Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Redux

I have been intending to post some pictures from our Christmas. And now here it is, New Year's Eve, and I haven't posted them. But better late than never, right? So here they are.

But first, breaking news:

We now have tickets to fly to Oregon and visit family in three weeks! SQUEEEEEEEEE!!! And Nathan's going, too! Yay! Am very excited. However, there is much to do to get ready, of course. We have, as always, the problem of keeping the house warm and animals cared for while we're gone. That's the problem with wood heat and goats to milk-- you can't leave them. So there's that to figure out. And then there's the fact that our flight leaves at 6:20 in the morning (ack!) from an airport that is almost 2 hours away (double ack!) in the middle of winter (triple... you get the idea). I'm looking into park-sleep-fly hotel options since we'll have to park the van anyway, maybe we can stay at a hotel and leave the van there for the week for about the same price... we'll see. Also, I'm trying not to think about the whole security theater thing... Aiee.

But we're going! And it will be great!

And now. Christmas.

Evan's first, no less. He probably ate his weight in wrapping paper.

The presents tasted good, too, evidently.

Christmas is just so fun with kids.
It's still a relatively new dimension for me, and I love it.

Jonah was so excited about everything he opened,
even when all he could see was the box.

...or even if he was opening Evan's present.

...which he was happy to do for his dear brother.

Evan didn't mind. It's easier to eat the paper if it isn't on a present.

Just you try and tell me that these are not just
the cutest brothers ever, ever, ever.

I pretty much wouldn't believe you even if you did try.

This has very little to do with Christmas, other than all the driving we did.
But I just had to show you this funny guy. He looked like that pretty much
the whole 2 hour drive to Indiana on Sunday.

He's kind of a weird kid.

Jonah has been enjoying his fun new things...

...but Evan seems to have a need to sleep it all off.

So do I, for that matter. And I'm not getting much opportunity. Evan is still having a lot of trouble with is neck and every time he gets an adjustment, it doesn't stay in more than three days. For a few days after an adjustment, he'll sleep nice long stretches, just like a normal 6 month old, but on the third day the bliss ends and it's business as usual. So yeah, he gets plenty of sleep, but it's in short spurts, often with some hefty crying fits at night.

So I'm still tired. Endlessly tired.

Maybe I need a superhero cape. Then I would have energy, right?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Evan's First Christmas

No, he didn't get to recite a part in the Christmas program, but he did try to sing along!

Now he and I are home from church and just waiting until Nathan and Jonah to get back from taking from elderly man home.

And then? Why, we attack the present pile, of course.

Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends and family!

My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle song:

Glory to God in Highest Heaven,
Who unto us His Son hath given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rub a Dub Dub

Three men in a tub.
And who do you think they be?
The Butcher, the Baker,
The Candlestick maker.
Turn them out, knaves all three.

Because the butcher is not FDA inspected, nor is the baker. No matter that they run clean, small-time operations and no one has ever gotten sick from their food and they have many happy and loyal customers. Their food might not be safe, you know. And we need Big Papa, our concerned and caring government, to keep us safe from unseen risks.

I'm talking about the Food Safety Modernization Act.

I don't care if they think it's for the best. I don't care if they say small farmers are exempt (yeah, right). And I don't even care if it "will allow the Food and Drug Administration to recall contaminated food for the first time and allow inspectors to trace back contamination to the source" as my senator told me personally in a letter about why she voted for it.

Gloom-and-doom predictions abound on the internet. Some may be accurate and some may be exaggerated, it's hard to say. I do know that the whole thing is bad news. I do know that it's not worth the loss of freedom that comes with this level of regulation and control.

You want to know why I know this? Your want to know the main reason I'm against it?

I know you're just holding your breath.

It's very simply not their job.

Protecting me and my family from various health risks is my job (and God's), not the government's. "Protection from food poisoning" is not listed in the Bill of Rights. But I should be allowed to choose what we eat and where it comes from and if it is, indeed, a risk.

The government doesn't know it's own job any more. It doesn't know it's place. Of course, that's because We the People have allowed it, but it's still the case. This is why I don't vote Republican and I don't vote Democrat. None of them know the function of government. Show me someone from either party who does, and I'll be all for him. (Like Ron Paul. There's someone for whom I'd make an exception to my rule.)

But I digress.

