February 24, 2010

Crazy, but True!

If you eat freshly-made whole wheat soft pretzels on Friday night, what do you get on Saturday morning?

One of these:

Well, ok, YOU will probably not get a little Charlie. But Courtney and Charlie Dey did!

A rather pregnant Courtney came over Friday night to help us make soft pretzels. The event almost did not happen, thanks to me ruining Lindon's first batch of dough by pre-heating the oven while the dough was in there rising (after he told me the dough was in there rising!) and spending a considerable amount of time moping about my stupidity for turning on the oven. Lindon succeeded in making a second batch of dough that I did not destroy, and he and Courtney made some of the best soft pretzels I have ever had while I was feeding Levi and could not actually help.

Early the next morning Lindon got a call from Charlie saying baby Charlie had been born - 5 weeks early!! The only logical conclusion is that our pretzels induce labor. Despite his unexpected arrival, baby C is perfectly healthy, albeit tiny. Lindon and I visited them in the hospital to admire him, and he is just darling. Now they are home and trying to wrap their heads around their new life with the addition that was due to enter the world 5 weeks from now. 

I am so excited for this new one. I am excited that Levi has a new pal (one who now makes my kiddo look like a giant) and excited for what this means for the Dey family. It's also exciting to have some company on the crazy adventure that is motherhood.

February 12, 2010

Antidote for the Winter Blues, Part III

This list making is so enjoyable...and I need to keep encouraging myself. So here are more things that make me happy:

 - When my husband calls or emails to ask what's for dinner. The reason this makes me happy is because 5 years ago the idea of sitting down to a meal at the end of the day never crossed Lindon's mind. I would make dinner and call him at the office when it was nearly finished to say, "When are you coming home? Dinner's almost ready!" His response was sometimes, "Oh, I hadn't thought of dinner. I am not really hungry." It crushed me. In Lindon's defense, my cooking skills were rather rough, so my meals were not always worth the 5-minute trip home from the office. However, as my ability to wield a frying pan has grown, so has Lindon's enthusiasm for dinner. So it makes me happy when he is enthusiastic enough about the evening  meal to ask in advance what we're having. And the best part is when he actually gets excited about what I'm cooking. That makes my day.

 - Wearing jeans to the office on Friday.

 - When a friend emails out of the blue to say, "Let's get together soon!"

 - This picture:
This photo of Levi and his cousin Miles was taken in late January when we saw Lindon's brother and his family in Nashville. Miles is exactly 5 weeks younger than Levi. In the picture Miles is yawning while Levi smiles at Lindon, but I can't help but think it looks like they are having a contest to see who can yell louder and for longer. This is something I fully anticipate will happen in 4-5 years. It's so fun to think how much fun these two will have together. 

 - Discovering a bag of Skittles that I hid for myself in the candy stash drawer. Lindon and I have a drawer in the kitchen the holds seldom-used baking dishes. It is also where I hid the wine that people got me while I was pregnant so that I didn't think about drinking it. Sometime in the last 18 months it has become the drawer where Lindon and I hide candy that we want to save for later. Sometimes it will be days, other times weeks before we open the drawer and happily realize we left ourselves some candy to enjoy. It's a strange but happy new tradition.

 - Spending Saturdays with my boys

 - A good cup of tea

 - A good book to go with that good cup of tea

February 11, 2010

Antidote for the Winter Blues, Part II

Here are more things that make me happy when I feel like I am about to lose it (again, in no particular order):

 - The answer to the first question in the Heidelberg Catechism. I am trying to memorize it, but in the meantime I have posted in on our desktop at home so I can read it and be encouraged.
 - My cup of 1/2 coffee and 1/2 milk that I enjoy every morning.
 - My brown leather boots that I got myself as a present for having a good pregnancy.
 - Thinking about Granny Rayburn's German Chocolate Cake (sans coconut) that I ate at a baby shower last weekend. Those of us who helped to clean up kept taking swipes of the frosting that remained on the cake stand. AND we finished the piece that the guest of honor couldn't finish. It was good enough to turn perfectly respectable women into scavengers.
 - My awesome job.
 - Looking forward to assisting with music on Sunday evening for the first time since August.
 - Scarves
 - My daily blog reads
  - Soups
 - Seeing the sun shine, even when it's far too cold to be outside.
 - Listening to Terry Gross' interview questions
 - A new episode of "The Office" tonight. This is the only show that I have ever followed regularly in my entire life, and it is something Lindon and I have watched together since our first year of marriage. Very fun.
 -   Richard Scarry books - especially ones with the pickle car

February 10, 2010

Antidote to the Winter Blues

Lately life has been a little stressful. The lack of sleep, full-time working, full-time mothering, holiday/ travel letdown, frigid temperatures, postpartum craziness, and other sundry stressors (like getting over the stomach flu on the heels of getting back into town on the heels of coming back to work from 9 weeks leave) combine into a toxic concoction that leaves me staggering and desperate for some stability. At times it really feels as though the walls are closing in on me.

