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Thursday, December 22, 2011

probably the best text conversation i've ever had

If Henry isn't napping, I have to put him in his high chair outside of the open bathroom door while I'm taking a shower. This is not his favorite thing. Yesterday, he was running out of patience with me so I started singing to him. This is a regular occurrence and usually works to pacify him for a few moments. I usually end up with "Old McDonald" or "The Wheels on the Bus" because the options of verses are completely unlimited. But yesterday I chose "This Old Man." You know, 'This old man he played one. He played knick knack on my thumb.' I was cruising along just fine until I got to number nine. 'This old man, he played nine. He played knick knack...' Wait. What in the world did he play nine on? I was completely stumped. When I got out of the shower, I decided to text my friend Ruth Ann. Yes, Ruth Ann would definitely know. Here's how the exchange went...

Me: What in the heck did this old man play nine on???
Ruth Ann: A spine? No idea...I only go to 4 because I can never remember 5. Do you know 5?? The things we ponder as moms, huh?
Me: I think it's a hive. A hive??
Ruth Ann: Ha! Good choice, Old Man. Good choice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Apparently yesterday's theme was, "Crawl into confined spaces, get stuck, and then holler until someone quits taking pictures and rescues you."

Friday, December 16, 2011

party prep overload

"Look Whoooo's Turning One" is the theme for the upcoming birthday bash. I've spent the last month overcoming my fear of crafting by creating an owl-filled wonderland of decor. Yes, I've burned off three of my fingerprints and poked a needle through each of my fingers at least twice, but I think the result will be pretty cute. Here's a sneak peek at the centerpieces...

You see those stitches on the wings? Yep. I watched a youtube video of Carol Brady's seamstress twin sister to learn that skill. Dameon came home the other night to find me in my usual position at my "crafting table" and said, "It's kind of like we're getting ready for a wedding." Ha! I guess he thinks I overdid it a bit. Perhaps he's right. BUT, in a stroke of pure genius, I've decided that these decorations are completely reusable! Not only will all our future children get to have the same first birthday theme, but we can also use them for many subsequent celebrations. "Woo-hoooooo! You're graduating!" "Guess whoooo's getting married!" Get it? It totally works.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

round 2

and now for another edition of "I'm Gonna Miss This"....cuz I've been having lots of I-can't-believe-how-much-you've-grown thoughts lately.

Dear Henry,
You're getting so big and so very close to your first birthday! I'm so happy and thankful that you are a healthy, growing boy but there are certainly some things that I will miss as we soon say goodbye to your baby days.
  • I will miss how your knuckles are still just dimples.
  • I will miss your four-tooth grin.
  • I will miss the way your pants fit so snuggly around your big cloth-diapered bum.
  • I will miss trying so hard to teach you to say "ma-ma" because soon I'm sure you'll say it all the time.
  • I will miss your fascination with light switches.
  • I will miss hearing your bare hands slapping along the wood floor as you crawl through the house.
  • I will miss peeling your grapes and cutting each one into four pieces.
  • I will miss how excited you get about "The Wheels on the Bus".
  • I will miss you being the perfect height to rest your chin on your crib ledge and wait for us to come get you from your nap.
  • I will miss your hands and feet turning constant circles.
  • I will miss how cute you are in your snowsuit and raccoon hat.
  • I will miss you thinking I'm the funniest person in the world. (Well, besides Daddy, of course!)
  • I will miss seeing your little finger reach out and touch the mouse on the page in 'Goodnight Moon', even when you can barely stay awake for the story.
  • When you no longer make your "excited face" because the phone rang or the door opened, I'll miss that too.
The other day we were at the mall together and an elderly lady came over to talk to you and tell you how cute you are. Then she looked at me and said, "Enjoy him because he will grow up so very fast." I felt like what she was really saying was, "I would trade a lot to be able to go back and spend one more day snuggling my babies." Yep, I'm gonna miss this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

henry quirks

(Here he is trying to pull the clean laundry out of the basket while acting like he's not. I think he was trying to stash it in his car. Busted!)

Henry's personality seems to be growing bigger by the minute these days. I only wish I could know what was going on in his little head sometimes, cuz those wheels are definitely turning!
  • When traveling from Point A to Point B, he will almost always choose the route that requires him to crawl over something. Just to prove that he can.
  • Every day at noon and one we pause for a moment of pure glee as the town whistle sounds. It's a real highlight :)
  • He loves to have people notice him. Especially new people. The other day he noticed a man on the other end of the grocery store aisle. He raised his arms in "So Big" fashion and stared at the man, waiting for him to take note. Apparently the man didn't know "So Big".
  • His bedhead continues to be the best I've ever seen.
  • He has "Give the puppy a nice touch" confused with "Give the puppy a body slam." We're working on it.
  • One of his favorite times to practice his sounds is when he's got a mouth full of food. You can just imagine how the broccoli puree sprays when he says, "Uh sssssssssat?" (What's that?)
  • He loves loves LOVES his daddy. We wait for him to get home by watching out the window. When he sees him, he starts bouncing up and down. If we're not by the door, just the sound of the door opening makes him immediately perk up and start saying "Da!" Cutest ever.

