Archive for June, 2009

this boy

Sean had a rough day yesterday. After getting to bed a little late the night before, being awakened in the middle of the night by thunder and then kept awake by obnoxious, unsmart, pool-partying teenagers (since when was partying in a pool during a lightning storm such a grand idea?), he was just a tad exhausted yesterday and not exactly on his best behavior. Which for Mr. Dot-my-i’s-and-cross-my-t’s is not normal. He disobeyed all day long about everything, whined/cried/complained about everything, and then, to top it all off, ate all but two little bites of the brownie I was saving for Ben (after already devouring his own, of course). That last infraction is very not normal–he might think about doing something like that, maybe even pretend to do something like that, but very rarely does he actually do it.

Needless to say, I was beginning to doubt my decision to go out for the evening and leave the boys with Chris–not that Chris isn’t capable, of course, but he usually prefers to deal with them when they’re all in a state of normalcy (who wouldn’t?). But just as I was getting ready to leave, Sean looked at me and said in his sweet little voice that we hadn’t heard all day, “Mommy, I like your skirt.” And just like that our little boy was back.

Here’s hoping it stays that way–Sean in a bad mood is not my idea of fun.

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a must-read

One of the hobbies that I have made a point to start up again recently is reading. I convinced myself a few years ago that I didn’t have time to read like I used to, and so I quit doing it, even though I’ve been an avid reader since childhood (growing up without a TV will do that to you–and no, we weren’t Amish, as some people have assumed). But once I started making a point to look for time when I could read, I found lots of it–imagine that! And so I’ve been reading like crazy the last several months and loving every minute of it.

The latest book was Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer, the guy who created VeggieTales. I’ve always been a VeggieTales fan, ever since the day in high school when my friend Kate was babysitting a little boy and Beth and I went over to visit and ended up dying laughing over Larry the Cucumber singing the hairbrush song. But I had no idea of the ups and downs that went on behind the videos, or of the fact that Mr. Vischer–the man who dreamed up the talking veggies and made them come to life–is no longer even part of it, and not because he wanted it that way. But trust me, if you have any interest in VeggieTales, read this book. If you have any interest in detailed explanations of how things work, read this book. If you have any interest in humorous, engaging storytelling, read this book. If you have any interest in thought-provoking autobiographies, read this book. And if you’ve ever had a dream, especially one that failed or that you’re still waiting to see fulfilled, you most definitely must read this book. You won’t be disappointed, and you might even learn something while you’re at it–something, perhaps, about dreams, God, and talking veggies. Read this book. Trust me.

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My poor, poor little Jonathan. I was looking through my blog labels recently and noticed the following: number of blogs about Sean? 36. Number of blogs about Ben? 26. Number of blogs about Jonathan? One. And I do believe that one was from right after he was born. I had every intention of blogging about all of his monthly milestones like I did with the other two, but for whatever reason I failed to even start. What can I say, he’s the third child. Or maybe I’m just a really neglectful parent. Or maybe both.

As much as my lack of blogging about the little guy may be evidence to the contrary, we really do love him. A lot. All of us, from big to little. And I think my lack of blogging about him can be attributed to one of three things:

::My lack of blogging in general:: I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t been exactly consistent in writing the last 12 months, so my sharing about Jonathan’s life has naturally suffered. But I’ve already gone into the why’s and wherefore’s behind that, so I won’t do it again here. And I really am going to try to do better. Really.

::I’ve been too busy enjoying the boy himself:: Honestly, when it comes down to it, which would you rather spend your time doing: holding and loving on a sweet fat baby, or writing about him? I thought so. But I do realize I need to figure out a way to balance the two. Because one day (today) I will wish I had done both.

