Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to Julia!

Julia turned two today!  My darling baby, my daughter who was an infant in my arms yesterday is TWO today!

She has experienced a lot of change in the last year.  I thought she was "grown up" a year ago and yet when I look at pictures from last year, she seems so much older now... since her last birthday, she has learned to talk and walk, she has experienced her mama being pregnant and has become a big sister, she seems to have actual "friends" now instead of little kids that she bumps around with... she really seems to have developed a personality and wants to share who she is with us.

Preparation for today was key.  We had plans to have friends over for dinner, and that required prepping pizza dough and making a cake.  I've been trying to be better lately at planning ahead instead of trying to do everything last minute, and for the most part, it works well.  I baked the cake and made dough on Sunday, and thought last night would be a breeze... ack.  Adam did a great job decorating and corralling the kids and browning sausage for me... but the cake decorating didn't go so well.  Completely defeated, instead of screaming and crying, I felt satisfied when I heard the cake thud to the bottom of the outside garbage can, and I came back in and relaxed the rest of the night.

Today was a lot of fun!  We took Adam to the airport this morning, and after doing so, I took Julia to Hyvee to pick out a birthday cake for her.  I was going to buy a generic one, but the bakery gal said she could surely make a custom one if I was willing to come back tonight to pick it up... score!  :)  Julia went crazy over the Baby Einstein cake, so that's what we went with.  After we picked out a few Birthday Breakfast Donuts, we went home.

This morning Julia wanted to sit in her old high chair to play with toys, so she did that while I put up the tree. We ran a few errands today and that's when the fun started... first, I thought she needed a bath... well, 10 minutes into her bath, she pooped in the tub.  Well, the last two baths she has had, she's pooped in the tub (once I caught her quick enough and was able to get her onto the toilet; whew).  Each of these times, she has flipped out and tries to claw her way out of the tub as if she is scared of the poop.  Today she almost succeeded and was perched on the rim of the tub having a holy fit.  Well , after we got the tub cleaned out, I just brought her in the shower with me.  I thought for sure after that she would be tired because she had been up so early and hadn't napped yet, but nope... she wanted nothing to do with napping.  After being in her crib for a 1/2 hour, I went to check on her, and she had her diaper off and was waving it around in the crib... she was butt naked.  First. Time. Ever.  I gave up on the nap and was prepared for a bad night.  The thought running through my head the rest of the afternoon was, "Ack, she is two.  Is this what two is like???"

But... it was a WONDERFUL night!  After picking up the cake at 5 pm, I got the pizzas in the oven while Adam played with the girls.  We had pepperoni, pepperoni & sausage, barbeque chicken, and buffalo chicken.  Our friends (the Jablonskis and Steenhoeks) arrived shortly after 6 pm and after cutting up and dishing out pizza and a short prayer, we were well on our way to a fun evening.  Julia absolutely loved running around with her friend Lucas (Lukie) Jablonski... they had a ball together!  Yay!  After pizza, we had Julia open a few presents and then we had cake.  How fun that Julia even blew out her own candles... and this year she had no fear of the cake... she knew how good it would taste and dove right in!  :)  (Thanks to our friends for being here and helping make the night special for us and for Julia!) 

How fun that our little girl has turned two!  Happy birthday to you, darling!

erin

What a great evening of fellowship!  It was a wonderful birthday day for Julia

Friday, November 20, 2009

Urgent Helicopters

For those who don't see my Facebook post... a friend posted a link to this article and I feel compelled to share.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1940395-1,00.html

I thought it was a great article on trends in parenting and it seemed to back-up a lot of the discussions Adam and I had BEFORE we had kids and discussions we''ve been having SINCE... and it reiterated that we need to slow down, let kids do things in their own time, not be pushy about extracurriculars and structured play... etc.

(So, honey, NOW I will say THANK YOU for packing up a bunch of Julia's toys and putting them away and now I'm ready to do more of it...!)

