Friday, September 3, 2010

My Summer in Books

I love me some books.  As an english major and a reformed childhood nerd (okay, okay, semi-reformed) just walking into a bookstore gives me the happy jimmies.  The smell. The feel. The possibilities.

Although I wish I made time to read more ALL the time, I always make time in the summer.  Don't ask me why.  Usually the summer ends up being just as busy and crazy as the rest of the year, but somehow the summer just seems like the time for reading.  Maybe it's because of those summer book lists we used to get in middle school.  Or, in elementary school, the summer reading club a the library where we could earn stamps and stickers for reading books. Or, in college, the freedom to quit reading through a syllabi, and read anything I wanted during the summer break. Who cares why. I like books, and I like them even more in the summer. So there.

And, in a subconscious gesture to ensure that I can always spend an inordinate amount of my summer time, I married another book fanatic, who just so happens to ALSO believe that a good way to start summer vacation is to make a reading list. Good 'old David.  He likes books so much, he even WRITES them. Obviously, we were meant to be.

It probably goes without saying, but I desperately hope that Henry likes books too, because there are a LOT of books from my childhood that I need him to love.  Where the Wild Things Are, Snuggle Piggy and the Magic Blanket, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear, The Giant Jam Sandwich... and those are all books he doesn't even HAVE yet! (In case you are wondering what to get Henry (or me) for Christmas.)

So, anyway, in case you are looking for some good book recommendations, or you just like to know what I do with my time these days, here is an abridged list of what I have had my nose in all summer long.


Don't judge me.  I loved every minute of it.  Not the same romantic blood-sucking thrill as Twilight, but just as addictive.


Definitely the BEST non-fiction read this summer. Moore has a lot of great things to say on the theology of adoption, and the vignettes about his family made it a quick and fun read.  I'd reccomend it even if you AREN'T considering adoption.


I started reading this for a Sunday School class, and I REALLY enjoyed it.  It was the first Tim Keller book I'd read, which is weird since Presbyterians seem to think that he's like, one step down from Jesus.  I wouldn't go that far, but it was still a good book.


There is a reason this book won the Pulitzer.  Forget the movie, forget the mini-series, you have GOT the read this book.  It was AMAZING.  And don't tell me you don't like Westerns, it doesn't matter. I loved this book the way I loved Gone with The Wind, or Portrait of a Lady, or East of Eden, or Little House on the Prairie.  There is a short period of mourning when I reach the end of any of these books.  Like moving away and leaving your friends behind.  Oh, just please go read it.  Don't make me keep waxing poetic about it. I just need someone to love this book and talk to me about it. Now, please. Please?


I read this book b/c my friend Catherine recommended it on her blog.   I still have like a chapter and a half left, but I think thats close enough to post it, yes?  I hate reading this book.  It's really good, but I hate reading it.  It makes me feel like I need to start actually doing some crap, and I am lazy, and prefer to keep my life as comfortable as possible.  So there's my warning.  If you read this book (and you probably should) be prepared to do some crap.

  

I also read a few (or an alarming amount, depending on your perspective) of Julie Garwood romance novels, and Phillip Margolin legal thrillers.  I am too embarrassed to put pictures of all of them up, or cop to exactly how many I may or may not have read. I love them.  They are respectively, my guilty pleasures and my cheap thrills.  I don't care if they're not literature.  I love them more than chocolate ice cream. 



And, since I am Very Serious about continuing to make time to read this fall, I have started this book:

at the recommendation of my sister Lauren. (Technically sister-in-law, but both of my sisters-in-law are sort of awesome, and I want to just call them my sisters all the time, because I don't like the 'in-law' distinction. Is that allowed?)  Lauren, you have not let me down.  I'm only about a hundred pages in (its a big book) and I am already deeply in love with the brothers. Deeply.

And there you have it. My summer in books!  And what a lovely summer it was.  

Maybe later I will post all of the books I have been reading to Henry this summer. He is such a good sport.  He lets me shove books in his face all day long, as long as I let him chew on them a little when we are done. What a kid!



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New (ad)Venture

Right now, I am not working.

Well, at least, not any work that I get paid for. Or any kind of recognition for.

I do house work. And baby work. I'm not gonna lie. I kinda like it. I've decided to make it my full-time gig for awhile. But no one pays me for it. Sad.

And, I knew when we made the decision, that not going back to teaching this year was going to be a bit of a financial stretch for us.

And by stretch, I don't mean like, a nice, giving 'cotton-lycra blend' kind of stretch.  I mean like, 'trying to put on your high school jeans and you can't even get them up over your thighs' kinda stretch. A 'somethings gotta be done' kinda stretch.

