Monday, September 29, 2008

A Baby Meme (Benjamin)

I saw this meme on Kristin's blog and thought it might be fun. I'll do it for all of the boys, eventually. I would love it if you would fill it out for yourself in the comments section, or link to your own blog if you do it there.

Benjamin Wayne
December 18, 2002

1. How long had you been married at the time of the birth?
-5 1/2 years

2. What were your reactions when you found out that you were pregnant?
-Disbelief, thrilled excitement. We had been trying to conceive for 2 1/2 years and had just about given up on a biological child, when...BINGO!!

3. How old were you?
-I was 25 when I fell pregnant and 26 when the baby was born.

4. How did you find out that you were pregnant?
-3 HPTs, then blood tests because I needed further proof!

5. Who did you tell first?
-Technically, the OB's office, because they ordered the blood tests for me. I was fortunate to be able to get tested that day, and everything came up "baby!" My husband's birthday was the very next day, and I decided to keep it a secret and give him a special gift (a book called "The Expectant Father") as a birthday gift. I was so proud that I could keep the secret from him for 24 hours!

6. Did you find out the sex?
-No, we wanted a surprise!

7. Due date?
-December 7, 2002

8. Did you deliver early or late? -Late, 11 days late.

9. Did you have morning sickness?
-Not much to speak of. No vomiting, just the occasional wave of nausea.

10. What did you crave?
-Mexican food

11. Who irritated you most?
-My husband when we were doing our first "healthy pregnancy food" grocery trip. He said "Uh, you know you're only supposed to gain 3 or 4 pounds the first trimester...right?

12. What was your first child's sex?
-A boy

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout your first pregnancy?
-55 horrible lbs

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?
-No, none.

15. Where did you give birth?
-At a freestanding waterbirth center. It was lovely, like giving birth at the Ritz.

16. How many hours were you in labor?
-14 hours

17. Who drove you to the hospital? -My husband drove me to the birthing center.

18. Who watched?
-My husband and the birth team (midwife and 3 apprentices)

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? -Vaginal

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain?

21. How much did your baby weigh? -8 lb 3 oz

22. What did you name your first born baby?
-Benjamin Wayne

23. How old is your baby today?
-He's 5 1/2 (nearly 6, though!)

***To read Ben's entire birth story, click here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

mommy confessions

~I've been a very frustrated mother lately. My kindergartner has an attitude.

~The house is still decorated to the hilt with Spider-Man stuff.

~It's been so hard to wake Kyle up in the afternoon so we can go get Ben from school...I am sorely tempted to just leave him sleeping for the 20 minutes it would take while I go pick Benjamin up. (nobody panic, I won't do it!)

~Last week, I put on the VeggieTales Sunday School songs CD, specifically because I knew that if I did, Kyle would stop talking to me and listen to the CD.

~I am so anal about kitchen stuff that I rarely have the boys help me cook. And when I do, I have to keep reminding myself that the kitchen floor (along with everything else!) will wash up...

~I almost always make Ben & Kyle get their own (cold) breakfasts!

ETA: There! That was cathartic. Please feel free to post your own Mommy Confessions. It's like chicken soup for the soul!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a web-slinging good time

Friday night was Kyle's birthday party...his Spider-Man birthday party. This event has been highly anticipated by Kyle, Benjamin, their parents, and the family cat for months.

Here is his cake. It's supposed to be a skyscraper (there are windows on the sides) but it did not turn out quite as I had planned. I've been much happier with cakes of yore. But, Kyle liked it, and that's all that matters. It helps when you have a Spider-Man candle to blow out!

I didn't get any good pictures of him opening his presents (although not for lack of trying) but here he is examining one of his new toys. Inside are blocks, characters, etc.

Kyle got all bashful when everyone was singing "Happy Birthday to you..." to him. He grinned for the first measure or so, then hid behind his hands. Cute!

We were blessed to have a full house last night. Our guests consisted of six children (not counting mine) and an assortment of their parents. Kyle's Grandma & Grandpa Isom also came, and they are a wonderful addition to any party!

I have not represented the games we played here. We did two: a "Web Walk" like a cake walk, complete with prizes (which were a big hit). Less of a hit was a tie-up-the-criminal-with-toilet-paper game. Problem #1: the boys' team was full of people refusing to be the criminal...Jeff eventually volunteered, although another parent did most of the wrapping. Problem #2: cheap toilet paper? Tears very easily. Oh well, live & learn!
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Kyle is 3 years old!

Happy Birthday to my smiley Kyle! He turned 3 years old today; he is becoming such a big boy. Kyle is a challenge and a joy, we are so glad to have him in our family. Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I hope you have wonderful day. Tonight? Spider-Man party!
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Thursday, September 25, 2008


1) Kyle, singing: "The fork is mine and I am his, his banner over me is love..."

