday (or possibly Tuesday). We haven't spoken directly to a doctor yet so have not been able to ask questions regarding extent of the injury to his feet, what procedures will be done during the surgery, or potential recovery time.

We are blessed to have a friend who lives and works in Barcelona. Emil has been able to visit Lucas in the hospital, spoke to the doctors (which netted the additional information since he is fluent in Spanish and not full of pain meds), and provided Lucas with a cell phone to use while he is in the hospital. Emil has been an amazing and invaluable friend!

Thanks to the cell phone we have been able to talk to Lucas at greater length. I don't know whose spirits were lifted more by our ability to just chat with him, ours or his! The family contact has been great for Lucas, he sounds much better after having an opportunity to be in contact with us.

On a side note: I can't tell you how amazing James has been throughout this ordeal. Lucas didn't grow up with a father or big brother around to lean into, look to for a model, or ask advice of. James has really become a big brother figure for Lucas. I think they spent as much time on the phone this afternoon as Lucas and I did! James is so disarming that he allowed Lucas to forget about his situation for a few minutes by just chatting with him and acting like everything is normal.

James has also been amazing regarding the impact of this situation on our family. We are both comitted to helping Lucas in any way we possibly can. James took on the mantle of big brother without a second thought and hasn't looked back. This situation has happened to our family, not just to my little brother. Without batting an eye, he opened our home to Lucas should he need a place to recover. He immediately suggested that I start looking at flights in case I needed to fly to Barcelona to either be there for Lucas' surgery or to help him get home to completely recover.

If he were a lesser man he could hesitate, thinking about the roof repair project we have been putting off, the fact that we will likely have to replace our dishwasher soon (I know, we don't HAVE to have a dishwasher), the leaf blower/vac that he has been eyeing with Father's Day approaching, etc. He could have balked at the thought of his wife possibly taking his six-week-old halfway across the world. Thankfully he didn't. He hit the ground running, shifting into project management mode. He has done so much in the last 24 hours! I am absolutely blessed to have James in my life, and even more in our family.

Anyway, we are just going to take things one day at a time and provide updates as we are able!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Need Your Prayers

We found out this afternoon that my brother Lucas was in an accident in Barcelona, Spain. His injuries are not life-threatening, but he is in the hospital in a fair amount of pain and looking at surgeries on his back and at least one foot.

He was not traveling with anyone so is alone in a foreign country whose language he does not speak. Please pray for his physical recovery and that his spirits don't fall too much. We have no idea when or how he will be able to come home so we can use all the prayer we can get!

Thank you and God bless you and yours.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A toy I look forward to playing with...

...as opposed to the plastic jungle of garishly colored, brain-sucking clutter we typically call toys. I just read a post over on Z Recommends about a cool product called thumballs. Thumballs are four or six inch soft stuffed balls that have things printed on the individual panels (12 panels for 4 inch balls and 32 panels for 6 inch balls).

I am particularly excited about their early learner series (numbers, letters, shapes, and animals) as well as their icebreaker version (perfect for the college students I work with). How cool!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Speaking of rain...

If you could pick any sound to capture inside a little wooden ball mean to be a child's toy, what would it be? Me? I would choose the sound that those rain sticks make. Kind of like "chshshshsh" - maybe? Spelling a sound is harder than it seems!

One of my favorite blogs is Z Recommends. Over at Z Recs today they have a review for Haba Discovery Balls. They are small wooden balls that make different noises (one clacks, one squeaks, etc.). They are meant for children 12 months and up, but I think if they had one that made the sound of a rain stick I would carry it around!

Maybe we should get some of these for Jack - although at five weeks old I think he'll have to gain some skills (neck control, sitting up, grasping, etc.) before he would enjoy them much!

OK, So I'm A Freak About Weather

I really have an overactive sense of self-preservation when it comes to weather. I have had nightmares about tornados since I was a kid (probably stemming from the description my half-brother gave me of living through one - a description I now recognize as totally pulling my leg). I just get a little freaked out.

