Tuesday, February 26, 2013

...of 10 months

Pretend this was posted four days ago.  It was ready then, but I was waiting to take her 10 month picture, which I finally did this morning.  So here. You can all stop bothering me now!  Just kidding. I don't think anyone but me even noticed that it was late :)

The 22nd was Selah's 10 month birthday!
I say this every time, but I cannot believe she is that old.  I know a lot has happened since she was born, but it still feels like she should be a tiny baby. However, this is not the case, as she is getting bigger and more interactive and doing more and more new things every day. She is such a little cutie pie face and still has her adorable big cheeks.
Quinn has suggested "cheeks" as a nickname for her, but it just hasn't stuck.  She still gets called Sell Bell more than anything.  Even Abram is catching on and often asks, "Where's Seya Beya?" if we ever go anywhere without her.  I love her huge, beautiful, inquisitive eyes and her scrunchy nose and eyes when she smiles.  She still has only five teeth.  Strange that three have been in on the bottom for quite awhile now with no sign of that matching fourth one.  Hmmm...

Well, enough random facts about my sweet, sweet girl.  Let's move on to the big stuff...

Date: Feb 21st, 2013

Weight: Still no clue.  Some day soon we will go to the doctor for a well visit and the mystery of her weight will be put to rest.  Until then, I'll say what I've said before: she doesn't feel like she's growing exponentially or anything.  She's still pretty small and even seems to be thinning out in the thigh area a bit.

Clothing size: Pretty much the same.  I put her in 6 month onesies still, but she can wear 9 month ones now.  I've pretty much retired most of the 6 month sleepers, although the 9 months ones are still a little big.  

Feedings per day: 4 or 5 nursing, 3 solid food meals.

Naps: Erratic.  On a good day, two one and a half hours ones.  Or an over two hour one and a 45 minute one in the afternoon.  On a bad day, two or three 45 minuters.  Still no real schedule to speak of, but we make each day work as best as we can.

New skills: Pushing up on her legs and holding her bum in the air. Beginning to pull up on things if she can get an adequate grab.  Signing "more".  Eating table foods.  High fives.

Teeth: Stuck at five for over a month now... weird.

Favorite thing: Yucking it up with Abram at the dinner table.  Brother's cars. Exploring.

Least favorite thing: Her afternoon nap.  It's never the easy one. Being laid on her back for a diaper change.  But once she gets there, she usually just hangs out until we flip her over.
She totally knows how to roll over.  She just likes to pause and reflect on stuff for a bit.

Potential Personality traits: She's still a stone face sometimes.  
Did you ever play that game "Honey, I love you, will you please, please smile?" where you did wacky things to try and get the other person to laugh? You win if you can do it, they win if you can't.  Selah would be a master.  There are times we try absolutely everything and she will not crack a grin.  Other times she's a giggle monster.

Brother/Sisterness: He is getting really good at sharing with her.  She is not.  Now she has the ability to just motor up to Abram and grab at whatever he happens to be playing with (almost always a car or truck).  He gets a little upset, because he's been told that you never take anything out of someone's hand and, here she is, doing just that.  So I try to explain that she's a baby and she doesn't know better and try to tell her not to do it.  Just today, I was trying to distract her from his toys with something else and he said, "Selah have a turn" and passed his truck over to her.  So good!  Then we gave it back to him about a minute later, he played with it, and a few minutes later he offered her another turn.  He repeated it about three or four times!  I was so proud of him.  

 So happy ten months to our amazing blessing of a baby girl!  Very soon she will be a whole year old.  Can't believe it Sel. Before I know it you're going to be wanting to go on dates and getting married and stuff.  Noooooo!


The End.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

... of innovation

This is along the lines of my Seat Sling contraption, although I'm not looking to sell this (I guess I ended up not really looking to sell that one either).  I just thought I'd share a little solution I came up with to help with a common mom problem.

Abram slept in a Peapod from August of last year until the end of January of this year.  That's 6 months of a two year old sleeping in a tent. This may sound horrible to some people, but he loved it.  He got so used to it and it was a little like a security blanket for him.  We didn't let him have anything in there with him while he was sleeping, but just being in it made him so comfortable.  We slept in eight houses over the course of those  six months (and he took naps in a few others) but, by the grace of God, his naps and nighttime sleep were pretty amazingly consistent.  Even the transition over here went really well.  I thank God for the Peapod and I would recommend it to anyone with a child over six or seven months (or whenever they start being able to intentionally roll over).  It's been recalled because there have been a few instances where it was found to be potentially unsafe for young babies.  I will readily admit that we moved Selah out of her Peapod and into a pack n play for the month that she started rolling, but couldn't really control it yet.  But we still love ours for our kids, now that they are older.  She loved hers as much as he loved his and they even allowed them the ability to sleep for a good 10 hours in JFK airport during our 21 hour layover on the way here (God answered some serious prayer there).

