Thursday, December 13, 2007

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Incredible

This reporter was granted an interview with the elusive superhero who goes by the name of "Mr. Incredible". The interview was a little difficult to conduct, since Mr. Incredible was zooming around the room, in a Super Speedy way, complete with sound effects.

What is your name?
Mr. Incredible.
What are your superpowers?
Like, um, I carry my house.
Then what do you do with it?
I put it right here. It doesn't hurt my h
and though, because I am a superguy.
What else can you do?
I don't know, what else am I going to do, for my superpowers?
Can you run really fast, or fly?
Yeah!! (pushes button on shirt and takes off
around the kitchen- dining room -living room for 3 laps)

Is there anyone faster than you?
Yeah, Ellie is.
Who's your favorite superhero?
Erf Ace! (Earth Ace) He flies on that board. Ok, bye-bye now.

I am hoping that Mr. Incredible will be able to locate N, as he has been missing for the past couple of days.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Eight Months Old

Our baby is 8 months old!
Some random notes about her:

-She squeals with delight when her big sister and brother pay attention to her, she shrieks to get our attention, and will carry on "conversations" with us in this manner :
"Hi K!"

"Are you such a big girl?"
"What are you doing?"

"Who's our girl?"

-I also call her my fierce little one, because she is so growly. She loves to growl with this low grumbly "grrr". It's actually quite funny to hear this sound coming from such a sweet looking little baby, and often causes surprised looks and laughter.

-She has two rows of little teeth (8 in all) that she loves to grind. This drives Ed crazy, as he worries they will become exposed nubs of nerve endings. He spends a lot of time trying to distract her from this happy pastime. Her top front teeth have an endearing little gap between them, that I love, but will probably close as her mouth fills with more teeth.

-In keeping with proud family tradition, she remains firmly planted on her backside. She has been getting down on her belly, and through a funny rocking/rolling motion will reach for toys and make her way across the room. It is done very slowly though, so if you are watching her, you don't actually see her move from point A to point B but suddenly you realize she is under the coffee table, and you aren't exactly sure how she got there.

-She likes music, and has recently started to "dance" along to it by bobbing her head up and down, as well as a start of a clap as she pats her legs in response to our claps.

-She is happiest when we are interacting with her, and p
laying with her, but will tolerate solitary play for short periods of time.

All in all, she is a little sweetie, and well loved by all of us. We are so blessed to have her in our family.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I highly reccommend the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I had heard about it earlier this summer, and just checked it out of the library. It is about a family who decided to try to eat locally for an entire year, which meant buy only food grown in their neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without. It is "part memoir, part journalistic investigation", and it is fascinating. Although parts can get a little tedious and preachy, it is definitely an education in the US Food industry. It has made me think more consciously about the food choices I make, and made me question my responsibility, not only as a fellow living creature (her take on why she doesn't eat CAFO animals), but as a Christian. We have dominion over the animals, and are given the choice to eat them, but what does that look like? Is it ok to eat animals that have spent their short lives suffering in confinement, eating food they are not meant to eat, including other animals' waste and by products? Or should I be eating animals that have been treated respectfully, given a chance to enjoy the sunshine, grazing, foraging, in their short, but happy life. Yes, God gave us animals to eat, but where is our responsibility? I have to think about this some more, but I feel a definite pull to buy beef and chickens that are not only "free range" (which can be a deceptive title), but "grass finished". It has also made me want to start my own garden, as well as continue in our CSA membership. I need to check out local Farmer's Markets as well. This week, I think I will start my new efforts by buying one of the chickens offered by my CSA, and maybe some eggs.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Breathing Space

She sharply inhaled, suddenly awake and aware of a noise that cut through her dreams and demanded her attention. There it was again: her baby's cry. The mother waited, wondering if the child would go back to sleep, but no, the cries were getting more insistent, echoing through the darkened house. Her husband lay beside her, the baby's cries not even registering a break in his deep, even breaths.

