Monday, March 28, 2011

To the Zoo!

I'm not exactly a zoo person.  I mean, zoos are sort of smelly.  And hot.  And honestly, the thought of loading up my crew just to stroll around and see some animals sort of makes me want to break out into hives.  But when I found out Pops had a meeting down here, I experienced a moment of temporary insanity and suggested we go with Mops to the zoo.

Honestly, it was the perfect day.  The weather was incredible, we got there before the crowds (and man, was it crowded when we left!), the big girls were exuberant, and there were no major meltdowns.  When I asked Phoebe what her favorite animal was, she said without hesitation that the monkeys were her favorite.  Nora indicated that the kangaroo was her personal favorite; however, we didn't actually see a kangaroo, so...who knows?

We did, however, see pretty much every other animal in the zoo.  I had no idea that elephants ate sticks, and I was amazed that the flamingos could sleep so close to all the commotion.  As we strolled through the zoo and observed all of the different animals (except for snakes, as Phoebe was adamant that we would not be going to see any snakes that day) I couldn't help but marvel at God's creativity.  Pink birds?  Really?  Giraffes?  At the zoo, we get to see just a tiny fraction of God's creation -- and it's all so absolutely incredible.

Phoebe was a riot to see.  She was so enthusiastic about, well, just about everything.  And about halfway through our visit, she got her hands on the map.  Every time we would stop, she'd whip out her map and exclaim, "I think we need to look at the map!"  I think I giggled every time.  She got nervous if she thought we were approaching the snakes, but she made a pretty adorable tour guide.

We wrapped up our trip around lunchtime, which was the perfect time to get out of there.  When we left, the parking lot was completely packed and folks were actually parking on the side of the road outside the zoo.  Traffic was insanity.  After soliciting some lunch recommendations, we met Pops at a wonderful little local restaurant.  Gilchrist was great, and I'm pretty sure I could've eaten about three pimiento cheese BLTs.  The girls were all about the milkshakes and limeaids.  Can you blame them?


We were completely wiped out, but honestly, it was such a wonderful day.  I pretty much made our poor community group fend for themselves that night. We had such a good time, I was almost considering a zoo pass!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Got Nothin'

Every time I open the dishwasher -- whether it is to load or unload it -- this little Mouse will drop whatever she is doing, even if it's on the other side of the house, to come help.  If I want to load, I have to do it lightning quick; she grabs dirty forks out by the handful.  Which, actually, is really handy when I'm unloading.    

This precious little wanderer-babbler is always up in the middle of the action, whatever it is, making all sorts of sweet Mouse Mischief.  And y'all, I'm beat.  I laid down this afternoon to take a nap, and I felt like I was just completely at the end of myself.  Too tired to do, well, most anything.  I'm daunted by even the daily tasks most days, and the past few weeks have just been an exhausting whirlwind.  But as I drifted off to sleep, I was reminded:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

It is so, so hard to be weak... I am so thankful for His sufficient, daily, powerful grace.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goodbye, Dear Friend

For months, we've been talking to Nora about saying goodbye to her beloved nay-nay.  We've tried to talk it up, encourage her, and really get her to want to be a big girl.  I think I hoped that one day, she would just up and hand it to me and say she was done with it.  But it became clear that just wasn't going to happen.

Our sweet Nora seemed royally addicted to her comfort, and we knew it would take drastic measures to tear her away from it.  I dreaded the day.  We'd talked about doing it a few weeks ago, but then the stomach bug hit... and no loving mama takes a comfort object away during an illness.  So last weekend we were healthy, and we really didn't have a good reason not to do it; so, we took the plunge.


Taking Phoebe to build a Nay-Nay Bear worked well for her, and Nora was really excited about getting a ballerina bear for her nay-nay.  So off to Build-A-Bear we tromped.  Nora selected a sweet bunny, and Mama tried desperately to hold it together as Nora bravely stuffed her little red nay-nay inside her bear.  Phoebe, the experienced big sister, showed Nora how it was done -- and spruced up her own nay-nay bear for the occasion.  We even splurged on outfits for the critters, as Nora had been hoping for a ballerina bear, and we were feeling particularly insane generous on this special day.