This is one of the many reasons I appreciate our basement (especially since we had it finished into a family room). The kids and I camped out in the basement yesterday afternoon and all night last night during several hours of tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm watches. I guess camping isn't a great analogy since we have a big TV, a comfy couch, a full bathroom, and a kitchenette (fridge, microwave, etc.). The only part of the analogy that holds true is the fact that we didn't sleep in our own beds.

Luckily Katherine eventually did take a nap while I hawkishly watched the weather coverage from one of our local stations. Then another front was predicted to come through overnight so we took the back cushions off the couch, got a light blanket, and the three of us settled down to sleep on the couch. My wonderfully understanding husband (who doesn't make sense of my mania) suggested I pull out the couch (it folds out to a queen bed) and I should have taken his advice. I may have gotten more sleep had I taken his advice. It just seemed like too much work at the time.

The only damage that actually happened in our area was some fallen tree branches. So, I really had nothing to worry about. But, you never know how things will play out and we have had damage done to the outside of our house as a result of fallen tree branches during previous storms.

I guess I'll just be glad when tornados are out of season, I don't mind snow storms nearly as much!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Great Idea - Cool Product

I saw this product somewhere about a year ago and in lieu of purchasing it, I put a modified form of the idea into daily practice with Katherine. When we get to the car I have her put her hand on the rear tire while I open the door for her so that she can then climb into her carseat by herself. Again, when we are getting out of the car I take her around to Jack's side of the car and have her put her hand on that rear tire while I get him out.

Katherine cooperates most of the time, but I think the Parking Pal, reviewed over at SIMPLE, would be a more visual reminder for both of us. I think my favorite is the FishPal design, but the FlowerPal and the DynoPal are pretty cool as well. What a fun way to keep kids safe!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Just Wanted To Brush My Teeth

...or teesh as Katherine seems to call them. Yesterday was a day of pushing limits for the big sister. We started the day with James leaving ridiculously early and Katherine coming in to sleep with Jack and I for a couple more hours (so we got up around 10am instead of 7am). When we finally did really wake up, Jack was content for a few minutes hanging out in the boppy in the middle of our bed (big king-sized bed, young infant, no risk of rolling off) and Katherine was content to watch Sesame Street in our bed. So, I thought this was a great opportunity to change clothes and brush my teeth to get ready for the day. Of course, leaving a toddler in bed alone with an infant isn't the best idea so I was a mere few feet away in our bathroom and came back in every few seconds to check on them.

The first time I returned to the room Jack had started to fuss a little so Katherine, being the caring big sister that she is, decided to put her fingers in his mouth as she has seen me do out of desperation when he is wailing in the car and I can't do anything else to help him. So, I walk in on this scene and calmly remind her that only mommy and daddy can put things in Jack's mouth...who am I kidding, I freaked out a tiny bit so probably wasn't as calm as I thought I was being. This dialogue occurred while I had a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth...so I returned to the bathroom.

The second time I returned to the room (mere seconds later) I found her scooting toward him on the bed with the baby nail clippers on her hands. My heart jumped into my throat and I, less than calmly, reminded her that only mommy and daddy are allowed to use the nail clippers. I returned to the bathroom again.

The third time I looked into the bedroom it was after running the water for a few seconds so they were out of earshot. I found Katherine leaning over Jack with the medicine dropper from the infant gas drops in his mouth. GASP I was definitely not calm this time. After yelling NO a couple of times I regained my composure enough to remind Katherine that only mommy and daddy can give medicine to either she or Jack.

The take-away lesson from my morning - having semi-dangerous things at arms reach is convenient, especially in the middle of the night, but probably not worth the temptation they create for a well-meaning big sister.