One of the reasons I love the Peapod is that it forces the child to lay down.  When they are forced to lay down when they are tired, they will inevitably fall asleep.  Kids who can stand up and cry or stand up and jump around or can and do get out of bed at will, will obviously have a harder time falling asleep.  Selah is just now starting to pull up on things and I am anticipating some issues with her sleeping when she is able to do that in her bed. We moved her to a crib pretty quickly when we moved here, but we weren't able to find/afford a bed for Abram until a few weeks ago.

We decided to get him a crib that can have one of the sides removed when he is ready, instead of just going straight to a toddler bed.  In the house we are living in right now, his "room" is a curtained off area in a very large room where we all sleep.
There is a toddler open-able door leading to the kitchen and a door that doesn't even close going to the bathroom.  When he takes naps, we do a lot of stuff in our living room, which is, in essence, "next door".  So I was worried that if he were able to wake up and get out of his bed whenever he wanted, we would possibly not even be over in that part of the house and he would be free to do whatever his little heart desired, if he did it quietly (we obviously have a monitor - but not a video one).  So, that's why he's in a crib.

We got the Gulliver one from Ikea and he really liked being in it from the start.  He wanted to play in it and when he went to bed the first night, there were no problems.  And there have never been any night time problems with it.  The problems arose during the day.  When I put him down for his nap, his new found standing freedom would win out over his desire to sleep and he would end up jumping in his bed and just standing up because he could, making lots of noise and never going to sleep.

After a few days of no naps, I started to really miss the Peapod.  So we moved him back for a few days while I got inventive and fashioned this out of the only large piece of fabric I brought with me, some bias tape, and a few little snaps:

It's lightweight cotton, so it breathes well and the sides are open, so he definitely gets air. It attaches around each leg with snaps and around the sides of the top for extra tautness.

We put him in/get him out by unsnapping just the front ones and folding it back.  The first day we had it on, he messed with it a little, but was asleep within 20 minutes.  So much better than being left in his bed for an hour and a half only to never fall asleep.  I think we've had it on for at least a week and his naps have been consistent and long - usually around his normal 2-3 hours.  It also makes it a tad darker in there, since our bedroom has some very high uncovered windows and his room is never dark during the day.

The risky shot.

It wasn't difficult to sew.  Just attaching two pieces together to make the right width, hemming all the way around, and attaching the bias tape as the "ties" at six points.  Then I marked where the snaps should go to pull it tight, hammered those in and it was ready to go!  Super easy!

Well, speaking of naps, my sweet baby girl is on the verge of waking her brother up because she is refusing to sleep and I am letting her cry it out a little.  She took a 2.5 hour one this morning, but she seems tired again, but something must be bothering her.  Better go.

Happy napping!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

...of a new decade

 *Note: I have linked this post UP!  I thought it would be fun to reference some of the events and experiences I talk about.  Feel free to click through... or not.  Some are short, some are long (coughbirthstoriescough).  Some are relevant, some are not.  Just a warning.*

As of tomorrow I will be three decades old.  Decades sound long.  The number three does not.  That's kind of how I feel about it all.  I feel like there is so much that I've been through in life, so many memories and moments, but when I really think about it, I don't feel very old.  Sometimes I still have moments when I'm rocking my very large kid to sleep and I feel small and young - like a college student pretending to be a mother.  Is that bad?  I guess I can't see why it would be.

My 20's were marked by drastic changes.  A LOT happened in the last ten years.  I mean, I'm literally a whole new person.  The biggest change being the reality of my depravity and my need for Jesus as my savior and my desire to want to worship Him and follow Him with everything that I have.  I've known Him and the Good News of what God did for me since I was... well, as far back as I can remember.  But it didn't hit my heart and change my life until this last decade.

