Monday, March 31, 2008

My baby boy turned one on Saturday. It seems impossible to believe that he is a year old already, yet at the same time it feels like he has been part of our family for much longer than that. It would be hard to imagine our life without him.

For the first several months of his life, he was very serious. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get him to crack a smile. He was perfectly content, just very solemn, looking around and taking everything in. At some point, I guess he decided that he was going to be okay out in the world, and his personality changed dramatically. In fact, yesterday after church, the man sitting behind us (who also happened to be sitting behind us last week) said that Noah smiles more than any baby he's ever seen.

When prompted, Noah is happy to give kisses, wave, shake his head emphatically, and give high fives. It's so much fun to watch him learn new things, and see how proud he is every time he picks up a new skill. I am very excited to see all the things he will learn in the coming year.

We didn't celebrate his birthday over the weekend because we had another party to attend on Saturday night, and also because I was a little slow ordering his presents and they have not arrived yet. I hope he thinks they are worth the wait!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Easter was good, although we ended up going to St. Louis without Steve because he was sick. He even actually stayed home from work Monday and Tuesday - the first sick days he has taken the entire time I've known him! The bunny above was a little Easter gift I made for my mom (from this Wee Wonderfuls pattern). I also planned to make one for each of my grandmas, but I didn't get any farther than cutting out the fabric for those and embroidering the date on the bottom. With my track record of finishing projects lately, I should have known I was being a little too ambitious. It would have been much more realistic if, instead of embroidering "Easter 2008" on the bottom, I'd put "Thanksgiving 2008"!

Emma got a pretty Easter dress from the Easter Bunny, but had to be persuaded to even try it on. Then, on the actual day of Easter, she refused to wear it because she said it was too fancy! I miss my little girly girl!

Last week we went to find out if this next baby is going to be a boy or a girl. Although I'd been trying as hard as I could not to care which one it was, I was really hoping for another girl. I was trying not to set myself up to be disappointed because I was pretty sure it was a boy. Turns out I was wrong, though, because it's a GIRL! Yay!

Most of Emma's oodles and oodles of baby clothes are stored in the basement, but I was excited to realize that since this baby will be born in the exact opposite season as Emma, I will still get to buy new little baby girl clothes! Today we hit up our first garage sale of the season and it was SO much fun picking out itty bitty clothes again! We got a bunch of stuff, but I kept reminding myself of the containers of girl clothes in the basement so I held back a bit. I am now wishing I hadn't saved all those clothes because I'd much rather be searching the garage sales for new clothes than just getting old stuff out of the basement. Ah well - we'll see if that stops me!

All afternoon Emma has been trying the little clothes on her dolls and stuffed animals and asking me to take pictures of them. And in case you're wondering about her, um, eyebrows, we went to Paradise Park today and she drew them on with the face crayons. We stopped at Target on the way home and she got some interesting looks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For the past few months, I have felt like a lazy, unmotivated grouch. My midwife suggested that maybe it was Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I blew that off, blaming those pesky pregnancy hormones instead. Now I'm wondering if maybe she wasn't correct, because I have been feeling SO much better. Either the hormones are finally giving me a break, or the sunshine really is making a difference. Whichever it is, I can't believe how wonderful it is to want to DO things again! Instead of basic stuff like keeping up with the laundry and dishes seeming like insurmountable chores, suddenly I have so much energy and now it's more like Yay! I get to organize the basement! and Yay! Let's bake bread! and Yay! I should sew new curtains for every room in the house!

Here are some great things about today:

Lunch - yummy pesto, tomato, and mozzarella sandwiches. This week I bought really good mozzarella instead of the regular old stuff and it is SO delicious! We made pizza with it last night and these sandwiches today and I am hooked.

Banana-Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins. Mmmmmm. I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for the regular flour and they were delicious!

This guy. He is always so sweet and smiley.

