Monday, June 29, 2009

loooooong!

So, I have been away for a while and there is lots to catch up on. Unfortunately there are not nearly as many pictures of things as I would like.


We went to Indiana for about 10 days and got back yesterday late evening. There were two weddings on the 20th, one for my good friend Bekah and her husband David at 2pm and the other for Greg's cousin Kaylene and her husband Vince at 4 pm. I was in Bekah's wedding so I obviously went to that one, and the plan was for Greg to take Luke with him to Kaylene's wedding.


Bekah and I used to work together as CNA's in a nursing home in IN. We got along great and were close friends really quickly! We both loved watching TLC shows about interior decorating and the "What Not To Wear" show, going to Hobby Lobby, our residents at work etc. We often went to a burger place after work and always wrote on the comment card for them to please serve breakfast 24 hours a day (since we worked evening shift). Often she would call this "friend" of her's, David, on the way to the restaurant. Since she always seemed to be on the phone with him it almost felt like he was part of the gang, so I always told her to say hi to him, even though we had never met, and he always said hi back. (-;


Two of Bekah's favorite things are civil war history and the Indianapolis Colts. She is one of the only girls I know who frequently checks Colts scores on her cell phone (if she can't watch the game) and who would love to spend hours at a civil war battle field, just soaking it all in, even if it is raining! Way back when she was planning a civil war wedding, and her groom was just going to have to deal with it. I guess she decided that all the work that would go into finding/making proper attire for everyone would be too much, so she settled on a Colts themed wedding instead. Her dress had a blue sash and we wore blue dresses. She had Colts jewelry and flip flops and tossed a colts football instead of a bouquet. Everything was blue and white. It was a lot of fun, and very beautiful! So now she and David are married, and have a beautiful little boy as well. Congrats, you guys!


Bekah's wedding was over in time for me to get to Kaylene and Vince's reception just as it started so that worked out nicely. While Bekah's was a small, intimate outdoor wedding Kaylene's was a big church wedding with a beautiful hall booked for the reception. Since her wedding was later they had a full meal planned and a live band played jazz music the whole time. Luke wasn't too impressed by the food, but he did like the music. After the food was put away and the dance floor was cleared he and all the other little kids ran out to dance! He stood right smack dab in the center of it all and turned round and round for two whole songs before he came over to see what I was doing. I'll post a video later.


Because of Kaylene's wedding there was a lot of out of town family there besides us, all of Greg's cousins from Texas as well as his sister from Canada. Luke really enjoyed playing with all of his older cousins and learning from them, and I enjoyed the chance to get to know his Texas cousins a little bit too. When we first got to Indiana Luke spent several minutes giving his 8 month old cousin Easton about 25 kisses! He gave him many more kisses over the rest of our trip, but that was the most at any one time! He also followed Cassia, 3, and Isaac, 4, around pretty much wherever they went and imitated them all the time. He learned soooo much from them! For example we always read "Where the Wild Things Are" and Cassia enjoyed listening too so Luke learned how roar his terrible roars, and gnash his terrible teeth, and show his terrible claws. (The rolling of the eyes was a little too advanced for either one of them.)


His language explosion has continued with a new word, "BALL"! He also learned signs for "bath" and "thank you". We utilized a new light weight blanket that I crocheted the edge around as a cover up whenever he wanted to nurse and started calling it the "nana" blanket, since he calls nursing nana. I was worried about all the nursing in public we were going to be doing since he isn't a big fan of being discrete, but he picked up on the nana blanket pretty fast and by the end of the week he would bring me the blanket when he wanted to nurse! I am working on a second blanket now and have plans for two more, one for a good friend who is pregnant and another for my nephew who will be born in September. As I work on them I think about my great grandma. She crocheted lace around the edges of hundreds of baby blankets, way more than enough for all her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and Luke. I have one she made that she gave me when Luke was born and I have another that she gave my mom when I was born. My first blanket is not nearly as pretty as hers were, but this second one is turning out a bit more uniform and the lace part definitely looks much improved. Doing this makes me feel connected to her in a new way, and I like that.


