Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Reading: "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton. I saw this recommended on another blog, especially for Downton Abbey lovers. So far, I'm not finding it to be a "can't put down" book. But maybe that's because I've only been attempting to read it right before bed when I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Watching: Need you ask? "Death Comes to Pemberley" is on Masterpiece Mystery this week and next. You can bet your booty I'm watching it.

Listening to: George Winston Radio or Autumn Jazz, both on Pandora. And while we're at it, can we please start putting out autumn albums like we do with Christmas? I feel like this season needs some music all its own!
I think Daylight Savings should take place on October 31. And I think instead of just one hour we should, like, roll back a couple of days. Because I'm just not ready to see this month end. October, I heart-shaped leaf you.

Can we just talk about ambience for a second here? I feel like my whole world is bathed in golden hues from morning to night. Okay, maybe not morning, since that's been starting before 6:00am here.

Actually, today it started at 5:00am with one little girl SCREAMING (something about being chased by a choo-choo and giant lobster?!?) which in turn woke another little girl who was ACTUALLY sleeping soundly this morning. So I put them both in bed with me since Jon had already left for work. Yeah, that was fun. Joci fell asleep three times and all three times Big Sis had something she was just dying to say. You know how it is, gotta get that stuff off your chest at zero-dark-thirty...

Where was I? Ah, yes. Amber light filtering down through the trees and bathing my humble abode in its warmth ...

My sentimentality really starts to ramp up this time of year. I just love this house. I love all that golden light. Those leaves!! The friendly neighbors out raking those leaves! The bend in our road that makes it look like we live in the middle of an autumn forest. The birds' songs that are so much less "chirpy" and so much more "siren song." The school secretary that KNOWS me before I can even before I can give her my name (I'd like to think it's because of this area's small-towny charm, but honestly, I'm probably the only person trying to drop stuff off at the elementary school office with three little kids in tow.) My wonderful MOPS group and making fall crafts with said group. Jeans, sweatshirts, slippers! Fires, and trying to decide between reading or crocheting by the firelight. Sleeping with the windows open and under a pile of blankets. Hot drinks--morning, mid-morning, afternoon, and sometimes at night when I'm feeling frisky!

And do you know how distracting it can all get? The window I wash dishes by ... you probably didn't even notice those dirty dishes waiting by the sink.

Or where I fold laundry. Who can think of laundry when there are so many shades of yellow to behold?

Or the view from the table where I do computer work.

Or where I gaze out over a messy floor and think, "Man, someone should really clean that up" before the window-gazing takes over.

(As a sidenote, laying on the floor is clearly an invitation for your 15 month old to come lay on top of you and give you smooches.)

Of course, the more I dig my heels into the here and now, the more I can't help but glance ahead to the there and then. That unknown just down the road. You've probably heard, I'm SURE you have, the Anne of Green Gables quote, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." Well lemme tell you, Anne, about a world where there isn't Octobers: Hawaii. And *bites lip* that is on the shortlist for our next move in 2-3 years. I like to tell myself that, with all that ocean, sand, sun, fresh fruit, volcanic mountains, I won't even miss October. But on days like this, even I find that hard to believe.

Of course, ask me how I feel about Hawaii come February and I just may be singing a different tune.

Jack's art teacher uploads photos of his work online so we can all see it. Obviously, this is a kid after my own heart!
I'll stop there. No use borrowing trouble. A lot could happen in 2 years. For instance, we could build a Coast Guard station in Prince Edward Island that just happens to have a job in Jon's area of expertise. And we could just happen to stumble upon a white farmhouse with green gables to live in. See? A girl can dream.

Perks of a daddy who works 12 hour days? Long weekends!

And frolics in the meadow.