The mother rolled out of the warmth of the bed and half stumbled through the darkened room and down the stairs to the nursery. As she entered the baby's room, she flicked on the hall light, her eyes involuntarily blinking against the harsh glare before opening on the stilled and quiet form of her baby, who had been startled to quiet by the sudden light. The next second, the child looked up at her mother, and her arms and legs began moving again in earnest, as she made soft grunting noises. The mother scooped the baby up and then lay her across the changing table, quickly unzipping the fleecy sleeper to get to the sodden diaper beneath. The baby was incensed at this unwanted turn of events, and bawled angrily, her fists clenched alongside her reddened face. Even in her groggy state, the mother was able to make short work of the diaper change, placing a fresh one around the baby's bottom, and expertly stretching the tabs across the child's body in under a minute. Making quiet shushing noises, she carried the baby over the rocking chair and dropped down while simultaneously lifting her shirt and pulling the baby towards her. Immediately the cries were replaced with gulps as the baby hungrily nursed. The mother settled more comfortably in the chair, and rocked gently for several minutes. Outside the world was slowly awakening and she could hear the distant rumble of trucks along the highway. Now and then the soft swooshing sound of tires on the wet street below followed the sweep of headlights across the wall and ceiling. Lulled by the soft patter of rain against the windows, the mother's head dropped and her eyes closed as she tried to piece together the fragments of the dream from which she had been awakened. Drowsily she realized that the baby was finished and was now sleeping with her mouth open, a glimmer of milk in the corners. The mother drew the baby close and breathed deeply of her scent, warm, milky, and a touch of lavender from the bath the night before. Crossing the room, she kissed the downy fuzz on the side of the baby's head before placing her in her crib. The child startled briefly, and cried out, protesting the loss of her mother's warm arms and body. Again, the mother shushed quietly as she laid her hand across the baby's back and tucked the blankets closer, before slipping out the door and switching off the light.

Once in the hallway, she turned towards her older children's room checking to make sure they were covered against the chill of the house. Her son had characteristically kicked off his blankets earlier in the night and was now in a hunched ball on top of his pillow, his thumb planted firmly in his mouth. She drew the blankets up around his neck, kissing his cheek that once was as soft and round as his baby sister's, but in the past year had lost most of the baby fat and was lengthening into the face of the boy he was becoming. The mother then turned to her daughter, also in a ball, but this time, hidden in the tangle of blankets and the various members of her precious stuffed "kitty family". The mother stroked the long silk of hair that lay tumbled across the pillow and kissed her on her forehead, the only visible part poking out of the covers.

Moments later, she was at her own bedside, pulling back the comforter and feeling the puff of warm air that greeted her as she sank into the softness of her pillow and bed. As she had woken earlier to the baby's cries, her husband now instinctively turned toward her, drawing her chilled body against his own before settling back into slumber. She tried to calm her mind, to keep it from racing towards what needed to be done in the day ahead. Morning would come soon enough, with children to be dressed and fed, lunches to be made, and later laundry, shopping and household chores to be completed. But now, in the last two hours of "night" she forced herself to think only thoughts of sleep, knowing that she would need the energy and strength for the day ahead. She shut her eyes against the weak light starting to outline her window shades, nestled deeper into the covers and her husband's warmth, and exhaled.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bad Vibes

5 minutes ago....

I was down in the laundry room cleaning out a paintbrush when I noticed an unfamiliar windbreaker on the floor. I asked Ed where it had come from, and he said he found it in the corner behind our freezer, and had wondered if it were mine. As I answered him, saying that I had never seen it before, I picked up the jacket to inspect it further. It obviously had something in the front pocket so I unzipped it and pulled out a lighter, and... "What's that?" Ed asked.
"Um," I replied, as I picked up the cylindrical object and examined it to try to figure out what it was.
"Is it a flashlight?" Ed said, as he grabbed it from me.
Well, it was a metallic purple color, and it did have batteries, which I had discovered while unscrewing the top. But strangely, there was no light part. At that instant we both realized what it was, and Ed dropped it like a hot potato,"Aaaghh!" while I was left fumbling with it, trying to stuff the batteries back in and screw the lid back on. I then went to the sink and scrubbed my hands under hot water
for the next five minutes, using lots of soap. I then threw in a splash of bleach for good measure (I was in the laundry room) and went back to scrubbing.
Just our luck, while other people find piles of coins in their homes, we find this.

Eeeewww. That is all I can say. Eeeewww.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This year was the first that N got really excited for Halloween. He remembered from last year, and couldn't wait to wear his Buzz costume. Fortunately, we got a couple of chances to dress up with a trick or treat night in town, as well as a mini-church party.

