Monday, May 25, 2015

memorial day 2015

I like Memorial Day. It's low stress & is usually out of doors. The food is good: grilled, fresh, & best eaten with your hands. 

We were a little lonely this Memorial Day: the family was all out in Iowa for a wedding except for us & the four youngest kids. My family was there too, making me even more lonesome. 

We made the most of playing parents to Katie & Riley. We took them fishing. 

This is what we ladies did. I have yet to get a pole...I keep expecting every birthday & Christmas to bring a long skinny package,( hint hint Dar.) Although then I'd have to pay attention instead of just enjoying this beautiful PNW misty view. And I'd have to put my sketchbook down. And maybe even clean my fish...hmm, might have to rethink the pole.

They didn't catch any fish (don't bring it up with the boys-point of pride here), but it was a lovely way to while away the Memorial Day weekend. And Fee seemed to enjoy it, too. 

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, people!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dairy Free

Being a mom is a different cat altogether. I've never had to be so responsible for the life of another. It's terrifying. And infants can't talk. So when something's wrong, it's up to the mother to take notice. Yikes! I'm not very good at it.
And she's been so healthy overall, but she has been having some blood issues. I took her in to the doctor & they did some stool samples. It came back positive for an allergen of some sort. First, I cut out dairy, the number one allergen. Sad, sad day. No more cream drizzled on my oatmeal, no more late night cold glass of milk, no more yogurt for a midmorning snack. But the problem didn't resolve. So I have an appointment with a specialist in June. Until then, I've also cut out eggs & soy, the other top two allergens for breastfed infants. It's taking some creativity & serious willpower to eat like that. But there are lots of options out there these days due to all the fad diets & awareness of food sensitivities.

To be honest, I feel like such a poser with almond milk, imitation cheese shreds (never ever again! Think, velveeta meets poster tac.), & coconut milk in my grocery cart. But it must be done.

And there are lots of dairy free recipes out there: I made some almond date breakfast bars to snack on because my usual go to snack, granola bars, all have soy in them. Actually they were sunflower seed craisin bars because I had neither almonds or dates around. It works.

And who knew you could whip coconut cream? And it's sooo good!

The grill has become my best friend for dinner. Dar's eyes lit up when I lamented that I'd just have to do all plain ol' meat cuts instead of casseroles.

But it could be so much worse. Fiona is doing so well. She's started to get chubby little cheeks that I can't resist nibbling. She's outgrown her newborn diapers. (I almost saved one just so I could remember how tiny they were!)
I got a little teary when I put these sweetest of little dresses away. I probably wore them too long on her anyway.

She's cooing & batting at toys & soaking up the world around her. I put her in a bumbo seat today, & she fit it!! Where has my little 6# newborn gone? She weighs a whopping 9#8 ounces now. My biceps realize this even if my heart doesn't.
So we are thankful for her health & normalness. This blood thing is okay. It reminds me to pray for her & dedicate her to God for His protection.
Whatever it is, it will be okay. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

first smiles + peonies

Perhaps there are sweeter things in the world. 
But I can't think of anything sweeter than my little girl's first smiles & the first blushing peonies of summer.

Monday, May 11, 2015

the most important work

Mother's Day had a whole new meaning this year. For I am a mother. How odd. I don't feel like one. This lady is one. A good one. She is a wonderful gift-giver & can make the best peach custard pie ever. She can sew like no one's business & tries her best to make everyone happy. She wears her gray hair with dignity. I'm just now beginning to realize her selflessness & the sacrifices she's made as a single mother of seven. Will I ever really understand the daunting task of raising seven children alone? Probably not. I wish I would've been more appreciative & grateful to her. I am now. Though I still don't tell her often. But Mother's Day is a reminder. So, thank you, Mom, for all you've done, all you do, and all I know you will continue to do. 

 And now I'm a mom.
 I don't feel like one.
I don't know what I'm doing.
Dar will ask me what's wrong with Fiona if she's crying, & if it's not hunger or a messy diaper, I don't know what to tell him. There are times I look at her helplessly, at a loss of what to do. I get a little frustrated sometimes that my day's accomplishments consist of getting the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. And this is the easy part. What will I do when she starts sassing me? When she tells her first lie? When she (help!) turns into the teenager I was?!
But, to be a is what I've always wanted. Even if I didn't always realize it.
It is the most challenging task I've ever undertaken. Because it is requiring everything of me, unconditionally, & the end result is the soul of another. I've never done anything so important & terrifying in all my life.

"Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work."
-C.S. Lewis

Here I am, with my most important work. Under a hanging basket her dad picked out as a gift for my first mother's day. In keeping with what his mother always got. I expect there are are many hanging baskets in my future:). I also got to sit back & watch while breakfast was made for me. Crepes. Made fresh: as soon as I finished one, he flipped another on my plate. My favorite. I couldn't be more pleased with this Mother's Day. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rhody Gardens

There are some things that set apart an Oregonian from the rest: 1) filberts = hazelnuts 2) there are blueberries, & there are blueberries 3) phonics aside, it is Wil-LAM-ette, not WIL-a-mette. 4) they had a north face before North Face was cool 5) rhododendrons are rhody's. 

