Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Just Never Know

Weeks ago, I wrote on Josiah's section of our calendar for today, "3:00 - violin lesson."

As it turned out, he didn't have a lesson because this is spring break.

Then I thought, "Since it's the day before my birthday, let's go north to Winchester and eat lunch at the Olive Garden there and let the boys play at the children's museum."

As it turned out, a good friend of ours from Israel was in the States and was staying with some of his family near Washington, D.C. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him.

Then I thought, "Let's take a day trip to D.C. and go to the Air & Space Museum. The boys would love that - and I'm sure Jenya (our friend) would love it, too."

As it turned out, that was the one museum in D.C. that he had already been to.

Then I thought, "Let's go to the zoo! I haven't been there since I was a child, and none of the others have ever been. It's going to be a beautiful day to be outside, and this will be perfect."

As it turned out, we had a difficult time finding the zoo (there has GOT to be an easier way than Google maps directed us), construction was occurring so the zoo entrance we found was closed, we finally did find another entrance but had to battle CRAZY traffic to do so, there was no parking in the zoo lot, there was no parking on the street, there was no parking ANYWHERE that we could find. It was a mess: cars everywhere, people everywhere. I-N-S-A-N-E. We were planning to meet Jenya there; he arrived safe and sound, having had the good sense to take the Metro rather than driving. Eventually we called him and arranged for him to be on the sidewalk outside the zoo so we could stop for a second, throw open the door of the minivan, let him hop inside, and then take him with us as we went somewhere - anywhere - away from that madhouse.

Then I thought, "OK. No problem. We're flexible, and I can look at the map and quickly come up with Plan B (although by now, we were way past Plan B). Let's see. Union Station! I know there's parking there, and we can at least eat lunch (this was hours after the boys' normal lunch time) and figure out what to do next."

As it turned out, I couldn't get us there. Every street I thought we could turn on, we couldn't. They were either blocked off for security reasons or marked "no left turn" or veered right when I was sure the map marked it as veering left. Crazy! (Have I already used that word in this post?) When we discovered that we were heading for good ol' familiar route 66 OUT of D.C., I heaved a sigh of relief and adjusted my mindset once again.

I thought, "Good. We're leaving the swarm of people and cars and the maze of D.C. streets behind us. Let's go out of town a little ways and find a place to eat and then make some plans."

So we did.

McDonald's never looked so good to me as it did when we pulled into that lot, opened the minivan doors, piled out, stretched our legs, breathed fresh air, tromped inside, found tables right next to a play area for our 3 oldest boys to enjoy, lifted a sweaty Shav out of his car seat, watched him gobble down a bottle of milk, bit into a Big Mac and some french fries, drank a cold (caffeinated!) drink, and breathed a sigh of relief. Whew. We survived.

After that, we drove to Jenya's family's home, let our kids play with his cousin's daughter, walked around a small lake together, stopped during our walk to let our boys play on a little playground there, admired a tree that had been hit by lightning and hollowed out by the heat, watched Josiah and David roll down grassy hills, paused to notice turtles sunning themselves on a partially submerged log, asked about the wire mesh around the base of nearly every tree (it's to protect them from the beavers who live nearby), finally said goodbye, and got back in the minivan to bring Jenya to our house. I got to sit in the back between Josiah and David; and although we were a little squished, it was cozy and we all fell asleep. As we were getting close to Harrisonburg, Jeff woke me up and asked if I thought we should go to Golden Corral for supper (since we had not planned for supper at home since we had no idea what time we would be getting back from our trip). A splendid idea, I thought.

So that's what we did.

Three things I learned from today's adventure:

1. Never, ever, ever try to drive to the National Zoo on one of the first beautiful days of spring when many schools are on spring break. You might think it's a really great idea, but so will millions of other people. You will not get a parking spot. Guaranteed.

