29 June 2006

It Was the Best of Days, It Was the Worst of Days

I turned 30 yesterday. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about that. Right now, I feel tired--but that's proabably because Judah was up twice last night--once at two, and once at four. I suspect he's going through a growth spurt, since, up until a few nights ago, he was sleeping through the night without a problem! Hopefully, he will grow quickly, and go back to his former sleep patterns.

Anyway. Back to 30. The day started out like any other day. Judah got up, then I did, then Charis. Breakfast and Judah's morning nap proceeded normally. Then Beth called, to see if she and Gideon could take me out to lunch to celebrate my birthday. It sounded like a good idea, so at about 12:15, I packed up the kids and headed out of the door for one of the lunchtime cafes we like. The sky that morning had been clear, but was now beginning to look ominous, and just minutes into the drive, it began to pour. Pour. It was raining so heavily, I considered stopping and waiting it out, but I pressed on. Great timing, I thought.

Of course, when I arrived at the restaurant, all of the front spots were taken. There was just one spot left--located at the furthest point away from the entrance one could imagine. So I parked, loaded Judah up into the front pack, covered him with a blanket, and ran around to get Charis out of her seat. Carrying both of the children (no easy task), I ran towards the door. We were, needless to say, a little damp when we got inside the very crowded restaurant.

We were seated, and Beth and I put the kids on the outside of the table so as to keep them from playing with the sugar packets, table tent, salt and pepper shakers... She then gave the kids some matchbox cars to play with, which they proceeded to "drive" off of the table, say, two or three dozen times. We decided to switch the kids to the inside. It would be a hassle to switch them, we knew, but it would ultimately make less of a scene, and less work for the waitress, who was continually picking up crashed cars from the walkway.

The transition went okay, except that by this time, Charis had already had enough of the booster seat. I gave her some ice water in her cup--without the top, no less--to appease her and to cease the ruckus she was making. I know it seems a little foolish to give a two-year-old a cup with no lid, but I thought, what could happen? She'll get a little water on herself. No big deal. What I didn't bargain for, though, was that the tantrum would continue, and she would pretty much throw her cup across the table at Beth--soaking the table, Beth, and the floor. Again, a hapless waitress came to our rescue and mopped up the mess with towels. They were far more absorbent than the beverage napkins I was using.

I was feeling frazzled at this point, and Beth was feeling soggy, but then our food arrived, and I thought food would make it all better--a nice diversion for the kids, and some tasty refueling for us--but it just went downhill from there.

Charis wanted no part of the little dish of food I set aside for her--she wanted to play in my food. And it was just that--playing. The precious angel hadn't the slightest inclination towards eating.

But that wasn't even the worst of it. Remember Judah, the easy, tantrum-free babe tucked peacefully in my front pack? He was apparently conjuring up a little scene of his own. Or, should I say, conjuring down--because right about then, when I had just about had it with the whole joyful experience, I felt some warmth spread over my thigh. I reached down to see how far the wetness had spread, and found, to my dismay, that it wasn't merely wet, it was...gloopy. Judah had created his own little mess, a large, bright yellow, smeary mess all across my tan linen pants. I stood up, grabbed the diaper bag, and scampered off to the restroom, where, of course, there was no baby changing facility, and the roomy handicapped stall was locked, so I crowded us into the small stall, crouched down on the floor, and spread out a blanket to do a mini-bath for Judah and a little scrub-a-dub-dub for me, too. Gross. I opened up the blanket, tucked it into the waist of my pants to disguise the disgusting mess, and returned to the table.

Check, please. And some to-go boxes for our uneaten lunches.

It goes without saying that two things happened immediately upon our return home: 1)The kids went down for naps, and 2)I did a serious load of laundry.

Then I cried a little, and watched a movie. I just couldn't take it any more. Happy Birthday to me.

