Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thoughts, please?

Lately Jonathan has decided that he needs 100% attention in the afternoon. This is generally from about 2pm until when Gabe gets home (tonight that will be at 7pm). I'm at a bit of a loss, because I just can't play on the floor with him or toss him in the air or chase him around the house for 5 straight hours! It is a frustrating dilema, because every time I try to do a chore or make a call or answer an email, Jonathan cries. Or screams. But I KNOW that it isn't a true lack of attention. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas on how to deal with it?
Today Jonathan and I were sitting on the couch, reading books. Half way through, I slouched down into a more comfortable position. Jonathan looked at me, then leaned back and did his best imitation of my slouch! It was awfully cute. We actually read books for quite awhile today, which was fun. Usually he likes to move around too much and we don't get through much, but today he was in a sit and look at pictures mood.

I don't remember if I've mentioned our new discipline trick? We're doing time-out in a playpen, with a timer. It took only two time out times for Jonathan to figure out what was going on. He doesn't like it, but he does understand how it works! Sometimes he cries, sometimes he just waits. But either way, when the timer rings he says "dau!" (or something like that - I can't transliterate!) and looks at me expectantly. He gets a hug and an "I love you" as I get him out, and a reminder to obey Mommy. I'm pleased with how it is working. We don't have to use them often, and when we do, it is very helpful to me too, because functionally both he and I are having "time out!" Even just one minute "away" is helpful for me to regain perspective. So all in all I think it is a good discipline decision, at least for the stage we're in now.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Grandmommy update:

Sorry it took me awhile to get this up here. Grandmommy had her surgery on Tuesday, and it went very well - the very best scenario! She will have a long recovery (she’ll probably be in the hospital until next Tuesday, at least) so continued prayer would be great. Thanks!

God talked to me today.

And it was so clear, it was almost audible. I’ve never had such clear direction from God before. Yes, he’s directed me, but usually in the way of open and closed doors, or feelings that accumulated over time. Today he gave an order.

Jonathan and I spent some time at the park today. Just before we were about to leave, an old-ish biker man (tatoos everywhere!) showed up with his dog. Jonathan was fascinated and set out to catch up with the (very fast!) dog. Eventually we did get close, and I asked if the dog was friendly, and we struck up a conversation while Jonathan made friends with the (very friendly!!!) dog. It was an interesting conversation. I don’t think either of us quite knew what to say at first, but eventually we ended up talking about kids and the world they’re growing up in today. He has a sixteen year old son living on the east coast (I guess with an ex-wife – I didn’t ask). Then the conversation took an odd turn as he told me that he has terminal cancer. He’s starting chemotherapy next week, but it is just a life-extender, not a cure. What do you say to something like that? It was really sad. Anyway, shortly after that Jonathan got sad and needed to go home, so we said our goodbyes and I walked back to get the stroller. That’s when God said to go back.

“He has cancer, Em, and he needs to know me. Go back and invite him to church.”

“God, you don’t really mean for me to turn around and go back and invite him to church, do you? He’ll think I’m so weird.”

“Go invite him to church.”

So I did. What else can you do when God gives such a clear order? I wrote my name and the name and address of the church on a slip of paper, buckled Jonathan in the stroller, turned around, and walked back praying “God, I have no idea what I’m going to say, so please make sure I have some words before I get there, ok?”

He came through. He always does, doesn’t He? I should trust Him more. When I got back to the man, I just said something like “hey, do you go to church around here?” He said no, that he had never really gone to church, and then we went on to talk about church and how he never felt really comfortable just showing up – “a biker guy who drinks and smokes, you know?” He also said that he had been thinking recently that he should try it, “since I’m going to be meeting my maker and all.” So I told him a little about our church and gave him the service times and the cross streets (he used to live in Placentia and he knows exactly where it is!) Usually he goes biking with some friends of his on Sunday mornings, but he has a back injury right now that probably won’t let him ride. So he may just show up on Sunday. Oh, I hope so. I told him I’d love to have him come and sit with me and Gabe and Jonathan, and he said he just might “as long as you’ll be there so I won’t feel so weird.”

His name is Garnett. (Emphasis on the last syllable.) Please pray for him – that he would come to church and that he would be able to really see the beauty and truth and love there, and thus find Christ.

Thanks be to God for guiding our steps – for the dog, for Jonathan’s single-minded devotion to catching up with the dog, for the timing of our park trip, for Garnett’s back injury that meant he was sitting and talking instead of running with the dog.

