This is the plate I painted with Teresa's handprints and thumbprints (made into the little creatures). I couldn't have done it without David's assistance - he brought Teresa in when it was time for her to make her contributions and took her away when she was done so I could paint in peace (and she wouldn't destroy all the precious pottery in the place). I also couldn't have done it without American Express's Small Business Saturday promotion, which offered a $25 credit for any $25+ purchase made at a small business on November 27th (I bought a $25 gift certificate that day and went back later to paint the plate).
This plate would have cost $25+ to make, but I got it all for free and Art Space Studio was still paid. Sweet! My only complaint is that the custom lettering lady did not center the bottom text properly. Oh well.
I'm not big on fru fru wall decor or dust-collecting knickknacks, so I'll probably store the plate in my cupboards and use it to serve food on special occasions as Teresa grows.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Have you heard the news? We're having a boy. *squee!*
Way back when Teresa was a newborn, a nice lady in my parish offered me all her baby clothes. Sadly, she said she was done having babies and wanted to clear out storage space. Whatever her reasons, I gladly accepted the offer of clothes: 2 large bins of mostly boy clothes, sizes 0-9 months. Even though we couldn't use the majority of them for our beautiful little girl, it felt right to receive them. And lo and behold, my friend had a baby boy a few weeks after Teresa and needed clothes; I let her borrow both bins! A year later my sister-in-law was expecting a baby boy, and I made the transfer of clothes from friend to sister-in-law. Now our nephew is outgrowing some of the clothes and his mommy sent a binful back to me on Christmas day.
I love to inventory things! So today I laid out all the 0-3 months clothes and the 3-6 months clothes from the bin. Then I went up in our attic and pulled all the gender neutral clothes out of our 0-3 and 3-6 months bins. Here's a picture of the results:
Amazing! I'm still 4+ months away from welcoming our son (God-willing), and I already have most everything he'll need to be comfortable for the first 6 months. For example: in 0-3 months I have 26 short sleeve onesies, 15 footed sleepers, and 8 hats. 9 sleepers and 7 sleep gowns in 3-6 months. At least 6 cotton blankets. Ha ha!
There are just a few gaps/needs to fill, at my current estimation:
- long sleeve onesies
- soft shorts
- long sleeve onesies
- short sleeve onesies
- soft shorts
- top/bottom outfits
- thick fuzzy boy blanket (microfleece?)
- boy Boppy cover
Monday, December 20, 2010
Teresa has been calling people and things a "silly goose" (although it comes out more like "siwwy goose") often in the past 3 weeks - she picked the phrase up from her nana and we encouraged her in its use. When we spent a week in Spokane with my family recently, Teresa called her uncle Jimmy a silly goose almost every time she saw him. He is a fun and funny guy. :)
A few days ago we were in the car and Teresa named us out loud: "Papa." "Mama." David questioned, "are we silly?"
"Siwwy gooses," she responded, pluralizing her phrase. We'll work on special plurals (e.g., geese) later...for now, I just think that's darn cute.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
A few weeks ago we attended a gathering at a friend's home and David noticed a sign she keeps in her kitchen - something to the effect of "Remember the romance of thrift." He asked her about it and she told him it comes from G.K. Chesterton. Well, I found the quote online today (although I do not know what work of his includes it):
"Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance...thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste...."
Friday, November 19, 2010
The past two days I have taken a little bit of time here and there to sit down, pick up a hymnal, and sing a couple of songs. This evening while I sang one song Teresa was climbing and hugging on me and I received the grace to connect the words of the song with my relationship with my daughter.
The song is "The Servant Song" by Richard Gillard (1977):
Brother, let me be your servant
(alternate text: Will you let me be your servant)
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too
We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers (trav'llers) on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear
I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony
Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too
The Holy Spirit used that moment to remind me that I am to be my child's servant, to be Christ for her. When she is afraid, I can share the light of Christ with her. When she is upset, I can bestow His peace. We're on the Christian journey together, sharing our joys and sorrows, learning from each other and eagerly anticipating our reunion in Heaven. That's just awesome. Lord, help me to remember and to live this!
