Monday, January 31, 2011

precious moment

Just a quick story about that Lo:

Last week I attended a health fair put on by Jerry's work (and I won a door prize from it! woo hoo!). Anyway, the health fair had a masseuse booth, so while Jerry entertained that Lo, I stretched out on the table for a free 5 min. back massage. Jerry said for the first minute or so that I was laying down, Lo Lo got a concerned look on his face. Then, as our sweet baby noticed me continuing to lay there motionless, he erupted into sobs. The biggest, roundest rolling tears poured out of his terrified eyes. Needless to say, I ended my massage early, reassuring him that I was okay. I think he just couldn't figure out what the masseuse was doing to me, and I guess it is sort of an awkward pose for someone to lay face down like that--normally people would only lay face down if they were dead or something, and it seemed like Lo instinctively knew that fact. It really melted my heart to see him so frightened. Cute and sad all at the same time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cutest Baby Shower

Well, it was a few weeks ago, but I am just now getting around to posting about a darling baby shower I helped put together for a friend out here. I kept waiting to post about it because I wanted to include a tutorial for making the best kind of diaper cake ever. Observe how glorious to behold: But I misplaced the photos I'd taken of the assembly process. And what's a tutorial without photos. But anyway, this diaper cake is my favorite variety since it has smooth sides and hidden gifts in the center, and I had trouble figuring out how to make it since if you google "diaper cake instructions" or the like, it doesn't pull up this variety in any of the top hits. But anyway, I figured it out partly by memory (this was the type of diaper cake given to me in Lo's shower last year). And I am delighted how cute it turned out. Here are us mommy friends at the baby shower; Lindsay, Courtney, Chelsea, and Kristen. We all live in the same apartment complex, are in the same church congregation, our husbies all work in the same program/for the same company, and we all have babies around the same age. It feels like such a natural friendship.





Since we ended up last-minute not doing a birthday party with that Lo's friends a few months ago, I had a couple dozen chinese takeout boxes sitting around unused. Kristen, one of the girls who co-hosted this shower, is the type of person who adds instant cuteness to anything she touches. Sort of like a Midas touch, only a crafty version. So she had the idea to pop some flower power cupcakes into all those chinese takeout boxes, add ribbon and tag, and voila, the perfect take-home thanks for guests at the baby shower. Seriously, I felt really impressed by how adorable the whole shower turned out. Welcome to mommyhood, Chelsea!
**this is sort of an incomplete record of the shower, since I didn't even talk about the games we played (all the best ones of course), foods (themed!), and gifts (plentiful)...but for some reason I feel silly about this post being so long after the fact, that I just hit a few main points and left it at that. meh.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reviews

Book Review:
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead Jerry is making a concerted effort to read more often purely for pleasure. He picked up this short chapter book in our local library's Newberry section, and then after reading a few pages of it, asked me to take a look at it to explain something in it to him. Although I was in the middle of two other books already, I got hooked on this one and couldn't read anything else until I'd finished it!
A mixture of light science fiction (time travel) with coming-of-age themes and characters who are heart-breakingly realistic and fun. I loved this book. There is one description of violence that left me a little sick feeling, so I am not sure how I feel about recommending it for pre-teen...but anybody older than that, make sure to add it to your lists and enjoy!


Restaurant Review:
McDonald's
The dentist suggested Jerry eat only liquids and soft foods for a couple days (root canal--poor Jerry). So we treated ourselves to trying the newish McDonald's triple thick milkshakes. I hadn't had a McDonald's milkshake in years, and only remember them as sickly syrupy concoctions that were about as thick as my spit. Yeah, not so good. Well, the new ones (part of the McCafe lineup) are totally worth their price tag of two-something dollars. We shared a strawberry one the first time we went, and then a few days later could not resist going back to share a chocolate one. The strawberry seemed more authentic, though I'm usually a die-hard chocolate lover. So I'd recommend going fruity if you want to try these milkshakes.