This article ties in well with another lesson I had in parenting this morning... well, one I have MOST mornings but today I was laughing all over myself about it.  If you are a believer in God my guess is that you have prayed for patience, and if there is one thing you know about patience (if you don't already) is that God doesn't GIVE patience, he PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES for you to practice it.  So, every time I find myself praying for patience, I know that a lesson is coming around the corner.

Why was I laughing all over myself today?  As I was trying to shuffle Julia out the door so she could go to daycare and I was trying to urge her on quickly (because, you know, that few minutes is such a big deal in the scheme of things... ha!), it dawned on me that DUH, Julia doesn't hurry because she simply doesn't KNOW to hurry... children have no urgency at all.  No matter what I say to or try with her, she will not go any faster.  In fact, I was laughing extra hard because the exact second I would say, "Come on, let's go a little faster!", she would look up at me with those big blues, give a little devilish grin, and SHUFFLE.  She actually started to shuffle her feet.  Yah, that broke me and I was laughing like hyena. 

*I* need to learn to slow down and not be so pushy with her... because urgency is not a built in trait... it is something we learn.  And, while having a bit of urgency is not a bad thing (being on-time is generally a good thing, etc.), being overly urgent and being frustrated with your child's lack of urgency is not.  I really don't want my daughter to turn three and be pushing ME out the door... and therefore I really need to take a step back, breathe, slow down, and let her explore.

I stopped a dad at daycare to share my thoughts with him; ironically now I realize that he was actually in quite a hurry, and we had a good laugh.  It dawned on me that I've experienced a slower pace before, and not because I wanted to... back in 2002 I flew on a flight test for work and we stayed overnight in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  We were getting ready to leave the next day and decided to grab some lunch, and we decided we needed some quick lunch so that we wouldn't be late... we stopped in at a restaurant that advertised "carry-out" and "fast service"... I ordered a mocha and a sandwich... the other guys ordered as well... and 30 minutes later -- YES, 30 -- we had our food.  My mocha?  It had come from a packet.  The sandwich?  Something as easy as PB&J.  The amount of time?  Believe it or not, a sense of urgency is not common to EVERY culture on the planet and we had a good lesson in it that day... I doubt very much the lesson sunk in, as I know we were frustrated and amused by the "lack of service"... but simply, we were subject to a culture that did things in their own time.

All right... this blog post is going where I knew it was going to go... I knew I didn't have a real definite thought about how to end it... so I'm teetering on a tangent...

... at any rate, read and enjoy the article, give good thought to how to relax the need to be urgent in your life, just a tad... how well does that fit knowing that we are headed into the Holiday Season?  Stop to smell the roses a bit more (or, in the case of the season, the great smells of fall and winter), take time to enjoy your coffee instead of just using it as fuel to keep you awake, and... take time to enjoy your kids and take a lesson from them as you watch them discover, play, and learn.  I know I will!  :)

erin

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finishing Touches

Back in August I started this super secret quilting project and after working on it for the better part of a day and experiencing some real highs from it, I was dealt a blow and sulkily packed it away, hoping I would feel inspired to work on it again someday.  Fast forward two months and it was October and our quilt retreat was looming and I decided that not only was I going to dig it back out and work on it again, I was going to FINISH it.

Well, I finished it minus about 20 minutes worth of work that I did tonight... I'm so excited to say that it is done!  I completed it over 3 days and 20 minutes tonight.  And it's still super secret so this is only a special sneak preview and the rest will be revealed in a few weeks.  But, I had to blog tonight because dang, it sure feels good to have another project finished.  I just wanted to shout, YAY! 

erin

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chunkalunk

Raven had her 2 mo appointment today... still hard to believe she is already 2 months old!

She is our little chub... though, she really doesn't look chubby, but she answers the question when people ask, "Is she big?"  The answer is yes!

Today Raven weighed 12 lbs 10 oz and is 24 inches long already!  She is 90% for her weight and 97% for her height.  She has a small head (40%) at 15 inches.

