Wednesday, December 31, 2008

now it's micah's turn to throw up. : ( she started at about 6:30 this morning. she seems to be feeling worse than rowan did day before yesterday, when he was throwing up. i did a little research on the rotovirus, and they either have a mild case of it, or some other sort of intestinal bacteria. they don't seem sick enough to me to have rotovirus.

so, my kids were sick right up until christmas, and now they're sick for new year's. sigh. : )

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

earlier tonight...

josh: micah, does your bum itch?

micah: no, my panties are stuck in my bum.

josh: oh. do you know what that's called? a wedgie.

micah: (pause)... i call it "stuck in my bum."
i got a cute outfit at old navy tonight: blue jeans, a light pink tank top and a gray-and-light-pink striped long-sleeved shirt. i almost got an adorable set of pj's for micah, but i put them back at the last minute. i think i'll get them tomorrow when i go back to spend the rest of my gift card. i am really torn; i'm dying to spend it all on micah, because i ADORE the little girl clothes at old navy. i want one of everything in micah's size. i thought i would be crazy about the toddler boy stuff, too, but there was a lot i didn't like. anyway, i am so tempted to get micah stuff, but i want to spend it on myself, too. i think i'll get another pair of jeans and another shirt. oh, also tonight, i got three bars of soap: green tea, peony plum, and honey pear.

i've had the best time coloring with the kids lately. it's so relaxing to lie on the floor with them and flip through all the new, neat coloring books they got for christmas. i have mixed feelings about coloring books, and crayola color wonder products and the like... the ultra-crunchy part of me thinks they restrict creativity. but it sure is nice to be able to hand rowan a marker too and let him join in the fun.

today was so beautiful, and since our outing yesterday was thwarted by a weird, 6-hour stomach bug, we walked down to my grandparents' house to play with my second cousin, sydney. sydney is the daughter of my uncle's wife's daughter. that makes her my second cousin, by marriage. she and micah have fun, but she is an only child and (not that i assume this is a trait of all single children) a little bossy. since we've been having issues with micah's bossiness lately, i was a little concerned about her following sydney's example. but it didn't seem to have any huge effect on micah. she had fun; the kids played at my grandparents' house while i watched my grandfather make caramel candy, then we headed to the park. some other neighborhood friends showed up with their kids, and by the time we started to walk home it was almost 5 pm. my aunt susan arrived in the parking lot to pick sydney up just as we were walking past. so micah and rowan and i continued home to meet josh, ran a quick errand while he napped, then we all went to old navy together. we picked up a cheese pizza and some breadsticks for supper on the way home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

rowan is throwing up this evening. :-/ it started in the car on the way to the park... it was such a beautiful day today, i decided to take the kids down the street and get some outside play. just as we turned onto my mom's street - one street over from the neighborhood park - i turned to smile at rowan in his car seat, and literally watched him throw up. i jerked the car over to the curb, hopped out with the motor still running, ran around to his side and yanked him out of his car seat. i was terrified he would choke, because his car seat was reclined, since he'd been napping. i cleaned him and his car seat as best i could with the baby wipes in my bag, then we headed back home to get cleaned up, much to micah's dismay. at home, i put on a dick van dyke DVD for micah and got in the tub with rowan. that all happened around 4:30 pm, and he's been puking every 30 mins or so since then. he seems to be feeling okay in between hurls. now, he's just throwing up breastmilk.

(p.s. in the car when he threw up the first time, it scared him. he got all shaky and cried pretty hard. and after it was over, he grabbed my face and leaned in for a kiss - kisses are a great source of comfort for him. well, i kissed him, throw-up and all. and if that is not indicative of how close and boundary-less a mother and child can be, i don't know what is!! i'm not bragging, i'm just saying, it's that special. i don't think i would even kiss josh if he had throw-up on his mouth. : ) just kidding, i totally would.)

on a more fun/bittersweet note, for the first time today i put rowan in sneakers instead of his soft-soled leather shoes. just one of those little milestones that remind you they're growing older all the time! i still want to buy him another pair of soft-soled walkers, like robeez. i'm just in denial that he is old enough for sneakers! they did look cuuuuuuute, though.

today has been a much better day with micah. during a conversation the other night, my mom reminded me that micah's strong will may be infuriating to me and josh, but it is very overpowering and frightening to micah. so with that in mind today, when she would start to "lock in" to something, whether it was pouring her own milk for her cereal or being allowed to shove her brother out of her play tent... i would look into her eyes and calmly say, "you are not in charge. it's not your decision; it is mine. i am in charge." she would protest, but... not passionately, almost out of obligation. she seemed relieved. and after a moment, she would relent... and i was relieved, too, that something i was doing was finally having a positive effect. for weeks i've been feeling like a pushover, an utter failure. now it's clear i had simply forgotten something important about micah, and about all spirited children: they are children, with the emotions and desires and wills of adults. micah doesn't know what to do with the rage that flares up inside of her when i tell her she may not do the things she wants to do. it's up to me to show her the way! i can see the fear and discomfort in her eyes, even as she's smacking me and screaming at me. her eyes are pleading, "please, hold me, this is too much for me. i need you!" and i have to swallow my hurt and my own frustration at being treated this way, and hold her next to my skin so our hearts can go back together to the day she was born.

my aunt shannon told me once that with children, instead of standing in front of them wagging a finger and saying "don't do this, don't do that"... we ought to stand beside them, holding out a hand to show the way, saying "look, this is how we do this, this is how we do that." we are the messengers to our children, not the overlords.

the couple who is hiring me to babysit their infant girl every weekday starting january 5th, is coming over for a late lunch/early supper on new year's day, to see where we live and to finalize our employment agreement. i'm excited about keeping their daughter, and excited about the extra income. : ) i will have to venture out with all three kids on that first day, though; micah and rowan have an appointment at the pediatrician's.