Which brings us to my new venture.  An adventurous venture. Starting next week, I am going to be taking care of two sweet little girls in my home.  A darling 2 1/2 year old 'A' and her cutie-pie little sister, 'K', who is almost 3 months old.

Thats right.  Two infants and a toddler.  With me.  All day.  All week.  All this year. You heard me. Close your mouth. It's not polite to stare.

Now, before you accuse me of having lost my mind, please remember that this arrangement allows us to:
1. Avoid putting Henry in daycare (a huge deal for me) and
2. Continue to live in the manner to which we are accustomed. (read: have shelter and eat food semi-regularly)

Both very good things.

So, it's happening.  There's no stopping it. Starting next Tuesday, I will be an all-the-time-momma to Bouncing Baby Boy Henry, and day-time-momma to two Darling Daytime Daughters.  That makes three. Three children. Three small children.

It will be great!  I can do this!  We need the money!  Other people take care of three children, and they are fine!  It will be great! The girls are so cute!  I am making an arts and crafts station in the sunporch for A to play with!  It will be great! I can do this! Did I mention the money?!  I can tell you all about my funny mishaps on this blog! It will be great! I can do this! A is potty trained already! I really like kids! I'm going to be home anyway, whats a few more kids?! It will be great! I can do this! Yay!!!

Seriously. Have I lost my mind?

You know what? Don't answer that. Just pray for me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remember

When Henry was born, things did not go as planned.  At 35 weeks, I had a full placental abruption and he was delivered by emergency c-section.  So, uh, no. Not as planned.

And it was really, really scary. Really scary. And then, it was really, really joyful. So joyful, so blissful, such utter relief, such celebration and rejoicing. In the first few days with my sweet boy, it felt as if those few moments before he was born, those moments of pure, clear terror, of dread, those moments where we peered over the edge of agony, it felt as if those moments just washed away. For a while, all I could think about was my sweet boy. All I could feel was joy, and relief and love.

People would talk about his birth; family, friends, doctors, nurses- I would talk about his birth- but all with a certain detachment. As if maybe it happened to someone else.  Or, maybe it happened to me, but in another life. In a parallel universe. Or, maybe, it happened, but it didn't matter.  It didn't matter that it almost wasn't okay. Because it was okay. We were all fine now. And we were so happy.

And, that's really true.  I'm not trying to dress it up all pretty for you. I really was (and am) so happy! My heart, my soul, my self were all wrapped up in the unbelievable joy of that perfect, precious little boy.

It was my brain though. My poor, exhausted, sleep deprived, brain. I think it just couldn't process it all.

A few days after coming home from the hospital, I stared having these flashes. Jolts. Hard rememberings. Uninvited, unwanted, I would remember. And it would be too fast. Too hard. With no warning. As I was falling asleep, or washing dishes, or nursing Henry, or talking to a friend. For just a quick second, reality would disappear under the remembering.  And it would take a moment to make it go away. To shove it away and be back in the now. I remember shaking my head a lot. Like one good side-to-side shake would get it out. Out, out, out.

I hated it. I felt so happy, I was so happy, so why was this happening? Why couldn't I forget? Why couldn't I stop remembering?

My heart, my spirit, my life had moved on. But my brain. My logical, rational, organized, OCD brain would not have it. It needed to process. It needed to understand. It needed to remember. And I wouldn't let it. Deep inside, underneath all the celebrating and rejoicing, beneath all the congratulatings and the cooings, the feedings and the cuddling, behind all the new-babying, my mind was just screaming at me.

Hey! it said. What happened?
Hey! it said.  I don't understand!
Don't you remember? I remember, and I don't understand.


We were on the floor, remember? We could see the pool of red creeping up, spreading out around your tummy and your knees, remember? Your socks were wet and sticky. Your hands were shaking. Your knuckles kept rattling against the floor. We could see the hands and knees of the paramedics, remember? But not their faces. You wouldn't look up. Remember the voices? The shouting. The banging.


Remember how cold it was when they carried you outside? The loud sirens in the ambulance. Remember, the phone rang? Remember the white walls inside the hospital? The loud voices. The running. Doors opening. People touching you all over. It hurt. Remember the nurse who held your hand? The one who said he still had a heartbeat?


Remember the doctor who yelled? Who said "Get out of my way, NOW!" And pushed the heartbeat nurse? The nice heartbeat nurse who held your hand. Remember the paramedic? The one who said "Holy Shit!"


Remember now?


Remember the shiny operating room? Remember the cold orange stuff they dumped on you? Remember when David finally let go of your hand? He had to.