But Abe came home, and it got better. He brought me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I have ever seen in my life. I also received a lovely flower delivery from my Aunt Connie, a box of books and candy from my parents (great combo), a soldering iron and stand from my brother and sister-in-law, and when it was all quiet, I listened to the many messages left for me on my voice mail of birthday well-wishers. The kids slept until about 6, then we went to one of my favorite places, a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place called Nina's. Charis was cooperative and spent most of her time stuffing her face with mexican rice, and Judah sat quietly in his carseat (!!!) We went home, did a little bit of yard work, I talked with my parents and my friend Tiff, and then we watched another movie. It staarted out horrendously, but the big 3-0 ended up being a (mostly) peaceful and enjoyable day.

I'll process how I feel about 30 later.

26 June 2006


...is Charis' new word. A couple of times, when we've finished praying, I've thought that was what I was hearing, but it was confirmed for me today, as we were reading a book called Prayers for Little Hearts. Each page is a short prayer, reflecting scripture, and they all end with, "In Jesus' name, Amen." And after each Amen, she'd repeat it--"May-mem"--with my precise cadence. It was too cute.

And speaking of Amen, it's official--our remodel will wait for next year. I had an absence of peace about the whole issue; every time I'd consider it or begin to plan it in my mind, I'd hear or read something--a sermon, a book, an article, a conversation--that would make me hesitate about the addition. With all that was involved--siding the whole house, pouring a foundation, re-roofing--we were going to have to borrow a lot. I wrestled with that reality.
We heard another sermon about Debt when we were visiting at my parents' church, and that sealed it for me. I really felt that the Holy Spirit was pulling us away from the loan and the construction, until next year at the earliest. I presented the idea to Abe, and I think he was feeling similarly. Decision made. So now, we're in savings overdrive! I set up a special account for it, so a portion of each check goes directly into that account, and doesn't get eaten up by anything else. In light of the fact that everything that we have is God's, I think He wanted us to know that we weren't planning to be the best stewards of His gifts. Already, having heeded His moving, our finances are falling into place much more smoothly. It's truly an answer to prayer.

24 June 2006

Sibling Revelry

This week, we took a mini-vacation. When I say mini, I mean it--we drove over to the greater Detroit area Wednesday night, and returned Thursday night. Why? you ask. Seems there's a new IKEA over there, and I was eager to do a little damage. We traveled with Tim and Beth, and Judah (of course), and left Gideon and Charis with Yia Yia and Papa and Auntie M. It was a WONDERFUL trip. Viva la Retail Therapy! We shopped from 10 am until 6 pm. Beth and I were practically giddy. We had a very tasty (albeit noisy, thanks to the Red Hat Ladies, who can apparently get pretty raucous when they want to) dinner at Buca di Beppo, toured a very old, very interesting graveyard, and returned home.

Judah continues to loathe his carseat. We went through this with Charis, but this little guy gets himself so worked up that he sweats up a storm, throwing off some serious BTUs. Sometimes, his poor little stomach gets so churned up that his urp reflex goes into overdrive. It is so sad to witness. It always makes us feel so helpless. When we traveled to see my parents and family and friends last weekend, Judah wailed practically the whole way there. Amazingly, Charis was unfazed. We, however, were very very fazed. The return trip went a little better, though it still had its moments. The last hour of the ride, though, was wonderful. Judah's little toes were getting a bit chilly, even though he was sweating, so I covered him up with a car blanket, and he soon drifted off to sleep, and remained so, even after we removed him from the car. You'd be tired, too, if you had just cried for three hours straight. Fast forward to our trip home from IKEA, when Judah was putting on a stellar performance of vocal pyrotechnics. The din was amazing. We tried everything we could to soothe him, but he wasn't hungry, his diaper was dry, he didn't want my finger or a pacifier...we were at a loss. Until, that is, I thought, hey--covering him up with a blanket worked last time...let's try that again. The only trouble was that we didn't have a blanket on hand. I mentioned to Abe that perhaps we could pull over and get a shirt or something from our luggage to cover him up. I guess Abe was feeling a little frazzled, because he didn't wait to pull over to get a shirt--he pulled his right off, and tucked it around Judah. Within seconds, Judah was asleep. It was wild. I told him he can always tell Judah that he loves him so much, he'd give him the shirt off his back. Apparently, being tucked in makes him feel a lot more secure. Who knew? I wish we would have figured that out last weekend.

