30 November 2011

Of Ethnic Diversity

After three years of playing with her Noah's Ark set brought back by her Aunt Dia from a mission trip to Kenya when Micaiah was only four months old, Micaiah finally noticed Noah was a little different from her.

As I changed Emmett's diaper this morning, Micaiah came in from her room, holding Noah, "Mommy, this is my friend Ester."  Now, Ester is our sponsored child from Africa to whom Micaiah knows we send stickers and other fun things she gets to help pick out (but gets in trouble if she tries to play with them herself).  We keep her photo on our fridge and our little girl often refers to going to her friend Ester's house and has even called her her sister at times in the past.  This is the moment when I realized she has finally seen the differences between herself and her African friends.

"That doll is Ester?"

"No, this isn't Ester, but Ester has a brown face."

"Oh, like your doll.  Your doll and Ester both have brown faces because they're both from Africa.  But there are lots of people here who have brown faces, too."

"Oh, Africa.  And when we have brown faces - "

"Well, Micaiah, we won't ever have brown faces.  God made them with brown faces and he made us with not-brown faces."

"Oh, well what color am I?"

Uh oh.  I wasn't sure about the politically correct answer to that question.

"Well, technically, you're white."

At this, she laughed as only a three-year-old can at the ridiculousness of the misnomer.  "I'm not white!"

"I know, it's kind of a peach."

"Noooo!"

"Well, what color are you?"

"Oh, I don't know . . . maybe . . . orange?"

"Yeah, I guess it's kind of orange."

"No, not orange.  Maybe . . . yellow?"

"Are you yellow?"

"Yeah, yellow."

"Ok."

And that, my friends, was our first lesson on ethnic diversity.


PS She later pulled out her book on glaciers and attempted to identify Africa on her world map all on her own.  And, by pointing to South America, she wasn't very far off!  That's one smart girl.


29 November 2011

Of Our Dancer

I sit here taking a survey for our local Christian Radio station, wherein I listen to a variety of songs and give my opinion.  Well, Penguin certainly has an opinion.  This typical late-night mover is definitely a fan of all kinds of music as it wiggles and grooves to each tune as it begins to play through my laptop speakers.  The movement slows between songs but kicks back up with each new tune.  I love it.

Should have figured we'd have another dancer on the way - this one will get along great with its siblings.  I foresee many living room dance parties in our future.

PS I will also have to admit, my opinions on this music survey are definitely being swayed by this little person, as well, as my joy in this baby's enthusiasm is giving me a heightened sense of enjoyment from each song.  Sorry, House listeners, every song is my favorite today.

28 November 2011

Of Melmo

I was folding my son's clothes this evening when one of his shirts reminded me of this story:

While watching the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning just last week, the kids were most excited to see the Sesame Street float (though, to be fair, Emmett was a big fan of the whole thing - the overwhelming amount of music did much for his love of dance - in fact, the Rockettes got him rolling his little fists while his sister only feigned interest, for my sake, for about 1.4 seconds).  Watching their favorite Sesame Street residents making merry music made the morning for both of them.

Then they saw Elmo - and the world was even better.

At this point, Emmett, remembering the striped shirt he'd worn earlier in the week with a large profile of the lovable, red-furried monster, pointed to his belly and announced excitedly, "Melmo!"  At this point he noticed there was actually no Elmo on the front of his top, so lifting his shirt he pointed to his naked tummy and inquired, "Melmo? . . . Peese?"  He accompanied this with most pathetically adorable expression imaginable.

I asked him if he wanted to wear Elmo and Gram pointed out he had even said the magic word - at which point he even threw in the sign language, rubbing his chest emphatically.  He needed Melmo.

Sadly, the shirt in question was at the bottom of his laundry basket (thus it was being folded tonight) - but fortunately he's only 17 months old - disappointment doesn't tend to linger at this age and the next Macy's float had his attention 7.9 seconds later.

But I'll tell you, I've never been more sad to see Elmo in the laundry.

27 November 2011

Of New Symptoms

My husband and I would agree: I have succumbed to a much greater amount of hormonal breakdowns as a result of this pregnancy than during the former two, most likely combined.  Though I have had mood swings in the past, the spontaneous weeping is relatively new.