Event Review:
Winter Carnival (City of Painesville)

Single-digit weather made for a chilly walk around the park when we first arrived at this "winter carnival." It seemed deserted--less than twenty people total, including the lone man carving an ice sculpture and one teenage girl spray-painting a knee-high snow fort she appeared to have just created moments earlier. We also noticed moments after arrival that Lo's shoe had fallen off and he had been walking around in icy mud puddles with nothing but his SOCK on his frozen toes. No wonder he seemed fussy...Anyway, we headed back to the car thinking it was a bust.




Until a newspaper photographer asked us to get out of the car to pose for a photo. We reluctantly complied.

Then the newspaper man mentioned the chili eating contest across the street. We trudged our way through the snow to get to it, and sure enough, THERE was the carnival! All free events (yay!) included caricature artists, winter crafts, chili sampling (I ate enough to amount to two regular sized bowls--very full), and useful freeby handouts like car window scrapers. We spent about two hours there and enjoyed ourselves. Jerry especially settled into the chili sampling, because he truly has the heart of a chef and likes trying to guess ingredients in new foods. One of the chilis had chocolate in it (I voted for this one), another had venison (we voted for this one also, because it was made by a girl scout troop and we wanted to see them win), and one had Black Mamba, which was an ingredient Jerry guessed right away and the restauranters who made the chili confirmed he was correct. There were both professional (restaurant) and amateur categories. Who knows, maybe next year we'll enter our own batch of chili!

Thanks Painesville for the worthwhile family event. We'll be back in a couple months for their Easter Egg Hunt.



Product Review:
Monkey Do Cloth Diapers

I've wanted to try cloth diapering ever since before that Lo was born. Finally, for Christmas a month ago Santa gave me a small starter set from this cute home-based business. Since it is headed by my awesome college friend Morgan, she gave me a good deal on the diapers and soakers, as well as customized my order (made sure the measurements would fit that Lo's chunky legs & tummy).


Still haven't used them enough to determine my full opinion, but here are some pros and cons.
Hooray: adorable, quickly repay themselves when used for just a matter of weeks (I've been getting so sick of buying disposables especially since Lo got to the bigger sizes that give less diapers in a pack), give Lo more immediate notification he has gone potty (should help with the imminent potty training days), adjustible for smaller babies with the comfortable cord lock system (I'll definitely be re-using these with future Tam babies).
Bummer: takes a bit more work to get them strapped on that Lo because of the lack of elastic (it is crucial for him to be centered on the diaper or it won't fit comfortably), and as he is in the wiggliest phase right now, I've sometimes given up using a cloth diaper at one time or another just because it was quicker to snap a disposable on his squirmy bum! Also, poopy toddler diapers are pretty much the worst thing ever. The first time I had to deal with him pooping in the cloth, I wished so much I could just throw away the soaker pad. But I swished it in the toilet, then threw it in the washer, and it came out perfectly clean so no harm done. Still, horrible, nasty, worst thing ever to me as I'm the type of person who tosses whole outfits in the trash if Lo has a blowout.