We enjoyed the Rhody Gardens with our friends one Sunday afternoon. A little rain just made the colors that much more vibrant & saturated. 

The babies had a grand ol' time & my umbrella made Dak's afternoon.


So glad to live in such a place of beauty! And even better? To have friends to share it with!

Fiona 3,4, & 6 weeks

It's incredible watching an infant grow. I'm going to get a monthly photo of her next to my old green bear to measure her growth. These posts are for me, so I don't forget these fragile first moments. Feel free to follow along or just scroll through for the photos! 

Three Weeks
She got baby acne & started to be more alert. 
Bathtime is something she's enjoyed from the start. A look of pure relaxation comes over her when I rinse her hair. I love her after-bath hair, so curly & fluffy. 
Her hair color is hard to define; a little bit of brown, a hint of red, gleams of honey.
She's a good sleeper for the most part, & prefers to sleep in her cozy carseat instead of the bassinet. I can't get her to keep her arms swaddled though!
I had to call the Dr. about some blood in her poo. She told me to cut out milk, & if that didn't help, all dairy. Sad day for this dairy farmer's daughter!

Four Weeks
Had her first fussy spell (I know; we're spoiled beyond words)-I think it was a growth spurt, but who knows. I sure don't. I've never felt so clueless as I do with a child, my own child! Still strange!
Loooves to be held. I looove to hold.
Dar thinks she's going to have blue eyes. We both have brown/hazel, but our mothers are both blue-eyed so it's a possibility. I think probability will win out & she'll have brown. Loser owes winner dinner.
Has a sweet way of smacking her lips in her sleep & quivering
Met her aunties Wendy & Shara for the first time
Can sleep through utter chaos at the Sinn's
Still has blood in her poo, so I'm cutting out all dairy.

Six weeks
Smiled for real! Just in time too; another fussy spell was starting to wear on me, but her smile...swoon.
Starting to prefer being held upright to cuddled.
Rolled from tummy to back at Mom & Dad Sinn's. Purely an accident, I suspect. She hasn't done it again yet.
Her newborn clothes are just now fitting well. She's a peanut at 8#2oz.
She loves to be talked to & will crane her neck to find me if she hears my voice. 
Dar gets smiles from her more easily than I, I think! He goes straight to her when he gets home from work.
She has a new whiny cry that means,  "Pick me up or play with me!"
Her belly button was growing some extra tissue so the Dr. cauterized it. A totally painless, easy procedure to my relief. The tissue should fall off soon & she'll finally have a normal looking belly button!
Her blood issue is lessening, but hasn't completely disappeared. I will take her in to have it checked out soon.
Her eyelashes suddenly shot out & are as long as mine! I love seeing them rest against her full little cheeks while she's sleeping.
Still sleeping good except for a few days of fussiness. Will go four hours at night! woohoo!

JR + Larissa come to town

Larissa's been my friend for as long as I can remember. It's a cliche, but in this case, it's true. We are cousins, went to the same grade school, elementary school, junior high, highschool. There is little we don't know about each other. It may be that there are 2,000 miles between us & weeks where the lines of communication are silent, but when we are together is it the same comfortableness that shared an entire bag of skittles, that made up our own secret language, that ate my sister's flavored lip gloss together. Those days are long gone (obviously. I haven't had the urge to eat watermelon lip gloss in quite a while), but our friendship is still here. And now we are in the same stage again. It was so fun to have them here!

We spent as much time outdoors as possible. Trevor was a good little guy & loved throwing the golf balls around while his dad improved his game. Larissa & I got some good quality talks, ahem, I mean walks in. The weather cooperated beautifully for them, & we spent at least part of every day in the fresh air.

 I hit up the tulip festival one last time. The cow train was a first though:). Everyone should ride the cow train at least once in their lifetime. The tulips were mostly done, but Trevor had fun running from one activity to the next. 
One of the things I love most about getting visitors here is meshing them with my new friends here in Oregon. It shortens the distance between here & there. Moving didn't chop my circle of friends: it gave me the opportunity to watch it expand in ways I never imagined! It reminds me of a game we used to play in P.E. class (that's Physical Education. Does everyone call it that?) called "amoeba tag". One person was "it", & once they tagged someone, that person had to link arms & help the original "it" tag people. The "it" group quickly had a sea of arms that could reach out & touch people: so much more powerful & extensive than just the original "it". I love the connections! It gives me a sense of stability & belonging. The shift from there to here isn't quite so sharp & final when there are connections between the people I love. 

I had to include this photo. We showed up at Duane & Adriana's house & realized that not only did blue-eyed, blond-haired JR, Larissa, & Trevor all match (unplanned actually), but blue-eyed, blond-haired Dakota coordinated right along with them. I tried to get her to pose with them for a mock family photo, but the best I could get was just with Trevor. Anyway, I thought it was funny. Yay for friends & random matching!

Thanks so much for coming, Larissa! Come back again before Trevor's all grown up.