It used to be that whatever you didn't produce for yourself, you got from your neighbor, either through buying or bartering. Nobody could do everything, so there was someone in your village who specialized in meats, and another in fresh bread and someone else who brewed beer, and so on. If you didn't have your own cow, you took your bucket to someone who did, or even better, your creamline milk was delivered fresh to your doorstep every day. If you lived in town you took a basket to the market on market day to choose your own produce and talk with the farmer. The farmers didn't dare pull something over on their customers because someone would find out and the farmer would be out of business. You didn't eat tomatoes in January because no one grew tomatoes in January and shipping them from Mexico wasn't an option. Choosing, gathering, preparing and enjoying food is basic and fundamental to our very existence.

I'm not saying we should all go "locavore" or anything. It's certainly nice to have options. Heck, if I lived back then I wouldn't know the joys of avocado and pineapple and Mexican cuisine and look what I'd be missing! But perhaps our food system has gotten just a little to big. Perhaps it's moved too far from the hands it should be in. All I'm saying is that I want to be able to buy food from my neighbor if I want to, and to sell them the products of my garden and kitchen if I want to, without some bureaucrat breathing down my neck telling me what I'm allowed to do and choose and without risking my and my neighbor's imprisonment. In this great "information age" I have many resources available to me the help me make those choices.

We're a society which tends to avoid every risk, real or imagined. No risk is too small for us. But is government regulation the key to eliminating risk? Hardly. Their solutions are invariably limiting, ridiculously expensive, and often dangerous in some other way.

I hereby propose another form of food saftey: If you don't want food poisoning, find out if your food really might be poisonous and then decide if you want to consume it.

Take the responsibility before the ability to take it is taken from you. Oh wait... it was already, yesterday, when the those who represent us passed a bill that moves our food freedoms from us, to Them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It seems that all I write about now is kid stuff. I guess I'm just so consumed with all things baby. And I'm sure that's as it should be.

So I hope you won't mind not seeing or reading much more than "cute baby" photos and anecdotes.

And since it's winter, there's not much else going on around here. Sleep is an all-consuming issue right now and the lack of it is sapping my brain-power. I wrote previously about how much Evan's neck adjustment helped him, but then... that only lasted three days and then it was business as usual around here. Did his neck not stay in, or does he just have a some bad habits? I don't know what to think. I'm... tired. Maybe it's all because I bragged about it here. Fine. I'm never telling you anything ever again.


Sort of.

Oh, I suppose there are other things that I have thought to, don't want to, or can't write about.

So I'll keep posting cute baby pictures.

Maybe when/if I get some decent sleep, thought will return to my head and the wit will fly once again.

On another note, Jonah doesn't play peek-a-boo with Evan. He plays "nighttime... daytime!"

Where did he learn this you ask?

From his Auntie Alyssa, who got us hooked on this:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

See? He's Not Always So Sunny

However, he is MUCH happier lately than he has been in some weeks. I took him to the chiropractor on Monday to get his neck adjusted again. What on earth would this poor born-face-first baby do without a good chiropractor? (And "good" is an understatement here. My chiropractor is seriously awesome.) I never realize how miserable he is (because I go into survival mode and just deal with it) until I see the relief that comes after an adjustment. He had not been sleeping more than an hour or two at a time, ever, having trouble nursing and then spitting up volumes, and having long periods of inconsolable crying in the middle of the night. I expect that kind of behavior from a newborn, but a 5 month old should be over it. The very day he got an adjustment, all that started getting better. It's just amazing. And I am so, so, so thankful to have that available to us.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stick 'em Up


...and hair.

I think we'll call him "Mo." You know... for "mohawk".

'Tis the Season...

...for putting up pretty and fun decorations...

...evocative of favorite childhood memories...

...or instructive of our Greatest Gift.

...for making gingerbread people talk on their way to the baking sheet.

...for suffocating them in green frosting.

...for getting more chocolate chips in your mouth than on the cookies.

...for bundling up in adorable little bear hats.

And especially...

...for joy in our Salvation and all our good gifts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Study Partner

Lunch Menu

Ham and cheese...

...and a little something sweet for dessert.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handsome Lil' Snot-nosed Drool-face

I'm taking a quick break from my to-do list to post these quick, unedited morsels of cuteness.

Doesn't he just look like he's going to take off?

He's only five months old! Myyyy baaaaayyyybeeeeeeeee!

He's actually getting around a little, already. He gets up, concentrates, hops up his back end a few times and then decides that he can't make his legs and arms go.

So he flops down and forward...

Which gets him ahead a few inches, so he gets up and does it again.

Sigh. Here we go.

I found this shot on my camera. Must have been early morning when Mama was sleepin' in... We've had some rough nights lately, and while I don't much like sleeping late, sometimes there's no getting around it. It's that or... die, I think.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Anatomy of a Family Photo Session

We all know how it goes... it ain't easy, folks...

