Friday, April 10, 2015

As the Windmill Turns

It's been two months since I've last updated but it feels like two weeks.  This is how I know I'm getting old.  Also, I can't fit myself gracefully into a child size tent anymore and I've started researching products for my face.  

But I'm sitting here listening to Melanie Shankle's new book (thus my writing style may sound like hers - I have a tendency to chameleon and possibly haven't found my "voice" as my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Coffee, said we should all do), and am texting with one of my best friends and can't seem to get up off the couch to actually go to bed.  

So, I might as well blog.

If you're reading this from Facebook, that means you're friends with me on Facebook and that means you've already seen most of these pics and heard most of these stories.  But for the sake of archiving and not failing to live up to the over documentation standards of the twenty-teens, here goes.

For spring break we went to the Lubbock windmill museum.  Because who doesn't plan their vacation around what an 18 month old is interested in?  It was a precious little family trip, and relatively easy given that we were the only car headed TO Lubbock for spring break.  Once we were there though it was apparent how sick Howard was, I may have made him change our hotel from the sketchy side of Lubbock to a less sketchy side of Lubbock, and things generally seemed to get hard.

But we persevered and oh was it worth it.  After a stop in Abilene to spend the night with Great Gape, a pullover in Roscoe to see the wind farm, and a sweet night catching up with my dad's side of the family, we spent the whole next day touring the American Wind Power Museum and left with trinkets and books and a documentary about windmills that has been on a loop at our house ever since and that my parents claim "is really well done and even won a Telly."  They've seen it, because if you spend any time with us at all, and they have, you watch the windmill DVD.

Jonah's windmill obsession has even inspired aspiring artists and real artists!  I started this knife painting for him:

And our kind friend Paul De Luna, who actually knows what he's doing as evidenced by the fact that he does it for a living, is sketching this for Jo:

It's a sweet, exhausting time.  My house is never clean.  It's a chore to feed people - particularly because one needs several different meal options, one has certain health requirements (butter is ALL NATURAL people, get on board with me here) and because one doesn't actually get the chance to eat anything but has heard rumors of people dying if they don't so stuffs the non-windmill part of a cut-out peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her mouth or takes the last of the chicken nuggets and chips only to return most of that after discovering that it's soggy because someone else has already almost eaten it.

And it's just like my dad said it would be: everything is sticky.  I didn't know what he was talking about but it's become so true.  Everything.  Every surface in our home is sticky.  And the disturbing part is I don't really know what it's from.  It could be Children's Tylenol.  It could be finger painted yogurt after deciding spoons were too cumbersome.  But most likely, it's my spilled coffee.  I can't multitask when I hear the cat being pulled by her tail because she's been mistaken yet again for a stuffed animal.  The poor thing.  This was supposed to be her castle.

But I wouldn't trade the sticky and the tired and all this newfound knowledge of windmills (like the mechanics of the pumping cylinder or the fact that the Halladay Standard was the first self-governing windmill) for all the world.  And I especially wouldn't trade last night when I have Jonah a funky hair do in the bath, showed him, and he flipped out, fearing it was permanent.  I had to show him the final product before he stopped calling for Papa.  

Nor would I trade watching him savor with giggles and sheer delight his first blueberry bagel while we strolled around HEB...

or watching him pose with pride next to the tent I am sure he absolutely thinks he assembled...

...or snuggling with me on a rainy morning, or reviewing all the animal sounds (the owl saying "owwwwl" is my personal favorite), or patting me goodnight at the day's end...because this IS the world.  I already have it.

And this leaves me to conclude once and for all that I will actually be the crazy lady in "I'll Love You Forever" who hikes up a ladder to her grown son's window in the middle of the night so she can rock him.  Because that's completely normal.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Live With the Emotionally Unstable

1. Provide well planned projects, such as this one (though I'm not exactly sure what it is).  They can be simply accomplished by storing numerous unsecured items at low levels.

2. Take art classes as a form of therapy...because actually going to therapy requires too much talking for late night hours like 8:00pm.

3. By the fourth attempt to feed, the EU ("Emotionally Unstable," not to be confused with "European Union") should be very well ready for a more creative factor to his food presentation.  Sandwiches in animal shapes can become very predictable.

4. Connect with your like-mindedness with God and remember that He created man foreknowing he would fall.

5.  Yes, that's a meal time in front of the television.  It became more important that he get some food in him than how exactly that happened. Sometimes when a Nazi knocks on your door and you lie to protect the Jew you're hiding you have some higher moral priorities too, so hush.  Oh and yes - he's eating off the builder grade carpet.  See previous example about lying to a Nazi.

