Monday, April 30, 2012

When Good Intentions Turn Into Goopy Messes

Making Your Own Baby Food Fail
He may look innocent, but don't let him fool you.
I had glorious plans of going shopping after Abram went to bed. I needed some “me” time, and I was tired of my usual de-stressing activity (mindlessly clicking away on the laptop until bedtime), so shopping it was. Didn’t matter that I was dead tired – I’d decided it would do me some good to get out of the house for a while, on my own.

But first, because we moms can’t ever just take off spontaneously and leave our to-do lists behind, I decided to go ahead and puree the sweet potatoes I’d cooked to make baby food. Wouldn’t take long, and I could clean up when I got back.

Now, we don’t have any fancy baby bullets or mashing missiles or whichever other awesomely fancy baby food makers there are out there. I wish. Nope, just a good old-fashioned crappy blender.

And this crappy blender has it out for me because it doesn’t like to puree chunks of food. It doesn’t even like to make margaritas into anything other than a frothy mess, so why should I expect much of it?

Anyway, I’m not going to go into embarrassing detail, but let’s just say I made a grave mistake in blender usage and ended up with pureed sweet potato all over my clothes and hair. And the ceiling. And the walls. And the cabinets.

(Who knew Mr. Crappy Blender could be so ornery?)

So I spent the next twenty minutes scrubbing the ceiling, walls, and cabinets, put away the baby food (that was still left in the blender), and then plopped myself down in front of my laptop for the remainder of the evening.

Oh, the things we do for those sweet little faces.

Baby Sucking On His Fingers

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I Love About My Firstborn

Abram seems to be moving out of his little crankball stage and back into a routine. I think we may be emerging from the black hole of the four-month regression. (Oh Lord, please let it be so.) I love seeing him happy and restful.

And I love knowing that it won’t be long before his little personality starts shining through. I can already see glimpses of it. I’m going to be captivated as I watch it emerge, just like I was with Hannah.

Hannah…my firstborn…my little girl. She’s the topic today – I’m linking up with Moments That Define Life for this week’s Listable Life topic, 5 Things I Love About My Firstborn.

Who Abram will be as yet to be seen, but Hannah is showing her colors to the world in full force! I don’t know how I’m going to narrow it down to just five things, but here goes (in no particular order):

1) She is so funny. I know; I talk about that all the time. Enough already. But really, I just love that she got the best of mommy and daddy’s senses of humor – mama’s goofiness and daddy’s playfulness. She loves to laugh, and we’re usually joining right in with her. There will never be any shortage of laughter in our household.

Smiling little girl at the beach

And we could see that pretty much from the beginning!

2) She is independent and adventurous. She's my fearless little tomboy who runs around barefooted in the backyard. If she gets a sticker in her foot, she plucks it out and keeps on going. She has just enough reservation to keep from jumping into something headfirst, but she's unafraid of new situations and uncharted territory.

hiking with a toddler

Life will be so much easier for her than it was for me if she can hold onto that.

3) She is an imaginative, expressive little chatterbox. Yes, it can drive me nuts sometimes, but I love that she tells me what’s on her mind. Since she studies things with wonder and awe, she tells about them with an infectious excitement. She’s only two years old, but I already feel like I know her so well. 

the wonder and awe in a child's eyes

Sharing life with her makes life that much more fun.

4) She loves abundantly and feels with her whole heart. She tells me every single day, “I love you so much, mama.” She is very attached to and protective of her baby brother. Sad things make her sad, and happy things make her joyful.

little girl loves her baby brother

She will make a wonderful mama one day.

5) Ambitious. Tenacious. Persistent. Sometimes these traits come out in the form of frustration, such as when she exasperatedly flings something across the room because she can’t fix it/figure it out/put it on by herself. (I have no idea where she got this character trait from…ahem.) But that’s only because she loves learning and mastering new skills, and she works hard for her successes.

doing the dishes for mama

She makes me proud.
So proud.
To be her mama.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lessons In Patience: Mama-Done-Lost-Her-Mind Edition

Mama Done Lost Her Mind!Abram:
There’s mama! Quick, I need to start flipping out and not stopping no matter what she does! It’s hilarious to see her get all exasperated when she can’t figure out what I want.

Yes, yes, that’s great. She’s sighing. I love it.

Oh goody, the swing. I’m going to pretend I’m content now…just until she’s convinced…and then I’m going to freak out at just the right…wait for it…NOW!

