Thursday, November 29, 2007

First stitches!

Yes, we've had our first real injury here at the Moothart household. Stitches for Jonathan - five of them! Last Monday morning we were walking into Ashley's apartment complex. She was going to babysit the boys for me while I went to a doctor appointment. On the way in, Jonathan tripped and fell into the grass beside the pathway. He started crying hard, but it was muddy and I thought he was just over-reacting (as he often does!) to getting mud on his hands and clothing. Until he stood up and held up his badly bleeding hand.

I felt like a very deserving recipient of the Official Bad Mother Award.

Jonathan's palm was sliced open over half-way across. And it looked deep. Ashley came to the rescue with her first aid kit and we got the bleeding stopped, but I was pretty sure that this was more serious than something that would just heal on its own. Jonathan's reaction added to my worry - after the initial loud crying he calmed down - too much. He cuddled his hand against his body, shivered a little, snuggled against me and said "Mommy, I want to go to sleep". And then proceeded to try really hard to do just that. His breathing slowed down, his eyes closed, and while I knew he wasn't really quite asleep it was pretty scary watching that kind of shut-down reflex.

So I did spend the morning in a doctor's office - just not the one I'd planned on! Thankfully Jonathan's pediatrician said to come right in, even though their morning appointments were all full. I'm so glad they treated my concern as valid, and didn't just assume that I was being an over-reactive mom. That's one reason why I like this doctor so much!

The nurse brought us back to a procedure room, took one look at J's hand and said "oh yes, that will need stitches." Then we waited for about an hour for the doctor to come. Jonathan continued his attempts to fall asleep and actually did sleep for most of the wait.

Poor child, though, what a way to wake up. Stitches may not sound like anything too traumatic, but they really are. Yes, they numbed his hand, but the process of making it numb almost seemed as bad as just stitching him up without it. They did let me hold him throughout the procedure, for which I was grateful. I had been afraid they would just strap him down to the table (it was equipped with restraints). So I held him, and talked to him, and sang to him, and tried to make it a little less frightening.

He really was awfully brave. He cried a lot but never totally lost control - he's respond to my voice and tell me what songs I should sing next and why he was crying: "Does it hurt?" "No, I'm just scared!"

And then at the end, during the last stitch, I covered myself in glory (ha!) by coming very close to throwing up and fainting. I didn't. But it was definitely too close for comfort. Dr. Miyamoto says that it happens all the time and that moms quite routinely pass out in procedure rooms. He just called a nurse to come stand behind me in case I fell over, and then when we were finished had me sit in a chair holding Jonathan and drink orange juice before he let us leave. This is another reason I like this doctor so much: he's kind, and matter-of-fact about everything!

I comfort myself with the fact that some mothers would have passed out at the first sight of blood, and I waited for a good four hours. :)

We got a strawberry milkshake (his choice) afterward because he'd been so brave. I think he's not quite sure what "brave" means, though, because while we were driving back to Ashley's to pick up Thomas he asked me multiple times "Mommy, why was I so brave?" And then after a lot of explanations, he stated emphatically "Mommy, I don't want to be brave." I'm pretty sure what he meant was that he never wants stitches again!

Here is a photo of the aftermath: he stayed sleepy and sad for quite awhile.

Jonathan's hand is healing beautifully, and the stitches are scheduled to be removed tomorrow morning. Gabe is going to take him for that appointment!

Lets Say Thanks

It doesn't cost you a thing, takes 2 minutes, and might just boost the spirits of somebody's dad or mom overseas. Click the picture above to send a card!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The English Language

A conversation:

Gabe: Jonathan, can you say "yea verily"?
Jonathan: No.
Gabe (aside to me): I'm going to have him speaking the King's English if it kills me!
Jonathan: It kills me!


Most people assume that I naturally sing around the house a lot. After all, I was a voice major in college. I directed a choir before having my kids. I love singing in choirs. It is a valid assumption, and I often wonder why it isn't true. I have a permanent soundtrack running in my head, but it is rarely vocalized. I have to think about singing to the boys; it is a conscious choice to share music with them.

And it is a choice that I make, because it is important. I want my boys' lives to be saturated in good music. Today that means singing Jesus Loves Me for the 23rd time, and remembering to play cds during the day even when it would be easier on my brain to skip the extra "noise". In a few years it will mean teaching Jonathan to play "Mary had a little lamb" on the piano. Someday it may mean suffering through the beginner stages of learning a stringed instrument. Someday I will stand in church next to my teenage son and hear his tenor or bass join my alto line as we praise the God who gave us music.

Jonathan has been "singing" since he was quite young. We started singing a bedtime lullaby to him each night, and it didn't take long before he began singing along. It started with “spoken” singing - words spoken along with us as we sang to him. Later he started adding pitches (of a sort), moving higher or lower in somewhat the pattern we were giving him.

When he turned two he started attending preschool chapel during the first part of mass each Sunday. One of the things they do there is sing along with a cd of Wee Sing Bible Songs. It took a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and then I started hearing recognizable renditions of bits of "Deep and Wide" and other songs that I hadn't taught him. His intervals were all over the map, but the general pattern was discernible.