Movie Review:
The Business of Being Born

No secret to anybody who knows me: I have a passion for advocating "beautiful" births. Even though I personally found natural birth to be the ideal for me, I have gradually come to accept that for some people, their most beautiful "ideal" birth would be highly medicalized. I'm okay with the fact that I'm more eccentric than mainstream America. But I do wish more women would explore the evidence (or lack of evidence, i.e. tradition) behind what their doctors are doing to them.
At first this movie seemed like one that would make me nod my head a lot in agreement, but I was somewhat disappointed as I found myself cringing at the profanity, negativity, and emotionally charged angles (I suppose all documentaries have their agendas to promote)...though most of all, I just wished there had been more showing of moms in labor having peaceful, emotional control. Because the peacefulness is what I appreciate most about Hypnobabies. I wasn't perfect, but can say Jerry and I stayed a totally united team, where I would have ordinarily been inclined to get snappy with him. In future births, I hope to also show more of the Hypnobabies ideal of being peaceful with my midwife as well, since I said a few rude things to her that I regret now.
But I digress. Back to the movie at hand. I recommend anyone with even a moderate interest in birth give the movie consideration, because it will probably be eye-opening to anybody, including those who already think they know a lot about natural births. For example, I was surprised to learn homebirths comprise less than 1% of total births in the United States. I know so many women who have done homebirths, that it feels more common to me in my head. And I actually did not fully realize the horrors of "the twilight sleep era" until seeing the visual portrayals. Ugh. So glad I did not live in the 1920's...!
This movie has been out for more than a year now, but I just finally watched it a couple days ago because we got a Netflix subscription for Jerry to have films to entertain him while he runs on the treadmill.
**and after this blog has been posted for a whole day, it dawned on me some people might not like to watch graphic births, so I should retract my recommendation of this film to any who fall into that category! Sorry; it isn't obscene nudity, but there is plenty of nudity.




video

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Daily Routine

When I posted about New Year's resolutions a few weeks back, I said we were working on getting some type of daily routine implemented. I'm still open to finding new ideas for how to best use my time with that Lo, but for now, here is the loose "schedule" of each day:



Approx. 7:00-8:00 AM~Lo wakes up. Often he nurses upon waking, but sometimes not, especially if Jerry is still at home in which case Lo Lo gets excited to jump out of bed to go play with Daddy. Lo Lo is such a morning person, always his most cheerful and alert when he just wakes up for the day.



When Jerry is gone, that Lo and me read together. The order of reading starts with scriptures (Book of Mormon children's reader--about a page's worth, and the actual Book of Mormon or Bible--about one verse). To get Lo ready for scripture reading, I sing the Primary Children's song "Book of Mormon Stories" and he has gotten quick at recognizing it; he sometimes even brings me the reader when I start to sing. After scriptures we read at least one Chinese book and a few other books from the shelf--whichever ones Lo picks out. Then we eat. That Lo is able to spoon-feed himself with some accuracy. This photo shows how his shirt stayed mostly clean, and he had eaten a whole half jar of blueberry applesauce all by himself by bringing the spoon to his mouth! Some mornings he eats relatively alot--a few bites of eggs, cheese, a piece of bread, yogurt, cold cereal from my bowl, etc. are all common breakfast foods for him right now. But some mornings he doesn't seem hungry at all and I wonder about it since I'm not sure how much milk he gets at night during nursing sessions. But I really avoid forcing him on any food issue.

Oh, and his face could be a little cleaner during self-feedings, I suppose. He is going through a phase where he gets bothered by messes. If he sees a drip of food landing on his hand or the table, etc. he often points to it until I wipe it up. But apparently messes on his face don't bother him because they aren't visible to his own eyes. lol.


After eating, we do some chores. Usually this entails unloading the dishwasher and folding laundry. Lo likes to "help" with both.


Then we have some playtime. It seems a bit arbitrary, but I decided to make pre-nap playtime be all about Gross Motor Skills, and post-nap playtime focus more on Fine Motor Skills. This just helps me feel more purposeful and brainstorm ideas of what we should do, but I don't restrict Lo if he wants to switch up the activities. Here are the pre-nap activities I have been instigating: rolling balls back and forth to each other, throwing/catching balls (Lo is on the cusp of catching the ball but not quite there yet), playing tag/chase, playing hide and seek, making forts (as seen above in photo--he actually was loving it more than his face shows, but when the camera comes out he stops smiling in order to concentrate on what I'm doing all of a sudden), climbing (we pile all the couch cushions into a puffy mountain and he seems to enjoy trying to scale it), dancing to music (Raffi on Pandora is a favorite) and going on walks outside.


This outdoors time is something I'd like to do every day right before naptime. It has been such an ordeal getting bundled and sometimes much too cold to stay out very long that I am having a hard time making us do it every day. But the days we have gone out, I haven't regretted it.

