Thursday, October 30, 2008

Robbie is still sick, although his cough is starting to sound a little better instead of worse.  So hopefully we're on the upswing!  This morning Robbie woke up with some pretty sweet bed head.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.  You can tell he's mortified that I'm taking his picture because he knows I post everything on our blog.

Mom you are so embarrassing!



This is yesterday morning's breakfast.  He ate it all, but it was a disaster.  So I totally gave in and let him explore his bowl, spoon, and remnants of yogurt since he was messy already.


He always tries to grab for the bowl (and is successful during the meals that I am not 100% focused and paying attention, often sloshing baby food across the tray).  You can imagine how proud he was that he could grab the bowl, AND the spoon!  He's really into taking things on his tray and holding them out to the side of the high chair (at home and out at restaurants).  Sometimes he drops them on the floor, but usually he just lets them dangle and watches them!  It's pretty funny.  (Hey, we don't get out much anymore.)

Check it out, I know what to do with my spoon!   You people give me no credit.  (Looks like I might have to start letting him try to figure out how to use a spoon... grrrreaaaaaaaaat.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

This is what sick looks like

(And you can't even see the snot that somehow ended up on his left cheek!)

Poor Robbie has a cold right now!  He came down with it yesterday, and our night last night involved sitting in the bathroom with a hot shower running, reading books and bulb syringing snot at 4am.  A real high point for me as a mom came shortly after, when I gave him a bottle of water and juice to keep him hydrated... he started to cough and must have awakened the gag reflex, because he cough/threw up juice on me.  On my face.  I had to close my mouth and hold my breath.  Nice!

Play group and "the GGGGGG-men!"

Last week Robbie went to play group for the first time!  Jack Roth was the host, and as you can see he was friendly as can be to Robbie.

These two guys have always gotten along well!

Jack, his pretty mom Kris, and his baby sister Annie (don't you just want to eat her up?!)


Then on Sunday, the Giants were on and Robbie wasn't feeling well.  So the boys put on their jerseys and rested on the couch together.  

Son, this is a football.  (I just love this picture!!)

So cute in their matching jerseys! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Every day, something new - part 2

Today Robbie learned a new trick - swiveling his head from left to right.  We were at lunch with my parents, and my dad was playing with Robbie while he was in his car seat, saying 'No, no, no!' to him in a lighthearted voice and shaking his head from left to right.  All of the sudden, Robbie starts to mimic him!  Swiveling his head back and forth.  He had never done that movement before, so I nearly fell off my chair.  What a big day, to learn a new movement and to also mimic / repeat it on command!

These babies are smart little suckers.  :)  

Also, he went on 2  more shopping cart rides - at Babies R Us and at Target.  He's a champ at staying upright now in the kid part of the cart, except for the Target errand, which must have fallen smack in the middle of his nap time.  He ended up leaning over to the side, resting his head on the side of the cart, falling asleep while I was checking out!  So funny.

Before the day was over, I took Robbie to nearby Seven Gables Park as a part of my tour of Wheaton's parks before winter sets in.  It was his second park (the first was our neighborhood Briarknoll park) and second time on a swing.  Although he seems to like it, it elicits no visible outward response of joy!  Most of the pictures are of him hanging over the side of the swing with a look on his face that says "Call DCFS if you love me".  Here are my 2 favorites.


Double hood - mommy really doesn't want me to get sick.

One day I will be big enough to play on that awesome playground in the background!

Thanks to all of my mommy friends who encouraged me to keep both the winter jacket and the one-piece winter suit for him, when I was trying to decide which one I'd use more.  Obviously, we're breaking in the one-piece already!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Every day, something new

Today Robbie went for his first ride in a shopping cart - sans his car seat!  He sat in the little kid part all by himself, protected from all the gross public germs by his shopping cart seat cover thingy.  Aside from the occasional lean to the left or right as I rounded the corner of an aisle, he did great.  In fact, I think he LOVED it.  He was taking everything in from his new vantage point and made eyes at all the lovely ladies he saw.  

He has also learned how to sniff without cause: in-out-in-out, in rapid succession.  So now while I'm feeding him, if I don't get the next bite in his mouth quick enough, he starts the rapid-sniff with his mouth wide open.  I almost dropped the spoon laughing today when he did this for the first time.  I will try desperately to get video of it, since I know how to get them on the blog now!  

Life with a baby... never dull, and always full of joy.  We are so blessed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

First video on blog!

Robbie snacked on Daddy's nose last night before bedtime.  Before playing, scroll down and pause the blog music so that you are able to hear the sound from the video!


video

Not Me Monday

I did not pull an all-nighter last night after waking up to Robbie's cries at 11:30pm.  Not me, I can sleep anytime, anywhere.

