31 January 2012

Of a Lazy Day

Today was a lazy day in our house.  I was telling myself it would be convenient if the baby came tomorrow because today just felt like a Friday and I'm ready to stay home with my family for a little while.  Alas, it most likely isn't so.

Either way, my waking way earlier than my body really wanted to and feeling rather uncomfortable when doing anything other than sitting or reclining (I'm pretty sure if this baby dropped any lower, that would be what they in the medical profession like to call "birth" - it seriously can't have anywhere else to go), led to a morning of whatever would keep the kids distracted so I could lay on the couch reading a magazine and, all-around, not moving.

Thus, Micaiah spent the hours before lunch doing one of her ultimate favorite activities: playing on the iPad; and when Emmett got bored of looking over her shoulder, he begged for Dora - and I happily obliged.

The evening has been filled with game playing and contraction counting - which is quite a fruitless activity as they are anything but regular (or intense) - which actually renders them annoying at this stage.  If you're not bringing a baby into the world, I don't want to deal with you - go away (that's what I say to those lame Braxton-Hicks).

So, we keep waiting - not really anxiously - we're not to the point of pulling out every old wives' tale in the book to encourage labor.  Just waiting.  Knowing it will come.  Someday.  But not today.

Also on the agenda today, apparently, Emmett added knocking himself silly.  I truly think he was trying to get a concussion (a plan which, fortunately, failed).  This is the photo after his first goose egg of the morning (it looks like a shadow on his forehead in this picture, but it's not, it's a ginormous bruise), when he tripped while toting in a stool for sitting to watch his beloved Dora.  The second (not pictured), landed in a direct line above the first when he tried to bend over near the entertainment center and banged his head on the edge.  This kid needs a helmet, clearly.

This picture encompasses the most work I did all day, de-seeding three pomegranates - my first experience with the fruit - ever.  It made me feel exotic, encouraging the blood-red seeds from their rind and, later, adding a few to my yogurt.  Quite a pleasure, indeed.

30 January 2012

Of Another Day

Today was just another day in this house - another day of waiting and of living life as we know it.  The TV was off and the kids just played.  And this is how it went.

- Micaiah and Emmett spent the morning alternating between drawing and arguing over toys - sometimes, when they wanted the same markers or same paper, they combined the two activities.  And, yet, I still heard Micaiah announce, "I draw Emmett.  And it has two eyes and a mouth and two hands, just like Emmett."  As she was showing it to me, she added hair.  

- During a coloring break, Micaiah decided to rest on the hearth.  She pulled her blanket from her room and settled in.  As Emmett waddled in, trailing his own blanket and pillow, she announced, "We're camping out!"

- Nap time, as has been known to happen lately, began with 45 minutes of Mommy continually re-entering the room for another round of spankings and, "Lay down; stay in bed; go to sleep!"  The stress brought on unnecessary uterine contractions, which threw me into a whole different kind of tizzy.  An afternoon bath, though, calmed both my muscles and my mind.  And baby is settled in for just a little longer.

- Every member of this household had his/her first encounter with Brussels Sprouts this evening - and, surprisingly, it was not even traumatic for three out of the four.  The fourth had a difficult time grasping the concept that as a result of his not eating he would be denied a cookie - that actually doesn't happen often for him (and, no, it wasn't Philip).

- After dinner, Micaiah requested to play her "Somic Game" - and my quick, "Just a minute," to hush her away while I read something was mis-interpreted as consent.  But she was so excited, I just couldn't inform her of her error.  So, she played.  And by "played" I mean, she held the remote as Sonic the Hedgehog sped across the screen in the demo version which plays as it waits for someone to push "Start" - she never pushes "start" - she just watches him run.  And when he completes his goal, she cries, "I won!  I won!"  Meanwhile, Emmett stands by to offer pointers.

- And when she tired of this, Daddy got to play his "Boy Game", while the children watched in amazement and enacted, with much vigor, their own fighting off of the giant monsters.  They're good helpers.

And that was our day.  Nothing amazing, just an ordinary day - filled with wonder, joy, tears, anger, hugs and laughter.  Just another day.

29 January 2012

Of Being Ready

I've been saying for weeks now that I am really in no hurry for this little one to enter the world.  I've been addressing the reluctance to enter the realm of late-night feedings and an extra body to clothe before running out the door.  What I did not realize, though I knew I was anxious to attend this weekend's retreat, was this event was truly the one thing holding me back.  Now that my weekend with the girls has passed, I find myself actually ready.