Halloween evening was beautiful-clear and crisp, perfect for an evening out. My parents and sister came over for dinner, since they wanted to see the kids in costume. After eating a delicious (although rushed) meal together, I set off with the kids, Cara, and a couple of other moms and their kids. E and her friends raced from house to house, having to be called back a couple of times, and reminded about Halloween etiquette-- saying "Trick or Treat!!" and "Thank-you!" I followed a little more slowly, since I was carrying the baby on my front (was my back killing at the end of the night!), and pulling the wagon. I got a chance to chat with the neighbors I knew, and introduce myself and the kids to the ones we didn't. About halfway around, N decided he had enough and climbed into the wagon. There he sat like a little prince ruling over his domain of candy, and me the horse of his carriage. He happily munched on candy and when asked if he wanted to go up to the next house, he held out his pumpkin and ruled, "No, you can get my candy for me." Ah yes. I forgot, not only was I a lowly beast of burden, but also the collecting agent, gathering the prince's dues. I did oblige him a couple of times, but then refused on the grounds of not needing any more candy. So we continued on, each of us enjoying our evening in our own way- E with her friends, N in his wagon, K hanging out, taking it all in, and me talking with a couple of other moms who were walking with us. When we got back the kids poured out their candy, counted and surveyed their loot while Ed and I surreptitiously sampled a few pieces.

Now there is candy everywhere. This is not good for my efforts to lose baby weight, especially since we are well into the dieter's Bermuda Triangle of holidays. But I can't let it go to waste, can I?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Name Game

In a recent post I wrote about going back to GCC for homecoming. After registration everyone received a nametag to wear that identified them to old classmates (which were very helpful to in remembering names to go with faces that had changed or been forgotten). My name tag said "Tango (1) 328". "Oh yeah," I thought to myself, "I went by '1' in college, I had kind of forgotten about that". You are probably wondering how I could "forget" my maiden name. Well, you see, I have had a very complicated name history. Let me try to explain the name difficulties that have kind of plagued me my entire life, or at least my life starting at school age.

I was born "mango tango 1". Since I was born in a foreign country, and at the time my mom wanted to go with the buddhist flow and name me traditionally, I was given mango as my first name, and tango as my middle name. The problem started here. My parents decided to to call me tango instead of mango, which is fine, but they would have really spared me a lot of grief if they had reversed the two names. Because, you see, we now had the difficulty of my legal first name, and my middle name that I used for a first name. I remember distinctly my mom walking me through the doors of school and asking me if I preferred to me called mango or tango. I was completely confused and thought, "Why would anyone call me mango? My name is tango! " I of course knew what my first name was, but it was long, foreign looking, and no one used it. So I went by tango 1 for the next 4 years, until my mom remarried.

When she did that, my parents (that is, my mom and stepdad) thought that in the interest of family unity, my siblings and I would all go by the same last name, "2". That was perfectly fine with me, although they hadn't changed it legally, so I now had a new problem that I didn't realize I was agreeing to take on for the next 12 years. For you that are keeping track, my legal name was mango1, but the name I wrote on all my school papers was tango2. So life went merrily along until anything official popped up, and then I would have to write mango1 on those documents.

That was fine in elementary school, when I didn't have to deal with anything official very often, but when in the last couple of years of high school I was applying for colleges and going to interviews, getting part time jobs-- all things that I would have to fill out mango1 on the form, with no place for tango. So invariably, the person interviewing me would either butcher my name trying to say it, or ask how to pronounce it before addressing me. Then I would explain that I didn't actually use my first name, that I really went by tango. They would sigh with relief before quickly covering up with a compliment on how pretty my name is, and what did it mean, and how do I pronounce it again? Gah! I longed for simplicity in my name, but it was not to be.

Once in college, I faltered in introducing myself. I would start with "My name is tango tw--, I mean one." That of course would bring strange looks as people wondered how I could forget my name. I eventually got used to it, and called myself tango1, but my close friends had heard the story, and called me tango2. This didn't help anyone who was actually looking for me in the college directory though, because there I was still mango1. (I am sure that is why I was dateless that whole first year-- interested parties just couldn't find my number and call me) I even had a friend from high school who wanted to surprise me with a visit, and couldn't find my number, so gave up and left!