It would certainly be unlike me to go to Whole Foods in search of soup for dinner yesterday in fleece PJ pants and a fuzzy zip up sweatshirt, and house slippers.  I always leave the house looking put together and fashion forward. 

I would never dream of pulling Robbie into bed with me at 5:30am most mornings so that I can get more sleep, because he always sleeps in an extra 2-3 hours when he's snuggled up next to me.  No, I get up at the crack of dawn with him and start our day with energy!

I did not eat 4 pieces of broiled garlic butter baguette last night.  I am a delicate flower, and eat like a bird.

How about you?!

Learning how to Love & Respect

Rob and I had the amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Eggerichs speak in person at our church on Friday and Saturday (author of "Love and Respect").  It completely transformed our hearts, the way we view our marriage and each other, and was definitely a 'stake in the ground' moment for us.  

I thought I'd share a few thoughts and learnings here with you.  So grab a cup of coffee or tea and cozy up.  I have to give you a quick run down of the key principles before I delve into the concepts that I was blown away by.

In marriage, we WILL have trouble.  God designed us male and female, and if were having trouble in our marriage, it's to be expected.  A  man's deepest need is to be respected, and a woman's deepest need is to be loved.  Ephesians 5:33 says "However, each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."  This is the primary verse that the book and conference is based on.

What is interesting is that men are commanded to love (agape - unconditionally) and that women are commanded to respect.  Loving comes naturally to women - but what men (our husbands) need most is our respect.  And we need our husbands to show us love.  Showing love doesn't come naturally to most men, and demonstrating respect doesn't come naturally to most women, which is why the command shows up in Ephesians the way it does.  Respect is the primary need of every man, and love is the primary need of every woman; it's the way God designed us. (Scripture and science prove this concept.)

Without knowing this and acting intentionally on it, we go about caring for our spouses the way we want to be cared for.  Wives love their husbands, but show them disrespect any number of ways almost daily.  And men may respect their wives, but don't think about showing them love in ways that mean something to the woman.  The place that we all get stuck is here, what's called  "The Crazy Cycle".  Without love, a wife will react without respect; and without respect, the husband will react without love.  Doesn't matter who started it all, once you're in the cycle you spin fast and often don't know how you got there, much less how to get off!  (Ever get into an argument with your spouse, maybe over something little, and days later you're still fighting but you forget what the initial disagreement was over?)

If we choose to take the first step and act on this principle, as women we are called to unconditionally respect our husbands - even if they haven't 'earned' it.  And men are called to unconditionally love their wives.  The amazing thing is that when we are shown love as women, we will respond with respect for our husbands.  And when our husbands are shown respect, they will respond with love for us.   This is "The Energizing Cycle", when we are meeting each other's deepest need - his love motivates her respect, and her respect motivates his love.  

A great point Dr. Eggerichs made is that showing love may not (ever) feel natural for husbands; and showing respect may not (ever) feel natural for wives.  But we are called to push through the discomfort, and challenged to do the loving/respectful thing.  It will always be hard, and that's ok.  God gives us commands and asks us to trust and obey him so that we do not hurt ourselves and others, and also so that we can receive his blessings.  The Lord wants us to have peace. Also, Matthew 25:40 is a reminder from God that '...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' This includes our spouses.

Here are the specific concepts that blew me away.

If you honor a man, he will serve and he will die for you.

Men feel a responsibility (not the right) to chair the marriage relationship.

Women often have a story to tell, and they tell it (to their girlfriends, etc.) to get empathy.  Our hearts are in the right place but our methods are devastating - we are crushing our husbands.

Your husband has vulnerabilities that you (the wife) don't have, and deep needs only you can meet.  Things are not fair and equal - he feels responsible to be an umbrella of protection over you.  

Men respond to strong male authority.  Don't undermine that in your own family with your sons / husband.

Men will open up if you give them time, shoulder to shoulder, in quietness. Don't demand to talk face to face. He is energized by your presence, and you don't have to say a word.

Men are visually oriented. When you deprive your husband of a need only you can meet, you dishonor him.  He also becomes more vulnerable to temptation from Satan.  You can't deprive a man (your husband) of his deepest needs and expect him to survive.

At the end of our lives, God will not ask us if we succeeded in trying to change others to be more like ourselves; he will ask us how we tried to change ourselves to be more like him.

We should be allies with our spouses, not just roommates.

The mature person will ask their spouse, when it appears that they have deflated in a disagreement, 'did I come across as unloving / disrespectful?' 

