Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Fall Asleep Counting My Blessings

(cheese factor of post title thanks to Bing Crosby)

If you've ever read my blog (which I know you have, mom), then you know that I often will write my posts in my head whilst driving or trying to fall asleep.  Lately, I've been working on a New Year's post that will blow your mind (see, now don't you want to come back and read my New Year's post?  No? Yeah, it probably won't be that great.).  Aaaanyway, I know I won't have the opportunity to post between now and the end of the year what with Christmas festivities both here and yonder.  So, I thought I would post a top 10 blessings list.  There are way more than 10 things for which I have felt blessed this year.  These 10, however, stand out as unique to this year.

10. Sleep. I've discovered how much of a blessing a full night's sleep is.  Being deprived of sleep for an extended period of time makes you value it even more...that and a box fan.  

9. Glee.  High School antics set to a musical  =  genius.  There was one time in college when I tried to sing everything I did.  While I wasn't the most popular person that day, I felt a little better about life at the end of it.  Musicals make everything better, even prime time television.

8. Maternity pants.  I am hoping that some day it will be socially acceptable to wear fashionable pants with a waist that expands with you.  Oh, maternity pants, how I miss you--especially during the holidays. 

7. Caffeine (especially Coke). See number 10.

6. Mom friends (not to be confused with my mom's friends).  I have never been as grateful for the camaraderie of like-minded people than I have been since having Eli.  Spending time with women who have children similar in age to Eli is a breath of fresh air.  While I often feel like I'm in a NuvaRing commercial while hanging out with mom friends, it really is nice to bounce off ideas, frustrations, joys, etc. with women who are going through similar things.  These women are amazing, talented, fun, and just an all around blessing to me.

5. The generosity of our family.  Since I've decided to stay home with Eli, we are without the benefits of a double income lifestyle.  However, the Lord has blessed us with the generosity of our family.  Our parents have paid for necessary baby items, such as a winter coat, a high chair and a convertible carseat (just to name a few).  I am humbled and blessed by their generosity.  

4. Our trip to California.  Again, the generosity of our family made this memorable experience possible.  My grandpa provided the means for us to take Eli out to see him and other family members this summer.  It is a trip I will never forget and am eternally grateful for (sorry for the dangling preposition).

3. A (very) fast delivery.  I am probably the weakest person I know.  I don't handle pain well; my body's initial response to an intense amount of pain (and by intense, I mean when I hit my elbow the wrong way) is to pass out.  So, the prospect of 14 - 16 hours (the average length of a woman's first labor) of feeling like the lower half of my body was trying to break free from the upper half of my body was not something to which I was looking forward.  The Lord knows me well.  My water broke at 7:00 a.m., contractions started at 7:45 and Eli was born at 10:30 a.m.  We didn't even have enough time to get our camera out.  It was so quick.  I must say I am a little worried about my next delivery (if the time should come), because "they" say that each subsequent labor is faster than the previous.  

2. A healthy child.  Eli has probably had 2 colds since his debut, and they really haven't been that bad.  He already sleeps so horribly, I can't imagine how much worse it would be if bad sleeping habits were coupled with illness. 

1. Eli.  Obviously a child is a huge blessing.  It feels like an understatement, though, to simply say Eli is a huge blessing.  Our lives are completely changed with his arrival.  I sit here at a loss because I can't think of an elegant, exact way to describe what he has brought to our lives.  He is definition of blessing.  Go ahead, look it up: blessing - [bles-ing]  (n) - Elijah Steven Parker

The end.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Small Steps for Eli, Big Steps for his Mama (9/10 month edition)

So, Eli, you have been in the world as long (actually longer) than you were in the womb.  Last year at this time I was eating an insane amount of Captain Crunch Berries and walking up and down the halls in Lowell trying to ease my crippling heart burn.  While I still enjoy an occasional bowl of Crunch Berries, I enjoy having you out in the world even more.  When you were first born, I kept thinking that I felt so much more at ease when you were in utero (which is not saying much, because I was pretty much a basket case my entire pregnancy).  I knew that you were getting enough to eat (albeit, nutrients only the Cap'n can provide), you were warm, you didn't need a diaper change, you could sleep without waking up and crying, etc.  While I sometimes yearn for this type of bubble-esque protection for you (especially since you are so much more mobile), I am so happy you're livin' it up here in the Arbor with us.
(fake smile)
So what's new with you?  I'll tell you since your conversational skills are limited.  Well, since we're talking about it, let's talk about your babbles.  I'm convinced you've said 'hi', but it's probably wishful thinking.  You say dada when dad walks in the room and when he leaves, oh, and when you're playing with a ball or eating....sooooo.  You say mama when you're crying or eating or playing.  The most enjoyable verbal activity you've adopted is hitting your lips with your fingers and saying "blb, blb, blb".  And a sound that never fails to be a crowd pleaser: your growl.  You definitely seem to be understanding the conversational aspect of communication.  I will say something and you will respond.  I don't know if this is ground breaking child development, but I think it's interesting.  People in Target probably think I'm crazy, since I walk around having conversations with you, but whatever.

