Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Legs

The other day I put Aed down for his afternoon nap with no pants on.

Sometimes I do that as a surprise for when Daddy gets him up in the early evening.. I’m sneaky like that.

Well this particular day, he made it all the way downstairs with no pants on, so we got to feast our eyes on his scrumptious baby legs.

See what I mean?

Makes me want to plant kisses all over those delectable toddling stripes.

I’m thinking maybe we should move to a warmer country so these legs aren’t hidden all the time.. Then again.. maybe it’s better for everyone that they are :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Now You See Him..

Now you don’t!

When he’s not doing this..

(video coming soon..)

Aed loves to sit and read with anyone that’s able.

He will occasionally try to flip through on his own, but usually that leads to great amounts of frustration and lots of whining until someone either helps him turn the pages or cuddles him up for a good read. We go through all the books on his shelf most every day!

I am thankful that he loves to read, because it’s the only time he’ll sit still long enough for me to nuzzle his fuzzy head and breathe in his tasty goodness :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

40 Days to Reconsider

I have decided to do something slightly drastic with my life.

I think blogs are a wonderful thing. I have loved keeping up ours, and I have loved discovering so many wonderful people and ideas through all the blogs out here in these crazy interwebs. Not to mention keeping up with many dear ones, near and far.

I was lying in bed wishing I was asleep last Thursday night, when I suddenly had the idea that I should do a blog fast. I’ve tried this before, but only for a very brief period of time, so there wasn’t much of an outcome. I thought this time around I’d be a little more drastic and do a 40 day blog fast.

I considered trying to make it coincide with the holidays or maybe doing it in the spring for Lent. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I need to do it right now. There’s just no point in putting it off.

It has been a long time in coming. Early on in Aed’s life I would often peruse the internet during those long feedings, and I found so many amazing blogs. Blogs of crafty people, blogs of moms, blogs of Christians that spoke so poignantly. I always felt encouraged and challenged to think about my life, my family structure, my parenting. It seemed a great gift, and I believe it is, but I need to step back for a while.

I have come to realize that I am spending more of my time reading about other people’s lives than I am living my own life. It is just too comfortable to put Aed down for a nap, come downstairs, cozy up on the couch, and catch up on everyone that has something to say that day. I could be using those nap times so much more effectively, but I am too weak-willed to say no to the easy route!

My hope is that by cutting out this time-suck cold turkey, I will have some time to reconsider what I am doing with my days as the clock ticks on.

I want to pursue my relationship with the Lord. My art. My husband, my child, my family, my friends. I want to be ready to meet needs and to be thoughtful about my life and the people around me. I want to learn and explore and engage. I want so many things that I simply do not think I will ever accomplish unless I take some time to examine my priorities.

I have always desired these things, and now I am making way for them to really happen.

Starting tomorrow, I will kiss the blogging world goodbye. I will still keep up with ours, but from September 27th to November 6th (hopefully I counted right!), ours will be the only one I see.

I am declaring this to all of you to give myself even more accountability than my husband provides :) Maybe there is something you’ve been considering giving up as well? There is no time like the present and there is strength in solidarity! Go for it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Am Entitled to My Anger.. Right?

During those long, long, long first months of Aed’s life, there was a lot of struggle. He was struggling, we were struggling, and there didn’t seem to be a lot we could do about it.

Every day wasn’t bad, but so many were so difficult. I would reach my limit some days and ask Ian to come home to attempt to quiet our screaming babe while I ran away or did something else for a while.

My frustration would peak and I would lose all sense of sympathy for my child and just get angry. Why does he always cry? Why won’t he just sleep? Why, why, why? I often felt like a failure and as time passed and we found there were some reasons for his crying, I turned to struggling with guilt.

In a situation like that – one which repeats itself again and again – a natural response is to find coping mechanisms. I knew that I struggled with anger during some of those times, and so I would try to redirect myself. I found that if I was fuming and frustrated, so was the rest of my home. So I read about screaming babies online, causes, ways to deal with it. I found some very helpful things.. In fact one little blurb completely changed my outlook on the crying, but it didn’t stop the crying, so it was still a daily struggle. I began doing My Daily Thankful posts in hopes that focusing myself each day on all of the amazing things the Lord was doing in our home and lives would help me to deal more gracefully with the difficult things.

I am disappointed to say that I rarely went to Jesus during those times, except in anger. It seemed so unfair to us and to Aed. I would just ask over and over, why?