Anyway...it was post-midnight on Thursday when Charis was finally tucked into her bed, so she went more than a whole DAY without seeing her Baby Bubba. So, Friday morning, when I brought her down from her bedroom, she ran to the couch where I had lain Judah, laughing, saying, "BABY! BABY!!!!" She scampered up onto the couch and proceeded to try to carry Judah off. She giggled and giggled. It was like opening a present on Christmas morning.

And in other news...
I've been wanting to transfer Charis to her Big Girl Bed for some time now, but every time I ask her if she wants to try it out, she shakes her head and says no. Well, I've been renewed in my quest for the switch through emails with the Bank Girls, so I figured it was time to try again, only this time, I didn't ask Charis. I just did it. I kissed her goodnight after our bedtime routine, pulled the covers up, kissed her again, said, "Sleep Tight! I love you!" and slipped out of the room. I waited and waited, just knowing that I'd her her little feet padding around upstairs...but there was only silence. At one point, I heard her singing to herself, so I thought she must be getting into trouble...but no, she was still lying in bed, just singing herself to sleep. She was still in bed when I went up to get her in the morning. We tried again come naptime, and we were every bit as successful, and then tonight, she went to bed again without incident! I was expecting a much larger hassle, and perhaps that is still to come, but for now, she has successfully made the transition! Maybe in a week or two, we can move Judah out of his pack'n'play and into an honest-to-goodness crib...

20 June 2006

The Terrific Twos

Well, we knew it would happen eventually. Charis had to turn two sometime. I don't know that we were prepared for it to happen so fast! As it happens, the big day was last Friday. I honor of her birthday, I thought I'd recap some of my favorite things about Charis for this blog.

10. I love that she crosses her second toe and big toe when she's bored, just like her dad. It's a little creepy when her dad does it, but on her, it's cute.

9. I love that she likes to sleep late. Extra rest for mom!

8. I love that she loves fruit almost as much as any kid would love candy. It's an okay problem to have to safeguard the grapes so she doesn't eat too many.

7. I love that she's kind to our animals. Sure, Radley scampers when she hears the pitter patter of toddler feet and cries of "Meow! Meow!" behind her, but Charis is generally very gentle and kind to Radley and Muirne. She thinks they're very funny.

6. I love the look of delight on her face when she sees something she likes a lot--Winnie the Pooh, her pets, her dad returning home from work...

5. I love that she is NOT shy! She is a little wary of strangers, but once they get the seal of approval from mom or dad, then they become her new best friend. She is very quick to hug (which is always accompanied by "Awwwww..."), and is a huge ham!

4. I love that she enjoys her bedtime routine. We read a book or two, sing "Bushel and a Peck," and "May the Lord Bless You," and we play "The Bumblebee Came Out of the Barn." We snuggle in bed together, and if I skip anything, she reminds me!

3. I love how much she loves to be outside. It isn't easy for us to go out very often lately because of Judah's naps, but I know a suggestion to go out will always be met with approval.

2. I love her beautiful smile and kind disposition. She is such a (generally) good-natured child. I love coloring and reading books with her, because both of those things bring a smile to her face. I love picking her up from the nursery at church and hearing the workers say, "She's a delight!" She really is.

1. I love her because she is uniquely Charis. She is my favorite Charis in the whole world. I love getting her out of bed in the morning, I love cuddling with her when she's still waking up, I love how often she says "Mom!" I love how often she wants to give her brother kisses and hugs. I love it when she wants to help me make dinner. I love how she sticks black olives on all of her fingers before she will eat them. I love how hard she laughs when we tickle her. I love that she is my daughter--what a blessing!

