Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things I Learned This Week

Many of you may wonder how I can write a post with this title in the middle of the week, but I here I am referring to my Weight Watcher week, which runs Wednesday-Tuesday.

I'll admit that some of these things I did not learn for the first time this week, but I often have to learn things over and over and over again before they stick. And I don't mean the multiplication tables--those were easy. This is the stuff that is slow sinking in:
  • It is difficult (though not impossible, they tell me) to have a good weight loss week if the previous week you lost 4.2 lbs.
  • It is even more difficult if you aren't writing down anything you eat, nor are you actually calculating points on at least 50 percent of the things going into your mouth.
  • It is difficult (though not impossible, it's true) to have your sister bake and decorate an amazing cake and to not partake of said cake. I wouldn't want to be rude! (It tasted as good as it looks. Isn't she amazing?)
  • It is fun to watch your husband and son work long hours on a lightsaber cake for the Blue and Gold Dinner. Mostly because the rules say that you can't help. But they don't say anything about eating the scraps of cake that are not used in the final product.
  • (Even though I am not eating chocolate until Easter, I still love yellow cake. And they had almost an entire yellow cake left that they didn't use for their lightsaber.) I pick at extra cake lying around my kitchen.
  • Putting the leftover yellow cake in the freezer will only mean that I'll eat cold yellow cake instead of warm.
  • I obviously have a thing for cake that is sick and twisted and out of control.
  • It is easy to justify sleeping in instead of going to the gym when you are sick. This was a viable excuse for one week, as I had the flu for a solid 5 days.
  • It is easy to justify to oneself at 4:45 am that you might need a few more days to recover from that flu that you were so sick with last week. (Such justifications lasted an entire week after the flu was gone.)
  • It is difficult to get back into the habit of going to bed early when you haven't been to the gym in 2 weeks.
  • It is even harder to go to bed early when you are playing Spades, and (finally) beating your brother-in-law.
  • Going to your first spin workout in two weeks after staying up late and eating cake is not recommended.
  • Eating yellow cake, not counting points, sleeping through workouts and eating a gorgeous pillow cake with the accompanying white chocolate tiara does not equal weight loss. It equals weight gain. Ugly weight gain. (After my weigh in, I threw the rest of the cake in the trash. Except for the bites I took on the way to the trash can. I really have a problem!)
  • I guess I need to get back on the program if I'm going to fit into my spring clothes by spring!:)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Our one-year-old daughter is going through that stage when she is either clinging to my leg or racing away from me. Since she's been sick for the past couple of weeks, she's even more of a Momma's Girl than usual. As her language acquisition continues, I've noticed a big discrepancy in the way she speaks to Jared and me. He gets, "Hi, Dada!" all bright and cheery-like. For me?? It's more of a "Momma, momma, momma!", somewhere between a whine and a moan! It's so unfair!
She prefers to be with me, attached to me in some way or other, while I make dinner, read blogs, do a math lesson, etc. I am often able to distract her for a few minutes with her brothers' attention, a pile of board books, my magazines (oops), or if there is a cupboard for her to tear apart; but the only time she intentionally leaves my side is the moment that her diaper comes off. Even if she was crying and moaning five seconds before (which is always, since she hates being still long enough to be changed,) the second that she is naked, she flips over and crawls away as fast as she can, laughing all the way. And she doesn't come back. Sometimes in my fatigue (or is it just laziness?) I sit there and wait, assuming that since she is generally happiest attached to my hip like a koala, she'll be back soon. But no. Apparently she rejoices in her independence when she is in her birthday suit. If only I knew how to be so comfortable in my own skin! Too bad I don't feel good about letting her be naked all afternoon. I might get all the laundry folded . . .

Photos courtesy of Nicolette

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Soapbox Time

Everyone has their pet peeves. Things that drive them crazy. Jared can't handle if you stand over him, especially if you are eating something. I know because I do it to him all the time! I hate when people use apostrophes where they don't belong. I edit everything I read without really being conscious of the fact that I'm doing it until I run across a grievous error and realize that I am bugged. But today's soapbox is not going to be about grammar.

