March 31, 2009

Congratulations Jeff and Courtney!

This weekend we attended the wedding of a friend from our days as GRTs here at MIT. A GRT, Graduate Resident Tutor, is a graduate student who lives in the dorm with undergrads and serves as what would be called a Resident Assistant at most schools. Colin and I (and Elizabeth the 2nd year) served in this capacity for two years ('03-'05) and Jeff has kept in touch since he moved to Chicago. He met this lovely lady not too long ago and they married on Saturday. We had the privlege of not only attending the wedding but providing a groomsman and a flower girl. It was a lovely time! And, making the weekend even more fun, my mom came along to help with childcare and we got a chance to visit with her side of the family; she grew up about 2 hours south of Chicago.

Here's a photo log of our trip:

Our flights there and back went off without a hitch!



Gramma met us at the airport and we began our adventure!



I had to include this shot mom took of Elizabeth!



The Ashe family



Gramma and the kids had a great time!



THE REHEARSAL

Elizabeth and the bride, Courtney



Elizabeth with the groom, Jeff



Colin and the groomsmen



E was a little embarrassed on the first run-though,
so she came down the aisle like this.



WEDDING DAY!

E's dress (front)



E's dress (back)



That afternoon, my mom and I had visited
some antique shops and came upon a doll store.
She got E this flower girl doll to commemorate the day!



The Ashe family all dressed up!



Jeff and Colin, before the ceremony



Bride and Flower Girl



The walk down the aisle!
video


The female side of the wedding party



E with the new Mr. and Mrs.



The cake (I thought it was beautiful!)



E loved the bridesmaids



A little daddy daughter dance



E kept the dance floor alive.
It got sillier and sillier as time passed.
video


E, B, and their second cousin, Brooke.
E and Brooke had a great time doing 4-year-old things together!



Brooke really loved holding and cuddling Brian.



Brian got pretty wiped out with all of the excitement.



On departure morning we took one last dip in the pool.



E was very brave about putting her face in the water,
and finally got her hair to hang in front of her face like mommy.

March 26, 2009

The Windy City and Some Updates

We're on our way to Chicago today. Our friend, Jeff, is getting married and both Colin and Elizabeth are in the wedding. We're looking forward to a fun weekend! My mom is coming to help with the kids and we'll be visiting with her side of the family on Sunday; she grew up a couple of hours south of the city.

Here are some things that have been happening around here:

1. I got these boots. They're made by Keen. I love them!



We're taking our first family hike on April 25 with 2 other families. Colin and I were just about to get "all outdoorsy" when I got pregnant with Elizabeth, and it never happened. This is take 2, five years later.

***

2. This stroller will arrive today, after we're already at the airport. I desperately wanted to be able to get around with both kids and without the car this summer. Colin supported the decision, so we went for it!



***

3. Reading lessons with Elizabeth are on hiatus. She was having a hard time sitting still and staying focused during the lessons. I would get frustrated and speak harshly to her. She'd shut down even more. I would apologize and try to be kinder. It was this LONG cycle every day trying to make it through the lessons. So, I offered her the choice to take a break or split the lessons up throughout the day. We're taking a break for right now.

I think what really got me frustrated was that she knew how to read the stuff, she'd just dilly-dally and goof around (because she's 4! I know.) But I knew that if she'd just read it, it would be over sooner. That's a bit abstract for her to understand, I think.

I'm glad we're taking a break; it's nice not to have 20-30 minutes of self-imposed frustration for both of us every day. Though I do feel like a failure for getting angry almost every time we had a lesson recently. We'll try again in a couple months, and we'll keep up reading the sounds she already knows on signs and in books. I came across a list of "sight words" that kids need to memorize, because they don't fit with any rules. Maybe I'll make a game out of learning those ... one where she can jump, kick, or spin, rather than sit still and practice.

March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

This is how I will spend the last morning of my 20s. Registration is one week from today.

Colin, Jenny, Chris, and I will work our way to the finish line, step by step, motivated purely by the beer, pizza, and brats. :)

March 24, 2009

Sorrows vs. Steadfast Love

It's been a while since I posted some of my thoughts. This will be a helpful exercise for me to synthesize the things I've been thinking about over the last few weeks. Here are the categories:
  • Home schooling Elizabeth - We're gonna do it, folks! All the new questions.
  • Brian's daily sleep schedule - specific nap times, maybe later morning waking time, someday!
  • My lack of organization/discipline - almost completely lacking...
  • Moving to Pittsburgh - too much about that house!
  • The Psalms - current Tuesday morning Bible study topic
  • The Beatitudes - current sermons you can catch here
  • Friendship - Who are my friends? Am I a good or crappy friend? Am I 12 years old?!
  • Exercise/my body - When/How to exercise, 'cause seriously, I want my clothes to fit again!
Overall, I've been spending the last couple of weeks thinking about lots of things, trying to figure things out, worshiping the idols of order and perfection, and, oh yes...myself. :( I so desperately want to get everything "right." And what that means is working towards goals and ideals that I create in my head and imagine will fulfill me. (They never do.) It also reveals my lack of trust that my Creator is caring for me, guiding me, loving me. (Will I ever learn?!)