Thanks be to God that he can use even me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New word:

"Night-night". Only it comes out more like "ni-ni". It's very cute - he says it when he's sleepy and wants to go to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Daddy's little boy

On Saturday, Gabe was using a hammer to attach something to the wall. Jonathan watched with interest for a few minutes, then disappeared. A minute later he reappeared, his own plastic hammer in hand. :)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Imitation and understanding

Jonathan is in an imitating phase right now. Particularly if we ask him to, he'll copy just about anything. He'll pat his head, or sign "more" and "all done" or sniff his nose like a bunny, or turn upside down, or or or! The really cool thing, though, is that he isn't just copying our actions. He's also processing our words. After the first couple of examples, he'll do these actions just given a verbal cue - "Jonathan, can you turn upside down?" And upside down he goes!


Last week at church Nathaniel (a little boy about Jonathan's age) was crying, and Jonathan took his teddy bear over and handed it to him to snuggle. We snuggle with this teddy bear at home when Jonathan is crying, so it was pretty neat to have him transfer that over to Nathaniel.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I'm an anarchist???

You scored as Republican.

















What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with

Ok, we're just really amazing parents. :)

Often when Jonathan is upset about something, his reaction is to go down on feet, hands, and head (can you picture that?) and yell and bang his head. Not very pleasant. BUT Gabe and I are amazing, and have found a truly novel way to circumvent these tantrums. We have taught Jonathan how to go "upside down!" (the same position, only without the head-banging!) and as soon as his head hits the floor, we cry "upside down!" and do the same thing. He thinks it is so funny he forgets what he was upset about.

So if you see me in the grocery store, peeking through my own legs at my son, try not to laugh too hard, ok?

Friday, May 19, 2006


My Grandmommy is very sick. She has been sick for a long time, and they finally figured out what was wrong, and it isn't good. She's going to have to have surgery on Tuesday (hopefully, unless it happens sooner in which case it would be emergency surgery) to try to fix the problem.

Its scary.

Please pray with us:

- that the doctors will be wise and skilled
- that the surgery goes well
- that she will depend on God during this really hard time
- that my Granddaddy, who doesn't really have any use for God at all, will through this situation see his own need for God.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Lately, Jonathan has become much less obedient. He's disobeying in areas that we hadn't had trouble with for months! Its like he remembers everything we've ever said "no" about, and is trying to do them all every day. And when corrected, he throws a fit. He'll scream, bang his head on the floor, or hit my face, grab my glasses, and pull my hair. It is disconcerting to have him responding with such violence. Even just a calm "Not for Jonathan" can elicit this type of response. And it seems to be quite calculated...I'll pick him up so he can't hurt himself banging his head, he'll try to pull my glasses off, and when I won't let him do that he screams and pulls my hair. I'm pretty sure he knows that it hurts and is doing it on purpose. It's a strange sensation, having the little person you love more than anything trying to hurt you because he's angry. He's MY little sinner, and I love him dearly, but it rather makes my heart hurt.

Have any of you readers encountered this problem? I can't have the only strong-willed one-year-old out there! ;)

I think I blog more on days that aren't going well. Writing is catharctic - and posting it reminds me that I'm not all alone! Too bad the chores don't get done too! :)

More miscellany

Jonathan likes brushing hair. A lot. He'll use his brush or my brush, brush his hair or my hair or Gabe's hair - I don't know what the appeal is, but he sure enjoys it!

Block towers are very appealing. They can be knocked over to make such a lovely crash!

For months, now, we've been using signs for "all done" and (less consistently) "more". Jonathan never seemed to get it, until this past week or so. Now he uses "all done" every time. He sort of created his own version - it isn't exactly the way we'd been doing it, but it is entirely recognizable. He uses it when he's finished at meals and also when he's finished nursing. I'm really glad we taught it to him, because it is very helpful to have him simply wiggle his hands instead of screaming!

Catching up...

Lots of Jonathan news that I haven't gotten to lately:

He loves cheese. Really, really, really loves cheese. In fact, I think he can even sort of say "cheese."

He is working on saying words. It is hard to tell what is babble and what has meaning, but some are starting to stand out. "Cheese" is one, so is "outside". We keep hoping for "mommy" and "daddy" but he isn't really cooperating. :)

He loves playing in the water. Our backyard faucet is leaky, so whenever I water the garden, it gives him drips and a little spray and a lovely mud puddle to play in. We've given Jonathan a lot of baths, lately!