Something I hate more than grammatical errors are destructive attitudes about motherhood. Since there are so many of those in society today, most of us have bought into some of them, whether we realize it or not. Recently, a girlfriend came to me, troubled about what to do. Here's the situation:

She and her husband had some financial issues arise due to the current economy and housing market. They had gone round and round about how to fix the situation. She currently stays home with their three children; at times she has worked part-time, but they made the decision last year to keep her at home. One of the possible solutions to their current crisis was for her to go back to work--and she even had a job offer. They tried and tried to figure out a solution that would work for their two schedules in order to meet the needs of their kids, and in the end decided that her going back to work was going to put a lot of additional stress on the entire family; among other things, her husband was going to have to move to the graveyard shift at work. So, they decided instead to look at ways that they could reduce their spending in other areas to make up what they needed. After doing this, they determined that the sacrifice of giving some things up and spending less was a better one than the sacrifice of the mommy going back to work and the family making the necessary adjustments.

So far, so good, right? Not everyone can make that scenario work out, but they were grateful to find that they could have what they valued most. Now comes the part that makes my blood boil. Her mother-in-law finds out and reams her. Being a stay-at-home mom is a luxury, she says. You are just being lazy because you aren't willing to do what it takes when your family needs it. It is your responsibility to send those kids to day care and get a job if your family needs the money. Etc., etc. You get the picture.

My friend was left feeling confused and angry, and began to wonder if she was being selfish. Thank goodness she called me.

My dear friends, there is NOTHING lazy or selfish about being a stay at home mom. The very idea is ludicrous to me. How many of you get to sit around being lazy all day? Is it all about going to lunch with your friends, getting manicures, and catching up on your favorite shows? In my life, those things are rare. On the contrary, SAHMs have hard work to do, have hard sacrifices to make, and they do it for the good of their families.

Yes, it is a blessing to be a SAHM. I am grateful for the life that I have. I am blessed to have a husband who supports and shares my desire to have our children be raised by their mother. But it is not the selfish choice. We have had to make many sacrifices, most of them financial, in order to have me stay at home with our children, and I'm willing to venture that most of you SAHMs out there can say the same thing. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Since when is it selfish or lazy to go without some materialistic things for the sake of your family's well being? Of course, the underlying idea is that what your children need more than a mommy is the stuff that money can buy. And that is a dangerous, destructive thought.
So if you are battling with the idea that being at home to raise your children is a lazy or selfish luxury, please let the battle be over. Remember what is most important--and it isn't the things that you can buy at the mall (although those things are really pretty, I know!) It is the relationships we have, especially with our family. It is about raising children who are confident in our love, who have learned how to treat others with respect, who have learned the values that we work hard to teach them. It is about keeping our family unified and providing them with an environment that fosters love and learning. It is about showing our children that they come first.

And if you happen to be a woman who values all those things, but whose circumstances will just not allow you to be home with your children, regardless of the sacrifices that you might make, know that the Lord sees your heart and will bless you accordingly. I watched my own mother go back to work against her will when her youngest was 8 years old, because she was suddenly widowed. She was thrust into single parenthood and was forced to provide for the needs of her family by working full time. And I know that Heavenly Father blessed her family and made up the difference because circumstances would not allow her to do what her heart desired. I guess that my point is not to trash working moms but to validate those who make the choice to be at home.

You go, girls!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Which Austen Heroine Are YOU?

Thanks to my sister, Allison, for finding this quiz on line. Take the quiz by clicking on the picture and get back to me with your results!

I am Emma Woodhouse!

Take the Quiz here!

