Monday, December 15, 2008

Like Kings

O glorious king- sized mattress,
How capably you hold us: husband, wife, son and daughter.
Husband, I know you are over there somewhere.
O, how I can stretch. O, I can roll over,too.
Sleep, delicious sleep.
Wonderous, glorious king- sized sleep.

That's right. After many brutal months of clinging like barnacles to a ship full of squirming bed pirates, we bought a KING SIZE mattress and box spring.

We braved pouring rain to drive to Rutherfordton, an hour from our home, to buy used mattresses. We hefted these mattresses (no small task) on top our minivan, again, in the pouring rain. We endured much vomiting and car sickness, crying and fussing. Was it worth it? Yes, oh yes.

For some time now, I have maintained a chipper front for family and friends. Secretly, I have been battling a quiet depression. The constant, grinding exhaustion has taken its toll. Having reached a place of desperation, I insisted that despite pouring rain, despite the distance and not having an adequate way to transport such a huge bed, despite not really having budgeted the money and only weeks before Christmas, that we had to buy this bed, NOW. It was the first I'd found anywhere in our price range.

Elijah has never, never slept well. I could tell you of stage after stage of various forms of dis-functional sleep that we have endured with him. He outgrows one torturous phase and promptly enters another one. Now, he thrashes and screams, he has nightmares, frequent night wakings, he sleep walks and talks. He begins every night in his own bed and at some point ends up in ours. At two years and 4 months old, he has only slept through the night a handful of times.*
*(And don't you for second believe that we have not read every book on the subject of children and sleep; that we have not tried every method known to modern moms; and frankly, that we have not spent many nights, weeping and crying out to the Lord: "Please! Help the child sleep!")

Adah, 5 months old, still nurses through the night. This alone wouldn't be terribly exhausting. So, not to be left out, she has her own special little way to deprive us of sleep. Mrs. Adah, as Elijah prefers to call her, enjoys waking in the middle of the night for long operatic whale-like singing sessions. Truly, she sounds like humpbacks in heat. OooooooOOOOOOOOoooooaaaaAAAAAAeeeeEEEEEEEEAAAaaa!
On and on she goes, sometimes for hours, wide awake.

Occasionally, they work in shifts: Elijah awake for two hours, then Adah for two. Crafty little dumplings.

Gabe and I, beat down, have consented to whatever arrangement allows us the most sleep. Having them in the bed with us gives us the most sleep. Until now, it was fitful, uncomfortable, four-people- in- a- full- sized- bed sleep... but at least we were lying down.

Our new bed has given me hope again; I'd even say life seems worth living once again. Melodramatic? Not in the least.

In the new bed, I can get into any position I want. We all have room to roll over, to curl our legs up to our chests or tuck our arms under our chins, even to sprawl a bit, if we choose. This is the answer to a thousand prayers. No more sleeping stick straight, arms above my head, because there are children glued to my warm middle. No more spending long hours with one side of my body asleep and numb, unable to roll over all night.

And unless we add a fifth or sixth person in the bed, I feel like life is worth living again because sleeping well is no longer a long lost dream.

***Special warm, gooey, gushing thanks to Gabe, who, without hesitation, found the money during a particularly tight month, to make this dream a reality. I love you!****

Saturday, December 6, 2008

a crafty night by the fire

Most of you know that Gabe works a 14 hour shift on Saturdays. I usually spend Saturday nights almost brain dead in front of the computer or the tube. But not tonight! My peg people arrived today from GooseGrease's etsy store and I am ready to bring this little family to life!

I bought 5 families of six, intending to give them as Christmas gifts to some of the Dickinson nieces. Now, the Dickinson's have decided to celebrate Christmas without gifts this year and I have more than just a few wooden dolls (er, people) looking for a home. I am painting this set for Elijah, provided I never call them dolls (Gabe's insistence) and the rest will be saved for gifts throughout the year.

My little dumplins' are asleep at last, my lonely and under-loved art supplies are at the ready, the fire is roaring....Yippee!

I'll be sure to post some pictures of the finished family;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Hat for Adah

My intentions are to post once or twice a week. Not a day goes by that I don't concoct ideas of potential topics to write about. So my intentions are good, the subject matter is there.... alas, I seem to be waylayed more often than I care to admit. This week's excuse was a migraine that made all good intentions and all coherent thoughts seem like impossible dreams.

I offer this quick little post to show off the bonnet I knit for Adah this week. I found my patterns on Knitting Pattern Central, a great resource for free patterns and all sorts of knitting how-to's. The bonnet was quick and easy to stitch up but I thought it needed it a little something so I added the flower from this hat.

What I like about this hat:
It was quick to make;
used less than one skein of yarn;
has the sweet old fashioned look I was going for.