We did a lot of reading. I had finished reading the Wizard of Oz just before the trip, reading one or two chapters each night as he fell asleep. I continued to do that in IN with the second book "The Land of Oz" and he got so used to it that he sometimes would bring me the book when he wanted to sleep, and not just at bed time but also at nap time sometimes when he needed to wind down and nursing alone wasn't doing the trick. We finished the second book and started the third, "Ozma of Oz" on the way home. The third book has a yellow hen that talks and Luke thought the way the yellow hen talked was really funny so I read several chapters on the way home, even when he wasn't tired. I was impressed that he actually enjoyed this, because there aren't many pictures and generally I think he just allows me to read aloud to him because he is nursing and tired and the sound of my voice soothes him, but he really did laugh every time I read what the hen said. Later though, when he actually wanted to go to sleep, he started to whine when I read the hen parts, so I stopped reading them in the hen voice and read everything in the same voice and then he stopped fussing and relaxed and was asleep really quickly.


I turned 30 while we were in IN and Greg bought me a string of real pearls for my b-day to wear to the wedding! They were on sale about 65% off so it was a bargain, but I have always wanted some pearls, my birth stone. We had a party with family since one of my mom-in-law's sisters and her husband both share my birthday! Everyone talks about how hard it was to turn 30, and while I don't really like the way it sounds I don't really feel that old so it hasn't bothered me too much yet. I did think, you know, if I live as old as my great grandma did then 30 is less than 1/3 of my life, so I could have quite a ways to go yet. I also did think though that eventually I will get to that stage, be a grandmother instead of just a mother, and if it feels like things are going by fast now I can imagine that it will feel even faster then. I hope I can look back and say that I really lived my life and was present for all those precious moments with my family and loved ones. Everyone is talking about Michael Jackson these days and what kind of legacy he left, the music, the madness, which do you remember? He talked about how he hoped his art would be eternal, make him immortal in some respects. I may never do anything that big that the whole world will remember me forever, but I do want to live with integrity to the best of my ability, and with great love.

The trips to and from went pretty well. On the way up Luke and I flew because Greg had gone up about a week ahead of us to go fishing in Canada with his brother and he had taken the car. I thought maybe Luke would enjoy flying this time, looking out the window and stuff, but when we got on the run way and were gearing up for take off he started to scream before we even started moving! I think he must have gotten scared. I started singing to him because he wasn't settling down and I didn't know what else to do and almost immediately he put his head down on my shoulder and stopped crying. He nursed as we climbed higher into the air and fell asleep quickly and was out the rest of the flight. After we landed he kept right on sleeping so I got someone to help me put on my mei tai baby carrier and we made it through the Chicago air port. He woke up just a little before we got to baggage claim where my father-in-law and sister-in-law were waiting for me with her two kids. When Luke saw his papa he perked right up and gave him a smile and pointed at him, so sweet! I didn't know if he would remember him, but I guess his visit with us in April was long enough and recent enough to make a good imprint on him.

On the way home we drove first to Indy for an overnight visit with some friends and then left in the morning for the long haul home. He did pretty good most of the time with books and toys and singing and snacks. He slept a little, but not his usual two hour naps. The last hour was torture for the most part, he was just too tired and what he wanted was to be up in front "driving" with Greg! When we pulled over so I could try to nurse him all he wanted to do was climb over the seat and play with the steering wheel! We were all pretty relieved to pull into the driveway.

Unfortunately Greg discovered that our fridge had died while we were away so he spent a couple of hours trying to get it to run again and then gave up and looked for a replacement on line. I bought one this morning and he was going to go pick it up after work today. It is pretty standard, except that it is energy star so it should save us some money compared with our previous fridge which was about fifty years old I think, and a nice avocado green! It also has an ice maker which will be great once it is installed since Greg uses a lot of ice for his water jugs that he takes to work, but doesn't always remember to refill the trays. (-;

Harvest was mostly over by the time we got back, I think they finished up today (Monday). Luke and I did get to ride for about 40 minutes with my uncle Dwight in the combine before I had to go to work and that was a lot of fun. Dwight explained everything to him and let him push a few buttons when we weren't moving and play with the steering wheel a bit so he had a lot of fun! I was just glad to get out to the field a little bit even though we missed all the big family dinners in the field and celebrating my Grandpa's birthday with everyone.