A lot of my sinning happens inwardly. I have rarely been one to lash out or break the rules. I am a people pleaser and I like for everyone to get along. But all the sins that so easily snuggle into the dark places within? Those are the sins that know me best. They fit just so, and I often welcome them in and harbor them without realizing it until it’s too late. I did this so often during that time of struggle. I would ‘cut myself some slack’ and let myself do things I never would have done previously, because my life was so hard, you see. (please read that with the sarcasm it was written with :)

One way that I learned to cope was to lash out in anger.. but only in my head. Occasionally I would have a good cry into a pillow or something, but for the most part I just went crazy in my head.

I am not now, nor have I ever been one to use curse words. I find them unnecessary and uncreative. Sure, some believe they have their place, but in my own life, they don’t. I have no clear recollection of when it started, but I remember it was slippery slope. I let myself swear in a place only I knew it was happening, and it felt good. I remember the progression of letting myself only consider it, then letting myself do it, then letting it getting out of control.

I got to the point where when I hit any frustration, cursing within was my immediate response. It escalated so that when I was really frustrated (typically a bad day of screaming) I would actually lash out straight in Jesus’ face and give all my curse words to him and his injustice. I think I may have even said a few out loud towards the end of this indulgence.

For some of you, this will seem like a silly thing to even consider. But, for me it is an issue of self-control versus indulging my sinful nature.

It came to me one morning while I was making our bed. I began to think about the way cursing affected my thinking. Every time I let myself push the limits a little further, I would feel that I was that much more entitled to my anger and that much more entitled to the indulgence. It felt so good, and was so easy to justify, and it was mine and mine alone. As soon as I would lash out inwardly, I felt the perceived trueness of my plight and became that much more angry.

I’m not one to focus much on what Satan thinks about things because I find those lines to all be a bit fuzzy, but if he was paying attention, I think he was reveling in those moments. Moments when a child turned on her parent and played an angry blame game. Moments that pulled me further away and isolated me from the Lord’s sustaining hand. I gradually lost hold of so many things that are important to me, which made it easy for me to feel as though I was shriveling away from any goodness Jesus brought to my soul.

I thought that satisfying my desire to be angry and to be justified in that anger would help me cope. Instead it pulled me away from the one thing that might have allowed me to cope in the graceful way I longed for – my relationship with Jesus.

Ever since that morning when I began to realize all of this, I have honestly felt a burden lifted. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit found a way to catch my attention in that moment. In the past months, I have felt that I am becoming myself again. I am in a good place and I am thankful. Will I do better next time? I hope so. I hope that I will remember how dismal it is to struggle alone, and remember what peace can come when I instead struggle with Jesus by my side.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Line of Little People

We did it again.. We lined ‘em up!

I don’t think we will ever get tired of seeing them all together. :)

Look how much they have grown since our first tea!

Leave it to Beaver to refuse to sit down :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Of The Swollen Sort

Turns out I have a toddler. Turns out he’s a boy. Turns out I have learned to count my blessings if we make it a day without adding another scratch, bruise, or bloody injury to my baby’s body.

To this point, it has mostly been the occasional bruise from a face plant here and there. But somehow, in the last week or two the injuries have begun to escalate. I’m hoping we will level off at some point because even though he makes quick recoveries, it is oh-so-hard to watch him deal with the consequences of not quite being able to control his body.. but really thinking he can. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Aed has many characteristics that also belong to his father. One of these is what Ian calls Gorilla Logic. Let’s say there is a bottle (chasing bottles awaiting recycling around the kitchen is one of his favorite past times) that he has managed to knock under the table. Let’s say there is also a chair blocking his way under the table. If he attempts to climb over the under-structure of that chair, but gets himself stuck, BUT can still see the bottle he wants, he will just keep squirming and pushing and wriggling until we either rescue him, or he gets where he wants to be. Basically Gorilla Logic entails that if pushing isn’t working, you push harder. If there’s stuff in your way, you plow through it to get it out of the way, etc.

Turns out my baby’s brain didn’t come with an abort mechanism.

This has lead to all kinds of precarious situations, and he is learning gradually that he can actually back up, or reconsider and try something from a different direction. Needless to say, this has lead to many injuries (though I have to say, the injuries obtained from these situations often go unacknowledged by the child who has triumphed).