I used to want to be an actress.  A famous one.  Not just the honorable kind that does projects that have integrity and are at least mildly redeeming, but doesn't care if people recognized me at the grocery store.  No, I wanted to be recognized and I wanted to win Oscars and have lots of money.  I wanted that from the time I was 8 until I was about 23.  My teenage years were marked with crushes on boys, but no boyfriends and only an intense focus of my goal of  "becoming famous". Of course, I never would have put it in those words at the time.  But that was it. Now, I know many actors, who studied along side me at Pepperdine, who are continuing to pursue a career in film and television.  They've persevered and I didn't and I believe it's because  my motives were so very selfish and so very shallow. My wonderful friends are incredible people who love the Lord and know that, for various reasons, that is the career path He has given them.  I discovered around the age of 23, that it was not mine and He had very different plans for my life.

I can't even begin to recount the eventfulness of my 20s. A long story short would be that I moved to Austin from Los Angeles, still hoping to pursue a career in acting. But The Lord used my first wonderful church home to reveal to me more about Himself and what He wanted me to do with my life.  It was at that church that God brought Quinn and I together.  I cannot adequately describe in words what a gift from God that man has been to me.  He has loved me and continues to love me, even when I know I make it very hard.  He has always encouraged me to pursue Jesus before anything else.  He gently reproves me and holds me accountable.  He leads me wonderfully and humbly and so lovingly and I cannot believe that I have only known him for less than seven years.

There was a stint of three years in that decade that I spent as a high school theatre teacher.  I have no doubt that God had that perfectly planned for me.  It was the longest, hardest, most tiring, and most rewarding paying job I've ever and probably will ever have.  I decided that I couldn't keep doing it even before we found out we were going to have Abram.  I admire and am in awe of my teacher friends who have figured out how to graciously balance investing in their students' lives while still being incredible mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives.  I couldn't do it. So I gave it up for the most rewarding paid or unpaid job I will ever have: being a mother.

Abram Quinn has spent the last two years of this decade of my life teaching me about God's love for me through my love for that adorable, rowdy, loving, smart, sinful, precious boy.  I've learned so much through him and my sweet, incredible little Selah about the purity of God's love for me.  Having children is such an amazing picture God gives us for His love for us as our father, just like marriage is the best picture He has given us of his love for us as His bride.  It isn't until the children hit the age (for mine, it was about one year) when you see that you still love them just as much when they begin to disobey, talk back, hit, kick, become defiant, throw fits, and are overall just plain unreasonable.  I image that having a teenager helps complete that picture, but two years old is a good start.  I love my kids more and more every day and God uses that love to strengthen my love for Him daily as well.

So now, I am on the verge of beginning my fourth decade of life (ok, that makes me feel old).  Not only have we just moved across the world to a completely foreign country where I don't know the language but we are helping to do something I never thought I would be doing (click here if you want to know more about that).  God is teaching me every day that, while I feel like my role as a mother will now and forever be my most important one, in actuality it is simply to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as myself.  If that comes first for the rest of my life, it will completely inform my role as a mother and make me the best one that I can possibly be - not of my own strength or intelligence (or I would fail miserably) - but by the power of Jesus, His Spirit in me and the work He did for me on the cross.  What better birthday present could a girl ask for?

Now for some recent pictures of my other wonderful gifts:

Look how far I've come:
Thank you Dad and Mom.  You deserve more credit for this day than I do :)  Love you guys.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

...of real communication

Both my children are making strides in their communication abilities recently.  Abram is getting a better and bigger vocabulary everyday.  His sentences are more coherent and we have less instances of just not knowing what he's talking about now.  He still has things that he says strangely.  Like he can't say his "L"s.  So Selah's name is still "Sey-ah".  Also "R"s are hard.  Or, should I say "hawd".  And he still can't say "sp" (comes out as an f sound) or "oi" (boy and toy sound like "bee-oh" and "tee-oh"...?...)  But overall he is fully comprehending almost everything we say to him and able to tell us what he wants and needs rather than throwing fits. He never was a big temper tantrum kid, but they do happen and it's nice to be able to use the "I'm sorry, I can't understand what you are saying when you talk like that" tactic and have him be able to respond by calmly saying whatever he had previously been whining or crying about.  He's two, though, so our expectations can't be too high.