It seems nothing is safe for me these days.  A sappy TV moment?  Tears.  One mis-spoken word from my husband?  Sobbing.  One well-spoken word from my husband?  The snot flows.  

It's ridiculous, really.

I wish I could control it, honestly I do, but it seems my tear ducts have a mind of their own.  

Thus, as we wait out this pregnancy, we're investing in tissues and my eyes seem to be in a constant puffy state.  

So, if you see me start to tear up, please ignore it and know, it's nothing personal and I'm not broken.  I'm just pregnant.

26 November 2011

Of Bookends

It may have begun a little too early with a little boy covered in sickness, requiring a bath and being returned to Mommy and Daddy's bed to snuggle for awhile more - though Mommy kicked herself out when she feared her own coughing would keep the men awake - but any day that ends with that same little boy chasing his sister around the living room, both giggling like mad as she screams with delight about the monster coming (while Littlest Bit seemed jealous as he/she began kicking like crazy upon hearing the squeals of his/her siblings), is a great day in my book.

25 November 2011

Of the Season

I teared up in the car today hearing the lyrics, "Simply having a wonderful Christmas time!"  I suddenly realized, with Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas time is, indeed, upon us.  It may have been because lack of travel caused Thanksgiving to, somehow, feel less like Thanksgiving, but either way, despite the months of seasonal tunes playing on retailer's airwaves or displays of evergreens in the aisles, the actual dawn of the Christmas season did not truly register until the melody of that first Christmas song emitted from the car stereo.  'Tis the season.

Accordingly, after the children awoke from their naps, Daddy pulled the Christmas tree and other seasonal d├ęcor from the attic and we went to town.  Micaiah and Emmett both helped decorate the tree this year and, with the help of the 24-hour ornament-emergency doctor we have on call, only one confetti-filled ball suffered irreparable damage (of course, it was one I was not sad to see break - do you think I'd really let them hold any other kind?).

While Micaiah's excitement at hanging ornaments of various shapes and sizes from the branches of our tree was to be expected, I was actually surprised at how eager our independent little boy was to take non-breakable ornaments from us to place on the tree.  Of course, the hooks were still a little complicated for him, but that did not stop him from trying to nestle his treasures among the lowest-hanging boughs.

The season definitely continues to get more interesting as our children grow older.

24 November 2011

Of the First Thanksgiving

For the curious, my first Thanksgiving (with the help of everyone present) went off without a hitch.  The turkey, though still slightly frozen in the morning, thawed with a little help from some hot water and roasted up beautifully (and, might I mention, with much moistness).  The table, though not very elaborately decorated, looked gorgeous with the bountiful spread, whose leftovers will feed our family for the next week, leaving me grateful for the overwhelming provision of our Lord.

Our children enjoyed the feast as well - Emmett's favorite part was, of course, the most difficult contribution to the meal - or not.  Unless uncanning free (thank you, coupons) jellied cranberries (which were only present for the sake of my in-laws as no adult in this house is a fan) is considered grueling work.  For Micaiah's part, the mashed potatoes were a homerun, but, sadly, neither stirred with excitement at the main dish.

Overall, it was a wonderful day of food, relaxation and family (oh, and some manual labor which lived up the standards of societal gender roles, as the women spent the morning in the kitchen while the men got their hands dirty outside, fixing a gate and setting up a compost pile).

Grateful for days like these to take notice of all we have been given.

23 November 2011

Of Omens

Between a bread machine that failed to properly mix the dough for tomorrow morning's cinnamon rolls and two failed chocolate pies for my mother-in-law, here's hoping that the kitchen failures are behind us.  While unexpected bumps make for a humorous (and memorable) holiday, I'd really just rather have some super good food and low stress.

Fingers crossed.

20 November 2011

Of Assumptions

It's time for another "Let's Awkwardly Stare at the Growing Belly" photo, so here you are:



In related news: This week, on the way to our Midwife appointment, Philip and I were briefly discussing names (again. We got nothin'.) and Philip casually mentioned he forgets to ponder the girl side because he just keeps assuming it's a boy - which I found surprising, actually, because I keep automatically assuming it's a girl, and figured we were all on the same page.  Apparently not.

Meanwhile, Micaiah maintains her "Sister Penguin" stance, so I guess we'll have to wait and see how this all pans out . . .