2) Kyle: "I only have two hands. So I can only carry two things at once." (he does not walk the talk, however; you should see him try to clear his place after dinner in one fell swoop)

3) Kyle, singing: "Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the king of kids!"

4) Ben: "Kyle, that's not actually a lizard. It's a flat-necked chameleon."

5) "Mom? I just explained to Kyle that this is a flat-necked chameleon."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10 things I love about my little boy: Benjamin

10) The way he composes impromptu praise songs, even if he can never again remember how they went.

9) That he is finally deciding that trying new foods might be a good idea.

8) The way he is absolutely crazy about his baby brother.

7) That he is so excited about learning how to read.

6) How he can be so helpful, especially in the kitchen, or entertaining a fussy baby while I fix dinner.

5) That he is so easy-going and even-keel.

4) That he still loves to play with Kyle, even now that he's a big kindergartner.

3) How accomplished he felt when he learned to tie his shoelaces.

2) His sweet smile and twinkly brown eyes.

1) The fact that he still loves to love on me, and that his hugs make me feel like I want to be a better mother.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Simply put, entropy is a real pain in the butt.

Mysteriously, a toy that had been tucked nicely away mere minutes abandoned on on the floor. A hand towel, previously hung on the towel a damp heap on the bathroom counter. The snack cupboard left open, the silverware drawer pulled out. These are the details that plague my life.

"How did that get...?"
"But I just put that..."
"Where did that...?
"Why can't they just...?"

The tendency toward disorder may be evidenced more in homes like mine, where small children live. Or maybe it's more of a bane in a house full of teenagers? I'm sure college dorm rooms and bachelor pads are fine examples of entropy too, although it's doubtful that the residents could care less.

Me? I care.

It's not that I'm a neat freak. In fact, I can tend to have my little "piles" like so many people do. I'm even pretty lax about the level of cleanliness of my house, especially around the edges. But this quick reversal of my work, this seeming disrespect, could be my undoing. It makes my efforts around the house so futile, somehow. As though nobody else even gives a hoot.

But as with so many other things in life, I suspect there's a reason for entropy.

Maybe it's to keep us from becoming satisfied with our life here on earth, complacent. Or maybe to help us realize that God is the only one who can truly renew. He alone sustains, He alone makes new. And He alone brings lasting wholeness.

But for now, I walk the balance of order and ever-increasing disorder. And long for the perfection of heaven!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

my favorite

I know we aren't supposed to have favorites, but here's mine: I got the t-shirt I wanted for my birthday. And I love it so much! Isn't it fun??

A special thanks to Steve & Corrine for going above and beyond last night, to help make my birthday extra special. I love you guys, you rock!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

chili night

We had chili for dinner tonight. I've had a hankering for it, and the weather was cool enough tonight for it to really hit the spot.
Wonder of wonders, Benjamin liked it! Seriously, he has never liked any kind of soup or stew before, including chili when I've made it. It's like some kind of miracle! He took one bite and said "Yum!" Granted, the bite was loaded with sour cream...but still.

Kyle, on the other hand, didn't share the same appreciation for the dish.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 things I love about my little boy: Kyle

10) His meow-y language when he is "being a kitty."

9) The way he plays with his little rubber turtle and lizard as if they were his good friends.

8) His exuberance and the joy he takes in life.

7) Those dimples!

6) That he is always so thrilled to run and see the ice cream truck, regardless of whether or not he is getting a treat.

5) That he has such a good heart, and shares with his brothers so readily, without even being asked.

4) The way he sings a song with all that's in him, heedless of missing a few words or measures here and there.

3) The utter joy he takes in receiving mail.

2) The fact that because of him, I, as a brunette mom from a family of dark-haired people, and with a dark-haired husband, managed to have (for however long) the blonde child I've always hoped for.

1) The way he still fits so perfectly when he climbs up into my lap.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what's for dinner?

My boys have been asking this question with a bit of trepidation lately. Before, they could count on a dinner of "convenience food" about one third to one half of the time. But these days? Mom is making all sorts of things that they've never seen before, and she is (*gasp*) expecting them to try them!

Honestly, I have been doing so much more cooking. And Jeff and I generally finish off whatever I've made for dinner (with no help from the boys, thank you very much) so there never seem to be any leftovers to speak of. In the last few weeks we've had sirloin steak, fresh green beans, lentils, cilantro-lime chicken, naked (bunless) cheeseburgers, honey mustard chicken, corn on the cob, and tonight we will try my first-ever attempt at homemade chicken soup. With a whole chicken, and everything! It's been cooking for over 18 hours, and I must say, it smells delicious. Not that Ben or Kyle would ever touch soup...but I knew that, going in.

