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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Big-Boy-Bed Drama!

I must blog about this, for my own sake with future children so I remember what worked and what didn't. About a week or two ago, Calvin decided that he no longer wanted to sleep in his crib. Hiking his leg over the side and climbing out more than a dozen times before I finally gave up. It was funny to me that he actually climbed out once before about a month ago, but he must have forgot he knew how to do it for a couple weeks, because he would stay in his crib anyway.

Then the day came. He didn't want to be a baby anymore. I say that part jokingly, but I do think that that may have been part of it. Even though he isn't even TWO yet. He's already all about wanting to do things the way we do. Like a big boy! :o

So, desperately I posted statuses on Facebook related to this new development. The advice was welcomed. It's funny, because I heard a whole host of opinions. Some people thought I should just skip his nap altogether. Some people said to just shut the door and let him play independently and quietly for awhile, since you can't force him to sleep anyway. Others suggested stronger discipline techniques, like time-outs and consistency in regular bed times. I found all these comments very interesting. It really showed through what styles of parenting people are into.

It became apparent to me very quickly that the transition to the big boy bed was inevitable, as much as I feared him to be free to roam. Dan and I did consider some advice like putting a crib net over the top of the crib and even sewing a triangle piece of cloth between his legs of his sleeper, so that he couldn't spread his legs far enough to hike it up over the side and then climb out! (J/K)

I think it really came down to "what is the core issue here?" and for me as a parent I determined that he still needs his naps and regular bed-times. Keeping him in his crib in such restrictive ways was not really a teaching moment for him, it would only enrage him. Plus, I think he's old enough to transition.

So one day I made sure everything was baby-proofed in his room and simply shut the door and listened. Before I left I tried to read him a book in bed and made sure that I told him it was time to go "night-night". For awhile I could hear him playing with his toys and walking around. That went on for quite awhile maybe a half an hour or more and then all of a sudden...quiet. Judging by the sounds I heard I think he had fallen asleep on the floor near the door. About an hour later he got up and started knocking on the door. I opened it up and there he was, proud as a peacock!

Now, I do this everyday, although I adjusted his nap time from 1pm to 2:30pm since it didn't seem that he was that tired at 1. Everyday he takes a good nap 2 hours or more in the afternoon. After about 20 min. or so of playing quietly in his room he lays down with his blankie and pillow and takes a nap! Bedtime is similar, although we have a little routine where Dan and I lay down with him in his bed and read a couple books or sing and pray. He usually doesn't stay in his bed after we leave, but 10 or 20 min. later all's quiet on the Calvin front :) Sometimes we have to go in there and put him on his bed, if he's on the floor, but now he gets in the bed by himself most of the time.

I really attribute his ability to go to bed independently to the "Baby Wise"(Ezzo) program we did with him since he was a tiny baby. He soothes himself and falls asleep with little to no crying. And we don't have to be there for him to fall asleep, which actually makes things A LOT easier on us as parents. I think overall, you find your way as a parent. I'd say that he was totally ready for this transition. Maybe more than his Mom was, but it turned out to be a lot less scary than I thought it would be for me. Of course we still keep a gate on his bedroom door in case he ever gets it open :)

So Congrats to Calvin on this new milestone! You really are my big boy now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Southern Way

All's quiet in the house now. I just laid down my sweet boy and I'm sitting here at my desk in suspense. "Why" you ask? This morning was the first time he crawled out of his crib all by himself. This is a game changer folks. He is no longer contained. It does affect my nerves just knowing that. But so far so good now. He's still in there...

We recently got back from our annual trip to Kentucky to visit my family for Thanksgiving. I am still stuffed from not just one big Thanksgiving meal, but multiple large feasts. It seemed every meal was a big deal, but that is my Granny and that is the Southern woman's way. I love my family. Even the short amount of time that we get to spend each year...we are bound by our past experiences. By my childhood and their memories of me as a child. They are all such good people too. People that make you feel important and listen to you and ask you relevant questions. Some of my favorite memories of them are sitting around the table long after the plates have been cleared and Dad telling stories and everyone laughing until they cry. I pray that laughter becomes an integral part of our own little family. There is nothing more healing and restoring as a deep, hearty laugh.

We're back to life at home again. In some ways I am grateful. It was hard traveling with a busy toddler. But I have new, warm memories to carry with me for the coming year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Curious Kids Museum


Calvin was a pro at the climbing wall.


Cute one!


Water works!




He really liked the space exhibition.


Calvin on Mars!


In the space shuttle. Too bad we didn't get any pics of him and AJ together in their Star Wars costumes...it would have been a perfect backdrop!




There was no sound coming out. I guess he was trying to stretch his face muscles as far as they would go? It cracks me up every time I look at it.


There's my sweet boy :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calvin 20 Months

I wanted to document all these new words that Calvin has been saying before it's too late and I forget. He is now 20 months. He is becoming more and more of a little boy every day. Sometimes I go to get him up from his nap and I promise he looks bigger than before he went to bed. I have noticed that his hands seem bigger especially, and other people have told me he looks taller too.

Things that feel different at home: He can focus on certain things for longer periods of time. So it feels like he is his own person a lot more. If that makes sense? For example, on some good nights, I can be making dinner and he can sit at his little computer game or look at books in his room for several minutes without interrupting me. Maybe 10-15 minutes tops, but that is very different from before.

He will try to say a lot more words, if you preface it with, "Can you say...?" He can say and understand what hat means, hot, please, honey(thanks to Pooh), go, eyore (as of last night), I love you (sort of), bubbles, papa (for Dan's Dad), and tigger.That's in addition to the words he already knows.