My arms are eager to hold a tiny wrinkled body.

I am eager to see my daughter kiss a tiny head.

I'm nervous about not having a name for this little one, but it's not enough to wish the arrival would wait.

I am looking forward to the first rhythmic contractions - not the ones that will disappear with a change of position or a sip of water.

I am looking forward to putting my breathing practice to work.

I am looking forward to not remembering life before this newest one joined us.

So, little one, we're ready to meet you any time you're ready!

28 January 2012

Of Retreating

I have just this evening returned from our church's first ever Ladies Retreat to Falls Creek (if you don't know what Falls Creek is, you're clearly not from Oklahoma - and that's about all you're missing out on).  We were able to rent a ridiculously luxurious "cabin" at this typically-reserved-for-youth-groups "summer" camp for the night.  It made for a great 24-hours away to re-charge our batteries and re-connect as girls.

Of course, my traveling an hour and a half away from home at nearly 39 weeks pregnant made everyone around me a little anxious - but I had been praying for this baby to just wait until after today*.  And baby (and God) listened.  I was given the time I needed to remember how to dwell in God and come up under His wing as His beloved daughter.  What a breath of fresh air.

And now that this retreat is complete and I am safe at home, this baby has the green light to come whenever it is ready.  Bring on the contractions!  (Ok, let's be honest, they've already been brought, but I would appreciate it if they were more real than those I've been having over the past couple of days.)

*Please note: For those who are even now questioning my sanity, I am well aware that my body, in the past, has taken well longer than an hour and a half to deliver a baby, so even if typical signs of labor had appeared during the 24 hours I was away, I was quite certain I could return home.  And, in the extremely unlikely event something of a more emergent nature had occurred, I was surrounded by a wealth of nurses, both past and present - two of whom are currently labor and delivery nurses at our local hospital (one of whom aided in the delivery of our son) - so I knew I was in good, safe hands in either case.

 Sunrise out my window.  I did not even get out of bed for this picture (seriously, it was sunrise, not "wake-up time", as Micaiah would call it).

 The three "Preg-o's" who couldn't take the discomfort of the plastic chairs for another session commandeered (with the help of more able-bodied friends) a couch for the back row.  Yes, I look like a whale - don't judge.

26 January 2012

Of Fondue-ing It

*If you're only interested in a midwife update, skip to the bottom, otherwise, read on!

I realized only a couple of days after picking up my first Food Co-Op purchase that the additional produce on hand would combine nicely with the best use of Christmas money ever - our new electric fondue pot and Melting Pot cookbook.  Fresh broccoli, apples and cauliflower would dip quite nicely into our first-ever homemade cheese fondue.  And, of course, if we're going so far as to do the appetizer, might as well go the full mile and make the entree as well.

I have been looking forward to this all week, and my mouth has been watering at the thought of dipping my Mojo-style veggies into our own homemade Greek Goddess sauce.

I was not disappointed.

After working together to create the Cheddar Herb and Garlic cheese, we made hot dogs for the kids (just in case - no point in wasting fondue amazing-ness on picky toddlers!) and settled into our dipping.

Oh, and that bread is homemade - we had a really ambitious meal!

Absolutely amazing!  We subbed the alcohol in the recipe with milk (and vinegar), because I don't like the bite of the aftertaste.  It was still pretty delicious!

The most exciting part for me was how much the kids actually enjoyed the meal, as well.  They didn't do any dipping themselves, of course, but Micaiah loved her cheese-covered veggies and, later, the potatoes which had boiled in the Mojo juice for the main dish.  Meanwhile, Emmett loved the meat.  So, a fun and delicious meal everyone enjoys - now that's a rarity in our house and makes me super excited about future family fondue nights!

After we finished our first course, Philip and I left the kids to munch on the leftover carrots and apples while we prepared the entree.  They were incredibly patient as they awaited our return to the table and, really, were quite pleasant throughout the entire meal - they honestly did not seem to mind having to wait for their food while it cooked in the broth.  Anyone who knows our kids and their love for food knows this to be a miracle - these kids like to eat, and they like to eat now!

The main course: beef, chicken, potatoes and broccoli.