Remember, we thought about the nursery? All the baby things.  All the clothes. All the presents. Remember, we thought about how this pregnancy was an accident? Not on purpose. A surprise. The best surprise. We thought about when you told David you were pregnant.  Remember how happy he was? How proud.


Remember laying down on the floor in the bedroom? Remember calling for David? David. David, poor David. Remember how badly we scared David?


Do you remember now?


Remember, our baby? Something was wrong. So, so wrong. Very wrong. Our baby.
Our baby.
Oh, God.
God, please.
Please.
Please, God.
God.
Please.
My baby.
My baby.
My baby. Please. Not my baby. Not my baby.
Please, please.
My baby.


My poor brain. It remembered. And it needed me to remember, too. But I didn't want to. I still don't want to. It hurts. It's uncomfortable. Like my heart is wearing a too tight sweater, made out of some gross synthetic material. I want to squirm. I want to wiggle. I want it off, now.

Even now, months later, I want it off. I don't want to remember. I don't want to think about it.

Even now, when I remember, my body physically reacts. It tenses. Curls in on itself a little. As if it's bracing for a blow that has never come.

I don't want to remember. But, sometimes, my brain still makes me. Not in the same insistent, screaming, flashing way that it once did. But softer. Gentler. In a familiar voice.  The voice of a smaller, more confused, less sure version of myself. My poor little brain girl.

Remember? she says. Remember how scary it was?

"Yes," I say. "I remember. It was scary."

Why? she whispers. Why did it have to happen like that? Why did it have to be so scary?

"I don't know," I say.

And then, in her quietest voice yet, so that I can barely hear her, she whispers in my ear, What if it wasn't okay? What if he was really hurt? What if he died? What if he wasn't here with us? What would we do?

"I don't know," I whisper back. "But I'm still praying about it. I'm still writing about it. I still think about it. I do remember. But, please, please, can we talk about something else?"

Okay, she mumbles, as she softly fades back.

She is embarrassed that she brought it up again. She knows I don't like it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Post in Which I Justify Future Posts

Motherhood makes me introspective. It has brought with it so many weighty emotions, desires, and responsibilities. I often find myself sitting on the sofa, or standing at the sink, or driving in the car, totally lost in thought over some question, some issue that has been raised in my mind. Things that I took for granted before, ideas that I never gave a second thought to, emotions that I ignored- now it seems of the utmost importance to own them, to understand them, to know them.

Until now, I've never really been an 'unexamined life is not worth living' kind of gal, but I think I might be turning into one. I've found myself very drawn to my journal- the need to write down these thoughts, arguments, obsessions, musings. The catharsis of getting them out of the floaty-around space in my head and onto a sheet of paper.

Me- a journaler! And after all these years of desperately wanting to be the kind of person who wrote regularly, buying pretty blank book after blank book, making new years resolution after resolution. Here I am, craving a few minutes of time alone so I can grab my journal and write. Go figure.

So, here's the deal.  My journal can't take it anymore.  It's vibrating, positively pulsing, too full of questions, confessions, emotions that I dump into it. Poor little notebook. It needs a break. I'm going to give it a break.  I'm going to start posting some of these things instead.

And, it might get weird. I know how uncomfortable these things can be. Too personal. Too probing. Too much. You know.

And I don't really know anything about how blog etiquette works, but listen: you don't have to read them. You don't have to comment on them. You don't have to talk to me about them. You don't even have to come here anymore! Or, if you do keep coming, because you love the pictures of Henry and my fabulous wit, you can just skip over the weird stuff. No pressure.

Phew. Glad I got that out.  Here ends the post in which I justify future posts that you might think are weird. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Henry Wears Suspenders

Here I am with a series of photo updates. Let's get started:

Update 1: Henry likes food AND can poo!  We have left icky rice cereal behind, and moved onto delicious fruits: bannas, plums, and avocados. Yum, yum, yum.


Update 2: This is really more of a question... If Henry is using his bouncy chair as a core strengthening apparatus, does that mean he has outgrown it?  Please say no. I love this bouncy seat. It's okay to let him use it for doing sit-ups, right???


Update 3: Henry wears suspenders! Okay, okay, he also got baptized, but honestly, I was hard pressed trying to decide which of those two events deserved top billing in this post. Suspenders eked ahead at the last minute.

We have pictures of him alll dressed up and posing with his aunties,
and his uncle,
of Henry snuggling with his Nonna,    
playing with his Grampa,
and relaxing with his Nana.

There's even a few cute, up close shots of his sweet baby face.

But, wait, you say! Where is the family photo?  The requisite Mommy, Daddy, & Baby picture?  All these cute poses with his extended family, where's the Baptism Day Family Shot?