One of his favorite things to do right now is open a drawer, throw it's contents on the floor, and climb inside. His other favorite thing to do is race back to the bedroom and shove as much dog food in his mouth as he possibly can before I come after him and put a stop to all the fun.

Easter eggs.

Steve was feeling sick tonight and Noah was (amazingly) asleep, so Emma and I dyed the eggs alone. While I would have liked to do it as a family like we usually do, it was nice for Emma and I to be able to do something special with just the two of us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ever since we decided to send Emma to school, I've been worried about the vaccination issue. Public schools in Missouri are required to accept a religious exemption, but private schools don't have to. Her future school says in their handbook that all students must bring their vaccine records to school the first day to be looked over by the school nurse, and those who are not up to date will have to go home and can only return once they are current on their shots. Not very promising for those who do not vaccinate, obviously. There is not another school in the area where we'd feel comfortable sending Emma, nor would we agree to give her any shots, so I was anticipating this becoming an issue with no easy solution. Steve said if they told us no, we could offer to present our case to the school board or something, and while I'm sure we could convince them that we did lots of research and did not make this decision lightly and are not just being negligent parents, that still does not mean that they have to accept her into their school. So, Monday I mustered all my courage and made the call to the school to ask about it. I said we were hoping to send our daughter there in the fall, but have chosen not to vaccinate her, and were wondering what their policy is on that. The woman on the phone said, "Oh, that's not a problem at all. This has come up before. You just write on a piece of paper that you don't vaccinate, have your doctor sign it, and have your child bring it to school." Hooray! I can hardly believe it's going to be that easy, but I am certainly glad it is! When I expressed my relief, the lady said that vaccinating is a very personal decision, and one that should definitely be left up to the parents. Amen to that!

We (okay, I) have made another big decision around here, and that is that Emma is not going to nurse anymore after Easter. I don't think I'm up to nursing three at once, and I think my milk supply is slowly dwindling and Noah really deserves all the milk that is there right now. She is sad about it, but I can't say that I am. Yesterday, out of nowhere, she said to me, "Nursing is my favorite thing. It is just so heavenly to me." It makes me sad to take that away from her, and a little guilty that I have failed at child-led weaning when it really is something that is important to me. Still, many days I am just SO nursed-out and I am very much looking forward to only nursing one baby - at least for the next five months or so.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

During my pregnancy with Noah, I religiously took pictures of my growing belly each week. Earlier this week I realized guiltily that I haven't taken a single belly shot in this pregnancy so far. Oops. So, here you go. This was taken Tuesday at 17 weeks. I thought it would be more interesting if the kids were posed cutely next to me, but of course they had different ideas.

I met with my friends Shawn and Allison earlier this week for a swap. I brought Shawn this knitted mug cozy (which I was actually planning to give her for our Christmas swap, but didn't finish in time).

I also knitted these little sachets, which I love. The yarn was dyed by me and Emma awhile back, and I put dried lavender in them so they'd smell yummy.

Lastly, I made these Valentine's Day towels (an idea I got from my friend Mary Beth), and these little zippered pouches.

In return, I got all these lovely goodies. Thanks for a great swap, ladies!

Yesterday was a beautiful, amazing, perfect day. We spent most of the day at the park, running around and enjoying the warm sun. I am so so so ready for spring. We have daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths coming up all over our yard. Last year I only gazed at them out the windows, but this year I am determined to brave the snakes and go out in the yard to cut some and bring them in. I am so thrilled about the arrival of spring that even the snakes are not going to deter me from enjoying it's loveliness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fun weekend. My parents came to visit, which was great, as always.