19 November 2011

Of Hormones

Sometimes the hormones take over.  My husband will tell you it's true.  And sometimes it's scary and sometimes it equals tears for unknown reasons and problems the mountainous expanse of a molehill.  Today was of the latter sort and my man did a great job handling it, by covering me with blankets, praying over me, and, eventually, kissing me good-bye as I headed out the door, demanding that I relax (even going so far as giving me the last $3 in his wallet on the off-chance I found something I just couldn't do without - now that's sacrifice).

I love him.  Even (especially) on my crazy-mixed-up days.

18 November 2011

Of Traumatizing my Son

After two haircuts in his young life, my young 17-month-old has already been shaggy beyond necessity for a couple of months now - his hair has the growing curse of his mother's.  Not that I have ever considered it a curse on my own head - but as the one whose responsibility it is to keep up with this mop of hair on a little boy upon whom there are certain societal standards for length, my perspective has changed.

For his previous two encounters with scissors, he has had the wonderful privilege of having his hairs clipped by a fantastic friend of mine.  She does a glorious job and as long as there are Cheerios or an entertaining light show (provided by her son and a laser pointer) nearby, he has done fairly well.  Unfortunately (well, for me, not for her - I know she loves it most days), this same friend has recently entered the realm of working motherhood and, having tragically bad timing in a previous hair-cutting request, I haven't been able to broach the topic since.  Her life is hectic enough without the worries of my son's hair issues.

Which leaves me with a Jonas-brother look-alike and no desire to pay to fix it (I rarely even do that for my own curly locks).

So, what's a mom to do?

Well, apparently, the answer is NOT to assume that breakfast and Qubo are enough to distract him from noticing the buzzing sound of the clippers approaching his head.  Be warned, if this technique is attempted, you may find yourself with a little boy bending as far over his booster-seat tray as physically possible, sobbing with enough intensity to leave snot dripping into Raisin Bran.  And, apparently, once sufficiently traumatized by the clippers, scissors are no longer acceptable either.  And once an appropriate hack-job has been accomplished, even the feel of his mother's fingers running through his hair may be enough to leave him in weeping fits.

Not that I've tried it or anything.

17 November 2011

Of Paying it Off

It was a big milestone in the Rowland household today.  We paid our midwives!

This payment deadline has been looming over us and sucking every extra dime for the previous four-ish months (since our initial consultation).  Though we looked forward to having this baby "paid for" (a task which was not accomplished for our other children until we approached their first birthdays) before its arrival, the inflexible nature of our budget was definitely a bit draining. Thus, while we are still not allowed to splurge in celebration (the money was just entirely depleted from our bank account, let's remember), there may be a happy dance of victory.

Now, on to the next hurdle, as I put it to our Sunday School class: locating (and procuring) a vehicle large enough to transport our growing herd.  Three carseats will not happily coincide in the backseat of our Ford Taurus - nor would we want them to.  Now taking applications for vehicles (that won't further increase our debt factor) . . .

PS I forgot to mention - none of this would have been possible but by the grace of God.  "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:27)  And we are continuing to rely on the grace of God to meet all our needs - including this vehicle expansion endeavor.  Thank you for joining with us in prayer!

16 November 2011

Of Preparations

Something I'm sure I've mentioned before, but bears repeating in order to understand this post: I love organizing.  I am terrible at keeping up with organization (thus the oft-referred-to battle against clutter in our home), but I love to start it.  I love checklists and, when I was younger, I adored creating packing lists for vacations - I would do so up to two or three months in advance, using vari-colored markers and even decorating them with stamps and drawings depicting our destination.  I was always most sad when I realized I would not be allowed to start packing the items on my list for a number of weeks.

I think, in a way, this obsessive need to plan ahead is my way of keeping in touch with something I'm so excited for that I just can't wait, but the calendar forces me to do so anyway.

This is the state in which I find myself as we approach the coming holiday.  This year will be the first Thanksgiving at home for Philip and I and we're blessed to be able to share the day with his family, as well.  I am stoked about creating our own holiday dishes and possibly discovering some new must-have recipes or family traditions.

