Sunday, April 30, 2006

And After

The shadows make it a little trickier to see, but this is our almost-finished lawn! :)


Getting ready for church this morning


Gardening is really fun!


Mornings have become a cause for great grief lately. You see, Daddy goes bye-bye. :(

More reading

Jonathan’s interest in books is fascinating me as it develops. His latest interest is not being read to, but “reading” to me. He doesn’t want to wait for me to read what is on the page – if I try to do that, he fusses and turns the pages and throws the book on the floor. But if I just let him sit in my lap and turn the pages on his own, he’ll point to things and give me a wonderful running commentary.


About a week ago one of our alphabet magnets was found on the floor, sans magnet. “I hope Jonathan didn’t eat that,” I said. I did a load of diapers a few days later. As I pulled the last clean, wet diaper out of the washer and swept my hand around to catch any loose socks, my fingers found something small and hard and metallic.

Well, at least it isn’t inside him anymore. :)


Friday was a nice day. We woke up to a grey day with lovely mild temperatures. Rain threatened, but never quite materialized. The sort of day that said “open the doors and make hot chocolate!” So we did! Jonathan and I snuggled on the couch and read books. We played on the bed and he crawled all over the mommy mountain. We danced. We went outside and inside and outside again. I didn’t make a list or even look at my chore cards. And it was nice. It isn’t the sort of day you can do all the time. Chores do need to happen and one should not drink an entire pot of hot cocoa too often. :) But every now and then it really is nice to sit back, slow down, and live life with no demands beyond that of a little boy who wants to play with you.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Dance Baby Dance

I hate working out. Granted, some types are better than others, but it's not something I "enjoy". But I'm enjoying this kind, so this is a completely shameless plug for the people who made it.

Dance Baby Dance is a home workout dvd that combines playing with your baby/toddler with getting back in shape. The dances go through a range from warm-ups to cardio dance to cool down. They are simple (only one or two, maybe three "steps" to learn. I've learned most of them without even going through the "teaching" parts of the dvd. Seriously, this is not one of those things that takes a year just to learn how to do the moves. Five minutes, maybe. :)

Jonathan enjoys it because hey, he's in my arms, and what could be better! I enjoy it because I like dance, it is simple, I can do it when it's raining, and the music is fun. It's nice to feel happy while working out, isn't it?

The other nice thing is that it is effective without a lot of time investment. Cardio dance is hard enough...cardio dance with a 20+ lb kid in your arms is something else! Twenty or thirty minutes wipes me out completely.

If you want to look into it, you can go to the Infantastic website or check them out on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Primary care physician" = "doctor/patient relationship"?

I don't think so.

We’re changing insurance companies again. Therefore, we’re all changing doctors again. Once again we will blindly pick a name off a page and hope that he speaks English without too much of an accent. This never used to bother me very much. I was a healthy adult with little need to actually see a doctor, so who cared if it was a different one every time? Five doctors in six years didn’t have much effect on my life.

But my life is different now. Now I have Jonathan, and potential pregnancies, and hopefully more children. Now I want a real “primary care physician”. Someone who can keep all the records on all the members of my family in one place. Someone who in ten years will recognize me when I bring my fourth child for her shots or because of an ear infection. Someone with whom I can have a relationship.

Every health-care article I read talks about how important the “doctor-patient relationship” is. Doesn’t that sound like a nice idea? Only I’m not sure that in today’s world, it will ever really happen.

This new insurance provider will be my fifth since I started college. Every job change has meant an insurance change. Sky-high insurance costs often force employers into an insurance change. And every insurance change has meant a doctor change. In a system like this, there is no chance to build a relationship.

And it isn’t only the fault of insurance. The longest “relationship” I’ve ever had with a doctor (in fact, the only time in my adult life that I’ve seen a doctor more than once) was with Dr. O. during my pregnancy. Something like 15 visits over nine months. I was happy with him, comfortable with him, trusted him with the delivery of my child. Only when it actually came down to it, someone else delivered my child, and the hospital wouldn’t even call him.