They brought the Christmas present I made for my dad, only because (and this shows how horribly uncrafty I've been feeling lately) I never finished it, and my mom wanted me to show her how she could finish it because they've been using it so much (yay!) that she needs to wash it. How's that for terrible gift giving? Give someone an incomplete present and then just never finish it. Ah, well. Anyway, here's the quilt that I made my dad for Christmas. He has always been a horse guy, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use Heather Ross's horse fabric. I was quilting each square with embroidery floss, but only finished twelve of them (out of forty) before I gave it to him.
I've been mulling over a pretty huge issue for the past few days. I had always planned on homeschooling the kiddos, and even though Steve wasn't so much on board with it, I figured I could convince him. After all this time, he still hasn't budged. In addition to that, I've been feeling so tired and somewhat overwhelmed lately, as well as nervous about having another baby so soon. Because of all this, I've made the decision not to homeschool (although Steve would tell you that decision was already made long ago). For awhile I was feeling sad about this, but now I've come to terms with it and am perhaps even a little relieved. That decision has been made for awhile now, though, and is not what's been weighing on my mind recently. Thursday night we went to an open house at what will be Emma's future school. Even though she won't be enrolling for kindergarten until next year, we thought it would be a good idea to go check it out. It's a sweet little Montessori-based Catholic school, and I was really impressed with it until someone mentioned that kindergarten is ALL DAY. All day? What's up with that? I do not want to send her away for seven hours a day, five days a week. That would be crazy, considering she has probably never been away from me for seven hours in her entire life. I've since discovered that all day kindergarten is pretty much a standard thing now. I realize it's for the convenience of the mothers who work, and I respect that, but in our particular situation, I think it's crap. Emma is still so young! So, while I was still reeling from that, Steve suggested we sign Emma up for preschool this year to get her accustomed to going there for a whole day. Preschool is also for the entire day, but just two days a week. So that's where we are now. Steve wants to send her to preschool in the fall, and I can see that being helpful so she is not so shocked when she has to go to kindergarten all day, but I can't stop thinking about it and what would really be the best thing. One thing that helps is that when we arrived at the school, Emma was saying that she didn't want to go there because she wanted to homeschool, but after being there for awhile, she seems excited about going to school. I also think it would be nice to have time alone with the babies while Emma is at school a couple times a week. Still, sending her to school for so long is not a decision I can make without a whole lot more consideration. Thankfully, we have until June before the decision has to be made.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Emma's personality has changed in two pretty drastic ways in the last month or two - one of which is a little sad, and the other of which is just plain annoying.

After years of looking as fancy as possible at all times, she is now actually content to dress like a normal person. At her dance class, the kids can wear whatever they want. Most of them just wear regular clothes, but Emma has always made a big deal of picking a matching leotard and tutu before class. The last three weeks, however, she has just worn normal clothes to class. Then today we were cleaning her room, and out of nowhere she said she wanted to pack away her dress-up clothes. What??!? So we went through her endless poofy, glittery dresses and with each one I asked her if she wanted to keep it out or pack it away. "Pack it away," was her reply for every single thing! She even wanted to pack away most of her dance stuff! I called Steve later and told him about it and we are both feeling a little sad. Her obsession with fancy stuff was so charming and quirky and such a big part of who she was for a long time. Sniff.

The other thing is not the end of something, but rather the beginning. In the first four years of her life, Emma has been about as un-picky about food as any one person could possibly be. She ate everything. The one thing she wouldn't eat was raw broccoli. Now, she has suddenly become a picky eater. She'll tell me she doesn't like something, without even trying it, even if it's something she's eaten many times before. Like last night, she saw me cutting sweet potatoes to make fries, and right away she said, "Ew, yuck. I can't stand sweet potatoes!" I reminded her that she's probably eaten sweet potatoes a hundred times and she's always liked them before, but she still refused to eat any. Grrr. I hope it's just a phase that will soon be over, but for now I'm just working on getting her to say she doesn't like something a little more politely. I can't believe how much it irks me to cook something and set it on the table, only to hear someone say that it looks gross.

Even if she is picky, she is still darn cute. Yesterday she was playing with Play-Doh and she came to me and said. "Mommy, I made something FABleeous! I know you'll want to take a picture!" Apparently it's me, wearing a dress, and playing ball with my friend Allison, who happens to be wearing overalls. (Because, according to Emma, Allison would look very pretty in overalls.)