He started to ask me to sing to him, especially while driving in the car. "What shall we sing next?" is a common refrain. Sometimes he'll just listen, sometimes he'll sing along. I hear him singing to himself and occasionally singing to Thomas. He'll ask me to sing the "Jesus loves children of the world" song, or the "David" song or about "Father Abraham".

Around the same time, I began teaching voice lessons at home. I intended to get a sitter to take the boys away during that time, but was unable to find one. So they have learned to listen quietly during the lesson hour. Sometimes Jonathan sits next to me on the piano bench while I teach. Recently I assigned a vocal exercise that he found amusing, and later that day I heard him singing "hip, hip, ho ho ho ho ho" as he ran around the living room.

It is fascinating to me, as a teacher, to have a front row seat as Jonathan learns the fundamentals of music. Hearing him move from "spoken" singing, to shaped movement, and now to the earliest beginnings of interval matching, is one of the most amazing things I've ever be privileged to experience.

Last September I joined the Anglican Chorale of Southern California, and this, while meant for my own benefit, is also benefiting my children. Singing in a choir means that I have to sit down and learn the music. I practice in snatched moments during the day, and sometimes in longer chunks when Gabe plays with the boys in the evening. During the day, now, Jonathan will often climb up onto the piano bench, take out a piece of my choir music, carefully arrange it on the piano, and play and sing with abandon. He informs me that he is "practicing", and the results are surprisingly beautiful.

Sharing music with my children is a choice, but it is getting easier every day as I reap the sweet, sweet results. Today I will listen to my son sing "Jesus loves the little children", and I will smile, and hug him, and sing along.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas comes early this year

Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes

at least at 5 Minutes for Mom. Their Christmas giveaway includes such lovely possibilities as this,




and oh be still my heart, I'm drooling over this.

Click on the button at the top of this post for a list of all their giveaways, or click on each picture to go directly to that particular one. See, I've done all the work for you, so you have no excuse not to check it out. :) Have fun!

Nanny state

I was doing a big of blog-surfing during the kids’ naps this afternoon, and came across this sentence:
“If we can’t count on the government and toy manufacturers to protect our children, then we must step up and be vigilant on their behalf.”
Well. If we can’t trust the government to take care of our kids, well gee, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.

I found it amusing. :)

(You can go here for the whole post. Obviously I share CDG's concern about dangerous toys, so I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. Still.) :)

Why I like doing business with Christians:

How many loan officers do you know who will say "given your situation, I would recommend not refinancing. If you decide to, then I'll do it for you, but I definitely don't recommend it."

That's what I thought.

The craziest thing is that I found this lady through a Christian real estate agent who I just happened to meet while waiting for my car at a Christian auto mechanic's shop. It appears to be an underground network. :)


This morning Jonathan found a picture of Mater that Hunter had left here a few days ago. He showed it to me and I said “oh, yes, we’ll have to get that back to them.” Moments later Jonathan wanders through the room, talking on his little red phone.
"Hi Brian. You left it here, and so Autumn can come back and you can drive the car and get it back to you. Does that sound fine? Ok, thanks Brian."
Then he turned to me, smiled, and informed me:
"Mommy, Brian will drive the car and come get it. Ok?"
Sometimes my son grows up so fast.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Change of plans

Sometimes, unexpected changes in my plans work out beautifully. Today was one of those times.

I had expected to have the car today. Tuesday is my day for grocery shopping and I had also planned to go to the post office to mail christmas candy packages and to Michaels to get supplies for a Thanksgiving craft project that I want to do with Jonathan. This would be doable, I thought, but would probably take most of the day once I factored in needing to be home for nap times.

But then Gabe realized that he needed to go to the office, and there went my carefully planned day.

Instead of having the car, I had a list of errands, a stroller, and my own two feet. Well. Nobody can say that I haven't learned something about rolling with punches. I sent my husband off with a kiss and a smile and threw everything into the stroller, and off we went. :)

Honestly, I think I prefer doing it this way. We got all our errands done. Jonathan and Thomas enjoyed time out in the fresh air (they like walks a lot). Thomas fell asleep when he got tired and slept through the grocery shopping and most of the walk home. Had we been in the car, he probably would have been awakened at each stop and been cranky. The boys didn't fight with each other and Jonathan didn't whine for a movie. It was a truly pleasant morning!

And, I burned a heck of a lot of calories. Calories per hour says that walking pushing a stroller burns 173 calories per hour, for a total of 607. I'm betting that I actually did better than that, since I was pushing a double stroller, which is heavy by itself, heavier with the boys in it, and REALLY heavy when the basket is completely filled with groceries.

I just may do this again next week.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Having photos taken of myself has never been something I enjoyed. Usually they turned out with a funny smile or an odd look, or I blinked when the shutter snapped, or my hair decided to be wild and unruly, or I hadn't noticed the stain in the center of my shirt.