Before Jonathan was born, I interviewed a lot of pediatricians. I found one I liked and set everything up so that he would automatically be Munchkin’s pediatrician from birth. Only he was on vacation when Jonathan was born, so we were assigned another pediatrician. She was nice enough, but I had no idea who she was or what her theories were or if she would do a good job with Jonathan’s circumcision (she didn’t.)

Jonathan is one year old now, and the new doctor under the new insurance next month will be his fifth doctor. How can good healthcare happen under these circumstances? If a given doctor sees me or my child only once or twice before passing our files off to someone else, what are the chances of actually catching something abnormal before it becomes a real problem? I doubt they are very good.

It is a frustrating situation, and it seems doubtful that it will get fixed any time soon. Universal healthcare doesn’t seem to be the answer from its track record in Europe and Canada. HMOs seem to force doctors into doing things in ways they may not like, but most of us can’t afford to be in a PPO program. And no matter the program, the doctors are seeing too many patients in too little time and with too little background information…because after all, any given patient might be me or my son with our history of bouncing from doctor to doctor to doctor.

I heard recently of a pediatrician who still does house calls. I wonder if he’s taking new patients? I wonder if Gabe would mind moving?

Reading and other updates

This morning Jonathan sat on my lap and we read books for 12 minutes. Seriously, folks, this is a record. Usually he submits for about 12 seconds and then crawls all over the place. I've been reading to him anyway, just letting him crawl and look at whatever he happens to be interested in, on the assumption that someday he'll figure out that reading with Mommy is fun. Maybe its working. :)

Jonathan likes to walk. But only holding onto my hands. He holds my fingers and walks slightly ahead of me, sort of pulling me along above/behind. It is really good practice for him, and we do it a lot, but sometimes I have other things to do that require the use of my hands. This is a cause of great grief to the poor child. Crawling isn't as much fun as walking with Mommy, you see.

He loves to play outside. Our back door is permanently open when it isn't raining, because Jonathan is so much happier with the option to go outside. He's pretty good about obeying the "stay on the patio" rule, and I hope that he will continue to get better about the "don't pick the flowers" rule. :)

Monday, April 24, 2006


Jonathan talks. Constantly. How I wish I knew what he was saying! It's funny to make up possibilities - imagining that he's telling me all about the tree, or the big truck that just went past, or the bird singing. Sometimes I try to figure out what he's really talking about...but its almost impossible to tell.

Brigid was over here this morning for a few hours. She's nearly two years old, and she talks in clear, understandable sentences. It was very fun to see what Jonathan will eventually be able to do.

For now, though, I'm just enjoying the babble. :)

Large families

I saw a neat family the other day. It was a family of seven - five children - and I'm pretty sure the oldest couldn't have been more than 8 years old. She was a beautiful little girl, and she was holding her tiny baby sister. I stopped to say hello and ask how old the baby was. The little girl holding her beamed with pride as she said "two weeks". She was so pleased to show off her sister, and it was obvious that she was proud to be trusted with her. The mom and dad were quite busy between shopping and taking care of the other three kids ("stay here, keep your hands on the cart!") but it was a good kind of busy. Not the type of flustered mother of two yelling at both her kids who (of course) ignore her completely. Not like that at all. This family was clearly happy, healthy, and the kids were already learning the value of family and true responsibility. I left the store smiling and praying that God would allow us to have a family like that one.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Not really. :)

Gabe is reading a bilingual board book to Jonathan. (We got it free from Kaiser.) Jonathan is laughing uproariously. So...does he get that it isn't his language? Why does he think it's so humorous? Does he think Gabe is just talking nonsense, and thus should be laughed at?

Whatever it is, it's really funny. :)

First steps!!

Yes, folks, he's done it! Jonathan took his first step (actually, three!) today. I was encouraging him to come to me, and he let go, balanced, gave me a huge grin, and then took three steps and grabbed my hands.

Way to go, Jonathan! :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dy, this is for you...

Since I think you might be the only person reading this who doesn't know me. :) You can't see much of my hair in this photo, unfortunately, but its long (3 or 4 inches past my shoulders) and I'm wearing it half back in this photo. you think the short cut could work with my face?

