Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome, little one!

I have a tendency to follow tragic blogs.  I don't know why.  I am compelled to pray for every family and sick baby that I read about.  I have always had a tendency towards being sensitive (read: the reason I didn't pursue a career in Psychology!  It sort of defeats the purpose if the patient has to comfort the doctor, right?).  I can't imagine some of the circumstances others find themselves in, and every new story I come across seems to break my heart all over again.  I think what I appreciate about so many of them is that the authors are not only allowing but praying for God to minister to others through their suffering.

So it was especially refreshing and a great blessing to me to be able to visit a dear friend (and her husband) in the hospital tonight who just gave birth to their 3rd child.  Her pregnancy was not without its own unique set of complications, but her baby was born perfect and beautiful and healthy.  I held the baby in my arms for somewhere around an hour, and realized that I have a much deeper appreciation for health and life and these fragile little ones.

I was mesmerized by this little dark beauty.  The silky hair (there was a lot of it!), the delicate eyelashes, the invisible eyebrows, the perfectly formed nose and lips, the paper thin fingernails, the still-incredibly-flexible feet that curled themselves up and inward, the smell that only babies in the hospital have and so quickly lose, that little 'o' that the perfect little mouth makes during deep slumber... I envisioned this little person all tucked into a ball, just days ago, still inside my friend's womb.  I thought about my daughter, still growing and developing, curled (most of the time) into a tight little wad inside of me, except for when she is trying to claw her way out through my belly button which seems to happen every night after dinner!  I thought about the miracle of creation and how every moment of it is plainly visible to our Great God, and not only that, but He is the one forming each of these new little people in 'the secret place'. 

Nothing escapes Him.  The perfection and uniqueness that each tiny baby possesses, even when it may not 'look' or seem that way to us.  The story of their (our!) lives that will unfold as it was written by Him before time began.  Every aspect and minute of our lives is known by Him, from beginning to end, intimately.  And He is full of love and compassion and grace and generosity.  Why in the WORLD do I allow fear to have any place in my heart or daily life, knowing these truths?

Thank you, sweet little baby, for reminding me tonight that God is so good all of the time.  We are so glad that you are here!  You are a beautiful miracle.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A little note from Robbie

Good morning!!

I just wanted to show you what a happy boy I am, and all the new things I am doing.  By the way, do you like my new haircut?

I have been keeping my mom pretty busy, even when we're at home doing nothing.

Yesterday I helped her load the dishwasher.  She wasn't doing it quite right...

I found this spatula out of place, so I moved it.  I was having so much fun playing with it, I didn't realize that I was standing by myself for quite a while!

Then I got on to my kitchen inspection.  I know I'm lower to the ground than all the grown-ups around here, but for goodness sakes will someone clean beneath the refrigerator?

The dining room is in good shape today - my mom and dad even have all the outlets covered.  Just to keep them on their toes, I double check them to make sure.

This is a fun place to play - the garbage can.  There's a very cute little boy that apparently mom and dad keep inside, and so I visit him and we talk.  

Sometimes I try to help him escape, but all that I can find inside is gross, smelly stuff.

This morning I was sent to baby jail to play while mom folded laundry nearby.  There was this one toy I really wanted to play with, but I couldn't get it out of my toy bin.  So I just leaned over the side of the bin and played with it from there for a few minutes.  That got boring, so later I crawled under the side table you see in the background and banged the mixing bowls together in protest.  Mom loved that.

I love looking out the front window!  I like to point at the cars dropping kids off at school, and all the birds and animals I see in our front yard.  I'm getting taller - I used to barely be able to see over the ledge when mom would stand me up in front of the window.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An average day in the life of a pregnant mommy

6:30am - start the day with the rising of the sun.  Literally.  Robbie would have slept longer but I forgot to close the blinds all the way.  Lay in bed for a while with him, looking over our pillows out the window at the cars, birds, trees, rain... anything that will entertain him while I try to get myself moving.  Rehearse 'if you're happy and you know it' and 'the itsy bitsy spider' together and marvel at his new ability to follow along with the hand motions... even trying to 'sing' along with me at the same time!

7am - decide that it's a donut day for mommy.  Heat up a bottle of whole milk for Robbie to drink in the car, bundle up and head to Dunkin Donuts drive-thru for a decaf and a french crueler.  

8:30am - put my early bird to bed for a nap.  Check baby Stellan's blog, knowing it is surgery day, and pray.  Lay down for brief nap myself.

10:15am - retrieve a very happy little boy from his crib, and get creative with how I keep him entertained as I take a shower (don't ask).  Also, trim bits of hair that were missed during last night's baby-in-the-bathroom-sink, at-home haircut.  Remind self that there is a reason people pay those kids' salons money to perform this task.  It is WORTH IT.