We walk out to the mailbox to drop letters, or we take out the trash. Often we see people walking their dogs, and Lo has really developed a love for "dog-dogs," as he calls them. Sometimes we even walk to the grocery store, dollar store, or hardware store. Yes, even in the winter. I always feel a bit crazy and pioneer-ish as the wind whips my hair and burns tears into my eyes, but that Lo keeps warm enough if I wear him snuggled up next to my heart in the mei tai.
11:00 AM ~ I put Lo down for a nap. He is pretty consistent at going down near this time, which is a huge relief for me to be able to count on and make plans accordingly. He is totally a "one nap per day" kid now, and naps for about 2.5-3 hours. Though sometimes he cries halfway through and I nurse him back to sleep before he can become fully awakened.
After that Lo wakes up, we eat lunch. Common lunch foods for that Lo include whatever I am eating (dinner leftovers from the day before most likely). He tends to refuse eating anything that resembles baby food. Though he likes the Gerber finger foods a little too much. (since they are processed I am trying to limit his puffs, graham cookies, etc.).
Fine Motor Activities we have been doing: magna doodle, coloring with crayons and markers (brave of me, I know--heavily supervised and I've got a Magic Erase sponge handy). Once he accidentally drew on his hand with a dry erase marker and he was entirely distraught about it until I scrubbed the mark off in soapy water. We also do Legos (the big kind, and he only pulls them apart, does not put them together yet). Blocks are another favorite, but like the Legos, he tends to just knock down the towers I make rather than building up his own towers. Must not have hit that block stacking developmental stage yet...He does like putting the shapes into the shape sorter, and I'm impressed how well he does at that activity. Needs some scaffolding on it still, but totally gets the idea. We also have a puzzle we've played with a bit, but it is still out of his age range really.
I forgot to mention that sometime in the day by now we normally have a shower. The time varies, but usually I do it pre-nap. Lo showers with me, playing with toys at my feet but sometimes he likes to be held/nursed while the water runs over him and that's okay with me too. Sometimes our showers are pretty long.
Anyway, around 3-4:00pm I start dinner. Often that Lo plays in the kitchen at my feet while I cook/chop veggies, etc. but if he starts to get clingy, I do one of two things: wear him in the mei tai or put on a Chinese DVD for him to watch. I know it is bad to use TV as a babysitter, but the Chinese movies we have are totally educational! And I try to still talk to him and interact with him while he's watching since the laptop in the living room is near enough to the kitchen. Here's an example of one of our favorite Chinese DVDs:




videoAnother thing I encourage Lo to do while I finish dinner is to go watch out the window at all the cars driving by. He imitates their engine noises, and often "talks" to me about what he sees out the window.

6:00 PM ~ Jerry gets home from work. Actually, lately he's been getting home later than this. =( But we normally wait to eat dinner once he arrives. After eating dinner, Jerry and Lo play a bit if there is time. If we are short on time, we go straight to Lo's bath. Jerry is primarily the baby bather, and it is their prime bonding time of the day. Often I leave them to themselves, letting talk Chinese together in the bathroom, while I clean up from dinner.

7-8:00 PM ~ Lo asleep. Some days if he is fussy, I put him down as early as 6PM, which he has especially been needing over the past few weeks as he transitioned from 2 naps/day to 1 nap/day. Occasionally, if we try to go to a quick run for groceries or something after dinner, we can push Lo's bedtime to a bit after 8. But I really hate more than anything to mess with his sleep times, so I am pretty much a Nazi about putting him to bed at the same time frame each day. I nurse him to sleep. If I'm gone to a Relief Society activity or book club, Jerry puts Lo to bed by soothing activities. It is a lot of work, or so I hear. So perhaps the nursing has become a crutch. I stopped caring about it after reading one of my sleep books.

