Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: The Year in Smiles

It seems that this is the time of year that we get introspective and take a longer look at what we've accomplished in the past 365 days (or 366, as the case was this year). Hopefully, as you look back, your year is filled with joyful moments, lessons learned, and resolutions accomplished instead of with regrets or frustrations.

When 2008 began, I was a brand-new mom. I know, I'm still a 'new' mom, comparatively speaking, but one year ago, I had only been a mom for about three weeks. I was exhausted, confused, frustrated, overwhelmed... Earlier today I was remembering the feeling of panic that used to fill me when Hubby would walk out the door for work, leaving me at home with this inscrutable newborn. And a year ago I was crying a lot. My body responds to exhaustion by crying. And I cried. And cried. And cried. I had no concept yet of the loving sacrifice that is parenting. Although I had been married for almost five years, and in ministry for all that time and more, it took the 24/7 context of parenting my own child to wake me up and begin to truly teach me about selflessness and contentment. Not that I've arrived, mind you. But I see how far I have to go, and that's half the battle, right?

I'm now the mother of a toddler. A one-year-old. He eats 'real food' now, and walks on his own, and doesn't need me to sustain his life as he did a year ago, but he still needs me. Now he needs me to kiss boo-boos, read him books, give hugs to Elmo, feed him yogurt, and sing silly songs while I change his diaper. And I love every minute of it. His smiles and giggles are worth every second spent walking the hallway with a screaming baby on my shoulder, singing Amazing Grace for the 96th time because that's the only song my addled brain could recall the words to.

I am just completely thankful to God for all the blessings of 2008:
  • a healthy, growing marriage relationship with my loving husband
  • a sweet, healthy toddler
  • personal growth in my pursuit of godliness and my trust in Him
  • as always, His amazing financial provision throughout the year
  • many opportunities for ministry at camp and our community

and so many many more- God's blessings are so bountiful- I was thanking Him for all He has given me the other day, and this verse came to mind: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38) And that's how I feel about God's blessings in my life. They are so abundant. So, thank You, Lord. For 2008. And for not letting me stay the same as I was in 2007.

To close this post, I'll sum up 2008 in smiles. So here's a smile from Z for each month of 2008. Happy New Year!!!

January: (5 weeks old)

February: (2 months)

March: (3 months)

April: (4 months)

May: (5 months)

June: (6 months)

July: (7 months)

August: (8 months)

September: (9 months)

October: (10 months)

November: (11 months)

December: (One Year!!!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ca-ca Addict

My son is a ca-ca addict. In case you don't speak Z, that's a cracker addict. Doesn't really matter what kind of cracker, if he sees it, he wants it. If you try to give him a meal without some type of ca-ca or noodle, he will cry and repeat the word 'ca-ca' over & over. As if I'm required to give him one because he can say the word.

Tonight I sat him down to a nutritious meal- shredded chicken breast, green beans, and noodles (from chicken noodle soup). Until I brought him the noodles, he refused to eat anything else, and cried, 'ca-ca, ca-ca'. I can't wait to get his prescription for a multivitamin- I will feel so much better about his nutrition when I can just give him that!!!

We had a great Christmas, though. Z got a bunch of presents from my family & enjoyed opening them & playing with them. Hubby got him an Elmo doll, which is one of his favorite presents. He loves to hug Elmo & then hand him to me to hug. He loves his ball popper from my aunt & uncle, and his Tad doll from my great-aunt, too. And he got some Handy Manny tools, which he loves because the hammer talks & he can pull out & push back in the tape measure.

He's been pretty good the last couple days...a little fussy here & there, which is to be expected...but he's been spitting up again, which he hasn't done for a few months now, and it's kind of wierd. So I've started keeping this super-specific journal of everything he eats & when he sleeps & when he gets fussy & sick, etc...so I can see if there's any patterns in what he eats. Then if I eventually need to go to the ped (to discuss changes in his acid reflux meds), I can show him my 'research'. I know, I know...ultra-hyper 'first-time mom' and all...but like I said to Hubby today, "If he had heartburn, he wouldn't be able to tell me...all I can do is observe what I see & record what I know."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

On the way home today in the car, I was listening to some praise music & singing along with gusto. And quietly, from the backseat, I heard a little voice singing a 'song' of his own! It was so cute. He does sing from time to time, around the house or in the shopping cart at the grocery store, but it was so neat to have him sing with me!!! Just a fun little tidbit of my day to share.

The rest of my day has not been blog-worthy- I've been grumpy & so has little Z. Sometimes I think his attitude is a reflection of mine. Is he old enough to understand when I'm grumpy? I also washed a whole load of Z's laundry with no soap. And didn't realize the soap was absent until after I had washed and dried the whole load. It's back in the washer now. (*sigh*)

Oh, and one more interesting thing I've done today:

"Hmm, Mom, what's that in the toilet? A bottle of hand soap? And how did that get there? Hmmm...I have NO idea."

Right, Z. So I fished the hand soap out of the toilet. And washed it. Z is now in his bed, calming down from a tantrum. He's quiet now, and playing with his toy. I'd better go get him. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

This post has been revised to contain, you know, the truth.