Um, I think we forgot? Whooops.

Here's the best family shot we got:
See David wandering off in the background with the diaper bag tossed over his shoulder? Nice. This one really captures the feel of family life.

Or, there's this great family photo: Henry, so cute, loving his feet. Aaaaaand, mine and David's laps. Can that count as a family picture? We're all in it?

Oh well. Next time we'll try to remember to pose together.

Actually, what we should really remember is that when you have a baby and a majillion people in your house and you are trying to get to church on time, you should leave yourself a liiiiitle extra time to get ready. Otherwise, while everyone is taking pictures with your admittedly adorable, dandily dressed son, you will be in the bathroom attempting to simultaneously throw your hair in a ponytail, blink on a coat of mascara, and chew on your toothbrush, all the while assuring yourself, that yes, this does indeed count as brushing your teeth.
Ah, well. Live and learn.

You know, that shot of Henry and our laps is not bad. Can I please call that a family photo?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gratification

This morning, when I picked Henry up from the church nursery, he was sitting in a little swing, just inside the doorway.  I walked up to the door and said, "Hi Henry!"

He turned his little baby head, stared right at me for a few seconds, and then, slowly, a big fat grin spread across his face.  Then he said "gaaa."

Be still my heart.

It may have been the most gratifying moment of my life thus far.

(Well, at least in terms of the kind of gratification I'm going to talk about on the internet. Wink, wink.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Poo.

I previously reported that Mister Henry did not appreciate my attempts to introduce him to the world of solid foods. For about a week, he remained unimpressed with my efforts.

And then, one day, for no apparant reason, he decided to give it a whirl and proceeded to eat about 2 tablespoons of rice cereal!!!  Hooray! Streamers and confetti! Yippeeee!

Then, he did not poo for four days.

Four (4) days. One. Two. Three. FOUR.

That is a long time to wait for baby poo.  A long time. After spending about 48 hours peering hopefully into his diapers, we called the pediatrician who recommended apple juice.  Little Lad Henry refused to take a bottle (that stinker!) so we squirted it in his mouth with a medicine syringe.  That'll teach him.

After 72 hours, I started to worry.  Not about his health so much- he was acting fine and happy, and my mom assured me that he would not die of constipation. No, I was worried about when he would eventually poo. When, where, and on whom.

Henry was getting baptized the next morning, and I had this terrible vision of him holding in four days worth of poo until the worst possible moment.  I just knew in my heart that I would get him all dressed up,  up to the front of the church, hand him to the pastor, and he would joyfully, blissfully, thoroughly blowout his diaper.  There would be poo all over the pastor's suit,  poo dripping all over the communion table, poo contaminating the baptismal water. I could go on, but let's just say I have a rich inner life, and it tends to pessimism occasionally.

Thankfully, I was wrong.  He was a perfect angel all through the church service, no poo. (side note: Pictures to come. Get excited. He wore suspenders.) Through the whole day of celebrating with family and friends, no poo.  Everyone packed up and trickled out of our house, no poo.  Around 7 that night, we hit the official 4 day mark. 4 days, no poo.

I resigned myself to visiting the pediatrician's office the next morning.  Rumor had it, they were going to prescribe an enema. Motherhood has had a few gross moments in it thus far, but I was really hoping to NOT have to stick anything in anyone's butt for just a liiiiiiitle while longer.  Just a little bit longer. Is that too much to ask??

Then, that evening, sitting in his little bouncy gym, he did it.  Released a poo the likes of which no diaper could ever hope to contain. 4 whole days worth. It was everywhere. It was nasty. And I was elated.  ELATED, I TELL YOU!

Elated? By poo? Who am I??? I was consumed by poo for 4 days straight. I thought about poo, talked about poo, looked for poo, prayed for poo. And then, I celebrated poo with a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.  I knew motherhood would change me some, but no one told me how into poo I would be.

They should warn you about that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mothering Mistake No. 37

Mistake: Ignoring the weather reports.

Consequences: Rachel and a Very Hungry Henry, standing in Walmart entryway, surrounded by a mass of grouchy wet people, pushing a full cart of groceries, watching an absolute freaking downpour.
An absolute. freaking. downpour.
booming thunder
flashing lightning
a waterfall from the sky

Whoops.

Conclusion: After deciding the rain might go on for eternity, we made a mad dash for it, got completely soaked, sped home, wrapped up in towels, and fed Henry juuuust before he reached the brink of Very Hungry Baby Fury.

And, for the record, its still raining. Would it be weird to make hot chocolate in August?

