Wednesday, January 31, 2007

mom, flowers, garden, and chocolate

My mom brought me daffodils - my favorite flower. And a primrose. It's like a mini-spring. Yay!

Last night she, Willa and I went to the Meijer Gardens at night. We were almost the only ones there, and the dim gardens and empty areas provided a nice serene walk.

It's really nice to have her here (thanks mom). We're eating double chocolate chip muffins, watching Willa climb over dogs and having good talks. Yesterday was a nice reconnection.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

stats, home and away

The stats: 9 months, 3 weeks. 30 and 1/4 inches, 21 pounds, 13 ounces.
No shots at the doctors today. Dr. Bultje said Willa looks great.
I went next door after her appointment to have my liver enzymes checked. They were high during pregnancy, and we want to be sure everything is normal again.

Jim is away for a few days. My mom is on the highway right now. It will be a nice visit, and she'll get to see Willa in her native habitat. It'll be nice to not have to wrangle baby and dogs by myself tonight.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tea for two

Tea party with Dad, Ernie, Willa, and the Disney princesses. Thanks to Aunt Jac for the set.

Friday, January 26, 2007

To everything, turn, turn, turn

I'm anticipating Spring like a teen or socially akward adult hoping to grab the newest video game system. I would camp outside of Spring's door in hopes of being the first to see a robin or crocus. I was talking to a co-worker about it and caught myself looking at the clock. As if Spring was coming at 3 pm for it's appointment.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying being with Jim, Willa, and the dogs, holed up in the house. We make soup, rent movies, play the guitar, nest under the warm blue blanket. Last night was chili (veggies and kidney beans for Willa), play with Willa, bath for Willa and playing with the new camera, baby to bed, finish watching the Illusionist (pretty movie, but we guess way early).

Behold, the work of Jim and the new camera

And hang on to your hats, because this will melt your heart (which would not be covered by your hat, but, well, you know...). I love and hate this photo at the same time. This really shows how happy a kid she is. It also shows that Ms. Willa is no baby anymore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

little girl laugh

Last night Jim was in Willa's room with a green fabric ring in his mouth, jumping around like a monkey while singing along with a rendition of Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby." Reason #3972 to love him. This is what you do when you're a parent, it's in the job description: "make a fool out of yourself daily in exchange for a smile - a laugh is a big raise.

I was putting the finishing touches on her after a diaper change (pants, I was putting on her pants). Her laugh started off as a smile and then a cave man sounding ha. HA. And then an outright giggle. Which made us laugh. She stopped and had this, "wait, are you laughing with me or at me" look, but as she put the ring back in Jim's mouth she started up again.

And it wasn't a baby laugh; it was a sneek peek into her little girl laugh. And folks, it's gonna be sweet!

In other news - we now own a uber-camera that might do the laundry and walk the dogs for us. I'm intimidated by it's buttons, but Jim said he'd show me the way. This means more and better quality photos will be shared here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Update: Milky does exist, and I still don't get why my parents would deprive me of the opportunity to own a 10 inch tall plastic cow that says moo, drinks water, and produces milk (check out those udders). With abuse like that, I'm not sure how my siblings and I didn't become part of the foster child system.

total assembly required

During our Christmas shopping, Jim and I tried to stay away from noisy battery opperated toys that would get lost in the pile of other toys that don't really encourage creativity and thought. If I had known about this website then, our shopping for Willa and the other kids in our life would have been different:

Growing up we'd visit both sets of grandparents frequently. Mom's parents had a play room. It was actually grandpa's office/grandma's nursery (a vertical plant stand with a lot of violets, I remember)/the room with the pullout couch that Lisa and I (and the other grandkids) would sleep on/and the place where they kept the tinker toys. I loved those wood dowels in primary colors and the connector pieces with holes around the outer circle. I remember grandpa praising every structure I brought out to show him. Golf or nature shows were always the soundtrack to their apartment, and there was frequently diet pop and cheese popcorn offered as snacks.

Tinker Toys are for ages 3 and up, but Jim and I would probably happily break them in for Willa. Now I'm going to research if there was ever a toy called "Milky the Cow" or if that's just some make believe disappointing Christmas that haunts me. I never felt cheated or lacking as a kid, but I have it stuck in my head that I yearned for Milky the Cow and those fires were never extinguished.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I deny sleeping in my sleep

Jim suggested that I was picking on anonymous' grammar skills, which isn't the case. It was the spam guy, not the kind, assuring comment that would make a middle school english teacher grimace.

This weekend was busy, and ended with me being interested in the video Jim and I were watching on the couch one minute, and him waking me up many, many minutes later to go to bed. I remember being irritated that I had to wake up to tell him,"uhhh... no, I'm not sleeping." My body has started to shut itself down every night between 10 and 11 pm, no matter where I am or if I'm ready for it or not. Baby induced narcolepsy?

