Thursday, May 21, 2009

Has my daughter been brushing up on her Bible knowledge?

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, "There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: 'My rights are being violated. Protect me!'

"He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, 'I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won't quit badgering me, I'd better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I'm going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.'"

Luke 18:2-5 (The Message)

This scenario was played out in our house this week only I was the judge and Bella was the widow. There was quite a bit of badgering going on. No rights were being violated. . . but one little girl was was fighting for her right to play at the park.

It was my own fault. I mentioned the "P" word. Only I meant it as a verb - like "after we park the van." The context of the word clearly didn't matter to Bella. Once she heard it there was no turning back.

"Can we go to the park?"
"After we have lunch, are we going to the park?"
"Is it time to go to the park now?"
"Graydon can come to the park with us."

And my favorite:
"Mom, I have an idea. I ask if we can go to the park and you say 'yes'. Isn't that a good idea?"

I finally gave in. Persistence pays off.
Look who's taking his paci!!! After months of spitting it out as soon as I'd put it in. . . or even worse, screaming even harder because I had the nerve to offer it in the first place, the little man is finally seeing the light. I confess that I'm probably abusing the paci right now. I am just enjoying how simple it has made life lately (and I'm secretly afraid that if I don't offer it enough, he's going to lose his paci-taking ability).Here's proof that it's not constantly in his mouth. In addition to the paci, Graydon has found other things to latch on to. Taking after big sister with this one. The photo doesn't do this moment justice. Graydon seemed to think there'd be milk involved with this by the way he was going at it.
Three days from now, we'll be on the road. Wisconsin here we come!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nothing can feel quite as empowering to a mom. . .

. . . as successfully tackling a large grocery shopping trip with multiple children.

I managed to do just that this week. Other than a soggy list (thanks to Graydon) which led to a big hole in my list (Graydon again), everything went smoothly. And despite that big hole in my list, I left the store with everything that I needed. With a grocery store right across the street, I've been on my own with the kids for food shopping before. Those trip involved packing both kids into the stroller and walking over to pick up our items. It's typically a pretty light load. The convenience of this grocery store is probably why I haven't had to do big shopping with both kids until now. It did feel a little weird driving across the street, but there was no way that I could carry all of the bags and the kids.

It's funny - the reactions from other shoppers. There's the other mothers with their kids whose smiles communicate their understanding that these kids are ticking time bombs, waiting to go off without warning (Graydon). Then there's the shopper who might, unknowingly, be blocking the aisle and who, upon seeing me with one child in the cart, one in a Snugli, (and my soggy list), becomes overly apologetic because they too know that these children are ticking time bombs. And finally, there's the woman who goes goo-goo for Graydon and asks Bella if she likes being a big sister/if she's a good helper/does she like having a brother/etc. She clearly does not get that these kids are ticking time bombs. . . but she's friendly enough that we can appreciate her anyway - even if she did add several minutes to our shopping trip.

Now that I've tackled big food shopping with the kids, I'm pretty much invincible now, right?!
Check out this handsome little guy. His smile literally takes up his whole face. No wonder he's got the ladies going goo-goo over him.
Nothing beats chillin' in a diaper on a hot day. Sweet Bella.
Tonight at dinner, Bella initiated our prayer. Usually one of us prays and lately we've been having Bella repeat what we say. Since she initiated, we asked if she would say the prayer. She did. Here's what she said. . .

"Dear God.
Thank you for the day.
Thank you for Auntie Jodi's baby. . .
and for her being well.
Thank you for the food
and for love.

She's precious. And she's got the same big smile that her brother has.
Donnie (Auntie Mary's nickname for Graydon) getting some good use out of his exersaucer. He's becoming such a big boy. As eluded to by Bella's prayer, my sister, Jodi, had her baby this week! Ava Yvonne Kreuser was born on May 13th at 7:43pm. She is 6 lbs. 9oz. and almost 19 inches long. I can't wait to hold this little baby! One more week until our trip back to Wisconsin!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

I enjoyed my Mother's Day very much. For starters, I got to sleep in a little - something that never happens on Sundays. Bella greeted me that morning with a card and a "Happy Mother's Day". She couldn't wait for me to open my present - Photoshop Elements 7. I've wanted this program for years now. I've installed it on my computer and can't wait for some time to play around with it. After church, we tried to have lunch outside, but the wind forced us back in. Later in the day, we spent some time with our friends who just had a baby girl 4 weeks ago. The little one was so cute and content. After Graydon's newborn days, my vision of a newborn is pretty much a baby who cries all the time; so when I saw this little peanut content as can be, I was pretty amazed. She also looked so tiny to me. Though Graydon is only 4 months old, I seem to have no recollection of him being that little. (Maybe because he only spent about a minute being tiny - or because I blocked out those traumatic early days!) Speaking of Graydon's size, we had his 4 month check-up last Wednesday. His new stats:
Height: 25 2/4 in. - 90th percentile
Weight: 15 lbs. 8 oz. - 75th percentile
Head circumference: 16 5/8 in. - 50th percentile

He got four more shots and did great. As soon as I picked him up, he stopped crying and was in a great mood for the rest of the day. Maybe we should get shots more often. Just kidding.Did I mention how much he loves his toes.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A lot can change. . .

