Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby Meg is "hi-ing" Miss Shannon...

"What?" was my response to 3 year-old Kyla as we waited out a stoplight on our way to the park for a picnic yesterday. I glanced over my shoulder.

"Baby Meg is "HI-ING," she reiterated, a little more emphatically. As I pondered her sentence, trying to make sense of toddler-ease, an older gentleman in the truck next to us caught my attention - he was waving with an exaggerated open hand in our direction, googly eyes complimenting a broad smile.

"Oooo-ooo-h...Baby Meg is waving! I gotcha!" The truck man saw my understanding flicker across my face and we communed for an instant with each other, sharing our delight in the new-found communications of the 10-month-old in the backseat.

We pulled up to another stoplight. That's when I knew that we are nearing Patricia's upscale condominium in Bangsar KL-- I knew it will all about fun pretty soon. Sure enough, within a few seconds, I witnessed our car neighbors catch sight of Meg. Their expressions transformed from those shells of thought in waiting, passing time, to ones of love, joy, innocence. I saw the human peep through the mundane - I felt our connection across a baby, a new life.

Today, I pulled into Cowgirl Coffee on the way to the Farmer's Market. After a late night with the girls and an early morning with my doll baby, I was in desperate need of caffeine. My agenda: get coffee, get outta there, get downtown. The cowgirl's agenda: make my coffee, get me outta there, serve the next customer. My eyes were glazed over, I was lost in (lack of) thought. Out of the quiet, I heard a startled laugh. The cowgirl beamed, exclaimed, "she just waved at me! Oh my gosh, she just waved...that is the cutest!"

Why do these accounts make me pause? Unprompted, my Meggie girl is beginning to make her way in the world. She's using a skill she's learned to give a grace and a peace to others - she's making a difference in their smaller moments with her freshness, innocence, and total acceptance and she's bringing those of us older, more complicated ones into connection with each other in the briefest glimpse of, I believe, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Meggie girl, may you always remain open and inquisitive. May your life be characterized by these encounters of connection, spreading joy in human places, bridging the heavenly and ordinary. May God use you to "hi" his love to the people of this world, to bring his light to the nations.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.' " Matthew 18:1-5

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pool Time and Other Happenings


Love this swimming girl

It's the (early) end of another Thursday. I had class all morning (8:00-1:00), chatted away Meg's 2nd nap time with Shannon, took my girl for a dip in the pool (more on that in just a bit), ... and completely spaced out that I was supposed to go to book club somewhere in my favorite Mont Kiara condominium tonight(book club info can be found on http://propertyreviews.my/sunway-vivaldi). Kinda reminiscent of when I was about six months pregnant with Meg and one Tuesday absolutely, totally blanked that our WEEKLY, unchanging staff meeting was at 8:00 in the morning until about 8:00 in the morning at which point I zoomed the 45 minute commute up to Stillwater in oh, about 5 and careened (read "waddled as fast I could take it") myself into a chair around the table at 9:05. Can't.believe.I.did.that. Now, I'm tucked into our bed with Meggie sleeping soundly in her room (ahhh...) and a douglass doug into his bed, panting heavily each time a firework goes off in the distance - they're legal in our county and celebrations started June 1st.

anyway...

Our Meggie understands more and finds new ways to communicate each day. She waves "hi" and "bye" at everything - even when we open a door or get out of the car. It's as if she's made the connection in her mind between exiting a location with a set of people and entering a new location with another set. She's also been practicing moving items from one room to another or one object to another. For example, she'll carry different balls or toys with her if she crawls from the playroom to the living room - then, she'll try to move the toys from the floor to a table. Or, tonight during dinner, she would hold out her hand, wait for me to put out my hand, and place a noodle in my palm. She gets excited when she sees her sippie cup and waves both of her arms in anticipation.

Her independence continues to exert itself in different ways, too. She decided that she'd rather not eat bananas bite by bite, but can take the whole thing like a big girl.


She communicates she's hungry by crawling over to her highchair and searching for food. Most of the time, she comes up with a couple of cheerios.

When Isaac was over yesterday, they both kept crawling over for food, so I came up with the idea of setting a little bowl of cheerios on the playroom floor for them to share. Within two seconds, this happened:




They make me SMILE.

She's also discovered that she can DRINK her bathwater...which generalized to drinking the pool water today.