Anyway, there's the Lo Routine. We still have moments during the day where I shrug and say "Now what do we do?" But having the simple commitment to work on Gross Motor Skills & Fine Motor Skills at varying times of the day has seemed to really help me stay motivated and Lo seems happier than he's ever been. He notices that I am more excited about how we spend our time. And I am loving my days for the most part. Motherhood is a blessing, giving me more joy than I ever thought I could have. And that Lo is the most special, wonderful little boy! A lot of times when he is sleeping, Jerry and I say to each other, "we miss him!" But we like our time alone from him as well. ;)

Wow, this got really long. Thanks to anybody who stuck with me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eating and Drinking in Labor

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night bugged by something, and my thoughts swirl all around and make it hard to fall back asleep. Writing down the thoughts can help, and granted, publishing such thoughts isn't necessary, but I figured in this case it might be helpful to others. So here are my insomniac-producing musings:

I ate--a lot--while in labor with that Lo. I think without food, my body would have never had the strength to press on through the two+ days active labor spanned. Yes, I vomited during transition. But I wasn't worried about it at the time, since I had read that experts don't really know why women sometimes vomit in labor and it happens with equal frequency for women who eat in labor and those who do not eat in labor. Vomiting at transition is suspected by some to be a way of preparing the diaphragm for the pushing phase. I recalled that factoid at the time I threw up and actually felt thrilled to be throwing up. I did not throw up due to pain, btw, because I certainly would not describe transition as painful. It was intense rushing, swirling, shuddering feelings all over in my blood stream, kind of like every cell had a mind of its own all of a sudden. A good loopy feeling, now that I think about it. Closest thing this happy Mormon girl will ever feel to being high? =) But I digress.

Back to the food issue. My friend Chelsea is being induced in a matter of hours. Not sure if she'll read this blog entry before then. But at any rate, I'm not writing for her, just mentioning her since her situation is relevant to my insomnia thoughts. She seems like the kind of person who would just let the doctors and nurses do their thing anyway, regardless of anything I put on this blog.

I learned yesterday afternoon that Chelsea is looking forward to having that dreaded intrapartum diet of nothing but ice chips. I truly believe it might take a decade or two to see change, but eventually that policy will be viewed as laughably archaic by the whole world. For a few years now already, the official stance in the United States has been to let laboring women at least have clear liquids like chicken broth, fruit juice, etc. And in other countries the position is more and more to allow laboring women to have simple foods like yogurt, bread, and so forth. Most interesting to me was this article I just came across that discusses the psychological effects of women eating while in labor.

Remembering my own experience, I totally agree that food boosted my mood a lot during a basically wonderful birth that nonetheless had some difficult moments. For example, one of my fondest memories of Lo's birth is being dilated to 8 cm. while lounging in a hot tub, licking ice cream, and surrounded by beaming nurses, my doula, and husband who I think were all also eating ice cream. And somewhere in the background was a scowling midwife, but we won't dwell on her for now. lol. I recall this as such a regal moment--and the vanilla ice cream was an important part of why I felt so celebratory. Then, later in the birth I used food to bring comfort. I ordered beef stew from the hospital cafeteria, and though it tasted nasty and bland per hospital food standards, just the thought of getting to eat it conjured a psychological warmth that combated the emotional struggle I'd been having with my midwife. Lastly, during the pushing phase, when I felt a bit sad at how the midwife had rather rudely taken the reins and had me pushing in the lithotomy position, I used my food choices to once again restore some emotional health. I told Jerry "I want cranberry juice now," and then, a few minutes later asked him to switch to water, and kept alternating between the two beverages thereby retaining some element of my own autonomy.

To sum it up, I am a big fan of evidence-based health care. Hospitals and doctors evidently have some delay in implementing the most updated policies. And that is unfortunate. Because laboring women and their babies benefit from having more options.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthing Time Already?

I always envision springtime as the official herald of babies; Easter chicks & ducklings, deer with their fawns starting to dot the landscape, and so forth. But apparently January in Ohio marks the time for births to start going full swing. We visited our local farmpark yesterday and were pleased to see we came just in time to ooohh and ahhh over teensy wittow lambies (one week old) and these piglets (also one week old): I could have knelt there gazing at these babies in their pink newness all day long. Their wrinkly skins, feathery fur lightly covering such squishy little bodies, flopping ears, and eager newborn suckling just melted my heart.