This leads us to boundary issue #4 for the day. I don't recall exactly where I was going, but at some point that day I had both kids in the car and we were headed somewhere (Target, I think). Jack was getting a little fussy and I glanced in the rear-view mirror in an effort to see the terribly myopic view that the mirror on the headrest in front of Jack provides. Initially I thought Katherine had her hand on Jack's head, attempting to comfort him. When I looked back a few seconds later (I check on both of them compulsively while driving) I realized that it wasn't her hand on his head, but her foot! I had not processed the first time around that due to her 5-point harness in her carseat, she was physically incapable of patting his head with her hand (unless her arm grew a few feet). She really didn't understand why it upset me that she was resting her foot on his head - in her mind it was as good as her hand and she was trying to be a good big sister by comforting her fussy brother!

I am sure that I will be begging for (or demanding) her help at some point in the future, but right now her "help" isn't always the most helpful. I need to learn how to balance providing learning opportunities in which she can help with my need to do it myself because it is quicker or safer. Oh well, we'll make it through...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

My sister-in-law sent me the link to this YouTube video. I still have goosebumps. I am trying to embed the video on the sidebar, but in case it doesn't work here is the link. This is not from my church but the stage area makes it look a lot like the church we attend. It definitely makes you think...


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Weekend

We have had an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Cincinnati. The temperature has been warm, but not too warm and the skies have been clear, providing lots of sunshine. The kids on our street have been outside almost non-stop (as have most of the parents). We've bbq-ed at two different friends' houses and enjoyed some great hang-time. We are so thankful for the friends that God has brought into our lives here in Cincinnati. They open their homes to us and invite us to hang out with them and their extended families on weekends like this when family time is the norm.

Speaking of family, Memorial Weekend will always remind me of my family. Since my mother's birthday is May 24th, it falls on or near the holiday weekend every year. So, I hope you had a wonderful birthday mom! I love you so much and can't wait to see you in August. My grandfather's birthday is just a few days later, so Papa, I hope you have a great birthday too! I'll call you on Tuesday. I love you both so much! Happy Birthdays!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Simply Flirty

OK, SIMPLE has done it again. Today they have a review up for Flirty Aprons. So CUTE! I have to say wearing one of these must make doing the dishes a little bit more fun. Although, now that I think of it an apron would probably be most useful when I'm baking. I'm more apt to enjoy baking rather than doing dishes anyway. Oh well, it is worth a try - anything to make dishes more exciting! I am particularly fond of the Blue Chocolate design - very fun color combination. So, if you are even remotely domestically inclined head over to Simple to see the review and then head to Flirty Aprons to see their selection!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blog Posts After Midnight?

Now I remember why my mom said she would name her book "Letters After Midnight." At about the two week mark in Jack's short life he decided that sleep in the middle of the night was overrated. In all fairness to him, I think he is exhibiting most of the signs of colic or as Dr. Sears puts it, he sounds like a "hurting baby." Poor guy is pretty gassy. I can't tell if it is something in my diet. Even with burping him after feedings (and sometimes during) he has bouts of what appears to be pain. He draws his legs up like a frog, then straightens his entire body out rigid as a board, then jerks his legs up again.

I think I may need to try cutting many of the usual suspects out of my diet to see if it helps his distress. Unfortunately that may mean not eating much of the great food that people have been generous enough to bring for us in the two weeks we've been home with Jack. Oh well, James and Katherine will still benefit from these offerings!

On another note, I seem to have failed miserably at keeping up with project 365. I can't imagine why (ha ha), I've only just brought home baby #2 and James has gone back to work full-time (including traveling). I just can't seem to keep up with taking a picture EVERY day. I still pledge to have the camera out more and take more pictures of the kiddos than I had been taking before. I just don't think I'll be able to take a picture every day. Oh well, it is a great idea!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cool Site

I just found a really cool mom blog (thanks Farrah!). It is called SIMPLE and it is full of reviews and giveaways. One of their latest review/givaways is for a really cool Growth Graph. It is like a poster-sized baby book and scrapbook all in one.

I am super excited about the blog though. It looks like there are regular reviews and giveaways, not to mention great links and a ton of coupon codes for other mom-oriented sites/stores. Yet another great blog to add to my RSS/Atom feed!