well, right now it's 12:42 am and rowan is sleeping soundly... he hasn't thrown up for about 4 hours, i think. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that he doesn't vomit in the middle of the night! it's always so scary when they start throwing up from a deep sleep. i know i'm going to spend all night checking to see if rowan is sleeping on his tummy and not his back, so he doesn't pull a jimi hendrix...

doll family

from left to right: rosey, eva, marley, pansy, emily, and poppy
(all snuggled together in micah's new "dora the explorer" papasan. : ) )

these are just a few of the dolls we have love for at our house. micah spends hours upon hours pretending with these babies, feeding them, dressing them, caring for them, and telling them what's on her mind. rowan is joining in the fun, too, with his own baby, paulo. i'll have to take a picture of rowan with paulo to post here...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

today i got to see my friend jessica and her baby boy, ascher rylan. he was born on december 4th, six weeks earlier than his estimated due date. i couldn't visit him until now because my kids have been sick with a virus, and even though i never got sick, i didn't want to risk infecting a premature, somewhat medically fragile baby. but they are finally well, so i went to jessica's apartment today, and i got to hold ascher while he slept. it is so relaxing and wonderful to hold a sleeping newborn. he made my kids seem to big and old! i could have sat there all night long, holding his beautiful, snoozing little body. : )

after my visit with jessica, josh and the kids and i went to target to spend some christmas gift cards. josh got a car charger for his cell phone, and the first season of "get smart", the old TV show. i got a new bathmat and new towels for the bathroom that match our shower curtain, some socks for rowan, some cute pajamas for myself, and a navy blue fitted sheet for our bed. i wanted to hold out and get some fitted sheets at IKEA (they're super-soft and silky, and $9.99 each whereas the one from target was $12.99) but i don't know when i'll be headed out that way, and the sheet on our bed was full of holes (thanks to mia, our dog) and was depressing me.

now it's way too late for my kids to be awake, and i have the hiccups, and i'm longing for some alone time... my pajamas are super-cute. i want some fuzzy slippers to go with them.

christmas pictures

the tree at my dad and stepmom's house

micah moon, me, and micah's christmas doll, emily

micah and rowan inspecting the presents under the tree (that's my brother, caleb, bending over next to micah, and seated to the right of micah is josh's sister, katy)

micah and josh opening some pj's for rowan, with my grandparents, joann and sheridan, in the background

rowan playing with his new puzzle

caleb (18), rowan, and my sister, naomi (22)

my grandfather, sheridan helping sleepy rowan with his juice

my grandmother, joann holding micah

naomi and me

caleb and me

Saturday, December 27, 2008

tonight i was supposed to go clothes shopping with my sister, naomi, to spend our christmas gift cards. josh agreed to watch the kids for me so i could enjoy some child-free shopping with my sister. i was really looking forward to it! well, micah broke down when it was time for me to walk out the door. the last time i went somewhere alone, josh had a rough time of it with both kids, because micah's bad mood had an ill effect on rowan's mood. so not wanting josh to have two screaming kids on his hands all night, i loaded micah's car seat into my sister's tiny, two-door toyota yaris and took her with me. bad idea. i should have known better... it was my fault for being stubborn, and insisting she could handle it, that she would have fun shopping with me. we went to the store my sister needed to go to first, and micah went wild, running around the store and grabbing clothes off the rack. so i calmly asked her to stop, and to stay next to me or in my arms. nothing doing. so, as promised if she didn't cooperate, i stood outside the store with her until naomi was done getting her things. she kicked and screamed the whole time, and the whole ride home. i should have known, given micah's recent behavior in public places (i think we have had to abruptly leave more places because of her behavior in the last month than we have her whole life), that i could not expect her to stay right by my side in a trendy clothing store. add to this ornery phase she is in right now the fact that she's had hardly any outside, energy-burning play lately (due to the cold weather, the holidays, and the virus the kids are finally over) and taking her clothes shopping was ASKING for trouble.

micah's really going through a tough phase right now. this evening, after the shopping incident, i think she had five more complete meltdowns. it's hard not to think i'm doing something terribly wrong in mothering her. here's a list of the things i do to avoid and/or handle her tantrums:
  • offer to hold and nurse her
  • speak calmly and quietly, in the hopes that she'll quiet down enough to hear what i'm saying
  • leave the room
  • try to talk about what sparked the fit, problemsolve, etc.
  • offer a snack, a bath, a favorite video, etc.
  • ignore
  • imitate her sounds and movements, in the hopes that she'll be so fascinated by my odd behavior that she'll forget why she was having a fit
  • yell
  • take away privileges
none of it works. tonight, during meltdown number three, i believe, i carried her into the playroom and shut the door, leaving her screaming hysterically in there by herself. it didn't feel like the 100% right thing to do, but i was getting close to throwing a fit myself, so it seemed like the best option. she raged and raged, and finally calmed down enough to ask me to please open the door. i did, and she came rushing in, jumped into my lap, and asked to nurse. nursing is always what calms her down completely, in the end. but i feel like i have to insist that she at least settle down enough to not injure me while nursing.

the other thing i am starting to take a hard line on is her rudeness. she is in a very rude, impolite, demanding, bossy phase right now, and it is driving me up the wall. i love my daughter boundlessly and unconditionally, but she is somewhat unpleasant to be around right now. josh and i have to remind her constantly to ask nicely for things, to say please and thank you, and to just generally be a nice, kind person. this is a real struggle for me. i don't feel like i should have to remind her to do these things, and it gets to me that it doesn't come naturally to her. at the same time, i don't think it's very respectful of her to make her "be nice!" if she doesn't feel like being nice, or to say "hi!" and respond to family members when they speak to her, if she doesn't feel like talking. but... do i just allow her to be rude and standoffish? how do i teach her to be polite and courteous, if it doesn't come naturally? do i have to wait until she's old enough to understand? or should i just try to help her make a habit of it now? ugh...

and it doesn't help matters that i get my feelings hurt for her extremely easily. it's okay for me to feel exasperated by her attitudes, but the minute i pick on any negative vibes about her from anyone else, i bristle and become a protective, defensive mama bear.

she has got such a red, hot fire burning in her core. i don't know how to nurture it and tame it at the same time. i think this will be a lifelong trial for her and me. it makes me tired, thinking about it...