Speaking of the future...

THE FUTURE. I find this very scary to think about. You see, in general I like my day to day life right now. Of course, there are bits I'd like to change, like having Gabe work closer to home or be finished with school. But I love our church, I love my job at church, I love my son and my husband and my garden and the little hispanic neighbor girls who like to play with Jonathan. I love living 12 minutes away from Jessica and having mom's group at the park each week.

So when we talk about THE FUTURE, it freaks me out. Because usually that means we're talking about CHANGE. I hate change. Did you know that about me? I hate change. When I was a kid, I very often didn't really even want to do something fun, if it meant changing what I expected the day to look like. Ok, so I was a little neurotic. ;)

So last night Gabe and I ended up having a discussion about THE FUTURE. It was a good discussion. But the content was downright terrifying. To me, anyway. You see, I like steadiness and predictability. I like a paycheck every week. I like having money in the bank just in case something awful happens. I like my safety nets. What we're considering would mean stepping out with no more safety nets. And I'm horribly afraid that this is exactly what God might be calling us to do.

Gabe wants to get a doctorate. He's been talking about this for ages, but last night he really explained to me why it is so important and what he wants to do with it. I get it, now. It really does seem like something that might be more vocation than job. Maybe. As we were saying last night, neither of us has a "word from the Lord" on just seems to be a direction Gabe ought to go.

The problem is that UCI makes it next to impossible for a man with a family to get said doctorate. The pay while you're in the program is enough for a single person with roommates to live on, but isn't even enough to pay our first mortgage. Much less the second mortgage and the HOA dues and have anything left over for food and gas and utilities and home/auto/life insurance.

To be truthful, I had sort of been counting on that fact to protect me from ever having to actually deal with the fact that Gabe wanted to do this. After all, it just isn't financially feasible, right? Case closed. But last night I remembered a story Gabe told me once, about a man who wanted to study in Europe, and whose wife said "we'll make this happen" and then DID. And isn't that the kind of wife I'd like to be? Not a scared, selfish, fussy wife saying "I don't want to do it this way so I'm not going to even try to make it work", but a wife who can share and enter in to her husband's dreams and importune heaven and move earth to make it happen?

If we were really, really, careful, and Gabe could get it done in two years, and we spent everything we have in savings, we could make it happen.

And then we would move away to another university for Gabe's post-doc work, and then who knows.

God has not yet given Gabe clear direction, aside from inclination that has lasted for many years. And I definitely don't want to say that He's given me any clear direction. Just a feeling that I need to trust Him, and the knowledge that if this is where He wants us, I want to be the wife who is a helpmate, not a fussy burden.

We'd love it if you'd pray with us as we try to discern God's will for our future.

If you read this today...

pray for us, please. Jonathan is having a really hard day (his morning thus far has closely resembled his very cranky after 5pm style) and he's having trouble sleeping as well. Mommy is tired because she stayed up late with Daddy discussing the future. Not such a great combination. So, prayer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, friends!

Monday, May 15, 2006

This whole baby-weight-loss thing is driving me nuts. I look in the mirror and most of the time, I like what I see. Then I step on the scale and…well, today I kicked it. ;) Those stupid numbers are going up!!!

On a more positive note, I’ve been keeping track of my exercise totals at CoolRunning, and so far this month I’ve logged 13.5 miles of pushing a stroller and 48 minutes of cardio dance holding a 20lb baby. Not bad, eh?

Which of Henry's wives are you?

I thought this was fun, particularly since I just read a good fictional account of Caterina's life - "The Constant Princess" by Philippa Gregory. Although I don't think I've ever pressed flowers in romantic novels. ;)

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Sunday, May 14, 2006

And then after that...

we went to the Block for dinner

and window shopping.

And yes, some real shopping as well. I have a super husband - there is an Ann Taylor Outlet there and he let me go in and BUY stuff! ;)

Beach trip! (warning - lots of pictures!)