Children's Lit Spotlight: Chicks and Salsa

Some time ago, I promised that I would post from time to time about great children's books. I have composed several such posts in my head but have never gotten around to any of them. Last night before bed, one of the books my kids picked out to read jumped out at me as a post.
This book is not an old children's classic; it was published in 2005, so many of my readers have probably never run across it. The illustrations, done in watercolors by Paulette Bogan are rich and humorous and tell the story on their own. The illustrations are important because they draw in even the youngest "reader". Bronwen and Ian, both too young to read, love looking through books without anyone reading to them, as long as the illustrations provide their own feast.
The premise of the book is one that appeals to me as a foodie. It also would be a great one if you were trying to get your kids interested in trying new foods, in growing food to eat in your garden, or in helping you make dinner.
The hens on Nuthatcher farm have gotten tired of their same old food. The rooster decides that he needs to solve this problem and begins to watch cooking shows through the window of Mrs. Nuthatcher's kitchen. He comes back to the hens with a plan--chips and salsa! That night, as the Nuthatchers sleep, the chickens pick tomatoes and cilantro for their salsa. The fever is catching, and soon the other animals are asking the rooster what they should eat. They return to the garden to find the ingredients for guacamole and nachos.
My favorite line of the book is:
"As everyone knows, when a passion for southwestern cuisine takes hold of farm animals, and so many sumptuous, spicy, savory scents collide in the barnyard air, it can only lead to one thing . . . Fiesta!"
But the animals' plans for enchiladas come to a screeching halt when they discover that the garden has been completely picked over for Mrs. Nuthatcher's county fair tamales. I won't tell you the ending--but let's just say that the rooster doesn't give up.
At the back of the book, there are recipes for Hog Wild Nachos, Quackamole, and Rooster's Roasted Salsa so that you can host a fiesta of your own.
My kids do not get tired of this book and I do not get tired of reading it to them, which is always a sign of a great book. Check it out at your local library, pick it up on, or watch for it at your school's book fair (I think that's where we found ours.) Get ready to read it over and over, and to have your children request Mexican food!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm A Clutz. Make That A Dumb Clutz.

Warning: This post contains graphic images of a mutilated musical instrument. If such content is too strong for you, or if reading about people doing ridiculously stupid things and getting hurt will make you squirm uncomfortably (like my mom does when she watches The Office,) then you should probably turn away now and check in with me another day.

Have you ever hurt yourself doing something so stupid that you cringed every time someone asked you what happened because you were going to have to tell them? Like the time when a nameless person (who gave birth to me) sliced her finger to the bone, requiring stitches, because she was using a Cutco knife to scrape up the last bits of tasty goodness from the pull-apart bread plate on Christmas night? Or when my dear anonymous friend (whose name rhymes with "candy" and begins with an "M") broker her wrist when she crashed on her 5-year old's Razor scooter? Well, do I have a story for you.

First, a little background. Jared & I, as conscientious parents, make every effort to expose our children to culture at an early age. Money is no object in our pursuit of a classical education for our children, which is why Ian has learned so much from his music appreciation courses-- available on Playhouse Disney (tee hee!) He loves Little Einsteins, a show on which the four young characters explore classical music and art in a silly red jet that they call "Rocket". (I do not understand why Rocket is a character on the show, rather than just a vehicle, but this show was written for an audience of 3-7 year olds, so I guess I'm not supposed to understand. But I digress.) Anyhow, Ian is very interested in musical instruments and knows the names of many including cello, viola, trumpet, harp, . . . you get the picture. He has been asking for a "real trumpet" for some time now. So when we were visiting my mom earlier this month, Jared was clearing out her basement, garage, and store room for her and found a trumpet in her "Deseret Industries" pile. It had been left out in the rain and was no longer a fine instrument, so we figured that it was perfect for our three year old maestro. We brought it home and he was thrilled and has even slept with it on several occasions over the past two weeks.

Yesterday afternoon, I was trying to get Ian down for a nap. Lately, it is no easy feat to get him to do anything that he doesn't want to do, so I was using all my cunning to lure him into his bedroom. (Generally, once he's in there and I'm reading to him, the process goes fairly well.) So, I said, "Let's play hide and seek. I'll go hide!" I took off running and heard him coming down the hall after me without stopping to count. Rather than telling him to stop and count, I sped up. Rather than just standing behind the bedroom door (since the whole point was to get him into his bedroom,) I decided that I needed to hide. I did not bother to turn on the light because 1) there wasn't time--he was hot on my heels, and 2) it's easier to hide in the dark, right?