We read Psalm 32 recently in Bible study. Verse 10 struck me:

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Though I know God and He has called me to be His own, I spend much of my time living as "the wicked." (My understanding is that wicked here is not a behavioral description, but rather a name for those who have not put their faith in God. Just as the word righteous, used in reference to God's people, is not behavioral, rather their standing before God as a result of putting their faith in Him...an ability He gives to begin with!) Now, back to me being wicked. When I forget, as I am so prone to, that I am an adopted daughter of the King of Kings, beloved of God, secure in His arms, covered by His grace, my sorrows do mount: anxiety increases, worries multiply, anger comes (even more!) quickly, patience decreases, guilt mounts, etc.

Perhaps this is not exactly what the Psalmist was getting at, but it's how it's spoken to me lately. The steadfast love of the Lord surrounds those who trust in Him, whether we're feeling it in the moment or not. How drilling this into my brain would transform my thinking! If you have put your faith in Jesus*, take heart in this truth today. You are surrounded by steadfast (unchanging, sure, serious) love, that cannot be removed from you. (See Romans 8:38-39.) Ask God each day to help you avoid falling into "wicked" patterns of thinking! Keep me accountable to doing the same; please people, I need you! Let us rejoice in this steadfast love, dwell on the goodness of the Father, and be quick to repent and run to Him when we find our hearts aching with one longing or another.

Peace my friends.

*If, at this time, you don't believe in Jesus, this love is not far outside your reach. If you're curious, I'd love to share with you about the forgiveness of sin, becoming part of His family and the object of His profound love.

March 20, 2009

Craig's List and Facebook

Doing business on Craig's List? Use Facebook to see what the seller or buyer looks like before you meet! Copy and paste their email address into the friend finder box, and voila. Unless, of course, they have a picture of their kids as their profile photo. Then this idea is useless.

March 19, 2009

Haircuts

I got my haircut on Saturday; it was in desperate need of a trim. Brian also needed to be cleaned up, so Monday morning I trimmed up his hair while he watched tv and ate fruit puffs. After that, I guess I was feeling confident and decide to do Elizabeth's hair. She's also needed it for quite a while. But I've been too nervous to take her to Supercuts - for fear they'd really mess it up - and to cheap to take her to my hairdresser ... so I did it myself. Clearly, that was the most logical compromise, right?

The conclusion: It's shorter than I intended, but also not as bad as I expected. (Curly hair is very forgiving!) I will likely cut her hair again in the future, though maybe after reading up a little to get some technique.

THE FRONT

THE BACK

THE LEFT OVERS

March 18, 2009

Strong Smells in Small Spaces: an anecdote

Yesterday, we had to stop to get gas. You can't have the door open on the van and pump gas, so my routine is to play silent peek-a-boo with the kids, through the window, ducking and jumping up like a fool and enjoying every minute. We played for a while, then I checked the meter to see how much more gas I needed to pump.

Around that time, Elizabeth yelled - I could hear her clearly through the shut doors and windows - "Mom, Brian threw up!" Brian had been chewing on a plastic spoon and gagged himself enough to puke. I, of course, didn't think it could be that bad. I expected to find some spit-up on his shirt and assumed Elizabeth was being dramatic. Then I got into the car ....

It took a few moments before the smell hit my nose. Ew. It reeked of vomit. (Brian had oatmeal, applesauce, and cottage cheese about an hour earlier.) Poor Elizabeth kept saying, "Mommy it smells so bad. The smell." And then she started to cry.

Poor child. I'd fluffed it off while she sat in a closed car with vomit stink all around.

We drove home with the windows down.

My Boy's New Skill

Brian can backwash into his no-spill sippy cup.

March 17, 2009

ELI-ZAB-ETH

She did it, folks. Elizabeth can now spell her name! We're really proud of her.

This is her goal chart, a concept from Joy School, where you color in the circle bit by bit as you work toward the goal.


And what's even cooler, is that because she learned to spell it at this age*, she can also write it as she spells.


*If you want to be kind to your future children, give them names like John and Anna. :)

March 12, 2009

Breaking a Commandment?

We checked this place out this weekend while in Pittsburgh.
Is it coveting if there's no one living in the house you want?


Click here for a virtual tour.