2. Laughter goes a long way towards relieving stress. I kept thinking, "Everything's fine. We're all here, together and safe in the car. It doesn't really matter where we are - or if we have any idea where we're going. So let me just laugh at myself and the absurdity of the situation."

3. You just never know what's going to happen when you roll out of bed in the morning!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lunch on Massachusetts Monday

This year, we've been studying the 50 states...and, I tell ya, I've been learning a lot! :) Today we were focusing on Massachusetts, so of course, we read about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock. When it came time to fix lunch for the boys, I thought, "Hey, this is easy enough. I can make a plate of Plymouth-related items!" So I took the ordinary sandwiches of peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam and cut them into tall triangles - to represent the Indians' teepees, of course. The goldfish crackers remind us that Squanto taught the colonists to fertilize their corn with dead fish. And the rolled-up sandwich meat? Turkey, obviously! :) Such minimal effort to add a little extra fun to the day. Why don't I think of stuff like this more often?!
We also learned that on the way over from England, a baby boy was born on board the Mayflower; and they named him Oceanus (can you imagine giving birth on a crowded ship??). Then, while they were still living on the ship near Cape Cod, another boy was born and given the name Peregrine. We prefer the name Shav for our sweet baby boy.
It's good to start the week with some cuteness.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Lips of Children and Infants


~ I took these photos of my boys, and found it interesting to compare the similarities and differences between them - March 26, 2010

As a parent who cares deeply about my faith AND my children, I am inspired by the joyous expressions of worship that come forth from them...like David in the bathtub last night singing spontaneously about his love for God. There I was, toweling Tobin off and getting him into his sleeper - such a routine task. But meanwhile, my spirit was lifted by David's sweet voice singing, "I love you, Lord!"

From the lips of children... Indeed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When Three Boys Go A-Walking...

...on an early spring evening, it looks a little like this:And Daddy takes the camera to capture the moment.
I'm having one of those moments of looking at my children and just being blown away that they are mine. Did they really grow inside me? Did they really come out of me? Is Josiah really that amazing little guy I had when we lived in California? Is David the same boy I gave birth to in Israel? Is Tobin the one I had, after peacefully lounging around in a jacuzzi bath, one beautiful January evening?

At this moment, I feel overwhelmed - not by laundry or dishes or dust bunnies or other household responsibilities, but by love and amazement that God has given me such good gifts. I am unspeakably blessed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

He's the Only One Who Can...

...stick his tongue out at me and not get reprimanded. Not even a tiny, gentle rebuke when this little guy does it.
When you're eight months old, you can get away with stuff like this. ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Power of Chocolate

I had a lot I wanted to say... But I must have used up all my words earlier today, when a friend came over with her two kiddos to play this afternoon, and when I got to go out with two other friends tonight for dinner. I'm all talked out - and VERY grateful for friendship!

But, for my own records, I want to make a note here to say that I posted a recipe today over at The Foodie Spot. I'll keep this short tonight and simply say that it's my entry about The Power of Chocolate. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Power of Wheels

The theme of this week - at least, here on my blog - seems to be power. And so, here is another example:
video
I'm not sure that I, even if I thought long and hard, could come up with a better (simpler, more practical) example than this to show the scientific principle of how wheels make loads lighter. Imagine - our little Tobin can, all by himself, push not only the weight of the tricycle but also the weight of his big brother David. Impossible without wheels!

I was glad to catch this impromptu "science experiment" on video so that someday, I'll be able to remind Tobin of how STRONG he was as a 2 year-old. :) Oh, and there's another science principle demonstrated in the video, too - the law of gravity, as Josiah gets tickle-wrestled off the couch and lands on the floor. That's how Daddy & Sons tickling matches usually end up around here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Two momentous things happened today that need to be recorded:

1. For the first time, I pulled one of Josiah's teeth. A piece of dental floss with a slip knot in it, a very wiggly tooth (loose enough to slip the dental floss under one edge of it), a quick yank, and it was out! Fun! :)

2. Shav nursed.

He nursed! Hallelujah! He really nursed!!!