Thus, in preparation, I have tracked down a recipe for every course of our meal - there are no short-cuts or boxed goods here, honey - and selected those with only the highest reviews (while still not being too complicated, either in ingredients or in preparation - I'm excited not psychotic).  I have created a spreadsheet detailing the ingredients necessary for each individual recipe (including one for using the leftover turkey the next day), as well as a master ingredient list to be sure I have everything on hand (it's easy to think you have what you need when reading over a recipe that calls for an egg or two, until you realize you need a total of ten eggs spread across your entire menu - quite a difference!).  In fact, I have already finished my shopping and have every item on my list safely stowed in my newly cleared refrigerator and pantry (though I understand the possibility of needing to re-stock a few basics within the next week) - minus the turkey, for which I am merely awaiting a gift check from The Pampered Chef (thank you, Mom!).

Is it ridiculous?  Maybe. Anal?  Most definitely.

But you can just take this atypical Type A behavior as a mere sign of my anticipation of what's to come in a week - a day of cooking for my family on the biggest cooking day of the year.  Woohoo!

15 November 2011

Of the "Tree House"

We enjoyed the cloudy, yet beautiful, weather yesterday morning by trouncing, once again, to the back yard.  Only this time it had yet to rain, so the ground and, most importantly, the plastic tree house (I hesitate to call it that, because it might inspire grand visions of an exciting home atop our tree branches, when, sadly, it is simply a small plastic house squatting on the ground whose walls are molded to resemble a tree - not nearly as thrilling, but still fun for the wee ones), were dry.  This was Emmett's first experience in the little house and, while he spent most of his time simply sitting in it watching Sissy scamper about, he did really seem to enjoy it.  He even ventured down the tiny slide once or twice, but each time took a lot of motivating self-talk before he finally pushed his little booty down.  What a splendid morning.

Chillin' in the house.  
(PS This house used to sit on a cushy patch of grass - that has somehow turned to a mere dirt pit in the past year.  Isn't it lovely?)

Scampering.

Thinking about where to go next.

She's SO tall these days - she could even see through the peep-hole!

Enjoying the beautiful fall-ness of this morning.



13 November 2011

Of the Things They Say

Today, after their naps, Micaiah, at her cranky best, insisted she did not need to potty and declared, by yelling at her Momma, that she had already done so in her diaper.  Needing to deal with her equally cranky brother I calmly told her to go tell her Daddy what she had told me (so he could deal with her dirty duds while I handled Emmett's).  Thus, she turned in the direction of the living room, but suddenly stopped, turned, gave me the sweetest look and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry I yell at you."

File under: The things that melt a Momma's heart.

Later, as we were leaving church this evening, a little girl was tugging Emmett behind her through the nursery.  She announced, "One of these days, he's going to get bigger."  Feigning surprise, I turned to Emmett and asked, "Is that true?  Are you going to get bigger?!"

To which he replied, very emphatically, "Nya-o!"

That's right, Baby, you just let your Momma keep dreaming.

I love these two.

12 November 2011

Of Fevers and Teas

Though it makes him more snuggly and stinking adorable when he simply stares at me with little-to-no expression, a little boy with a fever is always awfully sad.

Which is why it was nice when he awoke from his long nap this afternoon, groggy, but in a much better mood (and two degrees cooler, though still slightly higher than normal) than he had been immediately following the lunch which he never finished.

In fact, as we settled in to watch Gnomeo and Juliet via Netflix, he was downright thrilled, getting upset when I paused it for a restroom break, pointing to the television and exclaiming, "Be-be!" (this would mean, "Baby" and would be what he calls any living - or non-living - being smaller than himself).  When the film resumed, he actually giggled at the antics of the animated lawn ornaments - this was the first time I had ever seen him react to something on T.V., other than by dancing or singing.  A giggle was delightful, especially from a feverish boy.

Later, he and I enjoyed a miniature tea party as he retrieved a pot for himself from his sister's kitchen and poured into my tiny blue cup, then took a sip from his own and sighed, "Aah!"  What a little sweetheart.

His temperature as he headed to bed was still not quite normal (which almost makes me re-think my decision to accept his offerings of the tea spoon he was sharing with me by shoving it directly into my mouth after having his own "taste"), but our hopes for a speedy recovery remain high.

Here's praying for a happy and healthy boy come morning.