But at least I sat still and looked at the camera.

We took family photos yesterday. We spent nearly an hour taking half a million family photos, in the dearly held hopes that one or two might work out for inclusion in our Christmas cards. Do you know how fast a two year old can move? Or how impossible it is to induce him to smile for a camera when he'd rather crawl inside Daddy's shoulder and disappear?

Thankfully, we were not doing this at a normal photography shop. We hired Daniel (a friend from church who takes beautiful photos - take a look at his website!) to bring his gear to a park and snap away. He was so good with our kids - he put "hats" on heads, created "frisbees" from bits of his (unbreakable!) camera gear, and moved incredibly fast. :) At one point he commented "this is like sports photography!" Yes. Well. That is my oldest son!

I do think we probably got some cute photos. At one point we arranged the three of us who weren't running around like maniacs, and then Dan convinced Jonathan to run full force at Gabe and give him a hug. We all tried not to fall over with the impact while smiling in the general direction of the camera. I think that the sheer volume of photographs taken must mean we got a few good ones.

After Dan fixes them up, he's going to give us the digital photos to print ourselves, so I can both print and post some. Stay tuned for photos of three smiling family members and a blurred toddler running out of the frame!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

One year later

A year ago today my mom had a brain aneurysm, and we all wondered if she'd survive. Today she is talking, walking, writing, and chopping vegetables. She has her sense of humor and her memories. She moves a bit slower, but she's still my incredible, courageous, kind, funny, compassionate, driven, hard-working mother. She's beaten the odds.

Mom, I'm glad you're here. I'm proud of you. And I'm glad I'm your daughter.


In the hospital:

Walking at Jonathan's wedding:

Oh help! (otherwise known as WFMW - Backwards Day!)

Shannon's "Backwards Day" edition of Works for me Wednesday came just at the right time for me. I'm having an "oh help" sort of day week weeks month.

What, oh what, oh WHAT do you do when you have two children who nap on completely different schedules? AND one child's nap schedule is utterly erratic, AND the other child occasionally (and for no discernible reason) falls asleep during his morning quiet time, thereby wetting the bed and throwing his schedule off for the rest of the day?

For example.

Thomas' naps have been all over the place for weeks. Sometimes his morning nap is as early as 8:30am, but sometimes he waits until as late as 10:30am. He'll sleep for anywhere between 1 hour and 3.5 hours. Depending on what happened in the morning, he might be ready for an afternoon nap anywhere between 1pm and 4pm, or he might skip it entirely and be a basket case by dinnertime.

Jonathan has had a very predictable 2pm naptime for ages now. It was wonderful! :) He also has a morning quiet time that varies with Thomas' nap (that's the only time I can guarantee a smidgen of time without a kiddo needing me!) Last week he fell asleep during his morning quiet time not once, not twice, but three days. When that happens, he skips his regular afternoon nap and dinnertime is a disaster.

In the midst of all of this, every week I'm supposed to (somehow!) get out to go grocery shopping, errand running, take the kids to the library and to the park for Mom's Group, go to mass, and (dare I dream?) fit in a few workouts at LA fitness.

Yet there is no way to plan times to do this, because at any given time of the day (between 8am and 4pm) one of my children could/should conceivably be napping. And if I miss the window when they ought to be napping, (especially for Thomas) I pay for it for the rest of the day.

I'm starting to think that it can't be done, and I'm going to give up and become a hermit. We'll just sit in our little house and watch mail-order DVDs and order pizza when we run out of groceries.

You know, that actually doesn't sound half bad right now. :)

But really, if you have some good ideas (particularly if you've dealt with this sort of thing before) please comment!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where did that come from?

Jonathan: Ah hahaha! That airplane looks expensive!!
Me: What?
Jonathan: That big one there - its expensive!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Eating out with children

Last night we went out to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory because I came home tired and asked Gabe to take me out. Wonderful man, he promptly did!

Thomas enjoyed the evening by chewing on a spoon (we almost absconded with it when we left, actually) and devouring a slice of lemon. Mom, he takes after you. :) Jonathan informed us that the food (noodles with mizithra cheese) was "very good" but he would have preferred that we serve the ice cream "warmed up".

The wait for a table had been more than 30 minutes, (that's what you get for choosing a popular restaurant on Friday night!) so we ate in a hurry. Our server gave us a strange look when, having been seated for approximately 30-40 minutes, we asked for boxes, ice cream, and our check. Apparently he didn't know that 8 p.m. is past toddler bedtime!

Ah well...even eaten in a hurry, and juggling children, OSF is my favorite place for dinner. Thanks, honey!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Seeker sensitivity

Apparently, "seeker sensitive" approaches to ministry aren't working as well as people had hoped.
Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry.
. . .
The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples.
I found it very encouraging, however, that Bill Hybels admits,
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
With such a wide following (for Hybels and Willow Creek), perhaps this kind of confession can lead to some truly positive change?

Hat tip to Amy for the link - thanks Amy! Your links are great!