Friday, March 29, 2013

Thank Goodness for the Piles of Laundry

Truth in blogging: Those piles have been there for days

Since I last washed our cloth diapers on Tuesday, they've been heaped in a pile in the den waiting to be stuffed. Every time I've changed diapers recently I've had to remember to grab one before-hand or run to get one mid-change (not recommended!). But that pile of diapers has encouraged me, because this used to be the norm- running to and fro grabbing various diapers, inserts and wipes, sometimes while Isla lay unwiped on the changing pad. But it's no longer the norm. As I've reflected back on Isla's first year, I see the seasons of ebb and flow in our lives. One year ago we were experiencing the total upheaval that a new baby brings. A lot of it is fuzzy, it's gone by in a blur! I don't know when we fell into a routine, but it did happen, we're in a good one now, and it has been months since I've had a load of diapers laying around for this long! Things will change again, there's no avoiding that. There will be more upheaval and more restructuring, and Lord willing, more restored peace to our days. There may be a season in which the loads of diapers are not only unfolded, and ever-present, but also multiplied by other loads of laundry- towels, clothes, bedding - but for now I'm happy that the unfolded diapers remind me that the overwhelming seasons don't last forever, and that God is unchanging during all the vicissitudes of life. One day the diapers will be gone for good, and I know I'll miss them, or rather, miss the little bottoms that they cover!

Also truth in blogging: This is not photo shopped. She is really that cute.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Isla is One

 One year ago

My baby is one. But she's still so chunky and not yet walking, so she's retaining the title of baby- no additional toddlers here yet!

Isla's interests are stuffing her face with food, and chewing on shoes. I'm thankful to have another good eater on my hands! But, the girl loves shoes. Loves them. Of  course she's not wearing them, she loves to chew on them. Some have commented that her shoe fetish may signal some stereotypical girlishness, but combined with her eating habits, I'm wondering if she's actually revealing herself to be a stereotypical billy goat.

As I've written here before, she has two levels: happiness and sunshine, and murderous rage. She doesn't really fuss, she goes straight to back-arching, head-throwing, bloody murder. THANKFULLY, she spends much, much more time on the happiness and sunshine side of the spectrum. In fact she is overwhelmingly a joy to be around. Everywhere I take her she gets compliments on how good she is. She's good at playing independently, but she also readily smiles and interacts with others. She is a delight, until you take a paper octopus out of her mouth and then she becomes inconsolable for a time. Thankfully, only for a time!

She walks holding on to things, and she stands for quite a while on her own. She's taken a few steps, and just within the last few days,  taken a string of steps together.

She goes to sleep between 7 pm and 8 pm, and usually is awake by about 7 am. She takes a nap at 9:30 am, and 1:30 pm. They both take a nap at 1:30 pm actually, and that is really good for everyone around here!

Um, Isla, you've got something in your teeth there.

Her first word is No. Often the two of us just sit and say "no, no, no" back and forth, for fun, of course. Usually she's going for an outlet, and I say "no, no Isla." She turns to me and repeats "nonononono."
I have noticed her mimicking a lot of sounds, so I wonder if she'll be acquiring more words soon.

Yes, right there between those two bottom ones. 

She is in that fascinating phase where, though she can't talk, she can understand so much. She understands "no" which is evident because she'll often stop doing whatever it is I don't want her to do, but she's often not very pleased about it! She also understands, "take that shoe out of your mouth!" Honestly, of all things she could chew on, she picks shoes?!  When asked, she will clap her hands, hug her doll, and point.

Here's some clapping and saying no:

Here's the two of them, to use John's term, "sharing." John describes this as "sharing Isla's cheerios." Notice he has the bulk of them shoved in his mouth. He particularly loves to "share" when it's someone else food, or toys! 

Isla loves John. They love each other for the most part. There are always many moments throughout the day when their sibling charity is overthrown by their shared desire for the same toy, usually a toy that one wasn't interested in until the other picked it up, but I assume by the time they're in their 30's they'll have worked it all out- you know decided who gets the toy cars and who gets the rattle- without my intervention. 