We went with Shan and Isaac to the pool today and met Lori and Millie and Jeanna and Brooklyn there. Though it was Meg's first time in the big pool, she adapted like it was her personal calling in life to paddle, kick, and guzzle up chlorine. Most of the time she floated or kicked around in a car floatie that my mom mailed to us from SC. When I held her, she practiced kicking on her back and splashing. Swimming in the pool in this oppressive, OK heat made me remember last May when Kyle and I went on our beach weekend. I remembered reveling in the weightlessness of my body in the water - despite the forty extra pounds that made up Meg in my tummy. I held her in my arms today and marveled at that same sense of weightlessness as if she still wasn't really here, but was hiding. When we got out of the pool, I felt the return of gravity and with it, the separation of our bodies into two once more - me and my meggie girl. She loved it and I loved sharing with her this first pool memory.



"I'm outta here" - kicking off on her own




Lori and Millie


The Buds


Jeanna and Brooklyn


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kyle a.k.a. Da-Da


Come on over and “set” awhile. Let me tell you about my man.

When I think about K as a daddy, several moments stand out in my memory with Meggie. But, these moments don’t just start with her - they start years ago when Kyle and I were two high school seniors, the beginnings of our deep friendship peeking through the awkwardness of youthful exchanges in the hall, a note written as K was in the audience of our annual musical, and in our dancing at Prom. We had AP Economics and English together - he says that he picked out his seat on the first day just to sit next to me. I remember him being, at first, kind of arrogant - a show he admits later was to cover up high school insecurities (I also remember him trying to talk to me during a showing of Pride and Prejudice in English...not a good idea for a young man trying to impress me seeing as how he not only was distracting me from MR. DARCY, but had additionally not even read the book!). But, what captured my interest about him FROM THE BEGINNING was his love for family. In one of those stolen, whispered conversations in English, K described his biggest fear about leaving home for the Naval Academy. “Who’s going to get my little brothers their cereal in the morning? It’s on the top shelf and they’re too little to reach it - it’s always been my job, but when I leave, who’ll be there to take care of them?” Not only did I realize that I wanted somebody to take care of me like that, I knew how lovingly he would care for his children in the future. I knew: he’d make a tender dad.

The summer before we got married, K served as an Ensign detailer at a Naval Academy Prep School in Rhode Island. In our phone conversations, Kyle would talk to me about different young people that he thought would make fantastic officers, especially from the pool of candidates that had already served overseas - if they didn’t drop out. He described his efforts in encouraging those that needed help in persevering through the summer. After we got married, then, Kyle and I lived in Annapolis for our first three weeks as a married couple. One night, we happened to see one of those young men that K spent time with in RI. He stopped, introduced himself to me, and said to K, “It’s because of you that I’m here.” I knew: he’d make an encouraging dad.

About 10 months into our marriage, K and I decided it would be a good time to bring a little Douglass dog into our family. I had been the one REALLY pushing for a dog as animals have always had special meaning for me. Well, the first night we brought baby Douglass into our home, I panicked. I sank into a cross-legged slump on the floor thinking about all the responsibility involved in caring for a dog, training a dog...questions tumbled through my mind like: what if our lives were never the same? What if we could never travel because no one could keep our dog - what would our families say? - K, who had never had a pet, not even a goldfish peeps!, curled up on the floor next to baby Douglass and stroked his fur until Doug fell asleep. We like to say that K taught Doug how to sleep...and taught him so well that Douglass never woke us up at night even while he was potty training. I knew: he’d make a steady, patient dad. Kyle as a daddy is all those things I recognized in him early on: tender, encouraging, steady, and patient. He’s also sensitive, thoughtful, forgiving, and gentle - all qualities in which I have the privilege of watching him grow as God shapes him to be the PERFECT father to Meg. How tender, sensitive, and thoughtful? As far back as I can remember, I've struggled with poor body image aaaand my body is forever changed having birthed a 10 pounder. One day I bemoaned the fact to Kyle that my stomach looked more like an 86 year-old's than a 26 year-old's - being wrinkly and pouchy. He studied me for a minute and said, "Shannon, you've always been beautiful to me...and if your body is changed forever because you've had Meg, than I love you even more and think you're even more beautiful." Oh.My.Word. He treasures me even more because I grew Meg, birthed her, nurtured her with my body.