The past 12 days of no nursing have felt very long indeed. Each day, I've tried at least once to nurse him; but until this evening, Shav always arched his back, turned away, and tried to do everything he could to resist me. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

I've felt more peaceful about the situation ever since I blogged about it - once again, blog therapy helped me change my attitude about a difficulty. I know my growing peace was also due to the fact that, ever since Sunday afternoon when I was gone at a concert with Josiah & David and Jeff was able to get Shav to take a bottle, we've had fairly consistent success with bottle-feeding. I had accustomed myself to the idea of pumping and bottle-feeding for the next 4 months or so.

But tonight, right before I tucked Shav in bed for the night, I decided to sit with him in my dear old glider rocker and see if, by chance, he would nurse. And he did. Oh, glory!

I smiled. I laughed. I cried (from joy). I winced (as his 6 teeth bit down a time or two). I savored the moment. And most of all, I prayed prayers of thanksgiving as gratitude welled up in my heart and burst forth. What a marvelous gift from God to answer prayer in this way and restore Shav to his normal-acting self!

Then, to tell the truth, thoughts crept into my head like, "Did Shav start nursing again because we prayed, or would he have done that anyway?" Immediately, a passage from Philip Yancey's book Prayer popped into my head - a passage that I often recall when I contemplate the mysteries of prayer. In it, he quotes from C.S. Lewis. Yancey writes,
In the normal course of providence, God works through and in creation, not despite it. For this reason, most answers to prayer are difficult to prove with any certainty. In C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, a senior devil gives this advice on prayer to a young recruit:
Worry him with the haunting suspicion that the practice is absurd and can have no objective result. Don't forget to use the "Heads I win, tails you lose" argument. If the thing he prays for doesn't happen, then that is one more proof that petitionary prayers don't work; if it does happen, he will, of course, be able to see some of the physical causes which led up to it, and "therefore it would have happened anyway," and thus granted prayer becomes just as good a proof as a denied one that prayers are ineffective.
A little later Yancey says this:
"When I pray, coincidences happen," said Archbishop William Temple, "when I don't, they don't." Rather than dissecting such incidents, I try to use them as building blocks of faith, to see them as "God-incidents" instead of coincidences.
Tonight I'm so very thankful for the God-incident I witnessed this evening as I held Shav in my arms and watched him nurse. To God be the glory for this restoration and healing!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Power of Eyelids

Last week, Jeff cut down a large maple tree that was outside our kitchen window. It was a beautiful tree; but, although the shade was nice in the summertime, making that area of the backyard pleasantly cool (especially for little boys playing in the sandbox), there were disadvantages of having a tree that large in that spot:

1. it was so shady that the natural light to the kitchen was blocked; and when the leaves were fully on the tree, I had to always have the kitchen light on when I was in that room...it could be noon on the brightest summer day, but I would still have to turn the light on, and I didn't like that

2. the leaves from that tree clogged our gutter, contributing to a recurring problem we have of water coming into our laundry room whenever we have a heavy rainfall

3. the tree hung over the clothesline, potentially dropping plant matter (or worse, bird poop) on clean laundry hung out to dry

4. the shade made it difficult to grow nice, full, lush grass in that area of the backyard

5. it blocked my view of the sky...not only do I like the light coming down from the sky, but I also like to look up and see what's going on up there...are there clouds gathering? how blue is the sky? any birds flying by? how does the sky feel?

6. it was right in the middle of the path between the house and the garden shed, making an obstacle for mowing around (not that we mow our own grass...we don't...we're fortunate enough to trade haircuts for a mowing service which is wonderful!)