Friday, December 26, 2008

rowan has a very giving little spirit. one of his favorite pastimes these days is to wander around the house gathering things to bring to me, or to his daddy, or to whomever he's interacting with at the moment. tonight, at my grandparents' house while we were watching a movie, he brought books to my stepmother, vesta, one at a time until the little bookshelf he was looting was empty. by the end of the movie, vesta had a lapfull of books and magazines. i brought his new play vacuum to their house to keep him occupied during the movie, but he was more than busy giving "gifts" to vesta! cute. : )

micah napped during the movie, and was sad to discover there was no pizza left for her to eat when she woke up. i fed her some honey nut cheerios and mandarin oranges instead, and she was happy. especially when she got some vanilla ice cream for dessert. : )

earlier this afternoon, i took the kids to my mom's house to open our stocking. she and my stepdad, wesley, put together one, big stocking for our family. in it was a little multitool for my keyring, lots of yummy candy, a nemo gel pack to put in the fridge for ouchies, and two beautiful little waldorf dolls: one winter gnome, and one rainbow girl whom josh christened eva.

i've taken some pictures of all the new additions to our doll family, but i'm too sleepy to upload them onto the computer tonight. i'll post these, plus some other family christmas photos, tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

wow, what an awesome christmas!! micah and rowan got so many wonderful gifts from all our wonderful, generous family and friends. and here i was worried about not being able to buy them something myself... they got more than enough.

someone who knows me and my family, and reads my blog... did something for me this christmas. something involving nutella, among many other things. and if the person who did this is reading... thank you, from the bottom of my heart. your generosity and thoughtfulness made this christmas the most special our family has ever had, and we will never, ever forget it. we were and are very touched and grateful to you, forever.

my favorite christmas gift: a gold ring with a hindi script from josh.
my favorite gift of micah's: her new doll, emily, from mimi & papi; and her play tent (actually a belated birthday gift from aunt katy)
my favorite gift of rowan's: his play vacuum, from grandma susan

i'll post christmas pictures soon, of family members and of the kids with their beloved new dolls and things.

Monday, December 22, 2008

we slept in super late this morning! we're back on a rotten sleeping schedule, again... hopefully this will be corrected with the early mornings coming up this week.

i have joined the ranks of the employed once again. i met tonight with a couple who want to hire me to babysit their 10-week-old daughter every day while they work. i am quite excited to be a monetarily contributing member of our household again. : ) i'm also a little anxious about caring for three children every day... but at least, it will be at my house, where we already have routines and boundaries established. if i were to watch the baby at her house, i'd be spending all my time keeping my children from rearranging the furniture, unplugging things, tearing down walls, etc. plus, the parents of a 10-week-old have not necessarily made their house ready for a mobile child, much less a toddler and/or a preschooler. there would likely still be knick knacks, picture frames, and other various breakables within young arms' reach.

christmas woes and thoughts

christmas is fast approaching! my sister is coming into town from austin tonight, one of my sisters-in-law will be in tomorrow from tulsa, OK, and my other sister-in-law will be driving down from wichita falls on christmas day. i absolutely love this time of year, when everyone is together! i love the hustle and bustle, and the fast-paced excitement of shopping, wrapping presents, going to parties and family get-togethers.

i am somewhat depressed about this christmas, though, as josh and i haven't been able to purchase a single present for anyone, not even our own children. getting laid off right before christmas is just about the most miserable thing that can happen to someone who feels the way about christmas that i do. it is the most wonderful, magical, loving, nostalgic holiday to me, and i look forward to celebrating it and to the gifts i want to buy for my loved ones all year long. and to arrive at it completely empty-handed, and in such dire financial circumstances, is really... lousy. we can't even put up our damn tree, because it's locked in our storage unit, for which we cannot afford the bill.

but i have absolutely nothing to complain about... there are millions of people who've never experienced a christmas like i have, who don't have the storybook memories of waking up in the middle of the night to a glittering, sparkling living room adorned with a ornamented, lit fir tree and dozens of beautifully wrapped presents, a train set, milk and homemade cookies for santa by the fire place... and santa himself, tiptoeing and quietly adding a few more special gifts to the pile... i can still see the metallic pink wrapping paper mama and daddy used that year... and my grandfather, at our house at 2 AM, in a white beard and a red suit, giving my sister and brother and me the ultimate gift of childhood: faith. i can still feel the butterflies in my stomach as i watched from the hallway door, not really sure if i still believed in santa, but not really sure who that was in my living room...

the blessing is, my kids won't remember that we weren't able to get them anything this year, and they won't know how sad and incapable it made us feel. they'll have so many more christmases to enjoy, and those christmases will be abundant and joyful.

it's not that i think christmas is all about material goods - it's not! it is about giving and receiving and family and fellowship. i want to start a tradition within my own little family of donating clothes and toys to foster kids or kids in group homes or shelters at christmas time, and of volunteering to serve food at local churches who provide a christmas dinner to the needy and homeless. i want to instill in my children the understanding that as very fortunate members of our society, we have a responsibility to provide and care for those less fotunate.