Music (and especially singing) have played a huge part in my spiritual growth over the years; I loved "praise and worship" at my high school youth group and college campus ministry meetings; I sang in the Chapel Choir at my college, the music ministry in my NJ prayer community, and my parish choir here in Charlotte for a year before our marriage. Since then, well, I've slowly but surely sung less and less. I've pulled out my guitar maybe 3 times in the past 2 years. And our parish has transitioned to almost entirely chant during its liturgies - sacred and lovely, yes, but not singable for the people in the pew.
My spirituality/prayer life has really suffered in direct correspondence with this lack of singing. Sometimes I feel that I don't have half the vibrant faith I had 4 or 5 years ago. Perhaps it's all part of the maturing process, or perhaps I need to do whatever it takes to revitalize my faith ASAP. Singing like this (casual, no pressure, with heart open to God in prayer) is a step in the right direction; perhaps daily song should be my Advent practice.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Three new things from Teresa today:
1. When I tried to get her to eat more lunch she declared, "No want!" and I was just so impressed that she used the word want for the first time that I let her get down from her seat.
2. She successfully unbuttoned her little coat and took it off. I've been putting her in layers lately (the days start cold and warm up and she has an abundance of little jackets/sweaters/sweatshirts), so she's had time to practice. As I sometimes do when Teresa does something only very slightly naughty, I said, "Teresa-bo-beesa" (a fragment of the song I sometimes sing her - you know, the one with "banana fana"?) and gave her a sly grin.
Which leads me to...
3. Teresa once again removed her coat, but this time she brought it into the room where I was sitting, tossed it on the couch and said "Boo-bee-resa!" with a sly grin. She was "scolding" herself for me. How thoughtful. hee hee!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Morning frost has visited our part of the country and left its mark on the garden:
Those were my green and wax beans - about half the plants had inch-long baby beans growing on them. Oh well!
Interestingly, my spinach, lettuce, and carrots are holding out. The lettuce stems turn to ice, but the leaves are still edible. My mom told me carrots can last quite some time in the ground - she even found one that survived a whole winter (under snow and everything). I'm not sure when I should pull mine up - they're still pretty small right now.
I don't think those peas in the back are going to make it, but they haven't died yet.
In anticipation of the frost, my neighbor cut all her lovely zinnias and brought a bunch over for me. They are so cheerful in a vase on my kitchen counter! David admired them, too, saying this one reminds him of the Sacred Heart:
PS "Floating row covers" are on my wish list for frost protection next spring/fall, but I've read that I could simply use old sheets and tie them over the plants every night. I didn't try that this time because I was too lazy. :p
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I can trace a slow decrease in Teresa's frequency of nursing from around her first birthday, but she was still nursing 5 or 6 times during the day and once or twice at night when I became pregnant (she was about 17 months old). With the pregnancy came increased sensitivity - by the 5th week it was definitely painful every time Teresa latched on. So I began to desire a more fast-paced progression toward weaning.
I've always been committed to nursing my babies for what most in our culture would consider a "long time"; I definitely hope to give each of my children the benefits of a year or two of breastfeeding. I thought the 2nd birthday might be a good stopping point, but I wasn't planning on being heavy-handed about it...I like the idea of child-led weaning. This pain really challenged me, though, and I started offering Teresa alternatives (drinks, food, etc.) with increased determination when she asked to nurse during the day. By the time I was 8 weeks pregnant, she was down to 4 nursings per day and slept through the night more than half the time.
One of the most difficult times to dissuade Teresa from wanting to nurse was during Mass. She'd gotten into the habit of asking once or twice every time we attended Mass, whether it was a Sunday or a weekday liturgy (we go to church 2 or 3 times a week these days). I think it was a combination of her seeking distraction from her boredom and her having access to me sitting still for a long stretch of time. When I began to dissuade her during Masses, she raised a fuss and became a distraction (to others and to us!). But I persisted and now it's been a week or more since she has asked during a Mass.