So you can imagine my relief when I got married. I couldn't change my name fast enough-- now I would no longer have two last names, but one legal one. In retrospect, I should have switched my first and middle names so that my new name read tangomango328. But I didn't think of that in all the excitement of name changing.

As a result I still run into problems at the doctor's office, with credit cards, or anything that I have to sign up using my first name. Or with new friends. They wonder why I sign my name M Tango 328, and I explain. And so it goes. I guess it is something I have gotten used to, and something I will continue to deal with for the rest of my life. So if you take nothing else away from this, parents, please, please, name your child what you want him/her to be called for the first name. Do not saddle them with a lifetime of explaining their name woes with every receptionist, check out clerk, and random blog readers.

That being said, I do not blame my mom. She could not have known the implications at the time of my naming. It is a pretty name, with a pretty meaning, and it is unique, something I have grown to appreciate. I can say with confidence that I am the only mangotango328 on earth. No one else has my name combination. On a practical note, another positive is that I know right away if the person calling me is a telemarketer. A dead giveaway is when they ask, "May I speak with M-m-mian-joo 328?"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin Picking

The pumpkins this year were perfect. We had a wheelbarrow full without even trying. Last year there were lots of rotten ones, but this year they were big, firm and beautiful. We ended up getting 6- 4 orange, 2 white. At the festival there were the rides you need to pay for (we did the pony ride & tot train) and then there were the freebies- cornstalk maze, sitting on the real tractor, jumping across the hay bales while listening to the live band. Although the kids had fun on the paid rides, when we asked them their favorite part of the day, it was the free stuff they listed. Maybe next year we will skip the other stuff, but probably not, since E is very into traditions and doing the same exact thing from year to year. I wonder where she got that from? ;)

N pulling his pumpkin to the wheelbarrow

Three little pun'kins

"I like this one because it has a widdle wummy (little wormy) on it!"
(giggling) "It's so cute! And tickly too!"

Hay bales

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Urine Soaked Life

What? You say you don't want to watch an angsty drama about pee in the life of a suburban mom? Come on, you can picture it now, or at least I can. The soaked sheets, the sodden pull ups that leak through to the pajamas, the refusal to admit need to pee- that turns into the pee dance and continued refusal "I'm just dancing because I like to"- to the frantic run to the bathroom resulting in snaps and zippers not being opened in time- to the inevitable changing of pants that cling to the body and have to be peeled off in layers. Not to mention the bathroom-- having a just-potty-trained 3 year old means there will be misplaced spray and pee puddles at the base of the toilet, as well as pee squirted under the toilet seat through to wet the pants and underwear on the other side!! My bathroom smells like a subway tunnel and I can't get rid of the smell, no matter how many times I scrub. And this is where the turmoil of emotions come into play. Do I let them see that I am upset by all of the "accidents", my guilt at yelling and/or behaving in a passive-aggressive way towards my children, my very real anger at them when I have to change sheets at 2 am, or do my 4th load of "pee laundry" in a week- and of course their very real fear of disappointing me. Am I going to emotionally scar my children in how I react to their accidents? But if I act like it is not a big deal, will that cause them to not "try" hard enough (of course not-- it's not like they want to pee on themselves and in their beds). So the drama continues. I am going to change some wet sheets (from nap time) and do my second load of pee laundry for the day. Tune in for the next episode when I yell," Nooooo! Watch where you are aiming! Not the wall! Aaargh!"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bowl Pictures

Can you guess?








Ok, I realize, not too much of a challenge-- it is kind of neat to see all 3 kids at the same age, in the same situation. Both of the girls were ok with it, and although I don't really remember E's specific reactions, she seemed to take it fine (from the pictures I have) and K was as happy as a lark. She didn't care that I was placing her in a bowl and snapping 1000 pictures (more to come), she was just interested in the flowers and leaves and how to get them into her mouth. She could have sat there all day if I gave her a steady supply of flowers and grass. As for N, I only got one non-crying pic (the first one- and you can actually see the tears in his eyes if you look closely) after that, he LOST it. He wouldn't sit up- he kept leaning back and tipping the bowl, so I couldn't get a porch picture. I also kept his diaper on for the same reason- he wouldn't sit in a "modest" position. Oh well, they are still cute, and I plan to get a triple frame to display them.

