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Monday, April 07, 2014

Contemplations of a Wedding

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Lily attended her very first wedding on Saturday. Andrew's cousin (second cousin actually) Mollie married her high school sweetheart Ivan Saturday morning. It was the loveliest little wedding. They had the ceremony in a secluded amphitheater in the woods at a local state park. We almost didn't go. Lily caught Reuben's fever/flu whatever-it-was and was down for the count all day Friday which didn't bode well for a Saturday morning outing. But at the last minute we asked our good friend Sunny to watch Reuben (so one of us wouldn't be chasing him around all day) and took Lily with us. I mean, she picked out a new dress for the occasion so of course she had to go. I knew we wouldn't hear the end of it if we told her she couldn't go. For over a week now all we've heard is "I'm gonna wear my new brand dress to the wedding!" So she went with us and was pretty much miserable the entire time. But she made it through the ceremony (sitting in my lap and asking non-stop "when's it going to start?") and maybe a third (a quarter?) of the reception. We left just after the bride and groom arrived and had cut the cake. We didn't get to enjoy any either. Ah well. Poor sick little girls with warm, rosy cheeks and tired legs take precedent.

I love weddings. That's so original, right? I mean, who doesn't love weddings?! The dresses, the shoes, the flowers, the music, the food. What isn't there to love? Every wedding Andrew and I attend always puts us in a reminiscing mood. We travel back 12 1/2 years ago to when we were planning our own wedding. We always agree that there are so many things we would have done differently knowing what we do now. I don't think we can help it really. We were so young when we were married. Twenty and twenty-three years old. There's a lot of changing that happens in your twenties. You grow and mature and with it interests change, fashion preferences change (kids are a decisive factor in that department now), even favorite colors change. I don't know if our wedding today would look anything like the one we had. I always tell Andrew that I was never a wedding details kind of girl growing up. I just wanted to be married. When I thought about getting married I saw myself married to a wonderful man, living in a modest house (preferable a farmhouse with lots of animals and plants and a white picket fence) with several children running around. What kind of wedding dress did I want? I don't know, a white one?? What kind of flowers did I prefer? Well my favorite are lilacs... I did insist on one thing though. Our special song had to be The Other Side of Me by Michael W. Smith. I had that song on repeat during my late teens. I even drew up a cross stitch design using the lyrics. Huh, I should dig that out and actually stitch it up...

So yeah, weddings...reminiscing...it's a good thing. While Mollie and Ivan were exchanging their vows promising to love and take care of each other, Andrew and I were remembering (or at least I was) the best and worse of times in our own marriage. I sat there on the wooden bench watching the beautiful scene taking place before me, thanking God for the circumstances in my life that led me to Andrew and made a silent vow to try to do better with the Lord's help. To put Andrew's feelings and desires first and take him into consideration more in all things.

Weddings are a gentle reminder that no matter what has happened in your own relationships, you can always step back, take a deep breathe and start over.

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Seth, Kevin (Andrew's brother) & Marie's (Kevin's wife) son
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Holly (Andrew's sister)
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Jonathan (brother-in-law) & wife Holly
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Kevin (Andrew's brother) & Holly
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From left to right: Holly, Charlene (Andrew's brother Rodney's wife), me and Marie (Kevin's wife)

Friday, April 04, 2014

{this moment}

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
........
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Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Riding a Horse!

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About a month ago Andrew and Lily came home early one Saturday afternoon from church calling out as they came in the door "Get dressed quick!" (I stayed home with Reuben who was napping and I had just gotten out of the shower), "We're going to see some goats!" Friends from church had invited us and some close friends of ours to their parent's small farm to pet and play with the goats. When we got there the goats took one look at the kids and ran off in the other direction. That's ok because there was also a horse who lived on the farm and he had no problem with being pet, ridden and fed by a bunch of youngsters. Say hello to Leo...or Lee...or maybe it was Louie. I can't remember what his name was. But it didn't matter to the kids who had a grand ol' time getting to know him. This was my little ones' first time ever riding a horse.