He is also throwing more fits and having struggles of the will with me. I have been using time-out, which seems like he's really young, but surprisingly he kind of gets it I think. I sit him on the bed and say time out and turn around with back to him, not saying anything for awhile. At first he would try to crawl away immediately or play with something, or try to talk to me, but now he sits there quietly until I turn around. I'm not sure if he's really connecting his behaviors to the consequence yet, but I'm sure that will come. And eventually I'll be able to use a timer and not stand there. But overall it is working I think. I really need to read some more material on toddler behavior management. I'm not sure what to do about his little tantrums where he throws himself on the floor and kicks, or kicks while changing his diaper now. I just stand there and wait for him to finish. I wonder if any other moms have ideas for that one?

I am feeling a little better lately and I'm trying to be a more interactive mom with him, rather than lounge around and watch him play all day. But it is tempting some days when I am so tired. Overall, it has been fun to watch him start to say more things and become his own little person.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what his new favorite word is..."No." with a scowl on his face. It's actually kind of cute right now, but I'm sure that it won't be for long!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Take a Vote!

So I've decided that periodically I will give you insight to all of the hundreds of wives tales about whether or not I might be having a boy or girl. And you can then vote for a boy or girl with my new poll ----->see right.

I'm not sure if I will keep the same poll, or use new ones with every tid bit of new information, but nonetheless, let the voting begin!

THE CHINESE GENDER PREDICTOR:

According to this ancient calendar, you look for where your due date and your birth date come together on the graph and it looks like....I will be having a girl, according to them.(Also, I don't have my official due date yet)

They were right however, with Calvin. So what do you think?
Another consideration is that Dan has 3 brothers and one sister. There are a lot of boys!

What is your vote?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hibernation and other cool ideas.

I think all pregnant women should be given the option to go into hibernation if they so desire. That is what I feel like doing. With the exception of spending time with my son and husband. I do admit though there have been days these past couple of weeks that I have felt so sick and tired that I would have payed someone to take over for me.

I am learning to give myself special grace. I am not going to be as good a mom as I was before I became pregnant. It's inevitable that some days Calvin will have all white flour based breads and crackers and no veggies, just because I can't stand the smell of things cooking, even if they smell kind of good... I do feel guilty about this. Poor kid, I'm sure he doesn't care though! And I don't always feel like moving around all that much to play with him, but I do force myself to be somewhat present with him throughout the day.

Oh no, you say, just another gripe session from the pregnant lady. Yep, yep it is. It's therapy you know. If you were pregnant and sick all the time you would want to complain, at least a little, to feel a little better. I think it's working.

I looked up on babycenter.com today the development calendar of my little babe. They should be about the size of a blueberry by now, which if you live in Michigan, really doesn't make it all that clear- seeing as we have gigantic monstrosities for blueberries. And then there's the typical grocery store blueberry which also varies in size. Ah, I digress....

You may notice a slightly different sounding voice within these new posts. I think with the hormones, it brings out the sassier Katie. I am much less afraid to voice my opinions. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Another topic of note lately is that I am discovering just how weighed down with emotions the idea of being pregnant is among fellow young women my age. It seems that these young women fall into one of a few categories:

1) Still single and desperately hoping to find Mr. Right...and their deepest desire to start a family someday.

2)Married, but have been disappointed in trying to get pregnant thus far.Or their husbands are dragging their feet. Or a financial situation may be preventing it.

3) Married, with a child already and have either had one or multiple miscarriages since then or no positive results thus far.

I have, again and again heard stories from so many young women lately, pouring out their hearts to me about wanting a husband and a family so badly and fearing that that may never come to pass. Or meeting women who have had multiple miscarriages.

It is so sad that such a joyous thing is so tainted with sorrow. I must admit it did take us awhile to get pregnant this time, and just in those 6 months of sitting in the bathroom feeling disappointed over and over again. It was ultimately way too easy to lose faith. And I think I did my friends. For a time. Or maybe it was just the acute sense of longing and perhaps a trace of panic that we wouldn't be able to conceive again. And alas, God is faithful, just when I began to lean on his strength and to stop obsessing over it-it happened.

I count my blessings, believe me. I never dreamed I would marry such a wonderful man. Nor that I would have one healthy, beautiful boy. My life is not over though, and I'm sure there will be more sorrows placed on my heart in the meantime. I am thinking of you tonight, my friends who are grieving the loss of hope. I am saying a special prayer that you would find peace in God when you let go....and TRUST. In the words of a great woman of the faith. "It will come up."

Monday, November 1, 2010

May the force be with you.


Happy Halloween! Calvin celebrated as any child who has secret nerds as parents would.


I made his costume. That is the first time I've ever sewn a hood or sleeves like that. It was a challenge at first, but then it was easier in the end than I expected. Just wait until next years costume. Look out!



AJ was Yoda and they enjoyed a saber fight together.

I hope that your Halloween was memorable. I'm hoping by next year Calvin will actually be able to say "trick or treat"instead of me awkwardly saying it for him. Oh and maybe he'll be able to eat candy next year too. But hooray for dressing up small kids in cute costumes and laughing at them!(I think he had fun too)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Best Birthday Present Ever!

So today is my birthday. It honestly seems like just another day to wash dishes and make lunch for Calvin and I. I suppose that happens when you've past all the milestones of your childhood and adolescence. I am now 27! I've tipped the scale in favor of 30. It has happened so fast.

But on this particular day I am smiling. Not only because it is my birthday and I get special treatment, but also because God had blessed me with a wonderful birthday gift. A new little baby growing inside me! It's like a special present between God and I. I know that while I am going about my day, there is a miracle taking place within me. I am only 5 or 6 weeks along so it is still pretty early. But Lord willing, come June, Calvin will have a little brother or sister.

So THAT is the best birthday present yet.

:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

OCTOBER {Fun at Home}


We have been busy, busy playing and rough-housing with Dad!


We got these costumes and more at a garage sale for like a dollar! Endless fun!




I love this one!He actually keeps the hat on for a significant amount of time too!


I have been trying to capture this face for awhile now....It's his "mama, please." face.