So I'm 13 weeks pregnant and we're down to nursing twice a day: before nap and before bed. If I'm not here (as when the babysitter put her to bed last night), Teresa can go to sleep just fine without nursing. But if I'm here, which is 99% of the time, she demands "more nurse!" I've tried rocking and singing, but they don't suffice...yet. We'll see! Teresa's 11th tooth poked through in the past 3 days, so I'm trying to have compassion on her when she's begging for the comfort of a quick nursing (it's only a minute or two, anyway). I am grateful that it hurts less now.
Do I think Teresa would be okay without me for a whole day and night now? Yes. Do I want to leave her with someone that long and go somewhere alone or with David? I don't know. It's still difficult to imagine - I've never been apart from her for more than 9 hours since she was born.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I haven't been much of a blogger in the past year or two, so I rarely post information in a timely manner. I'm much more likely to use Facebook to share news. It's not likely I'll become a regular blogger again, but this week - why not?
Yes, I'm pregnant! I'm due mid-May 2011. This time around I don't get an ultrasound until 18-20 weeks, so all I have to show for this pregnancy is the positive home test. Ta da!
The test confirmed our blessing on September 7th. I had my first OB appointment at 8 weeks (nothing too interesting) and my second appointment on Tuesday (at 12 weeks). I got to hear the baby's heartbeat, which is always a joy. My nausea has been about the same as it was with my last pregnancy, starting around 6 weeks and just now starting to subside (I hope). I don't get sick, but I feel ill and headachy and have no desire to eat until the afternoon. I don't get too exhausted, but that's probably because I'm blessed to get about 8 hours of sleep most nights and a little nap several times a week (while Teresa naps). It's SO NICE to be home this time, rather than slogging through my work in an office. :D
Here's an interesting tidbit about the pregnancy test: it cost me 20 cents. Sure beats $9, right? At Katherine's suggestion, I checked online for cheap pregnancy test strips. When you're not sure about your return of fertility and might want to use several tests before one comes back positive, it's good to get them at a low cost. I discovered several packages up for bid/sale on eBay, including a set of 5 for 99 cents - with free shipping! I snatched them up and waited for them to arrive in the mail - from Hong Kong. Nothing fancy, but they work. I had one negative one (previous cycle) before this positive one.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This one is kind of funny: Teresa has started saying, "sick" when she wants attention and hugs (probably because that's what she gave me whenever I said I felt sick with morning sickness). We don't think she really feels sick, just needy.
At the end of the video Teresa indicates she needs to go to the bathroom. You bet - I turned the camera right off and took her. :)
This little cutie-patootie, at 20 months of age, had a very good day. She wore the same pair of panties from morning to naptime and naptime to bedtime. She let me know every time she needed to go potty, with only two or three false alarms.
She did wet her diaper during or right after her 2.5 hours nap this afternoon, but that's okay. She was very excited to get her "panties back on!" after I cleaned her up.
Something curious happened in the evening: Teresa (who had been eating and eating all afternoon), spit up a little on a book she was holding. I saw her do it and immediately said, "Are you okay?" She put the book on the table between us and ran out of the kitchen. I cleaned the book and then followed her all the way back to our bathroom. This little girl who has never thrown up, never received instruction in the proper place to throw up, and never seen anyone else get sick...she was standing over the toilet and coughing into it! Nothing happened, but she asked to go potty so I set her on the toilet and she went. How did she know to do what she did?! The only thing I can think of is that she has seen David and I spit into the toilet, and she figured she was spitting. What a clever little girl.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Teresa was finished eating supper, but I was not. So I tried to think of something interesting to occupy her (so she'd stop asking me to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" - she calls it "Bitsy" - or trying to climb in my lap). The dryer buzzed and I decided to have her start emptying it into the laundry basket. She can usually do that for a minute or two.
