June 30, 2009

The Girl's Name Shortlist.

If Myer had been a girl...

My (not necessarily my husband's, mind you...) girl's name short list:

1. Dagny - the heroine of my favorite book, and my most favorite girl's name ever.
2. Harlow - okay, yes, I heard it from nicole richie's baby girl first, but I LOVE it. I would call her 'Lowie'.
3. Clemency - merciful.
4. Dignity - just plain cool and beautiful.
5. Lucy - 'light'. One Chris and I both liked a lot. It's more popular, but the adorableness of it makes up for that.


Also, fun fact: I was almost named 'Delaney'.

Cute!

June 28, 2009

Ezra.



His mind is constantly cataloging his surroundings. He knows exactly where every toy, book, or stray shoe is... 100% of the time. He catalogs entire movies after one or two viewings- quoting scenes weeks later word for word. His comedic timing is impeccable- like a mini Steve Martin. If something (anything!) is out of place, he will not be able to let it go and move on unless the situation is absolved. If I mention something in passing at 8AM, like "oh you should tell daddy that when he gets home", it will be the FIRST thing out of his mouth the very second Chris' foot hits the entryway tile, all those hours later. Long after I've forgotten it.

He is beyond particular about his food. I recently had to throw away eat his entire peanut butter honey sandwich because, he complained, there were shadows on it. SHADOWS! Even when the 'shadows' were gone, he wouldn't eat it. They had tainted the food in his mind. No matter how incredibly hungry he is, he will not eat something if it is even slightly off. A banana that's too "stringy", macaroni on a plate instead of a bowl, cheese that is too "slippery". If he had his way, he would eat nothing but crackers & lucky charms all day every day.




Negotiating is like breathing to him. If I say one thing, he is quick to come back with a compromise... a plan B. Oftentimes, his plan is fair, so we go with it. Other times, not so much. Like the other day, after he got into the biggest trouble of his whole life, and on the way home in the car I am fuming and he is bawling, and suddenly he stops crying and asks, "Mommy? Do you wanna get some ice cream?"

He is exasperating and invigorating at the same time. Draining and filling. He wears me down with his talk, yet at the same time I want to capture every conversation and never let them go because they are so clever and funny and life giving.

He drags me to the end of myself and then, once I'm there, makes me giggle and laugh like I haven't been able to in years.

He loves attention. He is always the most outgoing one on the playground. ("Do you wanna be my fwend? Do you wanna be my fwend?") He is very sensitive, but learning to shake things off. He has trouble falling asleep at night. He is the sweetest big brother I have ever seen.



He is my first born son- a place of honor in a familial structures throughout the world. And honor him is what I try to do day in and day out. I try to honor him by allowing him to make his own decisions throughout the day. I try to honor him by disciplining him consistently while remaining a soft place for him to run to. I try to honor him by making eye contact with him when he is talking and really listening and responding to what he says.

He is such a special little guy, and I often remind myself that the things that drive me crazy about him now are bound to turn into his greatest strengths later. If I can only find the grace to nurture those things and not squash them, we both will be better for the wear, I think.

What a beautiful thing! He builds up my character while I help to mold his. He pulls water from my ocean, only to rain it down on my parched head when I'm most in need of a drink.

I'm so so grateful to have him in my life.

June 26, 2009

Consider Yourselves Bullet-Pointed to Death.



So, the rice cereal was a ginormous hit. His little bitty bird mouth would open up wide while the spoon was still a mile away and then I would swoop the food right in there and he'd demand to hold the spoon and nom on it a bit and the whole thing was heartbreakingly cute.

video


I love the part where he drops the spoon and then is all, "OH NO YOU DI'INT, woman."

*****

Our neighbor came over to play this morning and we dressed up like spiderman and batman and... wait...


Is that my son...


...posing?




Posing like a fashion model?!?!

hahahahaha haha haa haa haha

i have NO idea where he gets it from.