As far as gross motor skills, you have made some big strides (pun intended).  You crawl everywhere.  And you try to crawl through things.  Instead of going around the laundry basket or your exersaucer or the highchair, you crawl through them.  You seem to have an adventurous spirit, which is great because I was pretty much scared of air when I was little.  I'm worried the pediatrician or other concerned citizens are going to call Child Protective Services, because you constantly have bruises on your shins from all your crawling and climbing and falling.  Along with crawling, you like to climb.  A few weeks ago, while I was making you a bottle (in the same room), you had pulled yourself up in your high chair, turned yourself around and were proceeding to climb up onto the counter until I turned around in the nick of time.  You will try to climb out of your crib (awesome), onto the couch or chair, etc.  I have a box of your clothing under our table that I've kept there for you to use as a support for your cruising, but you now climb onto it, sit and then cry because you can't get down.

Speaking of cruising, you are doing it.  You use anything you can to pull yourself up to stand and move, including other small children.  One thing you love to do, which is super fun for me, is pull yourself up using our DVD shelves and pull the DVDs off.  It's super fun to clean up.  Your dad just puts them back on the shelf any which way, even *gasp* backwards.  Your insane Type A mother, however, has to put them back in an orderly fashion

(Can you spot the TWO Earnest movies we own?  That's all Ben.)
You have also begun to stand without support.  I have to admit, it is amazing for me to see.  I know some of you are thinking I should get out more (which is true, but that's another story), but see you, my baby, stand.  Pretty soon you'll be driving and complaining about how we make you drive the's so embarrassing...I mean it looks like you're driving a box, and all the other kids get to drive their own hovercrafts to is so unfair.  And then you'll stomp off to your room, slam your door, and blare Rage Against the Machine.   I digress.

Also, YOU'VE TAKEN STEPS!!!  BIG GIANT STEPS!!! ON YOUR OWN!!! WITHOUT SUPPORT!!!  Okay, so they weren't big, giant steps, but how momentous!!  I'm guessing you'll be walking by the new year.

Other new things you like: books (HOORAY!!), toy cars, balls, clapping, football (watching it on t.v.), spinning the toilet paper off the roll (awesome), banging on pots and pans, prune juice, Ritz crackers (evident by the perpetual trail of crumbs on our carpet), baths in the big boy tub, and pounding on the keyboard (grandpa taught you that).

(Eli and his friend Ben Decker)
Okay, now let's talk about what you don't and won't do.  Sleep.  Sweet, elusive sleep.  Eli doth murder sleep (not in the morbid way Macbeth did, but still).  Your dad and I were talking about when we would want another baby (don't get excited, mom...), and he said that he can't think about having another child until we can get a full night's sleep.  Your dad and I live in a perpetual state of exhaustion.  Things are somewhat better than they were a month ago when you refused to take more than a 20 minute nap.  I was ready to put my head in the oven Sylvia Plath style.  Seriously, I think I was even hallucinating, I was so tired.  One time I pulled into our parking lot and I thought cars were backing up when they really weren't.  Yeah.  You take naps now and are easier to put back to sleep, but you still wake up, on average, 4 times a night.  I love you, my dear, sweet child, but please, learn to like sleep.   

These last two months, you've celebrated (with enthusiasm) Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I was interested to see how you would do with Thanksgiving, because it really is a precursor to Christmas, what with all the family and weird schedules.  I was predicting that you would get so out of whack that fire would shoot from your eyes and the earth's gravitational pull would experience a shift so detrimental that doomsday would be upon us.  However, you rolled with it.  Which I really shouldn't be surprised about, because, apart from the sleep thing, you're a pretty easygoing, fun loving kid.
 Exhibit A:

(Family pic at Thanksgiving)
Okay, so some of you may get uncomfortable with my cheese factor in this next paragraph, so please, stop reading if Hallmark commercials make you want to throw your shoe at the t.v.  I was talking with a friend the other day about how the birth story of Christ takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother.  This time of year always causes me to become sentimental about my faith.  How humbling it is to think about how God came into this world because he loved his creation so much.  God came to a woman as her child.  And then God sacrificed himself for his creation while his mother stood by.  I look at you, Eli, and wonder where the Lord will take you.  What will you grow up to be?  What does life have in store for you?  What anxieties, joys, fears, tears, hopes will I experience as I watch you become a man and go out into the world?  What must have Mary felt while she watched her child grow up? What went through her mind as she watched his incredible life unfold? Obviously I am not comparing you to the Messiah or myself to the Virgin Mary (I don't want you to have a complex or anything).  But as a mother, I feel that the sacrifice Christ made means even more to me now, and I am so much more thankful and humbled by his life and love.  As with so many things in my life, I am thankful you can show me love in ways I've never thought of. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Turkey, Mr. Chandler?