Maybe after I towel off my groceries.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Family (Families)

I love my family.  They're great.
They're big and loud and funny and genuine and joyful. You'd love them. I love them. I love spending time with them. I love talking to them. I love visiting them. I love having them visit. And, I also kiiiiiinda like it when they leave.

ONLY A LITTLE BIT!!! A little TINY bit. BARELY AT ALL!

This is something new.

When David & I first got married, I would cry almost every time we left my parents house after a visit. It just always made me feel so sad to realize that my life as a kid in my family was over- I wouldn't live there anymore, keep my clothes there, sleep there, dwell there.  As much as I loved to visit, it wasn't 'home' anymore, at least not in the practical sense of the word. And I desperately wanted it to be. For awhile, it almost felt like I was mourning the loss of childhood. The days when I lived in someone else's house, when someone else was responsible for all the big stuff, when someone else took care of me.  Now, we were taking care of ourselves, and it was scary.

I don't cry anymore when I leave my parent's house.  Sometimes I'm sad to go, or sad to see them go, but not in the same way as I once was.

Somewhere along the line, my idea of home changed.  And then, somewhere else along the line, my idea of family changed. My parents will ALWAYS be my parents. My brothers and sisters will ALWAYS be my brothers and sisters. They will ALWAYS be my family. Those bonds don't disappear or even weaken. But now, it seems the circle has expanded a little.  And the center has shifted.

Now, when people ask about my family, the first people I think of are David and Henry. When did that happen??? For so long, my family was my mom, my dad, my Justin, Mark, Mary Catherine, Franklin, and Annie. For so long.  And now, they spring to mind second.  Not less, just second.

My family is my husband. My family is my son.

My son, who is now hollering in his crib. Guess naptime, and therefore, introspective time, is over, at least for now. Gotta go check on my family.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Sister, Mary C.

Mary Catherine is here!
Aside from providing me with a lovely afternoon full of Doritos, diet beverages, a little gossip, and a lot of love, Mary also got this GREAT photo of Henry (taken on her snazzy new iTouch which I'm a teenytinylotta bit jealous of)


SO CUTE!  This picture is even better if you know that Auntie Mary C. knitted that blanket for Henry before he was born. And even better if you know that when I read to him before his naps, we snuggle under that blanket.  So, now, he associates the blankie with reading & snuggle time, and every time I put him on the bed and give him that blanket, he squeals and makes the big smiley cute face, pictured above.

What a blanket.
What a baby.
What an auntie!

And, yes, I have already asked her to move back in with us. You know, to do dishes, knit blankets, change diapers, provide me with entertainment, and take pictures of Henry. But, apparently, she has a life. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Solid Food and Other Adventures

Oh my goodness, I have so many things to tell you.
And so many pictures to show you.

Here's the biggest news:

That's right.
Henry has begun his journey into the world of food. What a great world, yes?  I love food.  We all love food.  If you don't love food, go away. We can no longer be friends.  Food is so great, so delicious, so flavorful, so satisfying, so varied.  So, tell me, with all the yumminess out there, why oh why are we introducing babies to food by giving them rice cereal??  Rice cereal?!  Is this really the way to convince kids that they want to eat food?

Have you tried rice cereal? I tried it, and it's nasty. But it's what the pediatrician said to do, and I'm a rule-follower (ummmm, sorta...) so I mixed it up with some breastmilk and gave it a go!

I gave him the first bite on my pinkie, because that's what the websites said to do. I guess it's because he's used to food coming to him from nice warm flesh... weird.

He looked a little unsure, yes.  But, not to be discouraged, I gave him my brightest & happiest 'yum yum you love this' face and kept on trying.


Let's just say, he wasn't fooled.  Rice cereal is gross, and he knows it.  
After a few minutes of terrible faces, similar to these, I was starting to feel like I was going to scar him for life and make him think that eating was always going to be a really unpleasant experience.  So, we decided to call it quits for the night.

He was extremely grateful.

Then, I said some really reasonable things to David, like "He hates food!"  "He's anorexic!" and, with a tinge of panic in my voice "He's going to want to nurse forever!!!  He's never going to stop!  It's going to be time for kindergarten and I'm going to have to say, 'Oh, I'm sorry, my child can't come, HE'S STILL NURSING!'"

Then I got a grip.  

It's been a week, and he's showing a liiiitle more interest in bananas & rice cereal, but not much. 
I think he knows that there is better food out there.  
I think he knows we are trying to pull one over on him.
I think he's holding out for steak and baked potato. Now THAT'S food.

In other baby news, Henry loves his penguin...


And, he loves his Dad.