Is there any evidence in your marriage that you are a Christ follower? People think they are IN Christ but there's no evidence - maybe they KNOW about him but they are not living IN him.  Jesus intends that we examine ourselves and check for relativism.  Are we obedient to him? Some of us have become ashamed of Christ and we don't identify with him publicly.  Titus 1:16 - "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

Someday (when we reach heaven), something is coming our way that we aren't even aware of.  There is nothing that you do that is wasted (efforts within marriage). The Lord is watching and intends to reward you. The angelic host is watching you - you matter that much.  When we first enter heaven, we will be shocked at the glory that Paul saw but was not permitted by God to speak of (2 Cor. 12:7 - the reason for the thorn in his flesh).  It will take our breath away and is beyond what we can imagine.  Heaven itself will be an unending 'first moment' for eternity.  This is the reward we strive towards in our marriages.  We don't lack the ability to love and respect our spouse, we lack the willingness.   To love unconditionally and to respect unconditionally may seem foolish, but what the  world considers foolish is the wisdom of God.  The kingdom of God is upside-down.  If we abide by the love and respect principles, we'll be amazed at what happens. 

Picture Jesus standing just over your spouse's shoulder, saying 'Unto me! Respect your husband as unto me! I know he's not being loving... but look at me.'  He is cheering us on, wanting to reward us for demonstrating our love to Him through the way we treat our spouse.  Marriage is a tool and a test to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ.  If we're not loving / respecting our spouse, we're not loving / reverencing Jesus. 

The Lord is not impressed with us - with our public displays, performances, etc. He is watching to see how we relate to our spouse.

I have come to a point where I am saying "I want favor with God", and I choose to submit.

Sorry if those seem random - they are the things I wrote down during the conference that hit home with me.  That is why many of them speak more to women or a wife's perspective, but I assure you the focus of the conference was split directly down the middle - husbands were challenged as much as wives.

Overall I would say that I am so humbled by all that I have learned.  There's no way to adequately represent that on here.  My posture towards Christ is more serious, and my approach to Rob and our marriage is now gentler and more thoughtful.  With greater understanding comes greater compassion and a desire to offer quick forgiveness.  I am thankful to have such a thorough explanation of what it might be like to be a man and a husband in a marriage, and for the needs of a husband to be clearly spelled out.  It's not a mystery anymore! 

The last thing that I wanted to mention is that throughout the conference, Dr. Eggerichs connected with us by asking us if this (a particular principle or teaching) is how we would like our sons to be treated one day by their wives.  Woah.  The first time he said that, he was explaining that husbands deeply desire to be respected by their wives, but he was listing what we do as wives that are actually disrespectful and very hurtful to our husbands.  To imagine Robbie's future wife treating him disrespectfully and not meeting his deepest need made me well up with tears.  It helped me look differently at the way I often treat Rob - sometimes we justify the way we speak or the things we do by what our spouse has first done to us, or how they don't 'deserve'  our love or respect.  

But just like my heart breaks for sweet little Robbie at the thought of his wife misunderstanding, mistreating, disrespecting, and therefore not loving him and meeting his deepest need, SO does Rob's mom's heart feel the same way!  The lesson is this - the way we feel about our own children, someone else feels about us.  We are all someone's child.  And most importantly, we are all God's creation, deeply loved by him.  None of us 'deserve' anything, but Christ died while we were still sinners, and demonstrated unconditional love.  That is enough for me to love and respect my husband even on his worst days (which are honestly so few and far between), regardless of what he's already done for me or what he might do in response.  It is the way I will demonstrate to Jesus that I love him, and that I truly do want to live for him in obedience.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does... - Ephesians 6:7-8


**If anyone is interested in watching DVDs of Dr. Eggerichs' Love & Respect conference, we purchased the DVDs so that we could loan them out to you!  Just ask me by emailing me at armbruster@hotmail.com.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Perfect fall day

Today we are having the most beautiful fall day, and there were leaves to rake up in our yard.  So before Rob bagged the last pile, I threw Robbie into it and snapped a few baby-in-the-leaf-pile obligatory pictures. :)


 

What a lucky girl I am to be married to Rob!  He's such a hard worker.
Enjoy your perfect Fall Sunday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy 7 month birthday, Robbie!

Robbie turned 7 months old yesterday - and every day he feels more and more like a little boy to us.  He continues to be our sweet, content, happy little guy. This past weekend he was just as charming as ever on his dedication day, even though he had gotten 3 hours less sleep the night before, and had also gone all day without a real nap.  Today he got his second round of the flu vaccine, and he barely cried!  I know I'm in for it with our next baby, because this child is just too good.

His new entertaining activities include:

- eating a wider variety of fruits and veggies including avocado, cauliflower, and blueberries, and even had his first taste of ice cream, thanks to grandma Pat!
- standing, standing, standing.  Not sitting, not laying down...  standing.  Got it?  If you don't, he will be sure to tell you the next time you try to hold him on your lap!
- finally rolling from belly to back
- working hard to get into crawling position, although he gets stuck after he tucks his knees under himself and gets up on his hands.  Not sure what to do next!
- jabbering all day long
- singing!  This is new in the last few days.  I had music on while I was cooking dinner the other night, and he started singing in his high chair to the music!  It was hilarious.  He has never done this before, and it's great because he chooses the highest note he can hit and just belts it out.
- he follows the dog (Bandit) around my parents' house with his eyes, and gets excited when he comes close.  We have to keep Bandit out of reach though, since last time Robbie managed to grab a fistful of black dog hair.
- he continues to blow raspberries to get our attention, and then smiles when we acknowledge him.  He's also a huge flirt when we're out in public with ANY blonde woman he sees.  Isn't it funny what babies get used to and comfortable with?

