Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Obsessive. Compulsive. Toddler.

Jessica's new nickname for Jonathan is "Mr. Monk". Keep reading and you'll understand why.

This evening Gabe and I were finishing dinner, and Jonathan was running from one end of the house to another, burning off some excess energy. He ran into the entryway, skidded to a stop, stared and the wall, and cried "ants! ants! ants! ants!" until Gabe came over to save the day. (Ants are a big "uh oh" around here, because usually they are invading the kitchen.) But there weren't any ants. Gabe showed Jonathan that it was just a little black smudge on the wall. "It's just a black spot, Jonathan, not an ant - it's ok." Jonathan's response: "clean it up!?!"

While I was writing this post, Gabe wanted to see if Jonathan would say it again if the spot was pointed out to him. "Jonathan, what should we do about this spot?"

"Get a washcloth!"

They're now scrubbing away at the wall. :)

This is just one example of Jonathan's penchant for cleanliness. He just doesn't like being dirty. He asks for wipes to clean off his hands, gets worried when he falls down outside and gets bits of leaves stuck to his pants, and says "uh oh!!" until we clean up the food the falls on his bib during meals. If he hasn't had a bath for a few days, he requests "bubbles - bubbles on head!" Earlier this evening he pulled the broom out of the closet and proceeded to "sweep" the kitchen and bathroom floors.

I've involved him in daily chores since he was very small, but I have to admit, I didn't expect quite this result!

WFMW - crock pot

I'm sure this is not a surprise to many of my readers...but can I just say that I LOVE my crock pot?

I knew that I liked it before. Now that I have two children, one of whom gets cranky around 5pm and the other who likes to start a marathon nurse-fest at, oh, 5pm, I have a whole new appreciation for the slow cooker. I can start dinner in the MORNING! When my children are happy and/or asleep!

Yeah, so it is basic. But oh, it sure does work for me. :)

My favorite easy dinner recipe?

1) Buy the cheapest cut of beef you can find in the store.
2) Place in crock pot.
3) Sprinkle one packet of onion soup mix over the meat and add about 1/2 cup of water.
4) Turn it on and forget about it for 8 to 10 hours.

This recipe works for au jus sandwiches, or you can serve it with potatoes or bread, or slice it up for sandwiches, or use leftovers for fajitas (just add onions and peppers!)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Train station

The Saturday before last, Gabe took Jonathan to the Fullerton train station to watch the trains. To say that it was a hit would be an understatement. Since then I have been treated to many, many, many requests to return to said train station. And our son is nothing if not persistent - these requests can last for a very long time.

He starts by reminiscing about how green lights mean that a train is coming, and we talk about how much fun it was to see the trains, and how Daddy will probably take him to see the trains again, and why don't we ask Daddy tonight if he'll take you to see the trains again some time? Maybe you can even go this weekend. No, not now, we can't go see the trains because we don't have the car. Daddy has the car. Yes, you can ask Daddy to take you. Walk station? Huh? Oh. No, we can't walk to the station, clever boy, it is too far away. We'll have to wait until Daddy can drive you in the car. Yes, trains are wonderful. I know that you want to go see the train station again. Again, yes I know. Again. I bet Daddy will take you to see the trains again. Maybe this weekend. You'll have to ask him when he comes home tonight. Can you remember to ask Daddy when he comes home tonight? No, Mommy can't take you to the train station. Yes, the train station was a lot of fun. I know you like the train station. Yes, the green light means the train is coming. Can we talk about something, anything, other than the train station?

Apparently not.

Two kids

Sometimes I wonder if we were crazy to think that we could handle two children. That generally occurs around 6pm, when both children are crying, dinner isn't ready, and I need twice as many arms as God gave me.

Then there are times, like this morning, when my home is tranquil and my children are happily entertaining each other (!!!) and I can sit back and just enjoy the moment.

Sometimes it feels like the first situation happens a lot more than the second. But when those moments come, I know that I'm glad God blessed us with two.

Playing pretend

Jonathan has started to play pretend. This morning he informed me that Pooh Bear was "going night night". When I looked to see what he was talking about, there was Pooh Bear, tucked into a corner with a blanket.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Isn't it great

when you discover that the thing you wished existed because it would make your life easier...actually exists?