Snuggling with Daddy one morning, and holding his "meow".


My little boy growing up!


Just having some fun in his new basement playroom. He can make as many messes as he wants down here! It's great!!!!







As we speak he is climbing up on shelves and tables and jumping off of them. He thinks it's funny. Mommy is oh so tired these days :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

18 Months {my little climber}



We've hit another milestone! Calvin is now 18 months old! One and a half year's old! He is really starting to develop his little personality now. He is smart and strong, both physically and willed. He is climbing and sliding down the "big boy" slide at the park. He can eat from plates and bowls and is using forks and spoons quite well.

He can eat most things now, thanks to his mouth full of teeth, including his molars. He loves crunchy things like crackers, cereal and granola on his yogurt. He is eating more "normal toddler food", like peanut butter and honey sandwiches with thin slices of apples or mandarin oranges for lunch. He usually eats whatever I make for us for dinner too. He has a BIG appetite and eats most everything.



He runs everywhere and climbs EVERYTHING! He especially loves to climb up into mommy's computer chair and use the mouse and keyboard just like mommy. I even found some really simple and cute computer games that he likes, where you can press any key and the graphics change and make noises, like a firetruck or little animals moving. He likes it.



He loves to "read" and sometimes will just sit for several minutes and look at books by himself turning the pages and studying the pictures. It's super cute. He also likes for me and Daddy to read to him. His favorite books now are "Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton. The words have a nice rhythm to them and so I usually slap his little hand on his leg along with the rhythm of the words. He loves it.



He is starting to play more, including pretend play. He will act like a dog and crawl around panting. He looks back at me and wants me to chase him, so we both end up pretending to be dogs, crawling around on the floor. Hah! Fun!

He also LOVES our dog Cooper and any other animal, especially cats. He points at any animal and either pants like a dog or meows like a cat. I think he is going to be an animal lover.

He is a healthy boy for the most part. I did find out recently that he does have a bit of a pidgeon toe on one foot, which explains the clumsiness. The doc says that it usually self corrects in time and they will keep an eye on it, but he should be just fine. Other than that, he is a big healthy boy!

I love being home with him, although most of the time I am exhausted :)........It is fun to watch him grow so quickly and become his own little person. I love the little guy with all my heart. Next big one is 2 years!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Missing Tenderness

I think a big part of what I've been missing with Calvin is tenderness. Since he's been approaching toddlerhood, moments of tenderness and even cuddling have become few and far between. Tonight was different. I think God was reminding me just how important my mommy role is and the unique bond that I have with my son. I found myself gazing at him lovingly instead of out of frustration with his "temper tantrums". He held on to me just a little longer before I laid him down to bed and gave me a "kiss" upon request. He has started patting my back as I pat his. I look forward to this night time ritual. To feel like all the battles of the wills and chasing him around frantically has in some way been worth it. And I know it is. But it's those moments, when he says "ma-ma" and then lays his head on my shoulder that melt my heart.

Lord, help me to cultivate tenderness in some way this week. Help me to find the energy to teach Calvin new things and to play with him instead of working on my own agenda. Help me to savor these tender moments.

Amen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cappuccinos make me happy.

I am staring down at sticky toffee and cream colored froth stuck to the edges of my wide rimmed cappuccino mug here at Cafe Tosi. I've never seen so many people here. I am drowning in humming, buzzing conversation and clinking of real coffee cups and spoons. There are piles of chocolate croissants and curry chicken salad panini on every plate. The humming is interrupted every now and again by a large man sitting in the booth corner who seems elated that he is alive today. I love it here. Is it odd that I leave home to find some peace of mind and alone time in this buzzing mecca of happy people? I think not. I think so often I want to be surrounded by them. I want to study them and find my societal place among them. And so here I am.

I have had a rough couple of days this week, to be frank. I was sick and miserable with a head cold the last day or two. I haven't left the house since before I was sick, come to think of it. I think I am driving Dan mad. I have little to no tolerance for messy spaces that I cannot clean because I don't have any energy. And speaking of energy levels, little buddy has truly been wearing me out. To the point of me sitting down and crying over little battles that I cannot win with him. Battles like letting him continually play with our computer mouse, knocking the keyboard off of the desk in the process. Or being right there every time he decides to climb the chair again. His new favorite words are "sit down" he repeats them over and over, as if he's heard them somewhere....

Ahhh, back to the clinking chaos of my perfect little cafe. It is so good to get away. I have not been the best mom in my opinion, this last week. I am searching for God in this. I am trying to hear his still, small voice. Give me patience Lord. Give me strength to get through this place I'm stuck in right now.

"Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride." Ecc 7:8

This verse intrigues me. It really should be my motto the more I think about it. I need to finish something. I think that is a big part of my frustrations. Everywhere I look in my house there are unfinished projects, unfinished laundry, unfinished dishes, unfinished bills and other business to take care of. And, most of the time, by Calvin's nap time, I am too tired to tackle a project and actually finish it.

As I'm writing this, I can just hear all of the moms in my head. "That's just a part of being a mom." you say. I'm sure it is. But right now in this wilderness, it is hard to see the sunlight. I am dissapointed in myself. I have reached a new low.

Lord of my life, I pray that you would give me the patience in every moment and every little unnecessary battle. Help me to find you and find strength to get through it. And not only to merely survive it, but to conquer it as a vibrant, life-giving mother who doesn't take crap. Help me to become that god-fearing woman and mother that I have often caught glimpses of, the one that you are teaching me to become. Thank you for this day and this place and for the way you continue to mold my heart in your hands. Help me to love my son and my husband, even when I don't feel like it. And continue to craft my skill as a mother.

Amen.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August Highlights

I'm here! I'm still here! And, this post squeaks by as the only post written in August, shameful at best. We have been having so much summer fun that there is no time for blogging and other trivial things.