Yes, I am posting.  I am foregoing the dishes and sleep and watching Christmas Vacation to post about our Thanksgiving.  Contain your enthusiasm.  Last Thanksgiving I was pregnant, and I took full advantage of my elastic wasted pants.  I could also blame my unrelenting eating on the child growing inside me.  This Thanksgiving that child was enjoying his life outside the womb, and my pants had no give. 

We went to Ben's Aunt Pat's house for Thanksgiving Meal, Round 1.  It was a house full of 35 Italians (give or take).  There was  A LOT of food.  I held off (knowing that the Rick Thanksgiving would be next) and allowed my boys to get their fill.  Eli tried mashed potatoes and a roll.  He thoroughly enjoyed the latter.  We then cruised on over to Concord for Thanksgiving Meal, Round 2.  Smaller gathering, but so much fun!  Ben left from there to go down to Reading to hunt.  I stayed at my parents and tried to watch Star Trek (the movie), but was too busy keeping Eli away from electrical outlets and fireplaces to really get into it.

The next day, Ben called to say he "caught" a deer (okay, he didn't say "caught"... when we were first married, as he was leaving to go hunting, I shouted, "Be safe...I hope you catch a deer").  Ben shot a "spike".  I think that's what it's called.  So now we have meat a plenty.  Not going to complain about free ground beef.  We likes our beef here in the Parker house.

I invite you to take a pictorial stroll through our holiday.  (P.S. I just read this post...yawn)

Eli and Grandpa Parker

Thanksgiving with Ben's family

Mmmmm, mashed potatoes

Eli, Poppa and Lucy  

Eli and Aunt Carrie  

Ritz Crackers, just like the first Thanksgiving

Family Picture

 Standard Ben and Jeanette picture

A man and his deer (picture quality poor due to camera phone)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dante's Forgotten Circle of Hell

I am the type of person who needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.  I know there are those out there who thrive on 4 - 5 hours of sleep.  It is my belief that these people collect other people to make skin suits.  Okay, not really, because I actually do know people who don't have to sleep that much in order to function in the human world.  Before I had Eli, I was aware that sleep would often be fleeting in his first few months of life.  I had read, though, that around six or seven months, babies typically will sleep through the night.  Oh baby books, I scoff in your general direction.  Now I know why my parents would shoot each other a knowing glance whenever I said, "I read it out of this baby book."

Enter Elijah Parker.

Eli actually slept pretty well his first 7 months of life.  We chose to co-sleep with him until he was 6 months old.   Since breastfeeding was a hit and miss for us, we felt like this would be a great way to bond with him.  When he turned 6 months, we transitioned to the crib.  This change went pretty well for us.  It was a little rough the first couple of weeks, but we made it.  Then October came.  About a month and a half ago, Eli stopped sleeping through the night.  He would usually wake up around midnight, 3:30, 5:00 and then around 6:30.   At 6:30, he was up for a few hours.  When he woke up we would go in and rock him, and he would go back to sleep pretty easily.  However, our sleep was interrupted, and Ben and I were always tired.  I kept saying, "Oh, he's just teething," or, "Oh, this is just a phase," or "Oh, he heard that Glee wouldn't be on T.V. for two weeks and couldn't sleep because of it."

Then we entered into Dante's forgotten circle of Hell.  This past week, Eli would go to sleep when we rocked him, but would immediately wake up when we put him in his crib.  Also, rocking him to sleep would take longer.  I was venting to my mom (certified pediatric nurse practitioner) and she said it sounded like Eli had gotten himself into a pattern and needed to learn how to soothe himself to sleep.  And  even though she didn't explicitly say it, by saying "Eli had gotten himself into a pattern", she meant "Ben and Jeanette allowed Eli to get into this pattern."  And then she said the five words I dreaded to hear: LET HIM CRY IT OUT. 