Monday, November 28, 2011

eleven months

Henry turned eleven months old many days ago but I'm just now getting around to the monthly update. Seems kinda sad that I won't be taking a monthly picture anymore after next month ... maybe I should just keep it going. I'm sure when he's sixteen years and four months old he'll just love that idea. Here are his latest stats...
  • He is fitting, but just barely, into 18-month size clothing. The boy is tall!
  • He is sporting two new teeth on the top, and it appears he will have quite a gap. If you knew me prior to 1998, you know where he got it from. Yes, braces will likely be in his future. But, for now, that gap is just so darn cute!
  • His favorite pastimes include pushing really small buttons, flipping light switches, pointing at anything and everything in the hope that we will name it for him, unloading any cabinet, drawer or basket he can access, playing peek-a-boo, and making this super cute "surprise" face where his eyebrows raise way up and his mouth makes a tiny little "o" shape.
  • He can do two signs (all done and more) and has a few word-like things that he says ("What's that", "Da-da", "Wow", "One")
  • He is showing signs that he's going to be very independent. Yes, I'll call it independent as opposed to strong-willed :) He wants to feed himself, doesn't want to have his diaper changed, doesn't want to be told "no", and doesn't really want to be restrained in his carseat. The other day I told Dameon that I felt like he was really starting to show some toddler-like behaviors with the whole throwing himself on the floor when I shut a door or take something from it that he can't have. I decided to look in our month-by-month book to see what it said about this. The first sentence for this month was something about how your baby will start to exhibit some of these behaviors around this age as they enter the stage of "I am toddler, hear me roar." Hmmmmm. Interesting.
  • We are busy preparing to celebrate the big first birthday next month. This makes me very excited and proud, while also making me want to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out. I can't believe it's been a year!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the art of sneaking

Before I became a mother, I had a mental list of things that, as a parent, I would never do. I would never take a small baby to the State Fair. I would never let my child have dried-up boogers in his nose. I would never give my kid a pacifier until breastfeeding was well-established. And (this is the most important one, so take note) I would maintain a normal level of noise around the house while the child was sleeping, so that he/she would never require silence in order to stay asleep. Crazy how I used to know so much more about parenting back then.....ahem.
It all began on a rainy April day, as I recall. Henry had been cranky all morning, which was unusual for him. I had worked and worked to get him to nap and finally by about noon, he was asleep. I now needed to take a shower, get supper started, make my grocery list, and fold laundry before he woke up again. Because when you have a baby who lays happily in one spot on the floor and bats his arms at toys for long periods of time, how can you possibly get anything done while he's awake?!?! (Ah, the days before Henry was crawling, pulling up, emptying cabinets, and putting everything in his mouth. I had no idea. But, that's another post for another day.) Anyway, I was so relieved that he was finally napping, that I tip-toed out of the room just as Dameon was coming home for lunch. I greeted him with a "Shhhhhhhhh" and a look of desperation that said, "If you wake that child, I will cry and you will be punished," and the rest is history. I have successfully managed to create the lightest sleeping child on the face of the earth. Yay for me.
In the beginning it didn't seem like such a big deal. Henry was still sleeping in our bed and taking most of his naps with me or on me (in his sling). But around six months of age, he transitioned into his crib, and I quickly memorized every creaky floor board, squeaky door, etc. in our very noisy 1920's home. I mean, it's just common sense that you don't empty or load the dishwasher, get ice from the freezer door, turn the t.v. up past volume level 7, walk past the nursery door, flush the toilet, run a load of baby clothes through the dryer (those snaps are LOUD), or cough while the baby is sleeping. Duh! So, for those of you out there who live in an older home full of creaky hardwood floors, I've developed some ways to help you move around your home while your child is sleeping. But only if you must. And, if you're more of a visual learner, stop by my house (but not at naptime or after 8:00 p.m.) and I'll give you a little demonstration.

1. The tuck and roll. This move is most helpful when trying to get out of your baby's room without him seeing you. You want to basically melt to the floor like a limp noodle and then slither to the door on all fours, avoiding the places that will creak underneath you. It's also helpful to hold your breath. You can come up for air once the door is closed behind you.

2. The skate. You will minimize the creaking if you can slide your feet across the floor, rather than picking them up and actually taking steps. It's just common sense.