7. I'm not entirely convinced that the fact that our cistern no longer holds water isn't somehow related to the roots of that tree

In any case, it was time for the tree to come down, having lived out a pleasing life cycle and now ready to provide firewood for us. So Jeff cut it down, a fact which amazes me. How do you cut down a tree that big, and not accidentally kill yourself in the process or cause it to fall off-course and land on your house and make a big hole in it? I don't know, but he does, and I am certainly grateful for that!

After the tree came down, there were many, many, MANY little sticks lying around on the ground. There still are, and I think we'll be picking up sticks from that area all summer long. One day David was helping me gather some, and he picked up one that was too long to fit well in our stove. It wasn't very thick so he put a hand on each end and started to bend it to snap it. Well, snap it did; but unfortunately a piece flew up and--quicker than anything--headed straight for his eye.

This is where the beauty of God's design comes in. See that scratch on his right eyelid?
If not for eyelids, that scratch would have been on his eyeball. How painful and potentially dangerous would that have been!

I marvel at the way his eye sensed that something was flying toward it and instantly sent a message to his brain which in turn sent a message to his eyelid to close. Before we were even aware of the danger, his body had dealt with it; and I was left doing nothing but standing in awe of the way God engineered us and saying, "Thank You for the power of eyelids!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All That He Had Made


~ Jeff took this photo at Riven Rock Park a few days after Shav was born - July 2009

Friday, March 19, 2010

Red Sweaters

On our living room wall hangs a picture of two small boys in matching red sweaters.
When that picture was taken, the boys who fit into those sweaters were Josiah (3 years old) and David (a few months old); and they were, of course, the only boys we had at the time. To this day, I love that picture dearly.

Now that two more boys have been added to our family, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take pictures of them in the same matching red sweaters that their big brothers once wore. It dawned on me the other day that I'd better do that now because next winter won't work since Shav will have outgrown his little sweater. So even though tomorrow is the official beginning of spring, I dressed them in these winter outfits today, just so I could do a little photo shoot with them.

Getting a 2 year-old and an 8 month-old to both look at the camera and smile when I was ready to take a picture was next to impossible, as any mother who has ever attempted such a thing can attest to. So I barely tried to make that happen, instead snapping pictures of the boys interacting in various ways with each other. Here are the results:

I
think
these
boys
are
so
incredibly
CUTE!
The one thing that comes through loud and clear to me in these pictures is...

HOW MUCH THEY LOVE EACH OTHER! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Part of His History

I wasn't going to write about this...then I was...then I wasn't...then I was...and so on. But I've had a week to think about it; and I've finally decided that, since it's a significant part of Shav's history, yes, I will write about it. So I am.

Last Thursday morning when I sat down to nurse Shav, I had no idea - not even an inkling - that it would quite possibly be the last time I would nurse him.

I don't remember anything particular about that nursing session, although if I had known then what I know now, I would have savored it a lot more, to be sure! He had an uneventful morning on that day and took his normal morning nap, waking up just as the other boys were finishing their lunch. I got Shav out of his crib and took him downstairs, then realized that Tobin was done eating and clamoring to get down from his booster seat, so I asked a family member to sit on the bench in the kitchen and hold Shav while I cleaned Tobin's hands and face before letting him down to "roam about the cabin," so to speak. In the very short amount of time that I was busy with Tobin, Shav fell. He lurched forward from his position in the family member's lap (who will remain unnamed because really, it could have happened to any of us); and I heard a gasp (from the person who had been holding him), a sickening thud, and then wails - loud, urgent, constant, heartbreaking. I picked Shav up, and he continued to cry nonstop for the next 20-25 minutes. I tried everything I could think of to comfort him, including nursing him, of course; but nothing worked until I finally took him outside and stood on our tiny front porch. Something about the fresh air and change of scenery worked to soothe him, and he calmed down. But the rest of the day was difficult, to say the least, with lots of periods of crying, and that night was particularly rough. Jeff came to my rescue and took the first shift with Shav, giving me the chance to get some rest since I was beyond exhausted from the emotional ordeal that it had been.