And here are my own pictures from around the same age (5 months, and 6 months). Who do you think looks most like me?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First Day of Turtle Class

Although today is the official first day for N, he has had a gradual phasing in period that started last week. I went with him an hour one day, he then went for a normal day with half his class, and then today is the first day with the whole class. So far, so good. After the first morning when I left him for a brief parents' meeting, he ran to me, hugged me hello, and said,"I LOVED it!". The next day he came home and told me all about riding bikes outside, and how he had to share with Matthew, "My ride the big bike-shzzzshzzz, and then Matthew ride it. My share!"

I am glad that he is having a good time, and making friends, and I know that this is good for him, but I am not sure I am ready to "share" him. The house seems strangely empty without my boy, and I feel strange about those few hours a week that I don't know what he is doing, and I can't account for his every activity, that he has a life separate from me. He still seems so little to me, although he has made huge strides since my last post in the spring pre-baby when I worried about all the transitions. He loves his baby sister (telling me "She is so cute" several times a week, making her laugh with his jumping and silly faces, bringing her toys and giving her numerous kisses and hugs), he was pottytrained in a week (although we are still working on the night training and occasional day accidents), he sleeps on a big boy mattress (although on the floor because the kids' bedroom is still not painted, and the bed still in a box), he is working on breaking the thumb sucking habit by wearing a mitten at night and during naps, and he is starting pre-school today. I have to admit, N is growing up ("My not little! My a big boy!")

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hair Brooch, anyone?

Even though it has happened twice before, I had forgotten how totally disturbing the post-baby hair loss is. The thick, lush locks I was sporting along with my taut (albeit, baby-filled) belly are now but a cruel memory. Instead, I have to clean out handfuls of hair from my shower drain, sweep up the clumps that roll around the bathroom and across my hardwood floors like tumbleweeds, find it in the tightly clenched fist of my baby, and even hidden in her diaper. I cautiously brush through my hair each morning, willing my hair follicles to keep their tenuous hold on my scalp. I peer into the mirror, trying to decide if my part is getting wider or if my temples are more exposed. I even contemplated buying "Rogaine for women" at Target, but hastily put it back when I read that you need to use it for 4 months to see results. Anyway, it also says not to use it if hair loss is due to childbirth, or if you are nursing. Then the other day my mom was telling me about how women used to brush their hair and collect the pieces from the hairbrush and make little crafts with them. Maybe I should make the most of the situation and start working on some hair jewelery

Friday, September 7, 2007

This Little Light of Mine

The other night we were singing before bed, and one of the songs was "This Little Light". E asked what it meant, and so we had a short discussion on how the world is a dark place, filled with sin and people who can't see Jesus because their hearts are darkened by sin. How our lives are to be like a light to those around us, showing them Jesus and how he is the true Light. We discussed how many people she goes to school with don't know Jesus, and that her life was like a little light to her friends and those around her. I am not sure how much of this she understood, and as I thought about it, I thought how hard it is for ME to be a light, to step into the darkness of other people's world and become vulnerable through sharing what I believe, especially when I fear what they will think of me. Today was one of those days.