*****

Ezra and I have been watching old Wil E Coyote & Road Runner cartoons on YouTube lately (because it is by far the most HILARIOUS cartoon ever made in the history of animation), and ever since I introduced him to the wonderment that is Looney Tunes, I have been finding random "booby traps" around the house that he sets up in secret so that he can jump out and scream "KABLOOEY!!" whenever I walk by things.

Apparently, I am the road runner.




Needless to say, mama's nerves are SHOT.


******

It's almost my birthday and I am going to be TWENTY SEVEN. That sounds really old to me and it makes me feel dizzy and unfamiliar with myself when I think about it too long.

******

Get this: we went on a DATE! Our sweet friends offered to come watch the kids at our house so we could go on a date and it was INCREDIBLE. We ate yummy food and then went to an art show and I think it was our first time out together without the baby. The kids slept peacefully the whole time we were out, and I felt more relaxed than I have in... oh... six months or so.

It was, like, the best night ever. I had so much fun.





*****

Aaaaaand, batten down the hatches!

The little gobstopper is starting to CRAWL!!



It takes everything in me not to smoosh him back down onto the blanket when he starts to shimmy & scoot around like this. Are we really leaving the days of immobility behind us already?? Didn't I just give birth to this child, like, yesterday?

Growl!

*****

Let's see... what else can I bullet point you to death with while I'm at it?

I wore mustard yellow and kelly green together the other day.* (Pretty sure that's illegal in the continental United States and Canada.)

I'll end with this:



This picture makes me happy. And it makes me feel like being almost 27 isn't all that bad.

I guess I do have a lot to show for my handful (or two or three or four handfuls) of years.



* Ohhhhh... THAT'S where he gets it from.

June 23, 2009

Thrifty Thrifterton.



I got this outfit (the dress & hat) at the thrift store by my house today for two dollars.

Then I went to Target to try and find some basics for Myer's summer wardrobe because the lady whose clothes we'd been given found out she was pregnant again and needed them all back!

I found 5 onesies, 3 shortalls, 2 PJs, and some sandals for ezra for $50.



You all should go check out target's kids section asap. Some of these onesies were only 98 cents!

kachow!

Perfect Convertible Car Seat for the Honda Element.



A little update on the bean bean:

  • He got his first tooth about 10 days ago.
  • He can roll from front to back... and from back to front... meaning when I lay him on his blanket he ends up under the recliner in, like, 30 seconds flat.
  • He has discovered the mind-blowing bliss of his very! own! feet!
  • He sometimes sleeps for 9 hours straight at night!
  • Other times... not so much.
  • I'm thinking of starting him on solids in the next few days. (Iron fortified rice cereal mixed with breastmilk.) He hasn't seemed super interested up to this point, so we'll see how it goes.
  • His new Combi Zeus Turn car seat is AMAZING.


(A perfect solution for our Honda Element.)

  • The humidity in the air here is really, really helping his skin. (he has had eczema pretty bad since he was born.)
  • His most favorite thing in the whole world is Ezra.
  • He can finally retrieve and re-insert his own binky!
  • He's about 16.5 lbs, I think. When I wear him in the sling too long, my arm goes numb. hahaha! But... sad, too.
  • He's the coolest baby. Just... the coolest.

June 19, 2009

Words of Life.


One of the most influential lessons that I have learned in my life is the fact that my words are extremely powerful things.

The things that come out of my mouth have the power to affect my life and the life of those around me. They have the ability to bring forth life or bring forth death.

You may be thinking... duh.

Or you may be thinking... huh?

Or you may be thinking... she's off her rocker.

When I first started learning this, I was a skeptical onlooker too. I thought it smacked of religious freakydom. I'd never been told that I could verbally change my life... that I had a choice to make of life or death every single time I parted my lips to speak. It all sounded... new agey to me. Floofy. Narcissistic.