Keep the baby happy while the camera is being set up.

Try to stave off the crying.

Time for a bribe! Stop crying! Smile!





Smile! Click!


The natives are getting restless.

Smile! Click!


Wait! One more! Click!

Stand still! Smile!

One more!

Okaaaaayy... just one more! Smile!

Let's tell funny jokes... smile!

Now to actually order prints and hope my editing will look okay in print... (on second thought, methinks I'll go back out the red a little more...)

Memo for next time: Make sure no one is wearing bright red or pure white (post processing nightmare!), make sure tummies are full and naps are had. Get a tripod. Also-- DIY flash diffuser is awesome!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Happy

I've been having trouble posting here lately, mainly because I'm not sure what to write. I'm not sure I want to write what I think. Do I go deep, or stay safely in the shallows? What if I get in over my head?

I'm not sure I want to tell you how dark the world looks from my little perch here. I'm not naturally joyful and cheerful. I want to be, but it doesn't come easy to me. I am praying about and focusing on cheerfulness here in my own household. I've discovered that a large part of my job as The Mom is to direct everyone else's attitudes, if only to ensure that we're not a bunch of sourpusses. Oddly enough, however, nagging is not effective. Growling at my children and husband that "we'll be cheerful or else!" just doesn't seem to get us anywhere. But it is truly amazing how my attitude sets the tone for everyone else in the house.

It's Advent and we're supposed to be overflowing with joy, remembering the coming of the Savior, but somehow I tend to find my loneliness accentuated and my spirits dampened. The sparsely populated church services (and being a pastor's family-- it's an awful lot of work to have extra services for Advent and Christmas! Sure, we're happy to do it, but my enthusiasm goes downhill fast when hardly anyone comes.), the far-away family, the gloom and doom of what little news I read (the world's going mad, I'm sure of it.), and the cold, dark weather. It's hard to overcome those things and be happy, when happy is not necessarily my default state.

So I prefer to keep my head buried safely under this here rock. Instead of venting my anxieties, political vitriol, and general unrest, I'll post pictures of my mostly-sweet little life and generally-delightful children.

I'll tell you about how we finally set up the crib for Evan. Yes, he's nearly 5 months old. Yes, he's waaaaay too big for the bassinet. (And yes, the crib is antique. Yes, I do actually know what they say about using old cribs-- danger, blahblah, spindle spacing, blah, pop-cans, blahblahblah. BUT. No, I don't play with my children's safety. (Um, unless you count using the bassinet until they're a leetle too big for it...). On the contrary, I play dreadful scenarios through my head all day. My Mom tells me that's just part of motherhood. Anyway, I'm careful with the family-heirloom crib. I don't put newborn babies in it. I don't put them in it until their heads are far too big to fit between the spindles.)

You see, every December, we move our bed into a different room. And every March, we move it back. Our bedroom has some draft issues. I'm not exaggerating when I say you can actually see daylight through the walls in some places. When the wind blows from the south, I can actually see the curtains blow in the wind. This is not a fun place to sleep in the winter. So we seal that room tightly and move out for the three coldest months. Yes, it's a HUGE pain in the patootie. My husband is very sweet about it, and even moves the headboard and bed-frame instead of just dumping the mattress and box-spring on the floor of the storage room. A friend once asked me why we do this instead of just making that room our permanent bedroom. Fair question, I guess. But the "storage room" only has two small windows, and neither of them open. Also, it's dark and ugly and stifling. I love our bedroom. It has three great, big windows which look out into the branches of my beloved maple trees. The breeze and birdsong come in there and bring with them... joy.

So. For three months we sleep in the storage room.

And I knew this move was coming, and even through we really needed to get Evan into the crib, I put it off. It would mean setting up the crib in the bedroom, then taking it down a month later, setting it up in the storage room, and then ditto in reverse again in March. I just decided to wait until we moved to set up the crib.

(And yes, I know I could just sleep with the baby in our bed, except that I can't. I sleep with him right next to my bed, and that's as close as I come to co-sleeping.)

Fitting the crib into that room meant moving out all the, well, storage. It was kind of a pain. More of a pain. But at least we'll be warm.

And Evan will have good naps there. That helps his attitude, which also goes a long way toward mine. And I'll sleep peacefully, praise God, and have joy. And I'll keep posting pictures here and pretending the unpleasant things can't touch me. In the long run, they can't anyway. It will all pass away. I just have to get through, and thank God for what joy He gives.