She was thus occupied when she decided she needed to wipe something. She came back into the kitchen. "Wipe... Wipe... Wipe." She walked up to the pile of clean cloths I keep on a short cabinet and picked up the top cloth. I got up and followed her, curious as to what she was going to wipe.
This quiet video reveals her mission:
The other day her little blankie got a spot of something on it. She brought it to me, "messy!" I told her it was dirty and needed to be washed. She got a cloth and started wiping her blankie. Let's hope this desire and initiative sticks around until she's old enough to do real chores!
Yesterday I set our church bulletin on the couch and walked down the hall to do something. Teresa pulled a colorful brochure (advertising our parish's upcoming concert series) out of the bulletin and came toddling toward me, saying something. It sounded like "fodder eat."
She opened up the brochure and pointed to a picture. Yes, our pastor, Father Reid.
She only sees him once or twice a week and almost always hides her face with shyness when we go up to greet him, but she listens when I tell her who he is and can identify him in a little picture. That makes me smile.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Teresa has progressed beyond trying to eat crayons and can now use them to make marks on paper. Some great fat triangle crayons my mom got her make it even easier for her to color. Here are a few pictures and videos from September:
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Two little things to share...
As excited as I am about our county's expanded recycling program, I regret that they do not accept any plastic bottle caps (because they're small and can clog up the recycling machines, I've heard). But I found an alternative to just throwing out my caps: Aveda has a cap recycling program. The Aveda webpage says it's just for schools, but I called up my local Aveda-affiliated salon and the employee said she'd be glad to take my bag of caps in to the Aveda Institute here in Charlotte, which is a collection point. I brought them in last week and am already filling up a new bag.
When my garden herbs revived with the (somewhat) cooler weather, I thought I'd try preserving some of them by drying. I researched methods online and tried this first:
- cut the herbs with long stems
- rinse and shake
- gather into bundles (I used half twist-ties to keep them together)
- set out to dry for a few hours (I put them on a plate on my counter)
- punch holes in a small paper bag
- tape the bundles of herbs inside at different levels (try to keep them from touching)
- close and hang in a dry place (for about 2 weeks)
It worked! I opened the bag and found my oregano nicely dried. I stripped the leaves off the stems and put them in a labeled Ziploc bag for future use. I look forward to trying this again!
She's a fiesty one, our Teresa. Lately she's taken to yelling "Stop!" at David and I when we're doing something she doesn't want us to do (like working on the computer or putting on her pants). Only, she's not so good at putting the "s" sound at the beginning of words, so it comes out "Tops!" Which makes us laugh. And then she laughs at us. Not good.
So we've started time-outs. Right now we're sitting her on the floor in the guest bedroom and making her stay there for one minute. After the fourth time or so, she started obeying. When the time is up, we look her in the eyes and say, "You don't yell 'Stop' at Mama or Papa. Tell Mama you're sorry." And she says "sowwy." I doubt she understands much of this, but we're developing a habit. Baby steps towards discipline, right?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
David and I found this bicycle with a child seat attached at a yard sale for $10. It's obvious that the seat is old, but everything is in very good condition. I gave the bike a bath and an adjustment, filled its tires, bought Teresa a helmet, and we were good to go.
When her helmet arrived, Teresa was very excited and wore it around the house. She let me put her in the bicycle seat without any fuss and seemed to enjoy our first ride.
We've gone out maybe 5 times total, and 3 of those were yard saling trips on Saturday mornings (I can hit more yard sales in the surrounding neighborhoods riding the bike than I could pushing Teresa in the stroller). Lately Teresa is not as fond of the bicycle; I think she gets tired of killing time at the yard sales while I shop!
Monday, August 16, 2010
One of the books we've been "reading" (really just describing the pictures) with Teresa is a Little Golden Book called Little Cottontail. On the second page, Little Cottontail's nest is described as "soft and warm, with a bed made of grass and tufts of fur."