Mommy's helper

Jonathan likes to help! I've been talking to him for months about "helping" mommy do the laundry. Generally that has consisted of him playing on the floor next to my feet, or standing up holding on to to laundry hamper, or putting his hands and cheek against the washing machine to feel the vibrations. Today I sat him down near the pile, asking him (like always) if he wanted to help mommy do laundry. He reached into the pile, picked up a sock, and held it up to me. So I picked him up and said "Jonathan, can you drop it into the washer?" And he did! Of course I laughed and said "yay Jonathan" and generally made a big deal of it. :) Then I set him back down on the floor while I put another sheet in. When I looked down, there was Jonathan with a pillowcase in his hand, reaching up toward me. I picked him up again to see what he'd do, and sure enough, into the washer went the pillow case!

Now, I wonder how old he'll need to be before he can "help" do the dishes? ;)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Really good book

God Bless Me by Helen Haidle. You can order it here. This is my favorite board book so I thought I'd share. I highly recommend it. :)

Shall I do it?

I need a haircut.
Shall I be brave and ask them to cut it like this?

Monday, April 17, 2006


Jonathan has a sense of humor. He discovered the other day that not only could we feed cheerios to him, but he could feed cheerios to us. This was fun! Gabe and I ate quite a few slightly soggy cheerios for awhile.

About a day later, Jonathan started holding cheerios up to our mouths as if he wanted to feed them to us. But as soon as we opened our mouth, he'd snatch the cheerio away and put it in his own mouth. And giggle and giggle and giggle.

And the thing is, it really is funny. How did he figure out that things are funny? And who told him? We've never done anything of the sort to him...he just figured it out on his own.

Maybe he'll grow up to be a comedian. :)


We think he got it from me. :)

When I was small, my mom used to keep my busy by giving me a muffin tin and a dish of mixed beans. I would sit still for hours and sort them by type into the muffin cups.

Ok, yes, I was a little neurotic. :) But evidently I was having a good time, and being QUIET so I can see why Mom let me do it.

I have a feeling that when Jonathan is old enoughto know not to eat the beans or stick them up his nose or in his ears, he'll enjoy it too. Right now he likes to very carefully transfer blocks into our cupped hands, then out, then in again. Or stack pieces of paper into our hands, then back (still stacked!) onto the floor. Or put cheerios IN the cup, then take them OUT of the cup (yes, I think he might be starting to know those words.) He is so deliberate and methodical in these actions. He moves slowly and carefully and has such a definite purpose. I don't know what the purpose is, but he sure has one!

Do you suppose it is too early to see personality and character traits in him? Because if not, poor kid, he's going to end up like me. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Elena said it best, I think...


This is Holy Week as a mother. Thanks, Elena.

Catechism for toddlers

Something I've been thinking of for awhile, and which the coming of Easter has brought more to mind...

Jonathan really likes my cross necklace. I'm starting to label it a "cross" (as opposed to a "necklace") every time he wants to touch it, now, and when we're in church I'll point out the necklace and then the cross up front. Hopefully eventually he'll make the connection. Brigid (Jessica’s daughter) recognizes the cross at church now, and they’re working on a very basic catechism with her:

“Yes, that’s the cross. Who is on the cross?”
“That’s right, Jesus. Why is he on the cross?”

And eventually they hope to help her respond “because he loves us!” She’s not there yet, but it seems like a really appropriate way to catechize a very small child. Gabe and I are going to copy their idea. :)

Holy Week with a one-year-old

Not the same as Holy Week by myself or with my husband! I’m feeling a little disconnected from it all this year. Last night was Maundy Thursday, and since it is a 2 hour service that started at 7:30pm, I stayed home with Jonathan. For us right now, it just wasn’t realistic to go. So Gabe went to church and I watched a movie at home. Today I’d like to go to the Good Friday service, but since Gabe has our car and most of my friends have kids (and thus no extra seats in their cars) I sort of doubt we’ll be able to go. We are going to attend the Ante-Communion service tomorrow morning at 8am, but it’s the shortest service of the year (I think) and without the build-up of the Thursday and Friday services I think it may fall a little flat. Of course, since it is Holy Saturday, I suppose falling flat would be sort of appropriate.