Beautiful Spring Day

Today has been one of the most beautiful days we have seen this spring. Cincinnati weather is pretty fickle this time of year (well...most of the year) so we have had wide variations in the temperature and precipitation. But, today has been beautiful. Temp in the 70's, sunny, and just a tad breezy.

I took my camera out to get some shots of Katherine and the flowers and leaves on the plants/trees in our yard. I can't tell you how much I love the way that the sunlight filters through the big tree in our front yard. Seeing the occasional ray of sunshine that has fallen on a colorful flower and catching it on film is a happy occurrence.

My one complaint about this time of year (although I'm sure I could think of more, but it is too pretty today) is the impending onslaught of caterpillars. The first few have shown themselves over the last week. Give it a couple of days/weeks and we will have hundreds of them in various stages of development (including the dead ones) clinging to every surface (eating my small tree by the front porch, plastered to the sides of the house, etc). The only invasion worse is that of the 17 year cicadas which I got my first exposure to four years ago - yuck.

Katherine is hysterical when she comes across one of the caterpillars (or any bug for that matter). She squeals with absolute delight, calling anyone within earshot over to look at whatever creature she has found. She will even let some things crawl on her hands - although if they get too close to her arms/sleeves she gets a little panicked. Maybe she has some of her mama's curiosity in her (which led me to major in biology in college). I hope she doesn't develop an irrational fear of things like bugs, lizards, frogs, etc. I would hate for those squeals of delight to turn into shrieks of revulsion (although she doesn't have to love EVERY bug, I certainly don't). Oh well, we'll see.

So far other than a passing interest in princesses, crowns, and dress-up she isn't an extreme girly-girl. I rather like the rough-and-tumble version of my daughter. I am sure my mother finds this dynamic rather comical since she had to force me to wear skirts or dresses when I was in junior high and high school. I swore I would wear pants in my wedding (luckily I relented on that by the time I actually had a wedding) and I have never been much for jewelry, makeup or high-maintenance hair.

I am still not a fan of skirts or dresses other than for special occasions (and if there is a suitable pants outfit for those I would still prefer that) and it takes something pretty formal for me to do more than blow-dry my hair or put on more than chapstick or lip gloss. It will be interesting to see how Katherine's tastes develop. I will try to be reasonably supportive in whatever direction she goes!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Two weeks of pictures for my 365

Sleepy boy! 5/10/08
As a friend once said: Real men wear pink! 5/9/08
Snug as a bug... 5/8/08
Who's wide awake in the middle of the night? 5/7/08

Awesome day at the park 5/6/08
Future babysitters 5/5/08
Playing on our very own playground 5/4/08
Multitasking 5/3/08
In my nursing throne 5/2/08
Proud Big Sister 5/1/08