11 November 2011

Of Clearing the Way

Cleaning out our overflowing fridge, and the pantry in which I could barely step, has been on my to-do list for a couple of weeks now.  Having a walk-in pantry is lovely, unless you can take only one step in and then are forced to lean way forward, hoping your front-heavy load doesn't pull you down with it.  And a fridge filled with leftovers and a remainder bottle of sparkling grape juice from last holiday season (yes, that would mean this appliance has not been cleared for a year - at least) leaves little room for the foods we actually eat.

The real fire under my rear, though, was the realization a few days ago that, in hosting Thanksgiving in our own humble abode this year, our kitchen will be abundant with foods that need a new home - and if things remained the way they were, our squatters would edge out the good stuff, leaving it homeless.

So, I tackled the big job.  And one filled trash bag later (plus three bulging grocery sacks from the pantry), suddenly the vacancies are abundant.  In fact, there now remains an entire shelf in the refrigerator to house a freezing bird that will need days to thaw - who would have imagined?

And the bonus?  My chores for the day allowed me to check four (okay, I cheated and checked a fifth that I didn't really do, but no one but you and I will ever know that) items off my fall-cleaning checklist.  Now if that doesn't satisfy a girl's home-making heart, I don't know what will.

10 November 2011

Of Bedtime Prayers

We currently have two Bible Storybooks we read to our children at bed-time (not both at the same time, but now that we've finished one we went back to the other) and both are wonderful for different reasons.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is amazing in the way it breaks the Bible stories down into words that are easier for little minds to grasp and, also, the way it strings the entire Bible into one long story that culminates in Jesus as God's "Rescue Plan" for the world.  I loved that!

The Beginning Readers Bible is wonderful in that the stories are taken directly from a child-friendly translation of the Bible - so they are actual Bible verses in words kids can understand (a little more advanced than the Jesus Storybook Bible, but still great).  In addition, each story is accompanied by a memory verse, a verse to "pray" and an activity (most of which are for children older than ours, but I look forward to using them as our children grow).

Of course, the concept of memorizing anything, let alone Scripture, is a bit advanced for our little ones, but my favorite part of each story is reading those memory verses aloud and hearing Micaiah's tiny three-year-old voice repeating God's Word back to me (recently, Emmett has been getting jealous, so he joins in the repetition as well, though he's mostly good at mimicking the vowel sounds and not so much the consonants, but he's trying!).  It is the most precious sound in all the earth.

Tonight, Micaiah wanted a turn after Daddy prayed over them before bedtime.  After being given the choice, she opted to let Daddy tell her what to say, and this is what we heard:

"Thank you for Mommy."  - "Thank you for Mommy."
"And thank you for Emmett." - "And thank you for Emmett."
"And thank you for Daddy." - "And thank you for Daddy."
"Help us to have good dreams. . ." - "Wait!  You forgot about me!"
"Oh, and thank you for Micaiah." - "And thank you for Caiah."


At least she's glad to be alive.

PS On the note of being glad, when she woke up from her nap this evening to find out her Daddy was already home from work, she hurried into the hallway before heading to the potty to yell to him, "Hi, Daddy!  I'm glad you're here!"  What a sweetheart.

09 November 2011

Of Potty Frustrations

I know it's entirely common in potty training, so I'm not looking for sympathy, just an outlet.

Micaiah, it would seem, has decided, once again, that she just plain doesn't care.

For quite awhile she had been going when we asked (not always happily, but she'd do it anyway) and even had begun running herself to the potty when she knew she needed it.  She was no longer even demanding a reward.  Being a big girl, it would seem, was its own reward.  We were living in a fantasy land of few accidents, dry underwear and happy parents.

Apparently the dream is over.

About a week ago she began going in her pants to defy us - if she was sent to time-out or told to sit in her booster seat until she'd finished her sandwich, she would sometimes emerge with wet pants.  This, of course, was frustrating.

And then, just yesterday, she began just letting go - whenever she felt like it - and not telling anyone about it.  She would be spotted with a large dark spot on her pants and, when questioned as to why she chose not to tell anyone, would shrug her shoulders and say, "I was playing."  She did not go in the potty once yesterday - despite being sent to try numerous times (usually that's all it takes).

Oh, if ever there is a moment in child-rearing when you just want to throw in the towel and ship them to potty-training boot camp, that was it.

This girl is the most stubborn being on the planet.  I have no idea where she gets it - I was certainly never that way (don't ask my parents, they're getting senile in their old age).

