Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tonight's conversation:

Gabe: *singing cheesy love songs to me*

Emily: You never sang to me before we got married.

Gabe: Well, I had to make sure you couldn't leave me.


Monday, October 30, 2006


I found this at Life in a Shoe. No wonder so many women don't feel pretty! We're comparing ourselves against computer generated images!

Big boy beds

I'm assuming that at least a few of my readers may have dealt with this problem. If you have, will you please please please share your wisdom?

We're in the process of switching Jonathan to a mattress instead of the pack n play, and we're having difficulty. He does fine at night, maybe due to the darkness factor (?) but naptimes just aren't working. This morning he was totally exhausted, but couldn't seem to fall into a deep sleep. As soon as I left the room he popped up, cried, and followed me out. We had quite a battle over whether or not he would stay on the bed! I think I came out on top, sort of, since he did eventually stay on the bed to finish out his quiet time, but he never did sleep and is still obviously tired (he's sitting in my lap, head nodding, right now).

I think part of the problem is just so much space. He's used to flopping around and hitting the mesh sides of the crib. Now he flops and...flops again and...falls off the bed. Or hits the wall, which is definitely not soft. We've tried to make him a cozy corner with pillows and his favorite blanket, and that seems to help a little bit, but not enough.

When he slept in his crib, it was so easy! Well, at least it has been for awhile. We simply turned on his music, lay with him for three songs, and then left. He knew the routine and almost never gave us trouble about it. I guess maybe it will just take time to learn the new routine, but I'm not quite sure how to make the routine happen. Because he really can just get off his bed anytime he feels like it. And discipline has me a bit stymied, because how am I supposed to put him in "time out" when there are no sides to keep him in?

Are we just doing this too early? He's almost 19 months old now. We wanted to get him comfortable with the new arrangement well before the new baby arrives, so that he doesn't feel like it is the baby who took his bed away, you know? But maybe we're expecting too much of him. I'm just not sure.

Poor tired kid. He's lying on the floor, staring out the window. Does that sound like my normally full of energy child? I wish he'd just give up and go to sleep. Then I could take a shower in peace. :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weird combination:

an upset stomach, braxton hicks contractions, and a baby who just. won't. stop. kicking.


No, we don't have a dog. I forgot to mention (in the post about Maggie) that Jonathan and I were on vacation up with my parents. :)

It was a great vacation - I was getting over a heavy cold and got to rest and sleep and read books - generally be "off duty" for a few days. As much as I love my son, and love being a mom, there is a lot to be said for being off duty occasionally!

Jonathan was full of energy (as usual!) but he had his choice of four people at his beck and call for much of the time we were there. Not to mention great-grandparents who wanted to see him too. He got to play outside with the dog and the cats, hammer on boards ("bang!!!") be taken around for wheelbarrow rides, play with balls, pick crabapples (up on a ladder!) eat yummy food, get a bath from Grandmommy and Granddad, play with puzzles, build with blocks, listen to music...he had an incredible time.

I wish that families weren't so spread out across the country these days. I'm envious of those extended families who someone stayed together locally for generations - you know, you marry the boy next door and settle down across town from both sets of parents! Gabe and I have a few friends who actually were able to do that, and it is so neat to see. Their children really know their extended family, because they see them every week!

Compare to our situation: my sister is marrying and settling in Boston, my brother is currently in Texas, my parents are in Northern California. My in-laws are in Southern California, but a long enough drive away that we don't see them all that often either.

It makes me sad to be so spread out, but I don't know of a way to fix it. My parents work hard to make their home (and area) an inviting place to come vacation as well as live. And boy, is it ever working! My cousin's family just bought property just down the road from my family, as did my aunt and uncle. Even my grandparents in Texas are considering moving to the area! So that is a sort of gravitational base that will definitely make for fun family reunions and good vacations. But the reality is that Gabe and I will probably have to go where the jobs are. Sarah and Nathan will go where the grad schools are, and who knows where Jonathan will end up. Maybe in Africa. :)

I guess I'm just a little envious of what seems a simpler life, and a very good thing: raising your kids in the larger community of your extended family. When I left for college I never even thought about that. When I married Gabe and settled down here, it still didn't seem important. Now that I have children, I have realized how very dear family is, and I am sad for the loss of their nearness. I think that maybe this means I've finally grown up a bit.