And, I love his Dad!
Seriously, I absolutely love this picture. It melts my heart.  It's the cutest thing ever. Ever.
I want to have many, many more babies with this man.  Just so I can watch him snuggle up with them & read them stories.

This is dangerous. I should go.





Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's My Birthday

Dear Sweet Henry,

I love you. I really, really love you. And, I love being your mom.

It's my birthday today, and I loved spending it with you. I love that you are my new constant companion. I love that you run errands with me and go with me to get coffee and snuggle up on the sofa with me. I love trying to eat with you on my lap. I love swaddling you up to go to bed.

I love the sweet, precious moments with you. When you smile up at me when you're nursing. When you wake up from a nap happy and babbling to yourself. When you snuggle up against my neck.

I love hearing you laugh. I love that you look around to find my face when someone else is holding you. I love that you save your best smiles for your dad and I.

I love seeing you grow. I love how much you like your bouncy gym. I love how you stare at the dog and try to grab her ears whenever she gets close. I love how you have discovered the sound of your own voice, and the squeals and screeches that make you so happy.

I love your sweet baby face! Your chubby cheeks and chubby thighs. Even your little fingers are so fat and chubby! I love your happy face and your hungry face and your I'm-about-to-cry-pouty-lower-lip face.

I even love the things that drive me bonkers. Like when you spit up all over yourself & myself JUST as we're trying to walk out the door. When you wake up ravenous in the middle of the night. When you blow out your diaper and there's not a changing table anywhere to be found in the known universe. When I'm trying to discreetly feed you in a public place and you jerk the nursing cover off when my attention lapses for the teeeeniest tiniest second, exposing your cute milky face and MY boob to the whole world. The way you seem to wake up from your nap the instant that I sit down to eat.

It's easy to love you when you are being sweet and precious. But how can I love the annoying moments? The moments when I question my sanity? The moments when I think I might actually scream out loud? Those awful stressful moments?

Well, I'l tell you.
Because in those moments, I know that I am your mommy.
Because in those moments, no one else will do.
It's not anyone else's job to wipe your bottom, or your face, or feed you, or hold you while you cry. It's my job.
And I will keep cleaning you up, and filling you up, and snuggling you up. Because I'm your mom.
I'm your mom and I will take care of you as long as you need me, as long as you will let me.
Because I love you. And, I love being your mom.

It's my birthday, kiddo. And you are my best present. By far.

Love,
Mom

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pajamas!

Henry looks so cute in pajamas. So. Cute.
Maybe its because they cover him from head to toe.
Maybe its because they make him look so snuggly.
Maybe its because when I see him in them, I know he's about to go to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

When he was a little newborn munchkin, these were my favorite of his jammies.

But, *sigh* he grew out of them.
Since then, these have become my new favorite jammies:
(Okay, could he GET any cuter?!?!? Look at those cheeks! Gotta squeeze 'em, gotta squeeze 'em, gotta squeeze 'em. Ahem. Excuse me.)

But, *really BIG sigh* he is about to outgrow them too! What's a momma to do!?!
Bust out the 6 month size clothes, thats what.
Which, I did. Yesterday. Pulled them all out of his drawers, took all the tags off & tossed them in the washer.
Here's my big boy showing off his FIRST 6 month size outfit today.
Check out those big blue eyes!

Check out that little green dino!

Check out that goofy smile!

I can't wait to get him in some new jammies tonight.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eavesdropping


Conversation overheard between the 2 contractors working on my bathroom:
Guy 1: That chick on Burn Notice is pretty hot, huh?
Guy 2: Oh yeah. She has a nice body.
Guy 1: Yeah.
This exchange was made especially notable by the fact that it is the ONLY thing they have said to each other all day except for a few scattered phrases like "hand me that pipe," "one more coat," or "lets seal that next." In fact, this conversation was sandwiched between atleast an hour and a half of total silence on either side.

Seriously, people. I love eavesdropping. Spice it up some more for me. Please?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

If I Could Talk To Famous People

Dear Ke$ha,
What is an 808 drum? I have been wondering for a long time. I don't really need you to answer anymore, because I asked David, and he Googled it, and apparently it's some kind of programmable electric drum, like so:

I am so glad I finally know.

But, a few other thoughts, just while I've got you..
  • Whats up with the $ sign in your name? It really has no phonetic place. Is it because you have a lot of money? Or, because you know you are money?
  • Girl. Dental hygiene. Get some. A bottle of Jack is not going to prevent cavities or promote good gum health, and you should really be flossing eveytime you brush too.
  • Your song is my drug. Keep 'em coming!
Love,
Rachel

p.s. David wants everyone to know that although he did google 808 drum for me, he already knew what it was, he was just illustrating for me that he was indeed right. He is so smart and musical. Bow to his pop culture prowess.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bathrooms, Part 1

We love our house. Love, love, love it.

