20 December 2006

Well, we tried...

This past weekend, my parents came to visit. Right before they left, they said, "Hey! Let's get a family picture of you guys in front of the tree! One, two, three, CHEESE!"

"Okay, let's try that again: One, two, three, CHEESE!"

"Well, third time's a charm! One, two, three, CHEESE!"

"Okay! Tough crowd! One, two, three, CHEESE!"

"We'll try again on Christmas."

08 December 2006

Concolor Fir

This is our fam last Sunday afternoon in front of the Christmas tree Abe felled for us.
We went with Yia Yia and Papa and Auntie M and Aunt Beth and Uncle Tim and Gideon and Elise (whew!) on our annual pilgrimage to the tree farm. Yes, those are plastic bags on Charis' feet--she had no boots at the time due to her parents' woeful lack of planning.
That situation has since been remedied.

Here's Charis helping Daddy carry the tree.

...and also plotting a snowball attack.

Here's Judah trying to stay warm (if not exactly fashionable).

...and also curing forever his case of the munchies.

(We still don't know where Charis found that paci.)

Warming the Cockles of My Heart

Last night, we sat at the table for dinner--a rare occurrence in our home, indeed. We instructed Charis to fold her hands and close her eyes so we could pray, and she was definitely not in a cooperative mood. In general, it dawned on me, she is not overly excited to pray, even when I explain to her that it's our chance to talk directly to God. We pray before bed every night, but it's usually me praying while she's arranging blankets or something.

"Why doesn't she like to pray?" I asked Abe anxiously. Perhaps she's already rejecting the faith? At such a young age?

Abe looked at me and said drily, "She's only two."


So tonight, Abe put her to bed with stories and whatnot, but she requested (as she always does in these instances) that I lay down with her after he was done. ("Mommy, bed!") So I did. We hid under the blanket, we sang "Head, Shoulders...", and I got up to leave.

"Mommy, BAY!"

"Bay?" I asked.

"No, BAY!!!"




She nodded. "Yeah, pay." So we prayed. She had us get on our knees, then sit on the pillow together, and she held my arm while we prayed.

And she's only two.

...A Very Good Place to Start

You know when you haven't talked with a friend in such a long time you actually put off calling them because there's just too much to say? You know the phonecall would be easily six or seven hours long before you were all caught up, so you put it off, and put it off, and put it off, until you realize that something's got to give. So you suck it up and call, and hope you cover everything...

That's where I am now.

How can I possibly write down all of the things that have happened in the past couple of months without creating a terrifically long and boring blog? But I must suck it up and begin.

Truth be told, I created this blog mostly for my mom. It's hard being a grandmother living several hundred miles away from your precious grandchildren. After that, I created it as sort of a journal for my kids--so that one day, they will be able to read a bit about their formative years. After that, well, I guess it's just about putting it out there. And whoever wants to read it will, I suppose. And whoever doesn't want to, won't. So this blog promises to be lengthy; I know my mom will read it, and someday, my kids will. As for the rest of you, you're under no obligation. But here goes...


Judah is growing...fast! He is somewhere in the neigborhood of 20 lbs.. To put that in perspective, Charis was 19 lbs. 4 oz. at her 1-year check-up. Judah isn't even 9 months old yet. He's sleeping much better, which is to say that on a normal night, he sleeps from about 9 pm 'til 6 am or so. He has developed the new trick of self-soothing, which was heretofore an unknown concept to him. I am a huge fan. Of course, we still have rough nights occasionally--especially the night we arrived at Andrew and Beth's house. The poor little fella (that is to say, Judah--not Andrew) was so stuffed up, he couldn't breathe through his nose at all--which meant that he really couldn't nurse, and he really couldn't sleep on his tummy, so Judah and I spent the night--most of it awake--sitting on the couch together, dozing on and off. Yes, that night was the roughest.

But as I say, things have improved significantly, probably because his intake of solid foods has SKYROCKETED. I mean, the kid can seriously put down some FOOD. He looks like a little miniature linebacker. Applesauce and oatmeal is his go-to meal--I think he would eat just about as much of it as you'd care to toss down his gullet. Frankly, of the usual meals of peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, bananas, or pears, I don't think there's a thing he doesn't like. He has also begun experimenting with Cheerios and star puffs and the occasional stiff bread crust. His pincer grasp is really coming along, so more and more things are actually making it to his mouth.

As far as physical milestones go, he is light years ahead of my last post in September. He rolls over with great ease now, so no more getting stuck like a turtle in the middle of the night. He's also sitting up--without tipping! Seriously, it is as if one day he woke up and decided to show us his new tricks. He is also creeping--if you can imagine an Army guy crawling under barbed wire, you can picture Judah creeping. He really does get around lightning-fast for a creeper. I'm still trying to persuade him to get his belly up and off the floor, but he is not quite interested.