No fair!

The stomach flu is never fun.

Getting it for the third time in four months, while pregnant, on the very day of a big event at church that you've been pouring all your energy into for a month...

Seems unfair, doesn't it?

It really does seem to be Murphy's Law. Jonathan came down with it on Thursday morning. My comment at the time was "I sure hope I don't get it. But if I do, I'll probably get it on Sunday."

Next time maybe I shouldn't say anything! :)

Friday, October 27, 2006


is next to Godliness...or so they say. If so, my son is well on his way to being seriously holy. :) I've never seen such a child for needing to be clean! If something spills during dinner, even if it lands on his bib, he responds with "uh oh!" immediately. Today during dinner he needed to wipe his hands with a napkin multiple times - even though he only had a few crumbs of cornbread on them. Earlier this afternoon I let him lick the spoon after making the cornbread. He thoroughly enjoyed it, but I had to wipe his hands off with the washcloth at least five times. After that I gave up and handed him the washcloth to do it himself, and he happily washed his own face and hands between nearly every lick!

Gabe hopes that we can put this little compulsion to work for us when Jonathan is ready to potty train. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've been replaced.

The family dog is named "Maggie". Jonathan can't say "Maggie"...so he calls her "Mommy".

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Jonathan got his first introduction to professional football this afternoon.

His response: "Uh oh! Oh no!!!" whenever anyone got tackled.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Prayer request

Not for us, but for this little boy and his family. The Pray for Canon blog is here, (for updates on his condition) and there is a picture on another blog here. Fair warning: this will make you cry.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Wouldn't it be nice to call customer service and get someone in the United States, preferably who spoke English without too much of an accent, and who actually worked for the company you were trying to contact?

New Delhi, India, indeed.

Weighty issues

Ok, I'm giggling at myself over the title of this post. :)

I've been stressing for the past four weeks about my pace of weight gain with this baby. Last month I gained just about 8 pounds, which is hardly the "2/3 to 1 pound a week" that is "recommended". Can I just say now that I really hate averages?? Because no matter that my brain knows that it is an average, I still think that I "ought" to be exactly on pace with it.

When I was pregnant with Jonathan, the same thing happened during my fifth month. Unfortunately, that happened to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my doctor gave me rather a hard time about it. He wasn't mean, he just sort of made fun of me. Not so helpful when you hate the numbers on the scale anyway!

So this time around I kept telling myself "Emily, this has happened before, this is just how your body does 5th month pregnancy!" but at the same time I couldn't quite get that "doctor voice" out of my head telling me that I really need to lay off the buffet tables.

Anyway. Today my midwife came to the house for my appointment. She had asked me to keep two weeks of a diet chart - everything I put in my mouth - just so she could see and make sure everything was fine. So I did, faithfully recording everything - even the "bad" foods that I thought I shouldn't have eaten but did anyway. :)

The result? Sue says this is just the way my body works, and on top of that it is completely NORMAL. Further, she says that my diet is "great!" and that she doesn't care one bit how much weight I actually end up gaining, because I'm doing it all on good food.

Maybe I'll just put away my scale for awhile and work on believing her instead of stressing about the numbers.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


One of the things that I was trying to do this week was to get all the weekly chores done during the week, instead of leaving a bunch for the weekend (and then asking Gabe to help with them!) And it worked! I may not like vacuuming and mopping the floors, but it is possible to get it done during the week. And it was such a nice reward to get to the weekend and realize that the only things I'm asking Gabe to do for me around the house are cutting the grass and helping with a project. So he'll actually have time to relax and work on his own projects as well! (Considering how crazy his school schedule is right now, this is something he really needs.) On top of that, it makes my weekend that much nicer, too, because I'm actually going to have time this afternoon to garden and play the piano and read. I think a little extra work during the week is worth it for the payoff of real relaxation on the weekends. :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Mother's Rule of Life

A friend of mine at church lent me a book a few weeks ago: A Mother's Rule of Life, by Holly Pierlot. It is written by a Catholic mother of five children who, six years ago, felt something like how I've been feeling (only more so, I'm guessing!) She was trying to homeschool and care for a toddler and a baby, keep the house nice, stay on a budget, make meals for the family, stay on top of the laundry, and convince herself that it was all a worthwhile endeavor. And she was miserable, until she stepped back and re-evaluated what she was doing and why. The result is this book, which walks you through the development and implementation of a Rule of Life for Mothers. The idea is based on the concept of monastic vocations...all of which have a rule of life. If Motherhood is our vocation, Holly says, and it is, then we should have a rule of life as well.