Back when I first started blogging, it was meant to be a chronicle of Jonathan's first year. Because of that, I was fairly religious about "backing up" my blog in a word document. For at least a few months. After that I forgot, and when I remembered, it was such a mammoth task that it just never got done. But I've been thinking recently - "what if blogger crashed and lost everything?" and "what if I want an actual 'baby book'?" - you know, since that was the point in the first place? And so I've been trying to reconcile myself to finding time to back up two years of blog posts.

Huh. Who am I kidding?

However! It turns out there is a new program out (still in beta) that will "slurp" your blog posts off your blog (for free) and if you want to pay them, they'll even turn your blog into a book!

Now, I can't yet vouch for this program, since I haven't actually used it yet. And I highly doubt that I'll want to pay them to turn two years of posts into a book (mercy heavens $$$$$$$$$!!!!!) But isn't it a cool idea?


I'm currently in search of good books pertaining to homemaking. Not just housekeeping, but books on making the house a home. I guess I'm looking for more wholistic ideas that include keeping a house, raising children, being a good wife, being a good steward of finances, living a holy life. I've noticed that Catholics often have a good understanding of these things, but as an Evangelical-turned-Anglican, I don't have very good resources for finding such books. Anyway, if you know of anything like this, (whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox) please comment!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I do apologize...

but if you're a high church Anglican and a musician and a bit of a geek, you'll think this is hilarious.

Hat tip to Fr. Dan for finding this.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Brotherly love

This morning Jonathan decided that it was time to introduce Thomas to the joys of cars and trucks. He brought two of his current favorites in, gently placed them on Thomas, and informed me happily that he was "sharing". He then proceeded to hum and rock Thomas in his car seat...with this result. :)

Yesterday and today we seem to have turned a corner. Jonathan is still a bit jealous of Thomas, particularly toward the end of the day when Thomas just wants to nurse constantly and Jonathan just wants all my attention all the time, but for the most part I'm finding that Thomas actually entertains Jonathan. Even when he's just sleeping! Jonathan will often ask "Baby Thomas wake up?" even in the midst of my playing with him! When Thomas is out in the room with us, even if he's asleep in his seat, Jonathan is much happier to play independently than he has been in the past. He simply shows all of his toys to Thomas, sings to Thomas, rocks Thomas, etc. It is definitely not what I was expecting.

Of course, I still have to be right there, because "gentle" is a concept that Jonathan isn't particularly good at, yet. And the late afternoon/evenings (after naps) take absolutely all the creativity I can come up with, and then some! So I end up exhausted by the time Gabe gets home. But on the whole, this two children thing is going much, much better than I expected.

Hence the chance to take pictures and post on my blog. :)

I seem to have run out of words

At least for the time being. Probably because I have "must write the birth story" running around in my head, only I can't yet. And it is causing a log jam of posting.

But the pictures - they're turning out just fine. :)

Our boys

Jonathan and Mommy enjoying some non-Thomas time. :)

Thomas didn't sleep well last night because he has a cold - but he is sure making up for it this morning! Isn't he sweet?

Meanwhile Jonathan enjoyed some kitchen sink playtime.

This was his own idea - it is a fish tank for his porpoise to swim in.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The best part of my day with Thomas

Having the luxury of time just to look at him. And take pictures, of course. :)

WFMW - clothes line

I live in Southern CA, which means that most of the days now are pleasantly warm and full of sunshine. I've been eagerly awaiting the change from cloudy winter days, because sunshine means that I can use my clothesline again!

We have a clothes dryer, but it is a hand-me-down that came when we bought our condo. It is very old and very inefficient. It uses a LOT of electricity. So I have a pretty big incentive not to use it. Hence the clothesline.

It isn't just about the money (although when we're using cloth diapers, the money to dry them electrically does add up!) I also just like drying laundry this way. Yes, it takes more hands-on time to hang every piece, instead of just throwing them in the dryer. But it is a peaceful sort of activity. Jonathan likes to "help" by handing me wet clothing items, and Thomas seems to enjoy being outside (in the sling) in the open air. Pinning up clothes is the sort of restful, repetitive activity that lends itself to thinking or prayer or just listening to toddler chatter. I find that it is a nice part of my day, instead of just another chore.

