Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ten Days and a Thousand Miles

I've fallen asleep on the couch three nights out of the past seven. Very tired. But it's been a busy June. And I've developed an aversion to blogging, apparently, since it has taken me a week to knock this silly post out! Anyway, in the middle of the month, our family had a wild ten days of traveling and playing and ordaining and eating and more traveling and more eating and playing.

Two weeks ago, I took the girls up for a visit to my parents' in Louisville for a quick Friday-night to Sunday-afternoon visit. That Saturday, we went to Frankfort, Ky. to meet up with bloggy friend Kim and her kiddos for lunch and to visit the Salato Wildlife Center—basically a little zoo for animals native to Kentucky. We crammed a visit to a kids boutique in there as well, such that Kim's kids had about had it before we saw much of Salato. Still, it was good to see her (only the second time we'd met in person!) and my parents, the girls, and I enjoyed seeing the rest of the Kentucky wildlife.

There were buffalo, deer, a bear, and a wildcat (of course!) but the coolest might have been this pond of catfish and other prehistoric-looking fish that I can't remember the names of. There was a tunnel so we could see them up close under the water!

After ice cream (for the adults at least—Kate fell asleep about 30 seconds before we turned into the Dairy Queen drive-thru!) and a nice long nap, we went to a little outdoor concert where my old youth minister was playing and saw a bunch of old church friends (i.e. my parents' friends that I don't see very often!).

Sunday, we went to church and Kate helped Popi in the yard for a while before the girls, Mom, and I headed back to Nashville.

Mom got to experience Arlington's new Sunday evening alternative worship, The Road, and hang out Monday until Dad came down too for. . . (drumroll please!) . . . Matt's ordination!

Yes, he's been in ministry for thirteen years and has been the solo/senior pastor of churches for the last five years, but in The United Methodist Church, you're not ordained until you've jumped through all sorts of hoops. I'd give more detail, but my snark is flaring up, so I'll just stop there. Hooray—he's finally ordained!

Mom and Dad took Kate back to Louisville with them from Tuesday through (last) Saturday for some fun grandparent time swimming and playing outside and going to the zoo and splash park. With five full days, my parents experienced the full range of Kate's mercurial moods, including a laying-on-the-ground temper tantrum in a parking lot outside a Hallmark store. Now Mom understands why I say I can't get anything done while Kate's awake :0)

The first night Kate was away, Claire got to go to her first movie! Being little (and easily quieted by a boob) has its advantages, I guess. We got to see a sneak preview of "Unconditional," based on the true story of Joe Bradford, a Nashville man who became father to countless fatherless kids in the projects. Very inspiring. Claire did great, and it was fun to have kind of a date (we ate at Panera before the movie) with quiet baby just tagging along.

Matt had to go out of town for the next few days, so our family was scattered all over and it was just Claire and I for three days, which was actually a lot of fun. She's such an easy baby (minus still waking up at 4 am, but no big deal) so we had nice evenings and stress-free bedtimes, followed by several hours of room-straightening, kid-clothes-sorting, Goodwill-boxing, a bit of blogging, and some nice scrapbooking time too. I stayed up till midnight each night, so satisfied to actually be getting stuff done! I kept asking myself why I can't do that normally, but when we're all home, I tend to be exhausted by the time Kate is asleep, and can only manage to check email or lounge on the couch with Matt.

Matt returned late Friday night, and Saturday was filled with more productivity as I got my car completely detailed (You know you're a mom when you have to tell the guy, "there's ink on that seat, and vomit back there.") It's so nice to have my car all clean!! And while the car was being done, Matt and I went to the mall, where I used a Groupon for a mani-pedi, took advantage of a huge sale at Gymboree, and we ate at Panera again. Matt said he couldn't remember the last time he actually enjoyed a visit to the mall :0)

Mom and Dad brought Kate back that afternoon, and we all (Matt's parents included) went out for an Italian feast at Maggiano's to celebrate Matt's ordination a little belatedly. We also celebrated Father's Day at dinner as well. Our actual Father's Day looked like this:

I should mention I also PREACHED on Father's Day—something I have only done a couple of times in my life, but I had some thoughts brewing and it wasn't too painful this time, since I wrote the sermon over the course of several weeks, not just the week before, which leads me to have a total panic attack, which stresses Matt out as well :0) If you want to read my sermon, it is posted in text at and as a podcast on the Arlington website. My topic was parenting as an act of stewardship. 