Today, while I was clearing the wax bean bushes out of the garden, I discovered this:
A bundle of dried grass? That didn't get there by itself. What put it there? I moved the top bundle aside and found this:
Can you see the tufts of fur beside the wood? Here's a closer look:
Thanks to Little Cottontail, I recognize this as a rabbit's nest! Right IN my garden!
I used my hand cultivator (little rake) to see how deep the nest went (not too deep) and brought up a lot more of the fluff. It looks like this made a very cozy nest under the protection of my thriving bean bushes. We had seen a rabbit in our yard regularly 2 or 3 months ago, and something was definitely chomping on my chard (but, amazingly, no other produce!). But I had no idea his residence was my garden. Gives new meaning to the term "garden bed"!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The garden is producing very little this month; it was nearly decimated by the June heat wave we experienced here in Charlotte (in the 90's for several weeks). I've pulled up everything but the tomato and zucchini plants (which are still bearing here and there), the cantaloupe, and the beans (which are still in the ground only because I'm collecting seeds for next year).
1.5 hours of labor and 3 hours of simmering later, I had my very own homemade pasta sauce. I was very disappointed to see that 14 tomatoes only made half a jar of sauce. Fortunately, it tasted very good - sweet and fresh!
Harvest of carrots. Some were molding in the ground, so I had to pull them all up. They may be small and funky looking, but they taste great and are keeping in the fridge just fine.
The mystery volunteer plant (that God planted and I watered) turned out to be a cantaloupe! This one is almost ready to bring in and slice, and there's another one growing, too. :)
From garden to plate: homemade pizza with sliced tomatoes and basil; steamed zucchini and carrots.
My four little butternut squash. Two are hand-sized and two are barely bigger than small. I haven't baked them yet.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Two weeks ago we took Teresa to visit my extended family in Tennessee and Kentucky and we had a great time. Here are a few videos of Teresa enjoying our adventures:
Teresa pets a goat at the Louisville Zoo:
Here's a rare one: David is videoing and I don't know it! I'm pleased that he caught some of my better mommying moments. I'm sure we will treasure the footage of Teresa blowing bubbles with her great grandmother for years to come. I was delighted when Grandma offered me 3 of her lovely plants (including a "purple shamrock") - they survived our journey home and are now thriving.
Teresa is 16 and 1/2 months old. Today I kept a list of all the words she spoke and signs she signed. Here they are, more or less in the order she spoke them:
nuh = nurse
nana = banana
dot (new word today)
bay = blankie
hocka = hungry (as she climbs on high chair)
muh = more
mun = milk
cookoo = cookie
bee = pen
No! (pointing the way I do when I scold her)
da/dats = that
nuh = nose
wackawacka = duck sound
bat = bath
wawa = water
bubba = bubble
buh-oo = balloon
woowoo = dog sound (her word for dog)
hay = hair
sigh-ow = outside
bea = bird
hot (while touching cool oven door, and later when pointing to fire in a book)
kock = sock
Memere (when hoping to see her Memere on Skype)
maaa = sheep sound
zzz = flying insect sound
wiss = fish
pop (when watching me open a container)
biss = spill
ree = rain
bock = chicken sound
meh (funny strained sound) = horse sound
joo = juice
ah gah = all gone
moo = cow sound
Signs (she does these while saying the word for all except those marked with *):
She knows many more words (such as eyes and berry) and signs (such as frog and potty) but it's pretty neat to see all that she communicated in a single, average day (in which she woke at 7:45, napped from 12:30 - 3:30, and went to bed at 8:45; she was awake at home with just me for 10 hours).
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Okay, even I'm tired of salads now. But my lettuce is still producing abundantly, so I give it away as often as I can. For a recent potluck, I picked some buttercrunch lettuce and pulled up a few carrots, too:
A few days later I picked lots of green and wax beans (and a zucchini, too). Yesterday I tried blanching the green beans for freezing. It seemed to work well, but I won't really know until I pull them out to eat in a couple months! Sliced zucchini, coated with olive oil and garlic powder and then broiled, continues to be my favorite way to eat these yummy veggies. But zucchini bread is a close second!