Well, this is way long for a blog post, but I had some catching up to do. In a few days I'll try to post some of the pics we took, but I have to work for the next few days so I can't right this instant. Thanks to our IN family and friends for the wonderful week we spent with you! It flew by too fast. Congrats to Matt and Erin on their engagement! Can't wait to see you in October for the wedding!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

puddles!

I figured out a way for my baby to enjoy puddles! We tried once before but he didn't like the feel of the grass on his feet so it was a no go. A couple of weeks ago I bought him a pair of fake crocks and today there were beautiful puddles all over my parent's yard and ditches so out came the crocks and my baby loves puddles!!! I took some really cute pics with my mom's camera but I will have to post them later. My brother's little dog came out to play with us in the puddles and he figured out that Luke would squeal and laugh every time he ran close to him and splashed him so the dog started running back and forth in front of Luke over and over again! It was so funny!


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Here are the pics I promised, such a beautiful little baby I have!







Look Mom, I can do it by myself!








Sweet, sweet child!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Perfect Place...


My perfect place is the front porch of my parent's farm house on a breezy summer day. It is a BIG porch so there is always plenty of shade and the breeze keeps you cool and the mosquitoes away most of the time. I love sitting out there and drinking terere with whoever happens to be there. I love how comfortable it is, how there is lots of room for Luke to play and I don't have to worry about him running into the street and getting killed because the street is far away across a huge green lawn with lots of big old shade trees instead of just 30 feet from the front door to a busy hazardous street with lots of truck and strange people passing by all the time.

I like that my parent's front porch is secluded, out in the country and far enough off the road that while you can be seen it is only minimally. I feel comfortable there, I can nurse my son with out a care. No one to judge me there. And even though I am still careful to be discrete, I don't worry so much about what others are thinking. I know those who don't want to see too much will keep their eyes averted just in case my son decides to put on a show, and everyone there believes that it is natural and normal and GOOD to nurse a child longer than a year. And so I relax, and so does my son, and he doesn't try to put on a show. He climbs on my lap and asks without demanding and then curls up and nurses peacefully, enjoying some time with me that is all ours.

I like that there is space. You can see for miles over beautiful fields. My favorites are the golden wheat fields which ripen around my birthday. Harvest. I LOVE harvest. There is space for Luke to play and explore and grow and learn there. He doesn't have to be tethered to me or holding my hand. I can sit there and watch as he gains knowledge and confidence and new skills. There is space for us to use our imaginations, we can be and do anything there. I can make him dandelion chains, or curly-q's, or rub the flowers on his hands to turn them yellow. We can sing silly songs and make chalk pictures on the sidewalk and play ball. There is space to watch things grow, flowers and vegetables and animals and babies.

I love the people there too. I love how much they love my child, how well they know him, how they delight in everything he does, almost as much as I do. I love how we have such open, trusting, comfortable relationships. How I can tell them anything an be completely safe knowing that they will love me and accept me regardless. I am grateful for them, because I know not everyone has that kind of relationship with their families. I hope I have that kind of relationship with my son and whatever other children I may have in the future.

So this is my perfect place, sitting on a breezy big porch on a warm summer day, with family around me. It isn't fancy, but it is good. There are other perfect places, places close to other people I love, places in Indiana, Oregon, Colorado, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic to name a few. Right now I am enjoying this one, but next week I will get to enjoy a different one!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

notes

Luke had his Dr's appointment today, about 32 inches long and 23 lbs. He had a hard time with the Dr and nurses today. Always before he has been fine, curious about everything and accepting of the staff. Today he couldn't handle it at all. As soon as someone other than me would get near him he would cling to me and scream! Dr Wiens said maybe he remembers his trip to the ER... Poor baby!

