Friday, December 31, 2010


I'm backdating this post so that it sits as a final post for 2010 (I'm actually writing this on January 1, 2011). In January 2010, I set some goals for the year. Here's how I did:

1. I didn't spend as much time with Eli as I wanted to. Is this what happens when you have children? We're busy. But this next year I'm going to make that a challenge. We're going to celebrate eight years this year. We've grown and changed together, and I want that to continue. None of this empty nest "Hi, who are you?" junk for us 20 years down the road.

2. I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. But, on the bright side, I think we had a great summer with Elsie. In fact, being home with her during the summer and during my maternity leave left me with a profound sadness at being a working mom. I'm excited about this coming warmer weather--she'll be a lot more interactive and we'll have a lot more fun exploring the simple pleasures in life (like sprinklers!).

3. The doing nothing on the computer thing didn't get worse, but it didn't get better, either. I think writing in my blog, reading others' blogs, and getting caught up with status updates on FB sucked a lot of my time away. It sure would be great to see some of my friends in person instead of having to catch up over the computer.

4. Hooray! One I can call a success! I spent less, saved more, and PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS EARLY! Hip hip hooray!

5. Yeah, about that exercise...I was pregnant most of the year. And big and fat and tired. And then I went back to work. We'll work on it this year.

6. I did a lot of purging when we bought a house and moved. But, I'm still a piler, and I'm working to get better at maintenance. Baby steps. Baby steps. (And the totebag collection disappeared with the move!)

7. And, finally, I did read more! I started the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and just finished book...8 (?) tonight. It's been good. But I would like to keep it up, and maybe make a pre-bedtime reading routine. Sure would like a bedside lamp... Except that there's the whole toddler-clears-off-my-rickety-bedside-table-daily thing to dissuade that purchase.

Lessons learned? I need to take care of me a little better, and I need to care for my marriage more deliberately. My husband is pretty spectacular. :)

Bring on the new year!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Hymns

I love Christmas music--not cheesy commercial songs, no no no no. Christmas hymns. Songs of praise and worship that are not contemporary. I think I have narrowed down my top two favorite Christmas hymns. Sometimes I get carried away with the singing and don't pay attention to what I'm singing, so here I'm posting the lyrics of these beautiful songs for reading and appreciating (but you can sing them if you want).

What Child is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The baby, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!
Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! joy! for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

O Holy Night

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Hey everyone! Go tell it on the mountain! Jesus Christ is born!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Green and Gooey (I hope you've already eaten breakfast)

It really is that time of year. I feel bad that both of my children got my proclivity for snot production. We are the three of us Darth Vaders lately. Elsie has spent the last two or three days with the goo coming out of her nose at a constant rate. Oscar is more suffering from drainage and has developed a productive cough, even though he can't spit, so he swallows. Gross, I know. But this is life. This has been my life for over three decades, and this is just the beginning for los dos ninos.

I have used the Snotsucker on Elsie, but it's almost not worth the tantrum because the snot has developed the amazing ability to regenerate, starfish style. Last night she has some major bubbles coming out of her nares. Commence extraction. Commence tantrum. Commence more snotskies. I lose.

As a result of this latest mucous development, we have all turned into mouth breathers, particularly at night. So, last night, for the first time, I left a water cup in Elsie's bed with her. I mean, I've been waking up with cotton mouth multiple times during the night, so I keep a giant cup of water on my night stand. I have been nursing Oscar more often because he wakes up with a dry cough that I interpret as cotton mouth, and Elsie had been doing some middle-of-the-night screaming. She didn't scream last night. I went to get her up this morning and the cup was almost empty. Coincidence that she was in a much better mood this morning?

On a completely separate note, O has started reaching for objects. And his grip has improved. Yesterday Elsie tried to pull something away from him and he held fast. She was frustrated, but she didn't scream. He just went back to what he was doing (drooling and gumming).

E & O make me smile. I love my children.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Things

Eli is bugging me about updating the blog, so here I am, with two vignettes for you.

1. I went on a shopping spree at Kohl's the beginning of December with a gift card that was given to me by three lovely ladies at Oscar's shower. They made me promise to use the card for myself. Gulp. The truth is that since Elsie made her debut, and then Oscar, I really don't spend all that much money on myself outside of drinks from Sonic and the occasional shake from Chik-Fil-A. It's hard to spend money on myself, particularly at a place like Kohl's. But I did it. I went and got some clothes to wear to work.