Very soon after Shav's tumble, I called my dad, of course; and once again, I thanked God that he is a doctor!! He asked me some questions to assess Shav's condition, and later in the afternoon came up the hill to check Shav personally, looking at a small cut inside Shav's lower lip but determining that he was fine and would recover in due time. And he has. After just a couple of days and nights in which he was fussier than normal, I'm so relieved and happy to say that everything about Shav is fine: he smiles, laughs, makes great eye contact with us, looks around at the big world with bright eyes and wonderful curiosity, babbles, eats baby food, pees, poops - you know, all the important stuff. ;)

Except... (There had to be an "except," didn't there?) He doesn't suck. Shav flat out refuses to nurse; in fact, he starts to fuss if I even get him close to that position. That would be sad but not terrible - after all, lots of other babies in the history of the world have decided to self-wean before their mothers were ready - but what makes it worse is that he doesn't really take a bottle...or a sippy cup with a valve...or a sippy cup without a valve...or a cup with a straw...or anything. We've even tried a medicine dropper with my milk in it, but he certainly doesn't welcome that and usually tries to turn his head and get away from that awful thing that his mommy insists on sticking in his mouth!! Fortunately (and I'm SO grateful for this), he readily takes food that we spoon into his mouth, so I pump and use that milk to mix with his cereal and then feed that to him. And once in a while, he'll chew on and play around with a bottle nipple in his mouth and get some milk that way, but it's inconsistent and inefficient (a significant portion of the milk dribbles down his chin and lands on his bib). So overall he's getting nutrition, and his full diapers are ample evidence of that. But still I wonder...

~ Why doesn't he suck?
~ Did he stop sucking because his face was bruised from the fall and the muscles that are used to suck were too sore? (my dad's hypothesis)
~ Will he ever suck again?
~ Is it important that he ever suck again?
~ I haven't seen him suck his thumb since he fell; will he ever pick up that habit again?
~ Is it possible that a tiny bit of brain damage was done when he fell, and the part of the brain that controls sucking was affected? (my dad reminded me that this would have to be a highly specific portion of the brain, so it's not likely at all since we haven't seen a single bit of evidence to suggest that any other brain function was affected)
~ How in the world do you teach a child to suck again? That's such a natural instinct, present from birth (when all is normal), so how would you ever teach something like that when a child is just supposed to know how to do it?
~ Is he really getting enough nutrition from what he's eating (especially since my milk supply has decreased in the past week)?
~ Should we try formula with him? None of the other boys ever had formula, but if it would help Shav, we would use it in a heartbeat.

If I could, I would have a consultation with a pediatric neurologist, nutritionist, and occupational therapist to ask them questions and hear their answers. And chances are, they would say, "He's fine. Give it time. What are you worried about?" just like my dad tells me. ;)

If I could, I would turn back the clock to that Thursday lunchtime and put Shav gently in the playpen before turning my attention to Tobin. How quickly things can change. How crazy that in a split second, life can veer off in a different direction, leaving me grasping at the air with both hands and longing to just turn back the hands of time. Just let me do those moments over again so the outcome could be different!

If I could, I would go back to that last time of nursing Shav so I could enjoy it more and make it linger. I nursed the other boys for a full year and carefully planned out how to gradually wean them. Although I felt a tinge of sadness each time, I was ready to move on and so were they, so it was never a big deal. Maybe I'm just acting like a control freak this time around, but I wasn't ready to stop nursing Shav! In the area of child-raising and watching my boys grow up, I like to know when something is coming to an end so I can appreciate it more and prepare myself as I say goodbye to a particular stage. I didn't get to do that this time, and, truth be told, I'm really sad about that - more sad than I would have imagined possible if I was not experiencing it firsthand.

On the bright side, I can see that God is using this to develop more compassion in me. The next time I meet a woman who wasn't able to nurse her child like she had envisioned, I'll be able to relate and sympathize a whole lot more! Just like 2 Corinthians 1 describes, as we share in sufferings, we can share in comfort.