That being said, allow me to recap some of our August highlights:

My cousin Stockton and lovely (now wife) Courtney tied the knot to get the ball rolling for the month. It was a beautiful, classy wedding on a perfect summer's eve. I was moved to see their love for each other as they said their vows. In fact, there were several tender moments for me this night, a few of which I had to hold back tears. It was so nice to see my family all getting along so well and having such a great time together.

My college housemate and friend Melody and company (her twin one-year-old girls, hubby and her eight year old stepdaughter) all came to visit. We had a full house for a couple days! It was a delightful time, doing all the touristy things in town. We had a glorious beach day complete with crazy big waves. The water was warm and it was invigorating getting knocked down and sucked under the waves over and over again.

Then we did the whole ice cream, sunset stroll and even jumped on the new carousel downtown for fun. We also went fruit picking the next day for raspberries and peaches. Yum! I love it when friends come to visit because we actually go and do those things that I'm not sure we would do otherwise.

Mel, Rachel and I had an awesome secret girl's night getaway after the babes all went to sleep. Let's just say it ended in dramatic fashion as usual; chasing a flaming sky lantern across the Tiscornia Beach park at 2 in the morning. We love to get into mischief. But it was so nice to catch up and get back in tune with ourselves and God, which can sometimes be difficult when you are a mom. We saw a lot of shooting stars that night too. :)

Dan and I made one last trip up north to Dan's family cabin at Jehnsen Lake. We try to get up there a few times a summer. It was much harder this year with Calvin than last year, because he is so mobile and active now. I had to constantly monitor him and hold his hand on the dock and strap him down in the boat. But aside from that it was a great time, as always. We stopped at Snyder's BBQ place on the way there, which is quickly becoming our little family's new tradition. The fishing was pretty bad, but the weather was nice and we swam at the island with Calvin one day. Dan's parents were also there which was great because I got to go out with Dan in the boat a couple times while they watched him back at the cabin. Zeb, Stacy, Noah and Abby all came up the next night too. Good times.

This past weekend we got to get away for what will probably be our last weekend off for a long time. We escaped with 8 of our friends up North again to Mitchell State Park near Cadillac, MI. Calvin got to stay and play with the grandparents again!It wasn't quite as rustic as we would have liked, but it was nestled between two big gorgeous lakes; Lake Cadillac and Mitchell. It was a great group of people and we all got along so well. Everyone kept commenting on how we were such a "self-sufficient" group. Everyone did what needed to be done (like setting up tents, cooking, getting the fire started) and we all worked so well together. The highlight of the trip for me was the canoe trip we took down the Pine River. We were so blessed to have SUCH amazing weather. The river was beautiful and twisty and had some rapids which was fun. We had been there with almost the same group about two years ago and it was just as beautiful as I remember it. We were on the river for about 4 hours with a few stops along the way. One of which we stopped to climb the huge sand dune that juts straight up from a quick bend in the river. It is quite the achievement to make it up the hill (which we all did) and the view is unbelievable. The people in their canoes below looked like little ants. The guys stopped along the way to climb trees and jump from them into the water, and make crazy underwater videos. It was a fun time.

So August has now come and gone and we begin with the gorgeous month of September. I am really starting to fall in love with Michigan summers. September always has the most beautiful sunsets over Lake Michigan. Graham, my brother is coming home in a couple weeks from a 5 month long trip in the Coast Guard. The three amigos (him, me and mom) are going to Chicago for a couple of days, which I'm also looking forward to. Man, we really like to keep busy. Also I am teaching a painting class through annarussoart.com for six weeks, which I am getting excited about. It will be centered around capturing the beauty of fall colors and the local vineyards. I want to take the class out into the field to paint too, which will be cool. Sign up if you're interested at the website.

That is all for now. Ta-ta!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Week Without Daddy

This week Dan has been in Haiti. I am so excited for him (and secretly wish I could be with him). I know that he is doing some great work down there. They have already built several houses for people.

While he's off globe trotting. Cal and I are here at home left to our own devices.Let me just sum it all up for you: Mama needs a B-R-E-A-K.

I have a new found appreciation for all the single moms out there, including my own mama. Overall I don't think it's too terrible, he is such a joyful little boy so it makes it all the more pleasant being with him. It's just so nice to have Dan as my partner, to watch him for a few minutes while I take a shower or spend some time working on a project or weeding my garden. Even just to make a cup of coffee and sit down to drink it can be a challenge.

Calvin also wonders where his Daddy has gone. He will occasionally point his finger outside and say "da-da" as if in the form of a question. Ma-Ma will be so happy when Da-Da gets home...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

15 Months

Our summer so far has been delightful. I can't tell you how much I love being home with my baby...and my babe. This break from working was much needed. I can actually go grocery shopping or get things done like catch up on bills and filing.

But most importantly I get to be with Calvin. He is so cute at this age. I think besides 9-10 months, this is my favorite. He is walking and talking more. He's learning how to make animal noises and communicating better. He can do the "piggy face", moo for cow, meow for kitty cat, baa for sheep and panting for dog. All of them on command, more or less.

Just in the last couple weeks he's been perfecting his pointing. For awhile he would use his whole hand and point in the direction of something, but now he is using his pointer finger. He says, "diss" I think it means "this" while pointing. He can also say "chsss" for "cheese", "jissss" for "juice", "hi-ee" for "hi", and is really good at using mama and dada in appropriate ways now. It melts my heart when I pick him up and he wraps his little arms around my neck and says "Ma-Ma". Then I bounce him for a few minutes and say "Nite-nite" and he always says it back. It is so precious. He even uses the same inflection. Up and down.

Those are the moments I never want to forget. God has blessed us with such a beautiful baby boy. Sometimes I can't even believe he's mine. We are rich beyond measure.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Last Day of School.

