Friday, April 29, 2011
A friend of mine invited John and I over to watch to Royal Wedding. I was very happy because this was much less pathetic than me watching it by myself. I tried to find something suitable for John to wear to a Royal Wedding (viewing). But so far he hasn't acquired any baby clothes that approximate the uniform of a Colonel of the Irish Guards, for example. I settled for dressing him in Union Jack colors. Red, white and blue also happen to be the colors for about 40 other countries. But today it was in honor of William and Kate!
So, we sipped tea while we watched all the pomp and fanfare. I don't know what has come over me but I bought everything the royals were selling hook, line and sinker. Even though I have no idea what they do with their time since they no longer govern, I want them to stay around because they know how to put on a show! I thought it was a beautiful ceremony and procession.
I was particularly looking forward to seeing what kind of dress Kate would wear. She did not disappoint! Is she not the most elegant person ever to walk the earth? Speak now or forever hold your peace. That settles it, then!
Also, of course, I wanted to see all of the hats. There were some questionable choices:
These are my favorites:
It's like art on your head! Which ones do you like?
Philip Treacy is a famous milliner in London. I only learned that today when my friend told me that he outfitted many of the wedding guests. If he ever rolls out a line of hats for Target, I'm getting one in every color.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Peter and John and I went strawberry picking earlier this month and came home with 15 pounds of strawberries. Most of which are now frozen. And in about 10 days I ate strawberries at nearly every meal while trying 5 new recipes.
Here are the keepers:
Strawberry Orange Muffins and, last week's pancakes, Strawberry Pancake Roll-ups. We will use the frozen strawberries all summer in smoothies.
Overall we enjoyed our strawberry picking experience. John, however, was not too keen on remaining in the carrier and grew a mite grumpy towards the end. But it was his nap time after all. And I think he gets his sleeping habits from his mother so I shan't judge. He did enjoy the spoils of his parents labor, though:
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
In "Abounding Works" Nancy rejoices that "The good news continues to be good news from one morning to the next. So, even though I'm mopping up from the feasting, the rejoicing extends from one Sunday to the next, all year long."
Throughout the ordinary and extraordinary days, the resurrection, and its attending joy, is true all year long!
And also, I have to include some cute John pictures since that's what you all came to see!
Above he has trapped himself in a cabinet. He crawled in there and then began to cry for help when he couldn't back himself out. I, being the sympathetic mother that I am, went to get the camera to take a picture before rendering aid.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Psalm 22 was written by David. Out of David's own cries for help and hope of deliverance a picture of the suffering savior is revealed. 1,000 Years before the crucifixion took place David, a foreshadow of Christ himself, points to the Messiah. Good reflections for this Good Friday.
22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises  of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet —
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted  shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
But, I have to confess, I am so excited about the royal wedding. And I have no idea why. Mostly, I really like Kate Middleton. Again, I have no idea why. It's not as if we've ever had a heart to heart. What got my attention initially was her hats. Every time I see a picture of her she is wearing the most fabulous hat. Admittedly, they are ridiculous. If I were wearing this someone would probably call animal control thinking that I'd been ravaged by a flock of rabid partridges. But she totally pulls it off with panache! She exudes class, which is nice to see when America seems to be filled with Paris Hiltons flashing their underwear for attention.
Now, here's a question that I could fathom making the subject of a dissertation if I were to return to school to study history:
When America threw off the shackles of the tyrannical rule of the British Empire did we inadvertently enslave ourselves to dull (that is hatless) fashion? It seems that somewhere in the hot pursuit of our democratic ideals, we gave up the right to wear a bird's nest on our head if we feel like it. And that begs the question: was it worth it? I'm not so sure. I do like to vote but... hmm. The hats are so cute!
Anyways, Kate is a commoner. What would King Henry VIII think?!? Perhaps it's better that he's not around to voice his opinion. But this gives the rest of us a chance at the British throne. Well, not me. I'm already married. But my sister is single and Prince Harry is single. And it now seems possible that my mother's dreams of being British royalty could become a reality. There is a chance! And if my sister has a royal wedding, you better believe I'll be wearing a hat.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
One Rash to rule them all, One Rash to find them,
One Rash to bring them all and in the redness bind them
It all started at the end of January. It seemed innocent enough at the time. I had no clue that it was the harbinger of an epic battle. But that's how all sagas begin, right?
John had a bout of diarrhea during the last few weeks of January. I recorded the ordeal on this very blog since I am apparently committed to sharing all the information about bodily functions that you never wanted to know.