But underneath all the mumbo-jumbo of horrendous 'name it and claim it' church movements or self-propelled 'positive affirmations' where you're taught the power is coming from inside you alone, there is a bedrock foundation. Actual truth. A battle in the spiritual realm of things that can be won or lost by the might- not of your sword- but of your soft gooey lips.

In the years since first hearing this stuff, I have learned that it really is true.

Ten years ago, I was a young girl wracked with heart-pain and guilt. I hated who I'd become, I was angry at the world for not dealing me the hand I felt I deserved, and my mouth poured forth bitterness and spat out sarcasm like tires churning up dirty rain water on asphalt. I'd never been taught to speak words of life over myself or my situations, so I stewed in rage and marinated in hate and burned my arms and wanted nothing more than to spread my pain around to whomever would listen. I felt justified in my constant negativity, and had a way of securing everyone else around me to my sinking ship. I could pervade the entire atmosphere of a room with my malice simply by walking into it.

Do you know people like this?

I was one of those people.

If my mouth was open, pessimism was falling out. The glass was ALWAYS half-empty... even if it was overflowing.

I have always been a sarcastic person. And sarcasm in itself isn't always bad. It can be downright hilarious, in moderation. But, when left unbridled, it can also start to stink up your life and drain the life out of your eyes. If you're not careful, you'll become one of those dull-eyed people who are judging everything around you that moves or breathes. You'll start to think you're better than everyone else and before long, you'll be the cheese who stands alone.

Stinky, sarcastic, judgy CHEESE.

Anywho, back to what I was saying. I used to BE that cheese! Coughing up dust and then wondering why it was so... dusty everywhere.


"pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." proverbs 16:24

"the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." proverbs 18:21

"he who guards his lips, guards his life." proverbs 13:3

Basically... throw a dart at the book of Proverbs, and you're sure to land on something about the connection between your mouth and heart. It's written throughout the entire Bible. According to James, the tongue has the ability to set the course of a man's life on fire. Yikes. If you want to know what's deep in your heart, take a moment and really listen to yourself.

Once I started changing my speech all those years ago, my whole entire life and being and soul and mind and heart changed with it. No joke! I no longer allowed myself to say every negative thing I thought out loud. I stopped trying to scrape my misery onto my friends like hard butter onto dry toast. I stopped speaking death and sarcasm over every situation in my life, and started speaking hopefully over the difficulties... even over the pain.

And sure enough, in no time at all, my attitude followed suit. I became a hopeful person. Life brightened my eyes and countenance again. I was actually HAPPY. Life was sweet and the bones that had been broken began healing- just like solomon said they would in proverbs.

Like anything in life, there is balance in this. You don't want to be one of those people who takes it to the extreme and never allows themselves to be honest about how they are really feeling with anyone. The "happy-go-lucky yet dying on the inside" religious martyr. You still need to have a couple of people that know the inside workings of your heart- that you can vent with and be real with and feel safe with. People who are willing to pray for you and keep you accountable and speak hope for you and over you when you just don't have the strength to do it on your own. We all need that safe place... those hope-speakers...

Surround yourself with hope-speakers. People who propel you forward rather than drag you down. Your whole world will feel brighter.

***

All of this to say, these last few weeks, I have not been very good at remembering this in my own life. Negativity crept back in, and I didn't recognize it until yesterday. I've been speaking death over my heart rather than life. I've been complaining a LOT about having to take care of the kids all day everyday and wake up with the baby infinity times a night. So, naturally, taking care of the kids has been stripped of all joy for me.

My husband has been affected by my attitude and been worn down by my negative speech. (another favorite proverb of mine: "better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife". ha ha.)

The little blessings have gone unnoticed. The fact that I am blessed to a ridiculous degree in every area of my life has gone unacknowledged. I've been ungrateful. And... I'm done with it! Starting now. (The only one who has been missing out has been me.) It has gotten me nowhere, it has taken the sweetness out of my life and my days, and it has proven this truth to me once again:

My words are strong. And the only one responsible for how I use them is ME.