Well, it is finally here. As I sit here typing, I am looking out on my five wonderful students, sitting in their little classroom library absorbed in their reading materials. Ok, maybe it's not quite so picturesque. Corbin is rudely accusing Taylor of stealing his puzzle pieces and Taylor is up walking around, ignoring my specific directions to sit down and READ, PLEASE(for the love). Bryan keeps popping his head up from behind the computer, saying "Ms. Katie" over and over again for no apparent reason. Ah, I love special ed kids...and I am reminded how much I am going to LOVE summer.

In the mix of feeling relieved and exhausted from a long, hard journey of a year, there are traces of sadness. This year is particularly hard to say goodbye. Because, well, I might not return. At least not as "Ms. Katie the para in room 153". I will most likely assume the title of "that sub" when I come back around these parts. This is hard for a number of reasons.

Because our classrooms are smaller we are a very tight knit group. We are a family. We fight together (quite often), play hard and work hard together. I am there when they experience breakthroughs in their emotional maturation. It is so rewarding to see their faces light up when they realize they are not bound by their family circumstances, the turmoil they have experienced. They experience freedom here at Lighthouse Education Center. They learn to handle their emotions in appropriate ways. They have come SO FAR. And I am SO PROUD of them. I could cry....ok can't think about it too much.

This is my ministry. This is where I belong. God has brought me here, these 3 years for a reason. I don't know what the future has in store, and if I can stay away for sure from this crazy place that I love so much. But it is in his hands.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Summer Project

This is yet another blog I've started called THE VINE. I'm addicted to blogs- Hah! I've been wanting to travel around the area and check out places I've never been, so this blog is going to become a commentary on my experiences with Calvin this summer. I am keeping in mind an audience who might not know the area. Hope you like it! I'd appreciate any advice any of you have for it too, your favorite places to eat and visit.

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To cut or not to cut: THE MULLET.

Yes, it's true. Calvin has been sporting one of the finest baby mullets I've seen to date. I've been hanging on so long... I don't want to cut his unadulterated baby hair. No, not his sweet, precious, never been touched baby hair! On some, more humid days the ends will actually curl up. I've been waiting for the little ringlets to appear. I thought if it just grows a little bit longer....then it will curl up into the sweetest little curls you ever saw. Now I don't know if that will become a reality.

If you ask me I think he's just ahead of his time. The Euro-mullet is in right?


We'll see.....might have to "bite the bullet and cut the mullet" as they say.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walking. It's official.

Calvin is now 14 months and is walking quite well. I am actually quite relieved that he is walking. I think my anxiety level has gone down. He is much steadier and nimble in his motions and doesn't pull up on things as much, which can be scary.Now he just waddles around the house chasing Cooper and giggling.

He is getting sooooo ridiculously cute too. I find myself wanting to stay home with him more and more. I feel like I am missing out while I'm at work. Which brings me to my next point. I will be quitting my job here in the near future to take on a venture brand new to me. The role of being a stay at home mom.The name just sounds so restricting doesn't it? Who wants to just stay at home all the time? Does that mean I don't get to leave? If anyone knows me, they know that I thrive on adventure and discovering new things. My cabin fever is so bad I can't even stay home the length of a full day, without going stir crazy.

My mother has always been (at least as long as I can remember) a career woman. A driven, goal oriented, workplace diva. That is kind of what I pictured myself to be. This staying home business and letting my man bring home the bacon is hard to accept. I never thought I would say that, but I am discovering new things about myself all the time, now that I am a mother.

I don't know how to be a stay at home mom and keep myself sane. I don't know how to support my man. I don't know why I struggle to accept this new role.Am I so prideful that not earning income is considered somewhat shameful? What is wrong with this picture? These are my children we're talking about. I need to be there for them.I never understood this until now.

I will most likely still substitute teach a couple days or find odd jobs, so Calvin will still get some time in with the Grammas. But it is increasingly important to me that I am there to teach him new things, take him on trips to zoos, apple orchards and libraries. I want to be there to watch him light up when he sees something for the first time and learns how to say his ABC's. I guess I just want to be there. More.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Screamy Phase"

I've been noticing lately that Cal is trying to communicate more with us, but finds it difficult to do so, since he doesn't really talk yet, minor detail. As a result of this we have entered the "screamy" phase. When we tell him not to go into a certain room or take a certain object away he will scream. I guess that really is the best communication method he could use-come to think of it. I wish I could just scream when things weren't going my way and people were making me mad. Maybe we should all start using this method. It would definitely get the point across and even spare a few hurtful words that would have otherwise come spewing out.

Nonetheless, we must find another way. Even if just for my poor eardrums. It's funny, no one wants to think they're child is bratty. I can remember being like "my child will never scream". But then it happens and you start to realize that it's just a natural part of a child's development. If they weren't so frustrated when trying to communicate then maybe they would never have the drive to learn how to use words. And so, screaming is a part of our lives now. I wonder for how much longer though...?

I've noticed that he associates all the words he knows with some kind of physical sign. We've taught him "all done" and he twists his little hands; "more" and he touches his fingers together;

"piggy" and he wrinkles his nose and snorts, "Ba-ba" aka bottle and he smacks his lips together. So now I guess we should teach him more. I know that he is capable now. I'm excited to see what other signs/words he can learn now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beloved Disney

Our trip to Disneyland this spring really brought me back to my childhood. We went into this really cool exhibit that was all about the animation process. When you walked into the room, there were 17 huge cinema size screens all around the room. On each screen was a different scene from a particular Disney movie all to the tune of a well edited Disney ballad medley.

I'm still not sure why, but I was so moved by this room, it actually brought me to tears. It was something about the way I felt so small in that vast space and watching other young women of all ages mouthing the words of "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid. There were so many people, and I knew none of them and I got the sense that they all had the same fondness and the same familiarity with those images and songs. All the emotions and memories of being a little girl came back, kind of like revisiting your childhood home in a way. It was the soundtrack of my childhood.