Nap? Ha ha, I don’t think so! I’d rather pretend I’m not tired so I’ll keep getting attention.

Attention attention, oh how I love thee, when I ask for it too much, it makes mama crazyyyyy.

Trust me mama, this is good for you. You’re going to need lots of patience as I grow up and go through many different phases, so just accept your lesson and quit whining about it.

What’s that, mama? I’m making you go bonkers? Sweet.

Whatcha doin, mama?
I’m thirsty.
I’m hun-gee.
Whatcha doin, mama?
I’m really hun-gee.
Can I have a popsicle? Please? Mama, I want a popsicle. Please? Please, mama? Can I have a popsicle?
Whatcha doin, mama?
I’m hun-gee. I want some candy please.
Whatcha doin, mama? Oh, I’m driving you crazy?

Poor sick hubby:
*Various degrees of moaning*

The dog:
*Scratch scratch scratch, lick lick lick, bark bark bark, ANNOY ANNOY ANNOY*

Me: Oh Lord, give me patience.

God: That’s why I gave you a family.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Too Old To Shop At dELiA's

So apparently I’m one of those lucky mamas who holds on to a little baby weight until the baby is weaned. It happened with Hannah, and so far it’s looking to be that way this time around too. I hope not, but we’ll see.

I’m doing pretty well with the exercising and eating healthy (except for my occasional I-need-to-eat-half-a-bag-of-Cheetos-right-now-or-I’m-going-to-lose-it moments), but you know what they say. Nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off. Oh joy.

Also, I’m nursing. And let me tell you, preggo hunger ain’t got nuthin’ on breastfeeding hunger. Some days I feel like I could gorge myself on seventeen bags of Cheetos and still clean my plate at dinner. Dainty, I know.

Anyway, as I slowly start to look more and more like my former self, I’m looking forward to getting a new wardrobe. I don’t know when it’s going to happen since I still have spit up and diaper blowouts to consider, but I can’t wait to get some fresh, new outfits.

*Gratuitous Easter photo break*
Easter Cuties
Because no one can get enough of cute kids, right?
What I’m wondering, though, is where to shop. As my dear little sister likes to remind me, “thirty’s coming.” This means I’m in the transition phase when it comes to style. I need to steer clear of the Juniors section, but I’m not quite ready for culottes and orthopedic shoes yet.

(Not that there is anything wrong with those things. And I realize there are cute culottes out there, but I can't get my mind past the ones with elastic waistbands that my grandma wore. I'm simply not as adorable as she was, so I could never pull it off.)

But here’s the thing - I’m 5’11”. And I’m cheap. And busty. So shopping has never exactly been a picnic for me.

I like New York & Company for ‘career’ clothes, but I don’t have much use for those right now. Gap…Express…too expensive. Seriously, you guys, I am C-H-E-A-P. I like to look nice, but I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. I probably just need to let go of that mindset and try to find quality stuff that will last longer.

And I can’t escape the overwhelming sense of irony that envelops me when I walk into Forever 21.

So tell me – where do you all you late twenties and thirties gals shop?

As a teen I never got to order anything from the dELiA's catalog, and I’m afraid the ship has sailed on that one. Even if they have 36-inch inseams and 'buy one get one half off'.

Then again, I could always just become one of those moms who dresses like her teenage daughter...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Through The Eyes Of A Preschooler

When is a toddler considered a preschooler?

I think there are many different schools of thought on this, but I can't help but think it's time to let go and move Hannah into that category. It has been a while since she has even looked like a toddler to me, and she's just too smart, too tall, and too agile to still be a 'toddler'. My little baby is growing up.

But don't worry - she's still hilarious.

She's still learning about the world, and that process of learning leads to some funny stuff coming out of her mouth. Life is different through her eyes than it is through mine, and I love looking through her lens.

In Hannah's mind...

The color of this background is called 'wipes'. Obviously, because baby wipes are also this color.

This stuff is called 'scare-up'. (Coincidentally, this is an accurate description for some people):
Funny Preschooler Words

This is a 'red tayto'. Emphasis on the 'red'. Because the green taytos are not allowed to be picked from the garden:
Funny Things Kids Say

When this light turns red, even if it is a mile down the road, the logical thing to do is yell "STOP! STOP THE CAR!" 

traffic light through the eyes of a child

(Perhaps holding off  a little longer on the traffic education could have prevented some heart attacks. Hindsight.)