Reuben took a little bit of time warming up to him. Both of my children are observers. You won't see them diving head first into any situations. First they check out the scene and determine if its something they'd like and once they've made their decision only then will they get excited and interactive. Reuben determined, after some close observation, that the horse was ok. Not worthy of displays of excitement but he shook his head in the affirmative when we asked him if he wanted a ride.

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I can't stop chuckling at this picture. The kids look like they are checking out the horse's um...assets. Even Andrew looks impressed. haha!

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This horse was a little strange. He likes to eat Spanish moss (I'd never heard of them doing that). So the kids spent a large amount of the time pulling moss off the trees to feed to him. Lily wasn't getting her fingers anywhere near his teeth though so she devised a feeding system by which she twisted the moss around a stick she found and then held it up for the horse to eat off of.

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Neither of the kids wanted to leave the farm to go home that day. Afternoons like this make me yearn so much for my own little farm some day. Its tough living in town with no land to speak of. But I'm glad for friends and family who do have spaces for my little ones to run around and explore nature on. In the meantime I'll keep hoping and praying for my own little corner of land that we'll have...someday.

Monday, March 03, 2014

20 Months

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I recently decided to sign up for a Bloglovin account and I have to say I'm really glad I did. It's such a great way to keep track (and categorize!) the many blogs I read. You can follow my blog with Bloglovin here or click the link on the right hand side of the page.

Now, on to more important things.

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Weight: 27 lbs. 9 oz.
Wears: 25% 18 months and 75% 24 months clothes
Shoe size: 6
{New} Words: trash (sas), balloon (boo), uh huh, tada! (da! - with arms outstretched), want (its difficult to write down how he says this word, its really just a sound like "aw" with a tiny bit of an "n" sound at the end), other side (ahs)
{New} ASL signs: please

Oh my goodness this was the month for language development. He didn't necessarily learn a lot of new words but rather one very important one that makes communication so much easier. Want. How can that one little word make life for a toddler (and his parents) so much less complicated? Oh and he's also speaking in sentences now. I can't figure out if they're 2 or 3 word sentences but most of them go something like this: "(I) want ___." Seriously I can't keep up. At every turn this kid's throwing out a new word and even though they aren't crystal clear I get the idea. Its getting to get to the point where I won't be able to remember them all each month. Oh darn. ;)

On another important note, on February 6th we (well mostly me) officially started night weaning Reuben. He was ready. I was certainly ready and had been for a while. Obviously, since this was my second attempt at it. The first time, a month or maybe two ago, I only made him cut back to nursing once during the night. This time I was determined to get him to sleep through the night, so I could too. Well it didn't take immediately. I tried doing what I did when I night weaned Lily which was to go in to him when I heard him crying for me and explain to him that it was nighttime and that he could have nursies in the morning when the sun comes up. It worked like a charm with Lily. Yeah, he wasn't falling for it. Its so sad to go in to him and explain to him the new plan and hear him scream and watch him push me away and then bite his crib crying for Dada. I feel better knowing that he was doing this even before we started night weaning and I do stay in there with him until he calms down. Most of the time I just sit on the floor next to his crib because he doesn't want me to hold him. So anyway, Andrew went in the second and third nights to help Reuben when he woke up fussing at his usual time. But after that it was up to me. He was still waking up between 5-5:30 and wanting to nurse. The first few nights were rough (maybe 4 nights) but then he had almost a week where he slept right through till morning. Then he started the 5-5:30 wake ups again and it was taking up to 45 minutes to help him calm down and go back to sleep. One night/morning after calming down he laid there awake (as did Lily who had woken up from the screaming) and then they both wanted to get up for the day at 6:30 or 7. Honestly in my sort of permanently exhausted state there were a few nights that I sleepwalked into his room to nurse him without thinking about it. Up until this last week in February I thought about taking a nap with the kids like I did when Reuben was a newborn. Luckily he has started sleeping till 6:00 occasionally and waking up well rested and happy. That makes me happier....and more well rested.