6. Provide plenty of animal experiences for the EU.  For example, catback riding has been shown to greatly aid those dealing with emotional instability.  However, beware there may be some cases in which the rider and the cat don't 'gel.'

7. Find a stable, committed man who can keep a cool head.

8. Ensure the EU has a steady supply of refined sugar.  If you get behind in this area, don't panic.  Do quickly and calmly find the nearest emergency shelter and take cover.  True Paleo living is learning how to flee.

  9. Enjoy the moments of joy that remind you of the fulfillment you had in bringing home the EU from the alien ship that landed in your backyard.  

10. Stay up until wee hours of the night preparing for a special 13.2 seconds of excitement for the EU for a holiday that isn't really supposed to be a big deal, so you think, making it a big deal is extra special so not making it a big deal isn't an option because the EU will take no prisoners!!  I mean takes prisoners!!

11. Admit that you are the EU.  Send the smaller EU to work on a ranch while you begin the recovery process.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Something Rather Than Nothing

Recently in one of my courses I've been leading students through the Craig / Krauss debate entitled "Life, the Universe, and Nothing."  Of course one of the ancient questions of "Why is there something rather than nothing" comes into play at one point as Craig tries to show Krauss that science can't answer that. 

This post will be nothing like that debate.

Nonetheless, while baby boy is getting all the day's cookies hosed off of him allow me to share some things I thought would look like huge accomplishments once posted that are apparently really very normal. I guess the fact that there's something rather than nothing is itself the huge accomplishment.  

I have been watching Pioneer Woman on Netflix and am a tad obsessed.  My mother in law doesn't get it, but that's because she is the real Pioneer Woman.  For those of us who think pizza rolls from the freezer are dinner, it's really fun to watch and start to cook through.  

So, I made her Bowtie Pasta Chicken Alfredo.  I made mine with chicken sausage like my friend does.

Ok awesome.  I made dinner.

Next on the list of exciting:  Valentine's treats for Jonah's little classmates.

I bought these inexpensive bags at Walmart and used a white paint pen to write on them.

I filled them each with one bath time toy.

At first they didn't fit.  I may have gone into a slight panic that I was the worst mom ever.  Then I looked at the chevron and the chalkboard going on and told Pinterest to shove it. 

And that's exactly what I did with the toys and made it work.

I was feeling pretty good until I realized I didn't have enough bathtub toys.  Repeat the worst mom / best mom scenario from above.

I pulled out some unopened door stoppers for the rest of the treats and solved crisis número dos.

It takes a Master's degree, people.

It was a gorgeous day so after I made the week's cookies (I feel insecure if there aren't baked goods in our cake dome), we played and played outside with Jo.

That is, until, I couldn't get him to stop checking the mailboxes and had to haul him, the mail, the keys, my phone, and oh...the most awkward red rider bike / trike / stroller apparatus from around the corner to our house.  It was perhaps the most difficult trip back from a mailbox ever made.

Jonah was kicking and screaming and after all sorts of cajoling, including trying to shed some light on the situation by telling him some people in the world are being persecuted for their faith and we are just trying to get to the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at home, I gave up.

For some reason (probably the reasons) my efforts didn't work so I had to hoist the not so tiny human up like a firewood log and just trek it out.

Hey.  It's something.  That's better than nothing.  (But not better than just WALKING HOME.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Getaway done right

We just had a fabulous staycation in downtown San Antonio.  Allow me to relive before the plumber arrives to gut my kitchen on a mission to find what's leaking (ugh).

We ate at La Frite, my FAVORITE restaurant this side of the pond.  Seriously it's the best. It's a Belgian café with a quirky casual, intimate atmosphere and haute cuisine.  We had time to linger, drink La Fite, eat savory brie and Vol Au Vent de Poulet ended by chocolate mousse...sigh.  I mean does it get any better?

I even tried mushrooms with my vol au vent.  I figured it was only fair if I'm asking Jonah to try new foods.

Then we stayed a hotel downtown - The Pear Tree.  We had our own queen beds and slept with both ears closed.  For me, that meant 11 hours straight.

We do things right.

(Howard doesn't do selfies.  So I just do them for him.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

From the Twilight Zone

My last post was on January 3, and that feels like it was about 3 days ago.  Luckily I was brought back from the toddler twilight zone into reality from the slight heart attack I had when I thought I'd lost all of my photos tonight.

"No photos" are simply not words to live by.

Sweet boy is sleeping soundly, I'm pretending the Pioneer Woman on my TV is actually here cooking for me, and I am resting in the peace that is knowing I have found my photos.  Life is extra sweet when you have solved a first world problem.

Jonah is 17 months now.  SEVENTEEN.  He weighs 28.2 pounds and though I haven't measured, he's half my height and he's just about outgrown his 2T sized clothes. 