i am ever so thankful this christmas, even though we're in the dumps money-wise. we are healthy, our beautiful children are healthy and happy, my mom and dad and siblings and grandparents are healthy and happy, my sisters-in-law and their beautiful families are healthy and happy. my wonderful friends and their families are all healthy and happy. what more could i ask for?!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

i've been instant messaging my friends a lot lately. it's fun! my friend alison introduced me to this site called meebo where you can create an account and log on to half a dozen different instant messengers, like AIM, icq, google talk, etc. you can instant message all your buddies from all your different IM accounts on the same screen. pretty neat! it's a bit easier for me than talking on the phone, sometimes, because if i need to do something with the kids i can just change my status from "available" to "be right back" or whatever, and walk away from the computer.

not that i want all of my interactions with people to be electronic. it's just nice right now, while we can't really get together with any of our friends since we are incubating this nasty cold virus! blech!

let's see, what other mundane things can i blog about... for dinner tonight, i prepared turkey meat loaf with scalloped potatoes and green beans, and i made a vanilla cake with strawberry frosting for dessert. tomorrow night, i think i'm going to talk josh into making some more of the mouth-watering butter burgers he made a couple of nights ago. the name is pretty self explanatory, but you take some hamburger, flatten it out and smush a little pat of butter (this is not the time nor the place for "better than butter" or "smart stick" or whatever; use BUTTER, babe) into the center of it, place some more hamburger on top, and press the sides together forming a patty. try it, it is awesome.

micah's cough is so much worse at night. she is fine all day, playing and in a great mood, and when she lies down to go to sleep at night, her chest and throat are viciously attacked by evil mucus. rowan coughs at night too, but not nearly as much or as badly as micah. i thought their coughs were sounding better today, though. rowan did something with the nasal spray, i can't find it anywhere. he hates it, so i guess he hid it somewhere. : )

there's a huge pile of laundry on the sofa that needs folding, and i was going to sit and watch a movie while i folded it. but the DVD player in the living room is broken, so i'm using that as an excuse not to fold the laundry.Link

Friday, December 19, 2008

micah and rowan woke up this morning with rattling chest coughs. : ( i took them to the doctor this afternoon, and they both have a virus of some sort. at the office, micah was running a fever of 99.7 (high for her, she normally runs about 96) and rowan's temp read 103. but i am convinced that ear thermometer was wrong, there's no way his temp was that high. he was cool to the touch and running around playing in the waiting room!) the doc prescribed a nasal decongestant and suggested a nasal spray for both of them. i went to whole foods market and bought a nasal spray with grapefruit seed extract - a natural antibacterial and antifungal - and some homeopathic medicine for allergic or viral runny nose; wet, non-productive cough; and post-nasal drip, all of which they have, and all of which are driving me and them crazy! micah fell asleep at 10 pm, and has woken herself up hacking up mucus every 15 minutes since. i can't wait for them to be over this sickness... when it goes on this long, it really wears us all out. rowan has had a cold since before dec. 1, and i know micah's nose has been running that long too. argh! whoever reads this, please say a prayer for my kids' colds to GO AWAY and STAY AWAY!!!!

i almost didn't fill the scrip for the decongestant... i don't like giving them stuff like that. if their bodies need to produce mucus to carry whatever out of their bodies, i don't want to suppress that function... but, i got to thinking, the nasal congestion is also causing their bodies extra stress. it's keeping micah from sleeping well at night, and it's keeping rowan from nursing/eating well. neither of those things is conducive to healing. so, i went ahead and got the stuff and gave it to them this evening. i really hope they start feeling better tomorrow.

i just had a nutella sandwich on white bread and a glass of milk for a midnight snack. i'm about to get in bed with my sleeping babes and watch "walk the line." i need some joaquin phoenix to fall asleep to... hehe. : )

i'm bummed. i miss my sister, i was supposed to hang out with my friend today and bake christmas goodies, and we were supposed to go to a holiday party at her house tomorrow. instead, we will likely be hibernating indoors in our pajamas, under the covers, reading books and watching movies and taking hot baths all day. i am longing for warm, sunny, longer days... oh, i feel so depressed this winter.

i did get my christmas cards mailed out tonight, though. : ) this is the first year EVER i have actually bought cards, written in them, addressed them, stamped them, and mailed them. every year, i make it through one, sometimes two of those steps in the process. but this year, i completed the process, and my loved ones (a lot of them, anyway) will receive a christmas wish from our family in the mail.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

as of this evening, josh is well, i am well, micah is well... and rowan has a low grade fever and a chest cold. : ( i am soooo nervous. i know he's not going to get epiglottitis again. but i'm still nervous. i HATE anything respiratory!! i'd rather him have diarrhea, vomiting, a rash, ANYTHING else but something respiratory. i don't know, it just scares the living daylights out of me. i can't stand hearing the mucus rattle around in his throat when he breathes, i can't stand listening to him cough and choke, and i can't stand not being able to nurse him because he can't breathe through his nose!! arghh!!!!
ah, the house is clean. i woke up with a hoarse voice, but otherwise feeling fine. mia, our dog, tracked mud all over the carpet early this morning, so as soon as we were up and at 'em, i vaccuumed and straightened the whole house. that gave me an instant headache, but it faded quickly once i ate breakfast. breakfast today was a multigrain bagel with cream cheese and orange juice to drink. the kids and i should be swimming in orange juice by now; we've been drinking it, plus gallons of water, nonstop for the past few days. we've all got colds and i'm hoping the fluids and vit C help get us well soon. i don't want our family to be sick for christmas!