Another nice bonus? The sun bleaches out stains on the diapers. And the clothes, for that matter. It is much preferable to baking the stains on in the dryer!

Clothes dried on the line usually end up pretty stiff (unless you've had a good breeze to go along with the sunshine.) You can solve this problem by putting the dry clothes in the dryer for about 5 minutes. They come out soft and fluffy.

Saving money, and turning a chore into an enjoyable part of the day? Works for Me!

The things we appreciate too late...

How did I not know (until now) that taking care of (only one) infant is a breeze? Just one little baby - he sleeps most of the time, and when he's awake you can carry him in a sling, and when he needs to eat you get to lie down and read a magazine - how lovely can life get?

My friend Christina gave me a lovely new baby gift when Thomas was born - she volunteered to take Jonathan for the day. So today he's enjoying playing with Nathaniel and Brendan, and I'm enjoying being responsible for only one little infant - which means that the house is cleaner than it has been since before he was born, and I'm caught up on writing thank you notes, and have cleared my desk, and done some research I needed to do on medical ethics, and caught up on laundry, and taken a nap, and read a magazine, and I still have two more hours!

Yet when I had Jonathan (just one baby!) I felt like I would never catch up on chores, desk work, laundry, or sleep.

To be fair to myself, Thomas is a much easier baby than Jonathan was. When he sleeps, I can lay him down and he keeps sleeping (Jonathan didn't, usually). And he doesn't wake up at the slightest noise, which is a good thing since he has an older brother who makes lots of noise! Also, when Jonathan was an infant he woke up to nurse every two hours in the night, making for a very tired mom. Thomas only wakes up once or twice in the night (such a blessing!) which means that I'm really not feeling that newborn fog. So to be fair, the baby experience really does seem pretty different this time around.

But I can't help but wonder if perhaps, when the day comes that I have three kids, I'll wonder why I didn't appreciate how easy it was with only two. :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

He coos!

It is the sweetest sound.

Today is the first day Thomas has been really alert for a long period of time. Gabe and I are passing him back and forth, enjoying his open eyes, alert and very expressive face, and cooing sounds. We're all at home together and relaxing after a good service at church - Sunday afternoons don't get much better than this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thomas Nathanael

The newest member of our family was born at 12:30am on February 10th. He was born in the hospital, which wasn't exactly our original plan, but it was a successful VBAC anyway. I'm planning to write the birth story at some point (when I'm not so tired, maybe?) ;) but until then, here are some pictures to tide you all over. :)

Thomas Nathanael

Jonathan thinks Thomas is ... interesting. :)

Our amazing, wonderful, terrific, incredible midwife.

Sleepy boy. This amazing child actually sleeps without being held in my arms (unlike another infant I knew!) :)

When he's awake, he's very alert and loves to look at our faces. Isn't he perfect?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The little things - WFMW

Today Shannon is hosting a themed version of Works for me Wednesdays: Love Sweet Love. What a great idea!

I've been sitting here, trying to think of something inspiring that I've done recently to love my husband. But the truth is that I can't think of much. The last few weeks of this pregnancy have been pretty rough, and I'm afraid that most of the active loving has been on his side.

So I want to list off some of the daily "little things" that my husband has done to love me recently.

1) Childcare. When Gabe walks in the door, he takes over with Jonathan. He doesn't ask if I need it, he doesn't complain that he'd really rather read his book, he just walks in the door, drops his bag, and jumps straight into a game with his son while I finish up dinner (or drop in exhaustion!)

2) Dishes. By evening, I'm often so tired that the last thing I want to do is stand on my feet. Gabe has been gracious enough to help keep the kitchen clean enough to keep the ant invasion at bay!

3) Backrubs. I'm a touch-oriented girl anyway, so I like backrubs under any circumstances! But they become very important to me during pregnancy. Gabe has spent the past nine months giving me a before-bed backrub, nearly every single night. No matter how tired he is, he never complains that I'm keeping him up.