And he is VOCAL.  He has a lot of meaningful gibberish.  Though I'm certainly no expert, I'm pretty sure he speaks Klingon. 

And boy is he busy.  BOY alone describes it.  We have crayon on every surface in our home (including on our skin and clothes), there's rarely toilet paper still on the roll, we are missing several items that used to be on our nightstands (a phone, necklaces, a bookmark), and we pretty much run around meeting demands and fearing the alternative.  There's a lot of consoling, a lot of cuddling, and a lot of trying to communicate in English, French, or unofficial sign language / dancing / miming / facial expressions with someone who is clearly not from here and likes things done in a completely different way than makes sense to us.

It's utterly exhausting.  It's the best.

I leave you with this 1 month old preciousness...because it's the easiest to access right now in the crowded abyss that is my computer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas 2014

We've had the most magical Christmas!  It was already made when I received news at the start of break that I did NOT have to have surgery on my shoulder (due to an injury from the car wreck we were in over Thanksgiving).  Thankfully, the MRI showed damage that can be repaired with physical therapy alone.  I still can't lift Jonah well, have a lot of pain, and the added appointments during the week are already wearing on us even over the break, but mercy am I grateful for not having to recover from surgery - and for being alive at all after that experience.  It could have been so much worse, and it has made me soak up my time at home with my little family that much more these past couple of weeks.  The whole experience has given me new awareness for the people I know who live with life-changing disabilities from accidents that weren't their fault.  I was preparing to accept a new normal for only the six month period it would have taken to recover (with a 16 month old) from surgery.  I can't imagine having your life changed forever.  It's amazing how much our bodies impact our every day.

Well, we are so fortunate to have had a big combined celebration at Oma and Opa's.  We had an ugly Christmas sweater contest and a white elephant gift exchange.  It was a grand time with lots of laughs.  I am so glad my people - Nonni and Grandpa and my brother Greg could be here!!  

But of course our little butterball has made us like snowmen in summer.

Jonah, seriously - how do you get MORE fun and MORE precious?  He enjoyed every gift, every time we looked at lights, every new schedule.  He has been so cuddly and tender lately.  He is blowing lots of kisses when we wave goodbye, he pats us a lot and grabs our faces to lean in for eye contact and 'forehead.'  And he loves to hold hands.  He is a sweet soul.  I think I'll build him a basement so he can live with me forever.  I know that sounds crazy.  The soil here is way too rocky.

Jonah is 16 months old now.  He is 31 inches long and weighs 27 pounds! He can get his message across quite clearly one way or the other...usually by taking our hand and leading us somewhere.  His vocabulary now includes:

Socks ("agock")
Cracker (food related, not racial as far as we can tell... : )
Outside (sounds more like "ow hie!"
No no
Nonah (his name)

Of course the last one on that list is used in our frequent and lengthy discussions of windmills.  We are still very serious about windmills in this house.  And there are quite a few words that didn't make it onto the list because we're not sure they belong to any particular language spoken by more than one person.  We could be wrong, though.  

I'm pretty sure he understands everything we say.  And he's catching on to our code words: "cm" for "chocolate milk," and "double consonants" for "M&Ms."  

No, we don't eat Paleo...why do you ask?

Jonah's been working on back molars and I love it when he finishes a tough round of teething because his good eating habits return.  He's been noshing on tacos, breakfast sausage cups, pears, beef steak and bean enchiladas, chicken tamales, and Chipotle chicken quesadillas lately.  He loves dinner time!  That's my boy!  I think he's in the right part of the country too. :-)

When we're not discussing windmills (or watching a documentary about them) Jonah and I are working on our new hobby of backyard bird watching.  Santa brought him a book about it in his stocking and we've had fun trying to spot the different ones.

Oh - above is pictured our other new hobby.  Washing dishes.  It requires lots of soap, lots of towels, and lots of time, and somehow they still don't get done. :). But it gives us a chance to look for birds out the kitchen window.

Between the windmills and bird watching combined with the fact that we are both exhausted from having a very busy 16 month old, combined with the fact that we are even more exhausted because we have injuries (Howard's still healing a rib from that wreck)...I feel just a day over 93.

Goodnight world.  This old lady needs some sleep.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Help. It's the Elf.

Well, I wasn't really planning on blogging anytime in the next four years, but I feel this update is of an urgent status.

Seeing as how we were recently in the harrowing experience of a severe car crash and are recovering (if you call "recovering" wrangling a 26-pound toddler), this will be short.

Here it is.

The stupid Elf on the Shelf is not merely a new commercially-injected tradition.  It actually traces through the roots of deep Germanic Christmastime tradition!!  


I think I'll name ours Screwtape.