His sweet little baby bottom was no match for the onslaught of poop and soon became red and excoriated: diaper rash. Diaper rash? You may be thinking. Babies get diaper rash all the time! True but this was no ordinary rash. It was insidious in its trickery. It frequently waxed and waned. One day it seemed to be all but healed and the next it would flare up like the balrog that killed Gandalf (except, spoiler alert!, he didn't really die. Nor does anyone in this story, fear not.).
Like a hobbit dilly dallying in the shire while evil lurks on the borders, I was lulled into complacence by these healing episodes and then shocked when the rash relapsed. Here and there I dabbled with various remedies only to find that the rash had won again. I had been blinded to its power until finally I realized that this had been going on for nearly 6 weeks! I was certainly verging on (if not already in the territory) of negligent motherhood by letting this rash have dominion over my baby's behind for so long. I realized I had to fight. And yet everything in my power had already failed: Desitin, changing brands of diapers and wipes, antifungal cream, triple antibiotic ointment, going diaper-less and baby powder! All hopelessly unequal to the foe!
Until I realized: this is just like Lord of the Rings! I need all of them at the same time! And that day was initiated the Fellowship of the Diaper Rash: morning and night we gave him a "bottom bath" followed by "dry time" in which he roamed about, singing folk songs, without a diaper on so as to let his nether regions dry. Each time we changed him we slathered his bottom with a parfait of either antifungal cream, desitin and baby powder or antibiotic cream, desitin and baby powder. We upgraded even further to the costliest diapers and wipes in the land, also we employed fervent prayer.
With their powers combined, these were a force to be reckoned with! All of these remedies played their part. But the Frodo and Sam of this story, if you will (and why wouldn't you? Because you've already followed the ridiculous analogy this far...), are "dry time" and a change in his pooping habits.
Dry time, though it pays dividends in healing a sore bottom, is a terrifying thing. Think of The Fellowship Of The Ring when they're in the mines of Moria. I had similar feelings of anxiety. Only instead of Orchs I was dreading bodily fluids.
There were several times I turned my back momentarily only to turn around to find John crawling through his own poop or splashing about happily in a puddle of his own urine. But, as we learned from Frodo and Sam, I had to press onward or face certain doom. Thanks goodness for tile flooring. It's like mithril for a stay at home mom.
Perhaps the Gollum of the story was John's own bowel movements. The diarrhea lasted about 10 days. That is 10 days longer than I would have preferred. But I was dismayed to learn that after a bout of diarrhea, the gut can take weeks to reestablish its normal patterns. This was definitely the case with John. After that initial 10 day episode, he continued to have small, frequent poops night and day, day and night. His bottom was constantly sitting in excrement which never allowed the rash to fully heal.
When his intestines returned to their normal functions, the rash lost much of its powers. With dry time and normal bowel functions combined we reached the end of all things (for the diaper rash). Now I'm happy to report that lilly-white, chunky baby flesh reigns supreme on John's bottom. None of us have plans to sail to across the sea to another world a la Frodo.
I learned several things from this battle with diaper rash:
1) Pampers wipes really are superior at cleaning the bottom. They seem to adhere to poop rather than just smearing it around. They are also gentler on a baby behind. That said, we're still going back to the cheap wipes. But we will use Pampers in the event of a relapse. Which I hope won't happen because, according to LOTR, the evil was destroyed once and for all...
2) Pampers diapers, however, meh. They aren't more impressive than the much cheaper Target brand, to me. I don't think they had a huge effect on the resolution of the rash.
3) Dry time seems to be the ticket. Since this saga, whenever his bottom is looking red, I give him a bottom bath and dry time before bed or in the morning if he's dirtied his diaper over night.
I'm going to be really surprised if no one makes this into a 9 hour movie trilogy.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Baby John, 11 facts for 11 months:
1. He loves to be on the go. At the library's baby time he he quickly tires of playing with the other babies and the huge pile of toys and prefers crawling out the door into the main library. Perhaps this is the sign of a budding bibliophile?! Maybe the books offered in baby time are just not challenging enough and he's after some Dostoevsky. Since he can't yet verbalize, I'll have to wait a little while longer for an answer. After those first few steps he took at the Children's Museum a few weeks ago, he definitely hasn't taken off. He's still cruising along, standing by himself occasionally and taking a rare step but mostly crawling.
2. He LOVES to eat. And he will eat anything. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it's being shoveled down his gullet. I think he gets this from his dad. I've fed him some exotic things like chick pea curry, spicy polenta, cous cous and hummus. I've also fed him tame foods like lasagna, fajitas and oatmeal with fruit. He has eaten all of it with enthusiasm.
