Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grams' Visit

This last week, we had the pleasure of having Grams (Kyle's Grandma) with us. She professed that she came to help me get through my three week class (my second-to-last class!) while Kyle was out of town and we thoroughly took her up on her offer. I don't think Grams rested one moment while she was with us - she single-handedly did all the housework like laundry, ironing, scrubbing floors AND all the childcare including taking Meg on multiple walks each day or trips outside to listen to the birds JUST so that I could get ahead on my schoolwork. I found that I was more relaxed (even though my work was stressful) and organized than ever with a clean house and happy child. Plus, I didn't feel the normal loneliness that creeps in with Kyle gone. Her visit was a true and welcome blessing to us - one that I'll be forever grateful for receiving seeing as Grams hadn't even flown on an airplane since our wedding almost 4 years ago. She heard our plea for help and brought in the calvary!

Though most days were filled with work, we did fit in a trip to Steinmart, a visit to the park, and lots of good conversation while she was here. Meg loved sharing time with her Grams and especially enjoyed playing all of her musical toys for Grams. Many times I would hear them singing songs to each other from across the room. Meggie also loved it when Grams would close all the doors to the bedrooms and let her explore willy-nilly through the house. I enjoyed the constant smell of freshly laundered and crispened clothes, the quiet times together at night after Meg was asleep, and learning new-to-me but old Karsten family favorite recipes like Chicken Squares and broccoli-chicken casserole! Grams, we miss you and treasured the time you were here - come back soon!

Meg also celebrated her 9 month birthday this week. At her doctor's appointment, she weighed 20 lbs. 12 ounces (85%), was 30 and 1/4 inches tall (over 100% - surprise, surprise), and had a head circumference of 18 inches (95%). Dr. Reed said that her weight had leveled off a bit, but with all the crawling and exploring she's been doing, that's to be expected. I also have a suspicion that Meg's going to be built like her daddy - tall and I expect her weight to continue to drop off even as her height increases. While we were at the doctor's office, Meg kept tearing off pieces of the paper on the table and putting them in her mouth - she's a little notorious for eating paper. Once recently, I had to pull her out from under our bed (where I keep all of our present wrapping supplies) only to find her stuffing her mouth with handfuls of tissue paper. I find this habit characteristic of our girl right now - she's getting in lots of teeth, chewing anything to bits that she can find, and is captivated by the crinkle-ness of paper...voila! It's kind of her staple.

Yesterday, Kyle and I spent most of our day gardening - our favorite Memorial Day activity. After last year and the infamous wasp incident, it's our tradition. I must say, though, that gardening this year is a WHOLE lot easier than last year. I tried to find a picture to post on here in contrast, but I think I deleted any taken during this time in pregnancy. WOOF. I'm thankful for my nine-month baby outside of the womb this summer! :)

Last year, we did the bare bones work on our flower beds. This work included tearing out the old monkey grass, weeding, and planting a few day lillies, daises, peonies, and Meg's butterfly bush. This year we added irises, zinnias, other sun-loving perriennials, and mulch. Ahh, I finally don't feel like the irresponsible young "college" kids of the neigborhood. Will post pictures soon!

For now, here's some latest ones of our Nine Month Meggie Girl. Enjoy!

slightly blurry, but oh so true to form!

Here's the studious look that I get when I say, "Meggie, look at Mama!":

One of my favorite pictures EVER! Can you spy her little snaggle-tooth?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Whole Lotta Lately...

Oh, Oklahoma! To my surprise, Kyle showed up home early from work today at 2:30 pm...all in anticipation of tornado-ish weather that is supposed to show up this evening. I'm watching as my tv screen is peppered with bright red patches of severe thunderstorms. So, just in case we're swept away tonight, I wanted to send out an update on our hectic lives:

Okay...well, this was a post I started a few days ago and never finished because right after I typed the above words, we had to go to our "tornado spot" aka the guest bathroom where we've permanently stashed a camping lantern, extra water, candles, matches, and a battery-operated radio. Seems I remember last May being volatile like this, too. We get weeks and weeks of rain and the chance of tornadoes between winter and summer. And that is an OK spring.

