Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ren Fest Photos

The Faerie photos of Bella are now available to view online. Family members, you might want to wait and see what Santa has for you before you order any!http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/thumbpage.aspx?e=3313669

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Extra Blankets

It is 10:49 PM and I just went in to put an extra blanket on Jacob. Given how late it is, you can imagine my surprise at finding him still wide awake, crying into his pillow. "Baby, what are you still doing up, are you OK?" "No mommy, I feel sad." "Why are you sad?" "Because Mommy, just because."

I guess it just feels kind of shocking to come upon my little one crying to himself, rather than yelling for me or getting up to find me. As the mother of a baby or a very young child, you still feel like they are part of you, an extension of your own feelings and experiences. But on some level this is not so - they are immediately their own person and they have their own inner dialogue and their own thoughts and feelings and stuff going on that you as a parent can only guess at. Even as a grown up married woman, it is weird to realize there is a tipping point beyond which my husband begins to know me better than my own parents. I couldn't tell you at what point this began to be so, it is just something that happens as you spend daily life with your spouse and time goes on. It isn't sad, it is natural and normal and part of God's plan (Mathew 19:5).
I look at my little son in his PJ's and I think that I know him best, and yet here he is, sitting awake all alone in the dark in his room, feeling sad. So I sit down and kiss his cheeks and rub his back and whisper, "Tell Mama why are you sad little one?" and he looks up at me with great big eyes and says "Because... (big gulpy sob) because Nemo is gone." I reach down and get his stuffed Nemo off the floor and he wraps his arms around it and says, "Thank you Mama." So, OK, someday he will grow up and away and apart from me. And he will feel things and need things and I won't be able to fix it all for him. But not tonight...

Renaissance Festival & Turkey Day

Last weekend we went to the Texas Renaissance Festival - it was so great. I always love to go, it is something I look forward to each fall. I love the costumes, the food, the shopping, all the music and dancing and activities. As a kid I loved to play pretend, and going to Ren Fest is as if a pretend world becomes "real", it is just so cool (OK, I know I'm a big dork!) As usual we had all kinds of good things to eat and drink and we went to all our favorite shops.
Jacob rode the carousel twice, went to the petting zoo and also took an elephant ride. The thing he most enjoyed were all the musicians, he would sit and listen and watch for as long as he could. Jacob is a very lively child and so it is always special to me to see something really catch his attention, whenever he sees anyone playing instruments he gets so still and you can see how he is really transfixed by it. Later in the day Bella and I went to Whimsy's Muse, a photography studio that does faerie photographs, and had our pictures made. It was so fun, they dress you all up and take your picture and then go back in digitally and add wings and faerie dust. The pictures came in yesterday's mail and they are adorable - I couldn't have thought of a more perfect way to capture the fun of the day. Once our pictures are up online I'll post a link.

Jacob & Grandma Theresa take an elephant ride:

Chasing goats at the petting zoo

Lost in the music

Our Thanksgiving this year was a little different. Try as we might, Will and I just couldn't seem to gear ourselves up for the usual meal. We just didn't want to shop for, cook, eat or clean up the typical Thanksgiving meal. Most of our family were other places and it was only going to be Will's parents and our little family and it just seemed like a huge production to go through for only four adults. So we made the craziest decision - we just decided to skip it this year and go to Benihana instead! Then it turned out that Will's poor daddy got sick and they couldn't come for fear of getting our children sick too. So, in the end it was just our little family going out to eat on Thursday. We had shrimp, steak and lobster and Jacob loved the show put on by the cook. It was wonderful! Then we came home and took long naps and lounged around in our PJ's and all in all were very thankful to have such a quiet relaxing day together!

Our family, Thanksgiving 2007

Jacob enjoys his first visit to a hibachi style restaurant

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bella's First Bubble Bath

This one was so cute I had to post it right away!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If you're happy and you know it...

Just a quick update - things around here are so great! My life is busy - it is insane but in a good way. Our days start early - around 5:30 AM. I got back to work and was instantly plugged into a huge project with my first deadline on 11/30- aaak! During my busy work day I have to find time to go to the Mother's Room in order to keep up with Bella's needs (she's throwing back the bottles - about 16 ounces per day!) while we are apart.

In the afternoons we rush home to get the children and we get dinner made and I get all the bottles and stuff washed, sterilized and ready for the next day. Then we play and take baths and read and sing. I usually end up with an hour or two before bed to relax. Bella is still sleeping great - she generally goes from 9PM to about 4:30AM without waking. In general, I'm not too worked up about the whole "sleeping through the night" thing, I mean if she needs to be up or eat or whatever then that's what I'm here for, but I sure am enjoying my full night's rest! Who knows if it will last but I just take it as it comes. I just feel so at peace, like my life is back in order again. The best part is carpooling and having lunch with Will again, I realize now how much I missed that time with him!
This coming weekend will be an exciting one, on Saturday we will go to Texas Renaissance Festival with all of Will's family plus my Mom & Randy. I LOVE ren fest, I have gone every year with Will except one since 1998 and it is so much fun. Each year Jacob enjoys it more and participates in more things, now we spend more time in the kid's area called Sherwood Forest, and less time at Ye Old Beer Stand but that's probably for the best! On Sunday, Anabel's being baptized which will be a very special day for our family. So lots of good things to look forward to. Off to bed, 5:30AM comes really early!
Here's a few snaps of Ren Fest in year's past -This one is from 2004 when Jacob was about 7 weeks old:

This one is from 2005 - what a cutie pie!