07 November 2011

Of Rainy Days

For the first time in a year, I took my kids out back to play.  It's Micaiah's favorite activity on a rainy day: making footprints.  The last time precipitation fell, she ran out front, found the closest puddle to get her little pink Dora shoes sufficiently wet and then figured out how to put her weight on her heels, so as to not waste the wet before she made her way to the dry porch to leave her mark - demanding I do the same, of course.

This morning, in the backyard, she discovered not just puddles but . . . mud.  And she was delighted.  Of course, if the mud had been on her hands life would not have been so pleasant - but on her hot pink boots, the muck was quite thrilling - it was a new way to stamp her mark on the concrete, smearing the brown every which way.

The joy that girl finds in the smallest things never ceases to bring a smile to my own face.

Of course, holding my son's hand as he stepped gingerly across the patio, practicing his newest skills, excited to be outdoors and also allowed to crawl all over the wet concrete when his legs gave out, was pretty great, too.

I'm not sure I could imagine a better way to spend a rainy morning.

Getting her boots wet.

Making footprints.

We love the Fall - and having a backyard again.

Toddling with my little man.

06 November 2011

Of a Walker

When Micaiah first began toddling about two years ago, we were eager to graduate her from the "Crawlers" Sunday School class to the "Walkers," where she could be with her friends (she had taken longer to reach the milestone than her comrades), but we were (only slightly) disappointed to be encouraged to keep her with the younger ones as she was not yet confident in her two-footed abilities and the Walkers, we were told, were a rough bunch.

And so she stayed, until she was running circles around those crawling babies and was finally forced to mosey along.

Thus, I anticipated the same slow transition with Emmett - who, at sixteen months was, by far, the oldest kid in his Crawlers class, but since a Crawler he was, in the class he stayed.  Apparently, though, they were much more eager to move our slow developer along because at the first signs of steps, he was hurried on up to the Walkers class, where he enjoyed his first Sunday this morning.

And it would seem the title has done much to increase his confidence.

It seemed the moment we got home all he wanted to do was be on his feet, as if seeing all those other kids his own age running around made him realize he could do it, too.  After lunch, while playing with his wooden train, he stood to play, only to bend over to actually roll the train along.  And when I asked for help putting the toys away, rather than crawling quickly over as he typically would, he proudly pulled to his feet to toddle across the room, as if to say, "Sure, Mom, I'll just head on over - on my own two feet - just a walkin' on over, 'cause I'm a Walker now, you know!"

That's my little man, the Walker.

05 November 2011

Of Quaking

It was the middle of the night and I woke up to shaking - though, "woke up" is a loose term, because I was still dazed enough when Philip announced, amidst the wiggling of the walls, "Earthquake!", it was actually news to me - in a way.  Until that very moment it hadn't actually occurred to me what I was feeling - I was in such a dream state I thought it all went together.  In fact, I'm pretty sure Philip thought I was talking in my sleep as I, very much disoriented, attempted to describe just what I thought had been happening.  I suppose he would have been half right.

We looked at the clock to verify the time, rolled over and went to sleep only to wake six hours later to a Facebook a-buzz over the latest natural "disaster" to reach our state.

Fast forward twelve hours to this evening, after bidding farewell to our neighbors following a wonderful evening of games, popcorn and cookies, we settled down only to feel an insane quaking that shook our entertainment center, floor, walls, and about everything else around us, and felt as though it would never end.  Thirty seconds never felt so long.

And my stomach is still feeling the queasiness.

I'm pretty sure at some point in the next week the earth will be opening up to swallow Oklahoma.  To everyone else, we love you and pray you love Jesus so we'll see you soon.

03 November 2011

Of Three Months

My due date is three months away (give or take).

Never has anything seemed so imminent and, yet, so far away.  For some reason when I tell people I'm due in February, even a couple of months ago, the response is always, "That's so soon!"  This reaction always surprises me because I have always felt February to be the distant future.  Even now - "three months" - it seems like quite a long time.

But my body is telling me it's not as long as I think it is.  Somehow, three months away, and I'm already having trouble getting off of the couch.  My ever-sensitive husband is already singing "Baby Beluga" to me as he watches me attempt to sit up.  And I already got light-headed trying to stand up while holding my 16-month-old son (who should totally be walking by now . . . but, alas, five steps does not get him very far).