Afterwards we went to Drubber's for lunch with a coworker and her little boy. It was fun seeing her sweet baby, who is almost two! He and Luke shared a donut and lots of smiles and jabbers.

Luke and I had lots of errands to do today. The most fun one for me was going to the library. We didn't stay long but we got the second two books in the Wizard of Oz series. At night Luke has his bath and then we read together. If he is wide awake and not sitting down well I start with short picture books until he has calmed down a bit. Then after a while he snuggles in with me and I read a short chapter or two to him. Tonight we finished The Wizard of Oz, so tomorrow we will start one of the new books.

This evening we went to the public pool with my brother Wes. It wasn't as big of a hit as the rec. center pool was, I think because the water was so cool and it wasn't very hot this evening. He got cool fast, but he still wanted to be in the water. We saw some other kids with some little balls and they let him play with them and took turns throwing them back and forth for quite a while. Wes hung out with us some of the time but also got a lot of time in with some kids he goes to school with and the big slide and diving boards. When we went to drop him off at home Luke wanted to get out and play so he and Wes played with the basket ball for quite a while. There was also a little kitten watching them and when Luke saw it he started patting his leg with one hand vigorously and kind of leaning down a bit! It was so funny. It was like he was trying to call the kitten the way you would call a dog to you, and he did it over and over again, just patting his little leg as fast as he could and beaming at that kitten! I have never seen him do that before, not sure where he picked it up, but he had me in stitches!

Well, I have so much that needs to be done tomorrow, and it is really late so I had better go snuggle up and get some sleep before Luke decides that it is time to get up!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Zoo again!!!

I have gone to the zoo three times recently. A few weeks back the new tiger exhibit was unveiled so a friend of mine from work met me there with her son and we had a good day, hot but good, then last week Greg and I tried to go with Luke but I forgot how early it closes so we only got to stay 15 minutes! Yesterday we went again and all these pics ore from this latest trip. Amy and Derrick and their sweet Glen as well as Faby and her daughter Camila met us at 11 and we had a picnic lunch before heading out into the zoo. Fist stop, Penguins!



Luke was more interested in Glen. (-:


Next we were on to the reptile house, which was a big hit for Luke especially!








Jungle!!!

Luke learned the sign for Bird while we were in the Jungle! I had never tried to teach it to him before but I decided to show him and he picked it right up and has been using it ever since. Only thing is that when he does it, it kind of looks like the way he signs lights and milk so you have to look at the context I guess. If you are outside and he is using his high voice it's a good bet he means bird!



Next was the North American area... It was pretty hot and we mainly went back to see the otters, but they were taking a nap so we kind of rushed through the rest of it. Most of the other animals were also taking naps.




Then it was on to the big cats!

The poor leopards are about the only ones left in a smaller cage since the tiger exhibit opened.

Somewhere just before we got to the tiger exhibit Luke became best friends with Faby and pretty much stuck to her the rest of the time. (-: I think that drove Camila a little bit nuts, but there was enough else going on that she let Luke enjoy her mommy a little while.









After the tigers come the Lions!


We also went through Australia and South America but decided that we were all ready to call it a day after that. It was so hot I think we were all a bit wilted, but we had soooo much fun! Can't wait to do it again, hopefully when it's a little bit cooler.
Tonight Greg was sweeping the kitchen and Luke decided that should be his job. I agree, I mean he does make most of the mess on the floor, now if he could just figure out how to make a pile and then get it into the trash!








Here is a cute video!

video

Luke has also learned how to sign "more" this week which is really cool! I had tried to teach it to him when he was much younger but it hadn't stuck, then the other day I decided to try again and it just clicked immediately for him. He is just figuring out so much everyday, today he got his shoe on by himself! He can also take off his own pants if they are a little on the lose side and has figured out how to undo his Velcro diapers! That is one trick I could do with out!

Well. that should be enough for one post! Hope you enjoyed the picks!