Selah has understood the word "clap" for about a month now - clapping when we just say the word and not having to see someone doing it.  This made me think that she would pick up on sign language if we started trying it with her.  With Abram, I diligently did more, all done, and please from four months old.  Not surprisingly, it wasn't until about 10 or 11 months that he picked it up.  With Selah, I didn't bother with it early and just started it recently and she's already starting to get the hang of it.  Just yesterday she started using the "more" sign!  Pretty big news!  It's always awesome when your kids can start to let you know what they want, rather than you having to guess what they need or how much they want of something.  The thing that got her going was hummus (over here it's said more like "hummos") on bread.  She was a big fan and chowed down a whole slice of bread.  I got a few videos of her saying more.  This one she only really does it once, but it was the one with the least focus problems.
They are growing up so fast!  I can't believe it!  Selah is slowly but surely heading out of baby-dom and soon we will have a toddler and a full-on kid running around our house.  I'm trying to savor it instead of hurrying her through it.  Her 45 minute naps have made that savoring a little difficult, but I know for a fact that this too shall pass.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

... of a bathtub

Our bathroom here does not have a bathtub.  It looks like it did have one at one time.  But it was ripped out and replaced with a corner shower bottom.  Like, we had to buy a special curtain rod from Ikea to put up because there was none.  Just the cracking and unstable bottom of a shower with a drain and then a faucet and a shower head.  This is fine for Quinn and I, but has proven difficult where the children are concerned.  Up until now we were giving them quick separate baths in a borrowed infant tub that we would put in that bottom of a shower.  It worked fairly well for Selah, but poor Abram.  Play time was fine, but the actual bathing was quite epic.  His poor little legs would drape over the side as he cocked his head in order to be able to lie down.  He has to lie down because he doesn't get the head tipping back thing.  So soap and water  are going into eyes and tears are coming out.  Anyway.  We dealt with it.  Then one day I started dreaming of a solution.

The bathroom is weirdly large (which is why I think there was a bath tub in it before). So there's this huge open space in between the shower and the sink and I thought, "we could totally fit a baby pool in here!"

It was a pipe dream until a few weeks ago when we were parked in front of a little odds 'n' ends shop waiting for Quinn to come back with the Egyptian pizza we've been going to get every few weeks for dinner (it's pretty good stuff!).  I was looking in the window and saw a large display of inflatable pools.  I had no idea how much they were, but I made note of it. The last few weeks I've been selling Quinn on the idea.  We've been 13 days without city water coming into our house and so baths (and showers) have had to be sacrificed for toilet flushing and minimal dish washing.  Needless to say, the kids were starting to look a little grubby last night when Quinn headed out to pick up our monthly Egyptian pizza dinner.  I reminded him about the inflatable pool bath tub idea and asked him to run into the shop and see how much they were charging for them.  We decided that 40 dhs or less was reasonable (around $10).  When he came back with one for 45 dhs, I was so excited!  Our kids would finally get to have their first sibling bath (and finally get to have the dried snot from the week scrubbed off of their faces).  Yip!

So I used all my hot air to inflate the pool as Abram and Selah watched excitedly from their high chairs.  When dinner was finally over, Abram nearly jumped out of his high chair, ran to the bathroom, and stripped of all his clothes in under a minute.  We got Selah undressed, filled the pool with as much (or as little) water as we could afford and plopped them in.

It's a little difficult to have fun bath time, especially with Selah, because she wants to put everything in her mouth and we were really trying to keep them from ingesting any of the water.  We've had a water truck deliver water directly to our tank and few times now and the water is significantly dirtier and grosser looking than city water, so who knows.  So the bath was pretty quick with a lot of, "not in your mouth, baby girl"s.

Overall, I'd say it was much more fun and successful than the infant tub.  Yay for ingenuity.  And yay for naked babies.

She looks really orange in this picture.  I think it's partially the lighting and partially that she is really kinda orange from all the orange foods she eats.  But it's definitely not this bad in real life.

And finally a cute shot of my boys:
Aren't they handsome?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

... of an emotional roller coaster

I have discovered that having kids (at least for me) is a little like having manic depression. We can have a great morning filled with giggles and politeness, art projects and obedience. Only to be followed by an afternoon filled with fervent prayers for peace in my heart as they refuse to sleep in their over tired state, or talk so loudly in "their" (read: his) bed that "they" wake the other just fell asleep one up. Or wake/keep themselves up trying to poop. Or put "their" hands in "their" poopy diapers in "their" beds to be discovered by me with hands covered in poop after an hour of obviously not going to sleep (guess who). On a side note: I hope that does not become a regular occurrence. Thumb sucking and poopy hands cannot intermingle in one child. One or both must stop immediately. If I had to pick one it would be the latter.

So this afternoon has been a bit of a low. With any luck, this evening will be filled with happiness and goodness again. If not, there's always tomorrow.

Here's some pictures of the fun art project morning. I didn't get any pictures of the poopy afternoon. I would apologize, but I don't think you're probably that disappointed.