And with that, I will leave you with his 7 month pictures!

Before dinner tonight I took Robbie to the park in our neighborhood - he was getting restless as he usually does just before Rob comes home from work.  I bundled him up in his little bear outfit (which brings me so much joy!) and he got to swing in the baby swing for the first time.  I couldn't capture it on my own but he had a blast (I was trying to keep one hand up near the swing and take pictures too).  We will definitely be going back!




Autumn at Herrick Lake

We took a walk on Monday around Herrick Lake after Rob's parents left for the airport.  It was beautiful - sorry but this is where you sit through my slideshow of fall pictures!  :)





Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remembering the little ones

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.  Please take a moment today to pray with me for friends who have grieved the loss of a baby or child - there are so many.  And visit Angie Smith's website for encouragement if you are among the grieving (or even if you are not) - she has a beautiful post on her blog for this occasion.  You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.

Today is also Robbie's 7 month birthday - but pictures and other new and exciting details about our little turkey will wait until tomorrow.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dedication Sunday

We dedicated Robbie and our new little family to the Lord on Sunday at our church (Wheaton Bible Church).  We love the way our church frames this decision - they are very clear that this is in no way tied to Robbie's salvation, and that he still has to make a personal decision when he is older to surrender his life to Jesus Christ (if that is his choice, which we pray it is!).  The church calls it a "Family Dedication" rather than just a baby dedication, because Rob and I are making a public statement that we will raise Robbie with the knowledge of who Jesus is, and take responsibility for his spiritual growth and discipleship.  This is primarily our responsibility - not the church's, or his teachers' at school or his grandparents' (although they may help along the way).

We chose Philippians 1:9-11 as Robbie's dedication verse:
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."

We pray that Robbie is spiritually wise and marked with love and humility as he grows up, and that he is able to discern Truth and cling to it.  We often wonder what he will face when he is older - what his little eyes will see, what challenges he will face if he chooses Christ, what injustice will be commonplace at the time.  But we also dream about the great love he might also have for God, and what great purpose God might have for Robbie's life for His glory.  We pray for a strong heart for him, and for far-reaching ministry in whatever capacity God chooses for Robbie.

Needless to say, it was a special day - and we were thankful for those in our family that were able to be with us, and who supported us as we made this public decision.







Pumpkin Pickin'

Who ever heard of picking out pumpkins on a day that feels like summer?  That's what we did on Saturday - it was a beautiful day, although it was so warm we were all sweating (and fearing sunburn!).  And yes, it was October 11th.  We went to Sonny Acres, where my parents would always take us when we were kids, and they even still have some of the same decorations that were around 20+ years ago!  Love it.  That ugly witch up in the dead tree when you first walk in, the pumpkin tree, and although it's not a decoration it's a staple - the shop that sells fudge (we picked out the plain, peanut butter and pumpkin flavors!), apple butter, popcorn balls and cider.  Yum!  
Robbie enjoyed his introduction to Sonny Acres, and I think he will enjoy it more next year when he can walk around (and play on the kiddie rides in the carnival area).   


Pumpkins!


Having a great time


Mom, can I have this one?  It's huge!



Our selection - Dad's pumpkin, Mom's pumpkin, and Robbie's baby pumpkin

Happy fall, everyone!

Grammy and Papa visit!

Grammy and Papa came from New Jersey for a visit this past weekend and we had so much fun!  They had last seen Robbie in August and he had so many new tricks to show them.  Grammy especially loved how cute he is when he eats his breakfast - like a baby bird with that big open mouth between bites!  Papa enjoyed playing with Robbie and always knew just what to say to make him laugh.  As always, Robbie loved being the focus of their attention (and he certainly got lots of it!).  It took him zero time to warm up to them, which makes me think that he remembers them from our summer vacation and has catalogued them away in his memory.  


Playing at home



At Sonny Acres, picking out pumpkins in 70 degree weather!  We were all sweating. 


After Robbie's dedication at church on Sunday, we had lunch at my Mom and Dad's house and took a few pictures outside.
 


Playing with Papa, while Grammy looks on


Thanks again for a wonderful visit, Grammy and Papa!  It was so special to have you here for Robbie's dedication, and he misses you already.  (And don't worry, he's catching up on his sleep - he slept for 12 hours last night, and is taking a marathon nap this afternoon!)
We love you so much.