When Eli was a wee baby, we said that we were not fans of the cry it out method.  How could parents do this to their children?  Won't it scar him somehow?  But, Internet, I have not slept an entire night  in nearly two months.  And, Internet, I may just accidentally run someone down with my car.  I am at my wit's end. 

So, I did it.  Last night, I put Eli into his pjs, fed him a bottle, read him a couple stories, prayed with him, put him in his crib and WALKED OUT OF THE ROOM.  And he cried...and cried...and screamed...and coughed....and cried.  I sat outside of his room praying that he would just lay down his head and go to sleep.  Then I started to cry.  Surely, this would send him straight into therapy at the young age of 2.  His first word would be 'neglect'.  After 10 minutes, I walked into his room, rubbed his back and tried talking to him.  I then WALKED OUT OF THE ROOM AGAIN!  And he cried again and he screamed again and he told me he hated me and he called Larry King to give him the first interview and then Oprah and then the police came to cart the very horrible woman off to jail.  It was horrible.  He cried for a total of 25 minutes.  "Pbbt, 25 minutes," you scoff.  Internet, that was the longest 25 minutes of my life, and I was in labor with him for longer than 25 minutes. 

His sobs tapered off into those sniffs you get after crying really hard -- you know, when your whole body shakes as you sniff and your bottom lip is sucked into your head.  I walked in and he was scrunched into one corner of the crib in the frog position.  My heart broke for the third time that night.  He was asleep, but was it worth it? 

He woke up later that night at 3:30. Ben went in his room and rubbed his back, but didn't pick him up, which caused him to pull a Linda Blaire.  And he cried off and on for an hour.  A defeated Ben walked into our room and said he didn't know what to do.  Desperately wanting to hold onto my sanity, I broke.  I changed his diaper, fed him a bottle and held him until he went back to sleep.  I know, I know...I just wrecked any progress we may have made, but I was tired and Ben was tired and the college students whose rooms are next to our apartment were tired.  He finally fell back asleep around 5:00...and then woke up at 5:50.  Ben, again, went in and tried talking him down off the ledge.  At 7:00, as Ben's alarm was going off, he brought our very awake child into our room.  I then took him out so Ben could try to get some sleep. 

As I write this, he is refusing to take a nap in his crib.  He'll sleep if we rock him and are holding him, but the second we put him in his crib, he voices his complaints...loudly.  I am at a loss.  I'm not sure if what we're doing is right or if my name will be sent to the proper authorities after people read this.  We just want to sleep.  If you have suggestions, please send them our way.  If you are going to chastise us, please send your complaints to your mom. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My List of Favorite Things-Sarcastic Edition part deux

I created this charming little Pollyanna list a few months ago.  You would think that a list of such sarcastic proportions would keep me going for the rest of the year.  However, you would be wrong.  I once asked my holy friend Heather (who is equally sarcastic) if she thought sarcasm was a sin.  She then proceeded to ask her even holier youth pastor husband who said without blinking, "Yes."  As I stood open-mouthed waiting for my rebuttal to work its way to my frontal lobe, a little piece of my heart broke.  How could the ONE THING that I am good at be a sin?  Looking into it, I suppose it's probably not God's favorite thing.  That being said, I think you have to (with any situation) consider context.  Yes, sometimes my sarcastic tone is not very nice.  However, I feel that when it's not directed at a particular individual, it is a healthy medium through which I can let off steam.  So there. 

Aaaanyway, I have been working on the second edition to "My Favorite Things-Sarcastic edition" for the last couple months (mostly whilst driving).  So, despite the fact that many of are judging me right now, I will proceed with the list. 

1. People (who may or may not be associated with SAU) who saunter out into the road in front of my car --  EXCUSE ME...I'm driving in this big box...hard to miss.  You're not even using a crosswalk.

2. (sort of tied into number 1) People (who may or may not be associated with SAU) who walk in the middle of the road oblivious to the car behind them even though there is a perfectly good sidewalk 5 feet to their right

3. (tied into 1 & 2) People (who may or may not be associated with SAU) who walk AT NIGHT, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD wearing dark colors.  I understand you want to take a romantic walk by the retirement home with your girlfriend, but please invest in a reflective vest so I don't face 5 - 10 for running you over.

4. Curt drive through people at Tim Horton's -- All I wanted was a doughnut; I'm sorry I didn't want to add a need to sigh into your headset. 

5. Sleeping only 6 hours or less a night (for the last two months)

6. Small sinus cavities that make that squeaking noise when you try to blow your nose

7. Swine flu...sorry,  H1N1

8. People who go out into public when they have fevers and hacking coughs --  STAY HOME!!!  This world will not cease to exist if you don't make an appearance for a couple days. 

