Monday, August 30, 2010

Monkeyin' Around

Meg has taken to climbing. She climbs and finds "perches" in even the most precarious of places...to her delight and to my consternation, racing heartbeat, and desire to encourage her sense of adventure but OH MY WORD you're going to topple over backwards. She's my little exploring lady - take a peek:

After her party, Kyle and I found her captivated by a birthday balloon. We deduced that she maneuvered her desk so that she would have stepping stones...



"I've reached the pinnacle."




What an expression! Such wonder, such intrigue -
Meg may you always be captivated by creation this way
(and may we seek to calm our hearts and give you room enough to try)!

Picnic baskets, Bumbos, and toy chairs make good seats, too, especially when she can practice backing up, hiking up, or get a "higher" view:





Yes...sometimes I get a "raspberry" when I ask to her "smile."


...and she loves this ice bucket. It's prob. her fav. toy.



And if that's not enough monkey business for you, tonight she helped me unload the dishwasher. This is how I found her when I turned around after putting the bowls away:



Of course, every proper monkey needs a funky hair-do. Look at this little monkey's hair after her nap this morning...

and this...

AND this...

I tried to contain it with a hair bow...




which may or may not have worked. :) Loving my time with my little monkey!






Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So Begins the "First Day Of"...


Meggie and Mama before "school"

Meggie began her first day of Mother's Day Out last Thursday. She's going to a program at Waterloo Road Baptist Church which is about five minutes from our house from 9:30-2:30 once-a-week. I felt several emotions in preparation for Mother's Day Out. Panic, at trying to round up all of her necessary belongings and labeling said belongs; excitement, for Meg's new experience; wonder, at the prospect of five hours without a child to care for...most of all, I felt a sense of sadness that I would be missing my "little sidekick." She may be a 12 month-old, but she's, in a way, one of my best friends. She and I understand each other - to not be together makes me feel a little less like myself. Does that make any sense???

We're heading out for the second MDO day tomorrow, and I'm so proud of my Meggie girl. When I picked her up last Thursday, she was happy, smiling, and kept patting my chest in this endearing way of hers as if to say, "this is my mama and we've found each other again!" She has a pronounced, outgoing nature and now that she's outgrown her "separation anxiety" phase, she willingly goes into the arms of another caregiver. This occurrence causes a paradoxical sensation in my heart because on the one hand, I revel in the fact that she is independent and feels secure enough in my coming to get her to NOT cry when we're parting, but on the other, I sometimes wish that she would want ME to hold her a little longer, a little closer. But, then, she almost always turns and waves bye-bye to me over another's shoulder with this tense look in her eyes and a grim set to her lips...like, I know you're coming back, but I'm not quite okay with this new situation yet. Such is the dance of a parent - balancing the goal of our children's independence with our own need to be needed by our children.

On the first day of MDO, I packed a lunch that I knew she would eat: cheese, farmer's market peaches, green beans, ham, and goldfish. When I picked her up, her teacher said, "Boy, does she love her cheese!" Yes, yes she does. It's got to be kraft natural medium cheddar cheese of the block variety...any other kind, she labels a charade. Today, I had a flashback to pregnancy...I was still in my first trimester (when smells are particularly intense) and had just started my internship with SDVS. One day, I noticed an enticing odor coming from one of my co-worker's offices. After walking back and forth and even confessing that I loved the smell of her office and what did she use as an air freshener, I realized: IT WAS CHEESE! It smelled like cheese! She and I still laugh about that...and then today it hit me: IT WAS MEGGIE ALL ALONG! She's always loved cheese, even from the womb. :) I ran out of cheese this week...so here's hoping she'll eat what I packed for tomorrow: watermelon, green beans, yogurt, goldfish, and a nutrigrain bar.

Meggie's growing up fast, and I'm looking forward to comparing this first day picture with a last day picture in May...can you believe she'll be, GULP, 21 months old???

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Preview

Because Grandparents have been asking...here's a preview of Meggie's first birthday party pictures...full post to follow soon - when K and I recover from a weekend's worth of one and two-year-olds! :) I WILL say, though, that miss Meg is a southern gal through-and-through; at her party (and on many occasions since, including BREAKFAST), she devoured her fried chicken and chocolate cake...