More new stuff this past month:

Whenever someone starts counting "one..." Reuben chimes in with "twooo..."

Requests to watch TV by pointing to it and gets upset if you don't play the right thing. Of course I have to cycle through many shows/movies on Netflix before I get to the right one.

Really enjoys throwing things now. He pulls his arm back, waits for it and lets things fly.

When nursing and he's finished with one side he sits up and asks for the other side (ahs). He heard me ask him "do you want the other side?" too many times I guess. :)

Monday, February 03, 2014

19 Months

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Weight: 27 lbs. 4 oz.
Wears: 50% 18 months and 50% 24 months clothes
Shoe size: 6
{New} Words: no (nuh), Mommy, crash (dah), stop (da - with palm out), bumble (buhbuh), eye, book (bu), uh oh, uh-uh
{New} ASL signs: book

This month's photo is very appropriate since Reuben has really taken to his Daddy recently. He has become the person of choice in most situations except those that involve boobs and well, apparently I have the best set in the house. ;)

But seriously, every night now when its Reuben's bedtime, after I've nursed him and put him in his bed and tucked his blankets all around him, he looks up at me and asks "Dada?" He wants Daddy to come in and pat his butt while he snuggles under his blanket ready to go to sleep.

He has become quite the character recently. I love watching his little personality develop and so far its looking like he's going to be one strong-willed little boy. This is new territory for me since Lily was a rule-follower at his age (for the most part). And a very verbal one at that. That's one thing that I think frustrates Reuben very easily and us sometimes too. He can't always express his needs and wants to us using words so he feels misunderstood because we try to guess what he needs and often get it wrong. It's helped a lot that I just started telling him to "show me" what he wants/needs. I grab his little hand and he leads me to the object of his desire. He doesn't always get what he wants though which presents another new challenge. Setting limits and enforcing them. Again, Lily was fairly compliant when it came to limits. Often I could tell her once not to touch something and she wouldn't so much as even look at it again. Not so Reuben. He's definitely a limit tester and has a strong, persistent nature.

Tantrums are more common now that we insist he do what we instruct him. These tantrums vary in style but usually include several (if not all) of the following key ingredients: screaming as if being murdered, arching backwards in our arms, flopping down like a limp noodle, flailing around with his arms and legs and banging his forehead on things. You know though, as sudden and intense as these outbursts are, he's over them just as quickly. And frankly they rarely rattle me anymore (they irritated me to no end at first). It is one of my deepest desires that my children know that they can always let me know how they feel even if that feeling is displeasure or frustration. I'm teaching him that its ok to be upset but you still have to do what Mommy or Daddy say. He doesn't always agree with that second part.

Some more tidbits:

Likes to pour out and put pennies back into the piggy bank.

Tells you "stop" for everything even when we're reading books or I'm pushing him on his bike.

Lays down in bed and pretends to snore.

Says "shhhh" with his finger to his lips.

Has ditched the high chair and joined the rest of the family at the kitchen table for meals. He does very well, can climb up onto the chair by himself (we have to sometimes readjust him since for the time being we are using stacks of books as booster seats for the kids) and only climbs down once he's done eating. He even signs "all done" before he climbs down.

Swings an arm while walking. He looks so confident while doing it!

Finally colors on paper but still tries to eat the crayons so he can only do it while being supervised.

Started giving hugs and kisses without being asked! Lily is in love with the random hugs he gives her ("He hugged me Mommy!!! He's getting bigger!!!" - be still my heart).

His emphatic no's are the punctuation to most discussions nowadays. Mommy: "Its time for bed, go climb into your chair so we can nurse." Reuben: "Nnnuh!"

My little boy. I just love him so much.