I held onto that gift card for so long becuase I guess I secretly hoped the pounds would melt off without much work on my part aside from breastfeeding. I didn't want to buy clothes that would be too big. But, you know, at some point it was prudent that I stop wearing maternity clothes and wear real clothes. Turns out, I'm between sizes (in a happy and sad way) but really needed pants, so I bought the bigger size. I'm pretty boring--same pants, four different colors. And then for shirts, I bought three solid-color, long-sleeved, crew-neck tees (same style, different colors); two striped, v-neck, long-sleeved tees (same style, different colors), and one stiped v-neck sweater. Yep. Boring. Perhaps someone needs to refer me to What Not to Wear or another similar show.

On another bright side, I got some Kohl's Cash with my purchase, so I went back and got something for the kids for next summer. And I didn't pay a dime. Sweet.

2. Last Thursday was our behavior incentive for 7th grade. Remember I had been sick on Tuesday? I was feeling better, so I decided to put some skates on and just give it a whirl (totally disregarding the fact that I pinched my sciatic nerve on this same activity last year, and totally disregarding my terrible dreams on severe injury the night before). All was well. The kids were great; we all had fun. I raced some of the other teachers and lost, but I never fell on my rear--not once!

The other teachers decided that we must just be planning incentive trips around things that I do well. I laughed. Sadly, this just means that my golden years were those of middle school in Altus, Oklahoma. Seriously, I bowled with YABA at the base lanes on the weekends, and attended countless birthday parties at the local skating rink. It was awesome. Yep. I'm a middle school teacher for a reason--it's all becoming so clear.


Friday, December 17, 2010

O 4 month Doctor Update

On Tuesday, I took O to the doctor for his 4 month well-check, but I haven't posted about it yet because I was siiiiick on Tuesday and decided that curling up and dying was more pressing than updating the blog. A lot has been going on around here in my overwhelming life, and I will update soon, but I don't want to forget these stats(and, heck, it's been three days, so I can't guarantee the accuracy of my brain or these numbers):

Oscar, 4 months & 2 days
Weight: 15 pounds 7 oz.
Length: 25 inches
Head...It was an even number, but I really have no idea...


Sunday, December 12, 2010

4 Months of O

Another month has vanished!

Oscar is four months old today. I know every child is different, and I'm experiencing it firsthand. I just went back and read Elsie's 4 Month blog update and have been reassured that Oscar is no Elsie.

Some notes: Oscar has been in size 2 diapers for over a month, but won't last in them too much longer (another month or two at most), and he's just now starting to wear 6-9 month clothing regularly, though some 3-6 month stuff still fits him.

He has been giggling since the weekend of November 6-7, long before Elsie started giggling. I remember when he started giggling because Elsie was eating her breakfast and Oscar was on the pink c-shaped chair and Elsie did something and I started laughing, then Elsie started laughing with me, and then Oscar started laughing, and then it was just contagious. So, we called and left a voicemail for Eli (who was at drill) with lots of giggles, and then we called my mom. I couldn't let those giggles go to waste. Rest assured it quickly turned in into crying all around, but it was memorable.

I haven't done "tummy time" with him since he was about a week old (meaning tummy on the floor time, not tummy to tummy, which he actually likes), but today he was in a good mood, so I put him down on an activity mat on his tummy and he promptly rolled to his back. I put him back and he did it again. And that was it. After that he was done with being on his tummy and just cried.

I try to put him on his back on the floor as much as I can when Elsie is not around, but he doesn't seem to be too close to rolling over, which Elsie was doing by now. And he's not scooting around any. He does have good abdominal muscles though and prefers to sit up to any other way of holding him. He's started holding on to objects for brief periods of time and putting them into his mouth when he can, so I'm doing his Christmas shopping based on this.

Like Elsie's hair, his is also falling out and growing in blonde. (In fact, the second picture on the Elsie 4-month update looks pretty much like Oscar.) The other day he was on our bed with the sun shining in the window behind him and I got a glimpse of what he's going to look like with blonde hair as I witnessed his sun halo. He already is so cute, but he's going to do some major heart-breaking.