Friday, January 19, 2007

strangers and suckers

I have a comment 2 posts back from anonymous. Mom? Even the guy offering me $5000 a week in exchange for ad space here had a name, and poor, poor grammar (I'd like to see better grammar in spam).

Now, I think anonymous is mom, or maybe my sister Lisa, but it reminds me that I'm sharing this for whoever stumbles across this site. I've been careful about too much information: kind of like having a window open, but it's one up high so there's really no danger. Besides, if I don't know you, and you're reading this, I'd imagine you're terribly bored. I started this blog for a few reasons:

To give myself a creative way to process day to day life

I'm terrible at keeping up a baby book with Willa's milestones, and here's something she can read when she's older. If she wants to.

My family lives on the east coast of Michigan and we don't get to see them as often as anyone would like. This is a nice way for them to "be a part" of the daily lives of our circus.

Anyhow Willa has turned into the pacifier police at day care. Yesterday at daycare, I watched Willa crawl up to a "friend" (the center calls the kids each others "friends." "Nicholas, we don't put boogers on our friends cheeks.") She sat down next to him, pulled his pacifier out of his mouth, tossed it to the ground, and crawled away. Apparently she does this a lot to all of the kids with pacifiers. She doesn't want it for herself, but she doesn't want them to have it either. They call her the pacifier police there.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tiptoeing back into norm (I hope, I hope, I hope...)

She's got a cough and runny nose, but Willa has beaten the rotavirus. I think given the relatively short time it lasted and the fact that there was no hospital visit involved earns her a high score on this victory. To celebrate we returned her to the germ cesspool where she likely picked up that bad boy. The daycare ladies were a little thrown by cherry pedialyte mixed in with her milk. They called Jim to ask about the pink milk and made him fax a form permitting them to administer over the counter meds.

She's got to be feeling better. Last night she was into trouble (and the pot of the plant in her room) and shrieking with joy in the bathtub. "Du du DAAUUK. I'm feeling better, how have you been?"

Yesterday I was on the other side of the state for a staff meeting. Driving in we saw a remarkable sunrise. Before the sun come over the horizon, there was a column of warm pink light as wide as the sun in the sky. There was dark cloud cover, so it was a stunning contrast. I think the traffic slow downs that we hit were sky gawkers. On the way home we oohed and aahed over the pines covered in ice. We usually get the more severe winter weather thanks to Lake Michigan, but not this time.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Willa kicking some germ cyborg butt

"Hey, look. I'm such a mom."

"Did she spit up on your shirt?"

"Nope. That's snot."

I've not posted here for almost a week because something called the Rotavirus took control of our lives for a while. The name actually sounds like "Rotovirus" and I've been having visions of this terrible Arnoldish cyborg taking our home hostage. I was panicking thinking how the heck does this end well? How does good win over evil when you can't even get your baby to drink the Pedialyte, and yes, we've tried different flavors! Rotavirus is medical speak for "buy diapers in bulk, because you'll be changing them every 20 minutes for 7 - 12 days. Don't worry unless violent crying doesn't produce tears. Oh, and might as well buy every diaper cream ever invented to figure out how to quell the fires from high acidity diarrhea."

Willa's been sick for 6 days now. I never thought I'd be calling my parents to announce that someone in my house had a solid poop, but I sure did on Saturday right after Jim gave me the diaper low down. And we thought we were in the clear. But an hour later she spiked a low grade fever and sneezed. Once. Today she is a snot factory - probably a sinus infection. But has normal poop. Jim called the doctor's office, just to calm me down. He said the nurse said something like "opportunistic follow up germs..." or something. Basically she's being kicked while she's down by the germ world.

I'm hoping the cold weather that's moving in will kill these bastard germs. I'm considering opening the windows and doors at home while snickering at the thought of germ microbes that we haven't bleached away screaming to their death.

But snot... I can handle that. So, that's where I've been... changing diapers, force feeding Pedialyte, and accessorizing with snot.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rubber Ducky, you're the one...

