Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sweet baby!

The other day Luke and I had fun playing with his baby. He often carries it around, pats it's back and tries to feed it or put it's thumb in it's mouth (it is made to do that). This day he was playing with his baby patting it's back and I asked if he wanted me to help him wrap his baby in the blanket. He got really excited but he didn't want the baby wrapped in the blanket! He wanted to be the baby in the blanket! He could hardly wait for me to spread the blanket out before he plopped down on top of it! I was really surprised, one he never wants any blankets on in bed, we always have to make sure he wears long pj bottoms so he doesn't get cold, and two we haven't ever really wrapped up him or his baby since he was tiny!
Anyway, he was pretty excited about getting wrapped up!
After I wrapped him up I thought, I HAVE to get a picture of this! I started to get up and he got scared that I was leaving him so I turned around and said, "Mommy wants to take a picture of you, can you wait right hear so I can get the camera?" and he settled right down and waited with out moving until I came back to take his picture! He understands so much more than even I realize sometimes!

Hear he is putting his baby to bed in his cardboard box house.

Relaxing after a hard day's work!

This video is of him rocking his baby while Greg and I sing Rock-a bye Baby. That day he also wanted me to rock him and sing it over and over again! So sweet!


I think he is starting to get the difference between him and a baby, sometimes he wants to be a big boy and do big boy things like help mommy and other times he wants to be a baby. It is so interesting to watch him learn these things.


Sunday was so nice and cool Luke and I went to the zoo while daddy stayed home and worked on homework. Next time he better do it on Saturday so we can all go together! It was a perfect day for the zoo, really nice and cool with a high in the mid 70's! We started off at the Penguins but there were tons of people there so we moved on pretty quickly to the North American exhibit. I don't think I have taken Luke through there since we went with Faby and Camila and the Birdsel clan, and that day we couldn't see the bears or the otters, but both were out and playful today!

Luke had fun growling at the bears!

Luke was definitely in Big Boy mode today and wanted to push the stroller all by himself almost the whole time we were there. I had to be really careful because there were a lot of people there and he didn't have great control, but he was also a little on the tired side, especially towards the end, and really didn't want my help at all!

I think we stopped at every single water fountain we passed to get a drink. The boy loves water!

Luke had a meltdown on the big wooden walk way that goes past the Mexican wolves and the buffalo because he was having a hard time with the stroller but didn't want my help, so we found a nice quiet shady spot and took a quick nana break. It was just the ticket. He made it through the rest of the zoo with no tears!

See the cute baby giraffe hiding behind his mamma?! There were also a lot of little babies in that area and I think Luke was almost more enthralled with them than the giraffes! I didn't get any pics because I had to work hard to keep him from kissing all these stranger's babies. A couple of the mommas were friendly and let him get a closer look but some of the mommas had concerned looks on their faces, maybe not sure if he would be gentle or not, so I got him moving again as fast as I could.

Well, we had a really good day, hope you enjoyed the pics!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wedding and fun stuff!

My cousin Rachel got married to "the boy", Chris, on August 22. That morning Luke and I went over to their house to get the food ready and Luke played with my younger cousins. They have a big trampoline and Luke was enthralled with it!
It was interesting because I realized that he now communicates a lot with sign language and my cousins had to keep coming to ask me what this or that sign meant. The evening before the wedding we all had dinner together with Chris' family and the wedding party and then the older cousins got together at Ben and Andrea. Chris and Luke seemed to get along pretty well, and later, at Ben and Andrea's house, we were talking about how many words and signs Luke knows and suddenly Chris asked if he was deaf and looked really embarrassed, poor guy! I guess with as much as Luke signs it might appear that he is deaf, but (I think) usually we just talk to him and don't often sign along unless it is a new sign we are working on. Maybe we sign more than we think. Anyway, I told Chris no, but that because boys learn language later than girls we had decided to teach him signs to be able to communicate with him better. I am really glad we did. Luke understands everything, but his verbal language is still pretty limited and very difficult to understand. His signs on the other hand are numerous and even though a few of them are similar it is generally pretty clear what he is trying to tell us.
Wedding pictures!
My pics aren't really good, it was twilight and most of the actual wedding pictures were from pretty far away and it was difficult to get clear pictures.

Rachel made all the dresses except for Melanie's, including her own dress! They were simple but elegant, and beautiful!

Chris and his parents are from the Boston area.

The wedding was at Rachel parent's house on the farm about a mile and a half from my parent's house. It was my grandparent's farm before that.

Beautiful, radiant bride!

Exchanging rings and vows...

...and a first kiss as husband and wife!

Ben and Daniel played everyone out of the wedding area. The reception was up the hill in a tent closer to the house. They had bought about twenty or thirty different coffee tables from second hand stores and painted them white and set bowls with herbs and flowers planted in them, and candles, on the tables. The food included little sandwiches with ham salad on them, grilled rosemary encrusted shrimp, pasta with chicken pesto, a tomato and cucumber salad, humus and pita chips, fresh vegetables, crackers and several kinds of cheese, and ice cream with lots of toppings for desert! There were lots of paper lanterns and Christmas lights and everything was beautiful.

There were a few short speeches, by the bride and groom, their parents and the maid of honor and best man. Jamboree played a few songs.

The bride and groom posed for pictures in Grandpa's rebuilt car and then they took a short ride.

Sweet sisters!

The Rock!
Rachel and Chris left not to long after their little ride with Papa and Grandma. A few of us stayed around to chat on the porch and then we all headed home. Donna sent me home with a couple of the coffee tables so I have some new furniture!