This was our first glimpse of our little bean. May 5, 2008. I was 6 weeks, 4 days pregnant.
Here is that little bean today - exactly one year later. I took this photo about an hour ago.
What a difference a year can make.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Let's talk about SLEEP. . .

. . . or my lack of it during these past four months.
During those early newborn days, Graydon's days and nights were all confused, as is the case with many newborns. Within a week or two, we got them straightened out; though getting him back down after that 2am feeding continued to be a challenge for the next month. By two months of age, I thought we were making progress. Graydon went down for the night around 8pm and would sleep until 1:00/2:00am, then up again around 4:00/5:00am, and then up for the day around 6:30am. I was tired, but that was manageable. At three months, he started waking more frequently. . . sometimes 10:30 or 11:30pm. Sometimes both - in addition to the other times he was already getting up. He also became increasingly more difficult to get back to sleep {I had to nurse him every time - sometimes for a half hour}. I comforted myself with the thought that he's just going through a growth spurt or it's teething. But things haven't gotten better. Couple that with the fact that he's been fighting naps as well {I'd spend a half hour bouncing/shhhhing/rocking/etc. only to have him wake up as soon as I lay him down - continue this dance a few times until he finally stays down - and then only napping for about 20 min.} and you've got one exhausted Mommy who is very close to losing it.

You do what works while it's working. And when it stops working, you find something else that does. That's where we're at. If Graydon was my only child, I might be able to continue this for a while longer with the hope that things will work themselves out. But I've got Bella who also has needs - ones that require me to have some bit of energy during the day. I decided to do some research on sleep training and ordered this book. It hasn't arrived yet, but I have put into play some of its techniques, as I understand them. I started with naps. I rock with Graydon, read him a book, sing him a song, and then lay him down drowsy. He cries. I let him cry for about 2 minutes and then go back and pat him tummy to remind him that I haven't abandoned him. After a few moments, I leave and come back after 5 min. Repeat. Then 7 min. Etc. I had no expectation of how Graydon would respond to this. Thankfully, the longest he's cried for has been 20 minutes (with me going in during the appropriate intervals). Sometimes, he's only cried for 3 minutes. We're only on Day 3 of this. As far as nights, I won't nurse him if it's before 2am. When he wakes up before that, those are the times that he tends to go the full 20 min. before falling back to sleep. I'm hoping that all of this is teaching him how to fall asleep on his own so that he doesn't depend on nursing back to sleep all of the time. Ideally, the goal is to get him to sleep through the night, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

And before I can go on, I want to add that Andy has been very helpful in all of this. I'm the one that gets up in the night since I see no reason for both of us to be exhausted. But when 6am rolls around and Graydon is ready to be up for the day, Andy will take him and let me sleep until 8:30am. I absolutely need that. One morning I came down to find not only two content kids, but the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, diapers in the wash machine, and garbage ready to go out the door. I started crying. Apparently sleep deprivation makes me really emotional.
Other than Graydon's sleep issues, here is what we've been up to this week:
Homemade popsicles are quite a treat on those unseasonably hot spring days. We made two batches of pink lemonade ones.My cute family! Bella looking more and more beautiful.Isn't this photo so sweet? Bella didn't like being worn, but Graydon loves it.Such a precious boy. Looks a lot like Daddy here.I took the kids to a farm/play area on Thursday. Bella had a great time! Somebody turned four months old!!! He celebrated by rolling over from his back to his tummy. I've seen it twice - but only when he's not wearing a diaper. Bathtime progression: hanging out on the bathroom floor while Mommy fills the tub.
Getting all cleaned up! Graydon cracks me up in the tub. He's always kicking his legs around; but with not much room on the sides for his arms to do much, they are just kind of there. Makes him look like he's doing a horizontal irish dance!
Drying off: with feet to play with, who needs toys!
My kiddos! Graydon was not quite in the picture-taking mood that Bella was in, but I think it's sweet that they are holding hands.Sometimes my love for these kids just overwhelms me and it makes me cry. Maybe it's the emotion-induced sleep deprivation; but I think that sometimes God lets me in on how blessed I am. That happened this week. Nothing brings me joy faster than to see these two kids interact with each other. Bella can make Graydon laugh like no one else.And he just adores her. My cup overflows!