He still wants a swaddle, and he'll scream if he manages to get an arm or two free. So, we get up in the night, tuck his arms back in, plug him up, and he goes back to sleep. He is still sleeping in his Pack-N-Play bassinet in our room (in the sitting area) but I think we're going to make the whole rooming transition after the holidays, after our family has gone and we can set up a bed in the second bedroom. Oscar will go in the crib in what is now Elsie's room, and Elsie will move into a different bedroom with a different bed. But what kind? We're still determining what to do. Maybe a toddler bed AND a twin bed in the same room? I don't know.

It's very interesting to see how two children can develop differently. I'm not worried about Oscar--he'll do stuff at his own pace. He'll roll over. He'll pull up. He'll grow hair. He'll crawl. He's his own person. Love him.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

19 Months

Where is the time going? My baby is 19 months old? Already! And there's no going back!

I remember back in the early months, Elsie was changing very rapidly, and then she seemed to hit a plateau as far as noticeable growth and change. But now that she's started using words, we're on again. I'm so amazed. So, so amazed.

She has an incredible temper (where did she get that from?), so it didn't surprise me the other day when she started throwing a fit when the tray wouldn't come off of Oscar's Bumbo chair, try as she might. He was sitting playing with some toys and started getting upset at her outburst, so I redirected her. I was folding laundry, so I didn't see how this interchange started, but as she will always do, she came back. This time I watched.

She looked at Oscar and then asked him, "Done?" She used the sign language for "all done" and then tried to remove the tray again. I was in awe. This is exactly the same ritual we use when Elsie is done eating. We ask her, "All done?" while also signing it, and then remove her high chair tray before lifting her to the ground. Where is my baby?

This last month has been an understandable vocal explosion. Some of the ones that I can remember are listed below.

  • If you sneeze, she'll say "shoo shoo" every time. Bless you?

  • In addition to "Thank you," which she says quite clearly, she now is saying, "Thank you, wah wah." Welcome?

  • She will also say, "All gone!"

  • Any time she sees football on TV, or even pictures of football, she'll raise her arms and exclaim, "Touchdown!" and frequently follow it with "Yay!" She also does this randomly when there is not, in fact, anything football related around.

  • She loves pointing out anything and everything that could possibly be a "cup."

  • She likes repeating, "Go, go, go!" and "Up, up, up!"

  • The other day I was doing something and she told me to "Stop!"

  • She's also picked up the ever-dreaded "Mine!" (Where did that come from?)

  • She loves saying Oscar's name. If she hears him crying, she will alert me to that fact by saying "Ah-kuh."

  • Instead of just "Hi!" she now says hello, but it sounds like "Hewo." Unless of course she's speaking Spanish, in which case she'll say "Ah-la" while sticking her tongue all the way out.

  • Oh, and she very clearly says "apple" and "car."

Turns out that she's also very adept at the body part finding game. I have to remember to leave "Where's Elsie's nose?" for last, because she always, ALWAYS, puts her finger up her nose. :) If I forget and ask, "Where's Elsie's eye?" or "Where's Elsie's ear?" she will always put the offending finger immediately in those locations, boogers be darned. (And she IS my child, so there are always boogers. Haha.)

She likes pointing out "mama" and "dada" and "ah-kuh" and "eh-see" in family pictures likes the ones hanging on our fridge. Tonight at dinner she was naming family member, and at one point I think she actually said "mama and dada". And then she said someone else. I asked, "Who?" And she turned to me, very calmly and said, "Who?" like I was the one who had just said something weird. It was funny.

She has also started verbal pauses. "Elsie, do you have a stinky diaper?" She says, very automatically, "Umm.." before answering in the negative. It's always a negative when it comes to the diaper. :) But when it comes to food, it is frequently affirmative. That's my girl.

One bad habit that I am looking for ideas for curbing is biting. I was pushing the cart at Wal-Mart tonight and she leaned over and BIT the top of my hand when I wouldn't take it off the handle. (What is it about biting the hand that feeds you?!?) And frequently when she's mad, she bites. Ugh.

Finally, she also thinks it's funny to have my hair in her mouth, and I frequently have to avoid her leaning over to lick my hair. Yes. I said lick. And she comes in tongue first, so there is no question as to her intentions. It's. just. weird.

