Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Only Child for a Day

Tom and I were quite sick with the flu yesterday. He took a sick day, which is very unusual for him. My parents came to take Liesl home with them at 11:00 a.m. yesterday and returned her to us this afternoon, giddy and giggly from spending a day and night at Grammie and Papa's house.

After they left with Liesl, the house was relatively quiet. One small baby. Few pressures other than to drink fluids, rest, and get well. Frankly, I have forgotten how easy it is to have one child. Babies, compared to toddlers, are EASY. They eat, sleep, cry a bit, poop, play, cuddle and laugh. There are no time-outs, no overseeing of toddler chores, no discipline/consequences to dole out, no doors and gates to stairwells to be kept closed, no additional food to prepare (and indeed, to clean up after.) You put the baby down, walk away for a moment, come back...and she's still where you put her! Amazing. Compared to caring for two very small children together, one small baby is easy to care for...even with the flu.

And that one small baby is 4 months old today! Ava is getting so big--she giggles, plays, and talks a LOT. She rolled over for the first time yesterday, just one day shy of her 4 month "birthday." She has some rare difficult moments, as all babies do, but she is an absolute joy. I am so in love with this precious, perfect baby. We are so blessed.

She loves her cloth undies

And she loves tummy time!

Daddy and Ava had a bit of a nap together today.
Shhh...don't tell Tom I took (and published) this photo!

Snuggles and cuddles with Ava will cure all that ails you

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bright days

I've lived in Michigan my entire life and I can honestly say I've always enjoyed winter...until I had two small children. It is very hard to be cooped up indoors for weeks and months with two little kids. Even going out to Bible study or the library doesn't really make me feel like we've "gotten out." It is also much harder to winter indoors with two kids than it is with one; there is a huge change in our mobility and "bundle-up-ability" between now and last year when there was only Liesl. So this weekend's (slightly) warmer weather and sunny skies were a welcome sight. We all bundled up--including Ava--and went out for a much-needed breath of fresh air both Saturday and Sunday.
Liesl just loves to bundle up and go outside.

The lack of fashion knowledge in this house is truly embarrassing

My thumbs! They've stolen my thumbs!

Liesl and our neighbor's dog, Shiloh, a Hungarian Vizsla
They are buds, they just love to "visit" each time we run
into them during walks

Liesl and Mama--warmth from coats and hugs

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ava's Baptism

Ava was baptised into our church family on Sunday, February 17, at the 11:00 a.m. service. It was a lovely ceremony. Afterwards we had a brunch at our home for 26 people, including the guest of honor.
The family at the church
Ava and her godmother, Julie. I am so disappointed that I didn't think to get a more
"formal" picture of Ava and Julie.
Ava and her godfather, Uncle Robert (we think she's smitten)

Ava and Sarah, the daughter of my friend Carrie.
Sarah also helps the babysitter take care of Liesl during my Thursday morning Bible study.
She and her two younger brothers are homeschooled.

Ava and Papa C.

Liesl and Uncle Robert (who is also the girls' godfather)

Smiling for Uncle Robert

We think someone got into the cake!

A nice soft place to nap after all the hullabaloo of the party. :-)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Business of Being Born

Ava's birth started it; this movie cinched it for me. I just have to be part of this. I do not know if I will have any more babies, but if I don't, I will find a way to make this whole natural birthing experience part of my life.

The movie completely BLEW ME AWAY. The movie discussed a lot of the different paradigms that birthing practices have gone through in the United States over the last 100 years, and how it has lead us to where we are today. Contrary to what many may think, it was not a bash against C-section births or against women who don't choose to have a home birth for whatever reason; they did show several circumstances where hospital intervention and/or a Cesarean were absolutely vital. I was startled to see some of the statistics. There were many births on the movie and each one was amazing. It was extraordinary. I cried several times during the movie; many tears of joy but some of sorrow as well. We, as women, have such an amazing potential. We have just been lead to believe otherwise. I am not now nor will I ever be a feminist, but I am amazed at the hold that this natural birthing philosophy has taken on me, and is still within me 3 months after my own experience.

