Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

So I am 30 today. I got a call from my mom wishing me a happy birthday, and she asked if it "felt" like my birthday. I realized that it hasn't felt like my birthday since high school. When I think of how a birthday should feel, I think back to my growing up years, and I remember waking up and coming down to a special breakfast of donuts. The whole family was gathered around the table and a pile of gifts next to my plate. We'd eat, and then I'd open up my presents before going off to school. We have many family pictures of those mornings, everyone with crazy "bed head", and the birthday child holding up a present with a big grin.

This morning was different, but still nice. Ed went to work a little later so that we could all go out to breakfast together. It was a treat to be able to spend a little extra time with him before the day started. The rest of the day has been pretty normal-- running errands, taking care of the children.

All day long I have been thinking about last year, and what I was going through. How I was having pretty strong contractions by now, and was getting ready to go to the hospital. I guess it's safe to say, I'd rather be spending my birthday this year running errands than giving birth.

It's funny having a child share your birthday with you. It's almost like I feel bad about celebrating my birthday because I am cutting in on his birthday. I know we'll eventually work out a system, but we're still trying to figure it out. Tonight at dinner we'll give him his presents.

Happy 1st Birthday Noah!

Our N is one. A year ago he was this little 8 pound baby who ate every two hours, fussed for a couple of hours every night, and just watched the world through bright newborn eyes. Through the year he learned to smile, sleep through the night, play with toys, laugh, play peek-a-boo, eat food, drink from a cup, sit up, roll over, and crawl. He traveled to Grove City PA, Pine Beach NJ, Wolfboro NH, Ventura CA, Washington D.C., and Harpers Ferry West Virginia.

Today he is a happy, healthy, 20 pound, 28 inch, little guy. He has 4 teeth that he loves to show off with a wide grin that lights up his whole face. His main vocalizations are either screams "Aaaah!" when he wants our attention or wants to contribute to a conversation at dinner, or "Dis?" and "Dat?" as he points. He loves to eat, and gets very excited when I am preparing his meals. His all time favorite thing, though, is his thumb. He has literally sucked it raw. It doesn't seem to bother him, and he sucks it throughout the day, but especially when he is sad, uncertain, or tired.

We had his birthday party on Saturday, and N enjoyed himself immensely. He smushed his fingers through the cake, and sucked off the icing. He was so excited with the brightly wrapped presents, and spent lots of time crawling in and out of the box. As we ate, he charmed all the guests with big smiles.

We are so thankful to the Lord for giving us this little life to love. He is such a blessing to us in so many ways, it's hard to believe he's only been a part of our family for a year. I am looking forward to seeing how he grows and changes in this next year.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Art Museum

Yesterday Ed took the day off of work and we went to the Art Museum to see the Dali exhibit (his birthday gift to me). We got a sitter, and caught the 10 am train into the city. We arrived in Suburban station, and then took the Phlash trolley to the museum-- very convenient, and cheap! We had 11:30 tickets to the exhibit but we had to wait in this huge line for about 20 minutes (it was moving pretty quickly). We got to listen to a cool audio tour through a headset, and it really added to the understanding of the exhibit. It took us 2 hours to walk through the whole thing, looking at almost every picture (we skipped a little at the end because we were ready for lunch). Dali was definitely a disturbed man, with many issues. It reminded me of a conversation I had with an ex-art student who said she left art school because the art world is a dark place. It was evident to see in Dali's work. I wonder what it is that makes artists depressed-- I always think of art, in a general sense, as uplifting, and ideally, pointing you towards the Creator. Obviously not all art is like that, but still, it's how I view it from a distance, as a whole. There was not much that was uplifting or light about Dali's exhibit. Even so, we really enjoyed our day, and we would love to go back and see more of the museum-- we loved the Asian palace and temple rooms.