3. The straddle. Floorboards closest to the wall are the quietest, so if you can kinda straddle the hallway, you'll be much better off. Trust me.

Now, there are a couple things that can really throw you off. Once your baby is able to pull himself up, the crib ledge has to be raised. In my case, this has to be done after Henry is laid down because otherwise I'm not tall enough to lower him into bed. There have been many times when the clicking of the latch wakes him. I don't know what to tell you on that one. Secondly, your husband can be a real wild card. Dameon tries very hard to follow the rules of sneaking but he's got these wide feet that don't slide very well and tend to kinda slap the floors instead. He also tends to hover over the creakiest areas of the house. He says if he walks fast, it's quieter. We have differing definitions of "quiet". I mean, what guy wouldn't want to come home from a long day of work to be greeted with a "Shhhhhh" and pointing motion toward the nursery and then have to ask permission to walk to the bathroom or to the kitchen for a snack or glass of water?? Sounds relaxing to me.

*Yes, this post is written sarcastically to poke fun at myself for the dumb things I've done. So thankful I have a husband who puts up with my crazy antics! I've worked to tone it down a bit after Dameon said to me a few months back, "I think your shushing is going to wake the baby." Ha! We can laugh about it now. Live and learn, right? Oh, the things I won't do with our second child!! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

uppercase around the house

Back in April, I decided to try something new and become a demonstrator for Uppercase Living. If you don't know, it's a company that makes vinyl expressions for your home, school, business, etc. Since then I've had lots of fun doing parties for people and personalizing our own home. I took some photos for an album I'm putting together, but thought I'd also share them here!

This is in our living room right above the fireplace. The expression is applied to our metal board, so it's easy to rearrange if needed.

This is in our master bedroom:
I shared these nursery photos in my last post, but wanted to explain. This first expression isn't one that is found in the catalog. Uppercase Living offers the option of customizing your own expressions! This was a verse (well, part of a verse) we had picked out, so I just went on the website and created it in "My Design Studio". Soooo happy with how it turned out!

This dandelion is super cute, but also hard to capture in a photo. The petals go up and over the window. They can be placed however you like because they are cut apart and applied individually.
This is in our dining room above the doorway. I like the contrast against our wall color.
Anyway, that's just a little tour around the Place house. Now I'm looking forward to doing a few Christmas-themed things!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

ten months

Sooooo behind once again. But you're probably used to that by now. Darn home computer still doesn't let me post. Anyway, Henry is ten months plus about 11 days now. Less than two months til the big birthday! Wowza!
  • Not sure exactly how much he weighs but it seems like a lot. He's gotta be over 21 pounds by now. I'd guess 22.
  • He's not overly interested in baby food right now. About a month ago we had a scarring salmon incident and ever since then he's been quite cautious about anything on a spoon. However, we think he's going to be quite the independent child, and we're convinced that if he could feed himself with the spoon, he'd clear his plate. He's still nursing throughout the day and night, so he definitely gets his fill.
  • His current tricks include: So Big, clapping, pointing, twisting his hands when he hears music, following along in his flap books and Pat the Bunny, saying "Oh, Wow" "sssssat" and "dada", crawling around and pulling up on everything, and sometimes waving bye-bye.
  • Lately we've been very impressed with his receptive language skills. The other day he was standing at the couch and I said, "Henry, where's your spoon?" He turned around and looked at the spoon. Then I said, "Go get your spoon." He plopped down on his bum, crawled over, and picked up his spoon. Coincidence? It's possible :)
  • He does a little bit of cruising but has only let go and balanced once. And it was only for a second.
  • His nursery is finally (FINALLY!!) done. See pics above.
  • He had a few firsts this past month. First marching band contest, First haircut, First parade, First ride in a shopping cart, and First illness.
  • Next up: First Halloween. Stay tuned for pictures!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the long and short of it

Yesterday we took Henry for his first real haircut. For some reason I had it in my head that haircuts shouldn't happen until after the first birthday, but I broke my own "rule" and finally made the appointment after I noticed that his hair was in his eyes and constantly all tangled in the back from rubbing against his high chair or stroller. As you know, Henry has consistently (and by "consistently", I mean "DAILY") been mistaken for a girl since birth. This has never really bothered us, but we figured having his hair trimmed up would help. He was really wiggly to start off with, but then the stylist gave him his own comb and he was happy as a little clam. Well, until the very end when she needed to trim up the back and asked him to "look at his shoes." Yeah...that's not happening. After the haircut, we went to the fireplace store to do a little research and the salesman commented on what a cute little boy Henry was. Dameon and I totally did a mental high-five. Then we went to grab some dinner and as we were waiting to be seated, the hostess said, "Oh, SHE'S sooooo cute! She looks just like you!" You can't win 'em all.