The festivities continued with hamburgers and milkshakes, and we braced ourselves for our return home for bedtime.  As Nora snuggled into bed, she quietly said, "I need something...", not willing to name her precious comfort object.  But without too much sadness or bedtime silliness, Nora was able to fall asleep and stay that way for the rest of the night.

Since then, our Nora -- who would usually fall right asleep at both naptime and bedtime -- has struggled a little bit, especially at naptime.  She's finding mischief and is making a mess of her blankets, thrashing about... but she's sleeping.  We're having to remind ourselves that this transition will take time, and we don't expect her to sleep perfectly well in just a few days. 

I found a yellow Nora nay-nay in my purse yesterday as I was cleaning it out, and it killed me to toss it in the garbage... oh Nora, can't you stay small forever?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Four Years

When we got married, Michael and I had this four year plan.  We were going to work hard, travel a lot, make improvements to our home, and then we'd talk about babies.  We were young when we got married, and we wanted some time for "just us". 

So when we discovered that we were expecting just a week shy of our first anniversary, we were a little surprised.  And unbelievably delighted.  The four year plan washed away, and I couldn't wait to bring a little one into our lives.  Suddenly, our lives that seemed so full seemed so lacking; what were we thinking, wanting to wait four years?

Four years is a long time, and it would have been too long for us to wait.  Yet, four years has passed unbelievably fast as I look at my precious Phoebe-girl, who turns four today.  I almost have to pinch myself to believe that yes, she is four.  This tiny, beautiful, fussy little baby who bewildered and humbled and caused her parents to fall in love in a new way has grown into a delightful, confident, precious child, who daily reminds me how thankful I am that God has plans that are bigger and far more wonderful than mine.

This morning, I sat down with my coffee hoping to highlight who Phoebe is at four; instead, I'm overcome this morning by God's graciousness and goodness to us.  He does so much more than we can ask, dream, or imagine.  This morning, I'm praising Him for the beautiful gift of my Phoebe-girl, the little one who has exceeded even my wildest dreams. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ruthie is ONE!

We have a birthday mouse in the house!  This week, Ruthie celebrated her first birthday and she couldn't have been sweeter.  We had a very low-key pizza-and-cupcakes celebration with the grandparents, and she was just simply delighted to receive oodles of attention.  And cupcake.  She meant business with her cupcake. 

I'm always amazed at how fast these little babies grow into little people, and Roo is already starting to resemble a little person now.  She's still very much a baby -- and I think she'll stay that way longer since I'm not currently preparing myself for another baby, like I was with the other girls.  I'm not in a hurry for her to get bigger, and yet she's doing that on her own in a hurry.