I should probably go ahead and admit that it is not really our house. Teeeeechnically it belongs to my parents, who, in a wild spasm of generosity, offered to rent it to us when we moved to Norfolk almost two years ago.
This house has ruined us for apartment living forever. Just ruined us. We love it. Love the space to have lots of people over, love having a yard, love being in a neighborhood, love the house projects, just plain old love, love, love this house. We have decided we cannot move out until we are financially prepared to buy our own house, which, could quite possibly be never. (JUST kidding Mom & Dad... sort of.)
Anyway, part of the deal when we moved in was that we would rent the house from Mom & Dad, and in return we would tackle some long-needed home repair projects. So far we have refinished all the floors, painted the bedrooms, put doors on the once doorless closets, replaced all the ceiling light fixtures, installed a ceiling fan, finished a sunporch room, created flower beds around the house, and a few other teeny tiny projects.
Aaaaaaaaand then we reached the end of our handyman know-how. (Okay, honestly, we reached the end of handyman knowhow riiiight about when we finished unpacking. We've been winging it this whole time.) We reached... the bathrooms.
Now, these bathrooms are done in the traditional 1950's vintage style, which, in case you don't know much about 1950's bathroom architecture, is not cute at all.
At. all.
The hall bathroom is done in a lovely blueish gray & more gray color scheme, and the master bathroom is a breathtaking combo of pinkish tan & brown. It's bad. Real bad.Pottery Barn would not approve.
But, more importantly than their distressing color schemes, both bathrooms were kinda falling apart. Leaky floors, chipping tile... did I mention the pink toilet with the flowery lid? Yeah, it was bad.
So, anyway, we have finally tackled the bathrooms. With the assistance (assistance meaning he did everything, I just picked out what I thought was pretty) of our trusty bathroom contractor guy Alex, we have totally ripped out both bathrooms. And, I am happy to report that one bathroom is successfully competed. YAY!
Aside from copious amounts of tile dust layering the house, two treacherous days in which our only bathroom with a working toilet did not have a door on it, and the general weirdness of having two men in my bathroom all day, it's been a pretty painless adventure. And, TOTALLY worth my new, shiny, pretty, sparkly, clean bathroom. Ahhhh.
So, here are the before & after pics of the finished bathroom- the previously blueish gray & gray bathroom. Stay tuned for the next bathroom... it should be finished in about a week.

Before.... (ugh)





After.... (ooooh, ahhhhhhh)





Isn't it lovely?!?! I know, I know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Henry!

Five months old today! Wowsa!

He looks like SHREK!!!

What does a five month old Henry do, you ask? Well, other than being extremely cute, these days Henry also...
  1. rolls over from tummy to back.
  2. puts everythiiiing in his mouth... his hands, his feet, toys, my hands, my hair, sweet tates ear... etc.
  3. has discovered his voice and like to entertain himself by babbling, giggling, laughing, and - newest addition- screeching and squealing (He finds this last one extremely entertaining. The first few times he did it I rushed into the room, fully expecting to see something awful happening- wild animals tearing him apart perhaps? aaaaand he just smiiiled up at me, screeched once more, and then just started giggling at himself. Or was he laughing at me...)
  4. loves to read his board books (and eat them.)
  5. drools like a puppy.
  6. LOVES baths, and just being naked in general... can you tell from the pictures?
  7. eats 6 times a day, takes 3 or 4 naps, and sleeps for about an 8 hour stretch... most nights. :)
  8. stares at sweet potato whenever she is in his line of sight.
  9. absolutely loves the outdoors. He is so happy walking around the block, looking out a window, playing on a blanket in the backyard. It's like magic.
  10. Is still fitting into most of his 3 month clothes... but is stretching out his pajamas... so it may be time to move up in that department.
  11. Is still so cuddly, and likes to snuggle up close (please, please, dont let him outgrow this anytime soon. please, please please.)
  12. is mesmerized by watching people eat. It might be time for some solid food soon...
We love you Henry! You are such a jolly, snuggly, cute baby boy and we think you are the best thing EVER! Seriously, ever.
To celebrate you, I am making chocolate chip coconut cookies today. I know you can't eat them, but... one day. It's always good to have something in life to look forward to. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If I Could Talk to Famous People...

