Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a DATE?!?! (gasp)

Let me pull you aside and in confidence share this whispered secret -

Zac and I went on a date tonight.  


We honestly couldn't remember the last time we went on a date.  Somehow the days turned into weeks turned into months and we still hadn't taken time for each other.  What we vowed would be weekly date nights we can only laugh about now.  We are lucky to get a monthly date night in!

Tonight we went out for dinner.  It was something so simple yet so special.  Our conversation wasn't interrupted by spilled milk or trying to coerce Feven to eat something.  We had no food prep or dirty dishes to put away after the meal.  We even had someone to BRING US OUR FOOD!  Oh my stars it has been a long time since we've been out to eat together.  Everything seemed like such a luxury!

Zac and I had such a good time talking and laughing together.  He is one great guy.  It was a joy to spend the evening with him.

And in a strange mix of events, we walked out of the restaurant having received a free appetizer and a $20 gift card to entice us to come back!  Our server wasn't aware of our table and didn't come over for the first 15-20 minutes we were seated.  Apparently they thought we were really upset despite how not upset we were.  Anyway, I'm grateful for the freebies and looking forward to another date night there - this time on them!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventures at Bedtime

We've been trying to get Feven to sleep in her toddler bed for a few months now.  When we first introduced it to her, she would lay in there - and stay in there - with no questions asked.  After a few weeks of this, she realized she could get out and would delight in escaping from her bed shortly after we'd leave the room.  We gave up trying to get her to sleep in her bed and instead put her back in the crib.

Tonight we decided to give the bed another try.  After much coaching, Zac was sure she'd stay in her bed.  He left the room and all was well...for 2 minutes.  I was sitting near her door and when it opened I heard a little voice say, "potty."  We entertained her request, and to her credit she actually did go potty.  We coached her again about the importance of staying in bed, and Zac laid her down in her toddler bed once more. 

Miracle of miracles, she stayed in her bed!  We heard no noises coming through the monitor, the door remained shut tightly, and no light was visible from underneath the door.  Zac and I went about our nightly chores for the next hour and finally sat down together in the living room to watch a little Big Bang Theory.

After an episode or two I stepped into the hallway and noticed Feven's door was open and her room light was on!  What in the world?!?  It was now almost 2 hours since her bedtime!  I hadn't heard her door open or any noise coming through the monitor, and she hadn't run out to find us like she usually does when she escapes her bed.

Zac and I tiptoed down the hallway, unsure of what we would find.  Where in the house was Feven and how long had she been out?  As I peered into her room I noticed an empty bed.  I scanned the room to find her sitting in the chair in her bedroom. The zipper to her footie pajamas was unzipped to her knee, and she was looking through a photo album with another book at her side!

Apparently she had woken up and decided to read!  She must have crawled out of bed, turned on the light, grabbed some books off the shelf, and climbed into her chair.  I have NO IDEA how long she was up reading, but when we came in she was quite startled and seemed as if she were half asleep!

I have so many questions about how it all happened, but I know one thing - I will never forget the image of her sitting calmly in the chair, reading her books past bedtime! 

Round 3 of bedtime has just been completed for the night.  This time she's in her crib.  I think this will work out better.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Daughter Who Loves Accessories

Feven is an accessory girl.  It is incredible to watch it unfold in her personality.  She can turn anything into a necklace or bracelet, is obsessed with the jewelry other people are wearing, runs to the mirror to look at herself when she is wearing something for the first time, and is fascinated by painted nails.

I can say with 100% certainty that this is a "nature" quality in her and not a "nurture" quality.  I myself rarely wear jewelry, don't often do much with my hair these days, and have painted my nails once since she came home.  This all has got to come from her birth mom!

Lucky for her, Feven has a lot of women in her life who can help her navigate the world of accessories.  The first one who comes to mind is my sister.  She is always stylin' and has a knack for putting outfits together.  I know she and Feven will be good shopping buddies.  For Christmas my sis got Feven a bunch of dress up clothes, hats, a purse, shoes, and bracelets.  You can imagine how much fun she's been having with those!