At the bus stop, there was a new family, our next door neighbors who are renting the house for the next 3 years. They are from the Netherlands, and have trouble understanding the language. Their two children, 9 and 11 are in the school system here, and today was the first day of middle school for their 11 year old daughter. My neighbor, A shared with us at the bus stop that her daughter had been so nervous about school that she couldn't keep any food down, and was in tears about going (she had gone to school on an earlier bus). A was also clearly upset, as she told us this, about how she felt terrible for her daughter. My heart went out to both of them, the poor girl who had to go into school (middle school, no less!) not knowing anyone, having to change classes and all that entails, and on top of that not knowing the language that well. And the mother, having to send her daughter off to school, knowing she was nervous and upset, and feeling like she couldn't do anything to help. I left the bus stop thinking I should have invited A over for a cup of coffee, but I am babysitting today and it is all I can do to keep everyone happy. But after I came in, I let the boys out to play, put Addie down for a nap, and K was happy in my arms. The house was quiet, and the thought came to me again that I should ask her over. I looked out at the bus stop and saw that she was now walking back, and I thought of calling out and inviting her in, but hesitated when I looked around at my messy house-- definitely not "company worthy". Still, I felt a strong leading that I really should go invite her over. So I pulled some muffins from the freezer, popped them in the oven, got some coffee going and went out to the backyard. I sat on the hammock with the kids for a few minutes, thinking that I had every excuse not to ask her-- maybe she was busy and wouldn't want to be bothered, I had my hands full of children, and there was my toy- strewn, dusty, cluttered house. But I thought "Jesus can use me, even if I have a dirty house and my kids are loud and things are crazy" so I prayed a short prayer that the Lord would help me with the kids, and I walked over to her door. She immediately opened it, like she had seen me coming. She was on the phone, clearly in tears, and I asked her if she would like to come over for a cup of coffee. She said she would (almost to my surprise), and she came over for the next hour and a half. Yes, the boys at times were loud and running around, the babies needed feeding and holding and I was conscious about the mess surrounding us. But we had a really good talk where I helped her go through the huge PTA packet that had come home from school yesterday, explaining each part. She went over to her house and got some pictures of her home in the Netherlands to share with me, and we even had a short discussion about Christianity. She said that she was a Christian, but it became clear that she wasn't-- she doesn't believe that Jesus is God, she doesn't believe the Bible is literal (her: "That part about Jesus walking on water-not true, no one can walk on water" me: "But he can because he is God" her: "No, I don't believe that. It is not true. He is the son of God, but he is just a man, a prophet.") I told her that we do believe the Bible is the written word of God, that Jesus is not only God's son, but also God himself, and that he came to earth to die for our sins. She said she didn't believe all that, but is interested in talking to me about it when she has a better grasp of the English language. She went home shortly after, very grateful for the time we had together. I have been praying for her daughter all day, as well as for A, and how I can be a friend to her, and point her to Christ through our relationship. I just pray that God can use me, despite myself and that I can be a light, even if it is a small flickering candle.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First Day of First Grade

Yesterday was E's first day of school. Last week we went in to meet her teacher and see her classroom. To her delight, she and Kyra are in the same classroom, seated at the same group of desks, and have hooks right next to each other where they can hang their matching backpacks (I think this has to do with the fact that her kindergarten teacher Miss W. is best friends with her first grade teacher Ms. T, and was a part of the process of putting the class together, and she also probably told Ms. T how much E and Kyra like to do things together) Also, beloved Miss W. is two doors down, since she switched to 2nd grade this year (we are hoping to get her again next year), so E was able to go by and say hello yesterday. She came home full of stories about her day, and she seemed very happy with her class and teacher. She also seemed glad to settle back into the routine of school, and excited for the new year ahead.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

5 months

We just recently watched "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as a family, and I find myself singing the song "Truly Scrumptious" to K. She is absolutely scrumptious with her leg rolls, dimpled hands, pudgy feet and round cheeks. I am always reminded of that line in Where the Wild Things Are, when Max is trying to leave and the wild things cry, "we'll eat you up-- we love you so!" I just can't get enough of her sweet baby self.

And yes, those are two new teeth that she has sprouted in the past month! A total surprise to me, since my other two were at least 6 months old before they got their first teeth. She has also set the record for rolling over in our family- E did it between 6 and 7 months, N between 5 and 6, and now K between 4 and 5!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Afternoon Napping

Years from now, when I think back to this first summer of Ks life I will remember the naps in the afternoon. The whir of the fan breaking the stillness of the afternoon heat, K's small body tucked close against mine as she nurses through the nap. Me, dozing and dreaming, intermittedly waking to check on her sleeping form-- if she is still sucking I go back to sleep, if she has popped off, I move away slightly and cover up so as not to disturb her and to try to sleep more deeply myself.