I flung myself down in the narrow space between his bed and the window, only to discover a trumpet there, beneath my thigh. I cannot describe the pain, but please remember that I was running and that I need to lose some weight, so the force with which I struck the trumpet was significant. I laid there, moaning "owie, owie, owie," with tears streaming down my face. The only good thing was that it got Ian's attention. He was very concerned, since I was clearly in pain. (No, he never did fall asleep, the little stinker.)

When I turned on the light and looked at the trumpet, this is what I saw:
Poor trumpet. I will spare you a photo of my multi-colored thigh. That really would be too much! Jared has managed to bend the bell almost back to normal, but my leg will not be the same for some time. So if you see me limping along, don't ask what happened. It's really too ridiculous to tell.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

For the past week around here there have been lots of flushed faces, glazed eyes, and bed head. That's because we've been passing around the latest flu bug. Henry got hit the hardest, with a fever that lasted on and off for five days. Kimball only had a fever for one day, which was a relief.Thankfully, there are no pictures to document my sick day!
This morning dawned bright and sunny, and I felt loads better than I had yesterday. I decided to make my kids a breakfast of heart shaped whole grain pancakes and strawberries. And did I mention that I let my children have Necco Conversation Hearts for breakfast? I guess I'm just a great mom that way! Why is it that I harbor hopes that I will not pass my food addiction on to my children?I decided on a more points friendly breakfast for myself of nonfat organic vanilla yogurt with strawberries and bananas--I want to save my points for some chocolate tonight!:) It tasted fabulous and kept me righteous in See's Candies a few minutes later.
We had a few valentines that we'd made that needed to be delivered after breakfast (hence the visit to See's). My apologies to Nana and Henry Moore, whose valentines have not been mailed yet due to the epidemic at our house. (Okay, the fact that I am postally challenged probably played into it.) Morgan, please show Henry this post and tell him that it will becoming in the mail soon--in all likelihood, sometime next week. That will teach you to swap valentines with the likes of me!
Anyway, we are home now and I'm about to dedicate myself to making a love dinner for Jared: Chicken Noodle Soup! Just kidding. We're having a green salad with feta cheese, fuji apples, and toasted walnuts, grilled rib eye steaks, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and brownie-rocky-road-ice-cream-chocolate-ganache-bars that I've been working on. (Yep, that's why I needed to save some points for later! Too bad that this flu bug has made me miss spin for the past two mornings.) I'll post a photo when the brownie bars of deliciousness are all done. If we can wait that long before we consume them.
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

True Love

Love is . . . .
  • Coming home on the warmest day of the year (so far) to find that your wife (who has the flu) has made chicken noodle soup. You pretend like it's just what you wanted, even though you are starving and think of soup as a first course.
  • Putting the kids to bed by yourself because your wife has the flu.
  • Quickly forgiving your wife (who has the flu) when she crabs at you for playing a video game after putting the kids to bed.
  • Hugging and kissing your wife (who has the flu) even when you're a GERMAPHOBE, because you can tell that she really needs it.
Love you, honey!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Greatest of Causes

I am loving the current issue of BYU Magazine. There are a few articles in it that are giving me food for thought. The following quote, (from the commencement address at BYU in 1994 by James Q. Wilson, then of UCLA,) is one that found to be both inspiring and fitting for my blog's theme of motherhood.

"The easiest thing to do is to support great causes, sign stirring petitions, endorse grand philosophies. The hardest thing to do--and it is getting harder all the time--is to be a good husband, a good wife, a strong father, a strong mother, an honorable friend and neighbor."