Another great woman in Feven's life is my cousin's wife.  Over Christmas, she gifted Feven with a jewelry box she had as kid which was filled with her childhood costume jewelry.  It was quite the hit that day, and continues to be a hit still.  I've found two interesting observations about Feven and her jewelry:

1.) She won't let any other children touch it.  If they even begin to approach it while she has it out and is playing with it, they are given a loud, firm, "NO."

2.) She feels the need to wear!  If one necklace is good, shouldn't five be better?

I like watching her personality unfold, and dreaming about who she will be at age 10, 16, 20.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentine and I

This Valentine's Day Zac was traveling for work, so Feven and I were each other's valentine.

The day started out with a beautiful gift from our heavenly father.  Feven and I awoke to a yard of dazzling white.

I had gotten up early and made heart-shaped scones for her and I for breakfast. 

She helped me make smoothies for us, and I actually let her help this time!  :)  (See this post to find out why this is especially meaningful)

First things first, we needed some tunes!

She was excellent at peeling the bananas...

She took one last look before the blender mixed our smoothie!

And the final product?  A special breakfast with a special girl!

PS - the other love of my life?  Because he wasn't able to be here with me for Valentine's Day, he hid notes around the house, one for every day that he would be gone.  He wanted to make my day(s) special, and he sure did!  He hid them super well - I haven't discovered any by accident!  Each day when we Skype he tells me where I should go looking for the next note!  How sweet! 

Happy Valentine's Day

Celebrating the love of family....


And the "cute boy next door" :)

I wish for you a full heart thinking about all the special people in your life who bring meaning to your days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When I Realized I Am No Fun

I had just measured the flour into each of two bowls for a double batch of banana bread.  I could already taste the warm bread coming out of the oven...the butter disappearing into the slice as soon as it touched the bread...the chocolate chips melting all gooey.  This was certainly the best naptime project one could have!

As I reached for the sugar jar, I heard faint talking coming through the baby monitor.  Noooo!  I just started baking!  I quickly measured the sugar out and then went to check on my girl.  She was awake.  Up for good.

I decided to be SuperMom and have her cook with me.  She LOVES to help, and she was so excited to help me "took" (cook).   

We got the step stool out and she climbed up the two steps.  We rolled up her sleeves, and she smiled as she peered into the bowls.  She was so excited!

"Feven, don't touch the bowls, okay?  We've gotta get out our next ingredient.  Be careful on that step stool.  Stay there, don't move."

I grabbed a teaspoon and baking powder from the cupboard.  She wanted to measure it out, but I knew it would be too messy, so I did it.  I passed the teaspoon her way, still holding it firmly myself.

"Okay Feven, can you dump it in?  Can you tip the spoon into the bowl?"

"Hold."  She said.  She wanted to dump it all by herself.  No way was I going to let go - she would certainly miss the bowl and baking powder would fall on the floor.

"No, mommy's going to hold it with you.  Can you tip it?  Good job!  Let's do it again!"

We proceeded to put in all the ingredients this way, me telling her to "Stay...don't touch the bowl...stay" in between each ingredient.

When it was time to mix in the chocolate chips, I fully relinquished the spoon.  To my dismay, she wasn't familiar with the resistance of the batter, and the spoon with batter went flying up to hit her head.  My dear, sweet, banana-bread-head child.  I took the spoon back and mixed it myself.

"Ick?" she asked.  She wanted to lick some of the dough off the spoon.  I had let her lick the beaters once after making cookie dough, but I knew that banana bread dough wouldn't taste as good.  "No, Feven," I said, "it's icky.  You won't like it."

Shortly thereafter I took notice of her eyes.  They didn't contain the same excitement they did when she ascended the steps of her step stool and first peered in the bowls.  They looked more like eyes that were waiting to be told "No."  And why should they look any different than that?  It's what I was teaching her with my words and actions.