Some year's I dress up & some I don't, here I am being silly:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Back to Work...

Today was my second day back to work. It is HARD to leave my children at school in the mornings, and I miss them like crazy. Until Monday I had never left Bella for even an hour. On the bright side I'm looking forward to all of us being back into a stable routine. It was hanging over me that I knew I would have to go back to work, and as with most difficult things, it is better once it actually comes and you can deal with it than it is worrying about it in advance.

Bella is doing great. She's never cared to take a bottle from me (I think it confuses her) so I was nervous about how her feedings at school would go. Fortunately, she is eating from bottles just fine and guzzled down FIVE 3 ounce bottles today. She takes shorter naps during the day because they wake them if they sleep more than 3 hours; and as a result she is sleeping very well at night. In fact, last night we hit a huge mile stone - she slept for 8 hours last night, from 8:30 PM to 4:30 AM! Woo Hoo! Experience tells me that this may have been just a one time thing (normally she wakes around 2:30 for snuggle snack) but it was still very rejuvinating for me to get some uninterupted sleep. I can't think that I've slept that many hours since before the itching started back in August.
Sorry if I'm just blathering, I have no outlet for baby talk since all my Mom girlfriends from work have left to go work at another company. Now it is just me and a bunch of guys and one other lady who doesn't have kids. I miss my church friends already, they were so good to welcome me into their lives for a while. I thought it would be less lonely to go back to work and be around adults but I find it strangely quiet (no Elmo, no Monster Stomp, no Wiggles guitar). I'm trying to adjust from being at home with a very active little boy and a newborn (can you say major multi-tasking!) to just sitting at a desk working uninterupted. I do have to admit that it is kind of nice to go the bathroom with the door closed and not have anyone crying or calling my name.
I'll leave you with two photos, one of Jacob & one of Bella so you can decide for yourselves if they look alike as babies or not.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Random Thoughts on Music & God

One thing I feel strongly about is that God is everywhere, in all things that are good. You know how you might hear some music, or read something or connect with a person and this awareness just comes over you, this sense of connection and belonging. It is palpable - a tingling down your spine, a curl to your toes, a sense of familiarity, rightness. As if, for just a moment you've gotten a glimpe of the larger pattern. So earlier this week I was listening to the band Linkin Park and these lyrics caught me a certain way - I want to heal I want to feel What I thought was never real I want to let go of the pain I've held so long [Erase all the pain 'til it's gone] I want to heal I want to feel Like I'm close to something real I want to find something I've wanted all along Somewhere I belong I think this is what we all want. This song just resonated with me today, because I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about church (the noun) and also church (the verb). The sermon today was about seeking God. We need this so much, to not feel alone, to feel connected to something real. So I seek God and often find Him in people, in books or music even if that person, musician or author wasn't necessarily intending to point me towards God or perhaps did so in a very broken or indirect way. As created beings, we always reflect our King to some degree, we can't not. In every instance, in every circumstance we are His. We belong to Him. If you really stop and take that in, it is the most amazing thing.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Family Portraits

Today we went for family portraits. Afterward, we decided we are not doing that again. We will either pay $350 an hour to have spontaneous style photos done like the ones here, or we'll just get a good camera and do them ourselves, or maybe certain people toying with the idea of doing photography professionally will take them from now on because quite frankly the formal portraits thing down at the mall was super un-fun.
Something about the entire process just wears you down. By the end when you are picking the pictures to buy the poor husbands just stand there in their Christmas-y plaid shirts and say "Yes dear", they would pay anything just to get out of there. The other silly thing is this - why do we wear sweaters and fur and long-sleeved plaid shirts in these pictures? It's 85 degrees outside. And most likely it will be equally as warm in December, so why we feel as though we have to wear ski-clothes in our Christmas photos is beyond me. It's Texas for Pete's sake.
Something happens when you become a Mom - and I know it's not just me - there's this need to save, document and photograph everything. Hence the blogging, the scrapbooks and the tradition of the family Christmas portraits. But we don't necessarily want to document things the way they are, but rather as we wish they would be. I wonder what I'll remember or think about when I look at these photos when I'm an old woman. Will I remember rushing around to get there? That Jacob hated his shoes? That Bella tried to suck her fingers while wearing the white fur mittens and got a mouthful of fur and started bawling? Going to three stores the night before to find teeny tiny black mary janes? Is there any photographer on earth that can capture how much, how deeply, I adore this man and these two small children?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lions & Tigers & Bears...OH MY!