June 15, 2009

The Breeze on my Neck.

I colored my hair and trimmed it a few days ago.

It was getting a bit... poofy.



I am loving having short hair again. It is so fun and really nice for the HOT, humid weather 'round these parts. I can't imagine having my old lion's mane on my head in these blistering days.

Urg.

June 14, 2009

The Honda Element Car Seat Solution.

I'm so excited because we just ordered a new car seat for Myer, and we found the perfect solution for our Honda Element dilemma.

I love my Element. It is roomy and wonderful and the easy-clean floors are perfect for having kids. But there's one problem. The back seats are set so far back, it makes rear-facing car seats nearly impossible to load baby into. (And out of.)





See how the seats are actually behind the door frame of the car back there? To get Myer in and out of a rear facing convertible car seat, I'd have to climb in there and maneuver him out. (There's plenty of room to climb in there and do that, but it's a hassle none the less.)

Right now, Myer is in an infant seat that detaches from its base. This has been GREAT because I can just pull the seat from the base and set it on the floor of the Element to get him out. Like this:



It's the perfect height. This has been awesome for me because I use my sling rather than a stroller, so I have just been able to pop his seat out the base, set it down on the floor, unbuckle him, and throw him in the sling and go. When I come back to my car, the seat is sitting there waiting for me to put him back in. Easy Breezy.

However, Myer is now much too heavy for me to carry around in the infant seat, plus the airline lost the LATCH strap for the base, and that car seat is old and a piece of it has been recalled, so it is definitely time for an upgrade.

We obviously wanted to get a convertible seat, since babies are only in the infant seats until they are one year old. For us, this means no more detaching carrier, though, so I can no longer set it on the floor of the car to load and unload Myer.

Hmmmm. Problemo.

Enter the Combi Zeus. It's a car seat that rotates 360 degrees on a solitary base for easy loading/unloading. It's convertible, so when your child is big enough to switch to a forward facing car seat, you just turn it on it's base and you're good to go.




I haven't received the seat yet, (I'll write more once I do) but I can see how the rotating feature will be great while Myer is still rear-facing. I will be able to get him in and out easily and even flip him around while we're parked if he's fussy or needs something.

***edited to add: HERE are photos of the car seat in action- it's awesome!!***

June 12, 2009

Unpacking.

I'm back. All of our feet are back on the soil of the same state. Together again.

The flight was great, the boys hardly made a sound. The airport itself was more taxing than the actual flight- simply because Ezra would not stop talking to anyone who looked in his general direction. One of his favorite topics of discussion for the day was "a plane crashed" (he saw a news clip about the AirFrance flight on the TV at my parent's house) which NO ONE wants to hear about while in an airport, so I was kept quite busy trying to get him to shut his mouth for two seconds while attending to myer and our bags at the same time. I probably looked so very comical. And crayzee.

sidenote: I noticed that the very last seat taken on the plane was the seat right next to me. Apparently the seat next to a woman with two small children is less desirable than even the seats waaaaaay in the back of the plane- next to the bathrooms and loud engine noises. How funny.

After looking out of the window of the plane for awhile after takeoff, Ezra released the tray from the seat in front of him, crawled onto the floor underneath it, declared it his "fort", and played his V-Tech games quietly under there for almost the entire rest of the flight.

Myer played with a package of unopened peanuts for most of the two hour trek back home. Good thing I lugged all those baby toys onto the plane in my already monster-heavy backpack, eh? *slaps head*

The only other stressful part of the traveling was the car ride back home from the airport. Chris picked us all up and as we were loading Myer's carseat into the car, we discovered some straps were missing. The straps that latch the base of the carseat into the car. Frustrating.

(We are now researching new seats-- mainly because the one we have is not safe anymore... some piece of it was recalled a couple of years ago... and also because Myer is much too heavy to carry in the infant seat these days- so we're looking at the seats that convert from baby to toddler to preschooler to FULL GROWN MAN before you have to upgrade them again. Any suggestions on all that?)