At ONE, Ruthie is...
  • a great sleeper.  She gave me a scare there in months ten and eleven, because man was the sleep bad.  But as it turns out, as long as she feels okay... she sleeps fine.  Hallelujah.  She usually goes down for the night between 7 and 7:30 (depending on when I get my act together and how fussy she is), and she sleeps until anywhere between 6:45 and 7:30 the next morning.  She is also taking two naps; her morning nap is forty-five minutes, and I wake her up, so that her afternoon nap can last anywhere between one-and-a-half to two hours.  Her afternoon nap coordinates with the Bigs.  (If we are on the go, she will usually take a cat nap in the morning, and then crash for close to three hours in the afternoon.)
  • still drinking bottles, taking three a day... and she doesn't like real milk.  She'll drink water all day long out of a cup, but she isn't a fan of milk yet.  Which is amazing to me, since the big girls always thought milk was the greatest thing ever.  We're starting the weaning process, though, because this mama is done with formula for a while.
  • the proud owner of three teeth.  Finally.  
  • walking!  Everywhere!  Ruthie is officially upright for most of the time.  She is my earliest walker by far, and she loves to try and keep up with her big sisters.  She speeds up when she's about to topple, and it's the cutest thing ever.  
  • a great eater, and she's often willing to try new things... as long as we don't try to feed it to her on a spoon.  Her attention span for the high chair is getting shorter, though, and we're having to work on her not climbing out of the chair when she's done.  Her favorite foods include macaroni and cheese, frozen peas, veggie straws, anything illicit, beans of all colors, and scrambled eggs.  With Roo, the bigger the bite the better.
  • clearly saying "nay-nay" (oh yes, this was her first word), "Jake", and "Mama".  I also think she's saying "more", "all done", and supposedly others have heard her say "thank you".  She jabbers a lot, and I think she's eager to join in the conversations of her sisters.  Riding in the van is an auditory adventure.
  • pointing, waving bye-bye, and giving kisses.  
  • willing to read books, as long as they're tactile.  She'll usually sit for one or two books at a time, although occasionally she'll go for more.  Some of her favorite books include Feely Bugs (a favorite of all three!  She'll often pick it off the shelf and deliver it), Fuzzy Bee, and any book with pictures of real babies.
  • growing a head full of hair, and fast.  Hers is growing in evenly, and somewhere between blonde and brown.  Others claim there is some curl there... I have no idea.
  • loves to: dig in the cabinets, play in the potty, brush her teeth, join her sisters at the play kitchen, toss blocks into baskets, play in the bath, harass Jake, clean my floors, climb, play peek-a-boo, steal Nora's nay-nay, dig through laundry baskets, give kisses, and get tickles.
  • does not love to:  have her diaper changed, sit still for long periods of time, stay in the high chair, or have her nose cleaned.

As I watch Ruthie grow, I marvel at the way that God has created this little person (and really, all the little people in our home).  He has formed her perfectly, intentionally, and with a purpose; we Praise Him!  I am so thankful that He saw fit to bless us with this tiny delight, who makes us all laugh, and who consistently shows her mommy her need for a Savior.   

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    The Calm Before the Storm

    A few days ago, I was cleaning up the lunch dishes and, in general, trying to manage some of the after-lunch chaos in our house.  I was distributing kitchen chores, keeping Roo off the dishwasher, and laughing about what is involved in simply rinsing off a few plates and picking the ever-present-refrigerator-magnets off the floor.

    And then Nora came in and puked.

    I removed Roo from the situation and plopped her in the pack and play, before she could decide that she wanted to taste it, and then dealt with Nora -- who was apparently fine, and feeling much better.  Phoebe danced off to another room, Nora got a wardrobe and diaper change, and we got back to business.  The kitchen needed a little additional cleaning, so Ruthie remained in what we have dubbed the "Mouse House".

    She really was not that pleased.  So somewhere in the excitement, Phoebe pranced off to my bedroom to entertain our sad little Roo.  Phoebe hoisted herself into the House, and brought with her a whole host of new toys.  (With Phoebe, more is more... all the time.)  I think Ruthie was pacified for a few minutes at least; and by the time I was done with Nora, she wanted to join the fun in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. 

    I honestly didn't think much of the throwing up.  She seemed fine, it was business as usual. Ruthie made it known that she was more than ready to be removed from her house, so the big girls took over her spot.  They brought with them more toys.

    As I'm watching this scene unfold, I couldn't help but marvel at the fun they were having... and at the royal mess they were making.  I was mentally congratulating myself for not freaking out over the toys strewn everywhere.  I read somewhere -- I think it was before I had babies -- that children shouldn't play in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom, that it should be considered a sacred place, free from toys and evidence of children.  My heart swelled with a little pride as I realized I was able to let go of the crazy for just a few minutes, and to let these little girls play.

    And then Nora puked.

    In case you were wondering, this is the face of a child just about to become ill.  Like, seconds later.  I realize now that she really didn't want me to take her picture; she was just trying to climb out of the pack and play.  Bless her heart.

    And thus, we ushered in a long weekend of stomach virus.  So in retrospect, the chaos of a few dozen plastic megablocks scattered on the bedroom floor is pretty calm, compared to the insanity of extra laundry, upset tummies, and little lovies who aren't quite sure how to aim their illness.