last night for dinner, i boiled four chicken thighs, pulled the meat off the bone and stirred it in with bowtie pasta, parma rosa sauce and english peas. it wasn't as good as i'd hoped... needed more sauce. while i'm on the subject of food, right now i am totally hooked on dreyer's dulce de leche ice cream. i think i'll go have some right now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

josh is sick. boo :( i am praying like crazy that he doesn't get bronchitis. he's really susceptible to it since he grew up around cigarette smoke, and has smoked a few himself as an adult. and he just started his new job... eek. stupid cold and flu season.

i, on the other hand, feel great today. i was worried yesterday that i might be getting sick, too. it's hard enough when one parent is ill; the house just falls to complete chaos when both are under the weather. today we slept in, i fixed goulash for lunch (i know goulash is an actual dish served in hungary or something, but josh and i make our own version: ground beef, tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, cream style corn, and elbow macaroni) in time for josh to have some while he was home for his break. i love that he gets to come home for an hour during the day, with this new job! it breaks up the time that he's away from us, and the kids are thrilled whenever he walks through the door. if someone (*cough* micah) was on their way to a tantrum or just a sour mood, they perk right up after getting to see daddy!

disclaimer: i'm going to blog about the bathroom here for a minute. skip ahead if you're squeamish.

so, micah has been using the restroom all by herself lately. : ) this is very exciting. first of all, and please excuse the ridiculous euphemism which i hate, but she's been potty trained for numero uno (maybe typing it in spanish will dilute the silliness... or perhaps that has the opposite effect?) since she was 2 1/2, right? well... drum roll, please... numero dos in the toilet has been accomplished, a little over a year later. :) this being my first child, i did not know that it could take a full year for her to be comfortable doing this. it makes sense, and i've read and been counseled that this is completely, totally normal, and to not make a big deal out of it or stress out over it. i've tried not to, but for some reason i've always viewed it as a problem, something i was causing by not encouraging enough or by making her uneasy in some way. i don't know why, usually i'm pretty laid back about most things, but at times i couldn't relax about her not being potty trained for bowel movements. there were several practical reasons why it bothered me. for one, it was just plain messy. because, you know, the bigger they are... well, it was getting bad. also, it was a problem when we were out of the house. it's hard to diaper a 3 1/2-year-old in a grocery store bathroom, wait for her to finish her business, then try to fit her 3-ft-tall body onto one of those baby changing fold-out tables, all while wrangling with a 1-year-old, trying to keep him from touching anything or dumping the contents of the diaper bag onto the filthy linoleum.

despite my general annoyance, i decided to follow the advice of all my trusted mom friends and let her get to this point at her own pace. and, this must be one of those things with children that you don't believe will ever happen... until it does. because i didn't, until it did! one afternoon, micah just... let me help her onto the potty, and voila. we got to laugh at the "plop!" and the splash, and use the cool, new wipes i bought her months ago.

now, she just walks in there, arranges her step stool and her potty seat, goes, wipes, washes up, pulls the clothes back into place - all without any help at all, most of the time. in the mornings, she usually wants me to go with her - and she has always been funny about that first morning elimination, even when she was in diapers. other than the mornings, she relishes being able to do this herself.

as i write this, i am completely overcome with love for micah. i have a huge lump in my throat. i just... she's so wonderful. i love her so completely, with every fiber in my being. she's my firstborn, my sweet daughter, my little baby. my mom always told me that there is just something about your first baby, but i didn't fully understand what she meant until i had my second. that makes it sound like i cherish micah more than rowan, which couldn't be farther from the truth... it's just that there's a bond there with micah that is at the foundation of who i am. her spirit chose mine out of all the spirits in the universe, to mother her and hold her up for life to sweep across. she ushered me out of one phase of my life, and into another. she opened my womb, my heart, and my mind, and made them ready for rowan. his spirit made a wise selection, too, because she is going to be a strong, safe harbor for his gentle little soul always, i know it.

i have never really enjoyed winter, but at this phase in my kids' lives i dislike it even more. i can't get outside with them! it's really frustrating! my mom's blog is really inspiring, because right now she's chronicling the weeks of advent leading up to christmas day. each week of advent brings recognition and honor to different realms of creation. as i read it, i'm reminded of the quiet beauty and serenity of these colder months. i'm going to try harder to turn inward, and gather the warmth of my hearth and home around my heart.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

josh and i both woke up this morning with dry, scratchy throats and headaches. his sore throat has persisted throughout the day, and my headache lingered until just a few hours ago, when i finally relented and took two advil. the kids were extremely disappointed with our lack of energy and attention. micah had so many meltdowns i lost count, and rowan has played in nothing but his diaper all day long, and sometimes not even that because i didn't have the energy to chase him down after he squirmed away from me during a diaper change. sigh. i don't like days like this... the house is a wreck, and i don't care, i just want to go to bed. the kids and i napped from 5 to 7, so who knows when that will even happen. i hope i feel good tomorrow! i feel totally fine, now, just a little tired.

tonight i took micah grocery shopping with me while josh stayed home with rowan. micah and i had fun together; she brought one of her babies along and pushed it in the shopping cart. she's pretty strong for someone so little!

just a little while ago, rowan sneezed and sprayed apple all over the living room floor. : )

Saturday, December 13, 2008

my grandmother took me shopping for clothes for christmas today. we went to old navy, and i got a pair of blue jeans, a cute top, a brown cardigan, and an orange turtleneck sweater. then we went to target, and i picked out a pair of jeans and a pair of corduroys for josh's christmas. i'm so excited about my clothes; they're the cutest i've had in a while! i can't wait to wear the top and the brown sweater to church tomorrow morning, with my red skirt. i feel kind of guilty about her buying me clothes, though... i always have my grandparents' credit card in my wallet for emergencies (their idea), and since josh got laid off i've been using it to buy groceries. they've said it's okay, and to use it when i need it. but i still feel yucky about it. i can't wait until we've got money in the bank and i can give the card back to them. i hate this feeling of being a big drain on my family's income, and feeling like we can't support ourselves.