Prou Mama and Daddy 4/30/08

Welcome to the world sweet boy! 4/29/08

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lots To Catch Up On

Wow, this has been a crazy week! When last we "spoke" it was my anniversary, I was looking forward to an actual date with my husband, and I really wished I could welcome our baby sooner rather than later. Well, we had a wonderful date. We went to my favorite pizza place in the world, ordered the best meatball pizza around, and followed it up with some of Cincinnati's best ice cream. For those who know about Cincinnati ice cream - we prefer Aglamesis to Graeter's. We were still home early enough to watch a movie with Katherine before heading to bed. It was a great anniversary!
Monday was relatively uneventful other than an increase in the number and intensity of the Braxton-Hicks contractions (which just put me in a bad mood). Katherine and I ran some errands, stopped at the Servati bakery for a cookie, and made our way home. We both napped for a while and I woke up ravenous for a good gyro. I told James that the baby needed a gyro so we packed up and went to a great local place that has apparently been there for over 40 years. It was AWESOME and the family that runs it the nicest people! Our waitress and I talked kids, pregnancies, etc. and she told me that a friend of hers came in for a gyro and was in labor 4 hours later - a thought which made me happy.
Well, by the time we attempted to go to bed I was having contractions 7-10 minutes apart. By 2:30am they were between 3 and 6 minutes apart and getting fairly uncomfortable. I called the doctor a little before 4am and she told us to go ahead to the hospital triage to see if I was actually in labor or not. We got there by 5:30 or so (after waking up our wonderful neighbors and getting someone to come down and be at the house while Katherine was still asleep). They monitored me for a while, told us to walk around that floor of the hospital for an hour, monitored me again, and were prepared to send me home.
God was with us because when we came back from our walk there had been a shift change for both the nurses at the hospital and the doctor on-call from my ob/gyn practice. Before sending us home the new nurse noted to the doctor that there were some slight decelerations in the baby's heart rate recorded. The doctor decided to play it safe and said that although that could be a result of absolutely nothing, he would admit me and break my water in an effort to get my contractions into a better pattern and get things moving with the birth. The doctor broke my water around 9:30am and at 3:59pm we welcomed Jack into the world!
We had a wonderful experience: great doctors, amazing nurses, just excellent care in general. James' parents came down to be with Katherine while we were in the hospital, arriving about 30 minutes after Jack was born. They took great care of Katherine, helping to make her transition a little easier. We came home Thursday around lunch to big hugs from Katherine. She is really excited to be a big sister!
We have enjoyed settling in as a brand new family of four. Friends and family have been absolutely wonderful wishing us well, visiting, bringing gifts, and bringing us food. We are so amazingly blessed! We are thankful for all of the gestures of love and friendship we have received. God bless you guys!
On another note, I created a family blog to post updates and pictures. So, if you are interested head over to http://thekanarynest.blogspot.com. Also, my version of project 365 officially began the day Jack was born (ha ha, taking the easy way out - who doesn't take pictures of a new baby?) so I will be posting a bunch from the last few days!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Anniversary Thoughts

Today is my 6th wedding anniversary. Some days I can't believe it has gone so quickly. Other days I feel like we've been married forever (mostly this is a good thing). I don't know if it is due to my impending anniversary or just because I am expecting kiddo #2 any day now and becoming introspective, but I have been thinking a lot the last week or so about what qualities I find attractive in a man. I am blessed to have found an amazing mate (husband, father, partner, believer) in James.

One of the many things I find incredibly attractive in my husband is his belief in babywearing. For those of you not well-acquainted with the term, check out http://www.thebabywearer.com/. Anyway, seeing a man hanging out solo with his children is extremely heart-warming to me. But, to see a grown man with no qualms about wearing his child really touches me. Whatever the type of carrier, that image really gets me going. Not only is my beloved comfortable with the concept of babywearing, he actively participates. One of my favorite memories of K's first few weeks in this world is James in the front yard raking leaves with K strapped to his chest.

In my opinion, a man's willingness to wear his child speaks volumes about the type of father he is willing to be. A friend of ours recently said that he wasn't sure how manly he felt wearing a sling, but he didn't care. I tried to assure him that it was attractive (to at least some women) to wear your children, but he still wasn't convinced it was quite "manly." Oh well, it may not be the hallmark of masculinity, but it is one of the things I find most attractive in a man.
Another attraction to my husband (also associated with his dedication to his child(ren)) relates to the task he is spending our anniversary accomplishing. He has enlisted the help of a friend of ours to dedicate a portion of our front lawn to K (and all of the neighbor kids). Months ago we had a friend help us hang a swing from the large tree in our front yard. The swing was not only a huge hit with K, but also many of the neighbor kids so a path has been worn under the swing where we are no longer able to grow grass. Instead of making futile attempts to re-seed, sod, or some other expensive effort my wonderful husband has decided that it would make more sense to lay a bed of playground mulch under the swing and around the tree to accomodate a small slide. Now, this may not seem like a huge sacrifice to some. However, pre-parenthood, my husband was known for actually mowing patterns into our lawn.
How sexy is it to see a man who has embraced fatherhood so completely that he risks not looking manly to wear his children and gives his front lawn over to a mini-playground!? Extremely...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Project 365

I found a great idea on another blog the other day. Take and post at least one picture every day for an entire year. To some that may not seem like a big deal, but with a very active 2 1/2 year old and a sibling for her expected any day, this feat will sometimes seem monumental. However, I have recently (really since getting pregnant again) gotten lax in the picture-taking department.