9.  Those commercials that have that theme song "Hey ladies, who wants a deal?  I do, I do."  I love these so much that they make me want jam a screwdriver in my ear.

10.  Blooming Onion gas

11. The $5 footlong theme song  (I know I put this on last time, but I feel it warrants a second appearance because of how much I loathe it.)

12. People who don't know how to use a semi-colon correctly (I know that this will probably offend a lot of people, but if you don't know how to use one, please avoid them...they are avoidable.)

13. The smell of formula after it has sat in a bottle for too long

14. Stale fries

15. People who refuse to use cruise control on the free way.  I understand that older cars may not come equipped with this option; my comment is not directed to them (I just used a semi colon to separate two independent clauses).

16.  People who sing harmony to every song on the radio

17.  Getting sweaty while drying my hair...why do I sweat when I dry my hair?  I'm 28.

18. Cleaning out the fridge (especially when the tuna noodle casserole leftovers have sat in there a little too long)

19. Shaving my legs (another 2nd appearance)

20. Facebook quizzes

Okay, looking back at this list, it does not focus on what is good or pure or praise worthy.  Nor does it speak volumes for the positive words that I let come out of my mouth.  So, yes, this is probably not the best spiritual exercise.  However, it does help me to get past the petty things that take up space in the recesses of my brain.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is Halloween...

Here are some pics from Eli's first Halloween. I have to admit, it was a bit anticlimactic. I mean, he didn't know what was going on, it was freezing outside and he growls without a Tiger costume. But, it was definitely fun for his mama to get him dressed up. I mean that's what it's about, right--the parents. Anyway, here are some pics to commemorate the experience. I would like you to pay particular attention to his overwhelming enthusiasm in most of the pictures.

Dancing to "Thriller"

I'm cold...are we done?

Fine, I'll wave

Sunday, October 25, 2009

8 is Great--Eli's 8th Month

Okay, once again mom is not on the ball. You turned 8 months old last Wednesday (like 10 13 days ago, last Wednesday). I thought that by staying home with you, all this free time would make itself known to me. However, any free time I have is spent cleaning, grading, doing laundry or watching missed episodes of Glee. I'm not sure how other stay-at-home moms do it (while looking fabulous)--Middlemarch has been sitting on my nightstand collecting dust, I haven't shaved my legs since 2008, and I'm pretty sure my hair looks like a past-its-prime mop on a daily basis. All this to say--I'm sorry.

Once again your fascination for all things new and unexplored amazes me. You definitely are a fan of the road less traveled. You have started crawling, and instead of crawling AROUND obstacles, you do anything you can to crawl through them or over them. And let's talk about your crawl. I'm pretty sure you're going to be one of those babies who is content to do the army crawl until he walks. I've seen you do the regular crawl, but you seem to bore of that easily and, instead, would like to work on your upper-body by roughing it through the brush. You've also mastered going from crawling to sitting. For a week or two you would roll over and just lay on your side like you didn't want anyone to know you were trying to sit. You would strike this pose like, "Hey, what's going on? What? No, I'm not trying to sit; I'm just chilling on my side." But, you finally got it.

Another milestone you checked off your list this last month was pulling yourself up to standing. I discovered that you had mastered this skill when I walked into your room one morning and found you standing (nearly falling out of) in your crib with a huge grin on your face (note: the crib has been moved to the lowest level). You've started walking while holding onto the couch or your activity table. You love to move. And falling doesn't seem to phase you (unless you're very tired at which point, you cry until the national guard has been called to deal with the conflict).

I'm going to move quickly through the rest of these, not because they weren't celebrated with high-pitched squeals from yours truly, but because I don't want to bore my loyal readers (i.e. grandma). You've also eaten, fingerpainted with, and zurberted out of your mouth a long list of veggies and fruits. You eat crackers and puffs (and ground them into the carpet). You use a sippy cup (mostly you chew on the spout, but you do occasionally imbibe the contents). You tasted prune juice (out of necessity--yowza). You cast your vote via text for Dancing With the Stars...aaaannnd two teeth--two painstaking teeth--two teeth that robbed your mother and father of precious, precious sleep!