I remembered swimming in my cousin Laura's pool, swirling our hair into "mermaid" dos and singing and laughing and splashing. Oh, such fond memories. I recently inherited all the classics on VHS and last weekend I went and bought a VCR at a rummage sale for a buck. I can't tell you how much fun I've had reminiscing with all my old friends these last few days. I hope some day Calvin will enjoy them, at least a little, because I secretly enjoy watching them too :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Travel

We made it home from sunny San Diego. It was such a fun trip. We went to the beach and La Jolla, which was so beautiful. We went to Disneyland and to the Zoo. It was a much needed break. On the last day, I got very sick and we missed our flight home. We had to reschedule it for three days later. I felt much better after 24 hrs. so we actually got to enjoy another couple days. I have been to San Diego before, and I don't remember it being that beautiful. I loved all the mountains and the flowers everywhere. The trees reminded me of the trees in Rome. It was a pleasant memory brought back. This trip really got me excited for travel again. I love to travel. In a way it was like a trial run to see if flying with Calvin is really as hard as I thought it was going to be. Which it wasn't by the way. We lucked out and had an empty seat between us both times, so that was super convenient. On the way there he cried for the first 15-20 min. and then he passed out and slept the rest of the way. On the way home he slept for a few minutes and then we strapped him in the seat and he just sat there for 4 hrs. playing and eating cheerios. He only got fussy a couple times.

I think an overseas flight might be a little different though :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Excitement is a Brewing!

Exciting things have been brewing at the Deitrich House as of late. Calvin is starting to take more steps! Dan said that last night while I was at small group, he took 4 steps! It's so funny, he seems to do it so non-chalantly, as though he really doesn't realize he's walking. And if we show the least bit of excitement, it sort of startles him back to reality and the fact that he's walking not holding anything! And down he goes back onto his knees and scurries away using his old,trusty crawl.

Another exciting thing, is that we bought our first real piece of furniture!They delivered to our door last night- the most beautiful, cushy looking couch I've ever laid eyes upon. It is wonderful. At first, when the delivery men threw the decorative pillows on and walked out, it was like a stranger in the house. It took some warming up to. Cal got to sit on it first. He loved it. He laid his head down on it and started sucking his thumb. So cute! Dan and I enjoyed some R&R after he went to bed. It was the perfect night-watching WWII documentaries on Public Television-all while stretching out each in our own directions comfortably. Dan on the chaise end and me on the other.(Yes, we are nerds for enjoying public television)

Another exciting thing, is that we are heading to Oceanside, California in less than a week! Woo-hoo! All three of us will be flying out to visit Dan's cousins Holly and Dusty who have a little boy Brody who is the same age as Cal. It will be our first family vacation. They live very close to the ocean and also San Diego Zoo and Disneyland (which we have three free tickets for-thanks to them). It should be a nice little vacation. It will be perfect because they already have all the toys, highchairs, and strollers we would ever need. And they get the whole "baby needs a nap" thing. Ha! Anyway, I'm looking forward to it!

Oh AND another thing, my good friend Cindi just had her baby yesterday!!!! Woo-hoo!!! Marissa Kaylynn. Everyone is healthy and doing well. I still haven't had a chance to hold the baby yet, but I plan on changing that very soon (lunch break hospital visit?)......And guess what? Cal and Marissa will be exactly one year and one week apart! How exciting! They can be playmates! I think a proper marriage arrangement is in order. :)



Exciting things, friends, exciting things...I hope that spring has brought a freshness and new life in some form to your own life. God is good, even when we struggle-he always brings us up to the top of the mountain for awhile. Let's enjoy the view!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three Cheers for Spring!

Hello Everyone.

Calvin is getting so smart, it kind of freaks me out. He knows specific pages in his books where we will laugh or make sniffing noises (cause that's what the book says) and he will turn to that page all by himself and either laugh or make sniffing noises.We watch him by the door while he's playing alone. So cute!

I love him more and more everyday it seems. I love seeing this more grown up side of him. It's so fun. He picks up on things so quickly and can copy a lot of sounds now. I'm getting excited for the summer, I can hardly stand it. I'm excited to be home everyday with him. And to go on adventures....to the beach, to the playground and who knows where else. I think I should like to plan out a summer itinerary. I really want to see what all is around us in Southwest MI and explore the area. I'm also excited because Rachel will be here this summer with her son AJ who is the same age as Calvin. They can play together and we can chat...It will be swell. :)

Three cheers for spring coming! Hip-hip-hooray!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who is Da-Da?

This morning Calvin distinguished Da-Da from Ma-Ma!I went and picked him up from his crib (which he was snuggling with his stuffed polar bear and it was really cute) and brought him to our bed as usual. Dan was still sleeping and Calvin looked at him and said Da-Da and then back at me and smiled! Then I said what about me? And he repeated Ma-Ma while looking at me. I just got the feeling like he's finally getting it! He understands that those words are assigned to us. Hooray! Another milestone in the journey. He's so stinkin' cute, I can't even stand it sometimes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Birthday Party Planning

I've been asked a few times this week if I've started planning Cal's first birthday party yet....it's coming up March 22nd! Wow, that flew by. I've even been asked if I have a "theme" yet for his party. Huh? For a one year old? That's a little funny isn't it? I think this whole birthday party thing is really more fun for the adults to plan than for the kids to enjoy. Maybe by his second birthday he would appreciate a "theme" more. That being said, I'm getting excited to host the party and to have all of our loved ones in one room singing happy birthday as Calvin digs into his very own tiny birthday cake (which I plan on making myself). It should be fun!