What I don't like about it:
It rides a little high in the back leaving her neck a little exposed.
Because I knit it at night after she went to bed, I wasn't able to try it on her until I was done, and it ended up being a bit small.

She is going to outgrow it about 2 weeks:).... but I do have 4 pregnant women in my life, 3 of which have confirmed girls... maybe someone will want it for their little girl?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our days are so full. There is always work to be done. Laundry, dishes, dinner, you know the drill. I make an effort to keep up with it all so that we have a clean, comfortable home. Not only for my sanity but also to bless Gabe who deserves to come home to a place of rest and peace, not a den of chaos.

When I get behind, and I always do, I try not to be too hard on myself. I want parenting to be the priority. Realistically, there has to be a balance between work and play, and that's the challenge everyday. I am not perfect but I make it my priority to put down the dish rag, let the folding wait, ignore the dust for a while and just have fun with my little ones. I want Elijah and Adah to remember our home as being full of love and happiness. I never want them to remember that "Mom was always busy, too busy for me."

Here are some of this week's happy excuses for letting the housework wait:

We were chatting about animal footprints and Elijah didn't quite seem to get it which led to the activity in this first set of pictures.

Adorable Adah practicing holding up her tremendous cheeks.

Here is Elijah scoping out the scene with his new "noculas", another fun craft project.

An oldie but a goodie: the egg carton ant!

And last some taken last week... we do other activities besides crafts, by the way, I just always seem to forget my camera on our outdoor adventures!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A day at the zoo with Mimi and Pop-pop

We took a little road trip on Saturday down to Greenville to visit my parents for the day.

We love being with Mimi and Pop pop. Elijah ADORES them, and I think the feeling is pretty mutual. It means so much to me that my children get to have this really special relationship with their grandparents. We are all so grateful for the precious bond they share.

We decided to check out the local zoo. It's a small zoo, but really quite fun. They have a nice variety of animals, certainly enough to entertain Elijah; nice landscaping, affordable price. All in all, a lovely way to spend an afternoon of Indian summer glory with the folks.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

God, Gabe is great.

Ephesians 5:33 However, let each one of you [without exception] love his wife as his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband.

This verse has inspired me to make this post about my husband, Gabe.

Humor me while I explain why. This familiar verse explains how men and women experience and desire love differently.

The first portion of the verse instructs husbands to love their wives as they love themselves. This is so sweet, because to me, this means husbands are to lay their lives on the line for their wives. God knows that women want a love where they know their husband would sacrifice all for them... a deep and devoted love. Awwwwww.

In the second half of the verse we are told how to show love to our husbands in the way that their hearts truly desire. What is the ultimate expression of love for a man? According to the Bible and specifically this verse, Respect.

A husband wants his wife to respect him. Sure they want to be and feel loved, but, from what I understand, it is phony to them if there is no respect. I know for my husband this is true.

Look at how the Amplified Bible defines this action of respect; in case you wondered what it means to respect your husband you are to: notice him, regard him, honor him, prefer him, venerate him, esteem him, defer to him, praise him, and love and admire him exceedingly. WHOA! That's a big job! Ummm.... I could be doing a little better in this department.... okay a lot.

With this in mind, I want to give a little shout out to my hubby! I love him, I respect him and these are just a few of the many reasons why.

He is intelligent, kind and sensitive. He is thoughtful and patient. He thinks everything through before he spouts off (unlike me, ha!). His words have a lot of weight and I find him fascinating.

He is very hardworking. And not in a slave to his job sort of a "everything you do, do it unto the Lord" sort of way. Whatever he does, he does it to the very best of his ability. Occasionally, when he isn't busy with all of his own work around the house, he will help me with mine, and let me say, he puts my dish washing and housecleaning to shame (blush).

He is handy, resourceful and diligent. He is a tool junkie and loves to make things work. I think this is awesome! Not only is it money saving, but just a great feeling as a wife to know that I can count on my husband to take care of things around the house. He has the tools, the know how and the desire to handle anything that needs fixing.

He is a wonderful father. He is loving but firm, devoted and dedicated. He is playful, silly, and fun. He is a proud dad, determined to teach and guide his children in truth. Elijah and Adah adore him and he is over the moon about them.

He is exceedingly handsome. I won't embarrass him or you by going on and on but, he just has the greatest smile and the most beautiful blue eyes. Okay, enough said.

He is honest and loyal to a fault. I trust him wholeheartedly.

He is a true friend and I feel blessed to know that I get spend the rest of my life with MY BEST FRIEND!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ode to Adah

I thought because my first post was devoted to Elijah.. that my second post should obviously be an Ode to Adah.

First off, she is really beautiful, isn't she???

Sweet Adah! Only 3 months old, I barely know her. Her personality is just starting to emerge. Its like polishing a stone to uncover the jewel beneath. We are getting glimpses of her sparkle but her true inner beauty is yet to be revealed. So exciting!