tonight we went to our friends, alison and robert's house for dinner. they made this delicious asian stir fry that i want to get the recipe for. we had a vanilla cake with strawberry frosting with vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert. the kids played together so nicely! micah and her friend isaac are only 2 weeks apart in age, and are really like siblings. they have extremely similar personalities and temperaments, and as a result, they butt heads sometimes. but they're very, very fond of each other. we got together yesterday, and the two had a few squabbles ending in tears and hurt feelings. so tonight, before we headed over to their house, josh and i sat down with micah and laid out some ground rules for playing with friends (i.e. no grabbing or yanking or screaming at the top of your lungs when something doesn't go your way), and what the consequences of not following those rules would be (i.e. going home). turns out, isaac's mom and dad had a similar discussion with him before we arrived. it really seemed to do the trick! micah and isaac played together all night with only minor issues, and those they were able to work through themselves. success!

now the babes are sleeping soundly in bed, josh is watching one of his favorite movies on the couch, sara the cat is nuzzling my nose, and i'm soooo sleepy my eyelids are droopy. good night. : )

p.s. latest movie marathon at the poole house: the hunt for red october

Thursday, December 11, 2008

potluck buffet dessert tables really drive me crazy. after the big meal, i wander over to the big table covered in pies, cakes, brownies, cookies, candies, trifles, etc. i'm only ever hungry enough to try one, maybe two things. knowing i'll never have this precise selection of sweet treats laid before me again, i try to make my choice, wondering what two things would compliment each other best... will a cream cheese brownie taste better with an oatmeal cookie, or a little slice of cherry pie? or should i just get pie and a cookie, and skip the brownie, since it's so dense? or... what about cherry pie and vanilla ice cream, that'd be good. but then, i won't get to try the oatmeal cookies, and i really love oatmeal cookies... why can't someone just invent a pill you can swallow at the end of a meal that will dissolve everything you just ate, instantly absorbing the nutrients into your bloodstream but making your appetite return immediately. but of course there's nothing like that on the market, so inevitably, after making my selection and eating it and feeling way too full... i end up driving home with the uneasy feeling that i just missed out on a thousand other dessert combinations and will never have the chance to experience them again.
micah, rowan and i went to a holiday potluck brunch this morning. we had so much fun! i love hanging out with this group of moms; everyone is so friendly and sincere and... real. there is no judgment or pretension. they all parent similarly, and are all so sweet and understanding if my child bops theirs on the head or steals a muffin right out of their hand (i'm pretty sure both of those things happened today...) what an enjoyable, relaxing get-together. food was yummy, too; there were sausage balls, muffins, almond horn cookies, fresh pineapple chunks, a cheese and cracker plate, butter cake, and sweet tea. i brought the butter cake and sweet tea. we have another holiday party to go to at joshs mom's nursing home tonight, and we're supposed to bring a dessert to that, too; luckily, there is enough of the butter cake left over for me to slice and bring tonight! at the potluck, we had a used gift swap, and i made off with two sippy cups for rowan. they're the kind with little straws that pop out when you push the lid back, which is perfect, because rowan loves to drink through a straw lately!

micah and rowan caught a quick nap once we got home, so bedtime will be early and struggle-free, hopefully. rowan has been super cranky since he woke up from his nap, though; i hope he is not getting sick.

i love this time of year so much! parties and good food and gifts to give and receive; spending so much time with friends and family, singing and laughing! i would like to think that i do a good job of really appreciating how wonderful and beautiful my family is all year round, but i have to say... during the christmas season, my heart overflows every day with love and gratitude for the people i am lucky enough to call husband, daughter, son, mama, daddy, sisters, brother, etc.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

better late than never!

our family on halloween!
(i think i look freakishly like my mother in this picture... is it just me?)
in case you can't tell, i am a gypsy, rowan is a lion cub, micah is a ladybug (thank you, candice, for the handmade ladybug cape!), and josh is "superdad", aka himself : )

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

tonight was rough for my little ones! rowan banged his forehead on the side of the coffee table, and now has a horizontal red and blue knot on his noggin. he held his breath for about a minute, then let out an ear-piercing wail. i almost cried too! then, not 30 minutes later, micah, josh and mia (our 7-year-old pit bull) were playing ball together, and mia jumped up to bat the ball and accidentally dragged one of her claws down the side of micah's face. she missed micah's eye by a fraction of an inch. now micah has a large, red vertical welt starting at the corner of her right eye, all the way down to her chin, and down her neck onto her chest. she howled too, of course, and didn't want to go near mia for a while. once she'd calmed down, we encouraged her to pet and snuggle with the dog to assuage any fear or anxiety. they're back to being friends and playmates. we could tell mia felt horribly about what she'd done; as soon as it happened, mia leapt up onto the couch and curled up into a ball with her face buried in the corner. poor girl! she was quaking like a leaf when micah and i sat down next to her later; she thought she was in big trouble. she is the greatest dog ever.

josh made the yummiest cheeseburgers tonight, and we had more of the sour cream & chive mashed potatoes on the side. josh had a root beer, and i had some pomegranate blueberry juice. micah helped me eat my burger and potatoes. rowie was already asleep when we ate; his supper was a banana, some cheese crackers, and some of the pomegranate blueberry juice watered down even further from the 4 cans of water i mix it with, instead of 3. so his juice tasted like water with a blueberry squished in it. he didn't complain.

oh, josh got a job today!! yippee! it's been three long weeks of job searching and living off of our wonderful relatives' gracious assistance. josh is going to be driving a delivery truck for a paint manufacturing warehouse, right down the street from our house. it doesn't pay much, so he'll have to work another job at night, but... hey, it's a paycheck! we're grateful and excited!

i miss my sister, naomi, like a banshee tonight. she is one of my best friends in the whole universe, and she is too far away from me (even though on she's only in austin!). josh and micah are watching the dick van dyke show in the other room, and it's making me think of her big time...