Yesterday was a really, really, really lovely day. Gabe took Jonathan to the men's breakfast in the morning about 7am, which gave me some beautifully uninterrupted time to put the house in order, take a shower, and work on composing. Then when they got back, we did a few more chores, an errand or two, Jonathan had his nap and we watched an episode of Hogan's Heroes (a really funny tv series). It was fun and relaxed and pleasant, and we actually got a lot done too. And then, at 2pm, we walked out the door, beach bags in hand, to go play at the beach! As you can see, we had a great time. :)

It's a two bath day

I gave Jonathan had a bath this morning before church. This afternoon we let him play outside. He fell in the mud. Yep, its bathtime again. :)

Saturday, May 13, 2006


When I was a sophomore in college, I took Theory I. I spent the first semester seriously irritated with the professor. Then he assigned the final project, and everything changed. Compose a hymn. There were rules, of course, but the real requirement was: sit down at the piano and create. Suddenly all the irritating rules made sense, and I understood why my professor cared so much that we learned them. They were the foundation for creating beautiful things - music bigger than we were - we needed those rules in order to express our souls.

Dr. B. and I are fast friends now. Somewhere in the midst of that final project we were able to see each other more clearly - not just as irritating professor and challenging student, but challenging professor and passionate student. And I will never forget him, because he was the one who pushed me hard enough to show me that I, too, could create music.

I spent hours locked in tiny practice rooms, lost to the world, composing. Some of it was terrible, but occasionally I'd find a motif, a melody, something that had real potential. When that happened, I'd emerge from my cave, hungry and tired, but too excited to notice. Creating music transcended normal life.

When I graduated, married, and took a job teaching, my opportunities to compose evaporated. I had no piano at home, and no time at school. I missed it periodically, but didn't worry too much about it. Someday, I said, I'd go back to school and study composition more thoroughly.

No, I'm not going back to school now. That is still in the future (perhaps). But I am composing again. Gabe and I decided that it was a good way for me to keep a toe in the music world during this mommy-ing time of life. So now every Saturday Gabe takes Jonathan away for a run or on errands or something, and I sit down at the piano and lose myself in music. I'm not very good at it. I'm woefully out of practice - last week I frustrated myself no end trying to figure out the timing of a passage that was crystal clear in my head, but wouldn't come out on paper. And while melodies still come fairly easily to me, I've forgotten far too much of how to flesh them out with harmony (much less remember all of Dr. B's voice leading rules!) But it will come. The love is still there, and the technique will come back with practice.

Today I realized that Gabe was singing my melody while doing chores around the house. That was so encouraging, because it means that the melody I'm working so hard to create does have something in that draws people in. I know that I will make lots of marginal or even bad music. But I have high hopes that with enough work, someday I will create something truly lovely; something that reflects the beauty of the Creator himself.

Jesu juva.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Yup. IN MY HOUSE. They're cute, you know, but I'd really rather they weren't IN MY HOUSE. We don't think it is a really big problem (yet, at least) because we haven't found any droppings anywhere. But we've definitely found the mice. Two nights ago I saw something out of the corner of my eye that I swear moved. Really fast. But I was super tired, and after shining a flashlight under the couch revealed nothing obvious, we decided I must have imagined it. Then last night I saw something dark and brown move in the kitchen. This time there was no mistake - that was a mouse! We got a box and a wooden spoon and a spatula, and attempted to coerce this tiny, frightened creature into the box so we could take him outside. He fell into the sink and hid in the garbage disposal. Undismayed, we put the wooden spoon down the sink so he could crawl up it. You should have seen his little nose poking up, as he looked around wondering if it was safe to come out of his nice dark hiding place! It was quite the chase, poor thing. We did catch him, eventually (he actually jumped into our box, in a last desperate attempt to evade the spatula!) and let him go outside. Happy ending. Only, this morning when I went to pick up one of Jonathan's plastic toys, well, it wasn't plastic. And it was dead. I think we found my phantom mouse of a few days ago. :( Not so happy ending.

Our house is hardly mouse-proof, so I'm not really surprised that this has happened...but it does make me look at things a bit more closely before I put my hands into corners! And I am a bit worried about Jonathan - after all, what if he'd been the one to find the dead mouse? So I think we're going to try to get some humane mousetraps and hope they take care of the problem.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


One nice thing about days when Jonathan doesn't feel well is that he gets much more snuggly. I love it when he lifts his arms to be picked up, and then lays his head down on my shoulder - all is right with his world when he's in my arms, even when his mouth hurts. How I love him.


Jonathan is teething - his upper front teeth. I am sick (again!) We would definitely appreciate your prayers right now!