Easter will still be Easter on Sunday. We’ll sing the Gloria and say “alleluia” again, and we’ll ring bells and praise God for his glory and love. Resurrection Sunday will happen even if I can’t fully participate in the days leading up to it. So…thanks be to God. And thanks be to Him for my son, who is a living example of God’s love and mercy and grace and life-giving-ness.

Philosophy of bathtime

Jonathan is so serious sometimes. This morning I gave him a bath because he played outside a lot yesterday and this (early!) morning, and he was seriously dirty. :) He submitted without too much protest to being washed, and then settled down happily to explore the running water. He put one hand in the stream, held it there, stared at it, and just contemplated what was happening. For something like 30 seconds. And he did this multiple times. He's also started trying to "catch" the water in his cupped hands and drink it. It doesn't work, but he keeps trying. It's like he knows that it ought to work, somehow. I wish I knew what was going on in our little philosopher’s head!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Assisted walking

Sort of like assisted living, which is also rather appropriate (in a way!) for this one-year-old. :)

Mom and Dad M. gave Jonathan a little rider "truck" thing (I'm not quite sure what to actually call it!) for his birthday. He can sit on it and push himself around with his feet - at least, he'll be able to do that when his legs get a bit longer. And he can stand behind it and hold onto the upright handle to push it/walk around. He LOVES doing this. Mommy has decided to love doing this, too. :) You see, it is a highly Mommy-intensive activity. Because, well, he can't steer. Which means that I have to set his initial trajectory, and when he hits a wall, I have to come rescue him and re-set the trajectory. It takes him about 10 seconds to hit a wall or get stuck in the corner, which means I get to walk with him all over the house. :) But he is practicing walking, and he's having a blast. What more could a one-year-old, and the mom of a one-year-old, want?

In other news, Mom and Dad P. gave him this really great "pounding bench". You know the kind where you can pound pegs through indefinitely, just switching sides? We're working on teaching Jonathan that this is the ONLY toy that he gets to bang with impunity...and he must NEVER use the hammer against the glass door. :) Thankfully he can't bang very hard with it yet, and we have high hopes that he'll learn this lesson before doing any damage. Until then, this is another Mommy-intensive activity. :) He loves it, though. In fact, when we first took it out of the wrapping paper, Gabe let him look at it for a minute and then took it away (without really thinking!) to cut off the plastic wrappings. Jonathan let out this absolutely heartbreaking wail and cried a small river. When Gabe hurried back with the new toy, all was sunshine and smiles again.

Thanks to all family for the great gifts. Jonathan is a lucky little boy.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Overworked and underpaid

Well, that’s ministry. And that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve been feeling kind of mildly to moderately crummy this week, and it really came to a head this afternoon. The sort of crummy where I’d come to the end of my day and wonder “how is it that I feel like I’ve worked all day long and I still didn’t get the dishes done?” Well, I just looked over my “timecard” for the past week, and now I think I know why. My timecard has 9 hours of Family Ministries work listed on it. Mind you, that’s only the work that was done in blocks of time, worth writing down. Lots and lots of FM work is done in 5 minute phone calls and emails here and there scattered throughout my day.

On top of all that, I’ve also been working (for at least half again that amount of time, I’d estimate) on youth ministries projects – namely trying to get the calendar for the next three months put together (it’s already late being mailed out and it isn’t even finished) and putting together a non-hokey flyer for the Deanery Youth BBQ coming up and prepping for the Bible study lesson that I taught on Friday night.

Gee, that’s a lot of work.

So this afternoon I sat down to rest a bit and check my email. My email. The place where I ought to get fun things like letters from my sister and mom. Mine, mine, mine. Here are the contents of my email this afternoon:

1) Family Ministries email
2) Family Ministries email
3) Spam
4) Family Ministries email
5) Notification of spam
(which I actually should go read, because sometimes Family Ministries emails get blocked.)