So, here's the deal. Early in our marriage I loved to pore through cookbooks. I would even check out an armful from the library and study them when I got home. So I gleaned some basic knowledge on basic cooking terms and such. Julienned. Broiled. Reduced. And I did a bit of cooking back then, too. Nothing fancy; I'm not a fancy sort of girl. Never have been. No gourmet restaurants for me.

It's a bit counter intuitive, because there's a desire to move toward the ideal with the arrival of children, but since we've had kids, I've moved away from my cookbooks in the interest of time and energy. Not to mention efficiency. Of course, now the tide has turned. I am once again donning my apron, rolling up my sleeves, and going at it in the kitchen.

And I feel a bit out of my depth.

I have never used fresh herbs and was fairly concerned about whether the cilantro in the frying pan with the chicken was supposed to look "like that." And I was completely thrown when the lentils were done in half the time the cookbook said for them to simmer. They had to sit while the rest of dinner was completed, and the end result was pretty mushy and revolting-looking. Ah, but they tasted good, anyway.

My second batch of lentils turned out beautifully, just so you know.

So, slowly I'm getting reacquainted with the craft of cooking, not to mention more comfortable with it. It feels good, like coming back to something I knew once, when life was a bit naive and uncomplicated. Now I need to figure out how to mother my children when I'm up to my elbows in poultry!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

10 things I love about my little boy: Owen

10) The way he looks at me when Kyle is being loud and obnoxious. I know he's just a baby, but it feels like I've got a sympathizer.

9) He adores sweet potatoes!

8) The way he holds perfectly still, as if I'm telling him a secret, when I wipe his privates during a diaper change.

7) The fact that he loves to watch, listen to, and interact with, his big brothers.

6) That he's so mellow and low-maintenance...a wonderful quality in a third child!

5) He is incredibly patient.

4) His really cute toes.

3) How content he usually is when we're out running errands, at a soccer game, or at church, even if logically he should be a mess by then.

2) The sounds he makes when he thinks I am going to pick him up, and I don't, and he tries to get me to. He almost always convinces me that it would be a good time for a cuddle.

1) His precious, heart-warming, balm-to-my-heart giggle.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


We've begun our second season as a soccer family. Benjamin played for the first time last spring, and we had our third game (within 7 days!) today. It was such a perfect day for it, warm but not hot, sunny and clear.

Ben did a great job! He played hard, went in when the coach called him, and most of all, had a good attitude. We were so proud of him!

It's fun to see how the skill level of the teams has gone up with the age group. Ben's team seems to be really quite focused, especially when you compare it to last spring, when there seemed to be a lot of nose-picking.

Go, Wild Puppies!
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

autumn gush

I love autumn.

I know it's not technically here yet, and even if one were to go by "school has started, it's autumn"... the weather is pretty warm still. But in spite of all that, there's a nip in the air, and...well, after all, it is September. So I'm going to officially embrace autumn's arrival, come what may.

Today I changed the bedding in the master bedroom. It's become a bit of a ceremonial thing with me; I change the bedspread & sheets every autumn and every spring. The spring/summer bedding is cream, blue, and mauve (including a beautiful quilt that Jeff's mom and grandmother made as a wedding present), and the autumn/winter bedding is a warm brown & deep brick red. It always makes me feel so happy to make the seasonal bedding feels like I am ringing in the new part of the year in my own little way.

I can't help it, I just love autumn. I love the crisp morning air, the sunny days (well, while they last) and the smell of dried leaves. I love the other smells of autumn, too: pumpkin, spiced apple... I love the colors of autumn: the warm reds, oranges, browns, yellows, and even grays & blacks. I love the clothes of autumn: my beloved corduroy pants, my cozy sweaters. Getting out my clothes when the weather gets cooler is a bit like getting reacquainted with some old, dear friends.

All this said, I may be singing a different tune come November, when the rain starts in (and doesn't relent for four or five months). But for now, I am going to enjoy this beautiful Oregon autumn while I can. It is truly my favorite time of year.


1) Ben, when asked to choose a treat at the farmer's market, "Hmm...well, a donut wouldn't last very long. And...neither would a cookie. I would like.. a balloon!"

2) "Ben, do you wanna pway aiwpwane family?"

3) "Hey, Kyle! When there are some birds on a wire, and there is another bird on another wire close by, it means the birds are having church."

4) Kyle, when passing a car lot, "Look, balloons. The cars are having a birthday party."

5) Owen's squeals of delight whenever he spots our cat.

Monday, September 8, 2008

happy 6 months, owen!

Our baby is six months old today! He recently figured out how to sit, which is so much fun. Owen is such a joy to our family. He's a balm in the midst of the craziness. We are so grateful to have him.
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

first spoon food

Owen had his first solid food today. It was rice cereal.