3. He has started grinding his five teeth (two on bottom, three on top) which produces a skin-crawling sound. This can't be good for his teeth but I'm pretty sure I'm powerless to stop it, right?
4. He is alarmed by white billowy things. Like trash bags. He yells every time I shake a new trash bag out before putting it in the trash can. I found it funny. Of all things to be alarmed by... trash bags?
5. On the other hand, he LOVES the vacuum cleaner. I think what he most likes is the air that it emits like a warm breeze. He happily follows me around, his hair blowing in the dust-laden wind. So, as soon as he can walk I'm going to put that child to work.
6. He likes pillow time. This is when I put pillows on the floor in the living room and he flops around on them. I didn't know that he liked flopping so much. I found this out quite by accident one day while cleaning. It's so cute! Now I kind of want to make him his own flopping pillow that maybe he can also use for lounging later on when we start showing him tv. But of course if I provide him with a flopping pillow, I will be ensuring that he will flop on everything except that pillow.
8. He's adopted the philosophy of most children in that when I want to sit still and hold him he prefers to move about. Yet when I want him to move about entertaining himself, he prefers to be held. To that end he employs this charming little maneuver that we have dubbed the wet noodle. When I'm holding him and he wants to get down he holds his arms up, goes limps and squirms.
10. He shuffles around with this walker like a little old fellow. But he has become much more adept at it over the last month or so. And he loves to play with his house. He thinks it's hilarious when I crawl through the door. And, I'm sure it is hilarious. It's quite and undertaking to squeeze through there. (I bought both of those toys at a garage sale!)
11. He likes touch and feel books and will usually follow my injunctions to "pet furry Clifford."
And here's a bonus fact for you:
12. Every night before he goes to bed, we sneak in and look at him. Often we touch his face or his belly. Sometimes he wakes up. But we don't stop doing it because we're selfish and we miss him when he's asleep!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Now, you might be thinking: "That recipe has a lot of words in it. It's probably complicated." Wrong! It's very simple. You could even make the topping the night before. I'm telling you I was eating the brown sugar sour cream by the spoonful. If brown sugar sour cream sounds weird to you, that's okay. Just give it a try and you might be licking the carton clean (not that I did that... hypothetically speaking.). The recipe for the Strawberries Romanoff with Brown Sugar Sour Cream Sauce links to another recipe for the pancakes. I liked the pancake recipe but you could also put this topping on anything. Okay, not anything. Like, probably not filet mingon. But almost any kind of pancakes, waffles, french toast, biscuits, shortcake, angel food cake, pound cake etc. You could also just eat it by itself like the strawberries romanoff that they serve at La Madeleine's.
Men of the interwebs, if there are any of you besides Peter who read this, mother's day is coming up next month. Just saying. (Peter, this does not apply to you because I already made this recipe. If you decide to go the breakfast route, you'll have to think of something else. :o) (But you know that you don't have to make me breakfast or buy me anything. All I'll ever want for any gift giving occasion from here on out is a nap.)
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Since he will be a year soon I was trying to choose a selection from his first year so that I can make a baby book. That's right, he's almost one and I haven't started a baby book. For most people, I think, this level of neglect in documentation usually comes with subsequent children. For me, this may mean that for future offspring I just reprint pictures of John and tell them that they all looked alike in babyhood.
Never did it occur to me that I didn't really have to look through every single picture. I could have just searched here and there looking for significant milestones or holidays, etc. I tend to get carried away. In the end when I submitted my order Snapfish wouldn't except my coupon code. I've emailed them hoping that they will rectify the situation. I hope I didn't look through nearly 1,000 pictures for nothing! Of course, I could still order them without the coupon but, being cheap, I was only wanting to pay $1.11.
Anyways, while searching, I found a few gems of the awkward family photo variety:
I'm not sure what's going on here. I'm the only one looking at the camera and my sister seems to have taken a liking to the scarecrow.
This is what happens when dad dresses the baby. I dont' take pride in matchy-matchy baby clothes. All of our clothes for John are hand-me-downs. Which I am completely happy with! I work with what I've got. Yet even I tend to eschew the turtleneck/shorts combination.