So, so, so disappointing. I cried. And then I cried some more. My poor husband, who had to deal with me. :)

I am quite certain that part of my inability to deal with this is the fact that my lunch today consisted of Jonathan’s birthday cake and ice cream. (We didn’t have time to eat lunch before his party, because I was very late getting out of a Family Ministries event at church. Are you getting the theme, here?)

But I really think that the reason my life seems out of wack right now is because, well, it is. I signed up for youth group because I like youth and I had a pretty good idea what the time commitment would be. I signed up for Family Ministries because it sounded exciting, important, and my job description said FOUR HOURS A WEEK. I figured I could handle that much. And I think I could…only it isn’t just four hours. It’s twice that. And I’m already behind.

Someone, please teach me how to delegate. And say “no”. And organize my life better. Please?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

First word...I think.

Today Jonathan and I were grocery shopping. I gave him my change purse to play with, which of course meant that I stopped every few steps to pick it up for him. About half-way through my shopping list I hear a little voice intoning "uh-oh" with exactly the same inflection I always use. Sure enough, there was the change purse on the ground.

So what do you think...first word? :)

I think it probably counts more than "da-dee" because he did it four times in a row today. And "da-dee" really isn't consistent at all.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The sun is shining. There is laundry hanging up on the line (not the laundry that was hanging on the line during the rainstorm!) There is laundry in the dryer as well, because we got behind on clean laundry while it was raining. Jonathan is happily alternating between the living room and the patio. I'm leaving the door open because it is so nice outside, and he really enjoys it. He is a little worried by the strong gusts of wind that blow through periodically, but he's certainly not going to let a little thing like that spoil his fun! Have I mentioned lately how wonderful he is? I love watching him explore and learn and play. He is such a little BOY now...not at all the baby of six months ago. He's turning one year old on Saturday.

While I'm at it, I think I'll post my "what Jonathan is doing now" updates. I've been keeping a mental list for the past few days but haven't had a chance to post it. But he's happy now, and I think he's only eating a few here goes. :)

Jonathan loves his bedtime routine. It's a very simple one - just a diaper change (he doesn't love that part!) then toothbrushing, then we turn on music and swaddle him to nurse. By the time we get to the swaddling he's calm and grinning from ear to ear. He knows what comes next! He smiles at his daddy until he's all wrapped up, and giggles in anticipation before we nurse. It's the best part of the day, I think.

He's almost walking. Yesterday he almost took a step - it was like he forgot that he couldn't - only then he remembered just in time not to. :) Oh well, it will happen someday. And with any luck I'll be there to see it!

A favorite game right now is putting things (blocks, cheerios, anything!) into our hands and then deliberately taking them out, and putting them back in, one by one, over and over and over again.

He anticipates what comes next in favorite funny games, and giggles before the "punch line".

He plays peek-a-boo with the people behind us in church. I don't think we're good for their concentration. :)

He copies us. Last night we had artichokes for dinner, and Jonathan was quite pleased with himself as he copied how we ate the leaves. He also copies me when I sneeze. Which, ufortunately, I am doing a lot right now. Darn allergies. But it is oh-so-cute when my "aah-choo!" is followed by a small "tchoo!" Every time.

When Gabe comes home at night, he and Jonathan play "catch me if you can". Gabe gets down on his hands and knees with Jonathan, and crawls slowly toward him. Jonathan shrieks with laughter as he crawls away as fast has he can, periodically stopping to look over his shoulder to see how close Daddy is. They'll circle the whole house like this. I love listening to the shrieks of merriment as I'm getting dinner ready!

Jonathan knows how to obey, and he knows he'd better do so! Many of the things that were battles a month or two ago just aren't, really, any more. It's a welcome respite. And when he does do something he shouldn't, he KNOWS it. So a stern tone of voice saying "Jonathan..." gets his attention, and he responds by crawling away from the offending object as fast as he can go! It's so funny it's very hard to be serious with him. :)