Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caleb Quotes

I have to say that I am LOVING so many things about Caleb at this age. He is starting to express his feelings, and he is coming to the funniest conclusions about things. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the last couple of weeks.

Quote #1
(while urinating and staring at the stream between his legs)
"Woah, dat a lot of pee pee, Momma!"

Quote #2
(after falling and scraping his knee)
Mommy: "Oh Caleb did that hurt? Do you feel sad?"
Caleb: (crying) "I feel sa-ad, but ice cream [would] make me hap-py!"

Quote #3
Mommy: "Caleb, can I have some of those raisins?"
Caleb: "No."
Mommy: "I thought that you liked to share!"
Caleb: "I do like to share. I like to share with ME."

Quote #4
(after impulsively knocking down a tower that we had spent 10 minutes building together)
Mommy: "Caleb, when you grow up, do you want to be a man who builds things or a man who breaks things?"
Caleb: "I wanna be a man who breaks things!"
Mommy: "Well, I hope you are a man who builds things."
Caleb: "Well, I want to break things, Mama, and DAT'S MY CHOICE." (emphasis his)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ethan Update

I am painfully aware that Ethan updates are much fewer and farther between than Caleb updates were, but I'm sure you all understand (I just hope Ethan does...) Anyway, here it is.
Ethan was sitting up well at 5-months. I measure sitting up well by when I can take the boppy pillow away and walk out of the room for a minute or two without being concerned that he will topple. He could still only sit for about 20 minutes at 5-months, but it was still a welcome relief from wanting to be held all the time. I could put toys in front of him and go to the bathroom or unload the dishwasher without him fussing. Although the toys were usually unnecessary if Caleb was up and about. (Caleb is a mobile entertainment system for Ethan.)

About a week ago, just shy of 6 1/2 months, Ethan achieved his own mobility. Now he is content for long periods of time on the floor, exploring the play room. He's not actually crawling, but he has mastered a fast army crawl that leaves no area safe. The first day he could move, I caught him with Marcus's cell phone charger in his hand, on the way to his mouth, and it was plugged in! That sent me into a baby-proofing frenzy. Now the play room is mainly secure, but I still don't dare walk out for more than a moment because he is constantly getting himself stuck somewhere or ending up on his back on top of some pointy toys and wailing for help. Today he figured out how to get to a sitting position from his army crawl stance, and he is loving that. Now he doesn't have to play with the toy he crawled to on his belly; he can simply arrive at the toy, get to a sitting position, and play away. And when he's done, he awkwardly lunges in another direction until he is belly-down again. All-in-all, we are all enjoying the mobility, as it makes him even happier and more independent.

Ethan is eating solids twice a day, mostly Earth's Best Organic baby food, as well as a lot of tidbits from our meals. He loves to eat whatever anyone else is eating. He twists and strains and reaches and grunts until we give him a little taste of what is on our plates. As a result, he has tasted a LOT more foods than Caleb had at this age, but he mainly eats fruits and vegetables from a jar, as well as 6-8 breastfeedings a day. He is a very well-fed baby :)

I can't remember his weight and height from the pediatric visit last week (I know that's horrible), but I do remember that he was around 75% for weight and in the upper 90's for height, which is exactly where Caleb at 6-months.

Ethan's disposition is very happy. He loves attention, and he is often very patient about obtaining someone's attention. He will stare at the side of someone's face in church for a minute or two without stopping, until they turn toward him, and then his face erupts into a huge smile. He LOVES it when we babble to him, though he is not babbling back yet. He also still loves us to sing, and he often chimes in with a monotone "Aaaaaaahhhhhh" of his own throughout our whole song. He is what many would describe as a "Mama's boy" in that wants me within sight most of the time, and will vocally protest if he sees me walk out of the room without taking him along. He also always wants Mama when he is tired, hungry or just wants some cuddling. Caleb was easier to distract from his "Mama" cries, but Ethan is very hard to deter once he's decided that only Mama will do. I've still only made it through church one time without being paged, and the story is always the same: "He was perfectly happy and then he just looked around and started screaming." And he is always still screaming when I arrive to get him. One book I read described this "Mommy radar" as a thermometer, he can take the separation until his meter reaches a certain temperature, and then the alarm goes off and he has to make sure that I'm still available. Caleb wasn't like that, so this is new territory for me.
For the sake of ending this blog post, I think I will pass on addressing the sleeping thing...other than to say that things have improved some. He has given us 3 nights this week with only 1-2 wakings, which is WONDERFUL. He is still not napping well during the day, but Caleb didn't nap well until he was consistenly sleeping well at night, so maybe that is still coming.

That is 6-month-old Ethan in a nutshell!

Two Boys

Dedicated to my sister-in-law Jennifer, who is expecting her second son.

What I love about having two boys...

(1) My boys were born in the same season, so I haven't had to buy any clothes for Ethan. Also, all of the blue stuff (blankets, pacifiers, bibs, crib bedding, etc.), didn't have to be replaced.

(2) Caleb and Ethan have all the stereotypical gender preferences in toys, so there will also be no new toys needed (dolls, kitchens, tea sets, etc). Just like Caleb, Ethan thinks that any kind of ball is the coolest thing in the world.

(3) They think that the same things are funny. Squealing, banging, and all the weird noises Marcus can make all make Caleb and Ethan laugh hysterically.

(4) Even at 2 1/2 and 6 months, the boys LOVE interacting with each other. Ethan idolizes Caleb, but I think that would be true regardless of gender. The special thing is that Caleb also adores Ethan. Nothing pulls Caleb out of a funk like Ethan's huge smile. Lots of times, Caleb tells me to go "Dat way, meez" and leave him and Ethan to play together. (At first, I thought he did that so he could be mischevious, but after several times of pretending to leave and watching from a distance, I know that he just really wants some one-on-one time making his baby laugh.)