Friday, March 18, 2005

4 Year Old Humor

E loves to tell "knock-knock" jokes. The thing is, the reason they are even funny at all, is because they are not. The punch line is totally unrelated, but that doesn't matter. E and her friend Allison will tell these nonsense jokes back and forth, and then laugh like they are the funniest things they've ever heard. Here is a sample:


Who's There?


Monkey, who?

Monkey Bagel


Who's There?


Cereal Who?

Cereal Head

Monday, March 14, 2005

This past weekend E was feeling sick. She had a fever and didn't want to eat, so she just lay on the couch watching t.v. Her viewing choice was the stack of home videos we have been compiling since her birth. So on Sunday, we spent the whole day watching videos from her infancy until about 2 years. I was in and out, and was able to catch several segments through the day. The ones that captivated my attention most were from about 9 months until 2 years. Although we frequently look at pictures, a video captures so much that you forget. The little walks, the way she talked, "Hold You!" (when she wanted to be picked up), "Mommy, see me?" (in reference to wanting to watch herself be filmed on the monitor), "Ayson!" (Grayson). It's almost hard to believe that she was the same person that was sitting next to me on the couch. The baby E was so round and soft, rolls around her wrists, sweet cheeks that begged for a kiss and a squeeze, fly away hair. I look at E now- long legs and arms, long straight hair, and I realize that the baby is truly gone, she is a little girl. I just wanted to reach into the past and pick up that baby that was on the television screen, and hold her one more time. I know that one day soon, I will be looking at pictures of my 4 year old E and thinking the same thoughts. So I guess all I can do, really, is appreciate the different stages my children pass through as they grow and change. Because it is true, isn't it, what EVERY person tells you, "Enjoy them, they will grow up so fast".

Saturday, March 12, 2005

new milestone

I am pleased to announce that N has reached a major developmental milestone... CRAWLING!!! At long last, my 11 1/2 month old baby has decided to become mobile. At 8 months, when most of the other kids his age were starting to make their way around the nursery floor, N was content to sit and play with toys. We told ourselves, and others,"Oh, E didn't crawl until 9 months". Well, at 9 months, my sister visited with her 6 month old who crawled circles around Noah as he sat contentedly playing with toys. At 10 months I got a little concerned as those aforementioned babies in the nursery started to not only crawl, but pull up and cruise. Meanwhile, our baby still sat like a contented little Buddha on the floor. At 11 months, the concern had grown into a worry, so we took him for an evaluation at the pediatrician's . She said not to worry, that he looked fine and healthy, and would probably crawl very soon. Since our visit about 2 weeks ago, we have been trying to entice him with toys. He would go from a sitting position down to his knees and stretch his hand as far as he could to reach the toy, and then back up to a sitting position again. He did scoot backwards a little, but never deliberately forward. Until yesterday. He was reaching for a toy and had fully extended his hand, and took a little skootch forward with his knee. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then another miniscule skootch, and he was moving! We immediately burst out in applause, and "Yea N!" He sat up and clapped his hands and smiled, as if to say, "I don't know what I just did, but hey, I'll clap too!" So now we get to breathe a big sigh of relief as well as try to keep tiny pieces of dirt, trash, and toys away from our little explorer.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


So today I woke up with a cold. All I wanted to do was crawl back under the covers, sleep for a couple more hours, and then read for a little bit, and repeat. But as you know, this is an impossibility with small children. It's days like this that I wish I could send the kids off to child care and take a "sick day". Before, I never realized what a luxury a "sick day" was. In fact, I don't think I have had a true sick day since having kids. Generally, I just suffer through until nap time and then I collapse in bed until they wake up. I remember a couple of times Ed has stayed home and watched the kids while I rested, but inevitably there is a problem that only Mommy can solve. Fortunately for me, it ended up that my cold was pretty mild. I took some sinus medication, and was able to sniffle my way through the day which included a play group at my house. Now the kids are in bed and I can either go to bed early myself or watch some t.v.