When our Meggie girl was born, Grandmama asked me what Kyle thought of having a girl - as the oldest of an all-boy family. “He’s enamored with her,” was my reply. And, it’s true. It was the best word I could think of to encompass the way he looked when he held her - the way the moment she was born after 36 + hours of labor and all I could think of was, “Hallelujah! I’m starving...can I have a Cranberry limeade with that, too, please?”, K silently padded over to her little bassinet, taking the fullness and awareness of her new life into his own heart for the first time, and held her hand while the nurses did their work. The way he KNEW, even though we hadn’t found out if she was a boy or girl, that she was our Meggie girl, declaring before she was born, “Her name is Margaret Lillian. We’re having a little girl.” The way his love for her spills over in a spontaneous sigh with these words: “I just love our Meggie girl. She is so precious to me.” And, the way he used to speak her to like a little adult when she would cry even using her full name - I don’t think it ever worked very well to settle her down, but it endeared him to me all the same.

K deployed for the first time after Meggie’s birth from the hospital when she was a month old - it was also our third anniversary. I remember drowsily hugging him good-bye from my question-mark curve around Meg in the hospital bed. Later that day, when the nurse discharged me and Meg, I found a note that Kyle left for us on top of my suitcase - he had written out explicit directions on where my car was parked (I rode over in the ambulance with Meg and hadn’t been out of the parking lot - which was difficult to find through the ongoing construction)...even down to how many steps to take once I exited the elevator and how many cars beyond the stopsign was the Camry. His love for us is in the details.

To celebrate this gift of the man in our lives, Meggie and I’ve got a special day planned: church in the morning, lunch at POPS, a bonfire tonight after Meggie goes to bed, and a dinner menu including: steak, farmer’s market corn, squash, potatoes and watermelon. mmm-mmm.

And, if he’s lucky, I may even make him some fried green tomatoes and sweet tea. :)

Below is a video we made to honor K. We wanted him to have something to help him carry us with him during this season of being apart so often. We’d love for you to celebrate along with us:



In case it doesn't come up here, try following this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeI4WjOKYeY

A few notes about the video:

1. It may get kinda long if you’re not...A) Meggie’s parent B) Meggie’s grand(great)parent C) Meggie’s aunt or uncle...but, I just had too many wonderful pictures of K and Meggie that I wanted to include - feel free to enjoy as much (or as little) as you like.

2. UH, can you tell in the very first video clip we have of Meg that I’m feeling insecure about my new role as parent, overwhelmed by taking my new baby home from the hospital, and DEFINITELY confused about how in the heck I’m supposed to do a swaddle. (Later this day, I had a COMPLETE new mother hysterical breakdown, exhausted with trying to get Meggie to latch-on, legs swollen to the approximate size of elephant trunks, and waaay behind on my pain medication. Kyle’s first role as a parent when we got home was to do a mad dash to Walgreens!) Ahhh, poor first-born children...they have to put up with a lot. After all, they do teach their parents how to be parents. No wonder most of them grow up to be stereotyped as somewhat bossy, OCD, and stubborn. Also to be reframed as: excelling in leadership, organized, and determined. :)

A fun fact: Kyle, Meggie, and I are all first-born children. Heh. Oh, the struggle of wills that sometimes (a.k.a. daily) take place in our home.

3. I chose the picture of our house with a giant pink bow on the mailbox as the first slide in the video because it was the first outward sign that a change had taken place on the inside, that we had finally welcomed our new little one into the world. Prior to Meg’s birth, we didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl. All of our neighbors were curious, so we promised to hang a big colored bow on our mailbox as soon as he/she was born. This bow-tying is an old, Southern tradition that I remember from growing up in NC. Even as a little girl I remember driving around town looking for these bows and exclaiming, “Oh, mama! They just had a boy - (or) look! A GIRL!” I knew that when it was my turn to bring home a bundle, he/she would be welcomed in proper NC fashion.