So think about one thing that you can do today in your quest for greatness in one of these areas. I choose to make a concerted effort to show more tenderness to my family today.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Accepting the Challenge

About a week ago, I got an email from a friend. In response to the passing of our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, someone came up with an idea of a fitting way to pay tribute to him. President Hinckley was so dynamic, energetic, and served for so long, and he was known for many things during his presidency, including more than doubling the number of temples on the earth, establishing the Perpetual Education Fund for poor members in other countries, and challenging the entire Church to read the Book of Mormon together, cover to cover, in the latter half of 2005. Anyway, this person has organized what they are calling "the Hinckley Challenge," during which participants read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end in 97 days (as Pres. Hinckley was 97 years old.) So far, over 28,000 people have signed up to read. At the bottom of my blog, you can track my progress on my reading chart (this will help keep me accountable.)
I have read the Book of Mormon more times than I can count and am constantly striving to study from its pages. It has brought a sense of purpose, peace, and understanding into my life since I was very young and began to study it. Sometimes as a mother, scripture study falls to the bottom of my list rather than being near the top, where it belongs--so this challenge will help me keep my study habits strong. If I can keep it up for 97 days, I will have reestablished the habit of reading from its pages daily.
If you go to this site, you can input any scripture study plan you like, from any of the standard works of the Church, lesson manuals, Church magazines, etc. They will help you devise a plan for accomplishing your study goal and will email you each day with the actual text that you need to read to reach your goal on time! It's a great tool. Even though I prefer to read my scriptures so that I can mark them, getting the email reminds me that I need to read.
President Hinckley gave this promise about the Book of Mormon: "Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God. "
I have a testimony that his words are true and that regular study of the Book of Mormon brings peace and joy into my life. Won't you join me?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Seeing Through Temptations

If you've never read C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, I highly, highly recommend that you do so now. These books, written for children and youth, are just as enjoyable to me now as they were when I first read them 27 years ago. They are so full of Christian symbolism, the conflict of good vs. evil, and they tell a great story.
Kimball just finished reading the series and we decided to check out some of the books on CD from our library to enjoy on a recent road trip. It made me want to reread the books immediately, even though my list of "to-read" books right now is very long.
One particular scene in The Magician's Nephew stood out to me. Aslan has sent the boy, Diggory, to get an apple from the tree of youth. If planted in Narnia, this apple would protect the land from evil for a long time. The gate to enter the garden where the tree grows gives specific instructions that the fruit is not to be taken for one's self; that the thief who steals it for himself will find "their hearts desire and despair." As Diggory plucks the fruit and prepares to leave the garden and return to Aslan, the Witch, Empress Jadis, comes to tempt him. She first tells him what the fruit will do for him if he eats of it--"Eat it, and you and I will both live forever and be King and Queen of this whole world."
When Diggory declines, saying that he'd just as soon not live on after those he loves have died, she changes tactics. She reminds Diggory of his sick and dying mother, "Do you not see, Fool, that one bite of that apple would heal her? We are here by ourselves and the Lion is far away. Use your Magic and go back to your own world. A minute later, you can be at your Mother's bedside, giving her the fruit. . . . Soon she will be quite well again. All will be well again. Your home will be happy again. You will be like other boys." OOOOO, isn't she crafty? Jadis knew that the one thing Diggory wanted most was to have his mother be healed and to return to "normal life."
Diggory is able to shake off her seductive words when something she says in her silky, sweet voice exposes her. She tells him to leave his friend, Polly, behind in Narnia, so that no one need ever know about his treachery. "The meanness of the suggestion that he should leave Polly behind suddenly made all the other things the Witch had been saying to him sound false and hollow." He realizes that the Witch really is looking out for herself--if Diggory fulfills his task given him by Aslan, he will be protecting Narnia from her, and preventing her from ruling in treachery.
As he leaves the witch to finish his errand, her words change from sweet sophistry to derision, "Go then, Fools, . . . think of me, boy, when you lie old and weak and dying, and remember how you threw away the chance of endless youth! It won't be offered you again."
Just like Diggory, we are constantly called upon to face the temptations of evil. Often, they are subtle and disguised in sweet, silky voices. Satan is constantly striving to pull us away from that which is good, from the things that will bless our lives and the lives of others. He whispers to us that we needn't heed what God has told us.
Thankfully, we are not without the ability to discern this craftiness as evil. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance," (John 14:26). God has given us the Holy Ghost to teach us right from wrong and to help us discern.
The Book of Mormon teaches, "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." (Moroni 7:16)
In the end, after Aslan has planted the tree in Narnia, he plucks an apple from the new tree and gives it to Diggory. The apple heals his mother, although it does not give the endless youth that the witch has promised. This reminded me how much we need to trust the Lord that He has a plan for us that is better than any that we could come up with on our own. If we are obedient to him, he "doth immediately bless" us (Mosiah 2:24), more abundantly than our small mortal minds can imagine.
I am so grateful that we have been given this gift, the Holy Ghost, so that we may see through the temptations of the devil and choose the good.