I think it may have changed my life. My husband certainly thinks that it has - today he wanted to know what in the world had changed since I started reading it.

I'm not sure I can answer that question. Because in one sense, not much has changed. I don't have any more hours in my day than I used to have. I don't have any more sleep each night (actually, I've gotten less sleep this week than I normally do). Jonathan hasn't suddenly turned into Angel-Toddler, and I still have laundry and dishes and mopping and meal preparation and church work to do.

But something is different now. A few weeks ago I felt out of control and discouraged and tired and sure that I would never ever catch up. This week has been peaceful...the chores are done, Jonathan has had lots of quality time (and so has Gabe, for that matter), my desk is clear and church work, while still a lot, doesn't feel so overwhelming.

The best explanation I can give for this is sort of multi-faceted. I'm still trying to figure it all out (hence the fact that I'm writing about it!) :)

1) Holly reminded me that this is a vocation that God gave me. The commands to care for the garden (their home), and to be fruitful and multiply, are the first works that God gave to Adam and Eve...this work wasn't the result of the fall, it was the way life was meant to be. The fall just made it harder.

2) God is not an optional part of my day. My entire life should, ideally, be an offering to God, and I can't do that if I never think about him except on Sunday morning. Prayer isn't an optional occupation for those moments when I can't think of anything else to do. (Ha, when does that ever happen??) Prayer needs to be both scheduled into my day at regular times, as well as sprinkled here and there in the midst of my daily chores.

3) Sloth is not the same thing as being tired. Sloth is "a sluggishness of the soul or boredom of the exertion necessary for the performance of any good work." Sloth ties me to the couch and makes me feel badly about life. Tiredness, on the other hand, can be offered to God as a sacrifice of love. "Jesus, I'm going to wash these dishes and take Jonathan for a walk because I love you."

4) I'm not keeping house because I need to do so to stay sane. I think this was part of the catch-22 that I'd fallen into recently (ok, for most of my life): doing my work in order to feel good about myself but being too tired to feel like things were ok and then needing to do more work to make myself feel better but not ever actually feeling better...this kind of circular trap just results in discouragement and depression, which is exactly where I often found myself. Holly's book reminded me that I am keeping house because keeping a home running smoothly means that I can be a better parent and be a better wife and most importantly, pay more attention to God.

These are very scattered thoughts right now - I'm very much just starting the thought process and the implementation of this idea of a Rule of Life. Perhaps the best explanation can be found in this quote:
There's a deeper and more fundamental level to a Rule of Life that distinguishes it from a mere schedule: the intent and aim of following the Rule. A Rule followed for the practical benefits alone is not a Rule of Life; it is a schedule. Duties attended to grudgingly or with reluctance do not make a Rule, for a Rule of Life must be lived as a response to the call of God.
In a Mother's Rule, all that we do is done because God asks it of us. It is to accept and embrace my vocation because God wants me to, whether out of an initial sense of obedience to him or, later, simply because I love him, and to suffer the possibily ongoing struggle to adjust my attitudes and outlook toward his vision for my life, is the very heart of the Rule. It is to do all that he asks, because he asks it, out of love for him.
So that is what I'm trying to do. Do all that God has asked of me, because he asks it, because I love him.

The strange thing is that when I stopped trying to do it all by myself and for myself, God seems to have stepped in and multiplied my efforts. How else to explain that I suddenly seem to have more hours in my day? Then again, I guess that isn't so very strange. It is like tithing - when we give to God even out of our lack, he always seems to give back to us more than we ever thought to ask for. So perhaps now as I'm choosing to give time to God in prayer, and choosing to obey his call for my life, he is simply giving me an abundance of blessings in return.