It was never more obvious than when visiting my husband's parents and looking at their "picture wall." They have devoted the entire side of their pantry cabinet to pictures of family and close friends. Miss K spent hours over the course of the week we were there looking at the photos, naming the people she recognized, and asking "is that me?"

I cringed inwardly as I searched for the limited pictures which contained her precious face...and it is entirely my fault! I just haven't taken many pictures lately and those that I have taken I haven't shared with my in-laws in a user-friendly manner. Thus, my brilliant idea - take the project 365 challenge and hope that it means I take and post more pictures of the kiddo(s).

So, my attempt will be to at least take a picture each day and hopefully post almost every day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For Tricia

OK, so I am very far behind on this because I am just catching up on Nathan and Tricia's story.

There has been a challenge on Nathan's blog for all blogging mothers. To Post all of the things you can't wait for Tricia to experience with Gwyneth. To get caught up and understand who Tricia, Nathan and Gwyneth are please visit Nathan's website! http://www.cfhusband.blogspot.com/

Nathan and Tricia, I have a 2 1/2 year old beautiful little girl and am awaiting the arrival of our second child any day now. CF runs in my family, but I am not a carrier. So, you guys are especially close to my heart!

The things I can't wait for Tricia to experience:
Gwyneth's first true belly laugh,
Hearing the hysterically random things that come out of Gwyneth's mouth as she develops an understanding of the english language,
Watching Gwyneth develop her first "best friend,"
Seeing Gwyneth's excitement as she does something for the first time "all by myself,"
Taking Gwyneth trick-or-treating for the first time,
Watching Gwyneth develop individual relationships with her grandparents,
...and so much more!

This list is so short in comparison to the amazing things (large and small) that will be heartwarming, frustrating, humbling, and unexplainably wonderful about raising a child.

Your story is an inspiration and your faith is humbling. My prayers are with you.
- Katrina

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Get Out And Vote

...even if you have to take your uncooperative 2yo with you. I would like to think that by including K in the process of voting is planting a seed on some level. Far too few people take advantage of our constitutional right to vote. With a father who majored in political science and a mother who is an attorney I hope that K will grow up with an appreciation for not only our right to vote, but also the importance of educating yourself and actually getting to the polls to vote.

Luckily our newest polling place is our church, so it is a place that she and I are both familiar with. As we drove to the church she asked, "Mommy, where are we going at." I explained that we are going to church so that I could vote - a concept completely lost on her, I realize. I do hope that adding the word vote to her vocabulary is at least a start. The conversation continued like this:
K: Going to vote?
Me: Yes, I have to vote.
K: I don't want you to go, I love you so much. (seriously, she says this at the cutest, most random times lately)
Me: I'm not leaving, you are coming with me.
K: I can come with you?
Me: Of course!

We parked, walked into the church, found the appropriate room, and were directed to the table where my precinct was checking in. Luckily our time in line (however brief) was made easier by running into a neighbor from across the street who was also there to vote. I showed my ID, signed the log book, and was directed to the end of the table to pick up my ballot. The very nice man at the end of the table first gave K a sticker, then passed one to me as well. She expertly took the backing off of the "I Voted" sticker and placed it on the front of her shirt (she was pretty excited about the sticker).

Of course at that point she began to wander. I did the best I could to keep her close by while listening to the man explain how to fill out my ballot (instructions I did not need, but listened to politely) and where to put it when I was finished. I was able to coax her over to one of the voting booths, but she was quickly frustrated that she couldn't see what was on the table or what I was doing. Frustration which she quickly voiced quite loudly while trying to climb up my leg (not an easy task since I am 8 months pregnant). By the time she was ready to bolt across the room, our neighbor was finished with his ballot so he scooped her up (despite her loud protests) while I completed the ballot.