4. I love how chubby her legs are in the clip of her rolling over.

5. The first and last songs in the video have special significance for K and Meggie. Listen carefully to the words of the last song - they have an implied message that never fails to make K sigh and say, “I just love this song...it’s my theme song with being a Dad to Meg.” The first song is, “Hey, Soul Sister.” One morning over breakfast when it had just been released, K played it and informed me that, “This song always reminds me of Meg...the way I never want to miss a moment of her life and how hard it’s going to be knowing that I WILL miss some moments while I’m away all the time.” Like, Meggie is cloooose to walking and K’s afraid she’s going to take her first step on his next trip (leaving Monday). Now, whenever I hear this song, I think of my man and my little lady belonging together. Plus, the thought of my hubby, the all-boy, sport-loving, underarmor wearing, Navy Pilot referring to Meggie as his “soul sister” just makes me giggle!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

She's a Qdoba Baby

Remember a couple days ago when I posted about Meg's eating difficulties??

Well...

Apparently, they're cured! Shannon watches Meg on Thursdays so that I can go to class. Today, I picked up some Qdoba burrito bowls for us for lunch. I got to Shan's house right as the babies were getting ready to go into their second naps, and they were both extra interested in what the mamas were doing (pulling up on our legs, wanting to crawl on our laps, climbing over the fireplace to get to our Diet Cokes, etc.). Shannon gave Isaac a little taste of rice off her fork. I thought: why not try it with Meg? Wonder what she'll think of rice. I gave her the first tentative bite of rice and a black bean. She opened her mouth like "I don't know what you're trying to feed me but it's gotta beat those peas," rolled the rice and bean around in her mouth, gave a big swallow...

And when I wasn't looking, swiped out her hand and took a big 'ole fistful. Tomatoes? Yes. Lettuce? Yes. Sour cream? Oh, yes. She popped it all in her mouth while I was still gaping at the other half of my burrito - dumped all across Shannon's clean carpet. Hooray! The baby girl DOES like to eat! :)

Well, I guess that solves it. When all else fails - go for Qdoba.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Weekend

Our weekend in pictures...and a couple words: :)

Meggie loves to start the day with quality playtime. Saturday morning, Daddy scooted Meg all over the house pretending to be a choo-choo train. We were proud that she actually gripped her scooter with both feet - this is the first time she was able to hold on without falling off.

Summer means the Farmer's Market to me. Last year, Meg slept through her trips to the Farmer's Market. I'm excited to share these Market Saturdays with her this year...AND - look who met us there!
A man selling peaches gave Isaac and Meg a peach to share - they knew exactly what to do! Shannon and I, over indulgent smiles as ripened peach juice dripped all over shorts and strollers, bemoaned the fact that both kids were dressed in brand new outfits. :)


We got home in time to watch a little World Cup action...


...did a little balancing...

...a little exploring...

...built and tore down a few towers while demonstrating her newest blowing bubbles trick...

...peeped at the camera...

...and made some music.


Then, our neighbor, Kyla, came over to play. She was a great helper with Meg, telling her to, "listen to Mama," when Meg kept taking her bib off at dinner and washing her hair with shampoo during her bath. While Kyla was here, we went to the Oklahoma City zoo which we LOVE! Becoming "friends of the zoo" was one of those things that made me feel like a "mother" and we try to go as often as we can so that Meg can grow up with an appreciation for animals and other parts of the world.

We spent most of our time in the new children's zoo and got to feed the Lorikeets. Two birds immediately landed on my arm and one landed on Kyle's shoulder. Meg sat wide-eyed listening to the birds call to one another. Kyla had a great time watching the monkeys and climbing in the treehouse.


This picture is one of my favorites. With Kyla, we were after to get a little glimpse of what life will be like for us in a couple of years. Getting this shot, I could imagine a three-year-old Meg pushing her stroller with daddy pushing a baby brother or sister.


After Meg went to sleep, we had a pseudo-slumber party. We made homemade popcorn and curled up on a cozy spot on the floor to watch Veggie Tales. Even a douglass dog joined in the fun. Can't wait till Meg is old enough to make memories like these!

Future Toddler

Good-bye old-faithful, hello new friend! This weekend Meg transitioned into her big girl carseat. Her infant seat can hold up to 32 pounds (Meg's a little shy of 21), but only fits up to 32 inches - Meg's almost there! We procrastinated...we wanted to hold out...but it was time. Together, we pulled out her infant carrier for the last time, washed the coverings, and stored it away for the next baby (strange to think about - and hope for - another little person in our lives!). Both Kyle and I separately commented on how the transitioning to her big girl carseat was like acknowledging that we don't have a BABY baby anymore. First, it was the toddler nursery. Then, it was finger foods. Now, the carseat seems to make it Very Official that our MegaLilly is closer to one year than she is to one month.