As for a theme, not sure really what he's "into" yet. Power Rangers? Dora? Scooby-Doo? Nah....Dan thinks we should do a pirate theme- or outerspace. The thought of both kind of cracks me up- but then again we all have kids so that we can relive our own childhoods right? I guess I'll lighten up and enjoy it! (plus I think it would be super funny to draw a pirate mustache on Calvin and make him wear an eye-patch ;)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Two and a half years it is!

Thanks to my four voters! We 've come to a conclusion that 2.5 years between Calvin and his next sibling would be the best answer! Oh good, glad I don't have to worry about that one anymore :)

Dan and I pulled out some of our older camcorder tapes and we were looking through them. Calvin used to be so little. It's amazing! I'm so glad I pulled that out when I did and used it. It's so different from just taking a picture. I love that you can see what kind of expressions and movements he makes and sounds too! What a big boy he has become.

In other news, I've been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I knew something has been really wrong with my hands the last few years. It's gotten worse this past year and a half or so. I have a lot of pain and stiffness in my hands and wrists. It's gotten to the point where I can't open cans, jars, Calvin's baby food, squeeze out my shampoo, even pull my covers up over me at times. If I hit my hand even a little on something, it is the most excruciating pain. I am not one to complain about my health either. For the most part I am extremely healthy and I have a high pain tolerance too.

My mom said when I was little I had an appendicitus and we stayed in the hospital for 12 hours waiting for the docs to decide if they needed to do surgery, because of how I was acting they said they just couldn't believe they really needed to do anything, I would just color alone quietly and occasionally complain about my tummy hurting.When he finally decided to put me under he said if he would have waited even a few minutes longer my appendix would have ruptured for sure.

Anyway, my point is that for my hands to be bothering me this much-it's a lot! So the doc said that I need to start some pretty hard core drugs that will alter the disease and prevent the progression of it, and further damage to my joints. It's a tough call because they have some pretty significant toxicities and side effects. A couple even have a small chance of causing cancer. Yikes! I think God is really testing my fear lately. I need to trust him with this. I will not worry anymore.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Check out my new Poll!

Read below post and then take a vote!

<------------------------------------------

More kids?

Hello Everyone Out There,

I trust that you are well and good?

These past few days have been hard. Calvin has RSV, which is a pretty serious respiratory virus. Blessed as we were, we caught it in time before he had to be hospitalized or anything. He has been taking an antibiotic, a steroid and two different nebulizer meds (breathing treatments) that have to be given to him every 6 hours, which of course he loves. This is the first time he has really been more seriously ill and let me tell you-it's kind of scary. It really makes me more aware of the depth of my love for my little son. I feel his pain actually physically, in the pit of my stomach when he coughs and coughs and gasps for air. We had to go get a chest x-ray done for him and I was an emotional wreck. Looking back on it, it wasn't so bad and I know it will make me stronger for the next time that happens, but geesh, it's hard being a mom! I really do respect mothers more than ever. We are a strong breed- are we not? :) Today I can tell he is feeling a little better. It also helps having the nebulizer because I know that is what they would do if we took him to the hospital, so it's nice having it on hand and it helps him breathe so much better. I daresay we are coming out of this fog-Thank you LORD!

This seems like one of the worst transitions to bring up this topic, but we have been thinking about more children lately (I know kind of hard to believe) -but we are! Just thinking ahead really, trying to foresee what would be the best timing with my job and with the age difference they might have. I've heard a lot of different advice lately..."You just know when you're ready"...."Two years apart was good they played together all the time"...." Two years apart was too close"........"Four years was nice because you only had one in diapers"....."It's nice when they're close together you can do all the diapers and then be done with them".......I've heard it all. It seems there is no definitive answer- Surprise! Just wondering what you think out there in cyberspace (all two of you who read this on occasion;) ?

Some of our factors are:

I have the summers off, so when Calvin was born in late March, I had the rest of the school year off and then the whole summer which was nice.

Our "childcare" aka "grandmas" might be overwhelmed with two young children? And I'd like to work for at least 4 more years if possible.

Dan was two years apart with his brother Nick and they seem like they really enjoyed it and played together well.

I was three years apart with Graham and we were pretty close-although I was definitely the older sister.

How many kids do we want to have total? Because I don't want to be too much older than 30 and still having kids.

And then there is the factor of what God blesses us with. Maybe Calvin is our only child, if that is so I will be happy, but we'd really like a few more. We've also talked about the possibility of adopting in the future as well.

Dan is a great Dad. Really, He is like the Dad's you see on sitcoms like "7th Heaven" and "Full House". He is so good with Calvin. So patient, so steady and so loving-no matter how hard it is. He is the classic father. I am SO blessed to have him by my side in this journey into family-hood.

Ultimately I am SOOOO blessed in a number of ways, I am excited for our future! But if we do have a choice in the matter...what do you think?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Patty-cake! 10 Months

Calvin is growing so fast it sometimes makes me sad. But this is also such a FUN age! He is 10 months old today. Lately he's learned to clap his hands together every time we say "Do you want to patty-cake?" it's so cute, he gets a big smile on his face and starts clapping right away. He also knows the sign for "more" when we are feeding him. Although now "more" and "patty-cake" look a lot alike. He is also using some new sounds like the "c" as in C-ooper. I think he understands that that is his name because everytime he sees Cooper he looks at him and makes the "c" sound. The other day he was on the floor crawling and he hadn't been home all day and he saw Cooper for the first time. They were so excited to see each other, it was really cute. Cooper kept licking his face and playing with him and Calvin was laughing so hard! It was this deep baby belly laugh-adorable. It made Dan and I start laughing too!

Another thing Cal loves to do is open and shut any kind of door. He LOVES it. He will sit in front of his bedroom door and open, close, open, close. He also loves the cupboards in the kitchen. It never gets old to him.

So I am really enjoying this age!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another crazy idea.