So in an attempt to get a grip and keep perspective, I thought it would help me to make a brief list of things for which I am thankful. It's not trite; this is one way to prevent me going off the deep end.

Little things that make me happy (an incomplete list in no particular order):

  - This face!
 - My family
 - Unexpectedly getting to leave work early (especially on a Friday)
 - Hearing Levi laugh (something we hear more and more each day)
 - Singing to Levi and watching him smile
 - Spending time with Lindon
 - Knowing I can have leftover chicken curry for lunch
 - Having a kitchen full of food and time to cook
 - Flannel sheets
 - Knowing that spring WILL come again
 - Thinking about Lindon graduating from seminary in May
 - Reading "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller
 - Polenta with tomato sauce
 - Really good recipes that come with special stories
 - Sitting around the table with friends
 - When other people get to see Levi smile

This list is incomplete, so I have a feeling I will add to it in later posts. But this is enough for now. I feel better already!

February 2, 2010

Answering Questions

One of the things that I enjoy about having a baby is that people pay more attention to my baby than to me. Yes, you read that correctly. I enjoy the attention diversion.  It's better than trying to hide behind a pole to avoid being noticed.

One of the things I do not enjoy about having a baby is what happens once people remember that Levi is not floating in mid air by himself but is indeed being held by his mother. Once this happens people start asking me the same questions that were posed to me 4 seconds earlier by the last person to admire Levi. So I have the same conversation with over and over and over. Here is generally how the conversation goes

Q: So, how is Levi today?
A: Levi is great!

Q: How is being a mom?
A: It's going well. Levi is a pretty easy baby, so we are very thankful for that. We really like him.

Q: Is he on a routine?
A: Pretty much.

Q: He's sleeping through the night now, isn't he?*
A: (Sigh) No, not yet. He typically wakes up once during the night to feed, but other than that, he is sleeping well.[Note: He actually DID sleep through the night for the first time last night, and we are elated. However, we are unsure as to whether this was a fluke or whether it's the new deal. Regardless, it made for a glorious morning.]

Q: You're not back at work yet, are you?
A: (Sigh) Yes, I am. I have been back since January 4.

Q: Oh, you are? I didn't realize. That's pretty quick to be back.
A: Actually, I was off for over 2 months, which was great.

Q: What do you do for childcare during the day?
A: Levi stays with his dad, and they have lots of fun together.

Q: But what is Lindon going to do when he starts classes?
A: Levi is going to go with Lindon.

Q: Oh really?!
A: Yep.

Q: I bet you miss your little guy when you're at work?
A: (Sigh) Yes. I do. Tremendously.

Q: Who does Levi look like?
A: It depends on who's looking at him. Everyone has a different opinion on this one. I think he looks like his father, but people often think he looks just like me.

Q: How big is he now?
A: We're not exactly sure since he hasn't been weighed or measured since his 2-month checkup. But we guess he weighs about 14 pounds and is about 24 inches long.

Q: What do you parents think?
A: They absolutely love being grandparents. They really have enjoyed Levi and wish they could see him more.

Q: And your brothers and sisters?
A: They really like him, too.

Q: Well, enjoy this time because they grow up so fast! I remember when mine were that age...(from here the conversation turns into a monologue).

*You'd be surprised how often people phrase their question just like this, and it can be discouraging. It implies that by this time a child should certainly be sleeping all night, but that's simply not the case. Like with many life experiences, being pregnant and being a new mother has taught me to be more sensitive to others. When you've been getting up every night for 12+ weeks, continuing to talk about how your child isn't sleeping through the night yet gets old. I think in the future I will just avoid this question altogether with new moms.

I think the purpose of this post is to help raise awareness of how often people ask new mothers the same questions. We love to talk about our children and how wonderful they are, but answering the exact same questions over and over is tiring, even when the askers mean well. As a suggestion, if you want to know how a mother is doing, try a very general question that she can interpret however she might wish. I appreciate when people ask "How are you?" or "How is life?" because I can steer away from the same old answers.

Being Levi's mom has shown me that there is a rhythm to life, and countless women have been down this road ahead of me. And many women I know and care for will soon go down this same road. This experience has taught me to find more thoughtful ways to invite them to share their thoughts. :)