We figured out how to make the seat belt work, got everyone situated, and then started the 20 minute drive to our house.

Myer SCREAMED the whole way home.

He was just overly tired (he'd slept a total of about 30 minutes the entire day and our plane didn't land until 10:30 PM) and couldn't calm himself back down, and everything I tried to do to help was making him more angry.

By the time I walked in the door of my house, I was stressed to the MAX. I'd been with these kids non-stop for over 4 weeks straight, and this final stretch towards home was like the straw that finally broke the mamma camel's back.

However, I couldn't stay stressed long, because Chris had wine and chocolates and cheese and crackers and fruit out on the table for us to enjoy after the kids were finally in bed. A little Miles Davis drifted softly through the air and dared me to remain tense under the influence of his crooning trumpet.

I didn't remain stressed for long.

*********************

After nibbling on chocolate and drinking some wine, I decided to take a bath.

I went to start the water- pulled back the shower curtain, and then squealed in surprise.

During the two weeks that I was gone, Chris had completely redone our shower/bath. He ripped out the old tub and tile and backer board, redid all the plumbing and fixtures, and installed the most gorgeous new tub & tile I've ever seen.



Pictures really don't do it justice. The bathroom is so narrow, I couldn't get a good shot of all the fancy new wonderment. It's like a totally luxurious shower. IN MY OWN HOME!

He (obviously) worked very, very hard on all of this, and did an excellent job. And since I spend about half of my waking life in the bathtub, it really was the most thoughtful and sweet thing that he could have possibly done while I was away.

To top it all off, he bought me a glorious new loofah and some yummy smelling body wash so I could feel even more pampered than I already am.

Crazy, ridiculous, sensational man.

Do I deserve such over-the-top love and adoration?

I'm learning to say "yes" to that question. Even though my knee-jerk response is a big fat NO.

And the thing is... ladies... I believe that we all do. Every one of us was created for love like that. Passionate, unhesitating love. Love that runs TOWARDS you. Pursues you. And if we don't find it here in this life time, it's available to us (times onefinity billion) in the next.

Ridiculous love that does ridiculous things just to see us smile.

God love.

*****************

Today was the absolute 'breaking point' for me. Ezra has been talking my ear off for a month without ceasing, and Myer wouldn't let me put him down all day today, and I seriously had visions of driving off into the sunset by myself and coming home... maybe next January? Instead, I stayed put and played 'Candy Land' for the fiftieth time in two days with my insanely hyper and overly-talkative four year old.

SERIOUSLY... why was I so anxious to get to the 'talking phase' of his life? I worry that Myer will never have a chance to get a word in edgewise at this rate. Ezra talks so much that he is now somehow managing to interrupt himself 90% of the time.

Whenever it finally is silent, my ears ache and ring. Like they're all, "Where'd all the noise go, woman??"

******************

In other news, I was offered a job. I am the new assistant wedding/event coordinator at my church. I have a job! And it's what I went to school for! I am so excited about this, I could just explode.

POW.

'Sploded.

******************

Just overheard from Ezra in the bathtub, as he sat narrating a robot fight scene full of woe and trepidation:

"YOU are in the trouble of my MUSCLES!"

*smack smack sploosh*

I intend to adopt this line of warning and use it regularly in my daily conversations from here on out.


*******************

Lastly... Just, this:



The boy who fell asleep tonight with one of his little hands in my mouth... hooked on my teeth like he was trying to grab my voice as I sang him 'Amazing Grace' and walked him around his room.

That right there is plenty of reason enough to keep going. To keep going with a weary smile plastered alllllll over my tired, happy face.

June 7, 2009

A Hiking We Will Go.

This morning we woke up and decided to go to Zion National Park and hike around for the day.

We grabbed some snacks and the stroller and headed out, getting to the park gate at about 10 AM.