The before:

The during:

The after:

Monday, September 19, 2011

nine months

  • Henry is now nine months. That means we are only three months away from his first birthday. Unbelievable!
  • He is sporting two teeth these days. They are the middle ones on the bottom. I've been trying, without much success, to get a picture of them. Every time I try to catch a glimpse, by pulling down his lip, he sticks out his tongue! I'll keep trying :)
  • He is crawling all over the place, but sometimes bottoms out and scoots on his belly. His favorite activity is exploring the parts of our house where he normally doesn't hang out such as the hallway, the dining room, and any corner where he may find a dust bunny or two.
  • He loves to eat! He sits in his high chair for two meals a day (usually breakfast and supper) and still nurses throughout the day and night. His newest foods are beef ragout, mini whole grain waffles, whole grain pasta, and the baby version of cheeseburger chowder. Yummy! He's getting to the point where he really wants to be in charge of the spoon, so that makes things interesting.
  • The tables have turned and Henry is now chasing after Rufus. Rufus, however, has realized that Henry doesn't understand "soft touch". He pulls Rufus's tail and ears...hard. Rufus usually tries to scurry out of the way before this happens, but sometimes he's not fast enough. Remember Elmyra?? I'm worried we're going to have a serious Elmyra situation on our hands.
  • Henry is a total social butterfly. He will smile and jabber at people as we walk through the store and loves when they smile and jabber back at him. We go to storytime on Tuesday mornings and he loves to watch the other little kids. There's one little two-year-old girl who loves to hug Henry and hold his hand.
  • At his nine-month check, he proved that he is a healthy growing boy! Weight: 20 pounds, 14 ounces (52%ile); Height: 29 inches (74%ile); Head Circumference: Can't remember the measurement but I do remember it was 96%ile...that means big brains, right??
  • He got his first haircut to follow soon!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ABC's, 123's, and scarring kids for life

I've been at a bit of a loss for blog material lately. I have lots of thoughts and a few posts started about some deeper-type stuff, but nothing too light-hearted. Lots and lots of months ago (or maybe even years?? Yep, years) I started a little blog series about my favorite student stories, since working with 3-6 years olds is often quite hilarious. Remember this? Or how about this? Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mom now, but I still have five great years of teaching to reflect on. And lots of good stories to tell.
Today's story comes from my most recent class. Last year I taught four-year-old preschool here in Winterset. Each day there was this awkward six or seven minutes between storytime and lunch. And if you have ever spent time with a group of young kids, you know that time spent waiting around quickly turns into bouncing off the walls and chaos. So, I would always try to come up with some sort of fingerplay, song, or game in order to maintain some sort of ...well... order. On this particular day, I decided to introduce the "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?" game. You know the one. It goes like this:
"Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"
"(Student name) stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"
"Who me?"
"Yes you"
"Couldn't be"
"Then who?"
And each child gets a turn to be the designated cookie stealer. Seems innocent enough, right? WRONG.
We'll call the kid Joey. Joey was sweet and cute as can be. But he was also a bit oblivious. It was hard for him to understand a joke or an exaggeration. He took everything on a literal basis... Bless his heart. So most of the kids were kinda catching on. Not quite getting the rhythm of the whole thing, but all in all things were going well. Then we get to Joey's turn. "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Joey stole the cookie from the cookie jar." And we all look at Joey and wait for him to chime in with the "who me?" part. It started with him noticing everyone looking at him and his eyes growing very wide. And then he says, "No I didn't, guys. No, I didn't! I didn't steal the cookie!" Now, of course, the other kids understand that it's a rhythm game and they start to say things like "Yes, it's your turn. Yeah, you stole it." This, of course, is even more upsetting to Joey and he starts to unleash a little bit more. "No, I didn't! I don't got it! I don't got a cookie! NO I DIDN'T!!!!" Poor kid. I think he even cried a little. Yes, we got him calmed down and just kinda dismissed the whole thing. The next day as we were playing again, I decided it was better not to set Joey off and just skip his turn. I didn't think he'd notice or care. Wrong again. He insisted on having a turn. Fine. But when it finally came around to him, the whole scenario played out again. Oh, brother. Hope they don't play that game in kindergarten.