Hope you had a good Father's Day. Can't believe June is almost over already!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just Like Mommy

Someone gave Kate a pretend hairdressing/vanity kit for her birthday. She loves "drying" her hair with the little battery-operated hair dryer, mimicking what she's seen me do. The other day, as I was getting ready in the morning, I opened my bathroom drawers and cabinets to find this. . .

For the 16-month-old Kate version of "Just Like Mommy," see this post.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Family Pics, June 2012

Our friend Maria, who has done so many other great family photo shoots for us, came out weekend before last to do some pics (theoretically for Claire's six month mark, but I was waiting until she was sitting up steadily). Kate wasn't feeling too cooperative, so all the pics of her were snapped on the swingset. We managed to wrangle her into a few family shots, but couldn't get her to sit with just Claire. So we didn't get any of the sisters together, but I get plenty of those myself, so it's okay!

I'd say this session captured our family life right now pretty well: sweet baby, contrarian preschooler, loving parents trying to go with the flow. :0)

I pinned some creative/cutesy photos the night before (see my photo-ideas board) and gathered my own props for some "Pinteresting" photos. Yeah, they mostly came out cheesy, but still worth sharing. :0)
This is my profile shot if I ever open my own Etsy shop.

Like all the just-engaged couples in their frames...

The elegant frame gave great contrast to my finally-had-enough baby .
And the ultimate outtake: whacking myself in the head with my pinteresting frame. ;0)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Seven Months

Matt told me last week, "I can't wait till Claire turns seven months. Then you'll stop singing that song." ("That song" being the theme to Dawson's Creek. Remember?)

Yes, Claire is now seven months old. And it was a big month! Claire took her first family vacation, of course, but also learned to sit up and creep! Babies seem to grow up quite a bit between the 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 month marks, I think. When we arrived at the beach, Claire would gradually tip over if we set her up in a sitting position, but by the time we left she was sitting up pretty sturdily on her own.

And, she was enjoying toys a lot more. She likes her Baby Einstein play station, blocks, balls, and other little things she can pick up and put in her mouth. She even creeps well enough now to chase a little ball across the room when it gets away from her! It's slow going, but she definitely takes off in that direction, pushing with her left elbow and right foot (always that combination) to move a few feet a minute. It's so sweet how she "follows" me if I leave a room. I may walk out to do something, and return a few minutes later to find her maybe three feet from where she was, but trucking quite determinedly in the direction of where I went.
Kate may be getting a little concerned, as this little interactive baby doll she got about seven months ago is starting to have desires of her own, which occasionally conflict with her own desires. Claire likes to grab Memory cards while we're playing, crawl through the Memory cards spread out to play, or look at toys Kate would rather keep to herself.

As for the stats, Claire is about 15 pounds now, up to 30th percentile from 10th. Must be all those carbs she's enjoying in addition to her pureed baby foods—bread, crackers, scones, etc. Claire never met a food she didn't like.

Claire wears 6-9 month clothes, but also some 3-6 month things, still. She's in a size 2 diaper and is about to outgrow size 1 shoes, I think. (She doesn't wear a lot of shoes, now that it's summertime.)

She still wakes up once in the night, usually, and then again just a little before I would prefer to get out of bed. (Maybe 4:45, meaning I get back in bed at 5:15 only to have my alarm go off at 5:30.) She went "all night" at just a couple months, like Kate did, but she might have been getting an 11:00 feed then, not having a real bedtime yet. I can't remember. Kate always got an 11:00 dream feed via bottle from Daddy. Since Claire nurses, I pump around 10:30pm, and she doesn't want to wake up to eat around this time anyway, I can't seem to make her get the late night feed she needs to make it until morning. Oh well.

Claire is such a sweet girl, and getting so, so big! We love you so much, Clairy-Beary!

Monday, June 04, 2012

On Doing Something and Nothing

By last Friday, I was totally ready for a weekend. (Even though, yes, it had been a four day week, preceded by a long weekend and preceded only a week before that by vacation.) But Friday afternoon, all I wanted to do was lay on our living room floor and play with my kids. And we did a lot of that this weekend.