This HAS to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I mean, it just has to be. The beauty knob was turned up to 11 as we caught the shuttle into the park and up the narrow canyons. (Cars have not been allowed in the park since the year 2000.)

The air smelled moist and cool, and the river challenged us to a race as we craned our necks and looked up at the rock mansions surrounding us in every direction.



I was dizzy from the hugeness of it all.

Ezra got to participate in his favorite activity of all time: The Throwing of Rocks Into Bodies of Water Activity.



He could do this for HOURS.





I wish photos could capture the grandeur a little better. They need to make cameras with built-in 'grandeur' features. It would magically make you feel as small as an ant looking up at Mt. Everest.

That's how I felt most of the day today.

After we hiked around for awhile, we caught the shuttle back down the canyons.



Myer liked looking out the windows.

When he wasn't doing that, he was charming all the other passengers who sat behind us- bouncing like mad on his strong legs and spitting bubbles all over the place.



The boys and I fly back to Oklahoma the day after tomorrow.

I am beyond excited to see my husband again, but I will miss this place. From where I sit right now, I can see an orange moon peeking out from behind the Kolob Canyons. Being surrounded by all this breathtaking beauty has been really good for me. I have been reminded that there is a world out there to see and experience. I have been reminded that God is big and good. And I've fallen in love with being outdoors. All of this makes me a bit scared to return to the humidity of home. I'm scared it will sweat away all the progress I've made while submerged in the cool crisp air out here. But I am so thankful that I will get to come back here again sometime soon.

I already can't wait.

June 4, 2009

Disaster & Delight.



Camping was... a super fun-filled disaster, let's say.

Everything was going really great until we saw the football sized bat hanging in the tree above the tent. It was... bigger than a football. And looked... kindof dead. But still, if there was a bat that size in the tree, there must have been more that size elsewhere, right?

This sighting triggered my first ever panic attack, where I couldn't breathe properly and I came scary close to passing out and throwing up. All at the same time!

That's when we got out the binoculars and discovered that the bat was, indeed, PLASTIC.

A practical joke, left by some previous campers.

It was just enough to leave me feeling frazzled and off kilter.

The park ranger lady didn't have a pole long enough to get it down out of the tree, so I had to watch it sway up in the branches the rest of the evening, remembering the feeling I got upon seeing it for the first time-- the feeling that, oh! monsters were actually real afterall! and also, I was going to DIE BY BAT.


After that, things evened out for awhile. We walked and played by the creek and had a grand ol' time roasting marshmallows and making smores. Ezra had worn me so thin during the day of excitement with all his LOUD and non-stop talking/questions/attitude, that I could not WAIT to get him into bed and fall onto my pillow in the camping trailer as well. Myer had also chosen to replace his normal naps with bouts of screeching instead, so I was worn to the bone.

I read Ezra some stories, got Myer to finally pass out on the bed next to me, turned out the lights, and crawled into bed with my headlamp and my book. I was just falling asleep when...

scritch scritch scritch

scritch scritch

scritch scritch scritch scritch scritch scritch

scritch

"What is that kooky noise?", I thought sleepily to myself.

Then I sat straight up in bed and switched my head lamp back on. My blood ran cold.

The light from my headlamp spotted one of them on the sink next to the bed Ezra was sleeping in.

MICE.

IN THE TRAILER. Where the boys and I were sleeping.

I ran out to the tent to alert my parents that I was about to die for the second time that day.

After much debate, my dad ended up sleeping in the trailer with one dog (mouse protection), and my mom and me and the kids piled into the tent with the other dog. (bat protection)

The boys and the dogs slept great.

The adults? Not so much.

The next day we played by the creek some more, drank yummy camping coffee, then decided to pack up early and head out.





Pine Valley, Utah

So... other than nearly dying by bat and/or mice, it was fabulous-ish!

After a 12 hour sleep the next night, safe in the bed at my parent's house, I think I may be almost back to normal.



Almost.