big news

I haven’t been blogging much lately.¬† There’s a reason for that.

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I’m pregnant.

ūüôā

I’m at the end of my first trimester, and while everything has been going fine, I’ve been extremely tired.¬† I’ve also had lots of food aversions, which have made deciding¬†what to make for¬†meals most difficult.¬† Thankfully, Downton Abbey has gotten me through many a meal prep and a meal consumption.¬† If I don’t have to think about what I’m doing – or eating – then it doesn’t bother me as much.

Lyd and Jujubee are very excited.¬† We told them at Christmas, as one of their last Christmas presents.¬† JJ and I wish we would have thought to have the video camera ready to capture the moment, as Lyd’s response in particular was¬†quite dramatic.¬† They’re both delighted, and we have all agreed as a family that we don’t care if the new baby is a boy or a girl; God will send us just the right baby for our family.¬† I’m so glad I don’t have to decide the gender of the new baby!¬† I don’t know how I’d ever choose.¬† ūüôā

While I haven’t been blogging here much, I started a pregnancy blog to document my pregnancy.¬† If you’re interested in that blog, please feel free to email me for the address.¬† I plan to keep most of my pregnancy-specific talk on that blog.

I had an ultrasound yesterday and got to see how much the baby has grown.¬† It was amazing to see the little one waving arms around and kicking legs – and then realize that its crown-to-rump length is only 4.7 cm!¬† After I got home, I drew a line 4.7 cm long on a piece of paper, drew a circle for the head and a circle for the abdomen on the line, added little stick arms and legs, and held it up to my belly.¬† Yup, that’s still a pretty small baby, although it’s right on target for its age.

I’ve got a long way to go yet until the end of August, but so far everything is going well, and I’m thankful for that.¬† This pregnancy has been a long time in coming.¬† I’ve prayed and waited and prayed and waited for this baby for a long time.¬† It was¬†a¬†wonderful early Christmas present to discover that I was pregnant, and now that the baby has made it this far, it seems pretty likely that I’ll have a new baby by the end of the summer.¬† What a blessing that will be to our family!

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in case you were wondering…

Jujubee came down with pneumonia again, poor girl, and I have finally succumbed to a bit of a cold myself, so I’ve been dragging a bit lately.¬† Jujubee is currently on 4 medications; 2 inhaled medications and two oral medications.¬† Poor, poor girl.¬† In her own words, “Being sick is NO FUN!”¬† But at least she is doing better and is able to sleep through the night.¬† It’s so rough when she just coughs and coughs and can’t sleep.

But¬†taking naps with your daughter in the afternoon is a¬†nice treat.¬† Especially when she likes to snuggle.¬† And when you have to take time out of your day 3-4 times a day to sit down and do a breathing treatment, it gives you extra opportunities to read stories to your daughter.¬† That’s fun.¬†ūüôā

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I had an acupuncture appointment on Tuesday, which was wonderful.¬† After being up a good chunk of the night before¬†with a sick kid, as well as fighting my own cold, it was nice to chat with my acupuncturist and update him on my life (I hadn’t seen him since my hubby got his new Call), and then lay on the table in the quiet room, become a human pincushion, and fall asleep.¬† When my acu came back into the room to un-pin me, I couldn’t believe I was already done!¬† It was lovely.

He gave me some good herbs to help strengthen my system, as well as herbs to help with stress, and even some herbs to fight my cold.¬† I’m using the cold-fighting herbs currently; they taste like burnt dirt.¬† (Don’t ask.¬† They just do.)¬† But they seem to be helping, as my cold is not following its normal progression, and while I’m sick, I’m not horribly sick.¬† So, that’s good.

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The girls have now gotten into the habit of¬†creating their own small prayers/petitions after we say our standard prayers in the evening.¬† For months off and on, Lyd has chosen to ask God to please “help Momma have a new baby soon.”¬† Lately, she’s been praying that more and more frequently.¬† Meanwhile, Jujubee’s prayers the past few nights have been that she gets well soon.¬† I’m glad the girls are learning to make up their own prayers.