Monday, February 4, 2008

An Interview with Henry

Since today is Henry's birthday, I thought I'd take an idea from my friend, Scrap Chair Potato, and interview him. Here is the interview, exactly as it went down:
  • Me: Henry, I'd like to ask you a few questions. Would you sit down with me for a minute?
  • Henry: OK. Whaddaya want to know?
  • Me: How old are you today?
  • Henry: Six.
  • Me: What do you want for your birthday?
  • Henry: (Thinking) A hug.
  • Me: How old is Mommy?
  • Henry: That's a hard one. Hmmm, uh, I know! You're 20. (Good boy!)
  • Me: How old is Daddy?
  • Henry: 35. (Hee hee)
  • Me: What's your favorite book?
  • Henry: Mmmm, my . . . . it's the ones that you let me read. All of them.
  • Me: What do you like to do when you have free time?
  • Henry: Well, I like to jump on the trampoline!
  • Me: What do you like best about kindergarten?
  • Henry: Everything.
  • Me: Can you be more specific?
  • Henry: Yes. (Pause) Actually, no. Everything, really!
  • Me: What do you like best about Tiger Academy?
  • Henry: Our field trips!
  • Me: What's your favorite food?
  • Henry: That one's hard. Every food I like. I like chicken . . . . (drops off.)
  • Me: What food do you hate?
  • Henry: Everything Kimball likes. Is that a good answer? Almost everything Kimball likes, like broccoli and corn on the cob.
  • Me: What's your favorite chore?
  • Henry: My favorite chore? What's my favorite chore? (as if he loves all of them,) OK. Doing the laundry.
  • Me: What's your favorite thing to do with Daddy?
  • Henry: Have Science Friday.
  • Me: What's your favorite thing to do with me?
  • Henry: Have homeschool. . . no, actually, not have homeschool. It's actually doing the white board time.
  • Me: What do we call that?
  • Henry: I don't know.
  • Me: What's good about having brothers and sisters?
  • Henry: Um, um, um, I don't know.
  • Me: Do you like it?
  • Henry: Yes, I just don't know why.
  • Me: How many brothers and sisters do you wish you had?
  • Henry: 100.
  • Me: Where would they all sleep?
  • Henry: We'd move to a place with 100 beds. Actually, 6. I'd like 6. At least 6. And when I'm 7 years old, then I'll want 7. Then, 8, then 9, then 10, then 11, then . . . .12! Didn't you promise me a piece of gum earlier?
  • Me: In a minute. What's your favorite TV show?
  • Henry: Magic School Bus.
  • Me: What's your favorite song?
  • Henry: Home on the Range.
  • Me: Since when? (I've never heard him sing it or listen to it . . . )
  • Henry: Since I've seen The Rescuers Down Under.
  • Me: OK. What's your favorite movie?
  • Henry: It's The Rescuers Down Under.
  • Me: What's your favorite color?
  • Henry: Red, blue, and green. But I like blue the most. Actually, blue.
  • Me: What's your favorite number?
  • Henry: 61!
  • Me: Do you have a favorite word?
  • Henry: No.
  • Me: What do you like to do best when you're outside?
  • Henry: I already told you!! Jump on the trampoline!
  • Me: Sorry. What's your favorite sport?
  • Henry: Soccer. I thought you already knew that. I play soccer!
  • Me: What do you think will be the best part about being six?
  • Henry: I don't know. OK. How many more quizzes?
  • Me: Last one. Where's your favorite family vacation?
  • Henry: Nana's house. And Disneyland. And Sea World.
  • Me: (Hiding my laughter) Anywhere else?
  • Henry: Yes. Monterey. Those are a lot of favorite places, huh?
  • Me: Yes. Thanks for the interview Henry. Happy Birthday! I love you.
  • Henry: Can I go play now?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Birthday Girl