This month was also the first time I spent the night away from you. Not one night, but THREE nights. Three whole nights and 2 whole days! We were separated for nearly 72 hours! You don't know how much I agonized over this. I was certain that I was scarring you by leaving you. Later on in your life, whilst talking to your therapist, you would have a breakthrough in discovering that the impetus for your crushing self-doubt and trust issues was the weekend your mother left you when you were only 7 months old! What a horrible woman! Your father, either sensing my inner-turmoil or fearful of facing 72 hours as a single parent, tried conjuring up illnesses to keep me from going, bless his heart. But alas, I had to go. And I came back...convinced we would have to re-bond all over again (I wasn't sure how I was going to start breast-feeding again--but if that's what it took...). I was convinced you would look at me with a confused look, "Who is this woman trying to hug me...get thee behind me!" All of my fretting, however, was for naught. We picked up right where we left off, like an episode of Friends. You were happy to see me; I was elated beyond measure to see you. Your father was glad to be done with his single parent duty (heehee...duty).

Being away from you only made me realize how much life has changed with you in it. This obviously isn't the first time I've made this discovery, but it was the first time I was able to step away from my life with you and see just how much of an impact you have made. You are so much apart of who I am now. Don't misread this, I don't define myself through you, but I live my life differently because of you. You are my sunshine; you'll never know, monkeypants, how much I love you!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Emily: A Birthday Haiku

Emily's birthday
Twenty-two and fabulous
Happy day to you

Happy Birthday, Auntie Em; we love you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wherein I Scream Into a Pillow

Stress, thy name is Jeanette. I taught a unit in my Psychology class over stress. Each day of the unit I would introduce a different technique to help my students deal with stress in their lives. Over the last week, I have employed all of them to no avail. I've taken deep breaths, I have done some yoga stretches, I've listened to music, I've prayed, I've taken a walk. I've done all of these, and my intestines still seem to be vying for the most complicated knot in the history of knots.

Why all the stress you say (or maybe you don't care--so stop reading, jerk! ... I'm sorry, I didn't mean that--I'm just really stressed)? This weekend I am leaving my little boy for three whole days! This college class I'm teaching requires the students to experience a sort of survival weekend up north, and my group goes this weekend.

Traveling usually stresses me out. I hate HATE packing. I would rather watch CSPAN with closed captioning for 24 hours. Do you understand how much I HATE it? To add insult to injury, I have to figure out how to pack so that I don't freeze whilst sleeping in the woods, up north, in a makeshift shelter with a forecast of rain. ... So there's that.

Then, there's the stress of trying to get things done at home so that my absence will be felt as minimally as possible. I need to make sure Eli's clothes are laundered and his food stocked. I need to make sure Ben's weekend will run smoothly sans a parenting partner.

Finally, there is the stress of leaving my child overnight for the first time since his birth. Seriously, this has had me in tears. I cannot even comprehend what it will be like to not see him for three days. Will my heart just stop? Just stop beating? Will I die? Will I just fall over and die? (WHAT IF I GET H1N1?) I have every ounce of faith that Ben will do a wonderful job on his own; that's not my damage. I just am really sad to leave him.

Okay, I'm going to go scream into a pillow.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Today is my fantastic father's birthday. My father is another one of my most favorite people. He has a quiet, commanding presence. Any guy I dated (all 3 of them), would express concern over meeting my father as they were scared by him. This always struck me as humorous, because my dad has never struck me as scary. He carries himself with such authority, though, that I suppose I can see why some may be intimidated by him.

My dad is a genius and very good at his profession (lawyer), although he would have you believe otherwise. My dad and his profession are somewhat of a contradiction. The word lawyer carries with it certain connotations, including dishonest. My father, however, is the most honest, morally upright person I've ever met. He is highly reputed and respected by his colleagues and clients (and daughter).

We always tease my dad because he doesn't share our humor concerning all things bathroom-oriented (i.e. farting and pooping). I love, though, that he never stifles our immature conversation. He just rolls his eyes and laughs along. My dad has always been one of my biggest supporters (even when I'm laughing about my gas). When I accidentally wedged their minivan in between two trees in the front yard, he wasn't angry and he didn't yell. He even was the one that coaxed me out of hiding after he was able to pull the van out of the trees. I've always felt that no matter what I did or what I achieved, my father would be proud of me.

My dad's faith is inspiring. I can recall so many mornings/late nights, when I walked into our family room to find him reading his Bible. His devotion to Christ is evident in all aspects of his life. I hope that my children are able to see Christ in me the same way.

He's also the best grandfather. My mom told me that my dad told her that he wasn't going to miss any opportunity to be part of Eli's life. He's even told me that he has cleared his Monday and Wednesday nights (the nights I work at Sylvan) just in case I need someone to watch Eli. It's so wonderful to watch him play and interact with Eli.

I hope that he has a wonderful birthday! I love you, dad!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Isn't She Lovely

Today is my lovely mother's birthday. My mother is one of my most favorite people. We drive each other crazy, but I respect her more than she knows. She has a strength that few possess. She has a tenacity that will knock you over and compassion that will warm your heart.