Watch that fondue sizzle.  Micaiah kept squealing, "Ah!  Fire!" because of all the steam.  She thought it was hilarious.

So, yes, overall, fondue night was a hit and shall return to our home.  I'm not sure we'll ever be able to muster the splurge for the Melting Pot now knowing how easy it is to re-create the experience.  But I'm not really complaining!

After dinner, just before heading to bed, Micaiah treated us all to dessert - a slice of her wooden Melissa & Doug birthday cake for everyone - complete with sprinkles.  Now, she knows how to finish off a meal!

And for the curious, my midwife appointment went well today.  Baby is still posterior, but seems to always hang out on the sides, meaning he/she is not entirely posterior, it's just that my anterior placenta isn't giving the baby anywhere else to go.  Also, there is still hope for the baby to re-adjust when it hits the pelvic floor.  So, just keep praying!

25 January 2012

Of Encouraging a Revolution

For the past couple of weeks, our midwives have been warning us that this little one is "posterior" - this means the baby, who should be facing toward my spine, is facing forward.  This is nothing life-threatening for us, but it can mean a more difficult (and uncomfortable) delivery.  Thus, they recommend I do this twice a day for about twenty minutes each:

Doesn't that just look like a ball (ba-dum-ching)?  At least, that's how I interpreted their suggestion of being "hands and knees on the ball" - because, um, there's a giant bump on my tummy that won't really rest on the ball, so I was not sure how I was to be on both hands and knees with a giant ball somewhere underneath.  If you have any better ideas, you let me know.

Not that it really matters much at this point, anyway, or so I'm beginning to presume.  Because as of today, it's definitely beginning to feel this tiny human has settled in for its impending delivery - leaving me to believe if it hasn't turned by now, our chances are it won't.  So, definitely hoping for good news at the midwife tomorrow!

In other news, the third of the six of us due next week or shortly thereafter has just had her little boy.  Just in case you're keeping count.

24 January 2012

Of Our Candlelit Hour

Just as Philip and I were about to turn out the lights in the nursery, satisfied with a job well done of re-arranging the furniture in preparation for our upcoming arrival (more on the nursery's final results another day - when they're more, you know, final), it would seem the recent "storm" (which had seemed more like a harmless spring-like rain - in the middle of winter) did the job for us.

We were thrust into blackness.

My resourceful husband had a flashlight in hand and was looking for solutions before my brain had even processed the fact that it apparently wasn't coming back on as quickly as we're used to.  Within a minute or two he even had the first couple of candles lit.  He had much less faith in the power company than I, it would seem.  And by the time half the house was bathed in a flickering glow, I was hoping he was right - I kind of liked the mood lighting.

As we had few other options (as in, Philip's latest video games are, of course, powerless without, well, power, and my laptop, while able to function for at least awhile, is somewhat useless to me without internet), we were forced to actually spend time together.  Thus, we pulled out the strategy card game we've been playing lately and sat down at the table, presided over by three tapered candles, to compete.

While we have been actually enjoying more game nights such as this over the past month, the added ambiance was a nice touch.  Perhaps candlelit date nights should come out to play more often.

23 January 2012

Of Peer Pressure

I am one of six women I know through various channels who are all due during the first week of February.  One of these had her baby last night and the other is in labor as I type.  We're dropping like flies.

Meanwhile, I alternate between feeling so ready to be in labor and crying in the fetal position (on the inside anyway), "I'm so not ready for this!"

Yes, it would seem with my third one it would be no big deal.  And on the one hand it isn't.  But the idea of orchestrating our life around a newborn so soon is exhausting.

At the same time, I do look forward to those first couple of contractions, the ones that are so clearly not Braxton-Hicks that will tell me, "This is it!"  Because I love me a good birth story and I'm looking forward to feeling this one unfold.  The anticipation is always exciting.

So, I remain torn.  As far as my schedule goes, I'd prefer this little one to hold off at least one more week.  Here's hoping I'm one of the final holdouts of these early/pre-February baby mamas.

But for now, I'm super happy for the latest ladies to join the Mommy club!

This is what are kids are up to tonight.  They're big fans of balloons.  Do you think they'll get all of this energy and noise out before baby comes, leaving quiet, calm siblings for the little one?  Yeah, I don't, either.

22 January 2012

Of Cultivating

While waiting for our latest human baby, Philip and I have been putting our care-taking energies into providing for our latest plant babies.

Our little herbs have been thriving (ok, two out of the three have - the Chives still haven't show much activity - we are a little concerned for their future).  We enjoy taking turns watering and checking for the latest growth.  Philip takes delight in noting how they lean into the sun, soaking it in.  Last weekend, when the weather warranted open windows, Philip even made the comment that if the Dill had feelings, he was sure it would enjoy the breeze.

Now we have to figure out how and when we're to actually harvest our herbs.  And what on earth to do with them after that. Baby steps.

Of Being Pampered

My wonderful husband, who has been working on building a predictable schedule for his body and has, thereby been waking up at a consistent time daily (even Saturdays!), gave me a most wonderful gift this morning - the ability to sleep in - without having to think about getting the kids up!

About midway through my dozing, I heard the door open and in walked the most handsome man ever (that would be my husband, in case you're confused, though I'm not sure why you would be) with a plate of eggs and a glass of milk.  In front of him walked the most adorable little girl with a tray to hold my breakfast in bed.  He then asked the cutest little boy, "Emmett what do you have?"

"Nana!" my Little Man announced proudly from his position next to the bed as he held up the yellow fruit.

With that, they all deposited their goodies, wished me good morning and then scooted off for their own breakfast, leaving me to eat in peace and then get back to resting.  Yes, I got to go back to sleep!  Can you even imagine?!

What made this even more meaningful was knowing there is a good chance this will be the last time I'll be sleeping in for quite some time (I have a retreat I'll be attending next weekend, if this little one does not arrive before then, and then my due date is right around the corner!).  Oh how sweet it is to revel in the final moments pre-baby.

I wish I'd thought to take a photo before I ravaged the deliciousness, but let's be honest, I had just woken up and been presented with food; photographing the moment was not high on my priority list.

20 January 2012

Of Preparations

While I understand this newest Little One may not make it's arrival earlier than initially expected, I also have to live in reality and realize it's not completely unreasonable that this baby could arrive literally any day over the next month.

Any day.

That seemed to finally hit me last night, as we went "homebirth shopping" (ie we took the giant list of suggested supplies from the midwives and hit up Wal-Mart for all they had).  On the list was snacks for both ourselves and for the midwives (because let's be honest, they could be there awhile).  I kept thinking we didn't really need to worry about that too much now, because we'd get things like fruit or cheese as we got closer.

That's the moment it hit me.  We are closer.  At this point, the only "closer" we'll get is when it's actually happening, and, frankly, I'm not sending my man to the grocery store for a fruit tray while this baby is working itself out.  So that was it, we have to be prepared.  We need this stuff on hand now.


Thus, in continued preparation, I packed up the kids this morning for a little field trip to the local fire department to have Little Bit's car seat properly installed - something I've always wanted to have done for our kids but never actually did.  So, today was the day.

I thought it would be more exciting for the kids than it was - mainly because our little girl was more interested in watching cartoons in the firehouse than actually oohing and aahing over the big trucks.  Other than the cartoons, a random stream of water pooled on the firehouse floor, which gave her a place to get her shoes wet and make footprints, was about the highlight of the morning for her.

Only a half hour later, all three car seats were snugly positioned in the middle row of our SUV - those suckers aren't budging.  Thus, as soon as I get the cover for the infant seat washed, we will be officially prepared to haul three children around town and beyond.

So here we are, not holding our breaths, but realizing we really are prepared for this baby.

Well, except for that darn crib.  It's still not assembled.  But we do own a mattress now, does that count?

Photos of the two days of preparation:
All our supplies ready and waiting in the corner of our bedroom.  The giant brown box is my "birth kit" we had to order, which contains all the little things (right down to the knit cap for baby) they typically have for a hospital birth which we'll also need here at home.  And, yes, those are adult diapers in the picture.  Don't ask how awkward those are to buy - but they were recommended.

Philip, being a good husband and inflating my birth ball.  We might not have done this task so early if I didn't need to be leaning on it to encourage this baby to face the right way (it's head down, but facing forward, whereas it will be easier on everyone if it faces my back).

This is exhausting work.  He takes good care of me!

 At the fire station, Emmett got to sit up in the big seat.  Micaiah was offered the position, as well, but she played the shy card and said she was scared.  Then proceeded to change her mind about twelve times.  The end result was no sitting in the fire truck for her.

 I'm pretty sure this was about the time she was telling me, "I want to go inside and watch cartoons."  Surrounded by cool fire trucks and that's all she can think of - nothing impresses this girl.

 Emmett had fun playing with the stream of water, too (which you can't see in this picture, but was close to where he was standing).  Again, cool uniforms to see and it's all about the puddle.  Sigh.  My kids.

 Well, at least they were excited about the "badges" and coloring books the firemen gave them.  Maybe there is hope for them yet.

18 January 2012

Of Sisters and Animals

Every morning for breakfast, my children enjoy milk, cereal, eggs (usually) and a banana.  Despite the routine, Micaiah still insists on asking every morning, "What are we having for breakfast?" as if it's a huge surprise.  And if I leave something off of the list, she'll confirm we're not deviating, "And milk?  I want milk."  "Yes, baby, and milk."

And every morning, without fail, after her breakfast is placed in front of her and prayed over, she reaches first for her banana, left cracked open but unpeeled as she insists on doing that part herself, and announces, "I'm a sister monkey!"

Every morning.

It's actually a pretty cute part of the routine.  Sometimes she'll go on to explain that Emmett is the brother monkey.  But I don't get to be a monkey because I don't have a banana (it's enough to have to buy 14 bananas a week, let alone extras for me - I get those if I splurge).  Although, she once told me I was a bear, because apparently that's the kind of animal that eats oatmeal.  Good to know.

My little "sister monkey" in banana-eating action.

On the topic, though, of sister animals, Micaiah is still very insistent that this baby is a girl.  In fact, she's even transitioned from announcing she's having a sister and Emmett's having a brother to sticking with the idea that they are both having sisters.  When we dare to suggest this might be a brother, we are emphatically rebuffed, "No, it's a girl!"

I'm almost really wishing she's right because I'm not sure I'll be able to handle her devastation otherwise.  But I'm sure she'll recover - she does seem to love her Emmett.

17 January 2012

Of Waiting Patiently

As of Sunday I am 37 weeks along.  That means this baby is considered full term.  This is the moment I was waiting for when I was pregnant with Micaiah.  Though at the time it had more to do with the fact that I had a wedding to attend at the end of an 8-hour road trip only 10 days after my due date.  So, having her arrive sooner rather than later was a major goal for me.

Unfortunately, being the stubborn OCD girl she is, Micaiah had that date set on her calendar and saw no need to come any earlier than was already determined.  I, however, did not yet know that aspect of my daughter's personality, so at 37 weeks, I figured I had the green light.

Every morning I awoke in anticipation - this could be the day!  And every night I went to bed with sadness - as if admitting defeat - the baby wasn't coming, I might as well go to sleep.

Things were different with Emmett - I had no scheduling conflicts to hurry him along, but he had been riding uncomfortably low for a number of months.  So by 37 weeks I was more than ready to encourage this Little Man out into the world.  And it felt as though any day could be the day.

This time, while still looking forward to our homebirth (seriously excited to see how this goes!) and, of course, holding this tiny penguin in my arms, this isn't my first rodeo.  I have a pretty good idea of how my body works and, as far it's concerned, slow and steady wins the race.  So I'm not holding my breath.  In fact, we haven't even finished shopping for the homebirth necessities as recommended by our midwives.

As with my previous two, I am probably already dilated 3-4 cm (I had been at that point for three-four weeks before either of them came - when I left the hospital after my labor stalled with Emmett, I was at a five - and stayed that way for three days before we induced him).  But I know it means nothing, so I'm not arguing with the fact that the midwives aren't checking (they, like me, know it leads to false hopes or unnecessary disappointment).

Many well-wishers keep insisting that, this being my third child, this will go so quickly and my baby will come out almost instantaneously.

I know otherwise.

Aside from my aforementioned slowness in birthing babies, I know I was a third baby.  My mom's due date was their anniversary - June 3rd.  My birthday is June 28th.  I'll let you  do the math.  And the only reason I came then is because I was induced.

So, again, I am not holding my breath.

I don't anticipate a baby in my arms any day now and I don't anticipate a one-hour labor.  If either happens, I will welcome it.  But, still, not holding my breath.