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After she got home from school this afternoon, Lyd and I spent some time talking about the “what if’s” if Daddy takes his Call.¬† It was good to talk through some of her fears and concerns.¬† One thing she wondered was whether or not she could continue taking ice skating lessons if we moved.¬† She started taking ice skating lessons at Christmas/New Year’s, and she’s absolutely loving it.¬† We checked it out online, and it turns out there is an even bigger and better ice rink than the one she goes to here, and it’s not too far away!¬† She was happy about that.

She and I also talked about the idea of “liking what we know.”¬† I said that while it would be a bit scary for her (and me!) to go to a new place, it also might be pretty neat to go someplace new and make¬†a whole bunch of new friends.¬† We might like it a lot, even though right now we don’t know what it would be like.¬† Lyd wasn’t convinced, but I think she was starting to look at it a little differently.

The Call is¬†a big topic of¬†discussion at our house.¬† My husband and I haven’t heard a single person from our congregation say anything remotely resembling a comment that he should go.¬† Everyone is very insistent that he should stay here.¬† But the decision obviously isn’t made just by where determining where people want you to be the most intensely.¬† Yet, it’s nice to know that we’re loved where we are.¬† If my husband should decide to take this Call, we’ll definitely miss people here.

We’ll just have to wait and see…

finding the Christmas mood

My Facebook status yesterday read:

Emily — is not feeling Grinch- or a Scrooge-like about Christmas, but I just can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit this year, because it seems like it’s still a long ways off. Yet, I realized today that Christmas is ten days away, and now I’m starting to feel myself kick into action. Or kick into panic mode. Something along those lines.

I also¬†realized yesterday that thanks to my busy holiday schedule, I’m likely not going to be able to mail any packages to Wisconsin until next Monday, which will mean that all my packages will likely be late.¬† Yesterday I ordered some homemade gifts from a friend who has an Etsy shop, but because I put my order in late, with the way the mail goes I¬†likely won’t get those presents until after Christmas.¬† Somehow, the 25th is sneaking up on me faster than I expected!¬† And in all honesty, it still feels like Christmas should be further off.

I had high hopes earlier of having more preparations done before the last minute,¬†but so far that hasn’t really panned out the way I had hoped it would.¬† However, once this weekend is over, I can throw myself thoroughly into Christmas preparations, so that will be good.¬† Christmas cards will probably go out late again this year, but at least they will arrive during the Twelve Days of Christmas, so that will be okay.

Ready or not, Christmas is coming.¬† My girls are very excited!¬† The house is decorated, and the last two evenings the girls and I have worked on cutting out and decorating Christmas cookies.¬† Lyd is very liberal with her use of sprinkles; there are always a lot of sprinkles left over on her plate when she’s done.¬† But, she’s also very careful and exacting, and her cookies look quite artistic.

I think I have most of my presents purchased/found.¬† I need a few more items yet, but nothing too big.¬† The biggest thing is that I need to go online and create¬†photo calendars for 2011 for my parents and JJ’s parents.¬† That won’t get done until after Christmas, when I have a little more time to putz around¬†on the computer.¬† Those calendars will get shipped right to each set of parents.

Tomorrow evening (Friday) is the Christmas party that JJ and I host for the people who serve in various ways at our church.¬† We don’t have any kind of Volunteer Appreciation Dinner — this party is it.¬† Not a ton of people are coming, but the people who are coming are people with whom we’re especially comfortable, so that will be nice.¬† I’ll be cooking much of tomorrow to get all the appetizers ready for that party.

My birthday is next week, and I’m toying with the idea of having some kind of party for our really close friends around here, some of whom are not members of our church.¬† Right now, I’m looking at doing it sometime during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.¬† I’ve never done anything like that before, so I still have to decide if and how I want to do this.

I did a huge shopping run this morning¬†for party supplies.¬† Jujubee came with me, and¬†she had just had a snack, so she was in¬†her best¬†mood.¬† She and I wore our Santa hats, and we had so much fun going up and down the aisles,¬†pulling items off the shelves, and putting them in our cart.¬†¬†Jujubee really listens well and is cheerful and fun to be with,¬†so grocery shopping became a fun bonding experience.¬† Experiences like today remind me that, as much as I’d like to have babies more quickly than I have had them,¬†there are definitely benefits to having only one young child at a time.¬† I really enjoy being out and about with her, and she has a good time, too.

Thankfully, all four of us are healthy, and everyone has been getting along quite well.¬† Despite the fact that I don’t feel like it’s really Christmas, the girls are fully in the Christmas spirit and can’t wait to open presents.¬† Kids certainly make Christmastime a lot more fun, and it makes all the work I do getting ready for the holidays very worthwhile.

experiments in song

This blog post likely won’t surprise any of you, but in the spirit of marking my children’s milestones, here’s how my daughters’ singing expertise is developing…

Lyd has begun experimenting with¬†singing harmony.¬†¬†She and I have¬†started singing simple rounds, like “Row Your Boat” with me singing one part and her singing another.¬† She likes¬†singing rounds, but gets very frustrated when she messes up.¬† However, as time goes on, she is improving.¬† She has also begun to try to harmonize with songs that are playing on CDs or that someone else in the family is singing.¬† Her harmony isn’t often correct, but sometimes it is, and again, it’s a developmental process.¬† She IS improving.¬† And, the fact that she’s even trying to sing¬†harmony is very good.

Jujubee LOVES to sing.¬† She goes around the house singing more than anyone else in the family.¬† Right now, she usually sings songs from “The Sound of Music.”¬† “Do-Re-Mi” is her current favorite, with “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in second place.¬† She knows the words to the other songs too, but those two are her favorites.¬† The other day, JJ overheard her singing to herself as she was¬†coloring on the table in the dining room¬†(on paper, fear not).¬† She was making up her own words to “Sixteen …”¬†— rather than singing the words as written, she was singing something about “I am macaroni going on [some other food]” while sticking¬†to the original tune.¬† She makes up words quite frequently, but because she still doesn’t always keep pitch well on her own, we sometimes miss her creativity.¬† Nevertheless, she very obviously loves to sing, and we enjoy hearing her.¬† All those Music Together classes (where we make up different words to songs¬†ALL the time!) are paying off.

In an effort to branch out my children’s musical horizons, this past week I introduced my girls to the original Broadway cast recording of the musical “Camelot,” which was Julie Andrew’s last Broadway role before beginning her film career with “Mary Poppins” and “SOM.”¬† Lyd has fallen in love with the soundtrack, and requests to listen to it again and again, especially the Julie Andrews numbers.¬† I learned¬†this soundtrack as a child, too, listening to the vinyl record on my parents’ record player over and over, and it’s been nice to revisit this music¬†again as an adult.¬† That show really had some lovely songs, the most famous of which was Robert Goulet singing “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

So, there’s a lot of singing at our house.¬† Not technically¬†all day long (except for Jujubee – she sings all day long!), but plenty of music.¬†¬†JJ and I¬†have been¬†blessed by these two girls, and the happiness they unknowingly create in our¬†home helps balance the stress in other parts of our lives.¬† I thank God every day for the blessings that my two girls bring.¬† I don’t know what we’d do without them.¬† I guess that’s one advantage of having a more difficult time getting pregnant and having kids – it makes you extra thankful for the blessings that you do have.

And JJ and I definitely do adore our musical, happy, cheerful girls.

singing herself and her big sister to sleep

My daughters have been sharing a room for a number of months now.¬† They both seem to really enjoy it, and I am very glad.¬† But one thing has happened that I didn’t expect, and it’s really surprised me.

Curious J does not fall asleep as quickly as Lyd does.¬† I don’t know if it’s the fact that Lyd is super tired out from her school days, or if it’s the fact that Curious J still takes afternoon naps most days and isn’t as sleepy at bedtime, but usually Lyd falls asleep long before J does.

However, J is not content to quietly lie in bed as she waits to fall asleep.  No, no.  Instead, she moves restlessly around in bed, talks to herself, and sings, which seems to be her favorite thing to do.  She mostly sings songs from our Music Together classes, but sometimes she makes up her own songs, too.

Yet, despite all of that noise, Lyd still falls right asleep.¬† J’s singing doesn’t keep her awake one bit.¬† I asked Lyd about it once, and she said that she sees J’s noise at night as a kind of lullaby.

I look at it as a good way for her to learn to sleep in all kinds of noisy circumstances.¬† I was the oldest, and the only girl, so I always had my own room.¬† Perhaps because of that, I cannot handle any kind of noise (except for white noise or ambient noise) while I sleep.¬† Some nights, this zero tolerance for noise is … a problem for me.

Meanwhile, J has been in bed for an hour, and she’s still making noise upstairs.¬† Calm, content, but a bit noisy.¬† Oh, well!

Now if I can just figure out how to wean her off of her pacifier at nighttime…

trying to follow his good example

When we returned home to California from our vacation a few weeks ago, I was delighted at how easy it was for the four of us to get up early, eat meals early, and be more productive.  Of course, this was because our bodies were still on Central Time, but we were living in the Pacific Time zone.  JJ and I wondered how long it would last.  This body-on-Central-Time-living-in-Pacific-Time happens to us every time we return from our WI trips, and sadly, it never seems to take us long to make the total switch back to Pacific Time.

However…

It has now been two weeks since we returned to California, and we’re still doing … pretty well.¬† We are back on Pacific Time (there’s simply no escaping that), but we’re managing to get up a bit earlier, eat a bit earlier, and get to bed a bit earlier.¬† This is all Very Good.

School started yesterday, and for all two of the mornings of this new school year, I’ve managed to get up¬†by 7am, take a shower, and¬†get¬†both girls up and dressed, do their hair, feed them breakfast, and be out of the house by 8:15 with both girls in tow to walk Lyd down to school.¬† I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself!¬† Yay me!¬† I was sorting laundry by 8:30 am this morning!¬† (Of course, I had an extra impetus to get that started right away.¬† After Curious J and I walked Lyd down to school, I picked her up to go home, plopped her on my hip, took my hand away from her bottm, and found it full of warm poop.¬† J had had a messy diaper,¬†it had leaked all over, and now it was over me as well.¬† We both got totally new outfits after that one.¬† But, at least it happened at the beginning of laundry day.)

Plus, I¬†am proud of myself for being very good at getting the girls to bed early.¬† We are definitely out of the 9pm-or-later summer bedtime routine, and the girls are now¬†getting to bed pretty close to 8pm.¬† I’ve had a difficult time actually managing to close the girls’ bedroom door behind me at 8pm, but it’s rarely been later than 8:15, and that’s still a vast improvement over what it had been.¬† I’m very pleased with that.

Unfortunately, I still struggle with getting myself to bed on time, but frankly, it’s a lot better than it was.¬† The month before we went to Wisconsin, I kept track every night of the time I turned out my light.¬† Rarely was I in bed before midnight, and there were plenty of nights when my light¬†went out after 1am.¬† Not. Good.¬† Now, since we’ve been back in CA, I’ve had a few nights when I’ve been up until midnight, and one night when it was 12:30, but on the whole it’s MUCH better than it was.¬† I’m still aiming for a personal goal of “lights out at 10:30,” but 11:00 is not too bad.¬† Lights out at 11, up by 7 — that equals 8 hours of sleep, and that’s good.

Not only have I been getting to bed earlier, I’ve been sleeping better, too.¬† It¬†should come as no surprise that I was having great difficulty falling asleep during that month before we went to WI.¬† There was hardly a night where I didn’t take some sort of supplement to help me fall asleep.¬† However, since we’ve come home, that’s also decreased dramatically.¬† It’s so nice to just go to bed and drift off to sleep.

But the thing that I’m MOST proud of, and what inspired the title of this post, is that¬†I can tell that I’m being¬†more productive with my time.¬† It (obviously) makes a huge difference to be “up and at ’em” earlier.¬† But, this summer I became very conscious of¬†the example my Dad has set for me, an example he has always been setting for me even when I didn’t notice it, an example¬†I had the chance to witness twice this summer (once at¬†my home and once at his and Mom’s home) of just choosing something to do and doing it.¬† Try not to end up with “paralysis by analysis.”¬† There’s always something you can do to¬†make things a little better.¬† The dishes are dirty? Just quick wash ’em and be done with it.¬† Got a job that you’re not looking forward to? The sooner you start it, the sooner you’ll be done.¬† Having a rough¬†time and you don’t know how it’s all going to work out?¬†This too shall pass, sooner or later.¬† Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and it will all work out just fine.¬† So, that’s what I’m trying to do, and I can tell that it’s making a difference.

I don’t know if Dad’s example didn’t sink in when I was a child or if I was just too distracted/hormonal/ego-centric/busy to notice, but as an adult, as a parent, as the Chief Cook and Bottlewasher of my home, I’m realizing just how good of an¬†example that my father has always set for me, and I am purpose-fully try to emulate it.¬† I still fail daily – a good book will sucker me in hard every time.¬† (I’m re-reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife” right now, and it’s a real problem to put the book down and do my work instead.)¬† But, I’m trying, and for so long I’ve felt like I haven’t really tried, so I’m proud of myself for finding it in me to make the effort.

And I’m thankful for my dad.¬† As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully more mature), I’ve begun to realize what a priceless example he’s set for me the past 32 years of my life.¬† I wish I was more eloquent so that I could better put it into words, but hopefully it’s enough simply to say that I aspire to be that same kind of example for my family.

(pause for a teary-eyed moment)

So, with that thought in mind, I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on.¬† Tomorrow I’ve got a big day with two big events, and I need a good night’s sleep.¬† But before that, my dishes need to get done and I need to water a bit outside.¬† We’ve been having a heat wave here the past few days with temps up into the 90s, so¬†things definitely need water.¬† But, it’s the first week of school, and there’s always a heat wave during the first week of school, right? ūüėȬ† Then it’s off to bed, so that I can¬†carry out¬†my Big Events tomorrow with a smile on my face and lots of energy.

Thanks for everything, Dad. ūüôā

the ups and downs of imitation

Tonight I got fed up with something Lyd had been repeatedly doing, despite my admonitions to the contrary, and she earned herself a big old dose of corporal punishment applied to her behind.  After that, I firmly instructed her to sit facing a corner of the kitchen until I told her she could get up.

With mighty sobs over her situation, she carried out my instructions, probably feeling unloved and rejected by her world.

Yet, all hope was not lost.

For lo, her little sister, seeing her adored big sister’s distress, and wanting to do everything her sister did, proceeded to also head to the kitchen corner, sit down on the floor, and howl away in unison.¬† She offered her sister clumsy hugs, hugs which Lyd was happy to return and which calmed down¬†her crying significantly.

“Yes, J, I love you, too,” were the words that Lyd sobbed out as she held her sister.¬† (J probably babbled out the same thing, but I can’t understand her too well yet.)

Meanwhile, I, the¬†Momma whose punishment instigated this weeping and wailing, watched this from a dish-laden kitchen sink, and inwardly smiled at the situation.¬† Because, you see, Lyd had gotten punished for her attempts to resist her little sister’s efforts to imitate her.¬† But now, as her little sister continued to want to be just like her big sister, she realized that perhaps imitation wasn’t so bad after all.¬† Thanks to her little sister’s determination to imitate her in everything,¬†she didn’t have to sit in the corner alone and feel unloved.

Perhaps having a little sister isn’t so bad after all.