But that's my weird flesh and blood. So it had to come from someone. Haha.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Voiceless Hoarse

It's that time of year again. This year has been a little worse than before as far as the sinus drainage accompanying the weather changes. (I'm afraid little O has gotten my predisposition for mucous. I'm 2 for 2 with the mucous and allergies, and Eli's 2 for 2 with the blond hair and blue eyes...) Anyway, I was tutoring at Sylvan on Wednesday night and I realized that my voice was starting to sound adolescent. The next morning, I was completely hoarse. My students would imitate my voice cracking and then laugh. I tolerated their joking. By Friday, I was mute.

Now, my students were actually very good while I couldn't talk, and thankfully it was a library day, so there wasn't much talking to be done anyway. But what is a teacher without a voice? It made me really wish that all the technological equipment was already set up in my classroom so that I could have easily weathered this storm. Instead, I had a designated student speak for me. I would whisper to them and they would make the announcement. It was actually kind of funny. By the end of the day, I had a typed, numbered list of everything I needed to say and I would just have to say numbers to my vocal representative. Eli was at drill this weekend, so I couldn't even talk to him on the phone Friday night--we had to Google chat.

On Saturday, I had a little squeak back, and I had to go to the bank. I didn't think this through before I left and realized halfway there that I would have to actually speak to the lady through the drive-thru speaker. I tried really hard, and their end must be very sensitive because she seemed to understand all my little squeaks. The lady said that I sounded a little hoarse and wanted to know if I was getting sick. (She was kind--I was pretty much voiceless.) I told her that this was actually the sound of me getting better!

We had the pleasure of spending Saturday celebrating Christmas with our fabulous neighbors. His 4-year-old daughter is here for three weeks so they did early Christmas for her so she can play with her toys while she is here. I had dinner with them on Friday night and she asked me why I was whispering to her. I tried to explain about the drainage, but really, how do you explain that to a 4-year-old? Even the phrase "lost my voice" was incomprehensible to her (I'm pretty sure I saw the wheels turning as she wondered where I could have lost it...). Finally, she just turned to my neighbor and said, "A---, why is she being quiet?"

So Saturday, with the whole family around, I felt really stupid because I couldn't really talk to anyone and socialize. Thankfully Elsie puts on a really good show and she did all the talking that needed to be done on behalf of the Beaver family. She was a hit.

Today I went to church not realizing how traumatizing it would be to sit in the service while everyone sings the Christmas hymns that I love and not be able to sing the alto parts (or ANY part) that I know because to open my mouth would unleash a flurry of squeaks and cracks. It was both humbling and painful. Anyone who knows me in my adult life knows that I just love hyms and SATB parts where I can read the alto part (something that I picked up from being a Beaver). I've been doing it long enough now that I do a pretty good job with hymns we sing regularly. At first I viewed today as lost, a missed opportunity to show my stuff, but then I was able to concentrate on the words to the hymns without worrying about the music and finally the focus was in the right place. To God be the glory.

One thing that has become painfully clear is that I still, after all these years and all those admonishing report card notes, LOVE to talk. I found myself the other day dreaming about what a nightmare it would be for me if the voicelessness were a permanent condition! What a handicap to have! Would I even be able to have one of those little computer microphones that reads my voice box vibrations, a la Stephen Hawking? (We had a family friend who had had throat cancer when we were little, and she used one of those--we thought for sure she was a robot.) And then I wondered how I would feel about my children never hearing my voice again. It would be weird and heartbreaking for me.

Thankfully, my voice is coming back. There is actual vocalization today, but I've been trying to minimize it. It's the little things that we take for granted. Again, thank you, Lord, because I'm not a very good mime.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Familia de Castor

Despite all the catastrophic events leading up to Thanksgiving, we made the decision to go to Long Beach, MS, to Aunt B's house to spend the holiday with the extended Beaver family. PawPaw is not doing well, so it was important that we spend this holiday with them, despite the need to recover from our vacation. Here's a picture of Eli's immediate family (clockwise from upper left; bro, sis-in-law, Dad, Mom, O, Eli, me, E, PawPaw's wife M, Paw Paw, sis).

A picture of my little man:

And my favorite picture of the day:

Evidently, Elsie and I were asleep during all the picture taking since it was her nap time and she would only sleep amid the chaos if we held her, so I held her and took a nap, too. And when we weren't napping, we were swinging on the swingset in the backyard and sliding down the slide.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I did not get any pictures of our Orlando trip. Not a one. I mean, who wants to see the insides of hotels and hospitals? ;)


Photo credits: E. Beaver Photography (Eli's cousin)