Picture of the Day:
While I understand this baby probably won't be here any minute, I am at the point where maintaining a spic-and-span home, so it's one less thing to worry about when the time comes, has become a priority.  Thus, after a day of Winter Cleaning yesterday (with windows open to allow in the 72 degrees of warmth which showered the event with an air of Spring Cleaning), it has made me happy all day to see these sights.

 Here's what you may not understand - that table and those counters have been unnecessarily cluttered since Christmas.  Not unbearable, just filled with those little things you don't know where to put so you just ignore.  And now it's a straight-shot of cleanliness.  (Not spotlessness, mind you, but it's much-improved, trust me.)

 Another bane of my existence lately.  This kitchen is typically filled with toys - as in, if I tell Micaiah to put something in her kitchen, it gets dumped in that tiny sink.  Philip spent a solid 45 minutes yesterday straightening it up.  I love that man.

16 January 2012

Of the Whining Game

We had guests for dinner tonight and though I know Chicken Pot Pie isn't Micaiah's favorite (as she explained while I cooked, "It has vegetables.  I don't like vegetables."), I'm a fan and it feeds multiple people, so Chicken Pot Pie it was.  Of course, she still wouldn't oblige with the vegetables and being that we had guests, I didn't push the issue.  I simply requested she finish the chicken.  At this suggestion, she announced, "And I get dessert because I eat all my dinner."

"Well, no, if you want dessert, you'd have to eat all of this," I explained, pointing to the orange and green stuff she was currently refusing.

"I don't want dessert."

"That's what I thought."

Of course, when she learned dessert was fondue with marshmallows, strawberries, and bananas all dipped in chocolate, her tune was different.  But by now it was too late.  And it was very difficult to turn down her continual requests for just one marshmallow or just one strawberry or a little bit of chocolate.  And while I was very tempted to relent because, after all, we had guests and I hated to deprive her of special treat, I realized I did not want to train her to whine.  So I stood firm.

And it was only a minute later she finally said, "Can't you just say, 'Oookay' and I can have a marshmallow?"  It was her way of saying, "I know this game, Mommy, and now it's your turn."  I guess I didn't realize how much I had already trained her to whine.

Point taken.

On an unrelated note (as has been happening frequently), my photo of today is actually of Little Man, whose love of shoes is quite prevalent.  He will often go in Sissy's side of the closet and start pulling out her footwear to try on.  Today, he found my shoes in the living room in the closet where I always keep them and tried them on for size.  He looked so fancy.  I'm clinging to the fact that real gender preferences don't show up until they're three and hoping his love for shoes dies down, but until then, it's stinking adorable.

15 January 2012

Of Our Grand Opening

The church library celebrated its Grand Opening today.  While it wasn't quite as Grand as I'd hoped, I'm just so happy to be officially open to the public.  And we did have our first book checked out (Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love - I couldn't have made a better selection myself), so all is good!

I may not have been terribly surprised when no one came to our 7:45 opening (though the attendance at our later hour was much better), but it did leave me blaming myself, feeling as though others who had been counting on my leadership or initiative or whatever quality was necessary to spearhead this thing had been let down.  I had not done my best and failed in so many areas I had intended to try harder.  I didn't advertise enough, communicate enough - fill in the blank, I wasn't enough.

And then I went the familiar route - this isn't my area.  I'm not a promoter, I'm a behind-the-scenes kind of girl. I am not up to the task - I am in over my head.

This was when I remembered that I did not choose this task alone.  God chose me to lead this library - or at least initiate it.  And His power is made perfect in weakness.  I may not be the best person for the job, but I am the one God chose.  And that, in itself, is enough.

This is not, nor have I ever considered it, my library.  It is His library.  I am merely His workman.  May I be able to present myself unashamed.

The kids enjoyed the fact that the Grand Opening of the library meant leftover donuts and bundles of balloons (or "Noo!" as Emmett calls his) to take home.  Meanwhile, I'm just grateful little man is still of the age where he is just happy to have one "Noo" and doesn't recognize his sister is clinging to four.  (Okay, so maybe he doesn't look to happy here, but that has more to do with Mommy interrupting play time for picture time than an inequality in balloon dispersion.)

14 January 2012

Of My Sous Chefs

It has always been true that the time during which I prepare dinner is Emmett's roughest time of the day.  Not only is he a snuggler, but he likes to be in on the action and when I am in the kitchen is the one time, guaranteed, that he wants to be held - a task which isn't so feasible when I am working over a hot stove or need both hands - which is every night.  So most evenings, unless I don't need Daddy's help (which frees him to distract our little man), we endure Emmett's fussing until he is in his chair with food in front of him.