Some people can just say it exactly right

And Dy is one of them. Go read her post here. It is great.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I remember WHY I love my son

Hugs. Jonathan knows how to hug us, and he will often do so when we request it. It is adorable and makes me remember how much I do love him. :)

He also really likes hugging teddy bears. Particularly after naptime - he'll wake up and reach for the bears on the shelf, and snuggle with one for a few minutes as he wakes up.

Another neat thing that I forgot to blog about a few days ago: Jonathan's sense of "rightness" in the world is really developing. Not moral rightness, I guess maybe orderliness is a better word. Anyway, he knows how many things "ought" to be, and is disturbed if they aren't that way. For example, a few mornings ago we were all in the bathroom brushing teeth and getting ready for the day, when Jonathan suddenly pointed at the trashcan and with great concern said "uh oh, uh oh!" When we looked, we found that a kleenex had missed the can and ended up on the floor. Jonathan knew that it was trash, and therefore should have been in the trashcan, and was very intent on calling our attention to it so that we could fix things! Gabe and I were amazed - that is pretty high level thinking for a one-year-old!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I love my son.

I just wanted that to be perfectly clear. I love my son. That said, there are days when I really wonder if I made the right decision, becoming a mother. Days when one-year-old tantrums are more than I can deal with. Days when I just want to shout "go to sleep - you KNOW you're tired!" Days (like today) when I look toward the week ahead and just want to cry thinking of all the hours that I'll have to be the mom without daddy around to help. And most particularly, days when I remember everything that I gave up when Jonathan came along, and I miss it, and I grieve for the loss.

I was a good choral director. I loved making music. I loved my students. I loved the adrenaline and the excitement of concert days. I loved feeling successful. I loved shaping and molding the music - a living thing that responded to my hands and voice and heart. And I never meant to give it up. I meant to have a baby AND a (part-time) career. I meant to live in both worlds - so many people do! And I am so incredibly angry that God didn't clue me in to his plan until the baby was made and it was too late to go back.

Did He know I'd back out? Did He know that if he told me the plan, I wouldn't do it? I don't even know what my choice would have been, had I known. I just know that I feel tricked, and I feel that even while I've gained something precious, I've also lost something precious. It is a hard, hard, hard trade.

I feel like a jerk even thinking this. After all, this is my son. A living, breathing human being whom God has entrusted to me. And I'm grateful for him, truly I am. I'm just angry and sad all at the same time. I keep waiting for it to get better; for music to stop hurting me; for the ache to go away. Only it doesn't go. It hides for awhile, that's all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Yup, he's a toddler

Yesterday Jonathan mostly crawled and walked occasionally. Today he walks everywhere.


I was working in the garden today, and realized I was saying "no" a lot. I don't like that state of affairs much, and neither does Jonathan. So I got the trowel out for him, gave him his own little pot of dirt, and showed him how to dig. He loves it, and he's so proud of himself!

Just because he's too cute...

I just realized...

that I forgot to post a picture of myself with short hair. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wondrous little body

I don't really appreciate my body. I complain about its dimensions and wish it wouldn't hurt when I exercise, but other than that I usually just take it for granted. But I let Jonathan run around the other day in just a diaper, because it was so hot, and I was struck by just how wondrous his body is. He has ribs, and muscles, and eyes that actually see things (just think about that for a minute!) and the most adorable toes you've ever seen. Every bit of him works properly and he can wrap his arms around my neck and toddle in circuitous paths on his way to play with Daddy. His round little tummy is imminently tickle-able and houses half a dozen perfect organs that don't mind being squished when he flops on top of me. He is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gifts.

Little Screamer

This is not my favorite stage. Any ideas for helping a one-year-old learn that ear-shattering screams aren't the best way to get what you want? Someday he's going to say "please pick me up" and "please give me a cracker" or even just "please!!!!!!" But until the glorious day comes, what in the world am I going to do to save my eardrums and my sanity?

In other news, I think he tried to say "shoe" yesterday. And he might have also tried to say "kiss". We couldn't get him to do it again, sure sounded like it and the context was right.

Small happy dances

The number on my scale has halted its downward trend. But I'm ok with that since

a) I have nothing to blame but myself and the Easter candy, and

b) I had to take my belt in to the last notch yesterday.

Things aren't half bad around here. :)

This is great

I don't often link to Dooce, because she has some pretty questionable language at times, but this post really captures the new perspective you get as a parent. I liked it.