After we returned from Pensacola, I had one last week of school to wrap up papers and finals. Non. Stop. Work. My life at that point was: Meg, School, Sleep Maybe a Couple of Hours. Then, the week after finals we had Change of Command activities and graduation stuff - something everyday. Graduation at the end of the week was kind of surreal because I don't actually finish school until the end of's just that OSU doesn't have summer graduation ceremonies. So, it was really just walking across the stage for the diploma cover, but ended up feeling like this spectacular marker of the end of my academic career - for now anyways. My dad was able to fly out for my graduation - which I loved - and I felt so proud that he was there. The graduation ceremony was the culminating event of Week Crazy. Therefore, the Meggie girl turned Wild Woman. She wouldn't sleep. She wouldn't eat. She wouldn't smile. Dad and Kyle took turns walking her around the arena and finally found a window ledge in which she could jump. And jump. And jump. The perfect Meggie spot. When graduation ended, I found her passed out in Kyle's arms - which she never does anymore - and she slept all the way home. Of course, the night before graduation (because of Week Crazy) I was struck down by some vile cold. And I mean it hung on. So, this WHOLE week after Week Crazy I've taken a nap every time Meg took a nap. What I had intended to be a week to get ahead of my school work (as I start a three week class tomorrow) was a week of rest and recovery.

Now to Meg...7 months was a HUGE month for her. In her 7th month, she learned to crawl, sit up by herself, pull herself to standing, and even move from one piece of furniture to another. AND, she said, "mama," for the first time. Meg loves chasing balls and banging balls together. She's also refined her skills at knocking towers down. She's eating three meals-a-day now and, surprisingly, likes a lot of the foods she didn't at first such as peas, carrots, and green beans. Her absolute favorite food is yogurt. In fact, when she's being a little reticent in eating her given food I just throw in a little yogurt (no matter what it is! HA!) and she gobbles it up. As in: yogurt and turkey, yogurt and squash, yogurt and asparagus. I know, right? But, it works and I'll take it. Her other favorite foods are sweet potatoes, bananas, and avocados.

We've noticed that since she's been working on developing more of her physical skills, she's not as "smiley" as she has been at other phases in her life. What's seemed to replace her ready smile is an inquisitive smirk or gaze where we truly get the sense that she's trying to figure us out. A stable personality trait for her seems to be her curious, studious nature. Who knows the depths that those deep blue eyes hold?

Also with her newfound physical prowess came certain challenges. For example, we had to take the bumper out of crib because she was using it as a way to climb up her crib and bang on the wall. Now, though, that her crib is bumperless, we've had to go back to working with her on falling asleep when she's laid down. Instead of sleeping, she throws her pacifier between the rails of her crib and then cries for us to come back in the room. She's also been waking up several times at night by standing up in her crib. Once she learned how to crawl, she could crawl Any.Where. Her favorite spots to crawl are: the fireplace, under our bed, wherever the douglass dog is, any door stopper, the kitchen trashcan, and into the basket under our desk. When we tell her, "No, No touch, Meg," and attempt to distract her, she does her little tight-lipped smile over her shoulder and crawls faster in the "forbidden" direction. Oh, my...her determination is something that we love about her, but I'm beginning to realize what we may be up against in her toddler years. And I'm petrified. :) Today, the church nursery workers suggested that she might be ready to move to the Big Toddler class because of her interest in crawling, playing, and pulling up - they said she had outgrown their baby swings. Gulp...the Big Toddler class?!? It's like an aknowledgment that in just 8.5 months, our little baby is no longer a little baby. And even as we rejoice over her "toddler" accomplishments, we search for the traces of our newborn Meggie girl.

When we're out and about with Meg, some of the comments that we get most are:

"Is she always this happy?"
"Look at those big blue eyes - she studies everything with those eyes, doesn't she?"
"She's the most aware baby I've ever seen!"
"She sure is busy, isn't she?"

We love that people are drawn to the way Meg takes in information about her world...and we love trying to make that world as loving, nurturing, stimulating, and safe as possible. Yesterday, we spent a fantastic day at the Oklahoma City zoo. Even though Meg is still more interested in the other babies and children than the animals, we could tell that she did a little studying of the Orangutan (who came right up to us and peered at Meg through the glass), lorikeets, and spider monkeys. In the new children's zoo, they have peacocks that roam freely. One peacock flew RIGHT in front of Meg's stroller. She threw her hands out in delight, SMILED, and watched the peacock with quarter-sized eyes until she could no longer see the expanse of its wings. We delighted in sharing one of those "first" moments with our girl. The first time to really see a bird in flight. That's Meg to us right now: inquisitive, searching, courageous. She has no shyness, no qualms, no hesitations. Only openness and exurberance. She lives life with a kind of innocent, pure vivacity. Our Meggie girl's intent, intense, and passionate...and we praise God for the chance, challenge, and trust that He's placed on us in the raising of her.

I think you'll see what I mean as you study these recent pictures of the Meggie girl: