baby gear goodbyes

Today I gave away several baby items. A lady at church sent an email to the congregation, asking if anyone had baby gear. I guess she's expecting a grandson in a month or so, and they don't have much yet. I gave Melody's swing, bouncy seat and infant car seat. I found the swing at a garage sale, and the other items were given to us. I figured we might as well give it away if someone else needs it, and we can find good deals again when we have another baby someday. (The car seat is already four years old, so it will "expire" in one year.)

As I loaded my station wagon with the stuff, a wave of sentimental memories came over me. I thought back to three hour swing naps, showers with the bouncy seat nearby, and miles and miles of car time with the red & black used car seat. I ran inside the house, grabbed the phone, and called Chad.

"All of the sudden I'm not sure if we should give this stuff away. Do you think we should keep it? Or am I just being sentimental?"

"You didn't like the bouncy seat, remember? Next time we'll buy one that bounces better." With sweet reasoning, Chad suggested we give it away because others need it right now and we won't use it again anytime soon. At least that's the plan.

It seems like everyone around me is having their second baby. I posted about this a few days ago. Since that post, two more people have popped up pregnant. Part of me worries that I'll get left in the dust and be the only mama with just one baby. This is silly, I know... maybe it has do with fear of being left out? But when I truly consider having another baby, I'm not ready. I am enjoying this time with Melody so much. I don't want anything to distract from it. Of course, if we turned up surprise pregnant again, I'd be ecstatic. There's something really different about planning out an event and God just handing it to you unexpectedly.


laptop and headboard

My coffee turned out weak today. I'm drinking from a fun striped starbucks mug from my sister-in-law. She is a good gift-giver. She recently got a job at Starbucks, so we'll be getting free coffee every now and then. (Starbucks employees get a pound of free coffee a week.)

Last week was one of big purchases for me. First I ordered a new Mac!! For months we've been ready to buy a new laptop. When we moved in October we decided to keep our other house as a rental. It took four long months to find a renter. (Lesson: don't put a house on the market in October.) Paying two mortgages was not fun. We waited until we had renters to buy the computer, just to be safe. (Sidenote: our tenants are expecting their first baby. It was hard for me to leave Melody's first nursery, so this news made me happy. I hope they enjoy her aqua blue room.)

I decided to get a 14" iBook. I wanted a laptop because we are limited to dialup internet access at our house. This way, if I have to do heavy duty web photo searching or something like that, I can take the laptop to a wireless place and go crazy. It's also just so fun to have a laptop. For travel, for convenience, and for feeling cool. (Like Carrie Bradshaw.)

The other big purchase was a queen size headboard!!! Chad and I have been very slow in aquiring furniture. It's a foreign world to him. We have a bed. What's the purpose of a headboard? Well, on Saturday we decided to move our bed to a different spot in the room. (He likes to mix things up every few months. I prefer to find the right placement and keep it there, but whatever.) As we were deciding which wall to put the bed on, I sighed and said, "It doesn't matter. Let's just keep it away from the doorway so people in the hallway don't see it. It's ugly."

This is the point when he changed into a different person than my husband. He said, "We can get a headboard if you want."


"Yea, why don't you go buy one today?"


Less than five minutes later I was in my car, on the highway, heading toward Pier 1, with a huge smile plastered to my face. In the midst of my happy dancing thoughts came a question, "What happened to my husband?" I'd never seen this impulsive, nonchalant side of him before. I embraced it, obviously. (It's a good thing he doesn't tell me to buy things more often, because you can see that we'd be in trouble.)

At Pier 1 I picked a dark wood, asain inspired, queen size headboard. It was on sale for $229. It took us over five years to drop $229 on a headboard when we spend that kind of money on other things all the time. For instance, traveling. Three years ago we spent $1200 EACH on plane tickets to Africa. (That was actually a really good deal too.) It's also easy for us to spend money to help others. It feels good and right to send monthly help to the orphans we met in Africa. I'm glad we have deep pockets when it comes to giving.