Monday, September 5, 2011

a wonderfully fantastic labor day weekend

Ya gotta love a good three-day weekend, right?
It started on Friday evening with our good friend Jon and his little girl, Bella, coming over for dinner. They were out for a bike ride while Megan (wife/mom) was running musical rehearsal and stopped by to say hello. I was about to put my gourmet's fish the oven, so we invited them to stay. And the Vandekamp's ended up being pretty tasty.
Saturday brought the much-anticipated opening game of the Hawkeye football season! I'm pretty sure Dameon has been waiting his whole life to sit on the couch with his baby boy and cheer on the Hawks :) We had our usual game day smorgasbord including nacho hamburger dip, salami and crackers, and brownies. We also had a few close calls when the power went out 45 minutes before kick-off and then the Big Ten Network basically failed at broadcasting the entire first half of the game. My husband gets a little intense during Hawkeye Football. (Can you imagine that?) So, every time I felt like saying something like, "At least this is happening during a game that isn't very important", I decided against it. Things like that don't usually go over very well. Saturday evening we tried out a new recipe that I got from my cousin, April. Chicken Tacos = delicious!! Here, you should try it:
Because who doesn't love a good crock-pot recipe?? So pumped to eat the leftovers tonight. Yum.
On Sunday we headed east to Oskaloosa for Grandpa Charlie's 80th birthday party. It was neat to see such a great turn-out of family and friends. And the cake was outrageously good!! After the party, we stopped over to visit our friends, Matt and Molly. It is always great to catch up with them and let our dogs catch up, too. :) Next we went to Pella to spend a little more time with Dameon's dad and step-mom. They had supper ready for us (taco salad!!) and then we got to enjoy the beautiful weather even more with a bonfire and s'mores. Good friends Barb and Bill stopped over to get in on the action. Henry was quite the comedian the whole night, which seems to be his new thing. His current shtick is to fake laugh and get other people to laugh at him. Then his laugh gets louder and more forced until it turns into more of a holler. And, of course by then everyone is laughing so hard at him that he decides to shake his head back and forth as quickly as he can, only taking breaks to make sure people are still looking at him. Hmmmm....I'm pretty sure he's going to be a "watch me, watch me" kind of kid. Not that I was ever like that or anything. ( and tumbling routines in the basement, anyone?)
We got home late and Henry was totally wiped out so he slept really well last night, but was ready to get up at 7 this morning. My amazing husband got up with him, fed him breakfast, and played with him so I could sleep until 8:30. SOOOOOO GREAT! Then Dameon did some drill work while I got ready for Mom, Dad, and Grandma to come over. They arrived around 12:30 and we had burgers on the grill, sweet corn, and toffee brownie trifle for lunch. We ate out on the patio and enjoyed this lovely Iowa weather. Henry is on his third nap of the day, so he's either catching up on sleep or growing or both. When he wakes up, we're definitely all going on a walk. Hooray for fall, football, and family!

Monday, August 29, 2011

blog drama

this is a test. my blog hasn't been allowing me to post for several days now. so, this is just a test.

Friday, August 26, 2011


(this was supposed to be posted last friday)
Being friends with someone for sixteen years means lots of things. It means you know each other's laugh. It means you know each other's favorite things. It means you always have something to talk about.
Brooke and I have been friends since sixth grade homeroom with Mrs. Schroeder. The timing couldn't have been better for the two of us to become a pair. We were both dealing with all the friend drama that fifth grade can bring (ha!) and trying to find our way in a big new school. God knew exactly what He was doing...which is, of course, no surprise. I have been thankful so many many times for our friendship, and the others that would soon come along because having Christian friends in junior high and high school is so crucial. Believe it or not, Brooke and I have never had a fight. Never talked about each other behind our backs. Never gone through any of that catty stuff that most girls do.
We've been through a lot together. A lot. We even went to college together and lived in very confined spaces. And we loved it! And we're closer because of it.
When you're friends with someone for sixteen years it means lots of things. It means you see someone walk through valleys and experience hurt. And, in some cases, really bad hurt. The kind that makes you feel helpless and advice-less. Those kinds of experiences bond you. We've sat together in pure silence after reeling from break-ups. Hung out and read magazines together after surgeries took away spring breaks. Hugged and cried at grandparents' funerals. I treasure those times just as much, if not more, than the good times. Because, Brooke, those were the times we ran to each other. You've been #4 on my speed dial ever since my first cell phone. :)
Tomorrow will be another kind of milestone that we will experience together, side by side. Tomorrow Brooke will marry her prince. And I don't mean that as a cliche. John treats her like gold and I saw it the very first time we met. I know he's going to live out the vows he takes tomorrow each and every day because he's perfect for her. When you watch your friend hurt, this is the day you pray for. So many times I've prayed for this day and for this man. I can't wait for them to experience together a Christ-filled marriage. Tomorrow our friendship will change. Tomorrow Brooke will get a new best friend. And it is good and worthy of so much celebration!
I love you, Brooke. And I'm so beyond thrilled for you and your new husband. Praise God for bringing us through so many things together and for bringing us to this day! I can't wait.

Friday, August 19, 2011

eight months...and I'm (almost) on time!