Dear Rhianna & Eminem,
O.
M.
G.
It's so, so good. I love it, absolutely love it. Rhianna, your voice is lovely. Aways has been, always will be. Eminem, I have almost learned all of your rap parts in the song, and I think its hilarious when you say "thats why they call it windowpain."
Every time it comes on the radio, I get that "ooh, ooh, ooh" feeling & my fingers spontaneously reach for the dial to turn it up. It's an absolutely faaaaabulous song! FABULOUS! It's so passionate, so emotional, so raw. It's a masterpiece of contemporary pop music. However, it is also abusive & perhaps even homicidal, and that is what I'm here to talk to you about today.
RhiRhi, lets start with you. Okay, girl. You like the way it hurts? You love the way he lies? Now listen. I know you went through some rough stuff with Chris Brown- I mean the guy bit you- and you are probably still recovering from that. And, I can also sympathize with loving something that is not good for you. But, girlfriend, sometimes, you have to say no to things, even though you like them.
Example: I love cupcakes. However, if I ate every cupcake that came my way, I would be so big they would have to medivac me out of my house. Even though the cupcake is good, I have to say no. Rhianna- you gotta say no! No more biting, no more hitting, no more hurting, no more lying. Little girls everywhere think you rock (and big girls too- case in point- me!) and they need to know that it is NOT okay to let boys hurt them.
Eminem. Why do I like you so much? Is it because of your great songs? Maybe. Is it because your name sounds like a delicious chocolatey treat? Definite possibility. But really, I think its becuase you have conviced everyone that you- a skinny, blond, white guy- are a badass! That is a feat. I'm impressed.
But, you gotta step away from this abuse business. It was bad enough when we found out you were knocking Kim around. It really takes some balls for you to sing a song ABOUT domestic abuse, WITH an abuse victim, when YOU yourself are a known abuser. (Although, perhaps this is what makes the song so good? Both of you are really deep into what you are singing about? Not the point...) It may be time for anger management classes. I feel like deep down you want to be a good guy, so you gotta nip this in the bud. And listen carefully, because this part is really important: If you tie Rhianna (or anyone else) to the bed & set the house on fire, I will no longer be your fan. I mean it.

Your adoring (yet slightly concerned) fan,
Rachel

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lake House Heaven


We're back! We returned late Sunday night from our week-long blissful sun-soaked vacation on the balmy shores of Lake Gaston. Rest, relaxation, and sunshiney gloriousness.
Anaaaaad, then we came home to a house with no working showers or sinks. There is one working toilet, but the bathroom does not have a door on it, so unless you have a very bold personality, that may be an issue. (No, we did not move to the ghetto without telling you. But, we are in the process of remodeling BOTH of our bathrooms. I will post copious before & after pics at another time, its gonna be awesome, totally worth dealing with the toilet-door problem for a few days .)
I am blaming my case of the blues on the bathrooms & the mild state of turmoil that it throws our house into. But, really, its probably not the bathrooms. I always feel like this after vacation.
It's a lot like the day after Christmas. Still so joyful & thankful, but a little sad at the realization that the long awaited day (or week) has passed. The realization, perhaps, that not every day is quite as special or as beautiful as that day.
The Lake house days, are so special, so beautiful. I sort of like to imagine heaven as one loooooong vacation at the lake house. I heard a pastor say once that when you think about heaven you should just think about the most AMAZING scenario you can come up with, and then just know that heaven will be even better than that. Well, the lake house is the best thing I know of, so that's what I'm imaging heaven as. Tha'ts allowed, right?
One morning on the deck, Dad read from a book called "The Rhythm of Life" by David Adam- a book of Celtic prayers. One of the prayers read:

"In your goodness, you have made us able to hear the goodness of the world.
The voices of loved ones reveal to us that you are in our midst.
A divine song sings through all creation."

It feels so true to me, that the voices of my loved ones reveal that Christ is in our midst. The reason the lake house feels heavenly to me isn't really because of the water, or the sun, or the food, or the relaxation, but because of the people, because of the ones we love. Spending time with them, away from the roar of the world does indeed help me to hear more clearly the goodness of the world. Of course, the sun & water certainly don't hurt things either. :)

Mary Alice & Justin- if you read this, I desperately want your pics from the lake house too!

Strange Family- if you stumble upon this one day, out in cyberspace, please know, I love your lake house. And I love you for letting us use it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Henry took naps in the cabana on the dock all week.
Father & Son
Magdalena & the ADORABLE sun hat she knit for Henry
Ahhh, a boy after my own heart.
I don't know what they are doing here... but its kind of funny.


Auntie Annie & Henry in the baby pool!





We didnt really let him drink it. Please don't call social services.
Henry with his Uncle Frankie
Trampoline + Water = Fun

This is how we deal with rain at the lake.

Henry meets his Uncle Justin & Aunt Lauren! He loves them!
bliss.

Until next summer...