Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Turkey is IN the Oven

Well, I started out the morning around 6 am with a rather UNthankful attitude. So instead of sharing about teething, biting, weaning, colds, and other things that I'm NOT as thankful for, I'll move on to what I AM thankful for.

I'm thankful for my sweet baby! Last Thanksgiving, I was hugely, uncomfortably, 39 weeks pregnant. My delivery was smooth, and other than acid reflux and one ear infection, which are minor in the grand scheme of things, Z hasn't had any health problems. And he'll be a year old next week! And my life has changed SO much because of the things I've learned in parenting Z.

I'm thankful for my patient, loving Hubby. He is so good to let me have time to relax when I need it...every night he gives Z a bath so that I can have a few minutes to myself. And he listens to me...and that's huge, because I talk A LOT. :) He does a lot of other things for us, too, like working to provide, shoveling the steps, cleaning off the car, plowing the driveway...

I'm thankful for the ministry God has led us to at the camp. I'm thankful that Hubby's 'job' isn't just a dead end, but it's an opportunity to serve God in every little task we do. I'm thankful for MY job, only part-time, I can bring Z with me and he can be a part of our ministry, too. It's perfect.

I'm thankful that we're not rich. (say what???) No, really. I'm thankful that we're not rich. I remember a few years ago, when Hubby and I were first married, I was talking to my MIL, who is infinitely she reads my blog, so I'd better say something good... just kidding, Mom! :) No, really, though, as an aside, that's something else I'm thankful for- a great relationship with all of Hubby's family! Anyway, I was talking to my MIL, who has been a pastor's wife for about 25 years, and I remember saying to her, "I'm not asking to be RICH, I just don't want to STRUGGLE so much." And I will never forget what she said- "You know, sometimes I think God allows us to struggle so that we will learn to depend on Him." And that is so true. I've learned a lot about leaning on God and His provision for us has been amazing. And if we were rich, and didn't NEED anything, we wouldn't have been able to see God provide EVERYTHING we needed for our little Z. So many people have given us toys, clothes, and furniture for him, I haven't had to buy hardly anything.

I'm thankful that I have a family to be home with, in a warm house, with an extravagantly (hopefully) delicious dinner to savor together.

On a more practical note, I have never cooked a turkey before. Or stuffing. The mashed potatoes I should have down, but I'm praying about that turkey. :)

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and for a unique perspective on giving thanks even when we don't feel like it, check out Angie's post. I cried and laughed, and was reminded how important it is to submit to God.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our Vacation- Part 2

Wow, we've been home from vacation for a week and a half's hard to remember everything that happened! :) In my last post, I wrote about the camp conference, and driving down to Hubby's youngest brother's house in Chattanooga, TN, with Hubby's middle brother & his wife (A&A).

So we got to Chattanooga around 8:30, and Z had screamed for about an hour earlier in the evening while Hubby & brother were trying to have a conversation. Us lucky ladies got to ride in the screaming-free car. :) We met Hubby's youngest brother & wife (J&E) at BW3's (which, by the way, if anyone knows why it's nicknamed that, since there's only 2 W's in Wild Wings, I'd love to know), and we ordered some food, but Z was a little scared of Hubby's youngest brother, having not seen him for a while, and Z was tired & grouchy & wanted us girls didn't stay too long, just long enough to eat, and then we headed to J&E's house.

Friday we all just hung out at the house, played games (typical for a family gathering), talked, played with Z. It was so fun & relaxing. On Saturday, J&E took us in to downtown Chattanooga - to the Art District, a cool coffeeshop, a walking bridge & to a cute carousel! Z rode the carousel & rode in the stroller & even took a nap while we walked around. It was so much fun, and such a cool downtown area! The weather was gorgeous- probably in the upper 50s or so- WONDERFUL considering it was probably snowing here at the time. :) When we got home that afternoon, I started feeling a little yucky, but sometimes I get nauseous headaches, so I attributed it to that...until I got sick. And I NEVER get sick like that. Even during my pregnancy, I never hurled. But I had the FLU. Yuck. Then, during the night, my SIL E got the flu...then in the early morning, A&A left for home, but only made it an hour down the road, and stopped at a hotel, because BIL A had the flu. I felt so yucky on Sunday, but we had to pack up & head to Nashville, because our reservation started that day...we managed, and actually by Sunday night I was feeling a lot better, and able to eat some crackers & soup. Thankfully it seems it was just a 24-hour bug, and I was back to about 90 percent by Monday! Hubby was only sick during one night, and a little nauseous the next day (Sun. nite & Mon.), so thankfully he didn't have it too bad!

Nashville was fun- someone had given us a week at a condo resort place, so our suite was really nice- Z had his own room, and we had a whirlpool tub in our master suite. Love it! :) I probably took 10 baths in the week we were there. :) We enjoyed relaxing as a family, taking Z to swim in the WARM pool, and playing on the resort playground- just swinging, mostly. One of the highlights of our Nashville trip was taking Z to his first zoo! He liked the animals that were active, like the meerkats & this one stork. But the animals that were just laying around, he wasn't really sure what he was supposed to be looking at, and it was kind of a cool, wet day, so some of the animals were kind of boring...but overall I think we had a good time. Hubby & I enjoyed the zoo, too, probably more than Z!

