Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a berry picking day

The thing I love most about where we live is how close we are to both the city and the country. In 5 minutes we can drive from suburbia to farmland. This opens up so many possibilities when it comes to u-pick farms. You can find berries in summer, apples and pumpkins in fall and chop-your-own Christmas trees in winter. Seeing as berry season is in full swing, we took advantage of picking our own at the Berry Barn. It is the cutest little farm/store/soda-shop/deli you've ever seen. Plus, they don't spray their berries with pesticides so you can feel perfectly good about eating them straight from the bush (which we did a lot of that day). This is going to become a new summer tradition for us and I hope to have a freezer full of berries and homemade berry-based goodness by the end of the season. We mostly picked raspberries but I couldn't pass up buying a pint of already picked blueberries as we left. I ate quite a few of these in the car on the way home but still had enough left over to make these blueberry apple bars from my favorite farm-girl Susan's blog. I also have plans to make these with the raspberries. Yummy!

The kids had fun, too. Lucy was content in the stroller with Maryn plucking raspberries and feeding them to her. Lucy LOVES berries and Maryn hates to eat them but has great fun finding and picking them. It's a great partenrship!

As usual I took hundred's of photos of a mundane event. Feel free to skip these :)

Lucy loves to play in (and eat) the dirt. Luckily she found some raspberries to put in her mouth instead.

They have these little red wagons you can use to haul your berries. Maryn had the best time playing with them. Too bad we don't have room for one at home - it would keep her entertained all day!

Blueberries at the store. I couldn't pass these up!

Beautiful oilcoth. I wish I had a reason to buy some - I just love these bright colors.

My dirt-covered girl observing the chickens

Maryn enjoyed her chocolate milkshake on the ride home

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Science of Sleep

Though so much about parenting is unexpected, one thing we all know before going in is that we'll face sleepless nights. However, that sleeplessness takes a much greater toll than I ever imagined. Babies sleep to the strum of their own lullaby, and while some sleep through the night at a fairly young age (I've heard of this happening, but have no experience of my own to back it up), many take months before accomplishing this feat. And once they do, a parent finally getting caught up on precious sleep may experience setbacks in their child's night-waking due to teething, illness, travel, impending leaps in cognitive/motor development, night-terrors, thirst, hunger, gas (baby Megan is provides a great example of this one) - the list is infinite. I used to inwardly snicker when my pre-child self heard stories of parents enslaved by their baby's nap schedule. My baby was going to fit into my life, not the other way around. Right?

Enter Maryn. She was a colicky, fitfully-sleeping child who required marathon bouncing sessions on our exercise ball while being tightly cocooned in a sling to fall asleep. It was not until she was four months old when my grandma bought me the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child that we realized much of her fussing was due to being over-tired. We instituted a rigid nap schedule and slowly things began to change for the better. And there I was "enslaved" to my child's nap routine. But it was a small price to pay for a less-cranky baby and more rested mama.

Even with better naps, Maryn did not sleep through the night until she was about 9 months old. And there are still sleep challenges to be overcome. Right now her toddler bed is in our room as Lucy's cries in the night were keeping big sister awake. It is not the ideal situation, but it's working for the time being. For some reason she prefers to sleep on the floor and although we put her to sleep in her bed, she inevitably crawls out sometime during the night and we have to remember to step gingerly for fear of crushing her underfoot. She also likes to sleep surrounded by a menagerie of stuffed animals and a library of books:
Here she is on the floor surrounded by a dictionary, Suburban Nation, God Chasers, a Bernstein Bear's book, and The Theory of Poker (Chris wanted to make sure I got that one in the picture)

She normally cradles pup-pup or a blankie, but that night only a bright yellow frisbee would do.

Maryn also gave up her pacifiers recently which made for a few VERY rough nights of sleep. She's starting to adjust to sleeping without them but bedtime now requires more books and back-rubs in their absence. While time consuming, I mostly don't mind - my mom "tucked" us in 'till we were teenagers and it was always a sweet time of sharing and talking before we went to sleep. I hope to make it a special time for our girls as well and these nights are just the first of many if they are anything like my brother and me.

Lucy's sleep was long in coming, but mostly due to the heart stuff and recovering from such a traumatic event. Her sleep clock also kicked in around 9 months when she began sleeping through the night. Lucy is a much more laid back baby than her sister was and while she likes to take naps in her crib she does pretty well catching cat-naps in the car or the Ergo when we are out and about. That works out pretty well because it's a lot harder to stay home and work around naps when you're trying to entertain an almost three-year-old. Oh, and I should mention that both kiddos liked to be swaddled like little burritos until they were about 8 months old. This blanket was a life saver!

And here's one more tip about babies and sleep: always remember to put pajamas on over their diapers - yes, even when it's blisteringly hot. As you'll notice in the picture above, Lucy has removed her diaper at some point during the night and is tuckered out (adorably so) stark necked. What the picture fails to show is that she is serenely sleeping with her face plunked down in a big ole' pile of you-know-what, which I realized shortly after taking this picture when she woke up with it all over her cheeks, hands, and in the crevices of her ears. It was actually pretty well contained and with a bath and a load of laundry we were able to get on with our day. Gross, but manageable, like many things in parenthood.

And now I'll leave you with a video. It's actually more of a sound-bite as it was taken in complete darkness around 9:00 pm when Maryn was supposed to be sleeping. She's singing herself a lullaby, and a sweet one at that. Yes, Jesus does love you, honey, and I hope you never forget to sing this song. Just not so loudly that it wakes Lucy up next time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sweet baby Israel

During a trip to the coast to visit our Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the newest member of our extended family, little Israel Victor, new son of Tabitha and Ty. Here are some pictures of him at 7 days old:

With his momma, Tabitha. Tab, I loved watching you with baby Is. You are a natural!

He has dimples!

Sweet baby hands

Look at that face! And I can't get enough of his rolls!

With aunt and doula Barb in a handmade blanket from one of Barb's friends.

Proud great grandma Mary. God has blessed you with a WONDERFUL family that just keeps getting better as it grows!

What a joy to meet this little man and spend time with the new family. We know God has good things in store for this one and can't wait to see what life holds for you all. Thanks for letting us visit!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feelin' the HEAT!

This past weekend we had our own mini heat wave here, with highs in the 90's. It's still quite warm out this week, which is nice, but temperatures over 80 turn our second floor apartment into a human-sized oven that not even fans running all day and windows open all night can alleviate. So we ditched the apartment for the pool on Friday and ventured outside on Sunday when the weather cooled down a little. Sunday night we had the COOLEST thunder storm...I just love sitting inside and listening to that thunder roll and boom around me. And that rain felt glorious!

Here are some pictures from our fun in the sun


Lucy making her infamous pouty face

Just hanging out outside:

Cheesy faces

painting with water

Silly bubble blowing face :)