::We’ve already been there, done that:: Now, Joanna, before you have a conniption and start ranting and raving about how later children are so unappreciated and neglected and so on and so forth, let me explain…

Since Jonathan is our third child, I’ve been able to observe babies and their milestones for three years total now and I’ve come to this conclusion: for the average, normal, healthy baby, those little milestone charts that you read about and find all over and in every book really are fairly accurate. So if you’ve been so tedious as to record every tiny little milestone achievement of one baby, you’ve pretty much done it for all of them. That’s not to say that I don’t still record on my calendar the days when he’s done something grand–I can’t help but fill in those squares when tooth #1 comes in, or he rolls over for the first time, or he takes his first bite of food, or he takes his first step. But honestly, I’m not always moved to blog about it. Pictures are often taken, yes, but that doesn’t necessitate that a blog post will follow. And we quickly learned that even in picture-taking, it isn’t necessary to document every pre-milestone moment either. Photos of your baby’s gums just prior to his first tooth breaking through really aren’t that necessary (yes, we did. I’m sorry, Sean). Who’s going to want to look at that? I guess we do, just to laugh at ourselves, but really, those pictures aren’t going in a baby book anytime soon.

Having said all that, there are still some things that make Jonathan uniquely him, even in the ordinariness of all his milestones. And those are the little things from his first year that I especially want to remember, and assume there’s no way I’ll forget, until the time is past and gone and I’ll one day realize I have forgotten. And with his first year so quickly drawing to a close, I find myself thinking about all these little things more often, and having the urge to write them down before they’re out of my head forever. So here they are–the little things that make Jonathan him:

::thumb sucking:: Our one and only thumb-sucker. He’s been doing it pretty much since day one. And as of right now, I’m not exactly complaining. Ask me in a few years and I might tell you otherwise.

::super sleeping:: He’s the only one of my three that slept 12 hours a night from the first month on. In fact, there were a lot of times in his first few months of life that he’d sleep for 10 or 12 hours, wake up and eat for a little bit, and go back to sleep for another 5 or 6. It used to scare me half to death, and I didn’t know if I should wake him up to feed him or what I should do (believe me, this was so NOT normal for the other two)…until I asked the doctor and he said, “He’s in the 95th %ile for height and weight. Let him sleep. I think he’ll be okay.”

::army crawling::
He started moving around when he was almost 7 months old by army crawling, and boy, could he go fast. And then all of a sudden one day a few months ago he brought that big belly up off the floor and started crawling the “real” way like he’d been doing it all along. But that army crawling sure was cute while it lasted.

::throat gurgling::
He makes this little gurgle sound in his throat all the time and has for months now. Some babies coo, some babies babble…Jonathan gurgles. I can’t duplicate it, Chris kind of can, but hearing Jonathan do it makes everybody around him smile.

::belly laughing::
The kid’s laugh so does not sound like it should come from a baby, which makes it even funnier to hear. And there’s no telling what’s going to set him off. We discovered a few days ago that when Sean pulls the seatbelt in the van and lets it snap back up, Jonathan will laugh so hard he’ll have tears running down his cheeks–but only if Sean does it. It’s not so funny if Daddy does it, apparently. But with Sean it works every time.

::ergo riding::
I wore Sean in the sling quite a bit when he was a little baby, and wore Ben in the Ergo every once in a while before he started walking, but Jonathan gets to ride in it usually at least 2 hours a day. And it’s more for my sanity than because he absolutely needs it. The guy is so insanely busy and into everything that if I don’t have him on my back, I’m chasing him around trying to keep him out of or away from the cat food or the air vents or the crumbs under the table or the nightlights or the bathrooms after Sean leaves the door open or the trash can or the recycle bag or…you get the idea. And dinner prep without the Ergo? I don’t even want to imagine. We’d eat frozen pizza every night without the Ergo.

::danger loving::
I don’t think this little boy knows fear. Which is understandable, really, when you consider who his big brothers are and the fact that he’s been tackled and wrestled and pulled from limb to limb since he came home. He already loves adventure–loves for Daddy to hold him by an arm and a leg and swing him through the air, loves for Sean to go dragging him through the house by his legs (I know, we’re terrible parents, aren’t we?), loves to join in the dog pile when the rest of the guys are roughhousing–pretty much anything that involves fast action and physical play brings on his belly laugh. I’m already dreading the tag-teaming that he and Ben are going to do over the years. And Sean no doubt will be trying to convince them not to do whatever they’re doing because “you’ll get in trouble!“.

I could go on and on–his independence, his scrunched up little smile, his chubby and squeezable arms and legs, his hatred for bibs, his love for baths and sippy cups and water bottles and Mommy, his easygoing and laidback personality. Yep, I could definitely go on. But for now I’ll just go enjoy the little guy himself and save my other musings for next week…when he turns one.

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busy living

It’s been brought to my attention that this blog has been woefully silent the past few months, but we’ve been busy–the good kind of busy. The kind of busy that’s made up of play, laughter, food, fun, family, vacation, exploring, learning, growing, improving…you know, living. And as often as I tell myself, “I need to blog about this,” I’ve obviously too often ignored or postponed that thought and gone on with living.

But I’m going to try to do better, because there’s so much going on now that I don’t want to forget. Little ones on the verge of bigger and better things, who tomorrow may just move on so that life as we know it, today and right now, will never be the same again. But it’s the living of today that I want to remember.

Honestly, though, there’s one big thing holding me back from doing things I love, like blogging, more often: my house. I know, sounds weird and completely illogical. But here’s a little window into the inner workings of my mind and the goings on of my life…

When we moved into this house 4 years ago, Sean was just 2 months old and being new parents, we didn’t think about how quickly time moves once you start a family. So we set up house for how it worked for us at that time, with no thought at all of how it might need to work for us a year or two later. And we’ve been paying for that lack of foresight ever since. Once Ben was born it became quickly evident that a major rearranging was in order–we needed our third bedroom to be used as, well, a bedroom, which meant the guest room/my office needed to be moved downstairs, which meant Chris’s office needed to be moved out of the house altogether. But it wasn’t long after all that was finished, that Jonathan was on the way and last year’s waterproofing happened, which started another round of upheaval from which we are still recovering. It didn’t take us long (okay, maybe kind of long–we did have a newborn, after all, and I wasn’t much help for a few months) to get our major rooms put back together and in order, but those hidden ones, namely the office, storage room and garage–that’s another matter entirely. They’re the dark underbelly of this thing we call “home.” And it’s that dark underbelly that’s holding me back from being a free woman.

Chris and I both suffer from a bad case of “good enough” when it comes to finishing major projects, and on top of that, I’m also a recovering perfectionist, trying to get over the idea that if I can’t do something perfectly in one fell swoop, I might as well not even start. So you can imagine the difficulty we have in following through on finishing those rooms, as important as it really is to do just that. And for me, it really is important, vitally important. I don’t function well in the midst of chaos and disorganization. I need to have things organized from the inside-out so there’s no doubt of where everything belongs. But it’s the getting to that point, especially when there’s such a big elephant to eat before getting there, that’s the issue. And until I eat that elephant, I tell myself that there’s no point in taking the time to do the things I love, like blogging and reading and writing and taking pictures and learning to sew and baking and…and…and. I want to do those things, really, but there’s this great big fat elephant in my way. And in my peanut-brained little mind, I’ve got to eat that elephant before everything else can fall into place.

Which is where the “recovery” part of my perfectionism comes into play. I’ve finally convinced myself of, and have even begun to follow through on the idea that doing something is better than nothing. I do have three children, after all, and there’s absolutely no way that I’ll be able to dedicate an entire day to cleaning out and organizing even half of one room, much less an entire one, as much as my perfectionist mind would like to tell me otherwise. So I simply have to do this thing one tiny little bit at a time and know that I will, eventually, one day, have my house completely in order the way I need it. But, man, that day seems a long way off. Think I can be done by August? Ha.

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