This wasn't the fun mother-daughter cooking party I had imagined in my head.  My desire for things to be measured correctly and the kitchen to stay clean got in the way - majorly got in the way - of time to laugh and bond together.  I regretted every no.  This wasn't cooking together!  This was mommy being no fun at all! 

This is not the legacy I want to leave.  What is the point of delicious banana bread and a clean kitchen if it comes at the expense of the light in my daughter's eyes?

I want her and I to have fun together as we learn and grow.  And most days I feel that I'M the one who has such a long way to go as far as growth is concerned!  She is teaching me so much about myself.  Some things are hard to see and hard to change, but when I look at that dimpled smile, I know that a life depends on me changing and growing.  It's HER life that depends on it.  And I would do anything for her.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fun Hair

I twisted Feven's hair today and it didn't look as awesome as I had pictured in my head.  Some of the twists shot out at odd angles, some bulged in the middle, some didn't appear tight enough, and it just looked sorta frumpy all around - as if it had been slept on even though it was a fresh 'do. 

I was coming to terms with it and giving myself a pep talk when I remembered some barrettes Feven had in her hair box.  I opened the lid and was amazed to see that the little flower clips matched her outfit PERFECTLY in both color and style. 

It was meant to be.

I dug out all the colors that would coordinate with her outfit and began clipping them in.  She wasn't too sure about it at first, but quickly found that she enjoyed twirling her head back and forth and making the twists fly like those big swing rides at carnivals.  I wish I had snapped a video of her swinging her head back and forth and loving the feeling of her hair and barrettes against her face.  I DID manage to get a couple photos of it, though!  Enjoy!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Just the Average Day

Here's a 2-minute window into how Feven and I spend our days.  Note how quickly she changes activities and how ready she is at the end with, "Cheese!"  It's like this kid's mom always has the camera out or something.  Sheesh!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Gentle, Convicting Reminder

Since the beginning of the new year, I've been trying to devote more time to studying the Bible.  I used to read the Bible most everyday, but only for a short duration of time each day.  After a conversation with a friend over Christmas, I was inspired to dive in more.  She said that her new understanding of quiet time is showing up and not leaving until you've understood something in a new way, felt God moving in your life, etc.

That thought was new to me - that perhaps I can have really good quiet time (defined by a new revelation, strong conviction, or feeling of closeness to God) EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Maybe it isn't just meant to be here and there, as God works his way into my few minutes a day, but maybe I'm supposed to show up and wait for Him to show up too.

So each day during naptime I bring my quiet time basket to the kitchen table.  I take out my Bible, journal, and gratitude journal, and I wait to see what happens.

There hasn't been a day where I've regretted that time I've spent with God.

But the silliest thing is, it's so hard for me to get to the kitchen table some days!  I find a sense of urgency to check my email, Facebook, or cross SOMETHING off the to-do list, for heaven's sake! before I sit down and open my Bible.

My latest excuse for dawdling has been exhaustion.  It has been a tiring stretch of parenting, and Zac has been gone a bit too so I've been single-parenting it.  When Feven's naptime comes around, I find myself saying in my head, "I really need to take care of myself so I can be my best self for her.  I should read a book for fun or have a little downtime this naptime.  Maybe I should take a nap myself so I'm energized and ready to go when she is."

Just today at the kitchen sink I found myself thinking along these same lines.  And from the back of my mind I remembered Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

I need to go to God for my restoration.  Only he can refresh me and renew me in the ways I need.  And while I think that I know those ways, he knows me infinitely better than I know myself.  Sometimes He may lead me to my bed to take a nap - it's true - but if I don't go to Him first, I'll never know what HE is intending for me that day.

So it is with hopeful steps today that I walk to my quiet time basket, grab the braided wicker handle, and make my way to the kitchen table again.  I am looking forward to seeing how He will refresh this weary soul.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Walkin' in Mama's Shoes

Feven, like all children, loves to walk around with Mom and Dad's shoes on.

However, it can get tiring really fast.  So much work!

That's when you need to take a break and do a little yoga.

And if that doesn't get you moving again, you can always try the splits.