11:30am - feed Robbie 'brunch' since he slept through breakfast... eats an entire orange, handful of multigrain cheerios and 1/2 an english muffin.  Make myself a little brunch treat as well (*see recipe below) and wash down with lemonade - donuts are not filling.  Attempt to run long-overdue errands before the afternoon nap hour strikes.  

*Swiss Bread
6 tbsp shredded swiss cheese
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 small scoop of minced garlic, from jar
juice from 1/2 lemon
Mix above ingredients together, smear on english muffin, and broil until cheese is bubbly.  Makes enough spread to cover 6 english muffin halves.

Early afternoon - craving roast beef; stop at Arby's in a moment of weakness.  Regret the decision for the rest of the day, especially upon reviewing list of consumed foods thus far.  Apparently, have entered into the stage of pregnancy where my stomach feels like it is up in my throat and fills rather quickly.  Vow to make better choices... tomorrow.

3:30pm - nap the little bugger again, after filling his belly with his favorite beverage (milk).  This time, seize the opportunity to be productive.  Run a load of laundry.  Install Quicken and set up our budget.  Prep the incredible pile of mail that has been building for my dear husband who will 'do something' with every piece of it this weekend.  Shred and recycle a lot of junk.  Organize new desktop mail caddy for said weekend activity.  Experience moment of thankfulness that the division of responsibility in our household has not found me managing our bill payment.  I am better at preparing raw chicken and growing/raising babies.  And other things, but you get the point.

4:30pm - start dinner.  Decide on stir fry.  Wash and chop all ingredients, realize I am missing onion.  Curse the idea of trying to make a 'quick trip' to Jewel during rush hour in the rain for one measly onion.  Get Robbie's dinner ready for when he wakes up.

5:15pm - the prince awakens.  He feasts on turkey, cheese, peas and cornbread.  I don't think he had a whole grain all day (unless you count the Cheerios during 'brunch').  Pangs of guilt.  Hose down child and high chair and dash out the door in attempt to retrieve necessary onion.

6:30pm - eat dinner on the couch with Rob.  Try to eat fast, knowing that it's only a matter of time until Robbie tires of playing in his pack and play 3 feet from us and starts gagging himself for attention and retrieval.  Make it 1/2 way through my plate of food before gagging starts (his, not mine).  Warm a bottle of milk, wind down child before bed.  (aka: wrestle on the couch with mom and dad.)  Try to teach him not to bite in his excitement, which results in him biting us even more.

7:30pm - put baby to bed for the night; mix up brownie batter, bake in oven, and lick bowl clean.  Set kitchen timer to remind self of brownies.

8pm - realize upon checking brownies that I never changed the dial on oven from 'broil' setting used earlier in the day to 'bake' for the brownies.  Broiled entire pan of brownies.  Eat a rice krispie treat instead.  Very large piece.  Think to myself the entire time, 'you're going to regret this.'

9pm - catch up on last dvr'd episode of The Hills.  Vow to never watch that crap again.  Consider setting the recording now for next week's episode in case I forget over the weekend.  Wonder what is wrong with me.

9:30pm - check in on Stellan again; chat with my brother online who is in an airplane that is testing in-flight wi-fi on Southwest.  Watch belly go crazy as our baby girl enjoys some awake time.  Wonder what she looks like, how big she would be if I were holding her right now, how many things I feel like I have yet to do in order to be ready before she gets here.  Take deep breath and remind myself that none of the things on my to do list are really that important (she will have food, a bed, things to transport her, and clothes for the first few months - the rest is incidental).  Spend time instead praying through the blogs I have listed on the left that represent sick babies and struggling families.  

11pm - begin updating my blog.  Consider digging out the Tums before going to sleep.  Make mental list of things to pack tomorrow in preparation for trip to Angola on Thursday to help open up the lake house with my family.  Find thoughts drifting towards my favorite donut that can only be found in rural Indiana at Tom's Donuts, Pizza King, and other lovely edibles Angola has to offer.   Remind self to pack Tums.  Marvel at the way pregnancy seems to sap me of all intellect and will power.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You give me fever...

We aren't quite sure what is going on, but Robbie's been spiking fevers all weekend... mainly at night.  Since he isn't showing any other signs of illness (aside from a seriously waning appetite) I'm guessing it's just teething.  His 8th tooth is popping up on the bottom row.  Although I feel terrible about how miserable he feels and could really do without the broken sleep, I am loving how extra snuggly he is.  This morning I even got 2 unsolicited kisses from him!  Sweet boy.