It was such a different thrill to buy something for myself. As we set up the bed in our room last night I felt like a little girl. Afterward, I spent 2 hours folding laundry, vacuuming dust bunnies, putting away piles of random things, and hanging things on the walls. Typically, our room the one that goes unnoticed. This morning, it was fun to wake up to a clean, happy, furnished room. I made the bed right after I got up. (Unheard of.)

Back to the shopping day. On my drive home from the store, the question returned, "What happened to my husband?" I called him to say I was on my way. He said, "You'll need to use your 5% from the next few freelance jobs to pay for the headboard." Upon hearing his words a smile danced on my lips and contentedly thought, "Ah-ha. There's my husband."

(I use 5% of my freelance income for ME, whether that be toward furniture, decor, clothes, or mochas. It's a great incentive to get more work.)


about being home

We moved four months ago. I'm finally feeling settled in our new house. It takes me forever to get established in a new place. I am not one of those people who has stuff on the walls three days after moving. Try more like a year. It's bad, and I don't know why I'm this way. My mom and her mom are the same though. Those darn genes!

Awhile back I read an article in Real Simple magazine about organization and cleaning. I was mesmerized. The article made so much sense; I don't know why I can't think that way on my own. For instance, it said to keep things in the room where you will use them. So if I'm going to iron in my bedroom, store the iron in that room. Duh. As I unpacked, I followed this rule. Now the packaging tape, craft paper, wrapping paper, gift bags, are all together in the office. I put things together on my desk. It works like a charm.

I'm also figuring out a way to keep things tidy. I realized that Mondays are a good day for me to clean. I've had social interaction all weekend because Chad is home and we hang out with our friends. This makes me content to be home all day on Mondays. (Most weekdays I get stir crazy around 12:30, and I bolt outta the house like it's on fire. It's the curse of being an extrovert.)

So, last Monday I stayed home all day, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. It felt so good. The rest of the week I simply tidied up each day. I love the way the kitchen/breakfast area looks when everything is put away. I have a lone square candle on the round kitchen table. When the room clean, I like the light the candle and enjoy the ambiance. I know, I know... what a thrill. I'm not positive I've found the secret to a clean home, but I think I'm on the right track, and I'm excited about it. When things are clean I have more creative ideas for life in general.

Another thing I'm excited about these days is my new babysitter. She's a college student and she comes over for two hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am paying her $6 a hour, plus $3 per trip, because we live about 20 minutes from the campus.

I look forward to this four hours of solace with all my heart. So far, I've been home each time she has been here. I go into the office, close the french doors, and get busy. I pay bills. prepare for my class, email, and get a grip on non-mom stuff. Even paying bills is fun when I can focus. My next huge task is to organize all the papers that have mounded up since 2004. I might have to have a babysitting marathon to get a handle on that project.

Aftering becoming a stay at home mom, I didn't have many problems adjusting to the mom part of the task. I love taking care of Melody's needs. The home part of the job has been harder for me to master. It's been 13 months and I'm finding my groove. It feels good.


my first rainbow

Three of my friends had babies recently. All of them gave birth to their second-borns. Seeing these newbies reminds me of so much. Memories of Melody's first year blur together, forming a colorful timeline in my mind.

When she was brand new I'd panic at the end of each day. Being up with her in the night was tedious. I dreaded the solitary task. The minutes clicked by so slowly as her needs kept my heavy eyelids from rest. Those difficult nights are the blue and purple memories.

Complementing them are brighter colors. These times are numerous and hold angelic hues of yellow and orange. Each day around 10:00am I'd marvel at how wonderful it was to be at home with my baby instead of at work. After working full time for 6 years, being home each day was a surreal change. We would lay side-by-side on the queen size bed. She nursed and I stared at her tiny body so close and warm and light. Occasionally I'd wake up to realize we'd both been asleep for hours, perhaps after one of the hard nights mentioned above. We shared baths, read Jane Austen, went for walks, danced slowly to Sinead O'Connor's, Thank You For Hearing Me, and stared at each other all the time.