And after reading through an entire book on birthing, I feel like I could just pop this baby out tomorrow.

And then I remember.  Three months.  Three more months of this belly expanding past the "cute pregnancy stage" into the "Oh my goodness, when are you due?!" stage.  Three more months of rolling myself off the sofa. Three more months of potty breaks and endless hunger.

Three more months to cherish time with my two eldest and my wonderful husband before our life, our sleep-schedule, and our routine revolves, once again, around a little being weighing less than ten pounds (or let's hope).  Three more months until I get to meet this squirmy, wiggly little child.

I can hardly wait.  And yet, three months sounds good.

02 November 2011

Of Leaf Art

I would first like to reassure you this evening that I am nearly recovered from the "loss" of our dogs.  My mind has been fully able to wrap around all the glorious aspects of not having two large animals taking up residence in our backyard and the trauma of last night's farewell has mostly passed.

Moving on, this evening I decided to tackle yet another item from our Family Fun Fall Checklist.  As I have had a nice stack of dried leaves hanging out ever since our "Nature Walk" a few weeks ago, I named tonight our evening to "Make Leaf Art."

I'm wishing I took pictures for you, but, sadly, I tend to get caught up in the activity at hand and fail to run for the camera to actually capture it for posterity.  Please forgive me for enjoying the moment.

We began with leaf rubbings, which I thoroughly enjoyed, though the idea kind of flopped as far as our three-year-old was concerned.  She loved, of course, coloring as a family, but the fact that the image of the leaf under her paper was showing in her colored strokes did little to excite her.  And Emmett was just happy to have a crayon in his little hand.  So, after Daddy and I got our creativity out on our own papers, we moved along in the evening's activities.

Next, I traced each child's hand on brown construction paper and cut out the hand, making a tree trunk extend from the wrist.  I then glued this bare tree to another piece of paper and planned for us to glue the dried leaves to the trees.

Micaiah actually really enjoyed this part and did a great job placing her glue-covered leaves.  Meanwhile, Daddy had to do all the work for Emmett - but he still loved having a crayon in his hand.

Sadly, our Elmer's did little to help the leaves actually stick, so that was kind of a flop, too.

But the important thing is we spent time as a family and we made art, with leaves, so that's checked off the list.  At least we I have priorities.

01 November 2011

Of a New Home

As you may or may not remember, 365 days ago, we embarked on a new journey as dog owners.  You may also recall this has been a roller coaster at best.  We've always loved the dogs - they're too sweet not to - but at the same time, with our three-year-old not being a fan of actual interaction with animals (though the idea of it always makes her happy, the execution not so much), we have not had the opportunity to spend near as much time with them as they deserve.  Thus, we've mourned the loss of our backyard as a play spot for our children and a viable gardening location (these little big guys are quite destructive as they have been, for most of the past year, still in their puppy stage).  So, we've loved the dogs, but hated what we've had to give up due to their presence.

And so it is, exactly one year after taking ownership, our journey has ended.  Tonight we bade Bennet and Bingley farewell as they entered into the next stage of their life with a new family (found via Craigslist, but we trust they will provide our guys with a loving environment).

All day long, while Micaiah was sad at the prospect of her dogs leaving ("The dogs don't go!  They have to stay with me!  I have to stay with them!" - why don't you just rip our hearts out, little girl?), Philip and I have been rejoicing - thinking of all the things we haven't been able to do this past year, but now will be able to enjoy once again.

We can plant garlic again!

We can put screens back in our windows (they tore these out, too)!

We can take the kids outside to play!

Oh, how marvelous!

What I didn't count on were the tears that sprang from my eyes almost the minute we shut the door on our beloved puppies - and I'm not talking a tiny trickle, but snot flowing, crying into my husband's shirt-sleeve kind of tears.  Having never had many visitors in the backyard, they didn't know anyone other than us.  They were terrified.  And I was heartbroken.  Micaiah hadn't said, "Good-bye." Bennet is nervous anyway, how will he handle new people (and a new canine friend in his future home)?

While I know I'll recover soon enough, there is, apparently, a mourning process, still.

Darn those pregnancy hormones.

 My shy, nervous and adorable Bennet

 Our hyper, loving, and curious Bingley

Good-bye, Boys!