On Friday morning, before he started getting feverish, we took a few pictures in the front yard.  It was gorgeous out, and almost 70 degrees.  I was happy for an excuse to put a few springy outfits on him that he received for his birthday (thanks, DeBlock's and Kelsey!) and let him loose in the grass for the first time this season.  He loved looking up at the trees and pointing to every bird he could spot.

On Saturday morning, although he wasn't feeling 100% himself, we decided it was too nice out  to stay inside and paid the Morton Arboretum a brief visit.  The Arboretum and I have a good relationship - it was the last place I spent any amount of time before going into early labor with Robbie.  I fully plan on spending every day in June here, in hopes of a repeat early-labor experience!

Robbie spent most of the time observing the other kids playing from the comfort of his stroller with a general glazed-over look.  He did manage to get out for a shoulder-ride on dad, and to splash around in 2 different little pools of water.  There is so much for kids to do at the Children's Garden that we can't wait to bring him back a lot this summer... especially once he starts walking!

And this afternoon, while Daddy was gone, we paid grandma and grandpa a quick visit between naps.  We thought it would be fun to try out one of his new birthday toys that we left here for Robbie to play with - the Ball Popper.  It didn't go over well at first.  This picture pretty much sums up how he felt - death grip on my jacket, with a look of 'why are you doing this to me?!' on his face.

And we can't be at grandma and grandpa's house without banging on the glass coffee table with slimy hands!  How fun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My little jailbird on Easter Sunday...

I guess I was just too tired to think about arranging my little 3-man family for a family picture while we all still had our Sunday best on!  Plus, this outfit was much more comfortable for Robbie so it's what we changed him into right after church.  A mom's love for dressing her kids up on holidays can only go so far. 

We had such a nice Easter though - my mom made a big ham lunch and one of her friends who goes to her bible study and lives in their cul-de-sac came over with her family to join us.  I love that my parents are so inclusive of others, especially around holidays.

We had managed to get to church that morning... on time even!  But I was conflicted about putting Robbie in the nursery since it would be a busier-than-usual Sunday in his room.  It didn't go well, and although I know that I can't hang on to him everywhere, forever, I still try to gauge whether a situation is worth entering into.  By the time we picked him up after the service, apparently all of the babies but one were bawling.  It was chaos in that room and I felt really badly for the workers!  Oh well.  Hopefully next Sunday is better.

I am not going to post all of my thoughts about Easter on here... partially because I don't have the luxury of time right now, and partially because I feel like that sometimes comes across as being preachy.  But this IS the place where you come to peek in on our lives - and Jesus is a big part of that, whether that is apparent or not to you (I hope that it is!).

So I will let you know that this Easter, I have been struck by the idea that God knew that He would send his only Son to the cross for all of us... He knew before time began, He knew on the night Jesus was born, He knew when Jesus prayed to Him and asked that He 'let this cup pass from my lips'...  And not only did God know this was going to happen, as our pastor reminded us - God SENT Jesus to the cross.  What love... You can read the story of Easter and of love in the book of John, chapters 19 and 20 if you haven't gotten the chance to already.

Becoming a follower of Jesus has been and will continue to be a life changing process for me.  Becoming a mom has, in some ways, been similarly transforming (I hope that doesn't sound blasphemous!).  By that, I mean that some days I feel like a completely different person than I was before Robbie existed.  I saw myself, my life, my husband, everything... differently.  Then I held Robbie for the first time, and suddenly my universe shifted and everything I knew to be true was still true, I just saw it all in a new light.  I have a greater understanding of how God might feel towards me (his daughter) because I myself now have a son.  Certain things have deeper meaning and significance.  I am also more acutely aware of the blessings we have been given, and of how temporary they can be.  How fragile life is.  

This Easter, I am thankful for the sacrifice Jesus paid for me on the cross.  My salvation is dependent upon the truth that Jesus not only died, but was raised from the dead - and I believe it.  I am thankful that I can take all of my sin to Jesus and find forgiveness and grace each day, and continually be transformed - resurrected daily, in a sense, from the death that my sin brings.

I put a new song on our playlist (finally!) - it's Chris Tomlin's "Unfailing Love".  Here are the lyrics, if you're interested... I think they are beautiful.

You have my heart
And I am Yours forever
You are my strength
God of grace and power

And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love

And You never change God You remain
The Holy One
My unfailing love
Unfailing love

You are my rock
The one I hold on to
You are my song
And I sing for You

And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me
I can't understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love

And you never change God You remain
The Holy One
My unfailing love
Unfailing love

And everything You hold in Your hand
Still you make time for me
I can't understand
Praise you God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love
Unfailing love

And you never change God You remain
The Holy One
My unfailing love
Unfailing love

I will praise You 
Praise you God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is your unfailing love
Unfailing love

And you never change God you remain
The Holy One
My unfailing love

Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not Me Monday!