About 150 people came to the movie and about 75 of them stayed for the panel discussion afterwards, amongst them my friend Christine who also took some pictures for me (thank you, Christine!) The panel discussion was fantastic. There were some incredible people on that panel and I was honored to be amongst them. I did get to talk a bit and answer some questions from the audience, and commented from a “consumer’s” perspective on some issues that the other panelists brought up. Before the movie, I spoke at length with one of the panelists who is a doula educator about my births and my career plans for when my children are older and in school...I'm seriously considering becoming a birth and postpartum doula.

Ava was such a perfect little baby during the entire evening. She hung out in my Maya Wrap and socialized well during the silent auction before the movie, and when the movie got started, the two of us settled in and she nursed to sleep like she does every night. She slept through the entire movie in the sling, and then stayed asleep during the panel discussion in the sling, even with all the bright lights on the stage and loud noises around her. She was amazing, such a tribute to naturally birthed babies! Tom did not get to go because our babysitter for Liesl had to cancel last-minute. To be honest, I wound up enjoying a “girl’s night out” kind of time with Christine and a few other friends who arrived at the movie. I could have stayed all night!

When I got home at 10:30 (at least an hour and a half past my normal bedtime), I was on such an adrenaline high from the entire evening that I found it hard to sleep.

I just have to be a part of this. We women have been given such an amazing gift.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Just when you think you're gonna lose it....

....your friend swoops in and saves the day. We've had
one heck of a week. I thought I was gonna crack, then I
read my email. Here's a picture that Cortney sent me....
funny pictures
After I laughed my arse off, I spent a few minutes perusing the site.
Trust Cortney--another lactating cat lover--to save the day.
Here's a few more hilarious ones...
Funny Pictures

Monday, February 4, 2008

This'll knock the smug right outta you

I had just replied to an email to a woman in my mom's club. She had just had her 2nd baby, another girl, and I was wondering how she had been doing. She was one of the group of ladies who had brought me a meal after my baby was born, so I returned the favor when her baby was born a few weeks ago. I had just sat at my computer, smugly mentioning that we had settled into something of a routine, and having two small children was entirely manageable. And that I loved having two little girls. Sugar 'n spice and everything nice, and all that trite stuff.

HA! Me and my big fat mouth. As soon as I shot that email off, chaos erupts. Ava, normally a fairly decent napper, would not go to sleep for her morning nap. She then crossed into that crazy, overtired, stressed mode that comes from not getting enough sleep...and no matter what I tried, this poor child would NOT nap. So finally I got her to sleep with nursing--which I know is a no-no because they're suppose to "learn" on their own, but it just wasn't going to happen this time--and then Liesl, who is supposed to be playing in her room and is not to come out without permission (and she KNOWS it), comes tearing into Ava's bedroom and yells, cheerfully, "HI! HI! BABY! BABY! OUT COLD! MAMA?!? BABY!" (Have I mentioned that I miss the times when she signed more than she spoke?) Ava's exhausted eyes fly open and she immediately launches into another huge crying jag--stiff, red-faced, eyes screwed tightly shut and WAILING. This is a baby who normally does not cry very much, but the kid had been up for three whole hours and was struggling to comprehend. So I tell Liesl very sternly, over the baby who is now screaming into my left ear, "Liesl, go to your bedroom RIGHT NOW!" Liesl, having just turned 2, runs into her room--SCREAMING--and proceeds to dump or overturn every toy, book, and small piece of furniture she has in her room, allthewhile yelling her fool head off. It took a full 20 minutes to clean her room up, while trying to keep my cool and not be the fourth and final female in this house to completely lose it. Did I say "fourth" female? No, you didn't miscount. In the midst of all this, my poor 19 year-old cat who has gone deaf and partially blind has started pacing the house, caterwauling, because nobody is downstairs with her and she can't "find" us. (It's surprising, really, the noise an elderly, 8-pound cat can make--her ears and eyes are shot but her lungs are just FINE, thank you.)

This, folks, is not my "normal" morning. Ava's naps are fairly routine and while Liesl is prone to having a "normal" 2 year-old crying tantrum here and there, she has never had a super-destructive one like she exhibited this morning. I'd like to say that the day got better--that Liesl returned to the angelic creature she usually is and Ava went back to snoozing peacefully and gurgling happily during her awake times...but alas, it was not the case. Thank You, God, for early bedtimes.

In the middle of this calamity, I thought wanly of the email I had just fired off boastfully to this other new 2nd-time mom...yep, confident new mother of two here has it alllllllll together. NOT!

Is it Friday yet?