(Looking back at Julia's 2 mo... Julia was 11 lbs 3 oz and 23.5 inches long.  Love those breastfed babies!  They scoot right up the chart in a quick hurry and then start settling out around 6 mo.)

erin

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scarf

Okay... confession.  This is the first scarf I've ever finished.  I've started quite a few, but none were ever so quick and easy as this one.

Some time ago there was a yarn shop in Marion, IA, and it was going out of business.  Friend Chrissy and I did our part to buy up some of the stock that was greatly discounted.  This is a scarf from one of two balls of a delicious orange-y red (or reddish orange) yarn that from Granada.  I would need a translator to tell you what it's made of though I have a good idea.  It is amazingly soft and feels great against the skin. 

Christmas present?  Probably so.  :)

Off to work on another two Christmas gifts (quilted) and then off to bed... it's been a fun night!  :)

erin

Big Sister

I love her eyes in this picture... we were messing around this morning while Raven did tummy time and daddy was still asleep. 

Two Months

It is hard to believe, but yesterday Raven was two months old. 

We have her two month well baby check-up on Tuesday.  At that point we'll find out how big she is and where she falls in the percentages.  I'm excited about it and looking forward to seeing how she compares to Julia at that age.  (I admit it is hard not to compare them, and hopefully I will be wise not to compare them when it really matters down the road...)

I posted that she has started smiling.  She is quite a smiley little thing and enjoys attention.  She is not a fan of tummy time, but only because that typically results in Julia attempting to sit on her.  ("If I can Hop on Pop, then why not Hop on Raven?")  She is still eating and sleeping really well... I wouldn't say that her schedule has changed dramatically since she was born with the exception that she is awake a lot more during the day.

Raven enjoys sleeping in her swing and sleeping in her bassinet, but sometimes at four in the morning, she is happiest cuddled in mommy's arms.  Those are the sweet hours of my day; snoozing in bed holding my infant while the rest of the house is quiet (minus the usual groans of a very old house).

She taken to crying a bit when she's really tired and you haven't figured that out yet.  Normally this happens when she's only been awake for an hour or two and you figure since she was awake in her last stretch for three (or four or five) hours, she couldn't possibly be tired already again, but sure enough, and swaddling calms her down and she goes right back to sleep.

Big sister Julia still loves her little sister and wants to play with her and such and is working at being patient, though she doesn't know what patience is yet.  That requires mommy and daddy to work at being patient as well, because we don't want to find ourselves disciplining Julia for simply loving and caring a little too much.

I'll be back Tuesday to report Raven's stats.  For now, I hope you enjoy the pictures!

erin

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jumping Monkeys

video

I Heart Pandora

Thanks to my friend Racheal for opening my eyes to the wonderful world of Pandora Internet Radio.  I luuuuuuuuuuuurve it! 

Pandora Internet Radio

Sunday Morning

Last Sunday with the time change, we found ourselves up and about very early in the morning and decided that we would give early church a go and so we did.  Yesterday, though, I knew we would attend our "regular" service as Adam had a gig Saturday night.  However, we were all still up fairly early and "ready to go" and so we spent our time-before-church hanging out in the living room. 

Adam read Julia and Raven a book or two while I was taking care of some things.  And, Julia must be reading "Hop On Pop!" when we put her to bed at night, because she thinks sitting on top of Adam is a riot.  (Note: We do not actually own "Hop On Pop!") 

It was a peaceful and lovely little family morning yesterday and I sighed and thought, "Hmm, I do so love my family." 

erin

Success!

It's amazing how much more quickly one can knit when using the correct size needles with the correct weight of yarn.  Here is Raven in her new and much more comfortable hat... this one only took about three or four hours to make.  Go, me!  :)

P is for Potty

I wonder some days if Julia is going to read the blog posts I write about her and be Utterly Mortified.  The potential is there, I guess...