4) Hugs and kisses and admiration. Gabe thinks that I'm beautiful and desirable, and he makes sure that I know it every day. Particularly on days when I feel like a beached whale. :)

5) Projects around the house. "Handy-man-ing" isn't something that Gabe enjoys. Actually, I think he pretty much dislikes it intensely! But when a project needs to be done, he figures out how to do it and gets it done. Lately we've had quite a list of "things to get finished before Thomas arrives" and Gabe has tackled them without complaint. (They're almost done!)

Come to think of it, these aren't "little things" at all. But they are daily examples of how much my husband loves me. And I am grateful for him.

Now I'm going to go read some good tips for how to love my husband - join me over at Shannon's site! :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Baby update

This is quick, because I'm about to put Jonathan down for a nap. But I thought many of you would be interested in what is going on. At least, judging from the number of "have you had that baby yet?" phone calls, quite a lot of you seem to be interested! :)

I am officially overdue, no matter which due date you look at. I've had three different dates, but they've all passed now.

I'm experiencing (off and on) what is called prodromal labor. This basically means that I'm in labor, sort of, but the contractions remain at the same intensity and don't get closer together. I spent about two days having contractions every fifteen minutes, without actually going into active labor. Yuck. There actually isn't anything wrong with this kind of labor - every contraction does do something, and is one more that I won't have to go through in active labor! The only concern is that if it goes on for days and days, lack of sleep can cause problems once active labor does actually begin. Thankfully, yesterday and today I'm only having intermittent contractions, and was able to sleep much more soundly at night. So that is good news.

Basically we're just waiting now. Thomas is very low, so when labor does get going, it should go fairly quickly. If I'm having contractions, I'm supposed to encourage my body to keep having them. On the other hand, at night before bed I'm supposed to do everything in my power to not have any. :)

We would be grateful for prayer for patience as we wait, and also for me to be able to sleep well and enough so that when labor does really get going I'll have the stamina I need.

Friday, February 02, 2007


This afternoon I was struck by a thought: waiting for a baby’s arrival is very, very like waiting for Jesus’ return.

I spent some time thinking that one through, and I think it holds true in a variety of ways. One is the very physicality of the last days of pregnancy. They aren’t fun. Suffering (albeit mild in the grand scheme of things) is just part of life right now. My bones ache, my tendons ache, and the practice contractions hurt too! In a microcosm sort of way, this is at the least a very good reminder of the suffering inherent in the fallen world. I wait for the baby’s arrival, knowing that afterward there will be joy and that these particular pains will go away. I wait for Jesus knowing that afterward there will be indescribable joy, and that all pains will disappear.

Another similarity is found in my response to the waiting time. For the past two weeks, I’ve been working very hard to make sure that my life is “in order” at all times, just in case it is tonight! In the circumstance of a baby (and my own particular neuroses!) this plays out in my attempts to keep the house superbly neat at all times, and get lots of last minute “projects” done before the baby comes. I do not want to be caught off guard, caught with dirty dishes in my sink, caught with a week’s worth of laundry that ought to have been done the previous day. I want to have the shelves up in the closet and the grass cut and the wallpaper up in the bedroom before the baby comes, because otherwise it will be too late and will never happen! :)

And isn’t this the way that we ought to live our lives as we wait for Jesus to return? How common it is for us to put things off, always expecting that we’ll have another day, another week, another year in which to do them. I don’t have to pray more often right this minute, today, this week…I’ll do that when, um, I’m older and more spiritual. I can skip going to church this week because, well, I want to sleep in and after all God will understand and I’ll make it up to him next week. Don’t those sound all too familiar? I hate to admit, even to myself, how very often I’ve been guilty of thinking just that.

It is easier, certainly, for us to understand the imminent arrival of a new baby (and all that entails and how we need to be prepared!) than for us to truly realize, internalize, and act on the fact of Jesus’ second coming. And yet Christ’s coming is just as inevitable as that of the baby. Shouldn’t we strive to be at least as ready for Jesus as we are for the new baby?

Lord Jesus, come quickly. And if you wouldn’t mind, please send Thomas quickly, too.


I like free things. I particularly like beautiful free things. And there is a contest going on right now for some very beautiful free things. Check it out here. :)