I never would have allowed such a break from "the rules" with my older two children. With E, I put her down for her two hour nap, and I would not get her back up until it was over. If she had cried I would have left her there until she fell back asleep. So by the time she was K's age, I didn't have her waking mid-nap. She was a solid sleeper. As for N, same thing. I also knew I could count on E to stay in her room during "quiet time", so she didn't disturb N's nap. This time I valued my sleep more than keeping to the rules of good napping. When K was a little baby she wasn't a good napper and I desperately needed that down-time in the afternoon to nap and rest myself. I had to have her sleeping while N slept, and the only way I could do it was to bring her into bed with me to nurse while I slept. She would then fall alseep, only waking to switch sides, or when I needed to get up because N had awakened. As you can imagine, she has gotten quite used to this routine, and when I put her down in the afternoon she will only sleep 30 minutes to an hour in her own crib before crying and waking. So I have ended up continuing this napping together on the afternoons that sleep wins out over other household chores (which is most days). I don't know how much longer I will continue it, since I know it is keeping her from being a good (solitary) napper. But I have to admit, I do enjoy those quiet afternoons alone with my little one as we cuddle close and sleep together. I also love the end of naptime when she wakes and starts waving her arms in the air, and looks at me with her bright eyes and wide smile. I smile back and talk with her a moment before taking her downstairs to begin the next part of the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Saying Good-bye

The past couple of months have been one of the best summers of my kids' short lives. My sister Julie has been visiting from Texas with her 5 kids since the beginning of July. We have packed in lots of cousin and sister time while they were here. Of course to kick it off we spent that week in NH together, but once we got back we saw a lot of each other: they spent the night several nights, we went swimming, the oldest three and my dad joined us for free movies a couple of times at the movie theatre, we went to the huge castle playground together, we went over to my parents' house for short visits, the kids and E went to Sunday School together, Amanda celebrated her 9th birthday with a party at our house, they joined us for playgroup one Tuesday, we had a girl cousin picture session at the mall, the guys even had a babysitting night where Rob, Rusty, and Ed watched the children while Julie, Katherine and I went to a cousin's bridal shower. And Julie and I spent countless hours reminiscing about the past, talking parenting talk, discussing current family issues, and just laughing and having fun together.

Last night we had a final big family dinner at my parents' house before saying goodbye. It was a tearful farewell for Julie and me as we hugged each other and the kids goodbye. Many times the past few weeks we have talked about "next time" they visit the kids will most likely be three years older, since that is usually how long it takes for them to save up enough to fly everyone here. I guess it really hit both of us as I handed K over to Julie for one last hug, and she and I both realized this would be the last time Julie hugged baby K-- next time she would be a big three year old. We both kind of looked at each other and welled up as we hugged and Julie said," This is a testament to God's redeeming work in lives, because I wish we could live near you." I agreed, as our relationship hasn't always been close, and commented," So you don't want to karate chop me anymore?", a reference to our first meeting when she threatened to karate chop me if I did anything to bother her little sisters (Katherine and Sandy). I kept trying to convinced her that they need to move up here to PA, but I don't think that will happen. So maybe our family will have to plan a trip down to TX to visit sometime in the next couple of years. E said it best on the way home when she said, "I wish it were the Fourth of July again".

Watching the Parade:

After a swim in NH:

Swimming at Aunt Linda's

K and Aunt Julie:

The Estradas:

Our Family (minus Andrew, Erin and the Laiyus):

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NH '07


This year we went up to the island with my sister Julie and her 5 kids ages: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. They live in Texas, so we only get to see them every couple of years (the last time was in 2004). The kids had the best time fishing, swimming, making a "secret" hideout, and just running around together. We had several trips into town, one of which we went out to dinner with my aunt, uncle and 2 cousins who live there. Julie went home Friday, and we stayed until Sunday. Another vacation with great memories.
Ed took the kids around the island in the kayak-- 4 trips in all


The older children went behind the boat on the "mambo"


N absolutely loved the boat-- his favorite part of every days was when he went on the boat "My go fast, fast, faster!" He insisted on sitting in the very front, even if he was all by himself, and he would say "This is going to be fun!" when the boat started to speed up.


Everyone loved the hammock, even K fit in a little nap



We made a fire the last night the cousins were there, and roasted marshmallows.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Baptism Gown

I know this post is more for me than anyone else, but I did a photo shoot today with K in her baptism gown, and I was pleased with the results. I wanted to get some pictures with better lighting and background, and less hustle and noise than last Sunday. Here are some of my favorites (I took about 30 pictures-- this child is not going to be able to complain I didn't take any pictures of her!!)