Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Sunday Best, Episode 3: The Humblest Little Chapel

We got back from our week in Florida yesterday afternoon, and this morning it was our usual Mass at the base chapel. I don't think I've ever darkened the door of a more humble place of worship in my life. The building is completely non-descript. Inside it is dark and dank smelling like a basement. It is climate control-challenged -- too hot in summer, too cold in the winter for anyone not in perimenopause. The ceiling fans turn but there is nary a breeze to be felt. A statue of Jesus stands in an armoire, the doors flung wide and Jesus' arms outstretched. Behind the alter there's a revolving section of the wall. Our side has a crucifix on a background of wallpaper; it can be turned around to reveal a wallpaper I like better, with a cross on it. We always sit in the same pew and in the row in front of us, almost directly in front of my spot is a cockroach corpse that's been there for several weeks. I watch it in fascination sometimes, and wonder how long it will last. The organist plays well, but the singer -- God bless her -- is so off-key and out of sync with the organist. I admire her just for being up there because I know I couldn't do the job any better. (Tim and I also think the organist could help her out a little more because she seems like she has professional training, but chooses not to. We could be wrong about that.)

Given all that, it's impossible to explain why I love going to that chapel, and why I miss it when we're away. If we want to we can drive 20 minutes away to the nearest big, beautiful Catholic church out in town, and it's really nice there. But most of the time I'm really glad to just go down the street to our poor little chapel that is obviously THE very lowest priority in the budget. I like the little community here, and I like not feeling super embarrassed when Joey acts up. His loudness seems like it belongs here. (But not Timmy's. At almost five, his loudness is always out of place at Mass.) Spiritually, I feel like I'm still in an infant/toddler stage myself -- so distracted, selfish and undisciplined. But here in this utterly unimpressive space, my mind is quieter and more focused (most of the time, at least!) on what it ought to be.

Here's what I wore:
My apologies for the extremely poor quality of the photo on the left. The real star of the outfit today is the multitasking mint necklace my sister Anna gave me for my birthday. It's a necklace for me and a toy for Joey (while I'm wearing it). The beads are silicone, and they're on a nylon cord with a plastic clasp. I had literally just the day before been thinking, 'What if there was a necklace that wouldn't hurt my neck when Joey plays with it?' The next day, as if she'd read my mind, she gave me this. I may never take it off. It's from RubyRoo Baby, and it will be my go-to baby shower gift for awhile.

The dress is from New York and Company, and Joey's romper is Carter's, which I see he has outgrown in a matter of days. Who does he think he is, to keep growing like that?
This is our last Sunday here until I guess the second week of August. We're leaving on Wednesday to spend the next few weeks in Massachusetts with Tim's side of the family. We'll be staying with his parents. I hope they're ready because their house is about to get Ca-Razy! We're going to enjoy going outdoors during the day, spending time with family, and doing lots of fun things. Tim will be with us for the beginning and end of the trip, and will be dividing the rest of his time between his office here and some work trips.

It will be August before we know it. I'll have to see if that cockroach is still waiting there for me on our first Sunday back at our little chapel.

Linking up again with A Blog for My Mom!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Joey: 6 Months