At first he wasn't quite sure about the whole thing....

But then he thought about it...

He decided to give it another try....

...and couldn't get enough of the stuff!

First spoon food? A rousing success!
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

the health kick (in the pants)

So, I've always had this longing to be a little bit crunchy.

At least, I have had such a longing for the past five years or so. By "crunchy" I mean... into things which are natural, organic, pure, instinctive, and so on. For some people, "crunchy" translates into Attachment Parenting (co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, and so on). And while I do breastfeed, use a sling, diaper my baby with cloth, and chose to birth my last two children in water at home, I don't consider that we "do" Attachment Parenting at my house. So I've never exactly been sure how I would fit into the crunchy demographic, although I've always been really attracted to the idea.

But now? It seems that I am finding my niche. Our food odyssey has led me to crunchy eating. And no, I'm not talking about potato chips. We are trying to eat foods that have been largely unprocessed, in a form that is natural for the body to digest. Also a goal: staying away from additives and other artificial ingredients. It's been an interesting journey, and it isn't over yet.

So here I am, shopping for organic food. I'm reading labels, seeking out grass-fed, hormone-free beef, free-range chickens and eggs... cutting down (or out) white flour and sugar, shuddering at the thought of all the crud I've been feeding my children for the past few years. I am not saying that to sit in judgment for the way other people eat, but I just feel that with all I've learned these past few months, I can't go back to the way things were before. So we're trying to find a better way here, which is proving to be a challenge where the children are concerned.

I'll spare you the details of that, though, aside from one thing: Kyle definitely has a fondness for processed food. In addition, he "[doesn't] wike" chicken, burgers, steak, fish, potatoes, eggs, vegetables, and a fair number of fruits. So you can see how this could be a problem.

Still, I think my boys will survive somehow. After a while, this will be a new normal for them. And I have to say, I'm already so happy with the changes we've seen.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the first day of school: kindergarten

Our oldest child started kindergarten today! He was so excited. It made me laugh...I had told him I set his alarm at 6:50 AM and that he could hit snooze once or twice, but soon after 7:00 AM I would come in, and then it would be time to get up & get ready for the day. Well, I heard the alarm go off, and not five minutes later Ben appeared, fully dressed and beaming from ear to ear. Quite a contrast to the way I've had to work to get him out of bed the last two years. Let us hope this refreshing new trend continues.

Benjamin attends at Montessori school. It does a 3-year program: two years of "preschool" and then kindergarten, all in the same classroom. So the 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds are all in the same class. The older children help the younger children, and the younger children can watch those big kids and see what they'll be learning someday. I think it really works, and Ben and I are both so excited that this year he'll be one of the big kids.

So, armed with a lunch he'd prepared himself, wearing a new shirt bought especially for this day, and eager to be back in his classroom, my boy went happily to kindergarten. No one cried, not even me. In a lot of ways this feels just like what we've done the past two years. I'll bet next year will wrench my heart a bit, though. Then he'll be starting a new school and making new friends.

I know it's unorthodox, but in Ben's Montessori school the kindergartners need to be at school for a full day: from 8:30 to 3:00. It feels so strange to have my firstborn gone for so much of the day! But he was thrilled. He's been campaigning to be a "three o'clocker" for a long time now. And now his moment has arrived!
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grandma lovin'

My parents came to visit for Labor Day weekend. They live about 8 hours away (if you're driving without children!) so we don't get to see each other as often as we would like. We do alright, though. And Jeff & I have been major slackers because we have not been up to visit them since well before Owen was born. In fact, it's been nearly a year, now that I think about it...oops. We'll have to screw up our courage sometime soon.

Anyway, all the boys have grown since the last time Grandma and Grandpa saw them, but especially Owen. He was still pretty much a bump on a log when they visited us last. Smiling, but still pretty much a bump. These days, he's rolling, getting himself up on all fours, and going after toys when the mood strikes him. He's getting active, we'd better look out!

My mom, especially, seizes just about every chance she has to hold & cuddle with Owen. They were so sweet together. And of course, Owen loved all that attention!
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Monday, September 1, 2008

fun with the tongue

One of Owen's new things lately is to go through life with his tongue sticking out. It's so much fun. And so slobbery!

It seems that he's just realized he has a tongue. At least it's being used innocently, for now.

Here are a few samples of Owen's new M.O. We love our happy baby, drools and all. We'll just call him Mr. SoggyShirt.

Also popular with Owen these days: rolling here there and everywhere, pushing himself up on his hands and toes, grinning at himself in the mirror,
and laughing at his big brothers. Oh, and chatting with the fish on the shower curtain.

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