Monday, June 1, 2009

overnight

Luke stayed overnight with Grammy and Grandpa this weekend for the first time ever! Greg and I like to catch at least one White Sox game each year and they were playing the Royals in Kansas City this weekend so we made the quick drive up and stayed overnight while Luke spent a little extra time with his grandparents here. The last two years Luke has been with us, first in utero and last year in the flesh. Last year was fun but very hot and with Luke more mobile we figured he really wouldn't enjoy it much if we took him with us. It was also nice to have a good chunk of time just to ourselves. Sometimes it feels like I have to remember so many things to tell Greg, just little necessary things to keep our everyday lives going relatively smoothly, that I don't get a chance to just talk with him and enjoy our relationship as much as I would like to. When we do go out just the two of us there always seems to be so much of an agenda that it's hard to relax, I sometimes feel like we have to hurry up and get our quality time in so we can be back to pick up the baby on time. So, even though my heart was in my throat as I said good-bye to my baby and gave him to my parents, it was a really good weekend. Yes, I know they love him, and he adores them, but he is my baby and I always feel not quite whole when I have to leave him with someone else.



So, even though I missed Luke, I really enjoyed the whole trip. The drive up was nice, we talked for a while and then I got a quick nap. When we got to KC we caught a movie which we both enjoyed, and then headed for the ball park. Greg hadn't gotten tickets ahead of time thinking that it is the Royals after all and they shouldn't be sold out, but they basically were... There were a few $75 tickets left and then there was standing room only! We paid $7 each for standing room only and then were able to find seats after the game got started. It was a really fun game, for us anyway! We won 5-3. It was pretty exciting with the winning runs coming late in the game, and everyone was on their feet for the final at bat! We were both on the tired side so we headed back to the hotel, which was beautiful. We got a king sized bed with feather comforter, and the hotel had an indoor/outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, and a fitness room. I had forgotten how much I love to swim! There weren't many people in the pool that night which was great for me, I like to swim, not splash so much. Greg was more tired than I so he worked out a little in the fitness room and then spent most of the time in the Jacuzzi. I enjoyed the pool so much I decided I needed to find a way to go swimming more often so we now have a book of swimming passes for the city pool!

We tried to watch a movie that night but we were both falling asleep and decided to save it for the morning. It was so relaxing, just enjoying the plush room and pool and not having any responsibilities, it was like steeling time or something. It was nice having the time to reconnect with each other without the pressure of deadlines or any of the normal daily interruptions. We slept late, ate a little breakfast while finishing up the movie and took one last swim before checking out. I had the whole pool to myself! I told Greg that if we ever win the lottery or something I wanted to get a pool!

We did some shopping before heading home, another thing that is a million times easier when you aren't trying to keep track of a one year old at the same time! We listened to the White Sox/Royals game on the way home and they won again! Go Sox! We got to my parent's house about supper time and Luke was so sweet! Even though he really doesn't talk it was obvious that he had missed us and was really glad we were home! We had checked in several times while we were gone but we stuck around a bit to hear about the overnight stay in a little more detail. I think everything went really good, he ended up sleeping in their bed most of the night, but my parents had us in their bed when we were little and both said that it felt surprisingly natural to have a baby in their bed again. My mom had enjoyed seeing how he is at night, how he tries to put himself back to sleep and stuff when he wakes up.

One funny thing from our end, Greg told me in the morning that all night long I kept startling and saying things like, "Where's Luke!?!" I don't remember doing that at all so I must have been doing it in my sleep! He also said I kept patting him and stuff like I do with Luke when he wakes up in the night.

So we are back safe and sound and I think we all had a good weekend. Luke is supper sweet, giving me kisses all the time, but also showing his emotions more strongly. The other day he was trying to help me unload the dishwasher and he grabbed a wine glass so I had to take it away from him before he threw it or something and he got really mad and bit the dishwasher! I couldn't help laughing a little bit, I've never seen him do something like that before, but I hope he doesn't turn into a bitter! I asked Mom how he compares to my siblings and I as kids as far as our temperament goes and she thinks he is a lot like me, at least from hearing what I have said about how he is at home. She says he is obviously more comfortable showing his frustration, etc. when he is at home with me, although he is starting to show it more at their house too, but she thinks he is a lot like I was and feels his emotions deeply. She said he is going to be an interesting one to raise! I'm sure having fun raising him!