And while we are talking about cute babies, take a look at that Lo's farmer attire. He always dons his Carhartt coveralls when we go to the farmpark, and this time I also bundled him with a woolen ear flaps hat, fleecy scarf and reversible jacket. There is something just so nurturing about taking half an hour to dress a squirming child before he runs outside. Oh, and note his sneakers that never fail to get soaked in water as this boy likes to splash through puddles.
Here in the cheesemaking room is our whole group that went to Farmpark yesterday. Kristen & Claire, Lindsay & Tyson, Chelsea & Baby-to-be-born any day now, and me & that Lo.
We are so glad to have a group of other mommy & baby friends that live close by.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm a little more normal than it seems

Shoe shopping=one of my least favorite activities. Not that my feminine side doesn't appreciate the thrill of finding cute footwear, but having triple E width makes me feel like a freak. Yes, you heard me; that is EEE width, measured by the official footy thingie at the stores.

I just read somewhere online (sorry for losing the link...Google it if you care to verify) that the average foot width for women in the USA is size B. Which just goes to show why I can hardly find a single pair of shoes within a thousand miles that fits me comfortably. BUT what I also just read online is this: the average foot width for women in Europe and many parts of Asia is size D. Not too far off from E...or even triple E. I can wear a D. Apparently I was born to be European. Or Asian.

I think Lo has my feet. They are sturdy little feet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

csn.com

I have a favorite crafter I met back when we both lived at Wymount. Her blog always gives me ideas I'd like to try out...someday. I love to live vicariously through her projects. =)

Anyway, she gave me another lightbulb in my head today: there is this greatest online store that has low prices and FREE SHIPPING on tons of everyday items. Somehow I never heard of it before?? Since I need to get me some baby proofing supplies, winning this giveaway would be great. And even if you don't win the giveaway, I'd recommend perusing her blog for other fun reading.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Second Time

I don't feel like fixing the order of these photos. We had a yummy breakfast today: While our mattress protector was in the laundry, we used mirrored silver vinyl to protect the mattress. I am waiting for the fifth load of laundry to come out of the dryer in the past 12 hours or so.
Memory foam drying on top of a few kitchen chairs.




Lo Lo caught some kind of bug. I think from church yesterday. Last night he (and therefore his parents) slept little, and instead spent our time cleaning diarrhea & vomit out of the carpet, blankets, mattress, mattress pad, and mattress pad waterproof cover which had shifted thereby letting liquids soak into the memory foam. Then we ate Chinese buns for breakfast this morning. It was a good bonding time as a family.
Jerry had to go to work still this morning because he has a lot on his plate to accomplish. I feel sorry for him. I had a nice morning nap with that Lo who appears to be feeling better (fever is abating already). Good times. It is the second instance in my short parenthood that our baby has vomited all over me. Hopefully the last time, but I'm not counting on it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lo's goal for 2011

Brush his teeth at bath time each night. And squeeze in that overdue first visit to a dentist.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Goals for 2011

Theme for 2010:
"Come what may and love it"
I did okay. Made a plaque with this phrase on it to hang in the bedroom, and it helped me be more serene amid challenges many a time over the past year. Still find I have a tendency to complain when my plans go awry...but anyway, moving on...

Theme for 2011:
"More diligent and concerned at home"
I really want to be a better wife, mother, and daughter.

Goals to assist that theme:
1. Establish/teach a routine for that Lo & me. More to come on as I figure it out! I've started reading a couple more parenting books for ideas. And if anybody else who has parented toddlers has ideas for how to spend the hours in the day, please feel free to share.
2. Index 200 names each...month? I actually have not done enough indexing to even know what would be a valid amount for me. But I want to start doing it regularly. Something to add meaning to my days.
3. Read the New Testament. This one is sort of a given goal, since we are studying the New Testament this year in Sunday School. I will follow the schedule for the class.
4. Study the Book of Mormon daily. I still need to make this one happen earlier in the day so it is higher quality study.
5. Record a daily entry in my spiritual journal. Often this would come from my scripture study, but I also want to focus more on remembering/recording the Lord's hand in my life.
6. Journal weekly. The blog is a good outlet to record common joys, or reach out for a type of social connection (comments are always comforting). But my journal is best for more personal musings and reflections and I've found it has slipped over the past year.
7. Attend temple quarterly. This was our goal last year, and it seems good to repeat because we felt it stretched us but was achievable. Jerry made the goal, but I came short because of forgetting my temple recommend when we went to the Hong Kong temple...! Anyway, really hope to make it happen in 2011.
8. No refined sugar at home. I've done the 100% no refined sugar rule before, and it was highly beneficial for my emotional/physical health. But sugar is just so fun. I love getting an occasional milkshake for date night, or tasting a cookie at a church function, etc. But if it is in the house, I find myself reaching for sugary treats as a quick energy fix too often. Which then backfires on me when I experience my frequent "after sugar crash." So we just aren't going to buy any refined sugars (if people bring us a goodie plate or something, I wouldn't boycott it). It has worked well so far. I ate no sugar since January 1st and noticed an almost immediate improvement in my mood and median energy levels. Today at a baby shower, since it was out of our home, I ate half a cinnamon roll and two (smallish) blueberry muffins. My first "sugar" in over a week. I think this system will work as it won't make me feel deprived as I did at times during the 100% rule and it is easier to control my intake with other people around. Accountability, you know.

Well, that's it for goals for now. I am commencing reading of Rubin's Happiness Project for book club meeting later this month, and it will probably influence my resolutions. I'll update as it comes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pray for my dad

My dad was admitted to St. Luke's hospital in Boise yesterday for blood clotting in his lungs, kidneys, and legs. I don't know any more details than that, because it is now the middle of the night in Boise so I want to wait before I telephone home to ask. But I have understood blood clotting like this can be potentially life threatening, and from the google search I just did, learned it often requires surgery. So any prayers/thoughts on my dad's behalf would be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The rest of the story: Christmas & New Year's Celebrations

I know the season is past, and gifts are now weeks ago unwrapped...(with much help from that Lo, we are proud to report--he caught on quickly to the joy of tearing paper)... I acknowlege Christmas toys are now played with many times over (here we have the classic picture of Daddy stealing Lo's new toys)...
I admit that decorations have been put up long ago (why yes I did decorate for Christmas before unpacking from our Hong Kong trip)...
Christmas Jammies now worn so many times over the past month they have a hole in the sleeve...
Decorations now put away...



... Boxed up in our lovely new totes (for the record: Target after-Christmas sales have the best prices on these organizational wonders)...
And after all that is said and done, I still have so much to tell from our holiday fun. So thanks for staying tuned, and here are the last few tales of Christmas & New Year's Eve 2010:
We visited our church sites a couple times for their famous Nativities exhibit. That Lo spent more time playing with the water fountain than enjoying the art, but we will forgive him for it since his rosy cheeks and frumpy sweater are just too adorable. (also: he needs a haircut. I know.)


The photo above is the room of crystal, porcelain, and all other substances we hoped to keep out of Lo's reach. Again, no complaints about him spending time out by the water fountain, because at least it meant he wasn't terrorizing the breakable parts of the exhibit. =) I love how in this photo Jerry caught the sparkling blue Christmas lights outside the window as well as all the white lights from the Nativity display.



This room was my favorite, because they had soothing Christmas hymns playing over the speakers, and I felt peaceful with the predominate color scheme centering around the snowy white figurines.


Each time we visited the Natitivies, we brought friends. Here we are with Anne, a sweet lady I met at the grocery store. She has started learning from the missionaries, and went to church a couple times. She is so humble and prepared to grow in her relationship with God.