And from this morning, a cute case of bedhead. People pay good money for the "bed head" look, you know. But baby John doesn't even have to visit a salon or use product!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I started this book way back in August and finally just finished it in March. I would recommend it to anyone married, getting married or who may ever get married. There is no shortage of marriage and relationship books on the market but I have a feeling that most of them skirt around the biggest marital problem. The book I read in premarital counseling before I got married seemed to suppose that most marital problems stem from stereotypical communication breakdowns between men and women. I won't deny that communication is difficult. I have had enormous trouble trying to communicate what kind of haircut I want. I don't know what words I should use to convey that I don't want to look stupid. Anyways, I digress, but if it's difficult to communicate regarding a haircut, then certainly these troubles will be magnified when you're actually trying to build a life with someone. But that's not the main problem. Tripp proposes that our main problem in marriage is that we're sinners. Sinners married to sinners. There's no way that's going to turn out well without 1) God and 2) hard work. This book cuts to the chase. It debunks the popular "happily ever after" myths surrounding marriage. It's not that marriage can't be" happily ever after" but it's not going to get there on its own without some good old-fashioned elbow grease. He points out that most marriages don't end dramatically as the result of a devastating betrayal or offense. Many simply whither out of neglect. Marriage is usually either made or broken not in a few watershed moments but in ten thousand little daily occurrences. It really encouraged me to try to make every moment count towards strengthening my relationship to Peter and not to excuse even small moments of selfishness or laziness. (I have a long way to go in this arena.) Though I do highly recommend it, I will say that it is a little long and can be wordy (much like this review) and repetitive at times.
Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur
This was the March read for my church's book club. It is about 12 women of the Bible. Each chapter is devoted to one woman. John MacArthur points out what we modern women can learn from each of their stories. While reading this I wasn't too excited about it. I felt like I'd heard most of it before and I just wasn't clinging to every word. At the book discussion I found myself liking it more as I heard other people's thoughts. There are some jewels of insight in it but overall I wouldn't say that it is a must read.
I've been really interested in learning ways that I can structure our (my and John's) days. I never was a structure person before I had a baby. But now I have come to value routines. Currently we have a schedule that I really like but no schedule lasts very long in childhood, I think. I'm trying to prepare for the next stage. As he enters toddler hood I want to incorporate activities that will direct his burgeoning energy and mobility in constructive ways. I also want to teach him to sit quietly and play independently. That said, I think I have my work cut out for me for the next few years. I read the next two books to learn more about toddler hood and get ideas for activities for us.
On Becoming Toddlerwise by Garry Ezzo
This is a quick read but I found it pretty useless. It does have some ideas for structuring a toddler's day but overall I didn't get much out of it. Also there's a chapter in which they're encouraging parents to consider why they're doing what they're doing rather than just how to do it. For example, consider why you're choosing one method of discipline over another rather than just learning how to carry out the particular method you've chosen. There seems to be some merit in this advice but they presented it in a weird parable with talking parrots and owls. I found it strange.
Creative Family Times: Practical Activities For Building Character in Your Preschooler by Allen and Connie Hadidian and Will and Lindy Wilson
This is a short little book that I really liked. It's only 63 pages. Each of the 12 chapters describes a "practical activity for building character" in preschoolers. Some examples: play time, tape time (perhaps mp3 time for our generation), sit time, prayer time, scripture memory time, mom/dad time. Some of these suggestions are similar to those in Toddlerwise. But, for some reason, I was way more inspired while reading this book. I loved a lot of the ideas. Some can be started early, some later in toddler/preschoolerhood. Having not put any of these ideas into practice, I can't speak to the ways that they've personally effected us but I do plan to start incorporating some of them into our days. I would recommend this book for anyone at home with small kids wondering "what do I do with them?" Like I said, I haven't actually used any of the ideas and I don't anticipate using all of them exactly as described. But the book is a good springboard for thinking creatively about how to use our time intentionally.
Monday, April 04, 2011
I found the serving suggestion to be a little off. Supposedly this would serve five people with three pancakes each. I made 13 pancakes out of the batter but they were petite and light. I think this would serve three or four adults depending on their appetites.
Orange-Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes is still the favorite.
Friday, April 01, 2011
When we moved back to Texas last May people often commented on how fortunate it is that we could get John back here- to the land of his ancestors- so quickly. Mostly we just smiled and nodded in response to this. But secretly, we're happy he's a Utahn. I don't think any two people have had more fun in any place than Peter and I did in Salt Lake City. The culmination of the year was, of course, John's birth. So, he's our connection. Utah will always be the place where we had our firstborn son.
Don't get me wrong, I love Texas. Especially San Antonio and the Hill Country. My qualms are that it is too hot and the only mountains are clear on the other side of the state. Also, it's too hot. Did I already say that?
Anyways, when in Rome, as they say, we mus act accordingly. So we took him this week to get some pictures in the bluebonnets. It is a fine Texas tradition, one that I have been looking forward to.
Happy April! I hope you didn't get fooled today. No one put anything past me today, that I know of. But my main companion was John. Who knows what would have gone down if someone over the age of one was in the house.