...sidenote on the ballot...it is a primary election so of the 18 categories in which someone actually declared themselves for one party or the other, only one category included more than one name. So, this amounted to a frustrating session of color-in-the-box where only three of my choices (presidential candidate and two tax levy issues) actually matter since everyone else was unopposed within the party so I only had one choice of box to fill. Fun stuff. OK, end of rant...

Finally, K cried enough that our neighbor set her down beside me and she promised not to run away (thank goodness he has kids and understands). Then, we walked over to the machine where I inserted my ballot for it to be read electronically.

Whew, thus ended K's first experience at the polls! Our church has an indoor kids play area so we spent the next 45 minutes with K running around Kid City, introducing herself to complete strangers, and quickly calling them her friends. I love that she is so comfortable with herself that she has no qualms approaching and introducing herself to a kid she has never seen before or joining a group of kids running around, saying "hey guys, wait a me." SO cute. Luckily that overly-friendly nature doesn't extend to adult strangers (or sometimes even to adults she knows).

That friendly nature was curtailed a bit today when one of the little girls she was following around took to growling at K. She panicked and ran full-speed to where I was sitting, climbing into my lap, saying "I'm scared." I tried to convince her that the little girl was just being silly, but the girl continued to growl at her (I think she liked to see K's reaction) so she ran back to me every time it happened. I didn't think much of it until we were back in the car and K started talking to me in a grumpy, growly voice (almost sounding mad). My first thought was, great, a new trick. Hopefully this won't be a new addition to her habits. I guess I'll have to get used to her picking up habits from other kids.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My new favorite blog to frequent...

In the last year (since taking the bar exam and an increase in K's ability to play independently both allowed more time to be somewhat free) I have become addicted to several parenting blogs.
My new favorite is one called How to be a Badass Dad. Although I am probably not his target audience I thoroughly enjoy his posts. He is so insightful and writes beautifully (as an English Professor should). I have forwarded several posts to my husband to either show him that there are other sensitive dads out there doing their best to put their family first - or - to show him that there are men out there willing to live their lives the way that is best for their families, regardless of what others think or say. My husband is a great catch so this is more to bolster his confidence than anything else.

One of my favorite posts from Badass Dad is The Breastfeeding Father. I can't tell you how heartwarming it is to hear the thoughts of a father who so utterly and completely supports his wife and her breastfeeding relationship with their children. Breastfeeding can often be a touchy issue for some fathers, especially if their own families weren't completely pro-breastfeeding. In my current very pregnant state, this particular post made me quite misty-eyed. I know that my husband will be less intimidated by breastfeeding with our second child, now that we have become more comfortable and confident in our personal parenting styles and what is right for our family.

Closely related to my views on the importance of breastfeeding, are my views on baby-wearing. Badass Dad also has a recent post on babywearing. Again, to see a father so comfortable with his manhood to willingly wear his babies makes me a bit teary. It reminds me of my own husband with our first child strapped to him, raking the front lawn when she was a few weeks old. Our neighbors (mostly parents 5-10 years older than us) cracked up. Or there was the holiday party we attended when K was 2 months old where my husband spent the majority of the evening with her once again strapped to his chest, only taking breaks when it was time for me to retreat to a bedroom upstairs to nurse or change her diaper. Our friends quickly became accustomed to one of us wearing K most of the time and rarely using babysitters early on.

K obviously remembers riding in the sling, front carrier, or backpack. When I was newly pregnant this time around I purchased one of those belly band things to extend the life of my pre-pregnancy pants. As I sit here writing I glanced over to my Google gagdet bar docked on the side of my screen and there is a picture of K with my belly band over one shoulder and across her body, "wearing" Cookie Monster in a perfectly toddler-sized "sling." Hoping to make her transition into sisterhood a little easier I bought a toddler sling for her to carry her "baby" in. I hope to give it to her when her new sibling arrives.

Thanks to Badass Dad for sending me down memory lane and getting me misty-eyed in reflection. I'm excited to venture onto the next phase of parenting with the arrival of #2 and truly appreciate the parents out there who pour their hearts into their blogs for others to read and benefit from!