Jonathan had his 18 month doctor's appointment yesterday and got a whole bunch of vaccination shots. I'm glad he won't be getting polio, but a post-vaccine toddler can be difficult! He was running a fever for most of the day, and partway through the afternoon I decided that a movie was in order. Only, I'm sick of the Baby Einstein dvd that we have. One can only watch those so many times before wishing they'd never been made. :) So instead, I put in the Sound of Music. It has music! It has dancing! It has children! He'll love it!

He hated it. I watched it with him and talked him through it for ten minutes, hoping that he'd catch on that this was fun. He cried the whole time. "Mommy, woo woo mooee!!" Over and over and over again.

But it is the Sound of Music!!! How can you possibly not like the Sound of Music!!! Baby Einstein has ruined you forever!!!

I'm trying very hard to convince myself that Baby Einstein is simply more developmentally appropriate for an 18 month old.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Laughter is the best medicine...

so here is my current giggle-fit joke (found on Jeana's blog):

A priest, a rabbi and a boy scout walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?"

Come on, you KNOW that is funny. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The thing no one tells you about home ownership

Everything breaks. If it has ever had a moving part, it will break. If it has been in the house since 1974, it is absolutely going to break, no matter how much you beg and plead for it to hold out just a little bit longer.

Upon further reflection, there are two things no one tells you. The second is that everything that breaks will be really expensive to fix. And the things that do break will be the things that you can’t NOT fix. Like the shower fixture that broke off in my hand yesterday. I got the replacement parts today at Lowes for the insanely expensive price of $68, and it costs $150 (I think) to have the water in our complex turned off so that we can actually do the repair. And that is if we do it ourself! Or the electrical wiring problem that left us with half the outlets not working. (That one resulted in a $175 electrician fee, and part of it stopped working again the next day – the part that includes the garbage disposal.) Oh, and my washing machine is making a really awful noise that I’m sure means it is in the process of breaking. I’ve been importuning God about that one quite a lot lately. :)

Of course, if you’re a homeowner, this will all happen in the same few months that you need new brakes for the car and have to pay the midwife’s fee and decided to spend all your “house money” on not-quite-necessary (but oh so beautiful!) projects.

Some days I miss just filling out the form that says “X broke on Y day” and handing it to the manager.

Friday, October 06, 2006

First step...

on the road to potty training?

For the past few days Jonathan has been (occasionally) informing me when he needs a new diaper. And every time, he's been right. It's a start, yes? :)

Airplanes and helicopters

Quite often during the day a helicopter or an airplane will fly over our house. Our reaction to the noise is as well-conditioned as a reaction to a fire alarm - we drop whatever we are doing and race outside to see what kind it is! Today we actually got to see two private planes flying together and (I'm almost positive) showing off. :) They had really big engines that made a lot of noise, and they flew low enough to give us a really good look at them. That was exciting. So was the big helicopter this morning.

It is kind of funny being the mother of a little boy. I never used to care about airplanes or helicopters...and now they're exciting highlights of the day!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


This morning I put socks on Jonathan's feet because it was so cold. He isn't used to wearing socks, and was trying to pull them off. I told him that he needed to keep his socks on his feet, please, ok? And he responded "yeah!" and then DID!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Jonathan knows his colors! At least the basic three (red, yellow, blue) and I think he knows orange, too. Although that one is slightly confusing because orange is a color and a juice and a fruit, you know. :)

My kid is so smart. :)

Too clever for his own good...

At lunch today Jonathan wanted more orange slices. I told him he needed to "ask nicely; say please". He grinned at me and said "nice!"


A couple of updates on Jonathan's newest words:

"More yo-gur"

"Yay you!" (This is a repetition of our saying it to him - he's always very pleased with himself whenever he gets this response from us.)