It wasn't until recently that I realized, it's not just being close to us that he desires - he just wants to see what's going on.  Thus, I have begun inviting him to stand on the stool which has hitherto been reserved for Sissy - since the age when she first began to desire the same thing.  This being up just high enough to witness the goings-on up above has made these times in the kitchen much more bearable for everyone.

Of course, now we have to pull in a second stool so Sissy isn't left out.  But now they can both happily cook alongside Momma.

Please note in these pictures, Emmett is not actually cooking on a hot stove, but, rather, he is playing with the dirty dishes left over from this morning's breakfast.  I don't know if that makes it better, but at least it's safer than it appears.

13 January 2012

Of Swashbuckling

So many times as parents of little ones we ask ourselves the question, "Where did they learn that?!"

Today, I had that question answered for at least one adorable activity.

As Emmett sat in Daddy's lap watching him play the latest release in the Legend of Zelda saga (a favorite activity of the kids, actually), I heard him repeating after Link, as Daddy swished his Wii Remote back and forth, "H-ya!"

Suddenly I realized, so this is why he came running into the kitchen today, wielding a cardboard tube, stance wide, yelling "H-ya!" as he brandished his weapon through the air.  Watching the video game character on the screen I saw the spitting image of this morning's scene played out by my little boy.

At least that's one mystery solved.

Here he is, our little sponge, watching his icon.  Later, he dashed around with his sword, beating up the closest object, which happened to be a ball.

12 January 2012

Of Piano Time

Earlier this week, while watching a movie, I posed a question to Philip about what it must have been like in the days before television or radio, when families had to find other pursuits to occupy their evening hours.  Visions of activities such as story-telling, or family sessions around the piano, or, in the Jane Austen era at least, the playing of cards in the Drawing Room, filled my head.  

This evening, after dinner, while the children enjoyed a rousing tickle session with Daddy, I settled onto the floor (quite a commitment for a pregnant woman of my girth) to entertain myself on the Learn-to-Play Piano the children received from their aunt and uncle for Christmas.  Myself never having learned to play (though dabbling here and there), I opened the accompanying book to "Old MacDonald" (a favorite of Emmett's) and began to play.  Intrigued, the children gathered round and Micaiah begged her turn.  

As she sat on my lap, I showed her how the letters on the music page corresponded to the letters on the piano and demonstrated playing a note.  From there, she successfully hit each key to which I pointed.  It was clearly hunt-and-peck and did not yet resemble a tune, but for a three-year-old's first stab at playing music, we were impressed.  And she was thrilled, of course.

And suddenly, minus the fact we were huddled around a miniature instrument painted red, green, yellow and black, it felt as though we were taken back in time, enjoying family time around the piano.  

I'm sure it's just how Jane Austen knew it.

11 January 2012

Of Weather

Before showing you this picture of the day, I would just like to note it was 61 degrees outside this afternoon - or so told me my Weather Widget when I settled down to my computer after lunch.  And from my before-lunch jaunts outside, I would have no reason to doubt it.

This is what my weather widget says now:

I'm not sure how closely you're looking (or if it's just too trippy to you to have that "blog within a blog" effect so you're not focusing on the right thing), but that says 34 degrees.  And right next to that, there's a cloud.  And what's falling from the cloud?  That's right, snowflakes.

And from my brief jaunt out to the mailbox after putting the kids to bed, I can, indeed, attest to the fact that there was some not-so-liquid precipitation stinging my face.

Seriously. Oklahoma?  It was 61!


As a result, tonight's before-bed snack is brought to you by Malt-O-Meal, my snuggly cold-weather alternative to your typical bowl of cereal (also something specifically advised against by the midwives two weeks ago thanks to raised glucose levels - I won't tell if you don't).

(Also please note, in the 15 minutes between when I took this picture and when I posted it, the temperature reported on my widget dropped to 32.  This is lame.)

Further Update:  After my initial post, I peeked outside to see if I could actually see snowflakes swirling in the air (though I knew it would only be in the air as the ground wasn't cold enough to sustain accumulation, right?).  This is what I found:

I would be lying if I didn't admit it actually makes my heart a little happy inside.