The future toddler shines through in the way she's started to let go of her supports when she stands up - holding her balance for up to 10 seconds before tumbling, and the way she arches her back daring us to tickle her tummy. We see her as she waves, "hi" and, "bye-bye" - waving with her whole arm until she gets a little shy, leans her head into our shoulder, and puts her pointer finger in her mouth to wave with her elbow. The toddler is there in the way she can understand more language like, "bathtime" - hearing the water to her tub come on, she throws her head down to crawl as fast as she can to the lip of the tub while breathing hard and laughing (tonight she got so enthusiastic that she pulled herself onto the toilet and stuck her fingers in the water). We hear her say, "Mama" or "Dada" while pulling up on our legs. Everything else is, "Ba-ba-ba" or "Ya-ya-ya" or "Di-di-da" - said with a question mark at the end. Lately, we feel her touch as we sing her good-night, when she curls her hand around our cheek and relaxes into our hugs. And, she was there tonight when, as I read her these lines of her story: "Bang! Auntie Helen's watermelons have hit a bump!" she bounced in my lap like I always bounce her, imitating the watermelons. There is nothing else in the world like laughing with my future toddler.

This big girl carseat seems to symbolize how much Meggie's grown in her little life as well as how much we've grown knowing her on the outside. Though Kyle and I mourned (a tiny bit) the sweetness of those travels in her infant carrier, Meggie's dreaming of the places she'll go as a big girl. We give thanks for being chosen to be Meggie's parents and for these years to be her guide.

Here is one last picture of Meggie girl on her FIRST day in her infant carseat coming home from the hospital, followed by pictures of Meg from this weekend testing out her new ride. Can you spot those glimpses of our future toddler?





Friday, June 11, 2010

What's for Lunch?

I know. I know "They Say" not to play the comparison game with your kids. But, when it's a Wednesday Isaac day and it comes to eating...I Just.Can't.Help.It. Of all the things challenging about readjusting to life after children, or at least for my first child, the whole feeding issue has been the most time consuming and exasperating. Meg started out as a GREAT nurser - all 9 lbs. 13 ounces of her loved to eat. Then, she caught H1N1 at 3.5 weeks old and spent her first month birthday in OU Children's hospital in quarantine, during which time she was so congested that she couldn't eat and got all of her calories from an IV. That's when it all started - from that point on, she began going on periodic nursing strikes and refusing to eat if we were out in public. This past weekend we went out of town for a wedding and Meg would not drink ANY of her milk...not even out of her sippie cup, which she adores. BIG SIGH...before I was a parent I did not understand the connection between eating and sleeping...so, no eating meant no sleeping which meant NO FUN for ANYONE, especially for mama.

Nine months later, she's supposed to be getting most of her daily calories from real people food with the introduction of finger foods like slices of bananas, cheese, and green beans. I've been reluctant to introduce finger foods because of other food-related issues in Meg's past, such as choking and an extra-strong gag reflex, and tried to wait as long as I could to let her digestive systems mature. GULP, we made the move earlier this week, and I should have known...my independent child who loves to explore, practically diving kamikaze-style out of your arms for the nearest toy or piece of paper, glories in finger foods! The only problem is...now that she's tasted Independent Eating, she doesn't want to go back. When we try to feed her to hurry the process along or sneak in an extra bite of veggies, she swats our hand away, yanks the spoon, dumps "our" food onto the floor. My independent child, I should have known. I can imagine her first sentence now: "Meggie do it. Meggie do it."

With Isaac, eating (at least from my perspective) has always been easy: he eats his bottle in like .5 seconds and sits up straight in his high chair opening and closing his mouth methodically until all traces of food are gone - he eats everything every time. Recently at a dinner party, Caleb (Isaac's dad) made the joke that he likes to play a game where he leaves Isaac's bib off when he feeds him - just to see if he can feed him everything without spilling. I couldn't help but think that with Meg this would be an Olympic event worthy of gold, silver, and bronze medals...and in the lineup of places, I'm at about 5,678.