It's been a while... and I only have 1 hour to get this post in before it's Tuesday!

But last week, I did NOT fall asleep on the couch at 8:30pm several nights in a row while watching TV with Rob.  

I would NEVER eat dessert after dinner, and if I did, I wouldn't make a habit of it.  Every night.  Big bowl of ice cream.  Don't even like the stuff.

Subsequently, the nurse at my last doctor's visit did NOT point to my chart and laugh after weighing me, when I asked her how many pounds I had put on since the last monthly visit.  (I know, totally mean of her, right!?)  As it turns out, what she thought I had gained in one month's time was actually 2 months worth of preggo weight gain (transcription error! Horray!).  I did NOT fantasize about making her weigh herself in front of me for a split second.

I do NOT let Robbie play with a tub of (tightly sealed) coral lip gloss while I get ready in the morning to buy time.  He only plays with boy-ish things.

I did NOT contemplate learning how to quilt so that I could be crafty and make a summer picnic blanket out of old pairs of jeans and a vinyl tablecloth, as seen on one of the many artsy blogs I read.  I am NOT still trying to self-talk myself out of it.  I am NOT going to try to find someone who quilts and find out how much they might charge for the project, if I were to supply all the materials.  

I do NOT get weepy on the inside after leaving Robbie in the church nursery, especially if he is crying.  I NEVER feel like a bad mom if when I pick him up afterwards, he has scratched his face in angst/frustration/sadness in my absence.  I do NOT rock him with a warm bottle of milk before his nap on these days.

I did NOT make my husband eat Taco Bell last night for dinner because I was too tired to cook and out of (cheap) take-out ideas.  Taco Supremes NEVER sound appealing, especially when I am pregnant.

I am NOT already making a mental list of the things I want to pack in my hospital bag.  

I did NOT totally forget to take Robbie to his library reading class last Friday.

I would NEVER get 2 separate packages from my sweet girlfriends in one day (today!) filled with things celebrating our baby girl on the way.  I did NOT tear up after opening each one.  

I would NEVER miss the opportunity to take a family picture on Easter Sunday when the 3 of us were all dressed up.

I do NOT dream about wallpapering our office off of the family room.  I do NOT hate the color of the walls in here.

I NEVER procrastinate clipping Robbie's fingernails.  He NEVER scratches Rob's face when they play in the evenings, and I NEVER feel guilty afterwards for it.

I did NOT declare this weekend that I can officially no longer give myself my own pedicures.  My belly is NOT so big that it's hard to paint my toes.  I am NOT falling in love all over again with my slip-on shoes.  I NEVER consider whether I could get away with wearing my slipper-clogs in public.

And I NEVER look forward to Tuesdays, when I can eat a $1.27 Totino's cheese pizza for lunch while I watch the last DVR'd episode of "24" during Robbie's nap.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I like to eat.. eat, eat, eat...

This little guy is a big fan of his milk and food.  At lunch he enjoyed his first experience with fettucini alfredo, and I'd say it went over well!

Robbie usually has his evening bottle of milk on the couch with daddy before he goes to bed.  I got out my camera to capture one of our everyday moments that I love... and got this little show.

You know you love the milk-covered-chin look!  :)

When Grandma Babysits...

... everybody has a good time!

Boring laundry baskets are repurposed...

Me (upon arriving home and finding this): "Hi honey!  Whatcha doin'?!"
Robbie (thinking): "I'm not exactly sure, but I think I like it!"

I mean, seriously - does this not crack you up?  He looks like a teenager trying to act cool.  


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What's for dinner?

Caribbean Chicken Salad

1/2 cup lemon juice (use real lemons, people!  It only takes 1.)
1/3 cup honey
3 T vegetable oil
6 green onions, sliced
3 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

6 chicken breast halves
Romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Chunks of pineapple, to taste
Mandarin oranges, to taste
Small pieces of blue corn tortilla chips
Diced green onion (garnish)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth to make the marinade.  (Make a double batch if you'd like to have enough to use as the actual salad dressing!  It's that good...)  Pour 1/2 cup of marinade into a small bowl for basting.  Cover and refrigerate.  Set aside a portion of marinade for dressing, if you've doubled the recipe, and refrigerate; then pour remaining marinade into large ziplock bag and add chicken; turn to coat, refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  

For grilled chicken: Discard marinade and grill chicken over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes on each side, until no longer pink in the center.  Baste with reserved marinade while grilling.

For baked chicken: Discard marinade and place chicken breasts in baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  

Let chicken rest while you assemble the salad.  Tear lettuce, arrange on individual plates; top with chopped tomato, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges and green onion.  Slice chicken into long thin strips and layer onto salad.  Sprinkle tortilla pieces on top, and serve with dressing on the side.

I will post a picture of our salads later this evening!  I can tell you now, this marinade/dressing recipe tastes JUST LIKE the one Chili's used to serve with their Caribbean Chicken Salad, which has been discontinued.  I just made it and tasted it, and it is amazing - it tastes like summer!  I doubled the marinade recipe and had plenty to use as marinade for the chicken AND dressing for the salads.  Yum. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rejoice and be glad

Today was one of those off-days.  I am really not complaining.  It's just that I have not felt discouraged in a long time by the little things like I did today, but they just seemed to keep piling up on each other.  One thing after the next, unrelenting.  Mainly, Robbie decided against napping altogether, which was a battle for many hours of the day and made both of us very tired.  I think that's what caused all of the other small things to weigh on me.  

Like I said in a message to a friend this evening, it was a day that the enemy tried to make me believe his lies (when you really call a spade a spade).  That I'm not making the right choices, that my to-do list is not shrinking, that I'm not fulfilling others' expectations, that I'm not mothering Robbie well when he is finding it difficult to keep to his sleep schedule, that I'm not keeping up with the things I need to be doing or the people I want to be connecting with... and because of these things, I'm not a very good mom / wife / friend / daughter.   The final discouraging thought at the end of the day was that none of these things (or roles that I play) are going to get easier as I get closer to my due date, and as Robbie gets more and more active and curious.

I was really thankful that it was fairly mild early this evening, and I took Robbie and his buddy Riley (whom I was watching) for a wagon ride so that I could get a breath of fresh air and clear my mind and heart.  Did I mention that I took a big cup of coffee with me?  Full-octane.  

I spent quite a while walking up and down our sidewalk, pulling the wagon, contemplating my day, my life, my God, my priorities and the Truth.  I came to peace with the fact that I accomplished nothing today, and yet the day still held value.  I redefined in my mind what success looks like as a mom.  I reorganized my priorities (worship, then others, THEN things to do).  I asked God for more humility and grace, because often the frustration I battle is born out of a belief I hold that I should be able to be or accomplish something specific, which probably smacks of pride to God.  I thought about the 2 little lives that depend on me every day (in different ways) for survival, and I thought about my husband.  

I gave up being mad at the day.

This is the day that the Lord has made... let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

In order to rejoice and be glad in today, I needed to be willing to listen to God's quiet voice, and learn about myself and make some adjustments in my heart and mind.  That brought redemption to the frustration.  Hopefully it will cause me to also bear more fruit of the Spirit.  It allows me to move forward without wasting the past because I am building on it.  

The day ended on a positive note, as I had the chance to catch up with my little sister over the phone and be excited with her over what is going on in her life right now.  I am looking forward to tomorrow and another chance to grow (and rejoice and be glad), whether the day is difficult or full of blessing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everyday life

Some days are more interesting and comical than others, but today's post is more of a nod to the mundane.  Nothing special has happened.  We have no set plans for the day (other than my running to-do list that I HAVE to make a dent in soon!)  Robbie woke up with really cute bedhead, had orange pieces and pancakes (a treat) and milk for breakfast, and has been playing happily in his pack and play for the last half hour while I take his picture, sip my tea, and catch up on email and friends' blogs.  But I love these mornings and find so much blessing in them.  Being a mom is the best.

Favorite way to make me laugh - flipping his finger between his lips and making funny sounds.  The crazy hair just adds to the comedy.

Robbie is becoming a very active little boy - rolling around his pack and play with abandon, standing on his toys, quickly walking along the perimeter while holding on to the sides, and as we speak - experimenting with how loud and high pitched his happy-yelling can be.

Just playing with my toys in my pj's!

When asked "where's mommy's belly?" he now points directly to my baby bump! 

Pooped, in more ways than one. :)  Time for a fresh diaper and a nap!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why we need sleep.

This sweet face wanted to have a party at 3am this morning, and every hour afterwards until we started our day at 7am!  I do love this face... even at 3am... but hanging out in the wee hours of the morning does not agree with my 6 month pregnant self.

This is what happened when I poured my morning coffee a few minutes ago.

Seriously.  Who does this?  I caught myself just as it was overflowing.   
And it happened moments after I dumped Cheerios all over the floor.

At least I have this little guy to enjoy all day as I clumsily make my way through the next 12 hours!