Pumpkin ring toss--we were game testing for Jack's school party.
And perhaps that's what October is, the archway to dreaming season. And perhaps it starts with letting the kids wear costumes while running errands. Because when your morning starts at 5:00am, it's only natural to want to dress like Cinderella by 7:00am. And when your mom's morning starts at 5:00am, she just may not have the energy to change you more than once. And so maybe you not only wear your princess dress to Target, but you also are still wearing your jammies beneath it.

It was costume day at school too.
So not only did Cinderella wave goodbye to Captain America as he got on the bus this morning, but Cinderella's mom noticed the toothpaste was getting low and, after re-heating her coffee 5 (yes, 5!!!) times that morning, decided to just dump it in a travel mug and go--get out of the house, taking Cinder and "Team Ninjant Turtle" with her. Along with another child dressed as a screaming 15 month old who is very angry that she's not allowed to crawl outside and follow her big brother onto the school bus.

Because, you know what? Let them be little. Let them revel in their innocence. Let them think it's a perfectly grand idea to wear tulle and turtle heads to the post office. Because someday, someone is going to tell them otherwise. And I only have so much time to celebrate their childhood between now and then.

Happy Fall, y'all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The leeward side of one

Reading: I've started (and not finished) about three books this month. I just must not be in the literary mood right now. That said, the devotional website She Reads Truth was recommended to me a little bit ago by a very friendly owner of a new consignment shop in the area. And I think it's an incredible site! I'm always looking for a good devotional, and this one is all that + beautiful art + modern technology ... My favorite study was Hosea. I'm always slayed by God's intense love for us, His children. But the current study on 1 and 2 Peter has been excellent as well!

Watching: Fixer Upper (HGTV). I've got a new hero and her name is Joanna Gaines! She loves God, her husband (who is hilarious), her 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls), and fixing up houses. This show has singlehandedly convinced me that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the Coast Guard sent us to Texas. And that is saying A LOT!

Listening To: Steffany Gretzinger The Undoing. I love Bethel Music, and this solo album by Steffany Gretzinger is impressive as well. Track Number 3, "Out of Hiding," is my favorite, but this whole album is great for worship and reflection!
It's birthday month here, where we turn our attention to babies 1 and 3 (and a handful of other relatives as well). But now that that's behind us, I thought we'd take a little time to focus on our 15 month old. It helps just to type that out, because up until recently I was thinking she was still "just 1."

It certainly helps, with all the nursing, not-eating-other-food, not-sleeping, not-walking bit to think of her as a bit younger than she really is. And now I can hear you all, laughing under your breath, saying, "But Janine, you SAID you wanted to keep her your baby forever." Well, let's just say that sometimes those words come back to haunt me!

My typical downward view, a baby clinging to my legs.

We're still having some nighttime issues. It seems like every time I announce that she's FINALLY sleeping through the night--it stops. So I'm not going to do that again. I decided enough was enough about a month ago, and I stopped going to her when she woke up at night. After three days, she started sleeping through. And then we spent a night at a cabin with Marmie and Poppa and all the bad habits picked right back up again.

She's my buddy.

So it was back to boot camp. I've decided that my hard and fast rule is I'm not going to feed this baby anymore between the hours of 10pm and 5am. Sometimes it's not an issue, sometimes I spend a bit more time laying in bed listening to her cry at night. But typically, if she does wake up, she can put herself back to sleep within a few minutes. It just FEELS like an eternity when you really just want to go back to sleep yourself.

Our first ever family bike ride (with all 6 of us), and yes, I wore her on my back in the Ergo. There is much more to the story so I think I'll save it for an entirely different blog post.

Early wake-ups are a different story. All my kids woke up early at this age, so I'm feeling gracious. Plus, as much as I love my sleep, I love baby snuggles more. So if she wakes up sometime after 5am (which is about 6 days a week right now), I nestle her in bed with us. Most of the time, I never fall back to sleep. But I can't deny I love having her there. For an hour or so each morning she's back to being my baby baby--her sweet breathing, those little sighs, the way she molds herself against my chest so perfectly--it's just heaven.