Monday, March 7, 2005

time in a bottle

For me, one of the sweetest moments of motherhood is holding my sleeping babies. At night, after N is done nursing, I will hold him for a few moments, gently rocking him and singing him a lullaby. He settles his head against my left shoulder and sticks his right thumb into his mouth. Usually he is still awake when I put him down in his crib, but some nights, he is so tired that he falls asleep as he nurses, or as we rock.

This past Saturday was one of those nights. Ed and I had left the children with Ed's parents for the evening. By the time we picked up the children and returned home, it was well past their bedtimes. N had fallen asleep in the car, but woke up a little as I readied him for bed. He fell asleep again as he finished nursing, and as I cuddled him to me, I could feel the soft heaviness of his body as it lay against my shoulder. His head was tucked up in my neck, and the soft wisps of his hair tickled my ear. His breathing was heavy and a little congested, and he snorted a little whenever he gave his thumb a few sucks. As I sat there in the darkened room I felt like I could never put my baby down. And so we rocked for a little while longer as I held him close, trying to hold onto the sands of his babyhood sifting and falling through my fingers.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Swim Class

In anticipation of summer coming in a few short months we have enrolled E in the "Pike" swim class at the local Y. We talked up the whole class, but she was still nervous about it.

For me, it didn't help that my experience with swim lessons are not my fondest memories. The worst was standing at the top of the high diving board at Conklin Pool crying because I was scared to dive off, a requirement to passing the class. Everyone else in the class was standing there, just watching me. I finally jumped (something I had done before) but I never dove, and never passed intermediate swimming. Sigh.

So anyway, Saturday morning we arrived at Abington High School for E's lessons. She was apprehensive, but game. We walked out to the pool, and joined the other parents and children. When the class began, the teacher handed out "bubbles" to all the children to strap on. The she helped them into the pool. E got in and immediately started to cry because of the cold water. I tried splashing water on her shoulders to get her all wet, but the sight of her clinging to the side of the pool, shivering and crying was almost more than I could bear, especially since I could totally sympathize with how she was feeling. I decided to make my exit to the balcony overlooking the pool to watch the lesson, so that I wouldn't betray my own feelings to her. Also, I figured she would do better if I didn't stay within reach. It was an interesting mix of children in the class. I was relieved to discover that Ellie was in the middle of the class. There was one little girl who got in for about 5 seconds, cried, and then got out and stayed out. There was a little boy who started out fine, but then half way through started crying for his mom and refused to try anything. Then at the other end of the spectrum there was a little boy who didn't wear a bubble, and was very comfortable with putting his whole head under water, repeatedly dunking himself and kicking vigorously while holding onto the side. There was another little girl who didn't have to wear a bubble, and easily did all the kicking and floating. The last little boy and E were equallly able to follow instructions and do all that was asked. E frequently looked to me through her lesson for encouragement, and she semed to be doing fine. The last thing that they were asked to do was to jump in holding onto the teacher's hand. E did it once, but was ready to go home after that. She was starting to whimper as she shivered on the side of the pool, waiting for her turn. At that point I stepped in with her towel, wrapped her up and carried her off to the locker room to change.

I'm not sure how she is going to do with this class. I am hoping that she doesn't hate it, and also becomes more comfortable in the water. It seems though, that I was more worried than her. I guess I figured I never liked swim lessons, so she won't either. I just pray that my own negative feelings don't come out, and that I can continue to be upbeat and encouraging.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Snow Day

Yesterday a big snow storm was forecasted for our area. I love big snowstorms. I love the feeling of being nice and cozy in my house, and looking outside to see the scenery change before my eyes. I like the quiet that a really big snow storm brings, no more traffic sounds, or even of other people in the neighborhood, as everyone is snug inside . It reduces the world to my house and my family, as we are "snowed in". This morning I awoke to a white world, all the surfaces covered in a thick layer of snow. I made a big pot of tea and some cranberry orange scones.

After Ed had shoveled and E spent some time making snow angels, we had breakfast together. It was a nice way to start the day, before Ed had to leave, and the kids came over..