09 June 2006

Mother Load

Well, being a mother of two sure is interesting. I have spent the better part of the past two days rearranging all sorts of stuff in order to make our house a little more organized and family-friendly. I split up the toys (infant/toddler) and moved the infant toys to Judah's room-to-be. Then, I cleared out two collapsible bookshelves, one from the dining room and one from Charis' room, and took them both to Judah's room to hold the toys and infant books. Then, I lugged a massive (for weakling me) bookcase (non-collapsible; though it did make me want to collapse) up to Charis' room for her books and toys, and hauled a matching one into the dining room for my books, which have not seen the light of day for a loooong time. I put a toybox in the living room and switched the computer desk and the secretary, and finally, I switched two of our living room lamps so they'd be the same height. Abe noticed nothing...except the lamps. :)

Today was errand day, and also bath day. Judah's bath was uneventful, barring the terrified look on his face when his little tush slipped on the bottom of the tub and thereby submerged his chin. Charis' bath was a little more interesting. Her tub time is naturally a lot less hands-on, as she can entertain herself quite well. She generally dislikes being shampooed ("Look at the ceiling, Charis. No, the ceiling!!! Sorry..."), but other than that, to her, baths are great fun. She sticks her foam letters to the tub, whips the water with a bathtub whisk, and colors on the tub with her bath crayons. While she was sudsing today, I stepped out of the bathroom to retreive a box of books (for my newly-placed shelves) from our "attic" space. It is literally five feet away, and the box was right inside the door, and I was conversing with Charis the whole time, lest anyone think I was endangering my child. No lectures, please. Anyway, I returned a few seconds later to find that she had pulled a whole roll of toilet paper into the tub with her. Any guess what happens to a roll of toilet paper when it hits water? It disintegrates into thousands and thousands of tiny tiny tissue paper wisps that are nearly impossible to catch. I had to go to the kitchen for a wire-mesh strainer to sieve out the paper clouds before I could drain the tub. Always an adventure.

So far, Charis is still crib-bound. We've attempted the switch for the last few nights, but she is still apprehensive about it. I have decided not to force the issue, since she is not yet two (she still has seven days) and Judah is still fine sleeping in the pack'n'play (though not at this very moment) and it is kind of nice having her contained, since I can't hear what goes on up there when our AC unit is on. I anticipate that will change soon, however, since we will officially have central air as of tomorrow morning. I will make no comment about the fact that my heating and cooloing husband has waited more more than two years to install this feature in our house. :) I will instead say that with the advent of central air, Judah will officially move into his new room, and I will probably work harder to get Charis out of her crib (which I have stopped calling "your bed" and have started calling "the crib" to help her get detached).

Sadly, I think it is probably not too far down the road, though, that we will switch back temporarily, as we build an addition onto our house. That's right. This will likely (though not in all certainty) be the Summer of Construction. Slated is the demolition of the current back porch, pouring a new foundation (and possibly full basement) for the addition, and building on a structure that will extend 13 feet from the natural back of the house. Incidentally, this would mean that Judah's room would grow by a whopping 13 feet, as well. Hopefully, I will be getting new kitchen cabinets as part of the deal, and we'll be getting a full main-floor bath, along with new siding and a new roof. If we decide to attempt this, it will be MASSIVE. I will keep you posted!

Well, I was hoping Judah would drift off while I was composing this, but it does not appear likely at this point, so I will sign off for today! Thanks for keeping up with us!

08 June 2006

Strange things are afoot

tummy time for Judah... picnic time for Muirne...
"Charis, are you playing in Muirne's water?" "Nope."
This is new.

05 June 2006

Fingers crossed

Sheer euphoria. That's what I feel! Judah slept for about 11 hours straight last night. I actually woke up before he did. Charis also slept in--until about 10:30--so I had a little bit of quiet morning time to myself. Blissful. I am starting to feel human again.

We've had a busy weekend, full of graduation parties and also various projects, and we're off to Tim and Beth's tonight so Abe can help Tim put in some new well thingamabob and I can help Beth move around the furniture in her living room. They were at our house on Saturday to help us move furniture for Judah's room, so I'm thinking of making the switch from having Judah sleep in the pack'n'play in our room to the pack'n'play in his new room. And tonight or tomorrow, Charis will be able to try sleeping in a big girl bed for the first time ever! We'll see how that goes...

04 June 2006

Judah's New Trick

The birds are singing, the sun is shining, I am relatively well-rested...Judah slept through the night last night! Granted the "night" didn't begin until 12 or so because we didn't even get home until 11:30ish, but he fell asleep with no hassle, and he slept until 8:45! That's almost 9 hours! I fed him when he woke, and he was off to slumber land in no time. Now, if I can just start the process a little earlier...