But last night, as Mad Men was ending (our Sunday night ritual to unwind after a day full of church), I told Matt, "I feel like we didn't do anything this weekend. Just a lot of laying around and playing."

"That is doing something," Matt told me. He's much better at doing nothing than I am. Or seeing the value in it, at least.

Usually, the conversation is Matt telling me, "You don't always have to be doing something, you know." And I retort, "Well, it's impossible to do nothing. Even if you're just relaxing, you're reading a book . . . praying . . . breathing . . ." Such is my Type A logic.

We didn't really do "nothing" this weekend. Saturday morning, we did a family photo shoot with our friend Maria (another post with those photos forthcoming) and then rushed off to a birthday party for one of Kate's school friends. By 1:00, we were back home and totally exhausted, but of course the kids did not let us rest. Claire napped for maybe 40 minutes, Kate and I played Memory, I made tuna macaroni salad for dinner . . . I don't really know what we did.

I kept thinking, "We should go to the pool. We should go to the zoo. We should go outside and swing. We should go outside and blow bubbles. We should do a Pinteresting piece of handprint art. . ."

Even in my "doing nothing," I have to be "doing something."

I love Family Fun. The Fs are capitalized because only certain things seem to qualify as Family Fun. They typically involve going somewhere and spending at least a few dollars. (Oh, yeah, I remember now that we went out for frozen yogurt after dinner—probably from my guilt over doing "nothing" all afternoon.) Or creating something that can be scrapbooked.

I'm always amazed how easily my body relaxes when I remind it to. We watched "Hangover Part 2" the other night, and the scene when they go to the Buddhist monastery (before the guy starts beating everybody up) I felt my body immediately relax, my breathing regulate, and my pulse slow down, just watching the monks meditate silently. But I too often forget to consciously do that. It's much easier to fill the time with somethings (like puttering around online) that turn out to be nothings.

I enjoy prayer and meditation, intentionally being silent and still. (and I definitely enjoy naps!) I enjoy going places and making things with my family. It's the in between parts that I have trouble with—the just laying around. But that's exactly what I craved this weekend, and it's exactly what I got. Time just to be with my girls doing their ordinary thing of playing with toys on the floor, fussing and hitting one another occasionally (okay, the hitting was just one-way), enjoying life. That is something.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Innuendo from Kate

Two stories for you. 

First story:

One of the many fun things about our beach vacation was simply getting to be lazy in the morning, hanging around the condo and watching the Today show—my favorite. Since Kate was there with me, watching TV, I took the opportunity to educate her on the concept of commercials. I've read that since young kids really can't tell the difference between advertising and regular programming, it's an important part of teaching against consumerism to talk about the purpose of commercials.

So, I told her how commercials are trying to get us to buy something, and how in most cases we don't need what they're trying to get us to buy.

"They're trying to get us to buy a new car, but we don't need a new car, do we?"

"They're trying to get us to buy new kitchen appliances, but we don't need new appliances, do we?"

And since we've been home, Kate sometimes asks when commercials come on, "what are they trying to get us to buy, Mommy?" We even saw an ad for gulf coast tourism. "They're trying to get us to buy a vacation at the beach, but we just went to the beach, didn't we?" "Yeah!"

This evening, Family Feud was on. Steve Harvey said, "We asked 100 people, what things do makers of adult films not have to spend money on?"

Matt shouts out, "costumes!" as I'm thinking, "ok, Kate doesn't understand the question, right?"

One contestant answers, "condoms."

Kate looks at me excitedly and says, "We don't need that, Mommy! We already stayed in a condo!"


Second story:

This morning, Kate suddenly remembered a plaything that "magically" disappeared several days ago (as many useless items in our house do—stickers from the grocery store, a rock from the church parking lot, etc.) "I want my balloon, Mommy!"

"Sorry, sweetie," I answered. "It went down a few days ago. Balloons don't last forever!"

Fast forward to this evening. Family Feud has just been turned off and we're having dinner. Somehow, the conversation turns to my "maternaboobs" (Matt's term for my lactationally-enhanced figure).

"I get to keep them six more months," I said sadly. "Then they'll go down."

"It's okay, Mommy," Kate chimed in. "Balloons don't last forever!"


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