I am confused by myself lately. Why can I be so into an idea or a plan and then on a whim completely change my mind and direction? I guess I am a woman, that's probably part of it :) I think I need more outlets for my creativity, because I exhaust myself thinking up crazy ideas and mapping out every detail of them. I spent hours last night researching daycare licensing. I mean hours of intense internet research and scheming. Dreaming up ways to convert our entire basement into a fabulous child care facility. I get really into "creating spaces". That is my favorite thing to do. I have been feeling lately like I'm being somewhat held back at work. I love my job...but- I should have my teaching certificate and be making more money because I can surely do the job and am doing it now, sans teacher salary. Why am I so obsessed with money too? I could potentially make more money pretty easily I think if I were to take in 4 or 5 kids at my home. No going back to school to get certificates, no more student loan debt, and then the trouble of finding those elusive job openings for elem. ed. teachers in this hard pressed economy. But I do enjoy the teacher schedule.

So here's a brief synopsis of my new idea: Finish our basement (including the garage) into two nice big play rooms and a half bath. True this would cost a bit, but Dan could do a lot of the work himself. And we'd like to finish it anyway for our own kids to play, and potentially sleep, in later. Plus the way the space is set up, it has it's own entrance and is on the ground floor and is separated from the rest of the house so we could have our own space to live in. It also has several windows so it doesn't feel so much like an old basement (which is really what it is, truth be told) Only problem is we don't really have a backyard to play in, but we do have three or four parks within a mile of our house.

Take in a couple kids to start. And see how it goes. Oh and only watch Teachers' kids. So, hopefully I can keep the same schedule.

I also have been feeling a call to somehow minister to under-privileged kids. Which I already kind of do at school. But I think it might be cool to offer some really cheap childcare to a couple of kids as a sort of ministry, after I've been doing it for awhile. I am also curious about being a foster parent and this seems like a sort of in between step to get there and still make a living. Plus, I can spend more time with my own kids at home too.

Here I go again. Business idea number 13 in the books. I guess I'll sleep on this one for awhile.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

~2009~ The year of babies!


All I have to say is wow, when I look back on 2009. This was without a doubt our biggest year yet. I am somewhat sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful and challenging year, but excited for what this new year means too.









We started off 2009 in true Michigan fashion sporting one of the biggest snowfalls I could remember in a while. I remember sitting in our cozy little house on Van Brunt watching the fat flakes fall in the street light. It was a beautiful snow. My belly was getting bigger at this point, it was nice to have that extra warmth of a baby belly. I was 6 months pregnant.

Besides being pregnant, we also bought our very first house!!!!! We got a great deal on this little fixer-upper gem and we spent the better part of February and early March painting, painting, painting, sanding floors, laying tile, rewiring the electric, getting new appliances put in, cleaning cupboards and on and on. We had so much help thanks to our amazing family and friends!

It's a good thing we worked so hard getting our new house ready for our little bun in the oven, because Calvin came almost a month early! We had our entire house packed and ready for the moving crew in the morning when my water broke at 4 am! What an exciting and memorable day(s) that was! March 22nd, we welcomed our sweet baby boy Calvin James into our lives and into our new home. Words really can't describe the feeling of holding your son for the first time ever.

Spring finally came and with the new sunshine and fresh grass marked the beginning of a new era for our little family. We found ourselves wrapped up in the amazing growth of our child. Watching his first smiles, lifting up his head, sleeping through the night (thank you Lord), rolling over, sitting up, laughing, saying "da-da", and "ma-ma", giggles and squeals of delight, crawling, and now pulling up and dancing and eating big boy food.

Calvin made his first trip away from home down to Anderson IN to visit Uncle Nick and Aunt Mary and watch them graduate! We also got a chance to see Melody and Rachel my good friends and roomates from college. Rachel had her son 2 weeks after I did, and Melody has since had identical twin girls!
Krissy, Dan's sister also graduated from Highschool.
We began to really make our house a home and felt more and more comfortable there!
Dan's Aunt Peggy passed away in June from brain cancer. It was a terribly difficult time for all of us, but we were all so incredibly touched by her courage and her steadfast faith in God throughout her life, especially towards the end. Her memory is with us always and there's not a doubt in my mind that she is with her savior and Lord smiling in heaven.
We visited Dan's family cabin up north a few times this summer. Making it the fifth generation of first born sons and their first born sons to experience Jehnsen Lake. Dan did most of the fishing while I stayed back with Cal. Dan turned 26 while we were up there!
Us enjoying the beautiful St. Joe summer ........
My grandma had her 80th birthday party this summer. A lot of our my mom's side of the family was able to make it to the party, but we were still missing a few :)
Dan's cousin Holly came for a visit from California and Calvin and Brody got to meet each other!
Uncle Graham finally came to visit. He is living in Nashville with my Dad and decided that he would join the Coast Guard in the coming year.
In August we took a trip down to Nashville to visit my Dad, Stepmom, and little sisters. My granny and papa came to meet Calvin too.

Our "HOUSE" group of young adults had a great summer. The softball team won the championship in the church league. We also had a lot of great beach side bible studies and discussions.
With the end of summer, came a beautiful autumn, my 26th birthday and Calvin as a monkey for Halloween. We also had a visit from Melody, Allan and their twin baby girls. So many babies!

One of my bestest friends from college got married. Yay Shanna! It was a perfect fall wedding, nestled in the woods. It was so good to get together with all the cottage girls and our respective babies.
Calvin started eating baby food and is feeding himself finger foods now.
We had our annual friend's Christmas party with Tori, Matt, Jen, and Rachel. Here we are playing pin your "elf self" on Santa's lap. Fun times.
And of course, Baby's first Christmas. He loved ripping the paper and has so many new toys to play with.
I'd say one heck of a year! I'm so blessed even by writing this little review at how amazing my life is and how many wonderful people I call family and friends. Thanks for all your hard work (moms aka "gramma" and "nana") and for all that you do to make our lives beautiful. God is good.

Here's to an even better 2010!
 
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