I cannot leave out the vague grey memories. These come from foggy, tearful hours of confusion and unrest. It took four months for me to fully accept and realize I was depressed. The magnitude didn't dawn on me until an antidepressant began working. Here is where the greenest, happiest memory lies. Melody was late in her fourth month. One morning I bathed and dressed her. Then, as I held my clean fresh baby close, I sang to her. Somewhere in the middle of the song it came to me; it was the first time I'd ever sung to her. It was in that bright green moment that I knew taking the antidepressant was the right thing to do.

When Melody was nine months, we stopped breast feeding. Although I had misgivings about weaning before 12 months, it was a relief to stop wondering if my milk was enough for her. With this relief, came times of red and pink. I had new energy. My cycle returned and I lost the rest of the pregnancy weight. Melody and I played together more as she grew into an active infant. She loved the bucket swings at the park. String cheese became her favorite snack. She learned to say, "boo!" just like I did. It was also in during this time that I began to rock her to sleep each night. I'd sing and she'd nuzzle close, her head under my chin and her fingers in her mouth. I'd sing, Were You There. At the end of the song I'd add a stanza and sing,

Were you there when He gave me Melody?
Were you there when He gave me Melody?
Oh-oh-oh-oh, sometimes...
It causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when He gave me Melody?

Now she is 13 months old. The other day I started putting sparkly clips in her wispy hair. She wears regular shirts instead of onsies. She shows us news personality traits everyday. Sometimes sneaky. Other times shy. She's even been known to flirt on occasion!

As I am introduced to my friends' newborns, something inside me stirs. I think, "Ahh, so tiny and amazing and perfect," and I wonder if I'm ready for another. I remember the rainbow of Melody's first year. Part of me wants to remain with only one child for another year; to spend each day fully with her. Another part longs and hopes for a new baby to come and bring a new rainbow to my life.


milk talk

I've never purchased so much milk in my life. Lately, we've been going through about 2 gallons a week. Chad and I are not big milk drinkers. We used to have a hard time finishing half a gallon before the date expired. Now I don't even look at the date because it's gone in less than three days! I give Melody soy milk half the time and cow milk the other half. As a child I had problems with cows milk, so I'm nervous about flooding her system with it. When Melody started drinking milk a few weeks ago, I began to buy organic. I do not want her ingesting unnecessary hormones, namely estrogen. Excess estrogen is linked to many health problems, like endometriosis. Also, the organic milk tastes so much better! I've begun buying it for Chad and myself as well. So Melody gets the whole milk and we get the skim milk. In theory, that is. I find myself sneaking whole milk for coffee, mashed potatoes, oreo snacks, and many other "just this once" instances. I have a feeling Chad is doing the same since the skim milk container remains heavy days longer than the other. There is just something about the consistency and taste of the creamy, heavy, smooth, cold, whole milk. I sound like a commercial.



I've been reviewing some design stuff this week as I prepare for my next class. While looking through some old issues of Communication Arts, I found inspiration in articles about Paul Rand and Herb Lubalin. I stared at their logos and posters with fascination. Then I perused Michael Schwab's website as well as a few Charles S Anderson sites. I love the simple work of these designers. I like the bold, flat color used in Michael Schwab's stuff. He's the one who did the series of posters for Northern California sites.

Today my mom and I walked on the trail in Siloam. The day was bright and clear, the air cool and crisp; perfect weather for a brisk walk. Melody loved it. By the end of the walk she was jabbering excitedly. She moved her arms around as if she were a queen commanding the grass and the trees from her stroller throne.