Phew! It feels good to actually get this posted "the day of"! Henry is officially eight months old today and even though it's not well-check time, it still feels like a milestone. Here's what he's up to these days...
  • He's too big to put on the baby scale any more (sad) so I'm going to have to do the thing where I weigh myself and then hold him and weigh us together and then do math. Too bad I don't really care to know what I currently weigh, so I'm putting that off.
  • He is sitting up completely on his own now. Sometimes he tips over, but we've discovered he's got a pretty hard head. Not sure if he can thank me or his daddy for that...
  • He is super close to crawling but not quite yet. He's up on all fours, trying to figure out what the next step should be.
  • He grabs at EVERYTHING. This makes things such as grocery shopping much more difficult. The other day I was reaching for an apple and he knocked a melon onto the floor. Thank goodness it didn't break!
  • He sits in his high chair twice a day to eat, and has figured out that if he puts something in his hand and hangs his arm over the arm rest, Rufus will be right there to snatch whatever he's offering up. This is a very fun game for Henry and a very maddening game for Mommy.
  • Speaking of Rufus, Henry loves him more and more each day. He has started doing a sort of fake laugh when he sees Rufus scampering around. He also loves to grab at his ears, his tail, and his tongue. I think Rufus is starting to get a sense of what he's in for...
  • He rides in a big-boy carseat, which has seemed to make riding in the car more enjoyable for him. Turns out there's a good chance the reason he hated it up until now was because he was downright uncomfortable. I think the Babies R Us lady's exact words were, "The Graco infant seat has the most minimal padding of any seat. Wouldn't you be cranky riding in that?" Hmmm....thanks for telling us that when we registered for it.
  • His personality is really starting to show more and more. He smiles and laughs when other people around him are doing that. And he seems to even go into silly mode sometimes by shaking his head back and forth and then waiting for our reaction.
  • We can move anywhere by rolling and scooting, so we are in baby-proofing mode. His favorite treasures are remotes, cell phones, and cords. Help me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And God is still good

Today I was thinking about how we've officially lived in Winterset for a whole year now. And, wow, what a year it's been! When we decided to move here, it was March. When we actually moved here, it was July 31. We attempted to buy five other houses before getting the one we currently own. (Which is by far the best one, in case you were wondering.) That's right, FIVE. And we couldn't even move into said house until the middle of September. But being teachers, we had to get here before August. So we moved into a one-bedroom apartment on the town square above the Ben Franklin store. We lived there for six weeks. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I blogged about that once. And I think I included the part about having to always take the dog out on his leash on the town square at all hours of the day and night. Neat.
Home ownership is always a mixed bag. We are soooo thankful for our home. But sometimes you just wish you could call a landlord to take care of a problem that arises. Ya know?
Like I said, we moved in the second weekend of September and tried to quickly get settled in the midst of marching band season. I was also nearing the third trimester of pregnancy, so I was pretty worthless in the "unpacking and getting organized" department. Not that that's ever really been my forte. Anyway, Henry was born in December and it wasn't long after that the house craziness began. In a matter of two months (give or take) the following occured...but not necessarily in this order: it all started when the furnace broke. then the oven. and then the blender. then the stucco fell of the side of the house, the roof got damaged in a storm, the roof started leaking, the ceiling fell off, the ceiling got redone, the ceiling was not correct so the ceiling got redone again, then the ceiling fell off again, the stucco contractor left us high and dry and the rain came in our windows, we got a new roof, we fired the stucco guy and got a new one, we hired a painter to paint the entire exterior, he painted in the rain and ruined our paint, he spilled window glazing on our new shingles and then stepped on the glazing so our shingles were ruined and then he painted our windows shut, and then he sprayed paint on some of the shingles that he hadn't already ruined, windows were broken (many windows), we fired the painter and hired a new one. that it? Probably not. I can't even remember. To sum it up, our house has been under construction since March and it's finally almost finished. In the middle of all that, it felt like we were sinking. This was not something we had planned on dealing with or paying for. Especially when trying to prepare to transition to being a single-income family this fall. But even at our lowest points, when our house was literally falling down around us, God was still there....and He was still bigger than all of it...and He was (as is) still good. Sooooooo good.
If you've known us for any amount of time, you know that this kind of house trouble is pretty much par for the course for us. Remember back in 2007 when we tore of our roof and then that monsoon popped up our of nowhere?? Yeah. But the truth is, there's no guarantee that we won't continue to have this kind of house "drama" for the rest of our house-owning years. Good thing we don't have to find our joy in things and stuff!!!
The Lord totally carried us through and provided for us....and continues to do so! Thank you, Lord, for being so much BIGGER than our stucco, our money, and our worries. And thank you for a place to call home!