Well, what have we here?
Our Joey is 6 months old and already he is crawling like a champ, sitting sturdily, and has cut two teeth. He's trying to pull up on things too, which is a little scary. He is on the accelerated baby plan. At six months old, his siblings were sitting and just starting to get on all fours, but not going anywhere yet.
He remains a lousy sleeper. At night I'm lucky to get a four-hour stretch from him, but it's usually two to three at a time. He sometimes puts up a good, long fight at bedtime, and by the time he gives up we're ready to turn in ourselves. I can usually get him to take two to three naps a day, sometimes with some coaxing. They are not at consistent times, and maybe the baby sleep experts would tell me that's part of my problem. But my saving grace is that school is out, and when I hand him off to Annie at around 6, I can get one to two more hours of sleep myself. Then I can still function and take them to the pool or the store, and do whatever other things I need to do. His day, and my day start at different times from one day to the next, and there's no consistency. I know that if I really put some focus and effort into it, I could get him and us on a reliable schedule; but I feel like it would mean more work and less rest for me, at least in the short term, so I keep putting it off.
The silver lining to this is that I don't have to worry about ruining any stellar routine that I have established with him, with our upcoming travels. There is freedom in that. Tim and I always like to tell any new parents we know the story of how we once squandered a work trip to Lake George, NY. The world would not have ended if we'd left that dark and silent hotel room at 7:30 p.m. and pushed Delaney around town in her stroller, seen some sights, and had a drink and socialized. It's OK to throw out the routine once in awhile. It's supposed to serve us, not the other way around. But knowing me, once I ever get this kid sleeping at predictable times, I might start to get very rigid again about what time I'll go where. (Birthday party at 2 p.m.? Hell no. Why do people always want to do things at 2 p.m.?) But with things being the way they are, my other kids are happier than ever because I'm willing to pack up and go at just about any time of the day as long as Joey's up. He's been taking naps poolside in his stroller. If they get to have fun, that makes me happy.
Sleep issues aside, he is a delight to us all. He is so playful. He loves the attention of his siblings, and he'll shriek or squeal with joy at them. And I know it's not really possible, there are times I almost think he's saying "hi." For instance, once Annie brought him out after his nap and set him on the floor. I looked over and waved and said, "Hi," and he smiled huge and made a noise that sounded almost like "Hi." I didn't think much of it because I was/am pretty sure that he can't say anything. But a few days later at a party a neighbor said to me, "It sounded like he said 'hi' to me!" I was pretty surprised someone besides me had thought that. One thing for sure is he is responding to being greeted, even if he's not actually saying hi.
Joey's first time sitting in grass, and not just any grass. The nice grass at the downtown park. I would not try sitting him in the kind of grass that's in our yard, all prickly and full of ants.
We just love this baby so much. His growing list of nicknames is proof of this. Joes, Joesie, Joes Knows, Shnoogumberry, Jo-Jo Berries, Jo-Jo Beans, Josie-Posey.. The other kids like the rhymes I make up: "Josey-Posey pudding and pie spit up on the girls and made them cry." "Joeses supposes we'll goeses to Moeses." "Joesie supposies he'll eat Mama's clothesies." "Joeses supposies his dipe smells like roses, but Joeses supposes erroneously." I stole that from a book my mom checked out from the library for me a long time ago. It went "Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously." We got a kick out of that back then, and it gives my kids a laugh now.
We have started baby-led weaning, mostly as a way to keep him amused during dinnertime. (Weaning in this context means adding solid foods to the baby's breastfed diet -- not quitting breastfeeding.) He does not appreciate sitting in his chair empty-handed while we all eat. So far I've given him a baby fist-sized piece of cantaloupe, an apple slice, a roasted red pepper slice, and a taste of guacamole. He has not ingested any of these things. He breaks them apart in his mouth and then drools them out, making a terrific mess. Sometimes he gags on pieces and that's normal. Gagging is not choking. Gagging is the reflex that protects a baby from choking. But of course I keep my eye on him the whole time he has food so I can save him if I need to. I have tried purees in the past with my kids and never had much luck. It didn't seem worth the bother. They liked to nurse mostly, and then they gradually started liking our food more and more, in addition to nursing. Eventually they are eating mostly table foods and nursing a little bit. Weaning is complete when they are not nursing at all. At some point I learned that this is a legitimate approach to starting solids, and there's a fancy sounding name to go with my laziness.
He still has never taken a bottle, and doesn't always want to nurse, so I've started offering him a sippy cup every day with either my milk or water in it. It has handles on the side so he can grip it easily. Mostly he just plays with it and gnaws on the spout, but the other day he did take a few drinks with my help. It would be great if we could get him to take the sippy and I could go a few hours without worrying about having to nurse him.

He's in mostly 6-9 or 6-12 clothes now, and size 3 diapers. His doctor appointment is later this month, and then we'll see how he's growing. Happy half-birthday to Joe!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Sunday Best, Episode 2: My Birthday Comes Early

Yesterday was a busy Saturday. Tim took the Big Three out to go to some stores and also, unbeknownst to me, to get the girls haircuts. He'd heard me griping enough about how hard it was to maintain all this long hair now that we've been going to the pool again, and he wanted them to surprise me. Annie had already mentioned she wanted a haircut, and he thought Delaney would be easy to convince too. But when they got home, it was just Annie who was sporting a shoulder length bob. Delaney had refused -- that is, until she saw her sister's haircut, and then she said, "I change my mind, I want a haircut." By then it was too late, they'd lost their place in line and it was time to go home. Tim told me I would have to take her back that afternoon.
A few hours later I took her, and this time, success! Delaney ended up with even a little more length taken off than her sister (at her own request), as well as some layering and face-framing. I was delighted with the result, and Delaney seemed to be too. I was so happy with the job the person at Great Clips did. I'll be asking for her next time for sure.
Back at the house, Delaney ran inside as fast as she could. I figured she couldn't wait to show her dad. I took a few more moments, getting my things and getting Joey out, before I followed. As soon as I walked into the kitchen I heard, "Surprise!"
"It's not my birthday!" I said. But the cake and the balloons were for me, and so was the card and the present. Tim had wanted to give me the presents before our beach vacation so I'd be able to use them there. I was so excited -- first haircuts for the girls, and now this? 