On Wednesday, the difference was particularly pronounced. Meg came away from the table covered in butternut squash and peas (which I had to disguise as sweet potatoes and corn because she DOES NOT LIKE peas and the texture of squash). Her fingers were dripping with applesauce and cheerios were stuck in every crevice of her little frame. We won't even go into the condition of the floor - or walls - or my white capri pants. Suffice it to say: Thank you, Douglass, for coming behind as a steam vac. I tried to get a picture, but I didn't because, well, because the carnage was just too great. Oh yeah, her appetizer course was a scrambled egg yolk which turned into fried egg yolk because I had to abandon the open flame when she catapulted herself onto the tile floor.

I did, however, happen to get a couple of pictures from Wednesday night's dinner...but only after she dumped the contents of her rice cereal bowl down my leg and onto the rug. :)


ps: I hesitate even including this entry into the blog, because I want to focus on the rewarding, wonderful aspects of parenthood, and especially, the many reasons why I love Meg. But, I also want to be honest in recording all mysteries we encounter as her parents...if only to rejoice in the progress that I know(hope) is just around the corner.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Girl

If you did not know me "back then," you may be shocked to find out that I used to be a tomboy. Pictures of me from "that time" captured a gangly, freckled-face, redheaded girl with a swimmer's frame - a freestyler's build, to be more precise, with long arms and lean legs. Red curls were yanked back as straight as they would go into a ponytail whose only decoration was a "lucky" twist tie - the metal fastener so used to chlorine that a lacey edge of rust welded the elastic together. A t-shirt advertising the latest swimmeet over a favorite pair of umbro shorts was my wardrobe of choice - this usually completed by a "lucky" pair of Reef sandals, of the black and gray variety, not to be confused with more girly choices of motif. Braces decorated the tiny teeth I inherited from my mother, straight down to the almost imperceptible gap in the middle of my front two - a dominant gene in the Powell family that the next female in line, my Meg, is sure to display, given that the one noticeable trait she got from me and not her daddy is my mouth, my smile. In those pictures, I was a towering tree next to little spring saplings (I haven't grown since I was twelve), and my whole look resembled that of an eager, but inexperienced race horse, quivering at the strange taste of a new bit - a taste that though foreign for its novelty, was still familiar in an ancient sort of way, seeing as how the horse was bred for the bit, and it for the horse. I was a tomboy then, given to traipsing through streams searching for "artifacts," climbing and leaping over fences, and being bribed to wear a skirt on Sundays (after all, I was raised in the South).

It wasn't until I was in Middle School and bowled over by my first BIG crush on a boy, another swimmer :), that I noticed my femininity.

Now, I'm entrusted with rearing a baby girl. Being sensitive to problems associated with gender stereotyping (in comes my counseling training), I've provided my baby girl with a variety of toys. She has blocks, balls, and babies. Trucks, trumpets, and trains. I show her how to drive the trucks, roll the balls, and (play) dunk a basket. In the bathtub, her squeaky toys have been known to "cannonball" off the faucet and make a big ole' splash.

HOWEVER, let it be known (to my delight) that my girl is a GIRL girl. She prefers patting to driving, shaking to rolling, and twirling to dunking. AND, anytime she can, she's got her hands on her favorite toy of all:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Twins

Every Wednesday, I get a little taste of what it's like to have twins. Meg's buddy, Isaac, comes over to play while his parents (our buddies) are working. Isaac and Meg are three weeks apart (the 6th and 28 of August, respectively), and act like siblings already. Most days, we have to make sure that each baby isn't touching the other baby's face - or crawling on them - or biting them. Meg always wants whatever toy Isaac has. Isaac always wants it back. You know, twin stuff.
This picture was taken right before our walk this morning. I had to line each baby up to glaze them down with sunscreen. Our walk was glorious: the horses were out in the pasture on the other side of our neighborhood. To our delight, the herd has two new foals! We traipsed up to the fence and watched one foal sunning himself in the grass, flicking his tail and the other foal skittering away from a little dog in the backyard next to us. Also, check out Meg's expression in the baby bjorn above - she's just hanging out, hanging loose. LOVE!

I always have to contain one of them while I change the other one's diaper - both are slippery little critters!
Meg crawled up on the chair and pulled off the baby bjorn - right after this picture was taken, Isaac came over (you can see his little hands in the shot) and gave Meg a big kiss on the lips - shhh! don't tell her daddy! :)


Look at how I could only get one baby to look at me at a time...