After a week in Nashville, we had to come home, and our trip home was NASTY. By the time we got to Cleveland, it was snowing, and it took us 4 hours to come the last 90 miles. Then, after we got our stuff unloaded into the house, and I was getting Z down to sleep, the power went out. And stayed out for half the night. And came back on. And went back off. Thankfully, our house didn't get too cold before it finally came on to stay around 4 am. But we were wishing we would've just stopped at a hotel, that's for sure. :)

It was fun to be gone on vacation, but nothing beats being home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Vacation- Part 1

Our vacation started out with a 7-hour drive to Southern Ohio for a camp conference. We left after church on Sunday, and drove through the afternoon. With stops for the baby to stretch & eat & all, we got there around 8:15 that Sunday night. The conference was held at Scioto Hills Camp, where hubby & I worked for a couple of years, so it was neat to see the changes they had made, and see everybody we used to work with, too. Hubby's brother & wife work at a camp in Iowa that also attends this conference, and the thoughtful S.H. staff put them in the room RIGHT next to us! So that was a lot of fun.

On Monday morning, we got up and hopped on a tour bus headed to Cincinnatti. We were nervous about how Z would act on the bus, but he did fine- slept some, played some, wasn't too fussy, and NO screaming, thankfully. After about three hours, we finally arrived at the Creation Museum. First, we all had to get our tickets (since we had a group of about 80 people there), and then take a group picture. After that, we got to enjoy the museum. It was amazing. The indoor, walk-through part is so neat. If you're a person who really enjoys informational reading, there's plenty of signs to read, and if you're not, there's lots of visual displays, life-size animals, plants, a life-size Garden of Eden, life-size dinosaur models, even a life-size model of 1 percent of the ark. It was a great experience. And then we went outside- there are fun bouncy bridges to walk on, paths & trails with flowers all around, and a petting zoo with a camel, goats, a pig, llamas, donkeys, sheep, etc. Z was a little unsure of the llama, but liked the sheep & goats.

We returned to the camp that evening, and Z slept the WHOLE way back- three hours- on the bus- thankfully! Tuesday morning, the actual camping conference began- the camp held different workshops about camping, including a workshop that Hubby & I attended on the challenges and rewards of raising children at camp. Hosted by Roger Williams, who is the director of Mount Hermon Camp in California, AND the father of Joy Williams. Heard of her? I have! :) It was really cool to hear about raising camp kids from someone who has been there & raised kids who love the Lord & serve Him. The SH staff had thought through the childcare aspect of the conference really well, so everyone with children under 2 were in the same lodge, with the childcare held in the middle room of said lodge. So Z could take a nap even if I was in a workshop, and I ended up getting to go to all the sessions & workshops, so that was very nice.

Of course, the best part of the conference is getting to see all of our friends from other camps (Hubby has been to 6 of these, and this was my 4th conference). And going back to our old 'stomping-grounds' to see how they've updated & even remodeled parts of the camp was really neat, too.

The conference was supposed to end after an early lunch on Thursday so that everyone could get on the road. But the speaker, the afore-mentioned Roger, needed a ride to Cincinnatti to catch his plane, and had to leave at 11. We were originally planning to drive down to Hubby's youngest brother's house in TN with Hubby's middle brother, and I was pretty excited about driving down together... but Hubby wanted to help the speaker out, and it was only an hour or so out of our way, so we ended up volunteering to leave early and take him to Cincinnatti. I wasn't overly thrilled about missing out on the drive with his brother & his wife, but I reluctantly agreed when I heard that no one else had offered to take him. He and Hubby ended up having good conversation the whole way there. The kicker, though, was that when we arrived at the airport, Roger said, "Thank you for allowing me to borrow your husband for these couple of hours". I was like... "uh, yeah, no problem..." with my head down in shame...I can be so selfish sometimes!!! We ended up being able to meet up with Hubby's brother & his wife a couple hours down the road anyway, and I rode with my SIL, and we had a great time talking & LAUGHING after all. :)

Alright, I'm going to close this post here...and work on another one to tell you about the rest of our trip. It may be another week before I get around to it, though, I'm warning you... :) Have a great Thanksgiving, all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy International Babywearing Week!

November 12-18 is International Babywearing Week, and I've mentioned on here and on Twitter that I love wearing Z in a baby backpack while I work up at camp. It's also fun to wear him on walks, and when I wear him and vacuum, he doesn't cry nearly as much (he's doing better with loud noises, but the vacuum still intimidates him).

I'm relatively new to the whole babywearing arena, and didn't wear Z much when he was little, but I'm doing my research so that if another little one comes along someday, I'll be prepared, and I'm looking forward to wearing the next baby, hopefully in some kind of sling, wrap or mei tai. There are SO many more types of babywearing devices than I ever knew! Thanks, Stephanie, for opening up my eyes! :)
Here are Zachary and I on a walk around camp. I have a backpack that I got at a garage sale, and he loves it! If you can tell in the bottom picture, it has a metal frame which you can't feel when you're wearing it (the straps are really soft & comfy), but he loves it because he can stand up on the bottom bar & feel more active while he's riding. :)

I love babywearing because it keeps my baby calm & happy & close to me while I'm working- it's fun for him and me, and it's efficient.

To read about more people's adventures in babywearing, check out this post!

Oh, and I have lots of vacation/conference/24-hour flu adventures to share, so hopefully I'll get some posts written in the next few days. Okay, who am I kidding- I'll aim for one post in the next week. :)