Warning: This is going to be one of THOSE posts that is all about one of my kids. It will probably not interest 80% of my readers, but I'm posting it anyway because it's my blog and I want to! So if you're not into these posts, come back again soon for something more profound and thought provoking (I hope!)
One year ago, I got up in the morning feeling like something was different. Although this was my fourth full pregnancy, I had never gone into labor spontaneously. I had a repeat c-section scheduled for the 8th and lots to do in the next week before the baby came. But that morning, something had changed and I knew it. As I took a shower, I thought to myself, "Maybe you'd better pack your hospital bag, just in case." I told Jared that there was a possibility that we'd be having the baby earlier than we'd planned, but he assured me that it was probably a false alarm. After all, my due date was still 15 days away, and as I said before, I had never gone into labor without medical assistance.
I spent the morning running errands, buying a few things that I absolutely needed if I was having a baby right away. I had a baby shower scheduled for the next night, but I decided that I shouldn't wait any longer to buy diapers, onesies, and a few binkis, and to get more food in the house. Just in case.
By noon, I had called my friend Kristen, a labor and delivery nurse. I should have called the doctor, but I knew that they'd just tell me to come in and get checked out, and I didn't want to if it was a false alarm. I had a cut and color scheduled with my hairstylist at 4:00. And how could I have a baby with gray showing? I couldn't. But when I told Kristen that I'd been contracting all morning pretty regularly, she said she would feel better if we went into LDRP. I dropped off my kids at Christine's, and Kristen and I headed to the hospital. Jared was closing for lunch at 12:30 and could meet us over there.
To make a long story short, I did not get my hair done that day. Nor did I have a baby shower the next day. They determined that I was in labor, and even though it wasn't hard labor yet, since I had already had 3 previous c-sections, they didn't really want me laboring (the risk of uterine rupture is high after so many.) So at 4:59 pm, Bronwen was born. So much for all the convenience of having a scheduled c-section! From the beginning, she let us know that she was going to do things on her terms.
Here is her "stink eye" face that she makes when she's frustrated or when encouraged to do so by those of us who think it is hysterical!

I went around today, asking my family what they loved most about Bronwen. Here are there responses (Warning, these are not very exciting, but I am striving for authentic journalism here, so I couldn't doctor them up):
Kimball: My favorite thing? She's cute.
Henry: I love everything about Bronwen (very true--he adores her.)
Ian: Um, playing with her!
Jared: (suspiciously) What's this for? (He doesn't like being quoted on THE BLOG.) (Then, under pressure,) I like that she smiles at me when she sees me.
As for me, I love the spirit that she has brought into our home. I feel like we were missing something without her--even though we didn't know it. She brings a softness to everyone. Looking at her reminds me to stop yelling and be the softer, gentler mommy that I want to be. And she seems to have the same effect on her brothers. Their fighting stops when they catch sight of her or when I ask them to help me with her. When they hear Bronwen wake up in the morning or after a nap, they all drop everything and run in to see her. And I love to see that.
Here are a few shots of our little family birthday celebration at Nana's.
I was pleased with the way the ladybug cake turned out. Kimball made a birthday banner for the occasion.
Checking out the gift wrap.
The doll is a hit!It's really too bad that she didn't wear a bib at dinner, because this photo would be perfect without the drippings from orange wedges all over her dress. Bummer.I took some video of her eating the cake, but she was so delicate and unhurried about it that it would have bored anyone who is not her grandma. So I'll spare you. Her favorite part was definitely the Junior Mints. She picked off and ate every one.Everybody else got ladybug cupcakes and ice cream.Kimball helped Bronwen eat the black bug head. Check out his tongue. Yech!In the end, she decided that she wanted clean hands and a sippy cup of milk. We were all a little disappointed that she didn't demolish the cake (as her brothers have all done.) But perhaps she will not have the kind of food issues that her mother has when she grows up. Wouldn't that be a gift?
Happy Birthday, little girl. We love you!