(5) As they get older, the boys similar preference for "boy play" will keep them entertained and deepen their relationship. Running together, throwing balls, exploring, wrestling...I see all of these things on the horizon in a year or two. I'm sure there will also be competition and arguments and rivalry as well, but I'll gladly take on the task of helping them through all that for the fun they will have together.

(6) Because we both definitely want more children, we like the idea of two close-in-age big brothers for our later children, especially if we have girls later on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Cross to Bear

On Sunday, our minister reminded us that the call to follow Christ is characterized by taking up a cross and walking alongside him. We all have "crosses," and when compared to each other, some seem much harder to bear than others. But to each individual, one's own cross is hard to bear. At this stage in my life, one of my crosses is lack of sleep: the fact that it is constantly interrupted and that I get an overall insufficient amount. Over the past week, I've gotten an average of about 5 hours of sleep each night (keep in mind that is the average). The average stretch of sleep I enjoy without getting out of bed to tend to the baby is about 75 minutes. I'm not looking for sleep solutions...I've heard most of it already and we are still convicted that we are doing the right thing for Ethan. I'm just sharing the sleep details so that you will understand that I have every reason to be exhausted, and the rest of what I'm going to share will be more meaningful.

I think that perhaps fatigue is similar in some ways to physical pain or depression in that it permeates everything in life. I have come to understand on a deeper level what it means to rely on God hour by hour. In bearing this cross, the ways that I lean on the Lord have become more simple and also very personal. Sometimes when Ethan is crying for me for the fifth or sixth time and I literally doubt whether or not I can crawl out of bed, I have pleaded with the Lord to lay his hand on Ethan's little body and soothe him to sleep for me. And He has done that, many times. And sometimes he just gives me the strength to get out of bed and do it myself. In the morning, I beseech him for patience and energy. I used to pray for enough patience and energy to face the day. Now I am praying for enough patience and energy to embrace the day. And He is SO FAITHFUL. I am awed that he can take my exhausted body and infuse me with energy and even excitement for the day. Sometimes I start to lose patience with Caleb, and I feel God's peace descending over me, curbing my anger. Sometimes He even blesses me with extra understanding for Caleb's two-year-old mind, so that I can better minister to his frustrations and needs, avoiding the desire to lose patience entirely.

I have been awed by the truth that God draws near in times of struggle, and he shows me how much I can trust him by giving me "more than I ask or imagine." I understand more and more why all sin is rooted in an attempt to be independent of God. Independence leaves us so insecure, because it all depends on us. While immersing ourselves in our need for God and relying on him literally each day for our daily bread, our daily strength and everything else that we need leaves us as secure as we can ever hope to be. Either He will give it to us, or He will teach us to do without it. Praise God for reminding me of these truths through my darling sleepless little boy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

High School Reunion

This weekend, Marcus took Friday off and we made the 6-hour trek to Searcy and back for my high school reunion. I know most people don't go to their high school reunions, but I grew up in a very small school where Kindergarten through 12th grade all met in the same building, and many of the people I graduated with I had known since early elementary school. It was a lot of fun, even more than I expected, to see everyone and catch up on the last 10 years. 23 people from my graduating class of 56 came to reunion. Almost everyone looked the same, though quite a few were in professions that I would not have predicted. Also a lot more of my former classmates than I expected were still single. The others were married, some with one or two kids (one guy already has 4 kids!). Of course I loved showing off my two darlings, though the reunion meeting times did not coincide with little people schedules (the first from 7:00-10:00 on Friday night and the second from 12:00 to 3:00 on Saturday). At least it was evident that all of the other toddlers were also suffering from the lack of sleep as well.

Friday night was the Harding Academy homecoming game, and Caleb was fascinated with his first football game. He stared at ball flying across the field, the dozens of young men in (to him) elaborate costumes, the band's array of sounds and rhythms, and the dancing and shouting cheerleaders.

When we weren't participating in reunion activities, we were having fun with Nanna (my mom). Papa (my dad) was out of town this weekend, but Nanna was thrilled as could be to have her grandsons around. She bounced back and forth between rocking Ethan and reading to Caleb the whole weekend. Marcus and I enjoyed the down time that gave us. I have to say, there is nothing I love quite as much as watching someone love on and enjoy my sons. It warms my heart like nothing else. Nanna (who has MS), had more energy this weekend than I've seen her have in years, and the boys ate it all up. We went to Harding and walked around the front lawn both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, it was warm in the afternoon, so we succumbed to Caleb's polite pleading and let him strip down to a Pull-up and play in the fountain in front of the Bible building. On Sunday, we went to church at Downtown and saw a few more old friends. Usually, Mom just stays home to rest when we go on outings, but this time she came along with us to everything. She admitted being exhausted by Sunday afternoon, but said there was no better reason to be exhausted!

Caleb is having Nanna withdrawal today. Every hour or so he says, "Mama, I go to Nanna's house 'gain?" I say, "Maybe later on sweetie, but not today," to which he replies "Not later, mama, TA'DAY!"

On the way home, we stopped in Memphis to hang out with Marcus's best friend from college, Brian Borgman (and his wife Gena). They took us to the Mud Island River Walk park in Memphis was really cool. Caleb had a blast playing in the water of the river walk, and we got some great pictures. Other than the drive (during which the kids did not sleep as planned and we listened to the music of Ethan wailing and Caleb whining for his bed at home by turns), it was a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the pics!