Monday, August 1, 2011

carrot face

Dear Henry,
Today I fed you carrots and I naturally assumed you were swallowing them. Wrong! You were storing them up in your cute little cheeks so that you could squirt them all back out again when we were all done. I have a feeling you may use this to your advantage in the future. Wonder how many brussel sprouts you can fit in there...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

the story of us

“Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

As I sit down to put this all into writing, I find myself struggling to remember all the details of exactly how “we” came to be. I don’t know if I’ll ever again see God working so clearly to piece together the steps of my path. Don’t get me wrong, He’s always working…it’s just not always so easy to map it out.

I can remember the first time I ever “laid eyes on him”, as they say. He was doing a half-time performance as the drum major of the Hawkeye Marching Band, so I was seeing him from halfway up Kinnick Stadium. But still he caught my eye J He was wearing a white shirt, black pants and a fedora. Pretty cute! In the coming months, I would be introduced to him on two different occasions. If I’m being honest, I really didn’t care for him much! Seems funny to think about now. The second interaction was definitely more positive than the first, though, so when I got my first teaching job and made the decision to move to Williamsburg, I asked a friend for Dameon’s phone number because I was hoping he could give me some leads on apartment potentials.

It was a hot summer day in early August of 2006, when I gave him a call and left a vague message on his voicemail. Something along the lines of, “I don’t know if you remember me, but we’ve met before. I’m moving to Williamsburg and I know you teach there. I’m hoping you can give me some input or information on some apartments. Please call me back.” The next day he did call me back. We spoke briefly and he told me why the apartments I had looked at would not be good choices. One option because it was a bad location and the other option, according to him, would be much too noisy. He then told me that he lived in the top half of a house that had been converted into two apartments, and that he was pretty sure the people who lived on the main floor were going to be evicted. We left it that he would look into it and get back to me. I waited a couple more days before hearing from him again. He gave me the phone number of his landlord and told me my best bet was to give the guy a call. Within a week, I had secured the downstairs apartment, which would be available as soon as the landlord was finished cleaning it out. In the meantime, I started really thinking about this Dameon guy. Partially because I was excited to actually have some sort of a friend in my new town, and partially because I had this very strange, very surprising, very good feeling about him. But this feeling was accompanied by a little bit of concern. What if I really ended up liking this guy and then he had a girlfriend and I would either hang out alone all the time or be the third wheel? That would be a real bummer. I remember mentioning this to my friend, Brooke. Was it weird that I felt like I already liked him? Yeah, a little bit. J

Moving day happened the Friday before school started. Dameon was unable to help because he was struggling with a neck injury, but he stopped down the next day to say “hello”. I remember trying to quickly primp in front of the mirror when I heard him coming down the stairs because I didn’t want to look like I had been unpacking all day! We talked for awhile, and before he left he invited me to go to church with him the next morning. Hmmmmm…major plus! I can’t remember how I found out that he was single…but I did.

After that, we spent most of our free time together. He was very busy with marching band and directing the fall musical, so I would wait up each night until I heard him pull into the garage and walk to my front door to chat for a little bit. It took us about a month to officially start dating, and another month after that to start talking about marriage. It’s hard to believe that nobody told us we were crazy!! I had a 15 minute commute to my school at that time and I can remember spending lots of time thinking about Dameon. It was such a giddy and exciting time. Everything in my life just seemed so incredibly clear. I even remember often looking at my left hand on the steering wheel and imagining a sparkly ring on it. Such a girly thing to do!!

Toward the end of October, I brought Dameon to Boone to introduce him to my family. He fit right in, just like I knew he would! On December 2, I traveled home to go to a friend’s wedding. I was planning to spend the night at Mom and Dad’s and go back to Williamsburg the next day. When I left the wedding reception, I called Dameon to tell him about the wedding and let him know I was on my way to Boone. He interrupted me a few minutes in, and told me his Dad was calling him and he would need to take the call and call me back later. When I got to Boone, I arrived to an empty house. That was strange, since it was about 9:00 p.m. I changed into pajamas…which happened to be about the ugliest ones you could imagine, and waited for Dameon to call me back. I called Mom to find out where everyone was at. She told me she and Dad had gone to Des Moines to do some Christmas shopping and were on their way home. That seemed legit. After about 30 minutes of waiting, I finally called Dameon back. “Did you forget to call me?” I asked. “Oh…yeah….well, I don’t like talking on the phone in front of people,” he said. “You’re with people?” I asked. And then he made up some story about how he was at a friend’s apartment waiting for other friends to arrive. But then I heard the “ding ding ding” that a car makes when you open the door with the keys in the ignition. I was flooded with dread because I knew he was lying to me and I didn’t know why. And then the doorbell rang.