Luckily amongst all the non-touchable parts of the exhibit, they have included a children's room. Here there are dress-ups to enact the manger scene, plenty of stuffed sheep to love on, and...

A baby Jesus to hug. Ok, bad photography skills, but sweet picture once it becomes evident that is a baby doll snuggling up on that Lo's shoulder. =)

And here we are touching Nativities--wait! is it allowed?? Oh, yes, this is the children's room--


And we love that Lo in his charming Christmas sweater.



Here are some other friends we took to the Nativities on a different day. I like how this photo shows the birth of Christ (the carved olive wood statues) and the resurrection of Christ (the painting at the upper corner of the photo). So it comes full circle...birth and resurrection.



Our Christmas this year really was a joy as we focused on the life of our Savior Jesus Christ.


And now for a change of tone, we have our rowdy New Year's Celebration report. A few other young couples from our church came together for the evening and we had a fun time eating, playing games, and reminiscing on 2010. We made a time capsule, discussing what life is like currently and predicting ahead to what it might be like five years from now. During a memory sharing game, I was pleased to note my favorite "unexpected joy" from 2010 had been getting to take my little brother Brandon with us to Hong Kong. We also did a "2 truths and 1 lie" game to get to know each other better, and overall it was a great party.



As part of our plan to do different types of "countdowns" throughout the evening, we said "Happy New Year" in French, Spanish, Chinese, and English. Afterward, Jerry and I thought about how it would be a good idea in future years to count down with each hour once the first country on earth starts to celebrate the New Year. If that makes sense. In other words, starting at noon on our New Year's Eve, we could have said Happy New Year in Chinese, and so forth until 6pm we said it in French (because that is the time Paris would have been ringing in the New Year)...and at 7pm say it in English (for London's New Year) etc.
And while the grownups socialized among themselves, that Lo practiced his budding social skills with his friend Claire. They are at such a similar age of development that sometimes it helps them get along, but other times produces competition, like in the photo above where I'm pretty sure that Lo was about to pull Claire down so he could have his turn on the horsey's back. Since Lo was ready for bed from even about dinner time, Jerry and I left the party early, but at midnight we rang in the New Year as we watched (on the internet) the Times' Square celebration. I have to say it held no appeal to me watching the crowds party together, as my pj's were comfy and the quiet of our home a welcome relief from the busy-ness of the holidays.
May our January be the calm recovery time we need after so much fun and activities the past couple months.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

snuggly/surly

There are plenty of catch-up posts to do, what with finishing Christmas, New Year, and Hong Kong trip stories. But here is a quick common update from Lo in the meantime:

Yesterday that Lo was eating some yogurt. This is the wonderful "Yo Baby" type of yogurt, made with whole milk and other goodness, including cute photos of babies on the label. Lo Lo pointed to a picture of a boy and his dog on the label of his yogurt container. I smiled and nodded, "that is a cute doggy in the picture." Then that Lo began snuggling his yogurt container the way he cuddles with a stuffed animal, stroking and patting it over his shoulder. And yes, some yogurt spilled in the process, but we don't mind a bit.

He is a very snuggly, huggy child, which mostly brings joy to all around him.  But we have noticed when he is tired, those hugs slowly morph into wrestling smackdown moves and the snuggles turn into head-butting.  Something to keep an eye on...I have so far just handled it by a) trying to keep him well rested and b) if I know he is tired and in social settings, stay within arm's reach to pull him away if he starts to get rough with a playmate.  I am not sure how to handle it actually, because on the one hand, I'd like to just excuse his behavior by saying, "Oh, poor little guy--I've let you get too tired."  I believe it is important to empathize with him, especially if he isn't feeling good.  But that attitude might sometimes lead me to discount his ability to control his emotions and behavior--an important life skill to learn.  Which he will hopefully be able to do increasingly well as he ages.  Anyway, I've ordered a few parenting books and am open to hear advice from the more experienced crowd if anybody's got it.