The present was a new dress and sunglasses. I couldn't wait to try them on, and Delaney took a picture. It's wrap front, so it's nursing friendly should the need arise. This is what I wore to Mass today, with the same sandals from last week. The dress is from New York and Company, but I can't find it online.
To make my birthday complete, Tim made fish tacos for dinner. That was another reason he'd decided to celebrate my birthday early -- because he knew he wasn't making fish tacos on my actual birthday, which is the day we drive back from Florida. (And I might have already brought up the fish tacos;)) He doesn't make them often because they're a lot of work even for him. He uses this recipe, with the only modification being that we put the tacos together with broccoli slaw instead of cabbage. In addition to that he makes his own guacamole and pico de gallo. Fish tacos made any other way are a big, fat disappointment. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about them.
Delaney took these pictures of herself with the timer. She's funny. She said, "Are you going to write a blog? So am I! Let's compare blogs." 
Tim remarked how Delaney and Annie each ended up with the haircut most suitable to them. Annie's is a little longer because she likes to wear it up a lot; and Delaney's is shorter because she'd rather not ever wear her hair up. And now she doesn't have to put up with me coming after her with a brush all the time because she won't brush her own tangles out.

For more My Sunday Best, go to A Blog For My Mom!

Monday, June 6, 2016

20 Questions for Annie at Age 7

1. Who is your favorite person in the world? Daddy.

2. What is your favorite color? Blue.

3. What is your favorite TV show? Star Wars. (I explain that's not really a TV show; it's a movie. But she wants to keep it anyway.)

4. What's your favorite outfit? The blue flower dress. (Annie LOVES dresses, and she got a whole bunch of them for her birthday.)

5. What sport do you like best? Soccer.

6. What song do you love? Shake it Off.

7. What's your favorite cereal? Cookie Crisp.

8. Who is your best friend? Avah.

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet. Her (Delaney's) assistant.

10. What's your favorite book? The one I'm reading right now. (She shows it to me. It's The Cupcake Club: Bakers on Board.)

11. What are you really good at? Reading and math.

12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation? Massachusetts.

13. What is your best memory? When I got born. Dissolves into hysterical giggles. Because what if I wasn't a person? What if my life didn't come? Deep.

14. What would you buy if you had $1000? An iPad.

15. What's your favorite vegetable? Um, carrots because they're the only ones I'll eat.. No, corn!

16. If you could have a wish, what would it be? To have a baby girl. No, twins.

17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Mint chocolate chip.

18. Who is your biggest hero? Daddy!

19. What do you like to do with your friends? Go to their houses and play.

20. What do you hope you'll get to do before your next birthday? Go to the zoo and the aquarium.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

My Sunday Best, Episode 1

The summer blahs came early this year. For the past five days it's been so hot the recruits aren't allowed to train outside. Yesterday we left the house only to pick something up at Publix and to walk aimlessly around the Exchange for 45 minutes JUST to be doing something. Joey's been a bit of a challenge. He is now crawling, sitting, climbing and getting into things he's not supposed to. (Did I mention he's five months old?) He seems unable to shut himself off and just sleep, so he's been up at least five or six times a night these past two nights. It was Annie to the rescue again this morning at 6 when he woke up again and I was desperately needing more sleep. I get annoyed all the time when Annie acts like Joey is hers and I'm just the wet nurse, but this morning he was all hers for two hours and I was so relieved.

Then as we all sat in the pew at Mass today, I thought about how grateful I am for everything I have, and what a good life we really have. We are together, we are healthy and happy, and I really have nothing to complain about. (But that's never stopped me before.)

My outfit details: Dress- Gap, sandals - Target, eye bags - courtesy of Joey. 
Annie's outfit: skirt - OshKosh (on clearance now; runs long.), yellow shirt - from Grandma. 
Joey's outfit: all Carter's.

Linking up with Rosie at A Blog for my Mom.