Teresa tells you what she's doing in this video. She's very good at dipping her bubble wand in the spill-proof bubble tumbler my mom found. She's even blown a couple of bubbles successfully. But most of the time she prefers to dip, over and over, and then touch things with the wand. :)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
So the day before he went back to work for 3 days straight, David asked me to make him a "honey do" list. I wrote down about 7 things, one of which was "look for camera and/or start making replacement plans." After a brief post-lunch rest, David PLOWED through that list. He was amazing. When he started the camera search, he decided to look in the hall closet. Therein hung his winter coat, which is certainly too warm for these days in Charlotte but not too warm for a cold night camping...the last time he wore it was in Virginia. Guess what he found in the pocket?
Our camera is back!!
Here are some pictures from the camping trip:
Thursday, May 20, 2010
David trains the altar servers for the Latin Mass at our parish. He also serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the sung Mass, the Missa Cantata, when our pastor offers it a couple times a year. A photographer from our diocesan newspaper captured some great images of the last Missa Cantata, which celebrated the Ascension of the Lord one week ago today. It's currently playing as a sideshow on our diocesan website. I'll post it below as well - hopefully this video will remain after they remove it from the diocesan website main page.
The background singing is the schola. Don't you just love seeing the boys serving so reverently together?! And I'm very proud of my husband, who pretty much "runs the show" but deflects any praise that comes his way. He works so hard to put it together (as does the awesome schola) and everyone who enjoys attending and participating in the Missa Cantata is grateful.
I would like to post some updates but I am somewhat stymied by the loss of our camera. It wandered off somewhere between Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia (where we camped with family two weekends ago) and our home in Charlotte. Is it in the woods? In the little country church where we stopped for Sunday Mass before we returned to North Carolina? In the Subway where we grabbed a quick lunch? Or here in our house, packed away with camping gear?
We just don't know, and I am very sad. All those nice pictures from the camping adventure, and now all these recent photo opportunities missed. We have not yet decided how to proceed (search again? buy a nice new camera (dipping into savings)? buy the cheapest camera that will do the job?).
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I am so excited. Our county is expanding its recycling services! Some time in the next month we will get a new green rollout cart for our recyclables. Starting the first week of July, a truck will come to pick up those recyclables every other week.
Here's the best part (copied from the info website):
With the improved Recycle It! Program, you'll be able to recycle more items. In addition to the materials currently accepted in the recycling program, the City will begin accepting aerosol cans and all plastics except No. 6 in the recycling carts.I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to recycle more of those pesky plastics. No more yogurt containers in the trash! And we drink a lot of milk and orange juice from cartons, so it will be nice to send those in for recycling, too. Go Mecklenburg County, North Carolina!!
The following items will be accepted in the improved Recycle It! Program:
- Aerosol cans NEW!
- Juice boxes NEW!
- Milk and juice cartons NEW!
- Plastics 1-5 & 7 NEW!
- Spiral paper cans
- Steel cans
Reminder: According to state law, plastic numbers 1 and 2 and aluminum should always be recycled and never discarded in the garbage.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Teresa, that is. For the record, we took her to the doctor's office for a growth checkup this week. She was able to stand solo on the big scale this time - all 18 pounds of her. That means she's still in the 1st percentile for weight. But she IS growing, and this is the period (initial mobility) when little ones tend not to grow as much because they're burning so much energy learning to move. Our nurse practitioner told us she is no longer concerned.
Thanks be to God! I was dreading the possibility of having to take Teresa back to the gastroenterologist. But no, we just need to keep trying to stuff her face with all kinds of fatty things. :)
Age: 14.5 months
Weight: 18 lbs (1%)
Height: 30 in (45%)
Head: 18 cm (50%)