Tuesday I got called off from work so we decided to make good on our plans to go swimming/work out more often. Greg isn't big on swimming but he wanted to find a good fitness center to use that's not too expensive. We decided to check out the Newton Rec. Center. Greg used their fitness room while Luke and I played in the pool for an hour. I was expecting Luke to be really cautious and clingy and fearful of the water, but I was surprised to find that he really, really enjoyed it! I know he likes his bath, but he hates it when I have to lay him back to wash his hair, and he doesn't like it when I poor water on his head either (so either way it's a struggle to get his head clean) and that's why I was expecting him to be afraid. He was a little cautious, especially at first. The pool has a pretty good sized area that is only two feet deep so we started off there because Luke is tall enough to stand up there by himself, but he was afraid to put his feet down. After trying to set him down and having him pick up his feet twice I just held him and took one foot and put it on the bottom of the pool so he could feel that it was ok to stand up. After that he was fine. He even did a face plant in the watter three separate times and came up without coughing or sputtering and needed only minimal comforting before he was off again! There were a few other families there but it wasn't crowded and they had brought some balls with them to play with and shared them with Luke. He spent the first ten minutes beaming and splashing with his hands, then he started to watch the other little kids really closely, then he started pointing at them and trying to play with them. After a while I decided to take him into the deeper water, where I could stand up instead of crouching down all the time, to see what he would do. Again I was really surprised. He was cautious at first and I kind of swirled him around in the water while holding him close on my hip, but soon he was floating on his tummy with his head held up out of the water and just his hands holding onto my arms while I swirled him around. He even figured out how to kick while I did that! I also showed him how to stand on the edge of the pool and then kind of lean into my arms (he wouldn't jump) and then I would swish him around in the water.

Towards the end there were some bigger boys, grade school to middle school age, playing basket ball in the water and he really wanted to play with the balls. They were really nice and shared with us and the hoop was low enough that I could lift Luke up just high enough for him to put the ball in the hoop and he LOVED that! I think we did that for at least 20 minutes so my arms and shoulders got a really good work out and are sore! It was worth it though, he had such a blast, enjoyed it way more than I thought he would. I think we played in the pool for an entire hour and I think he would have gone longer if it hadn't been getting late. The little turkey refused to take a nap today and by the time 8:30 rolled around I noticed that his patience was wearing thin so I figured we had better get showered and dressed and head home before we had a melt down. (I think he was afraid to fall asleep and wake up to find me gone again. I almost never leave when he is sleeping, we have a good-bye routine that works way better than me trying to sneak out, but he just kept jerking himself back awake every time he got close to sleep and that is my best bet for why.) When we got home he fell asleep almost immediately, I actually changed his diaper and put pajama pants on him without him waking up really!

I have so much fun being his mom! His kisses melt my heart (the other morning he was being silly and he hit me right on the face and then quickly leaned in and gave me a big fat kiss on the chin! Smart little bugger knew I couldn't stay mad after that!) and it is such a blast to watch him learn and grow and experience knew things. I am always learning more about who he is and what he needs from me. Being a mom is such a personal, intimate thing. I know that everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes the authorities need to step in when situations are really wrong, but on the flip side, the side of normal loving families, I think we women are often so hard on each other. I don't think we even realize it sometimes. We all want to be the best mothers for our children, and we do that I think by loving them and being in tune with them, who they are and what their needs are. Each child is different, each mother is different, and so each pair may have a slightly different style of parenting and that is actually good. I remember complaining that this or that wasn't fair as a kid, and Mom would say, that's right, it isn't fair, but it is just. It is just what you need, what this child needs, in this situation. If I have more kids, which I hope I do, they won't be exactly the same as Luke, and I will be a different mom for them based on who they are, who I am, and how I can best meet their individual needs.

Well, enough, it's late and I need to go snuggle up with my boys!