Today, Meg and Isaac were chasing each other around the house giggling - Caleb made the comment that it's how elementary school kids flirt with each other - boys run away and the girls chase them. I tried to get a video of the cuteness, but, instead I got a video of a table falling over Meg's head, Isaac pulling Meg's hair, Meg eating dirt out of the fireplace, and the two babies bonking heads and whirling in other directions.

I decided to put the camera away for the sake of all involved.

When I think of all the milestones they've exceeded and the constant (but welcome) chore it is to ensure that both are safe, well-fed, rested, and devoid of energy...it's hard to believe that they started like this:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Promotion Day!

Kyle moved up in the world today...from Lieutenant JG to Lieutenant! We celebrated 4 years of being in the Navy by attending Kyle's promotion ceremony and pinning on his Lt. bars. The ceremony was at 9:00 am and our morning was RUSHED. I am NOT a morning person - on normal days, I don't mentally "wake up" until about 11:00am (this whole baby thing has really been cramping my style :) ) - and this weekend, we'd been staying up late and, of course, getting up Way-hay early with our sunshine girl...so, this morning I was struggling. On days like today where there's someplace we HAVE to be, Meggie takes her time eating (how does she know??). Meg and I spent 20 minutes nursing, ten + minutes eating breakfast, and ten + minutes getting wrangled into our dresses. All this time left no time for my shower...or my own breakfast. By the time we reached the base, I was a frantic mess. Kyle met me in the officer's parking lot and we flew around trying to find a spot...we eventually found the ONLY one left in an undesignated area - humph.

The ceremony took place in the Ready Room - Kyle describes it as an officer hang-out room where they gather for briefings and important foosball tournaments :) - There were about nine other Lt. JGs and families also being pinned - but Meg was the only baby. Now, we all knew the ceremony was for Kyle and the other officers, but Meggie girl, in typical fashion, stole all the attention. She danced, babbled, and bounced for a captivated audience. Kyle laughed that she even had the Skipper and XO grabbing sippie cups and toy cell phones out of her diaper bag to keep her happy during Kyle's pinning. This girl knows nothing but love and she gives it freely to all she meets. One of my favorite memories was when Meg gave a huge shout right after the Skipper jokingly mentioned the biggest perk to being a Lt. was the pay increase - the girl's excited, what can we say!?!

First, the Skipper had everyone repeat their Oath of Office and then the officers were pinned individually. When it was our turn, I had to devote full concentration to the task as my hands were shaking - just like they were during Kyle's winging. I remembered when Kyle FIRST took his Oath four years ago during his graduation from the Naval Academy. Then, I recall being moved to tears because the words recognized the great service to which he felt a pull, and it was a calling I could relate to in a simple way having dated him for our years in college. The feeling was incomplete because we were still two souls - each bound for the other, but without the commitment of marriage. Today, I pinned his new rank on in the full knowledge of the sacrifice his service means to our family - me, our marriage, our baby girl, and even our douglass dog. My hands shook with pride in my husband, for the joy that being his partner brings to me, for the way our daughter trilled, "Da, da, da, da," through the service, as if she were honoring Daddy in her own way, and with a little weariness born of his constant coming and going.

Over these last four years, his calling has become a little bit mine as mine to be a parent and counselor has become a little bit his - I can send him out month after month and pin on his rank because, perhaps more than anyone I know, he lives with a passion for what he does. As an officer, he knows what to DO - he makes spot-on decisions timely, commands leadership with an easy grace, and finds purpose in the Navy's mission. In fact, he does his job so well that he's inspired many of his men to re-enlist - and they request him to perform the re-enlistment ceremony. He's a man that others want to serve under and with...as I do.

Congratulations, Lt. Van Heest!
(the ceremony was during Meg's morning nap time...hence, she Will.Not.Smile - you can forget about it! Doesn't she look disgruntled? I love it!)

Ps...A funny thing: Kyle's call sign is, "Cheese." When we walked into the Ready Room, I was greeted as "Mrs. Cheese" and Meg as "Baby Provolone." Um - not sure how I feel about this.

Also...here are the promised pictures of our garden from this weekend...