Last week, Aed sustained an injury of epic proportions (are you guys familiar with hyperbole?). We were hanging out in the bedroom upstairs and he lost his balance and fell, hitting his face on the edge of the bed on the way down. He started crying, Ian picked him up, and I went into his room to get a paci as that is the most effective way to calm him down. I gave him the paci and we thought all was well. I took it out to check his mouth and found his face underneath covered with blood.

He had busted his lip.

It swelled up, but didn’t seem to bother him much after the initial damage had been done. It was actually pretty entertaining to watch him suck at it and try to figure out why his lip was a funny shape.

(You can see a bruise by his eye from a run-in with the drying rack a few days prior..)

We moved on with our lives.. until yesterday.

Aed has a new love for carrying things around while he walks back and forth between the living room and the kitchen. Any old paper or toy will work.

He was doing just this and was making a stop at the coffee table to get into some mischief there, but misjudged how far it still was from him. He reached out to lean on it, but instead fell and hit his face right on the edge.

He bled a lot. I worried that he had knocked his teeth, but it turns out he just tore his frenulum on his upper lip (perhaps all these injuries will just open the door for me to become very educated about obscure body parts!). Sadly, his little lip still swelled, and it broke my heart just a little bit when I was cleaning him up and saw that his previous mouth injury was still not even entirely healed.

We teased him about his collagen lips and he took it like a champ :)

I suppose this is the life of one who is parent to an adventurous, gung-ho child..

Friday, September 17, 2010

I am Married to an Author

Not just any author.. One who has actually been published!

Ian got an article accepted to the European Journal of Philosophy over the summer. It’s called Getting ‘Lucky’ with Gettier and was officially published on the 26th of August.

He took this Screenshot the day it was released online :)

I am so proud of Ian and all his hard work, and thought you might want to join me in congratulating him on his accomplishment!

While I would love to take all the credit for being his faithful supporter and encouragement, we know it is the Lord who gives and takes away. In this instance, he has given us great joy in Ian’s success and anticipation of the doors this kind of thing will open for Ian’s future in Philosophy.

As a further update, Ian’s thesis is going well and he made great progress in the last year (despite a certain fiery distraction! :). We are looking forward to an even more productive year with some exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

Ian is keeping up with his blog ReformedPhilosophy and has expanded it to include other authors in the Philosophical and Theological realms. Take a peek if you’re interested.. you might be surprised at how much you understand! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

It was a dark and stormy night..

Just kidding! It was dark and a little chilly, but there wasn’t a drop of rain during our time out of doors.

Waaaaaaay back in May when my parents were here visiting, they offered to send us to see the Tattoo for our upcoming birthdays. It was something we had wanted to do, but had not yet crossed off the list. We took them up on their offer and bought our tickets for the very last night of the series, and the late show, no less, so we would get to see the fireworks.

This meant we had to get ourselves to the castle by 9:45pm and then get ourselves home again from a show that wouldn’t end until after midnight. These were logistics that we did not think of clearly while we were purchasing the tickets, but it all worked out in the end.

We ended up borrowing a car from some friends (goooooo, Buchanans!) because if we were using public transportation we’d leave the city around 3 and not get home until after 7am, which we really weren’t interested in.

So, since you probably don’t really care how we got to Edinburgh and back, let’s move on to the more interesting part where I tell you of the fun we had, shall we?

This was the first time we had left the Aedster for so many hours after bedtime! We were a little nervous since he had been having some issues, but we were committed. We put him to bed and snuck away, praying that the good Lord would make those little eyelids extra heavy.

We had a great time chatting on the way down, and were amazed at how easy it was to travel with just the two of us! (We had very recently returned from our trip to Europe, so the lugging of bags, strollers, and snacks was very fresh in our minds.)

The city was alive and plugging away, and we inched our way up to the castle through the mobs of people.

I was immediately struck by two things.

1. I am very unfamiliar with Edinburgh at night. I was continually disoriented by my surroundings even though I am very familiar with the area we were in.

And 2. There were huge bleachers set up in front of the castle!

A lot of my disorientation was actually caused by the way the streets were set up for the Tattoo and the Fringe Festival, which was on at the same time.

We were astounded at the number of people lined up to get in for the show. By our estimations, there must be something around 10,000 people that come to see the show each day that it’s on.

I have to admit, I was being a little boisterous with all the excitement. Out with my hubby to myself, going to see an awesome show, not getting home til 3am.. an exciting evening, am I right? I’m sure all the Brits around chalked me up as a tourist, but hey, whaddayagonnado? :)

We got up to the stands and I discovered this lovely view

And this less lovely view..

That’s where we sat! Section D!

To say we were tight as sardines is an understatement. I had to lean forward the whole night so that Ian and the woman next to me could sit up with their shoulders back. Ian had to stand up for me to put my seat down because half his body blocked it. I have never been in such a confined space with so many people! But the stands were packed out nonetheless..

(A little pre-show entertainement.. somebody being awarded for something.. I don’t know, I was busy being boisterous)

The happy, excited, thankful couple.. Our show didn’t start until 10:30pm.. I think you can see it in our eyes :)

But, start it did, and with great gusto!

The scene was set when the pipers walked in, surrounded by fire and mist. What began as a few quickly grew to a hoard of pipers crossing the pavement.

It was amazing to watch them, not to mention to listen to them!

The bands were from all over, though most were from the UK, as you might expect. There was a band from Poland – their first year performing in the Tattoo – and it was great fun to watch them wield their traditional instruments.

After a few bands had passed, we were delighted by a miniature motorcycle brigade! This is a group of children (the oldest is 16.. and he would probably be really annoyed that I lumped him in with the ‘children’ :) who are extremely skilled on their bikes, and they start riding at the age of 5! These were the little tykes, performing stunts that made me squint my eyes shut and lament the fact that my child has a Y chromosome that could potentially lead him down such paths.

And the older ones, riding backwards with fire shooting out of their bikes..

The final trick was the oldest guy jumping over a car off of a ramp held up by other guys! Other guys! Not like, bars or something, people were holding up his ramp! It was a little bit ridiculous.

But, no one was hurt, and I was able to relax for a little while.

This was the fast moving band. I can’t remember their official name, but they are known for moving quickly.. it was a little bit comical to watch them.. but I’m not sure it was actually appropriate to laugh at them.. but I might have (tourist, you know).

Then we had the lovely highland dancers..

I am telling you, if I had been able to dislodge myself from my seat, I would have gotten up and starting dancing with them! They were so bouncy!

Then there was the band from Jordan. These are the gun guys (they were a separate group from the band). They did formations with big guns. It was a little bit scary. I don’t really like guns. And I have a wild imagination.

Moving on.

These guys were fun!

And created more moments wherein I feared for the safety of their spinal cords. They did all kinds of athletic tricks.. seems a very entertaining way to stay in shape!

The band from New Zealand.. by far the most entertaining. They boogied and they didn’t care who was watching :)

The big finish was all (or at least most, but I think all) of the bands out on the pavement together.

It was a breathtaking sensation to see such order and precision and hear such a volume of instruments.

The show was rounded off with fire works

and the lone piper.

And we bid the bands a good night.

The Tattoo was such a fun experience. It has been so long since we (I) have been a part of something so big and so musical and it was wonderful. I highly recommend partaking if the opportunity arises, it will not disappoint!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tis the Season

For all things Autumnal!

I have always loved Fall and everything that comes with it.. everything except the promise of winter. But that is not what we are focusing on here. We are focusing on the many wonderful and positive things lest we sink into the Winter Darkness of Despair too early!

Wonderful things like peaches and berries..

And things like turning a bowl full of peaches and berries into a delicious crisp (or, as I have learned, a crumble for my British Beloveds).

Wonderful things like a baby that somehow can jovially endure that puckering sourness of a late summer blackberry..

Wonderful things like learning to use a spoon.. and smearing that sticky, sour juice in just the right places..

Perhaps discovering your heart-melting reflection in the backside of a spoon isn’t particularly Autumnal..

But it is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Oh the Birthday Festivities!

We have a one year old. No ifs, ands, or buts, he is one. No matter how much we want to squish him back down into his newborn size and no matter how much trouble we have remembering just exactly how small that was.. He just keeps getting bigger.

And he is awesome.

The Aedster made his debut as a one year old on the 30th of August and got to do all kinds of big kid things..

First, he got to lick the beaters Mama used to make some special frosting for his birthday cupcakes.

The cupcakes turned out nice and cute, and I knew he was going to love them! Banana chocolate chip with a pre-approved (see: beater-licking) cream cheese frosting.

We had a nice little spread of gifts that we had gotten for him earlier in the summer and were anxious to see if he would enjoy opening his gifts. (Can you guess who wrapped them? :)

But first! The big boy got to blow out his ‘candle’ (which may or may not have actually been a match) and dive into his yummy cupcakes.. the likes of which had never tickled his taste buds.

The climax? Less than climactic. He didn’t like them! He still loved the frosting, but he’d take a bite of the cupcake and then make all kinds of faces as he swallowed. He settled on repeatedly putting the cupcake into his mouth, but not taking any bites! So funny! He also absolutely refused to put the chunks of cake down despite the fact that he was not eating them. At one point, Ian tried to adjust one of the chunks in his hand and he totally freaked out. A kid of passions is what he is. Just like his father.

On to the presents!

He looks interested, right? That lasted for all of 3 seconds until he had opened the first gift and then decided he had better things to do. We managed to coax him back over while we essentially unwrapped the gifts for him. The highlights were definitely his very own flashlight and the boulders that came with his Little People construction set.

(He wanted to eat that boulder so bad! Can you blame him? This was right before dinner, after all..)

After our little family birthday celebration, we had a bigger double birthday party for Aed and Ellie since their birthdays are so close together. It turned out really nicely and we had so much fun with everyone who came.

Joy provided us with some lovely decorations to make things a little more festive..

And we had a great spread of food.

I realized that I didn’t take a picture with all the food actually opened and ready for eating, so you’ll just have to imagine things like fruits and veggies and dips surrounding the cakes instead of tupperware lids.

Speaking of the cakes.. my first endeavor into slightly complicated cake decorating! I had several ideas in mind and I knew that regardless of which one I settled on, I was going to be molding something. I decided to use gum paste this time.. for no particular reason, really.

So, we went with a bird theme for our little chirpers, and I had so much fun planning and executing the actual cakes.

The frosting is a delicious buttercream.. maybe not the best idea to frost a chocolate cake with light icing, but live and learn. I made a little cookie cutter out of a foil plate I had and cut these birds from gum paste for the big cake.

Then I made each one year old their own little cake for digging into. Those molded birds were kind of a nightmare. The gum paste didn’t form quite as easily as I had expected it to, so I had to call over my hot-handed assistant to help. His warm hands got the paste nice and smooth so it could be molded a little less cracky than what I was able to do, so I have decided two things. One.. if I ever go into the cake decorating business, he will be hired as my permanent hot-handed assistant (especially since we were doing this laaaate into the night and he did it willingly and complained a bajillion times less than I did). And two.. I’m going to try working with fondant next time to see if my not-so-hot-hands can handle it better.

Regardless, I think they turned out really cute, and I was really surprised at how satisfying it was to see them all put together. Though, slightly disappointing was how quickly they disappeared! The fruits of my (our) labor were short lived :)

So the guests started arriving and the babies started staring at each other.

Aed was on cloud nine with all the balloons to chase around on the floor.

Joy found Pooh party hats and we had just the right number to adorn each baby’s (and Jonah’s!) head with one.

Things were going well..

And then we had one give into the chaos and express her opinion. Notice the number of babies showing their concern for her.. And then there’s Aed.

The birthday babies!

Ellie is starting to look a little concerned and Aed is about to take off, so we moved on with the festivities.

We got them in their special chairs and got the cakes ready.

In the meantime, Aed found out what happens when you pull a hat on an elastic string really far away from your face and then let go of it..

He wasn’t so please with the outcome.

Hats aside, they were ready for some action! Aed was trying to pull everything off the table, and Ellie was being her cute self.

We sang, helped them blow out their candles, then gave them the go ahead to dig right in!

Aed’s response to the cake was to first put his fingers in the frosting, trying to grab a chunk, I assume. When he found the cake was too dense to do that, he just sat there with his mouth open, leaning forward, hoping the cake would get into his mouth. I obliged him and held it within reach of his mouth..

And he enthusiastically shoved his face into it, taking the biggest bites he could get!

Ellie did some nice damage to her cake as well!

Oh how I wish we could read their minds..

We opened a few more presents before Aed decided (once again) he wasn’t all that into present-opening (needless to say, we didn’t bother wrapping the rest of his gifts) and went outside to play with Daddy.

We are so thankful for our crazy little big boy. We had so much fun celebrating with the Sonjus and everyone else that came to the party, and are so thankful for the community we have here – especially at times like these when the distance from loved ones is felt that much more. We are praising the Lord for bringing us through our first year with Aed with so much growth and fruit, and pray that the next year will be even more fruitful.