For now, I just know that I love how her hands are both chubby and dainty.

I love her deep, deep blue eyes and her abundant cheeks.

Oh, and she is so quick with a smile. My favorite smile of the day is the first one, her pre-dawn full body wiggle and smile. She sees me in half light and a smile instantly crosses her face. She seems genuinely thrilled to see me there next to her as she wakes. I feel so loved.

I love how she nuzzles her face in the crook of my neck and squeezes her small arms around my neck. (sweet little baby hugs:)

I love her coos and giggles and especially the sound she makes when she is really excited, it's kind of a loud gasp or a inhaled squeal.

I love how she bears with Elijah's sometimes not- so- gentle attention. She never gets worked up or upset when he leans on her a little too heavily or squishes her cheeks with a bit too much gusto. It's like she already loves him, too.

I love her easy going, laid back demeanor. She already seems to have a "life is good, why worry?" attitude. What more can you ask for?

Precious Adah, she brings SUCH JOY to our lives!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Sna-merch, pweeze!

Each stage of childhood is precious and unique in its own way. I know this, nonetheless, each time we enter a new phase of Elijah's or Adah's development, I declare that 'this is simply the most adorable and fun stage of all'.

Then I wish and pray that they would never grow out of it. Alas, they do, and lo and behold, another adorable phase begins.

Elijah has always been quite verbal (at home, anyways). He has a great vocabulary and pretty clear speech for a guy his age. Now at 26 months, we can carry on a conversation and I find myself doing it again: "THIS is the cutest phase of childhood, I just know it! He'll never be as cute as he is now!"

His observations and comments on life and his world are consistently bemusing to Gabe and I.
I've often wished that I was recording these little moments, knowing that I will forget them when this phase passes... all too soon.

So, for posterity's sake, here are a few of my favorite expressions that Elijah uses right now. Let's call this part 1. ( I'm sure I'll think of more:)

" Sna-merch"
his word for sandwich it makes me giggle with motherly glee everytime he's says it.

"Great", "amazing" and "delicious". So sweet when he softly sighs, "great ookit" ( great music) after hearing a song that stirs his little soul."Amazing" and "delicious" just seem like such colorful words for a 2 year old. I just have to laugh when he points out that the really loud motorcycle that just sped past us is "AMAZING!". Or that his "chockit" milk is "dee-yish-iss!"

"Sure do"
As in, "Do you want some apple?" "Sure do!" Sometimes he uses it slightly incorrectly, making it even cuter: " Are you strong?" Him, excitedly, "Sure do!" Or "Are you ready to go home?" Him, wearily, "Sure do." Hearing this one A LOT lately. ( not tired of it yet!)

"Maybe it flew away." He uses this sort of philosophically for things that have unexpectedly disappeared.... the moon behind the clouds, his socks or mommy's car keys. He knows that they haven't really flown away, it's just his way of saying I don't know where they went.

"Favorite", " I love it", "I don't like it"
Favorite and I love it for anything he really wants or is excited about. "Do you want to go to the park?" " My favorite, I love it" (as he dances around wildly). Obviously,"don't like it" for the opposite feeling: "Are you ready for a nap? " Grimacing and whiny, he says each word really sharply, "I. don't. like. it."

(right back): Always with his little pointer finger up letting me know he'll only be a minute. Usually used when he's going to get into something that we usually say no to, like, "I go get a cookie. Ryeback." As he says it, he gives us a knowing look that says : "No need to say no, I got it covered, don't worry. I'll be right back with that cookie."

"Home run or safe" Possibly the funniest of all. Ever the sports nut, he uses these sometimes when he trips and falls. As he skids across the floor on his belly after tripping on some bit of chaos left in the wake of his play, he'll look up and declare "sssaafffeee" with all the passion of a major league ump. As if to say, "I didn't just trip, I was sliding into homeplate, thank you very much."

"I don't feenk so" (I don't think so): Used in similar scenarios as I don't like it-- bedtime, potty time, time to come inside. But also for a variety of other situations where displeasure is warranted such as when Adah is crying or Mommy picks out the wrong book.

"Hear that sound?" This child DOES NOT fail to comment on every. single. sound. that he cannot recognize (and most that he can,too) all throughout the day. In the car, at the mall, in the house, at the park... all day long,"What's that sound, mommy? Hear that? Hear that sound??" Its an acorn hitting the top of the car, it's an airplane overhead, a baby crying, the refrigerator humming, a crow in the distance, leaves rustling, shoes squeaking on the floor, the neighbor chopping wood .... on and on. After the 10th or 11th quiz each day, I have to take a moment to remind myself to be grateful for his curiosity and observant spirit.

More of my favorite Elijah-isms soon!