Oh, hello.

Wow, so it’s been awhile. Pregnancy has made me so very tired that my priorities have been Kalvin, cooking dinners, resting, and trying to keep some order in this house of ours. (Major fail at that last item on the list.)

Oh yeah, I’ve also been canning from our overly productive garden. This is my first time canning, and it’s been such a lengthy process due to my lack of knowing anything and having to read directions over and over again to get things just right. Salsa was my number one thing to can, but then I gave up canning and just started freezing it in those cute little ball jars. I did 34 pints and then realized that freezing it, though it keeps a great fresh flavor, changes the consistency. It was a huge disappointment to open a too-watery jar of salsa. But I still ate the whole jar in one day and drank the watery contents at the end. So it can’t be that bad. ;) But if I do any more this year, I will go back to canning vs. freezing.

Over-productive gardens are great unless you are eight months pregnant. Then you’re like, “Really?! More tomatoes?” What the heck am I going to do with all these expletive expletive tomatoes!? (Canning is the only viable option. Though I have given quite a few away, I have to say that I am a selfish gardener. Once I put in the work, I feel that I want to reap the benefits of my labor and keep them mostly to myself.) Selfish, yes. But gardening can be a lot of work! All that weeding and watering…

Anyway– Kalvin and I, and sometimes Kyle too, have had the greatest summer of all first summers. I know it’s not technically his first summer, but it is our first summer where we’ve really been able to DO stuff. And WHAT A GREAT SUMMER IT HAS BEEN!! I just can’t believe it’s almost over. When we got pregnant (in February), November seemed like forever away. And here we are, in mid-September, and summer is winding down. I’m starting to think of fall activities. Pumpkin patches, Halloween costumes, apple cider. And how I just want to cherish my super cool only child for as long as I can before we are so blessed with the arrival of baby number two.

It’s just that Kalvin is SO COOL these days!! He is starting to talk and communicate way more. He is fearless and is up for mostly any adventure that you present him. (Not to say he won’t hesitate. I say he’s fearless, but he is not stupid.) He analyzes and takes a moment to take in the situation and to figure things out. He looks and thinks before he leaps. And then my, oh my, does he leap!

I know I say it frequently. But I’m CONFIDENT that Kalvin was hand picked especially for us. He is the right amount of wild and the right amount of sweet. His kisses melt my heart, especially the slobbery ones. However it came to be that I’m the lucky one that gets to be his mama is beyond me. But how fortunate I am to be the one! The one who wakes with him in the morning and takes him on adventures! The one he calls for, “Mom! Mom!” when he wants something. (Usually my attention.) The one who he wants to read him books and explain the whole wide world to him. Gah. Heart melt.

I feel like for so long I struggled with my sense of purpose. I was on a desperate search for who I was and who I wanted to be. And really, can I say this without it sounding totally cliche?, I think my purpose was to be a mom! And not just any mom, but the best dang mom. (Not to say that I’m the best mom, oh no. Oh, no, no. I am not saying that AT ALL.) But the kind of mom that pours herself into the work of motherhood. The exploring, the adventures, the discovering of the world. The games, the crafts, the skill building. Someone has to facilitate that for a child. And I feel so lucky that I get to be the one to do that with my kid(s). I want my kid to be equipped with the skills he needs. And how cool to be the one to teach him! I’m still so proud when he learns something new and I’m the one who helped teach him!

I try not to take it for granted. I still wake up in the morning and thank the good Lord for giving me this opportunity. I hope hope with my whole heart that we are able to continue the stay at home motherhood gig.

Okay. Enough for now. It’s Saturday morning and I’ve got coffee to drink and a Bountiful Basket to pick up!

The 10 year reunion

It’s that feeling of thankfulness.

A lot can happen in ten years.

Bad decisions, college, graduation, new jobs, quarter-life-criseses, failure. Realizing that you are just like everybody else. Realizing that life doesn’t go exactly as you planned and being upset about it. Good decisions, marriage. New apartments, dogs, mortgages. A new home, a new life. Realizing that you’re not just like everyone else. Realizing that you are so damn lucky. Pregnancy, kids, family. Happiness. Realizing that life doesn’t go exactly as planned and being so grateful that it all turned out way better than you ever expected.

Perfect timing

I’m feeling super sentimental today. We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday. I can’t believe we are halfway through this pregnancy already. It seems to be flying by! It was awesome to see our little one and to have some confirmation that things are progressing as they should.

I have found that being pregnant (both times) has made me much more reliant on faith. Pregnancy seems to create a whirlwind of worry! I worry incessantly and pray for a healthy baby at every opportunity. I also pray for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. I pray that, like Kalvin, this new baby is hand picked especially for us. I always say (about Kalvin) that we couldn’t have picked a better kid. He was made for us! And I just pray that God will bless us so generously a second time.

I can’t believe that in 20 more weeks, maybe less, Kalvin will have a little brother or sister and I will be a mother of TWO!

Ultrasounds always make it all seem so much more real!