Brian - 9 months

Brian is now 9 months old. He's a funny, curious, active little guy. He's got a month of crawling under his belt, and he uses it liberally to explore every corner he can reach. If you're interested in his stats, here they are:
  • 20lbs 5.8oz - 50th percentile (up from the 15th at 6 months!)
  • about 30" - 75th percentile
  • his head is still huge, almost 19" - 95th percentile

Hm, what are other things people like to know about babies?

Sleeping: Brian gets up to eat somewhere between 5 and 5:30am. Sometimes he'll go back to sleep for a little while, but I've decided to get him to stay up until an 8 0'clock morning nap. He takes an early afternoon and late afternoon nap. Bedtime is around 7 or 7:30pm. He can't sleep well if he hasn't had 3 naps. The cycle begins again around 5 the next day. Needless to say, I'm still having an afternoon cup of coffee.

Eating: As you may have noted from his weight gain, little buddy likes to eat! For breakfast he has 1/2 a banana (cut up to feed himself), infant cereal, and yogurt. He's eating cereal, a protein, a fruit, and a veggie at lunch and dinner. He's not too into beans, but I'm hopeful if I offer them again when he can pick them up, he'll get into them. Other than that, he eats most anything and is getting better at picking things up: pears, canned peaches, green beans, peas, baby snacks, etc. He also enjoys an arrowroot cookie or 2 if we're trying to keep him busy while we eat.

Playing: He loves his sister: crawling around after her, bathing with her, staring at her, watching her antics. He's chewing on things a lot, as some new teeth are working their way in. He loves mirrors and things with wheels (he turns them over and spins the wheels intently.) He can pull himself up on his knees and will do this to play with the learning table and get at people on the couch. Recently his clapping has gotten quite deliberate and good. He also loves non-toys, as mentioned in an earlier post. And he's developed a new, very loud cackling laugh. I think he's going to enjoy making noise!

This round of teething has brought on lots of tongue chewing:


This is his new scrunchy face:

March 11, 2009

Speaking My Love Language

A few weeks before we left for Pittsburgh, my dear husband announced that we would be spending one night away from our children to take advantage of the local free babysitting, gramma and grandpa. Wow! I was surprised, excited, feeling loved, everything you might imagine! So, thanks to Colin, our supportive parents, and Jenny's pump, we were able to get away.

We stayed at The Priory in the North Side of Pittsburgh. We were in room 201; if you're interested in seeing it, there are photos on the website. The ones I took really weren't that great. Also, if you ever visit Pittsburgh, you might enjoy a night or two there. It's a renovated monastery and has the charm of a European inn.

Here we are at breakfast:


We got to walk around the North Side. An interesting experience. It's a place that you can see was once a hopping metropolitan area, but now there are at least as many boarded up, abandoned buildings as there are functioning businesses. We walked, and walked, and walked up Federal Street (a large hill, Pittsburgh is very hilly) to see a house we'd seen online. Turns out the house was less than it seemed from the pictures and the area was very depressed and rundown, but this was in the back yard of the neighboring house:

There was a great view of the city from the top of the hill.

We will soon move back to Pittsburgh. We've been eying houses online, thinking about what life will be like there, and also talking about what we'll miss about Cambridge. It was so wonderful to have some time together to explore a part of the city neither of us knew well and have uninterrupted conversation throughout.

Thank you, husband, for this special treat!

March 4, 2009

I'm Out ... Peace

We head to Pittsburgh for a long weekend tomorrow afternoon. So I leave you with these gems from the week.

Today, Elizabeth wanted to be Gabriela from Sid the Science Kid. She put on pink and white clothes and asked me to put her hair in balls on the sides of her head.





Brian's crazy giggles, when he's tired at night and we tickle him. Is he having fun or is he in pain?

video

March 3, 2009

If March Comes in Like a Lion ...

Are you familiar with the saying, "If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb?" I learned this growing up in Pittsburgh and it certainly applies in Boston, where March can come in with a bang. This year is no exception. I was glad for another snowfall. While it does entail shoveling, it also means some fun playtime you can't get any other time of the year!

March 2, 2009:

Sliding is super fast in snow pants
and the snow makes for a nice soft landing.



Brian surrounded by white, white, white!


I wanted to find some lion and lamb coloring pages to do with Elizabeth, to familiarize her with the phrase. I came across this lesson plan . Here's the result of her coloring time and the calendar we're using to track the weather throughout the month. Here's hoping we'll be seeing lots of suns and fewer snowflakes by the end of the month!


A Sweet Kiss

March 1, 2009

Why Do We Buy Toys?

Below, Brian is playing with an empty baby food container. I'm thinking about making blocks out of these. We have too many and they're non-recyclable.

video

Other things Brian enjoys, just to name a few:
  • plastic baby spoons
  • big soup ladle
  • plastic step stool in the kitchen
  • sippy cups
  • E's rocking chair
  • our desk chair (a folding chair)
  • remotes
  • boxes of any shape and size
What are your kids' favorite non-toys?