At any rate, while we are not formally potty training in our house, and really that to Julia, the three toilets in our home are closer to that of a "toy" than a means for... uh, elimination... we can report that Julia actually enjoys sitting on the "potty" (the BIG potty; she has no use for miniature thrones) and is not scared of it one bit.  She has been sitting and playing on the toilet for a few months now, but I don't think anything has remotely accidentally happened while she has sat there.

So, it was with pleasure this last weekend that I realized that she was starting to tell me when she either had to go or had already gone.  Then she proceeds to repeat the word "potty" about 50 million times until someone takes her there.  This usually happens while I'm nursing Raven.  Somewhat of dilemma there.

However, Adam was able to catch Julia during one of these instances and SHE PEED ON THE TOILET!  Yay!  We high-fived her and congratulated her and praised her left and right and we EVEN GAVE HER A COOKIE.  Oh, yes.  We were all about positive reinforcement when that happened.  We talked for a few minutes about whether this could be the start of her training and all sorts of potty-related business.

Then, about 10 minutes later, a horrid smell began to emanate throughout the living room.
 
Yes, she pooped in her fresh diaper.  And didn't tell us. 

Ha!  Oh, well!  :)  Regardless, it feels like a good start.

erin

ps.  Upon writing the word "congratulated", I wondered if anyone else is as annoyed as I am when people write "congraDulated" or "congraDulations"?  This has been a big Pet Peeve of mine lately.  But I digress.

Friday, November 6, 2009

If This Doesn't Tickle Your Funny Bone...

... then you're a stick-in-the-mud!

Okay. Maybe not. But, *I* cannot help but laugh through this entire (short) video. I really hope Julia was not watching me when she learned how to dance.

video

Another First... Kind Of

Last Saturday Adam was scheduled to play a song during a wedding with friend and fellow bandmate, Tanya.  While I didn't know the people getting married, I was invited along and we decided it would be a good First: Going to a Wedding with Two Kids.  Add to that, Adam was going to get up and Leave Us for a few minutes during the middle of the service.

So, Saturday early afternoon after dolling up everyone in wedding finery, we loaded up the vehicle and drove to Indianola (about 45 minutes away).  Adam wanted to be there early to set up and sound check, so we arrived on the Simpson College campus at about 2:30 pm; the wedding was scheduled to start at 4 pm.  It took us quite a while to find the actual chapel and it felt like we parked miles away... since one of us was carrying a bucket car seat and the other was trying to corral and almost-2-year-old.

However, we finally made it there.

Setting up for the song went relatively quickly and then it was time to wait.  Well, in waiting, Julia slowly starting becoming more and more... crabby?  energized?  not going to sit through a wedding for an hour?  So, about 20 minutes before the wedding started, as I stood there and watched Julia have a mini-meltdown in the middle of a church, I decided that the girls and I should go back to the car so as not to make A Scene during the wedding.  So, I picked up Raven's car seat, grabbed Julia's hand, and off we went.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk back to the car... we would walk about 20 feet and then Julia would just stop... and not move.  No matter what.  And she thought that it was hilarious that I REALLY wanted her to move.  So, at one point, I picked her up and carried her AND the car seat... fun, fun!

We had a good time waiting for Adam, though.  We went and got gas, got a snack, and Julia watched a movie while I nursed Raven.  We also found a closer parking spot so Adam was able to find us pretty quickly after the wedding.

Then we drove to Ankeny and went to the reception at the Vittoria Italian Lodge.  It was a good time!  Even up to this point Raven had been doing really well and still was.  Julia thought it was super fun to eat off of both of our plates (she would turn to one of us and request a bite of this and then turn to the other and request a bite of that and Oh. My. Goodness. she loves cake just as much as her mommy). 

At one point during the reception, Julia was playing with silverware and thought it was an excellent idea to bang on the glasses with it... you might be able to guess where this led!  Yes, our child caused the rest of the room to start banging their glasses with silverware too which led the couple to a kiss.  How fun!  We had a good chuckle about how Julia was able to start that... and for doing something she normally would have been "in trouble" for.   