Steve and Mary going to a HS dance.

Her sense of humor is sarcastic and fabulous. She has a wit fit for British television. Often we compare our humiliating, only-would-happen-to-us experiences and pee ourselves with laughter. I never laugh as hard as often with anybody else. I thank her for instilling in me the ability to laugh at myself.

Young Rick family

Her intelligence and capacity for learning are inspiring. She is a leader in her field. She graduated top of her class at Cal State and received top honors in her two masters programs at the University of Michigan. I trust any medical advice she gives me (and she's had to dish out a lot since I've had Eli).

This year, she became a grandmother; although, I don't think she looks like a grandmother. I love that I can leave Eli with her and not worry about him the entire time I'm away from him. She has been an immense help with him. Becoming a mother has helped ME gain a new appreciation for my own mother. The intense amount of love and level of sacrifice she had with her children is so much more apparent to me now. When I look at myself as a mother, I know that I will be a great mom because I had a great mom!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

7 months -not a baby, not yet a toddler*

*B. Spears shout out
Okay, 7 months? Are you sure? Actually, I can answer this in the affirmative as I can very vividly recall your entrance into this world. This past month has been one Leif Ericson-like discovery after another for you. Based on your kinetic energy output over the last several weeks, those pre-pregnancy jeans are becoming a reality for your ever-mobile mama (anyone who is thinking, "You're not back in your pre-pregnancy jeans, yet?!" can go play in traffic).

Warning: items tend to get lost in dimples

There is not really a major development to report. You haven't said your first word, taken a step or declared your official political party affiliation. However, you seem to be working toward mastery with the developmental skills you have demonstrated over the last couple of weeks (army crawling, babbling, sitting, eating solids, mastering your fake cry). You sit like a pro, you army crawl at a steady 2 miles an hour (this is an estimate, as I think making you army crawl for an hour would land me in jail), and you 'gawl, gawl, gawl' and 'ba, ba, ba' and 'ma ma ma' with the best of them. Something that IS new is your love for all tight spaces. You get yourself wedged in a corner, under a chair, next to the couch and protest loudly until I rescue you.

We recently bought you a luxurious high chair equipped with all the high chair amenities that any baby would enjoy. Feeding you in the high chair is so much better than feeding you in your Bumbo seat. So far, we've tried green beans and peas (and cereal). You don't hate them, but when you take your first bite you get this look on your face that seems to say, "Why are you feeding me this gross gym sock?" Eating has opened up a whole new world of silly noises and rituals. After every bite of veggie delight, you make this "mmmmmm"sound. Also, you take your bib and stuff it in your mouth...after EVERY bite. By the end of your feeding, your bib is SOAKED.

It blows my mind how much more mobile you are than even two weeks ago; and you're Prefontaine quick. You crawl underneath your exersaucer, through your kick and crawl aquarium, over the river and through the woods. You love to move. You've started rocking back and forth on your hands and knees, so I'm thinking you'll be full-on crawling any day now.

I made the decision to stay home with you instead of going back to work, so we spend lots of time together. I've never been more confident about any other decision I've made in my life. It was hard not going back to the classroom, but I'm thrilled to be home with you. You change daily, and I love that I have the opportunity to witness every moment. I just hope that I can make the time we spend together quality. It's my most sincere hope that I don't get stuck in a rut wherein we simply do the same thing everyday. I mean, I'm not really sure how educational Full House reruns are (although, I did learn what a mnemonic device was by watching the show). I want to provide you with fun, educational, varied experiences.

I love how much time we get to spend together, but I'm afraid I've made it difficult any time I leave. You seem to be going through slight separation anxiety. It's not horrible, but if you see me leave, you start to whine. Okay, there is a part of me that loves that I have this little person who relies on me so much. There's also this pragmatic part of me that hopes this is only a phase, and you will be able to grow into an independent person.

Another guilty pleasure--I love the fact that you are a cuddler. At night, you and I will lay on the couch together and you just fall asleep next to me. Okay, calm down all you Ferber fans. Maybe I should just put you in your crib (and some nights I do), but I know there will soon be a time when you won't want to snuggle with me (also, it will be inappropriate). Am I setting a bad precedent? Probably. But I guess in the grand scheme of bad parenting decisions, I'm okay (please direct your concerns with my parenting decisions to your mom).