Ha- you know what's funny? I started writing a post the other day about how Z's tantrums were getting better...and he hadn't been so fussy lately...and then yesterday was just about the worst day we've had in a month, I think. Funny how things can change so quickly... :) I deleted that post, by the way. :) I really thought we'd be heading to the dr. today- Z was SO grouchy last night & up crying 3 times before midnight...but then he slept through until 7:15 (MUCH later than normal!) and seems perfectly happy this morning. I'm attributing it all to teething, and going with that. Besides, it's snowing too bad to head to town, but you know if Z was really sick, we'd be there anyway, right? :)

We bought our stocking stuffers for each other yesterday- so I'm excited to exchange those! And Z has some presents to open from grandparents & great-grandparents! And we're planning a nice meal as a family & a nice breakfast the day after Christmas, so I'm looking forward to that.

Lately, Z LOVES when I blow bubbles. He knows the bubble jar & even when I hide it, he knows where it is & cries for me to blow bubbles. It's so cute. He laughs like crazy & tries to catch them. When they pop by our faces, he reaches out & wipes my face (not too gently, but it's still adorable...I guess it's more like getting slapped, but it's pretty cute anyway.) :) He is just learning by leaps & bounds every day- he knows where his feet are (if you say foot, feet or toes) & what lots of words mean- eat, lunch, breakfast, snack, cracker, clap, wave...etc. He is so smart, and it is SOOO fun to watch him learn each day!

Ooh, I hear him waking up- guess I'd better go! Hope everyone's having a fun Christmas week! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tantrum City Here

So. I am the proud mother of a one-year-old. I still can't believe that. This year just flew right by! And, oh, his little personality. It is a-changing. The temper tantrums are UN-believable. And also hilarious at times. He sits on the floor, legs out in front of him, and puts his head down between his legs, face touching the floor, and screams at the top of his lungs. Then he turns over onto his stomach and stretches his head up with his hands on the floor (like a downward-facing-dog in yoga) and has the saddest look on his face while he screams. It is too funny. Also, sometimes, he grabs at his face with his little hand while he's having a fit, as if to say, "AAH, MOM, I'm so ANGRY!"

What sets him off? Let's see...today I took a piece of trash away from him...that made him mad...if he brings you a toy and wants you to play with him and you don't do it RIGHT AWAY that irks him...and he's always grouchy when he's hungry. Also, diaper changes? Yikes. I put a mirror up by his changing table so he can see himself in it, and that helps some, but he is always trying to turn over and sit up, so we struggle with that, too. I think he's teething this week, too, so that doesn't help. He was pretty good this afternoon, though, and now he's been asleep for almost two hours, and I got to take a little rest myself, so that was very nice.

So, I guess if you think of it, pray for God to give us wisdom in parenting these new personality 'traits' that are showing up in our TODDLER! :) Believe me, that's what I pray for ALL day long- "Lord, give me patience and wisdom!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Surprisingly, Duff hasn't called to hire me yet...

Your rainbow is strongly shaded pink and yellow.


What is says about you: You are a joyful person. You appreciate everyone around you. You're good at getting people to like you. You are a good listener and your friends are glad to have you around in difficult times.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Friday was my little Z's FIRST birthday! Such a happy and saddishly sweet day all in one! My parents came out for the weekend to celebrate, and Z ate cake and opened presents, and it was so fun. Here are a few pictures:

Letting everyone know he's one!Digging into his cake- he was kind of unsure at first, but then I gave him a taste of frosting, and he looked at it for a minute and dived right in. :)Oh, yeah, he's got the hang of it.

Really excited about all his new toys! :)

Oh, and yes, I made the block-shaped cake. Loosely blockishly shaped. Actually, I shaped the cake like a cube, and then frosted it, using most of the white frosting that I had. The rest needed to be orange & blue for the decorating...and then I put the cake in the fridge & I don't know if it settled or what, but it came out like a lopsided lump instead of a cube. So there you have it. My first attempt at cake decorating. Martha Stewart, I'm not. :)

But we had a great weekend- I love that Z is only nursing once a day now, in the morning when he gets up. It's so nice to be almost done...as far as finishing the weaning process...now that I'm here, I'm kind of like....ummm...I could keep nursing for another week...I guess it seems like the end of a mothering chapter... I'm such a sentimental doofus, I know. He's eating real food now, too, lots of times, like we went to Bob Evans the other day & he ordered off the kids menu- grilled cheese & cottage cheese. He loves cheese. And turkey. And bread. And graham crackers and waffles and goldfish crackers. And bananas. It's such a fun stage. :)

Well, I'd better get to bed. Hubby has a cough & we all have just an edge of a cold somehow, so we're not feeling great. Z is over his cold for the most part, and I never got it too bad, but Hubby is coughing like crazy tonight! Hopefully we'll all feel better soon! We'll be at home tomorrow for a relaxing day...making cookies, cleaning the house, and hanging out as a family. :)