"Please" is the newest battleground in the war of the words. A few months ago, "more" was the battle - we knew he could say it, but he would often refuse to do so. Eventually he realized that we really weren't going to give him more food until he used his words, and things calmed down. However, our wonderful son who has an absolutely amazing ability to be stubborn (please don't ask where he got that trait, ok?) has now decided that "please" is a word not to be said. We know he can say it, and when he does say it he gets praised up and down and is quite pleased with himself...but most of the time when we tell him he needs to "ask nicely, say please" we get an out and out refusal. We're having to pick our battles really carefully, which is difficult in this situation. See, we want to be consistent, but if we required him to say "please" every time he asked for more food, he would never eat enough. Because he'd rather go hungry at the table and then fuss later than comply with the request. And he needs to eat! So far my best tactic is to keep shoveling food into him as fast as possible at the beginning of a meal, so that he doesn't have time to ask for anything more. Then after I'm pretty sure he's eaten enough to survive, I'll wait for him to ask. I think it is really important for him to learn to be polite...but it is so tempting to just let it slide and avoid the tantrum. Sometimes Gabe and I just stare at each other, then at our screaming child, and wonder if we'll ever survive these pre-rational years!

On the other hand, Jonathan is starting to show some really encouraging signs of rationality. :) For example, last night he really melted down over dinner. Refused to eat, refused to play while mom and dad ate...so Gabe told him that while he didn't have to eat anything, he did need to sit in his seat during dinner. This did not go over well. He screamed and threw himself around - it is a good thing his booster seat has straps! BUT (and this is the cool part) after we had listened to this for awhile, I got really close to his face and said quietly, "Jonathan, listen to mommy" until I got his attention. When he was quiet, I explained that he needed to sit in his seat "until you are quiet and take one bite. Do you want your bite to be bread or soup?" It took about three times through this explanation, interjected with reminders to "oh, oh, remember to be quiet", but then he quietly took a bite of bread and then asked to get down!!!!!

Oh, the rapture. It was a really good "win-win" situation - Gabe and I didn't "lose" the battle, and Jonathan got to make a choice to obey (and then go to bed, which he really needed!) Parenting is awfully hard sometimes (ok, most of the time) but little successes like that remind me that working at it is worth it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Poor sleepy kid

Jonathan is trying so hard to become a one-nap child. Some days it works. Some days it just doesn't. I wish I knew a better way to help him. Today he took a one hour nap in the middle of the day, then completely fell apart at 5pm and screamed himself to sleep (I tried just doing a quiet time with him, but he was having none of that idea!) But yesterday he slept from 1pm-3pm and didn't fall apart until 8pm. It was a lovely day. He just isn't consistent at all, either with the timing for his first nap, or his need (or lack thereof) for a second.

I would think it was our fault (we have a slightly varying schedule during the week which causes J to wake up either at 6am or at 7am - 7am being his choice) except that during the summer the schedule never changed and we still had the trouble with his naps. It almost seems more like the problem is in his not sleeping long enough during his midday nap. If he'd only sleep the two hours that he needs, instead of waking up and yelling after one.

Does anyone have good idea for helping him get through this?


I discovered recently that diapers can often be a tipping point for me between a good or bad day. If the day is going very well and I had enough sleep the night before and nothing really stressful is going on, then I don't mind using cloth diapers. But if I didn't get enough sleep, or I'm behind in my work at church, or Jonathan is fussy, or all the above (yeah, usually all of the above!) then dealing with cloth diapers can be the straw that reduces me to tears in a corner.

So we've been using disposables a lot. And I'm discovering that they are REALLY expensive. Thus an advertisement in BabyTalk caught my eye - diapers ordered online, with free shipping and no sales tax, for less than they cost at Target and Walmart. That is the pitch, anyway. Does anyone have any experience with this company (www.1800diapers.com)?

Anyway, I think that I'm going to try them out. They accept coupons if you mail them to them in advance, and while their prices don't quite compare to Sam's Club generics, I think that it might be worthwhile to pursue particularly if I can scrounge up some coupons.

Now, for those of you who might also be interested: if you use this code (EMMX2362) when you order, you will get $2 off your order. And in the interest of full disclosure, I'll also get a $1 credit each time you order. Which could add up, you know! So if you want to try this store out, you can feel quite good about your decision because you'll also be helping this grad school family maintain sanity and budget. :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yay me!

I just cut Gabe's hair for the second time. The first attempt had a decent result, but not what he normally asks for at the barber shop. This attempt resulted in - wow - a really good haircut!! And I know how I did it, too, so hopefully I'll be able to repeat the success. :)

It took 30 minutes and saved us $14. I figure $28/hr. is a pretty decent wage for a stay-at-home mom!

Yay me. :)