Then the dance started... and oh, my, was Julia in heaven.  (Pictures included here... video to follow soon.)  It was wonderful fun to see her at a wedding... the last one we went to was over a year ago and she wasn't walking yet, so she wasn't really dancing yet either.  Our kid likes to shake her groove thang.  Ha!

All in all it was a good time and it worked great for tiring Julia out so that the time change didn't phase her.  We all made it to 7 am Sunday morning before anyone woke up.  :)

erin

Re-Work

I've been excited about knitting again and was working on two projects... a hat for Raven and a lucious scarf... fun!  Well, I finished the hat and basically it didn't turn out as envisioned... and then today I knocked my knitting on the ground when I went to answer the phone and my needle flew out of the scarf and Oh. My. Gosh. the yarn is so fuzzy I had no idea how to get the needle back onto the scarf... so yah... two projects being re-worked.  (I had 2 ft of the scarf done already too... darn.)

Oh, well, though.  Decided to use a different yarn for Raven's hat and Adam had a neat idea for the first hat so that will be a fun little project... and, well, I was wanting the scarf to be skinnier anyhow, so now it can be and I won't always look at it wishing it was skinnier.  :)

This is a picture of Raven in the hat... a bit too chunky of yarn for the size needles I was using.  I thought it would be cute but really it is just too difficult for a hat.  Oh, well!  (Adam thought Raven looked like she was out of "Where The Wild Things Are".  Ha!)

erin

Smile

Raven has been smiling for about a week now, however, it has been hard to capture her on film.  Something was making her smiley while dressing her today and thankfully I had my phone on me and I was able to capture the moment.  Yay for smiling!  (Raven will be 8 weeks old on Sunday.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Clap Your Hands!

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Cooking with Beer: Morimoto's Soba Beer Chicken

A few months or so ago, Adam found a recipe in a magazine of his for Morimoto's Soba Beer Chicken.  We decided to make this for dinner one night... he was in charge of finding the beer and I took care of the rest.

First we had meant to make this the night before we were to go to the hospital to have Raven... but she came about 23 hours early.  Then we were supposed to make this a few weeks after she was born... but then my gall bladder acted up.  Finally I made it for dinner a week ago yesterday, and it was pretty good!

I would change a few things, though... for one, you don't need to use a whole chicken.  I totally would use chicken strips/fingers/breast pieces instead of cutting up a whole chicken.  A whole chicken is messy and has bones and skin and all sorts of nastiness, and for the cost, it's worth buying the pre-cut/bone-removed/skin-removed chicken.

Also, I couldn't find fingerling potatoes or white soy sauce for the life of me... but I found a small and tasty variety of potato at our local grocery store and I simply used regular soy sauce.

This dish definitely has the flavor of the Orient in it, and it is on the sweet side at that.  However, the white sauce (which is tangy) really cuts the sweet of the sauce on the chicken and this dish is definitely delish.  I would definitely be up for making this dish another time, and I think it would be easier and much less mess as well.

(Sadly enough, I made this dish this same night that our kitchen sink backed up, and here I sat with what seemed like half of all of our pots and pans and dishes full of sweet goo and no dishwasher... or sink! Ha!)

erin

Pictures of the Big Kid

Julia has to fight for attention these days now that Raven has entered the world.  However, often Raven naps in the morning and Julia finds that I'm quite able to play with her and her alone.  We were hanging out in the living room playing, and I snapped a few pictures of her and just her that day.  What a sweetheart she is!

Menagerie

I love to watch Julia play.  The play of a toddler is simple... and inspiring (to me).  The see the world through her play... watching her use her imagination... it's a delight, really.  This last week I especially enjoyed watching her play with a number of Beanie Babies and other small animals that I had in a basket.  She found so much joy in setting the animals on top of each other (mostly the two sheep and the puffin would sit on top of the three frogs).  She would get them all position, giggle with glee, and then carefully remove each animal, move the frogs to a new spot, and begin the process all over again.  Too fun! 

erin