Of course, Jon will tell you a different story. The way she fusses, or scratches his back, or slaps him in the face when she's decided she's ready to get up. All make for a less-than-ideal way to start the day.

Lil' Sis found Big Bro's leftover banana "ice cream."

And she licked the bowl clean.

So far, there are only two foods that she consistently seems to "like": ice cream and Chick-Fil-A hash browns.
But hey, it's not forever. Am I right? Our other three kids NEVER come in bed with us anymore. Our friends talk about waking up to find a child staring them in the face or several extra bodies in bed with them. For some reason, our kids just aren't in to that. Perhaps it's because I'm usually up before them right now. Regardless, I'm going to miss this. And that day will be here sooner rather than later.

That time she tried to eat with her feet.

There was that one day when she couldn't get enough of yogurt ... but she's refused to eat it ever since.

The dishwasher--her favorite.
Despite all my lamenting, our little girl is definitely growing up. She actually crawls to her daddy sometimes (instead of always insisting on being around me). She's growing more and more independent, as evidenced by the trails she makes in the grass when she slides open the back door herself, crawls all the way down to the end of the yard, climbs up the slide ladder, and goes down the slide--all by herself. She's a brave one!

That pigtail though!

Back in September, the first time she "walked." 
She's also not one to be left alone. She's discovered an affinity for the toilet--and throwing all manner of objects into it's bowl. And I feel like I'm constantly rescuing her from climbing up yet another piece of furniture.

She says several words now, and while all of our kids start out saying "mama" and "dada" pretty early on, they each have had their own first word. Jack's was "more"--no surprise there, the kid was a bottomless pit! Jude's was "uh-oh"--likely because he was Jack's younger brother. Julia's was "baby"--my sweet little baby mama! And although Joci did start saying "baby" a long time ago, I think the word she used most consistently and correctly was ... "bye." Yup, the girl who cannot bear to be a hairsbreadth from her mama has a thing for saying "bye."

How you can usually find Joci ...

---wrapped around Mama's legs.
She yells it at Jack's school bus when it comes to pick him up in the morning. She says it with a wave when Daddy leaves for work. She chants it to friends who are on their way out the door. The only time she doesn't say it is when I leave her at the church nursery.

"Bye" in Lowe's.
Yes, my girl is THAT baby. The one that cries THE ENTIRE time and gets all the other little kids worked up. It used to break my heart and I'd get all soft and keep her with me, but these times they are a-changin'. Our church nursery workers are pretty amazing and, when I go to pick her up, she's been one-on-one with a cuddler for the entire service. Bless their hearts for wanting to snuggle babies! Because after volunteering in the church nursery for most of this summer, I've decided that this is not the time of my life when I feel called to hold and calm other peoples' babies. I get more than enough of that at home!

And in one final development, our baby took her first steps this week! Nonnie and Poppie were here visiting over the weekend, and in typical Nonnie-fashion, Joci was enrolled in developmental boot camp within a few minute of their arrival.

After pulling out the clothespins and a few treats, Joci took her first tentative steps. And by the end of the weekend she was up to 7 steps!

Please note THAT TONGUE. It's been sampling the air since her most earliest days on earth, and it continues to be one of her signature moves today. And her stance. I call it the "gunslinger." She looks like she's ready to draw any second.

I hesitate to say she's walking just yet, since she hasn't done it since the weekend. (Don't tell Nonnie, but I haven't exactly been practicing with her either.) But at least we know we're well on our way! And that's okay. Because for the first time, I have a 15 month old and no promise of another baby on the way. And so, while I'm going to stop suggesting she stays a baby forever, I am going to be very careful to savor these last few days of her littleness, and her neediness, and her cuddliness. It won't be long before she's not hanging on to my legs anymore. And believe me, as much as I'm looking forward to that little taste of freedom, I know I'm going to miss those sticky handprints around my ankles!

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