Willa has something very important to say, and I hope that her rubber ducky is understanding.
Bath time has been pretty funny lately - except for saying, "sit down, please" eighty times in twenty minutes. Willa's new best friend is her rubber ducky.
In the evening she crawls into the bathroom, pulls herself up on the tub, and pants with happiness with her gaze fixed on the duck.
During a bath, she chases him through the currents she's making as she reaches to grab him, but just misses. When she does catch him, she takes a deep breath, raises the duck above her head, kind of yells in triumph, brings duck to eye level, and then starts a conversation that goes like this: "duh, dadada, DUUUUU, da. Da." She's very serious, and we know this because her little soapy wet head bobs the whole time she's talking to him. And then she chews on his little rubber duck bill for a while.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Temporary insanity triggered by baby socks

Our baby is getting to be an old lady. Willa turned 9 months on Saturday. I think any time she hits a clothes size milestone, I take it harder. Though she's been out of most 9 month old clothing for a while...
I sat on the floor in her room putting pairs of white socks that are now too small for her feet in a Rubbermaid container. I didn't think I was too bothered by this. Babies grow, and as she gets older our relationship with her is more rewarding. No big deal... Except, that night as he was falling asleep, I made Jim brainstorm baby names. For our next baby, who could be a boy, and so we should really think of and agree on boy names because the one we had picked is now wayyy too popular. Our son can't be one of many Lucas' in a room, and is that even the right way to note more than one Lucas? Our son... who isn't even conceived yet - oops, everyone calm down. I'm not pregnant, I'm just crazy.
I'm going to blame hormones. Ancient 9 month breastfeeding hormones and "that time" hormones. We're not ready for #2 yet, and #1 is keeping us plenty busy and tired and happy and fulfilled.
Besides, if we have a son, we'll have a lot of cute girl clothes going to waste in a bunch of Rubbermaid containers.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Jim is making bookcases for our living room. Not the kind that you buy in a box and assemble in minutes with the allan wrench they include in the baggie with the screws. The kind that starts as raw lumber and, after many hours ends as a one of a kind (in this case 2 of a kind) piece of furniture handcrafted with love, creativity, maybe a few swear words.

I added an idea that we're both excited about. The bottom of the bookcases will have a door, and we're both going to make a small stained glass piece to lay into a cut out on the doors. Should look nice.

Today I got a sneak peak at them - stained in pieces in the garage. They're going to be beautiful. January isn't the best time to do woodwork in a garage in Michigan, but he's got a heater, and is happy to be spending time doing something he likes so much.

It's nice to see him involved in a project. He's excited and proud. Judging from how they look so far, he ought to be.

Friday, January 05, 2007

When the system is broken

I haven't written here about my work, and probably won't do that a lot.

Right now I am trying to help a couple in crisis. He called yesterday to ask if our organization could help them. I'm not going to give a lot of details, but both he and his wife are unable to work. They have nothing. They're going to lose their home. He was asking if we could provide financial assistance to apply for bankruptcy. They're too broke to be legally broke.

My fingers are crossed that the powers that be come together to help them in some way, but it looks like we may be another organization that says, "in times of limited resources, we can only do so much..."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Our little hoodlum

Yesterday Willa came home from daycare with a mohawk and a bloody lip. She's one cigarette away from boarding school.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

... and a partridge in a pear tree

Since coming back from over the river and through the woods (to Grandmother's house we went) Jim, Willa, and I had many wonderful moments spent at home and out and about. Babies First Christmas is a little overated - she'd rather eat the wrapping paper than play with the toy - but it was really fun to watch her play with family and friends. Perhaps she "gets" the season better than other folks. One of my favorite moments from Christmas Eve was Willa and MaKenna shrieking at each other and laughing. It's neat to see two girls who I met as brand new babies fully aware of each other, and the older entertaining the other. I'm glad we were able to give MaKenna her first cousin.

Bill and Jackie got engaged on Dec. 23. I think her smile was more bright than her beautiful ring. I gained 3 sisters in 2005 when we got married. This year I'll be getting another one! I am looking forward to Bill and Jac creating a wonderful day and life together.

Jim and I are still working hard to mesh our belongings into one house. We've got a whole lot in our outgoing piles of recycle, trash, and donate (good timing with garbage pick up 2 days later than usual, eh?). We made a lot of progress in the basement and upstairs. I spent some time in our attic hauling up empty boxes and moving in boxes of college notebooks and t-shirts. No one wants to get rid of those.

We spent New Years Eve with me tending to and playing with Willa while he made new Chinese foods. Good dinner and we both made desserts. We watched a movie and laid low, but had a great time. We had a nice Port toast to mark 2007, I'm not sure how it could be better than 2006, but we made of list of things we want to do, and if we follow through on that list, it could be close to '06 greatness.

It was more than a week of tiny moments that sewed us together closer as a family. We had little outings and errands, but the best parts were always the three us us nestled in bed with flannel sheets around us and Greta and Arlo at our feet.

Yesterday she and I took a nap together. When she woke up, the side of her hair was sticking straight out. My heart felt big as I looked at her and thought of Grandpa Laws' hair when he woke up from a couch nap. Eternal life in Christmas lights and baby hair. Grandma and Grandpa live on through their family: memories, and funny hair, and giving gifts to a family in need.

President Ford died the day after Christmas, and as I type this, his Grand Rapids funeral service is starting. More on that for another post.