Here are a few more pics of some of the other fun things that have been happening around our house.
Luke has recently decided that his favorite thing is Veggie Tales movies. We have a few of them and they sit up on a shelf so he can't reach them. He recently came up with his own sign to tell me that he wants to watch them besides just pointing and whining. It's really cute but he does it all the time now! Basically he sways from side to side like he is dancing, sometimes very pronounced swaying if he thinks I'm not getting it! He loves dancing to the music on the movies so I guess it makes a lot of sense.
The other day I was busy doing something and all of the sudden I heard him crying and turned around to see this...
He had tried to climb up on the shelved to get the videos himself since I had already told him no, and he was stuck! I helped him get down after grabbing a quick picture, but he wasn't done asking for it.

Poor baby, Mommy is so mean!
But Mommy does take him to the zoo whenever it isn't too hot and we have an off day!

For this trip the Gorillas seemed to be the big thing. We went to the tigers and lions but they didn't want to play where we could see them well, and we walked around the rest of the African area but I think the gorillas stole the show.

As we were leaving the gorilla area he grabbed my hat and was wearing it, but unfortunately he took it off just as I snapped the picture and decided he didn't want it after all.

He was pretty dirty after the zoo so I gave him a bath and a mohawk! His hair is so long it won't all stay up, but it was still pretty cute. I ended up cutting his bangs back before the wedding so that he could see out of those big brown eyes, but I couldn't get him to sit still any longer than that so the rest of his hair is still long.

We really enjoyed seeing all the cousins, so many of them live far away now. Miriam is in Evansville, IN., Rachel and Chris in Boston, Kristen in Portland, Daniel was in Tucson the last year and in Paraguay the last three months, Melanie is in Arkansas, Greg up in Manhatan (I think). Most of them had to go back almost imediately after the wedding, Kristen stayed until today, and Daniel is here at least a month, then we will see. A few didn't get to come, Justin and Sarah in Michigan, Nate and Liz in Colorado, and my siblings Becca and Joe in Vermont, James in Georgia, and Ron in New Mexico. That's still pretty good for a family as large adn wide spread as ours has become.
One other piece of news, incase anyone hasn't heard yet greg got a new job!!! I think he has appreciated learning more about construction and gaining skills that he can use to fix up our house, but he has definitely grown weary of doing that kind of work, partly because it is really hard physical labor and he comes home completely drained with no energy to play with Luke or to actually do any of that work he wants to do on our house. I think he also misses having a job where he feels like he is making a difference in the life ofsomeone who really needs it, so I think this new job is just what he needed. I guess time will tell.
The new job is as a social worker for the local homeless shelter, the one I have mentioned before that all the local churches help staff. He will basically bea case manager for about 8-10 people, helping them find resources and services to get them on their feet again, to whatever level they are capable of achieving, and following them after they leave the homeless shelter. With the current economy I think that some of the time he actually will be able to get people back on their feet, I know of at least one person who has held a job for the last 15 yrs and got fired and lost basically everything, but is still completely capable of working and living on her own, she just needs a little help getting the resources she needs to make it until she canget that next job and a place to live. Some of the cases I'm sure will not be so easy. A lot of people are homeless because of mental health or mental disability issues so those people will need a different set of resources in order to live as well as they can in our messed up world. Also a lot ofpeople are on drugs, and the homeless shelter doesn't allow anyone who isn't clean to live there so some of what he does I'm sure will have to do with following up with people who have had to leave the shelter because of drug problems.
I think Greg is pretty excited about the job. Right now it is a one year grant position, but it could be extended if they can show that it is needed. The one thing that neither of us is too excited about are the hours, pretty much every evening he will have to be at the homeless shelter. During the day he can set up appointments whenever he wants, but they do want him to be at the homeless shelter most evenings, partly to have appointments with people who have jobs and partly to be there to handle whatever chrisises arrise. My main concern with that is about how this will affect Luke because Greg will no longer be taking one day off a week to take care of him and if Greg has to stay at the homeless shelter until 9:30 pm and I am at work then Luke won't get home until 10 when he usually goes to bed. The evenings around 9 is usually when he starts to get more tired and I really wish he could be at home with one of us for at least an hour before he goes to bed. Greg is going to try to see if he can schedule himself to be done by 8:30 on nights when I work at least so that we can make that work. I just want us to be the ones putting him to bed each night, and sometimes I work three nights in a row. I'm not quite sure how to express why this feels like such a big issue to me, but it really does. To be there at the beginning and end of each day, it just is really important to me as a parent. I think maybe it is a trust and bonding issue. We are his parents, whatever else happens during the day each day should start and end with us (except for on rare occasions like a date night or a weekend trip).
I just had a thought, sappy to be sure, but a thought. It just remided me about how God compares himself to our parent, and how the Bible talks about how we should talk about God when we lie down and when we rise, how we should be in constant prayer. (We just read one of those passages in Sunday School last week.) Anyway, just another way being a parent is teaching me more about who God is. Please don't think that I am the modle Christian or anything, I don't currently start adnend all my days talking to God or about God to my child, but recent sunday school lessons definitely have me thinking about it more, and about how we pass on our values to our children, how my parent's taught me.
NPR's "This American Life" had an eppisode recently called "Going Big" and the first part is about this guy who started trying to reach ALL the children in Harlem by starting a program that helps parents in Harlem do all the things that studies are showing helps kids succeede in life, things that most middle class families do. Some of those things are simple, like reading to your kids every day, and some are harder concepts, like disciplining differently, using words and time out instead of spanking and yelling, or changing the way your talk to your kids so that the praises far out number the negatives. They talk about how the first three years are terribly important and they have already had huge success. It is this program that Obama wants to duplicate in 20 other cities accross the country, to get people out of poverty! It is a really good episode and you can listen to it here if you want to.
Well, that is pleanty for now. I had a little trouble getting photos to load for the last couple of weeks otherwise I would have posted sooner and this wouldn't be so long, but it seems that things are going smothely again so enjoy and have a good week!