Finally, I have to say that I am feeling so grateful for the prospect of a November baby. This is going to give me and my boy Kalv the opportunity to really live it up this summer. We can play outside and go to the pool or the lake, and have so many adventures! By the time November rolls around, the wonderful weather of summer and fall will be mostly over and we will have to start spending more time indoors anyway. I am overjoyed that Kalvin’s first REAL summer will be just his and mine to keep forever as our own, and I feel glad that we won’t have to share it or be interrupted by the arrival of a new brother or sister. (That might sound terrible.) But I really do feel like our time together right now is very important! It’s his first REAL summer where he can participate in the fun of things, and I don’t want him to miss out on anything!

Kalvin is going to be a great big brother and there are so many blessings in having a sibling!! I am so glad to be growing our family. And I’m super glad the kids will be close in age so they can be playmates!

There is so much to be thankful for. A November baby will be perfect because she’ll arrive just in time for the holidays. And her birthday won’t be too close to Christmas. And she will be the perfect playmate for her brother! And by the time nicer weather comes around, she will be old enough to participate a little bit. And on that note…

God is great.
God is good.
Thank you for this beautiful life & all its blessings.
Amen.

Tuesday randomness

We skipped our Mom Class this morning.  I wanted to go, but I’m feeling so very tired this morning. Kalvin is tired too, as he decided he was ready for a nap shortly after waking up. Tired boy!, I must have worn him out yesterday.

Yesterday.  It feels like a million years ago already!  We went to the beach and scooped sand and played in the water for nearly FOUR HOURS.  It was a beautiful 70-degree day, and a day like that could not be missed out on.

We applied sunscreen and brought snacks and a change of clothes.  And we brought all the sand toys I could carry in one arm.  The water was tepid, at best, but Kalvin found it satisfactory.  He made friends with some older boys, a 6-yr.-old and 9-yr.-old. Brothers, who were building an awesome sand castle together, with help from their dad. Kalvin plopped down in the midst of the action and declared that he was playing, too.  The boys didn’t even think twice, and Kalvin was quickly accepted into their group, so long as he did not destroy their work.  And he brought his sand bucket, which they gladly used to enlarge their already majestic castle.  Kalvin scooped water and sand and watched them work, acting pretty mildly for my boy who is usually such a wild tornado.  He must have been enthralled by the boys or dazed by the sun, or maybe both.  He spent quite awhile amidst the castle-building action, but then called it quits when he saw some girls in bikinis nearby.  He quickly exited the castle area and went to flirt with the pretty girls.  He is his father’s child. (Knows a pretty girl when he sees one!) And such a boy!

Our friends Ashley and Sadie met up with us and we really had the most perfect afternoon.  They were wonderful company and shared snacks and sand toys, and though we spent a lot of time apart chasing our kiddos around the beach, it really was nice to have friends to share the day with.  We were going to play on the playground, but both kids got cranky and we decided they’d had enough for one day.  At the end of it all, Kalvin had one stripe of pink on his shoulder, near his shirt sleeve, where I must not have applied enough sunscreen.  First (very minor) sun burn of the season out of the way, I guess, but no big deal in the scheme of things.  Our Vitamin D consumption yesterday was probably out of this world.  And nothing beats scooping sand and splashing in the water.

We came home and I made ham balls for dinner.  It’s my mother-in-law’s recipe and is one of my husband’s favorite things.  Dinner was a big hit, and I felt like a rockstar for making something that all three of us could agree on.  (Though not the healthiest thing in the world, it was nice to sit down and share the meal together, all of us eating the same thing!)

The end.

How’s your guys’ week so far?  Anything exciting going on in the world?

Proud mama

Ahem. I am pleased to announce that as of last Thursday evening, I have successfully reached my goal of breastfeeding for one whole year.

I AM SO DAMN PROUD OF MYSELF! And of Kalvin, too, for being so cooperative about the whole thing. We had ups and downs, but mostly it was great and for that I feel pretty darn lucky. I feel like I was made to do this, you know, after I got the hang of it. Kalvin was a professional from the beginning but I struggled with getting the holds and positions just right. It was a crazy thing to rely on my body like that, and to see it work out for us? Wow. I know it’s easy to wish your body was thinner, less saggy, etc., but really, after growing a baby for nine months and sustaining a life (via breast milk) for a whole year… what more can you ask?!

One thing I want to elaborate on. Breastfeeding is such a journey!! When you first begin, you just hope you’re doing it right and hope that your baby is getting enough milk to grow big and strong. When your milk finally comes in– it’s a lot of leakage and tingling and what the heck is going on with my body?-type-of-thing. As a new nursing mom, if you simply think about your baby, you leak all over. You hear a baby cry and you leak all over. You wake up wet in the middle of the night. You have to shower morning and night, lest you smell like milk all day. You take a hot shower and you squirt everywhere. You have to pump to keep your leakage under control. Then you have to clean all the pump parts… and you get so tired of cleaning pump parts. Actually, you never want to see your pump again. If you and your baby sleep through a night feeding, you wake up so engorged that you think your breasts might just pop. You wonder if you’ll ever regain control of your body again… And when the going gets tough, you wonder if it’s really worth it?!