Monday, December 8, 2008

yesterday micah was climbing on her play kitchen. i asked her to get down a couple of times, then went over and picked her up. i said, "gosh, i really need to take you to the park, because you must really need to climb right now!"

just now, after asking if we could play outside and being told no, she climbed onto her kitchen again. i asked her to please get down. she hopped down, put her hands on her hips, and said, "you must need to take me to the park right now, because i need to climb!" she outsmarts me a dozen times a day. i wonder what it'll be like when she's 16...

this morning we went to the wedding of two of josh's best friends from high school. monday morning is an odd time to get married, but december 8th is their dating anniversary, and they had to be on a plane to mexico by 4 pm. the ceremony took place outside in a grove of trees. the weather was really mild. i was happy it turned out so well for them! the reception food was yummy bbq brisket sandwiches, baked beans and potato salad, with sweet tea to drink. in lieu of a wedding cake, they served apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream! it was so relaxed and fun.

after leaving the wedding, which was out in lucas, we drove to plano to see josh's mom. it was a really good visit. sometimes visiting her at the nursing home is really stressful with the kids, because they're into everything, and it's not that clean there. plus, i have seen syringes and mystery pills lying on the floor... ugh. but today i kept rowan in the mei tai, and micah was content to sit on her grandma's roommate's bed and eat chocolates. not great for her tummy, but great for my sanity.

after that, we drove back north to mckinney to my sister-in-law's house to pick up an outfit my other sister-in-law had bought for micah (cuuuuuute), then we went home. josh fixed some yummy garlic chicken with sour cream & chive mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner, and right now it is ten till 9:00 pm and i'm trying to get micah to go to sleep. rowan and josh are already in bed snoring.

more cute micah-isms from today:
  • "i'm going to nurse until death!"
  • "i love mommy, i love daddy, i love rowan, and i love myself."
  • (after using the potty) "great job, bum!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

just yesterday i wrote about how i wanted micah to feel comfortable going to sunday school by herself, and this morning she stayed in class by herself for more than half the time! she is getting so big. as usual, micah, rowan and i sat together in the sanctuary for the first half of service, until they dismissed the kiddos for bible hour. i took rowan to the one-year-olds' room and dropped him off, leaving my dad's cell phone number (i'd left mine at home) for the teacher to call if rowan started to cry. then micah and i went off down the hall to her classroom. this morning, all kids ages 3 through the 2nd grade were in the children's theater. micah had never been in this classroom before. the class was great; we sang songs, memorized a verse about generosity, and some kids were chosen for a relay race. right after the race, i spied my dad walking in the hallway outside the classroom with rowan. i whispered to micah that i would be right back, and stepped out to see if rowan was okay. he'd been crying in his classroom, so his teacher brought him out to my dad, and my dad brought him to me. i walked the hall with him for the rest of bible hour, and micah stayed and enjoyed her class! for the rest of the hour, i ventured farther and farther with rowan away from micah's classroom door, thinking at any moment she'd run out to find me. but she didn't... she stayed for the whole class, and when service was over, i went and got her. she looked at me like she'd never even noticed i'd gone.

the only other time she stayed in class by herself, i made a big deal about it afterwards, telling her how proud i was and what a big girl she was becoming. she didn't want to stay in class for a long time after that. i opted not to do that this time... i simply took her hand and we walked out together, and i asked her if she had fun in class. she said yes, then started talking about something else. today was a really good day with her...

i think it's really cute when micah uses big words the wrong way. : ) example: (to one of her dolls): "oh leah, you are so concerned, i will take care of you." it only takes a little while before she learns to use the word correctly, but it's really cute while it lasts. : )

santa's village

we went to santa's village last night, and we got to see all the lights come on right at 6 o'clock! that was neat; the lights were so beautiful, and it was exciting to see them all come on at once. it was a little too cold and crowded, but i think micah had fun. we plan to go again this thursday night, when the lines might be a little shorter. after perusing the village last night, we went out for pizza with friends. (yeah, i was craving pizza all day yesterday, and i got it! i love that!)

here we are posing with frosty the snowman...

and here's micah with her friend, isaac...

here is micah trying out the jingle bells in the symphony house...

here's rowan and our friend, isaac enjoying pizza and laughs...

and here are micah and isaac playing a shoot 'em up together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

i am craving pizza like a pregnant lady today.

well, we were supposed to go to a christmas parade this morning, but... micah and rowan napped together for a total of about 3 and a half hours yesterday, so we were up late. i think past midnight. so of course we slept in, until about 9:30 am. the parade would have been fun, but what i'm really excited about is santa's village tonight at 5:00 pm. some friends are meeting us there, and it's micah's first time to go. i think she's going to love it!

i really want to enroll micah in some art, dance and/or gym classes. i think it will help with her uneasiness taking directions from adults other than myself or josh, and i think she would just have a great time. we took her to a free trial gymnastics class a couple of months ago, and she was crazy about it... but would only participate if josh walked through the activities with her, and wanted to stay a good distance away from the teacher and the other kids. if the teacher addressed her directly, she buried her face in josh's leg. now, i know my daughter, and she always has a negative first reaction to new experiences and environments... so i totally expected this, but it was/is still frustrating. i hate to spend the $100 on a series of classes if half or more of them are spent trying to coax her into participating. then i'll feel like i'm forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do, and it won't be fun for either of us. i would just like for her to get to the point where she's not so uncomfortable doing things like this, or like staying in her sunday school class by herself, etc. it does not concern me that she's not comfortable doing it (she is fiercely independent in her own way, and very attached to me, and i to her), i just would love to see her confidence and security build to the point where she doesn't feel threatened by brief separations from me. i wonder if i am expecting this too early...?