As much as I think I am resolved to be a working mom, I still struggle with a certain level of guilt. This guilt manifests itself in several ways, most notably in my frequent attempts to pack a lot of great memories into a relatively short amount of time. I get so excited to do fun things with Jacob, I really want him to get to do all the things I loved growing up. I grew up in a very spontaneous household and we spent a lot of weekends doing fun and often very inexpensive things like going camping, going to parks, art & music festivals, community events etc. On weekends, we scanned a copy of the Austin Chronicle to see what was going on, grabbed a few cans of generic soda (grape Shasta anyone?) and headed out for the day. All of this is an attempt to explain why, in a moment of nostalgia & spontaneity, I decided it would be super fun to take Jacob and Bella to the zoo on Tuesday. By myself.
So we get there and pay & get our map($10 for adults, $5 for kids over 2, babies under 2 are free) & find a shady table for our picnic, Jacob eats his apple and then throws away the core. We head to the washroom & then decide to see the monkeys. We pass the trashcan with the apple and out of nowhere Jacob decides he wants his apple back. Not even the lure of monkeys or lions or elephants can get this child away from the trashcan. He clings to the metal trash can and bawls. At this point I am still fresh and full of that good-mother-taking-her-kid-to-the-zoo feeling so I squat beside the trashcan and we have a serious heart to heart about how things that go into the trash are gone forever. Jacob makes this sad suck it up kind of face and goes "Okaaaay Mommy" only you can tell it really isn't and we finally make it over to the primate section.
At the baboons, we meet Little Georgie and his mom. Jacob and Georgie have a blast falling down on purpose and watching the baboons while Little Georgie's Mom and I have one of those aren't our kids cute and isn't this fun type conversations. So all the way through the primate section, Jacob and Georgie have a great time and everything is fantastic. Turns out they are at the end of their day so we are about to part ways and Little Georgie wants to give Jacob a hug. Jacob just looks at him like - "Dude. Just because we hung out at the zoo for a few minutes doesn't mean we're best friends or anything" and I have one of those parenting quandaries because here is Little Georgie crying and chasing Jacob with his arms outstretched and do I force Jacob to hug him or let it be or what. Finally, we compromise on a rather lackluster high-five. Jacob seems sort of relieved to get away.
I pull out the map to see where the elephants are but Jacob grabs it from me and it tears in half. I manage to get it back and while I'm trying to align the two sides together Jacob decides to push the stroller. He starts going really fast so I run after him and he goes even faster and right when he sees I am about to catch up with him he launches the stroller and and it tumbles end over end down a flight of stairs. I have never seen a Graco travel system fly before. If it hadn't been my kid, and my stroller and my keys, video camera and wallet flying all over the place, I might possibly have laughed. As crashes go it was pretty spectacular. (I should say at this point that Bella was NOT in the stroller, she was in the sling). But since it was my kid, my stroller, keys, video camera and wallet - I was mostly mad. Jacob even scared himself I think, he had this look like "whoa, I so did not mean that to happen" on his face. We decided to both take a time out and we put the stroller back together and hung out looking at the giant goldfish in the reflecting pond. You can see how tranquil and nice it is. That pond has been there for over thirty years, I sincerely doubt it has ever seen as much action as it did on Tuesday.
We had highs and lows all day. I learned that you just have to be really and truly patient if you take a 3 year old to the zoo. Their legs are short and they get tired. They will want to ride the carousel a lot and you will spend all your cash just to see the pure bliss on their face when they ride that lion around and around. When you finally say "no more" they will fall to the ground and cry for ten minutes. All the other parents will stare at you and you will ignore them. But then the storm will clear and you can just sit in the golden sunlight of a glorious fall afternoon and nurse your baby and watch your kid play on the play scape. You will try to ignore the fact that you have driven for an hour and paid $15 dollars so that they can play on a playscape that is nearly identical to the one 6 blocks from your house. They will throw their sippy cup into the bushes and wet their pants. They will ask "Are you mad because I peed on your shoes? " a whole bunch of times and you will get a little less mad each time they ask until by the end of the day whenever he asks you both just collapse into giggles.
So that was our day at the zoo. Last night, it was Halloween and Jacob was a bear. He wasn't sure at first if he wanted to wear his costume or go trick or treating but once he saw other kids coming to the door he was ready to go. He was SO cute in his costume. I was so proud of him, he is sometimes kind of shy or doesn't want to do or say the things everyone wants him to say or do (i.e Hugging random kids at the zoo). But last night, he was full of joy and confidence, running from one house to the next, we'd wait back with the grown ups and he'd go up and ring the bell and say trick or treat and thank you just like a big kid; I was really proud of him! At one point he suddenly stops and sits on the curb and we say "Jacob are you OK? What's wrong baby?" and he says "I'm OK, I just need to stop and eat some candy!" It was too funny!

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