But this, I tell you, it is so worth it!!! After time, (and it does take time), your body gets used to what it’s doing. You leak less. You can stop wearing the boob pads all the time! (Thank God, because you will get so tired of boob pads.) You don’t feel like your tits are going to burst in the mornings. And your body becomes this reliable, well-oiled machine that feeds on demand and gives the baby exactly how much he needs, and you feel so proud that you were able to do that for him.

The bond of breastfeeding is the best best best and I can’t say it enough that I think it’s the best thing ever. I feel happy to reach my goal. I know it’s not for everyone, and it’s a different experience for every person. We were just lucky and I’m very happy to say it worked out for us exactly the way I hoped it would.

20130604-203000.jpg

Happy Birthday, Kalvin!

This little boy has my whole heart.

photo

I keep saying this, but I mean it:  we couldn’t have hand-picked a better kid.  He is ours and he is perfect.

He is the craziest wild man you’ll ever meet.  He is curious and smart, and he makes the biggest messes.  He loves scooping the dog food and scattering it all around the house.  He uses my measuring cups or my big serving spoons to scoop dog food if we are indoors, and he likes scooping sand, rocks and water if we are outside… and he carries each thing as far as his curiosity takes him.  And I am always without clean serving spoons and measuring cups in my kitchen.

He likes to play fetch with the dogs.  He especially likes carrying the ball around so they chase after him.  He plays tug of war with them and likes to pet and hug them, which is something he enjoys way more than they do!  He likes all dogs and hasn’t met one yet that he is afraid of.

Speaking of which, I don’t think he is scared of anything.  He will find the biggest slide at the park and go down it, especially if there are big kids leading the way.  He really likes big kids and likes to be in on what they are doing. He really likes to climb up things, but is not so good at getting back down unless he has help.  He loves hats. And he waves at everyone, especially cars as they drive by our house.

He points at everything with his pointer finger and says, “dat!” (Meaning, “that”) and I talk to him about everything so he knows about the world.  I love to see what his little finger is pointing at, and it is neat to see what catches his attention!  He also says, “dad” and “up” and “pop” and “hat.”  He also points at the dogs and says something that sounds like “dog” … but … unless you are mom or dad or grandma, you might not know that’s what he is saying…

He sometimes dances when he hears songs on the radio.  (And he sometimes dances just because, no music necessary!) This might be the cutest thing you ever see. I love to watch his little butt bounce up and down; the butt bounce is definitely his signature dance move.

He is very attached to his mom.  He needs a lot of attention from his mommm (that’s how he says it) and is very needy. He only likes to play independently if it’s his decision. If mom is trying to get something else done, forget it.  He wants to help mom and be a part of what she is doing unless he finds something else HE would rather be doing.

When he wakes up in the morning, he calls out, “MOMMMM”  ”Mom!” “Mom-Mom!”  At varying degrees of desperation until I finally come to get him.  He is very impatient and wants out of his crib as soon as he wakes up.

He is a very good helper!  He helps me unload the dishwasher every time I open it.  He hands me the spoons and butter knives and forks, and each time I tell him, “thank you!” and he gets very excited to be my helper.  (He cries when I decline his help.)  To unload the top rack, he stands on the door of the dishwasher so he can reach. He also likes to be the one to open the microwave door when he hears the “ding” when the food is ready.  As a matter of fact, he really likes helping me in the kitchen doing just about anything.  It is very hard to prepare dinner because he pulls at my leg and screams and cries until I pick him up, and then I have to do everything one-handed.

He is not a very good eater, and we are still working on liking vegetables.

He can sniff like a bunny and he pinches his nose when someone says, “peeyou!” and he makes awesome noises with his lips. He knows that shoes go on feet and he is always trying to help people put on shoes. If you ask him where his “nose,” “ear,” “head” or “toes” are… he usually points to the right body part. This makes me so proud that my heart just might explode.  He knows that Q-tips are for your ears, Kleenex are for your nose, and he knows that a tooth brush is for your teeth. But sometimes he gets confused and tries to brush his hair with it.  :) So funny.

His first birthday really snuck up on me.  I’m not sad, not really, I just feel like these are the days I’m always going to want to remember. I feel very sentimental about the things we’ve done, the milestones we’ve reached and that we’ve been able to manage a stubborn, very independent, smart and ornery kid thus far.  I love his energy!  (And I wish he would share some of it with his mother!)

This year just went by so fast! I don’t want to blink and miss any of it.  Every stage gets better and better, and it’s fun to watch him become this amazing little person with his own personality.

Happy birthday, little boy.  I hope you know how much we love you. You’re the light of our lives!  Thanks for being ours. :)

Birthday eve

It is Kalvin’s birthday eve and I can’t believe how emotional I’ve been about this milestone!

I think the only way to explain it is… I feel so sad that his first year is almost over. It went so fast! I cant believe how much we’ve done and how much he’s changed! He is becoming such an awesome little person and I feel so lucky to be his mama!

Happy almost birthday to my sweet little boy.