there are some art and gym classes at our local rec centers that i could attend and participate in with micah. so i'm thinking of enrolling her in one of those, and having my mom watch rowan on those days so i can give my full attention to micah and spend some fun, quality time with her. my friend alison and i are also going to have our kids enrolled in a gym class together, that she and i can also attend with them. i think if micah sees her friends participating and having fun, she'll enjoy it more.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ladies night at exposure indoor rock climbing was such a blast! i went with four other moms, and we all climbed for a couple of hours. i made it to the top of three walls, and made it about half-way up several others. it's been such a long time since i did anything physically challenging, and it was very refreshing and empowering! i definitely want to go again. ladies night every wednesday after 6pm is a great deal ($10 per lady), and monday after 6pm is 2 for 1 night, when two people can climb for the price of one ($20). josh and i are going to go soon for a date. : ) and my sister, naomi and i made plans to go when she's in town for christmas. i can't wait! one of the moms last night took some good pictures of us, so as soon as i have those i'll post them. i thought i would be super sore today, but i feel fine! my right ankle was tender when i first woke up, but not anymore.

one of my best friends from high school had her baby boy today, 6 weeks early. they are resting and doing well. : ) i can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

i love, love, love jason mraz's voice.

today micah, rowan and i went to see wall-e at the dollar movie with my friend alison and her kiddos. tuesday is 50 cent day, so i paid a whole dollar (rowan was free) for our tickets. micah and her friends sat through most of the movie, then got a little restless at the end. it was cool, though, because we had the theater to ourselves, except for one elderly lady, and she smiled at me several times while i was chasing rowan up and down the aisles, so i don't think she was bothered. it was a really fun outing, except that i got motion sick in the car on the way to the theater (even though i was driving) and then got even more motion sick in the movie, and ended up feeling horribly nauseated and migraine-y. i took a hot bath when we got home, and that plus a couple of hours of resting made me feel better. by the time my friend katherine came over for a visit in the evening, i was fine.

wall-e is the cutest movie ever and i want to own it so i can watch it over and over. : )

josh and i have new pet names for each other. he is "negative nathaniel" and i am "positive penelope". it all started because he was warning me he doesn't think i'll have a good time going indoor rock climbing tomorrow night, because he knows my normal level of physical activity, and believes it will be more work than play. this may be true, but i don't get to go out and do stuff like this very often since i became a mama, and whether it is a breeze for me physically or not, i know i will get a kick out of doing something new and challenging. we just have different ways of looking at it: he went indoor rock climbing a while back and found it discouraging, while i'm pretty sure i'll just have fun hanging (pun intended) with my friends.

despite having his doubts that i'll enjoy indoor rock climbing, as soon as he found out i wanted to go, he was on the phone with one of his former supervisors trying to line up some painting work so he could earn money for me to go. he is amazing. : ) he's planning on taking micah and rowan to a drum circle, along with a good friend of ours whom we haven't seen in ages, tomorrow night while i'm out enjoying a good upper body workout. i hope they have a good time! micah hasn't been separating from me well, but this evening i took rowan to the grocery store and left her home with josh, and she was okay. she cried when i went out the door, but was fine as soon as i was out of sight. she also fell asleep without nursing again, tonight... she is growing up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ah, what a difference an early bedtime for the kiddos makes! night before last, micah and rowan were asleep for the night by 7:30 pm. josh and i made some dinner, watched a movie, surfed the internet, chatted, snuggled... and somewhere around midnight, we crawled in bed next to the kids and fell asleep. perfect! next morning micah woke me at 8 am, i made eggs and bacon (burned it) and blueberry toast for breakfast, and we went to church. then all four of us napped from about 2:20 pm until 4:00 pm - i could not keep my eyes open. due to the nap, last night we were up a little later - i think micah was down by 10:00 pm. this morning, we all slept in until 10:30 am. tonight, micah fell asleep in the car around 8:00 pm on the way to the grocery store, and i was able to get her from the car to the bed without waking her. so far, she's woken herself up twice coughing (i didn't give her any allium cepa tonight) but i've been able to get her back to sleep. after the first waking, she needed to nurse. but just a moment ago, she woke up and i was able to just lay her back down and cover her up with a blanket... and she went back to sleep just fine. this is highly unusual, but exciting. :) micah falling asleep without nursing is rare, but it's something we've been working on. she is getting better and better at it.

today i took rowan to our pediatrician for his second half of the flu shot. he slept through the shot. that's right... slept right through it. i didn't know this could happen. he passed out in the car on the way to the appointment, stayed asleep on my shoulder in the waiting room and in the exam room, then slept through the nurse taking his temperature in his ear, wiping his leg with the antiseptic, and sticking a needle into his thigh. he kind of stirred when she took the needle out. sheesh...

tonight we put up the christmas tree at my dad's house. it looks so pretty. :) christmas is going to be small present-wise for everybody in my family, but i am looking forward to it so much. it's my favorite holiday. i love giving gifts, though this year i don't know if we'll have the money to buy any for all the people i'd like to. i love being surrounded by my family. i love the fresh start of a new year. i love reminiscing about all the adventures this closing year brought us, and giving thanks for all the tremendous blessings we received.

something else i love: having stuff to look forward to! this week and weekend are jam-packed full of fun family plans. beginning tomorrow with a movie, the kids and i have something fun to do with friends every day this week, with a few "me" plans and "whole family" plans thrown in as well. now i just hope no one gets sick...