A couple of things he is interested in are:
1) Swimming. We've taken him to a pool a couple of times, and he kicks and flails so much you'd almost believe that if you let go, he'd swim away. He laughs and splashes and just generally loves it.
2) Ditto for baths. Where Charis has a definite aversion to getting water in her face, Judah seems to enjoy it. Go figure. We very often give them baths together these days--it's just quicker--and Charis likes to dump water on Judah. Good thing he likes it!
3) Charis. He thinks she's quite funny. Last night, the two of them were on the couch hiding under a blanket, and we could hear Judah cackling away.
4)The Johnny Jump-Up. Charis mostly dangled in it when she was a baby, but Judah has springs for legs and actually jumps up in it. It is especially handy when I am trying to clean up in the kitchen--he can bounce while I work. Though, the other day, Charis decided to push Judah as if he were in a swing, which he of course loved...until his head smacked into the door jamb. It was all downhill from there.
5)Power cords. If childhood fascinations are any sort of indication of a future profession, Judah will be an electrician. He is drawn to outlets like a moth to a flame, much to our chagrin. We've actually taught Charis how to tug on his feet to remove him from a dangerous power cord situation, and we have random things strategically placed in front of all outlets to try to discurage his interest, but he has established object permanence, so he still knows they're there.


What a little actress! You never have to guess what Charis is feeling--she shows it at every minute of the day. When she is happy, she is the smilingest little girl you've ever seen. This morning, I caught her standing in front of the Christmas tree gazing at her distorted image in a glass ornament and cracking up. And yesterday, I taught her the "Don't Smile" game: she puts on a grumpy face and I say, "Oh! So grumpy! You'd just better not smile!" And goodness, she tries...but cannot contain it. She practically erupts with laughter. Do this a few dozen times, and she never even makes it to the first grumpy face.

When she's sad, though, you know it. If we reprimand her, she slumps her little shoulders forward and hangs her head--the same expression you might expect from an over-acting mime.

But usually, she's the life of the party. This week, we had the opportunity to get together with an old college friend of mine and her husband, who are home on furlough from Hungary. We went to Panera, and I promise you she visited every single person in the restaurant. At one point, exhausted from the chase, Abe and I were gathering up stuff to leave and getting Judah bundled, and I turned around to see Charis had actually climbed into a booth to visit with a lady. Our shy little girl was standing on the seat, leaning across the table saying "Hi!" when I scooped her up and carried her out to the car.

She has a couple of favorite sayings: one is "Oh, Okay, Mom." That is my favorite. But the other night, Abe and I were both putting her to bed when she must have done or said something hilarious. Abe chuckled and said, "Oh, crap." To which Charis replied, "OH, RAP!!!" He has become a lot more careful lately. But the best thing she says--hands down--is "I love you." The first time I figured out that's what she was saying, she was hugging Judah, and said, "Love you, doo-dah." What a way to melt a mom's heart. "Wuv OO! Mom!"

At bedtime, we usually read two books, but if it is late, we only read one. The other night, though, I told her, "Only one book tonight. It's late."

She shook her head, held out two fingers and said, "No. Two books."

"One book," I said.

She shook her head, grabbed a handful of books and declared emphatically, "TWO!"

She also loves to sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and "My God is so BIG." She can count to ten (most of the time--sometimes it's "seven, eight, seven!"). She now knows hundreds of words. One of my particular favorites is banana--which she refers to as "mynana." She can also finally say Judah, though it has a distinct "doo-dah" quality to it. She also assigns ownership to things, like "My church, mama's car, daddy's truck, mama's house, Yia-Yia's house, Beth's house".

Well, that's all for now. I know there's more, but isn't that the beauty of blogs? And of children?

And once you've talked with your friend, after long last, you hang up the phone and think, Why was I so worried? That was fun.

02 December 2006

Did you miss us?

Well, after much ado, we're back online, and I'm WAAAAYYY behind. We've been without internet since the beginning of October, and it's a long and boring story why it took so long to get connected, but suffice it to say it was the type of situation where they tell you, "Hey...this week. For sure." --and you just roll your eyes and say something like, "I'll believe it when I see it." So I've had to go to the library to do things like, you know, pay bills, and with a 30 minute limit at the local library, not much else gets accomplished. So anyway. Not that you should wait with bated breath, but I do have updates and anecdotes to share about the kids... to come.

A quick tidbit:
On a recent trip, we had the opportunity to stop in at IKEA. Yay for us! Anyway. Charis was in one cart and Judah was in another, and some cute little old ladies approached Judah in a "Oh, how cute!" kind of way. You know, sort of the pinch-the-cheeks kind of approach. Charis, a few feet away, all of the sudden got very serious and pointed both fingers at the ladies and said in her most authoritative voice, punctuating each word with a wag of the fingers: "Don't touch, guys! Guys! Don't touch!" Very protective of her little brother, our little miss muffett.

To come: Why Judah wants to be an electrician and Why Charis had occasion to use the word rap.