One the way home she feel asleep and is still napping. I need to take her outside more often.


feeling good

This morning I feel good. Melody's napping. I'm wrapped up in my warm baby blue robe. I'm in the middle of a mug of hot chocolate made of Ghirardelli mocha chocolate powder. I didn't feel like coffee this morning.

Last night I taught my first class of the semester. I introduced the students to Illustrator. I was pleased to discover only a couple of them have worked in the program before. I think the kids will learn well though as they kept up well with the basics. Teaching them to use the Pen Tool is the most challenging. Those bezier control handles are just counter-intuitive. I didn't know how to explain it to them. I had them practice by trying to write their name in cursive with it. They did pretty good.

I have assignments lined up for the next four weeks, but I'm not happy with them. The idea is to give them a pdf or a jpeg file of an Illustrator document and have them recreate the artwork on their own. The current ones are outdated logos and illustrations. I think they'd be more motivated about learning the software techniques if I were having them create something more exciting. I plan to go to Barnes and Noble today. I will skim the new design publications, looking for inspiration.

I felt good after the class. Of course there are things I wish I'd done a little differently, but overall I was pleased. I slept really good last night, having it behind me.

Melody is so much fun these days. She shows us affection by leaning toward us with her head down. She touches us with her forehead this way. It is so sweet. She calls everyone, including me, daa-dee. She only says ma-ma when she's hurt, scared, or tired. She also says doggie and bear. While in San Francisco, we saw a huge horse in the street. She pointed and said excitedly, "Doggie!"

Her hair is long and wispy around her ears and at the nape of her neck. She has six teeth -- four on top and two on bottom. The front two are very large with a big space inbetween them. Her eyes continue to mystify us. The best way to describe them is dark green... almost hunter. She looks very much like her daddy, who also has green eyes.

I'm feeling good these days. I often forget to take my antidepressant. I don't know how much longer I'll stay on it. I think springtime would be a good time to try going off it. I am curious to see if I'm "better."

I'd better go use the rest of Melody's nap time to take a quick shower.


finally finally finally

Hi everyone! I'm blogging from HOME. Today we finally got our internet connection up and running. It's been an insane process as slow as dial-up itself. Turns out, we're 400 feet outside of the telephone service for the town we live in. This means we have our phone service through a itty bitty town that is 25 minutes away, making calls to all our friends and businesses long distance.

But let me stop boring you with that right now!

It's going to take some time to get back in the swing of things with blogging. Before the move I was doing so well... it was in a groove. Now I'm kinda stuck again. What do people wanna hear? Here is a rundown of recent and present stuff in my life:

• Melody turned one a couple weeks ago. (!) It's weird to say that I have a one-year-old. She is close to walking, but does not seem to want it very badly.

• We spent a week in northern California for the holidays. Chad and I were in a wedding. Melody did awesome on the flights, but it wore us all out.

• I start teaching a software class at JBU tonight. It will be every Monday evening from 6:30 to 9:00. I taught the same class a couple years ago. I'm nervous and barely prepared, which I hate. I think I could really enjoy this teaching stuff if I'd stop putting prep off to the last minute.

• I've been doing more freelance work for DaySpring lately. It is also a love-hate thing. I love the challenge, the interaction and the money. The stress and the juggling of everything makes is hard to enjoy though.

• I found a babysitter! She is a JBU student and has taken care of Melody twice so far. Both times I've been working in the house simotaneously. She plays with Melody well. Today Melody was laughing hysterically as she learned how to kick a plastic walmart bag.

• Living in the country is nice. Now it is strange to drive through neighborhoods. After only three months, the country feels normal. (Although I'm still bitter about dialup and I'm still freaked about ticks.)

• Our house is still very unfinished. Chad tries, but is not able to make fast progress because of his work, lack of evening daylight, and general busyness. It does not help that I'm usually beckoning him to watch a tv with me when he gets off work.

• I'm happy to report that I am now two pounds BELOW my pre-pregnancy weight. Yayyyyyy.

That's all for now. I will try come up with something fun to read tomorrow.