And now, mama's personal favorite. This, my friends, is a 'baby jackwater':

baby jackwater

Oh, how my world is so much more colorful now that I get to share it with a sweet little mind!

Chatty Preschooler

And there is always something on that mind.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sacrificial Love

As Easter approaches, I find myself thinking about sacrifice.

Such a big word…such a huge meaning. And it ties into love so beautifully.
God’s love for us – sacrificial. A mother’s love for her child – sacrificial. A soldier’s love for his country – sacrificial.

It costs something. It forces us to surrender.

That’s the part of sacrificial love that is scary for a parent – the surrender. The letting go.

sweet baby puppy-dog eyes

At the end of the series finale of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai nervously rattles off advice to her daughter Rory as she prepares to go out into the big world, and Rory stops her and says, “Mom. You’ve given me everything I need.” (Tears.)

I hope my children say that to me one day. I will be joyful and proud on the day they are ready to embark on their journeys on their own. I know I’ll be sad, too. That’s the sacrifice – giving up what you want for the sake of what they need. I just hope that I’ve learned enough about sacrificial love to put it into practice in my own life.

What if she makes choices I don’t like? What if she decides to move far away from home?

What if he joins the military? What if I have to let him go off to war and wonder where he is every single second of the day, wonder if he’s safe?

Will I be able to sacrifice well? Will I be able to squelch the part of me that says, “Stay with me. Be my baby forever”?

I’ll have to because I want them to live, and live well.

a mother's sacrificial love

After all, that’s the point of this life, isn’t it? To love each other wholly and unselfishly. To learn what it means to love in an unfailingly unconditional way, the way that God loves us.

On this Good Friday, I’m remembering that He loves us all – whether we return that love or not, whether we want it or not, whether we deserve it or not – and that is the way we should strive to love each other.

That is what I want out of life - a lifetime of living lavishly in love.

(Try saying that five times fast.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Favorite Photo Link Up: My Little Red Riding Hood

This week I'm joining in the photo linky at Growing Up Geeky. I have too many favorite photos to choose just one, but as I was looking through all of our many memories, I came across this one and immediately knew I had to choose it:

Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf costume

It's certainly not stellar photography (it was actually taken with the video camera), and there were so, so many sweet photos I could have chosen, but this one speaks to me in many ways.

I love that it's goofy - it captures our family's spirit perfectly. It's a cute Daddy/Daughter makes me smile...and what I mostly love about it is that it speaks to the time in my life when it was taken. Hannah was at a beautiful age (there is a sweetness about the 9-12 months age that I adore), and it was the time when I began to feel most at ease with motherhood. Everything just kind of gelled, you know?

It's amazing how one image can stir so many emotions and evoke so many memories. Check out more beautiful memories at Growing Up Geeky!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Born On April Fool's Day

Every year when April Fool’s Day rolls around, I only have one thing on my mind.


Because who doesn’t love cake?

Actually, I crave cake on this date because today is my birthday. It really is, though I’ve received my fair share of reactions of disbelief. As if I’m lame enough to think that telling people it’s my birthday when it’s really not is a hilarious practical joke…

No, I’m just so lame that I don’t even attempt pranks, but since I’m always acutely aware of the date on my birthday, I don’t fall prey to them easily either. Bonus.

It’s kind of nice having a birthday on a holiday that’s not really a holiday. It’s not like Christmas or Thanksgiving, when a birthday could easily be overshadowed by holiday festivities, but it’s enough of a holiday that people remember it, and in turn they often remember me.

Perhaps they associate me with ‘tomfoolery’ as well, and that’s okay too because I’m silly, and I know it. In fact this birthday is quite fitting for me because I enjoy being a goofball and have an annoying habit of laughing at everything, even if it’s not that funny. My sense of humor is a little too extensive.

Anyway, while all the pranksters out there are gearing up for their yearly stunts, I am thinking about turning another year older. The passage of time has never bothered me. I guess I’m lucky to be one of those people who doesn’t lament a year lost, but rather sees it as the beginning of a new one - a fresh start. Maybe that will change in ten or twenty years. Who knows?

All I know is I’m thankful for the life I have, and I feel blessed to have made it another year on this precious earth. My heart is full of gratitude, and my only birthday wish is to have a long lifetime of giggles with my children.

Enjoy your day of silliness!