The spread


The amazing picnic basket cake made by our neighbor, Chef Shauna


perhaps my fav picture of the birthday girl eating cake


AND I love this one because I've been trying for weeks to get her little "ankle cross" pose for the blog and always forget...but she sits like this All.The.Time in her highchair - with her ankles crossed. What a little lady! :)

All of these pictures are courtesy of our dear friend, Erika Jepperson, without whom we would not have a SINGLE picture of the day. Thank you for your talents, sweet Erika!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are you prepared???

...for this much cuteness?


She's cute reading books...


she's cute with a loopy curl...


she's cute playing independently...


she's cute clapping her hands...


she's cute in her monogrammed bloomers and crawling in a dress...


and she's cute watching douglass through the back window...


She's cute any way at all and I'm proud to call her mine!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meggie Throws a Beach Party

Last Friday, I took a turn hosting Bunco for our spouses' club. Lately, we've been choosing themed bunco nights. I, inspired by (a lack of true creativity) the suffocating heat and dwindling summer days left to us, chose a beach theme. One of Kyle's "honey-do" assignments for the night was to create a beach-inspired soundtrack for our party. Meggie loves music and the beach party mix seems to be her favorite of all. She's recently learned how to clap and "dance." When the beach music came on, she turned around on top of her dutch-oven box perch (We had to buy two new things for the party - a dutch oven and a working coffee pot - and left the boxes out for Meg to climb on.) and grooved to the rhythm of a steel drum band.

I love this video because:
1. She's perched on top of a box...demonstrating her new found love of climbing and balancing.
2. The look on her face as she watches her daddy from afar.
3. Her obvious and innocent delight in the new way she's controlling her body's movements.
4. Her laughter...

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Authentic Self

In psychology, we have a construct called "the authentic self." Defined, it's basically this idea that captures the truest essense of ourselves - we are living our "authentic selves" when our ideal self and our real self meet. In other words...when who we think we want to be/should be/could be/dream to be aligns with who we really are or when we're doing what we really want to be doing with our time and talents. Contentment, rest, joy, satisfaction...these feelings arise when we discover our "authentic selves." As counselors, we spend much of our time encouraging and journeying with others as they encounter their "authentic selves." This construct also reminds me of a favorite quote by a favorite American author and theologian, Frederick Beuchner: “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet...We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins."

My authentic self comes alive when I'm with this little girl:

t




Where do you find yours?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Visit With Grammy


Early July brought Grammy (Kyle's mom) to visit from Michigan. She got here at just the right time, even though she missed seeing Kyle. I feel so special that both Grams and Grammy would love us enough to help me finish out graduate school at times when Kyle was deployed. Many times, I felt like I was finishing grad school on "a wing and prayer," and they helped pull me over the white cliffs of Dover.

The Friday night that Grammy arrived, Meg had just been diagnosed with pnuemonia. Meg and I were supposed to pick her up at the airport, but Grammy decided to rent a car instead, given the circumstances. She pulled into the driveway late at night, but Meg woke up shortly after with an upset tummy. We let Meg crawl around a bit and get reintroduced to Grammy before we all headed back to bed. On Saturday, we ate lunch at McAlister's (Meg adores their Mac n' Cheese) and went to the grocery store. By Sunday, Meg was feeling better enough to go to church...but by Monday she was running a high fever again. That morning, Grammy babysat Meg while I got FOUR cavities filled and then got to accompany us to the pediatrician's office. Tuesday was a school day for me, so Grammy watched Meg again and during the rest of the day while my group finished our presentation. Grammy took Meg to two of her favorite places - Steinmart and Talbot's - so that we could have more room in the house to spread out and work.


we read lots of books


Meggie started doing this funny thing while Grammy was here: in her jumparoo, she started jumping with both hands up in the air and then would fling herself backwards - what a rascal!




Meg loved having Grammy feed her all her meals...look at those blue eyes!




a sick little baby with her beloved paci

While Grammy was here, we also enjoyed homecooked meals, reruns of Modern Family, and lots of rest and recuperation. The house was filled with Grammy's beautiful soprano, singing Meg lullabies and favorite songs from when the boys were little. The whole time she was here, I don't remember changing a diaper or giving a bath - her presence here was a much needed break for an overwhelmed mama. On Wednesday after her plane took off, the house felt empty and Meg and I started a countdown until we can all be together again. Grammy, thank you for coming when we needed you so desperately, and for loving us the way you do!

video

I love this video that Grammy took with Meg on that Tuesday. These two have a sweet and enduring bond and I love having a little piece of footage with Grammy's voice on it to show Meg when we talk about her grandparents. We love you, Grammy, thank you for sharing your vacation time with us - come back soon!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day #1, Week #1: SAHM

"Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!" Psalm 98:1. My heart overflows with singing, a new song I sing to the Lord, for he brought me through school, through the weeks of separation from Kyle, he entrusted me with the child for which my soul yearned. My heart overflows with singing.