I didn't go to bed until a little after 1 am (we had a little trouble turning off the blasted TV), but that still means 7 continuous hours of sleep for me! Remind me of this marvelous feeling when I post in a couple of days that Judah WILL NOT sleep through the night anymore... I don't want to get my hopes up that this will be a trend, but I am so refreshed by the possibility, I'm afraid my hopes are already up.

We're off to church, but I was so excited, I had to chronicle the event before we left. Have a blessed Sunday!

02 June 2006

More photos

Here are more photos of the chitlins...

Charis discovered she is a BIG fan of snow cones. Of course, it was 90+ degrees on Memorial Day, and terribly humid. ANYONE could love snow cones under those conditions.

I don't really get how to format these photos. I am sure I'll get the hang of it with practice... These are also from the Founders' Day festivities. The Judah closeup was just too cute to pass up. I took the other picture to document his first classic car show. He was so bored, he fell sound asleep.

I love these pictures of Charis. The first was a random snapshot that turned out well. The second was Charis On The Move. True, she may look a little dorky, and the picture is a little out of focus, but I just love the look of unbridled joy on her face.


Okay. I probably will not post everyday, because--let's be honest--there isn't that much interesting stuff going on here. But I did want to say that Judah slept amazingly well last night. He ate at about 10, then I put him down and he drifted off to sleep of his own accord, and slept until 5:30 or so. I fed him, put him back to bed, and he slept until 9:30. Phenomenal!

Here are some of those photos I promised...

These first two were taken in the truck when we went off-roading up north. Charis did well. Judah wasn't quite as thrilled... It was a long day.

This shot was taken at the Founders' Day event on Memorial day. We watched a parade, looked at classic cars, and ate snow cones with Tim, Beth, and Gideon. Good day. I have more photos from this day that will show up in a later post.

An attempt at a photo shoot in our bedroom. Why won't he smile on command? But look closely at his eyes. Those puppies are going to be BROWN.

Charis thinks she should be able to share in the fun.
I will upload more photos later!

01 June 2006

Hello, all!

I guess we're jumping on the Blog bandwagon kind of late, but it occurred to me this might be a great way for everyone to stay updated on the goings on in our neck of the woods, since I am notoriously poor at regular correspondence! Hopefully, I'll get into a routine of posting pictures and anecdotes frequently. Perhaps it can serve in lieu of a baby book for Judah! :) I have some photos on my camera to upload. I'll post them when I can.

Things are going pretty well here. Yesterday, Judah napped by himself three times, and it was a major victory. It's 1:20 today, and he's finally put himself down for the first time today, after much ado. Oddly, he seems to do better at night than during the day. I guess I should really be grateful for that, but sometimes it really stresses me out! My favorite times with him are when he has awoken from a nap and has a full belly--that's when he does his smiling and cooing. He is turning into a very handsome baby, if I do say so myself.

Charis has been having fun with crayons lately. Yesterday, we spread out a roll of paper on the floor and drew pictures and shapes, and I forgot to put the crayons away when we were done. Now she finds all sorts of fun places to use them when I'm not looking...the storage containers, the windowsill, Judah's face... But when I scold her for drawing on something that's "not paper", she will later retur to the scene of the crime, point at the offending marks, and say very seriously, "NO!" Where does she get that? Another cute thing she does is clink glasses with you when you both have beverages, as if to say, "Cheers!" I really, truly have no idea where she learned that. She's also getting more and more words lately. I have misplaced the list, but they include spoon, hi, and HEY! She waves to anyone we pass in the store and says "hi!" and will also say it when I get her up in the morning. Last night, we went to a catered cookout at Calvary, and Charis had a lot of fun running around with Mallory (age 11) and pretending to be a big kid. She wants to be a big girl so much!

The house is still a disaster, and I'm starting to believe this will be par for the course for the forseeable future. While the kids are both napping (Hallelujah!!!!!!), I should probably get something done! I hope all is well with you!