This year has gone by doubly fast. Each year goes by faster than the last it seems, and at this rate she's going to be 18 in about 6 months. I've enjoyed Isla's first year so thoroughly, more than I expected to. Having seen how quickly the time goes with John, I had more perspective this time around. And compared to the busyness and independence of toddlerhood, babyhood can be so sweet and cuddly, and stationary (I love things that are stationary!). I'm still enjoying her, of course, but more challenges come each day now that she's getting mobile. But with the challenges, fun things come as well! I'm sure she'll have a lot more to say this time next year. Happy Birthday, Isla! We could never have imagined we'd love you so much!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

February Books

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fydor Dostoevsky

Well, I did it. I read The Brothers Karamazov. It was over 700 pages, but the type was diminutive and the margins were very conservative, so it seemed even longer. It was intended to be the first part of a trilogy- to which my first thought was "if you can't tell a story in over 700 pages, you need to find another story to tell." But, now that I've finished, I see that the story could have kept going, and I would have kept reading. Dostoevsky died several months after the first installation was published so he was unable to write the remaining 4,000 pages. 

The Brothers Karamazov has been on my "to read" list for a while. I've been interested in it ever since I read Crime and Punishment several years ago. The Brothers Karamazov is good, but Crime and Punishment is riveting. So, if this post induces anyone to go pick up a Dostoevsky book, I'd recommend Crime and Punishment. Crime and Punishment, conveniently, is also about 400 pages shorter which may have some bearing on my preference. 

The Brothers Karamazov is about- well, I mean, what isn't it about? It's 700 pages long, it's about pretty much everything you could ever think of except vampires- but, at its most basic, I think it can be described as a story about the embodiment of three philosophies- sensualism, atheism/ rationalism, and faith/Christianity- and their consequences as they play out within a family of three brothers and their father. But, obviously, a lot more could be said. 

Parts of it were so fantastic. There are a few parts I plan to reread. But, overall, I'd recommend Crime and Punishment over this. 

2. Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman

On the other hand, I could see someone reading this post actually picking up this little book. It is a great, very short (even greater!) book on child training/discipline. I can't say that a lot of it was new information, but I still found it refreshing. My experience on child rearing is meager, but growing every day. There are plenty of books out there, and perhaps I'm not the best one for making recommendations because I'm still at the front end of parenting. But I found this to be clear, concise and Biblical. There were plenty of practical suggestions.

For example, one thing that I took away: Instead of being surprised and flustered when I see sinful behavior in my children, I should expect it- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)- and prepare for it. One way to prepare is to clearly establish expectations. I've been making a concerted effort to let John know what I expect of him ahead of time. This worked out beautifully last Friday when we went strawberry picking. Before we went, I discussed at length that we only pick the red strawberries, and that we are not to eat them until we get back home to wash them. This is a very small example, but he did such a great job! He picked nearly 5 pounds of bright red strawberries by himself and didn't take a bite! I felt that I was able to help us both avoid temptations and frustrations simply by anticipating and addressing issues that might come up. Of course there were other issues that I failed to address ahead of time, like the one of him and his friends running towards an oncoming train. One thing at a time! 

I'd definitely recommend this book. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


First and foremost, I must address a glaring vocabulary/spelling faux pas that occurred in my last post. I seriously don't know how to spell anything. But, this was more than a spelling error. I referred to a "laundry shoot". Did any of you wonder what that might be? Perhaps a large laundry-launching firearm? I hate to disappoint you if you were looking forward to firing your dirty underwear into your washing machine via rocket launcher, but I'm not aware that a "laundry shoot" exists (though, that would be fun.) When I wrote it, it didn't seem right, but I kept forgetting to look it up. Something in my small brain prompted me to search for shute- no, still wrong! CHUTE! That's the one! John likes to climb in the cabinet and stick his head out of the laundry chute!

So, I've made the appropriate edits, and you all, if you're reading this, are apparently willing to tolerate the unsophisticated ramblings of someone who wishes she was the Michael Phelps of grammar.

 I've written about my journey from couch potato to running enthusiast before. I feel like I could write more about that experience, it affected me greatly, but I still have trouble putting it into words. However, that didn't stop me from submitting an essay to my friend, Laura, who did a running series on her blog,  here is my post. Laura has a great fitness blog , and if you want to know about running, look no further! She's a serious runner!

 In The Power of Habit, a book I read and reviewed here, the author discusses certain habits that radiate a positive influence over other areas of your life. He has a name for such habits, though I can't remember what it is- something like "landmark habits". The idea is that some habits, when adopted, tend to overflow their sphere and cause you to make better decisions in in general. Exercise is one. When people adopt exercise habits, the author says, their eating habits, spending habits and others tend to improve as well. Making your bed is another such habit. So, I decided to adopt that one, but I'm  not sure it's going to have a chance to reach it's full effect:

 Finally here's a picture of Isla going all Godzilla on John's train track. Just before this picture was taken, he told me "Mom, there's a giant baby on my train track!"