I opened the door to find him standing there with a dozen roses. And I still didn’t know what was happening! I was glad to see him, but very confused at the same time. He proposed to me in the entryway of my parents’ house and I about fell over in shock. In fact, I think I did fall over a little. It was the best moment of my whole life, up to that point! As it turned out, my parents were in on the whole thing and were meeting with Dameon in Johnston while I was at the wedding! They even went with him to pick out the roses J The next hour was spent celebrating with my family, calling other family members and friends, and watching my dad bust out and single-handedly drink most of the cheap champagne!!! (Love ya, Dad)

We were married 8 months later on July 28, 2007…less than a year after I moved into that apartment.

My friend recently told me that she has heard it said that your wedding day is the best day of your life, but the day you give birth to a child is the most romantic. So true!! There was something transformational that happened in my heart as we took our vows four years ago. And being side by side with Dameon as our baby was born formed a bond between us like no other experience ever will.

Thank you, Dameon, for marrying me and accepting all the good and not-so-good that makes me who I am. Thank you for breathing confidence into me and for loving me through the highs and the lows. I love you most.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

carry-out boys say the darndest things

When you live in a town the size of Winterset and you're the band director's wife, it's a basic requirement that you have to maintain a certain level of...shall we say...sophistication at the local grocery store. Lots of high school kids work there, lots of parents shop there, and lots of them know who I am even if I don't know them. I've had a few Fareway moments that have made my head spin. The one that used to take the cake happened when I was about 35 weeks pregnant and feeling, well, 35 weeks pregnant. Dameon was with me and witnessed the whole thing. It started with the checkout girl giving me the once over with a look of total disgust and then asking me if I was feeling okay. "Yes, I feel great!" I replied. She then proceeded to tell me that I looked like I felt awful and then took it a step further by confirming with Dameon that I was indeed "doing okay." She then made some comment about how pale I was, to which I responded with "Nope, that's just my skin." Moving on.

A few weeks ago I was doing my weekly shopping. I had reached the point in the trip where it was time to walk out to the car with the carry-out boy following behind with my groceries. Back when I was a Fareway worker, I always tried hard to lead a conversation with the customer and be extra polite in the process. So I always kinda hate it when we walk to the car in silence and it's up to me as the customer to do the talking. At least that's how I used to feel. I wasn't sure if this particular kid was a band kid or not, but regardless, I attempted to make some small talk. "How are you today?" I say. "Good, how are you?" he replies. "Great." We reached my vehicle and as I was opening the truck I realized I was still hauling around the kennel and the stroller.

Me: "Uh oh. Sorry I forgot to clear out some space in my trunk."

Kid: Looks into the trunk and says, "Have you ever considered...."TIME OUT. At this point I think his sentence is going to go something like, "Have you ever considered cleaning out your trunk before you come to the store?" And I'm prepared to get pretty annoyed. But no. What he actually says is, "Have you ever considered the brain?"

Me: "What?"

Kid: "I was just thinking about how many songs I know. I mean, I know the words to a lot of songs. And then I was thinking about how much other stuff I know. And how much stuff I, like, remember."

And now I'm soooooo glad I'm wearing sunglasses so that the look of pure bewilderment in my eyes is somewhat hidden.

Me: "Yes. It's amazing."

Kid: "I know! And then I was thinking that if my brain can remember that much, then I wonder how much a dog can remember!!"

And now the groceries are completely loaded, my trunk is standing open, and we're both standing there just staring at each other. Him with a look of amazement on his face and me with a sudden realization that he's actually waiting for some profound insight from me or something. And all I can think to say is, "I'll just get this," as I close my own trunk. I then walked in silence to my door and got inside. I'm pretty sure he was still standing there lost in thought as I pulled away.
As I drove home, I started to wonder if I should call the manager and suggest they get the kid some water or something. It was a super hot day. Maybe he was dehydrated?? I haven't seen him there since, but the next time I do I'll be on the look-out and try to mentally prepare for some sort of conversation about things such as...
"Have you ever thought about how you can buy corn in a cob or in a can??" And my response will be AWESOME.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Seven months and counting

Taking the monthly picture got much more interesting this time around, as you can see :)

  • Henry now weighs in at about 19 pounds
  • Grabs everything he can get his little hands on!
  • Sits in his high chair to eat...banana puree and sweet potato puree are his faves
  • Scoots backward and sometimes lifts his hips off the floor
  • Sleeps pretty well during the night but doesn't love to take naps
  • Sits up for short spurts of time by himself
  • Says "da da da da" all the time
  • Loves "The Wheels on the Bus" song...with actions performed by mom and dad, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

banana love

Avacado? No way! Sweet potato? Just okay. Peas? Meh. Pears and Squash? Not too interested. But banana rice cereal? This boy could eat it all day. As long as it's served with a side of high chair tray...

And, yes, these pictures were taken after Henry's very first sideburn trim. The first of many, I'm sure.