Last week finished up my stint in graduate school. I still fight that pesky anxiety that builds as the day progresses which whispers: "you are so exhausted...how are you going to find the time to finish your homework??" Until I remember: "wait! there is no homework - no homework at all!" My time is my own again. Today, the feeling of being done feels more real to me. I'm starting to develop a sense of routine or plan to which Meg and I can stick during my time at home with her. For example, Mondays are going to be grocery days where we can stock up for the week ahead. Oh, what a luxury it is to do that - plan and stock up, I mean, instead of running around like a madwoman scraping up a hodge podge dinner of things like hot dogs on bread, leftover potatoes with butter gravy, mandarin oranges from a can, and (maybe) a spinach salad.

Another Monday thing is going to be coffee and doughnuts for breakfast. There is this lovely coffee shop here in Edmond called the Full Cup. LOVE. A friend of ours from Sunday School class works there and brought in coupons for us as they just started serving lunch. Kyle, Meg, and I tried it out a couple Saturdays ago when Kyle sprung me from the library for a lunch break. Every week they have a "passport" lunch which means that they serve a meal from a different country. That Saturday the passport lunch was something I can't even remember or pronounce from Russia but it was GOOD. And, by good I mean that Meggie - who isn't crazy about most things culinary - couldn't gobble it up fast enough. Last week, they served falafels from Greece...YUMMO...it totally brought me back to foreign study in college. While there, we saw an advertisement for a "back to the grind" Monday special: a cup of coffee and a doughnut for $2. I think it's going to become a weekly date for me and the Meggie girl. I have visions of us sitting together for breakfast, me perusing a magazine or book and her coloring a picture... :)

Anyway, partly because I haven't been to the grocery in who knows when and we didn't have any bread, eggs, or milk and partly because I wanted to start my SAHM time with a new tradition, our little family headed there for breakfast. The sun was streaming through their windows, highlighting the little bit of red in Meggie's hair, and Kyle and I were both overcome by how grown-up she's getting, how much she's changing. She ate an entire doughnut by herself and drank an entire kid's cup of whole milk through a straw - we were awed by the person God created in her - someone who loves doughnuts, salmon, and farmer's market peaches but can do without chicken, tomatoes, and peas, someone with a distinct personality, but bears his image all the same, someone that we have the honor of instructing and watching grow, someone that we'd kill scorpions in the house for (totally happened last night) without question, that we'd sacrifice for...she's our Meggie girl; she's our Full Cup.

After breakfast, we put Meg down for a nap and went outside to weed the front flower bed and weedwack around the yard. The front flower bed looks more like the amazon rainforest because a killer colony of paper wasps decided that the eaves under our garage were the perfect place to take up residence. You might remember last year during our Memorial Day gardening expedition when my leg was impaled by such paper wasp. Being five months pregnant and already a little irrational, I thought it was still flying up my shorts and the only remedy I could think of was to strip off all my clothes in the front yard. Oh, yes, I did. Kyle finally killed him with my GRE study book and we thought we were in the clear...until this spring when we saw the colony had not two paper wasps, but 8!! This morning, we both were fed up with the paper wasps dictating how and when we were going to weed OUR house, so we went in under fire. I did the weeding while Kyle stood guard over me with a tennis racket. At one point, the ridiculousness of the situation finally overwhelmed us when we had this conversation:

Kyle: "There's like three of them staring me down on the roof. "
Me: "Oh my gosh! Are they going to come after me if I get any closer?"
Kyle: "I don't think so...it's like they know I'm going to DESTROY THEIR WORLD if they come any closer!!!"

HA! We escaped unscathed and promptly put in another call to A+ Pest Control.

A kind of rambly beginning to my first "real" day at home with Meg, but it's all to say that I am grateful for the opportunity to attend to things in my life without the constant thought of finishing a paper or doing my reading, though I realize that God had me there for a purpose, too. I am ready to give all of myself to my family, to that little girl calling for me from her crib...my heart sings a new song to the Lord, my heart overflows with singing.