Our friend Sara, the genius photographer who took this amazing picture of you, wrote recently on her blog that having a child has helped her gain some insight into God's love for us. She put into words what I think every time I look at you sleeping in your crib or smiling or playing with your toys. This immense feeling of love is so overpowering; it brings me to tears. If I love you this much, I cannot even fathom the depths of the Father's love for us. I want to protect you from everything--every fall, every sickness, every hurt. But I know that this isn't practical or healthy for your development. I have to let you stumble in order for you to grow. As you grow in Christ, I hope you realize this. Sometimes we fall, but He is there to help us grow from our stumbles.

I love you so much, monkey pants! Happy 7 months!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Melancholy Musings (warning: whining ahead)

Remember this post where I mentioned how much I loathe love change? Okay, let me preempt this by saying I 100% feel I made the right decision to stay home with Eli. I do not regret it and will never regret it; I am immensely enjoying my time at home with him. That being said, these past two weeks have been a little rough (self-worth wise).

Not only do I not do well with change, I do not do well in situations where I'm bad at something. This is why I don't play volleyball or draw or cook or yodel (unless I'm watching the Price is Right yodeler). I've been teaching (3 on 1) at Sylvan for the last two weeks, and every night I leave questioning how I have successfully made it to the age of 28 because I'm so STUPID. Teaching 1 on 3 is a challenge, but I thought I would have a rhythm down by now. This just in: I don't. I know, I know--I'll get it soon. Then I start wondering, 'What if I don't? What if I am the first Sylvan employee who gets fired because she just simply never got it? What if the CitPat gets a hold of the story and erroneously reports it (as I'm sure they would)? What if I DIE FROM BEING FIRED FROM SYLVAN FOR BEING THE CRAPPIEST TEACHER THEY'VE EVER EMPLOYED?! And then I get swine flu?' Then my sense of self-importance pops because there's no more room for it to grow. So there's that.

I'm also teaching a 3 credit class at SAU this fall. Basically the course helps college freshmen become acclimated to college. I teach for an hour and a half on Mondays and Wednesdays. Also, I'm the most moronic person they've ever hired to teach the class. I'm just waiting on the statistical evidence to confirm this report. It will be out shortly. Okay, maybe this isn't true, but it feels true. Again, I know I just need to get in the swing of things and everything will seem much better, but right now life is somewhat opaque. I don't know what I'm doing and that scares me and sends me into a carb-loaded, saturated fat tailspin.

Okay, for those of you who have stuck with this post to this point (those working on sainthood), thank you. There are several reasons as to why I seem to be overcome by this sense of melancholy: 1. My daily dosage of Ben has been low this week as his job has been so crazy, 2. Eli is sick and not sleeping well, which equals me not sleeping well, 3. I am now sick, 4. I stepped in mud on my way to a meeting yesterday (for which I was running late), 5. Some other stuff that I don't want to write on the Internet (not trying to be's just not really my business to share), and 6. (the most likely impetus for my blues) I finished cleaning out my classroom this week--and met my replacement.

Not returning to WCA has really hit me hard this week. I love LOVE teaching. I'm good at teaching. More than that, I love my students. They're hormonal, they're whiny, their moods change hourly, they lash out at people who challenge them...and I LOVE them. They're also sweet and grateful and brilliant and hilarious and sentimental and spectacular and promising. I miss them, and I didn't think I was going to miss them this much, but I do. The teacher who replaced me is a retired HS English teacher and seems uber-nice (weird side note: she also drives an Element--how bizarre is that?) but I can't help but feel that she is trespassing on my turf. This is ridiculous, I know.

Again, I know that the path I am currently on is the right one, and the Lord is with us every step of the way. I come home to a little boy who smiles so big at the sound of my voice and reaches out for me, and then everything makes sense. I come home to a supportive, patient husband. I come home to food in my pantry and cozy accouterments. Life is just in transition right now, which is difficult. I have to meet all this change head on and know that I will come out on the other side (hopefully without contracting swine flu).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Public Shout Out

I am in awe of Sara Falula Luke (note: Falula is not her middle name). She took Eli's 6 months pics, and the one's I've seen make me want to set up a shrine in my home to her (bigger than the one we already have...please). Seriously, they are awesome. I've actually had someone ask what the number to her studio is so they can set up appointments. Thanks, again, Sara!

Here's a glimpse (just in case you don't read her blog)

I heart this kid!

What's Your Damage, Heather?

Don't be fooled by the title of this post, I love this birthday girl! There are many wonderful things I could say about Heather, but I'll limit myself to three: 1. She has two pretty wicked-awesome sons 2. Her movie trivia knowledge is commendable 3. She can turn the world on with her smile.

Happy Birthday, Heather! Hooray for you!

(Note: Heather's actual birthday was yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to post this until today...)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Memoriam - K8

Today, the house I lived in my junior and senior year of college was demolished taking a piece of my heart with it.