On the bright side, I know without a doubt that God was in control last Thursday when Shav fell. Nothing happens outside of His knowledge. It wasn't a surprise to Him. I believe His angels were there, making sure that no serious injury happened to my sweet little one. I trust God's power and His love, and that brings immense comfort to my heart when I want to scream, "If only I hadn't let him out of my arms! If only I had put him somewhere else! All of this could have been avoided if only I had done something differently!"

I don't know what the future holds with Shav. Part of me still hopes that tomorrow when I get him out of bed, he'll be sucking his thumb...and then he'll nurse happily and willingly...and then everything will be back to "normal." Part of me is trying to come to grips with the fact that he likely will not nurse again.

But with all my heart, I thank God for preserving my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, bubbly, bouncing baby boy. I don't take his life for granted these days, nor his smile, nor his laughs, nor the way he gazes into my eyes. And if I ever get to nurse again, I surely won't take that for granted either.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Springing & Swinging

Spring, though not officially here, is not far off.

Proof: a lovely crocus at the base of our English walnut tree...
...small but bright. It is the first flower to bloom each year.

Further proof: small boys swinging outside in the sunshine.
Little jeans...
...little shoes...
...little bodies...
...sweetness.

The Professor was back today...
...and as soon as he saw David's glasses, Tobin wanted to wear some, too.
Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses will have to do.
Joy!

What a wonderful time of year! After winter's chill, the warmth of spring is a most welcome guest; and little boys who have been cooped up for too long can revel in the outdoors once again.

********

I can't let this day pass without at least a mention of the significance it holds for Jeff and I. It was on this date, 14 years ago, that our relationship took off (the story is here); and St. Patrick's Day has never been the same for me since!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TTT - Jesus in the Barbershop



I was originally planning to spend a longer chunk of time blogging tonight, but using my "free time" to help my parents clean up their office basement after it flooded yesterday was more important (and fun, too!). So for now, I'll just post a quick TTT and call it a night.
For the past two years, Jeff played the part of Jesus in the Easter play of the church we were a part of; but this year, it's not being held - not because of Jeff's absence (there are other people who could play Jesus, after all) but because of other factors. Josiah and David were discussing this over lunch yesterday, but didn't quite have all the facts straight. It made me smile to hear this:

Josiah: They're not doing the Easter play.
David: Why?
Josiah: Because Jesus isn't around.
David (emphatically): Yes, He is! He's in the barbershop!

What a high compliment to Jeff that David so easily interchanges him and Jesus. :)
~ pictures of David taken during our "family Christmas" on Saturday

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Good to Have a Brother

...and sister.

I know this from experience, since I have two brothers; but unfortunately, only one was able to be here last Saturday for our family gathering. As it is, it was a minor miracle that three of us siblings were together. I can't even remember the last time all four of us were in the same place. Someday...

As I watch my sons in this stage of their lives when their brothers are their best friends and constant buddies, I often wonder what life will be like for them in 20+ years. Will they live close to each other, or will they be as spread out geographically as my siblings and I have always been? Will they stay in touch? Will we all get together for the holidays like a Norman Rockwell painting? Only God knows.

But meanwhile, it's good to have a brother...
...even if he does get in the way when Mom is trying to take a picture!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yet I Will Rejoice


~ I took this photo of our empty grapevine and barren garden - March 2010

I've been pondering this verse ever since a conversation I had a week ago with one of the encouraging Julies in my life. She said in part, "I've learned how to go to sleep before my oldest daughter gets home. Even if she's in a car accident, God is good. Even if my daughters walk away from God, He is good. No matter what, God is good."

Habakkuk said it this way:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior!

I've had my moments of having to sternly tell myself "yet I will rejoice!" this week, as I've dealt with things as trite as "I wish I had a new couch" and as serious as "Shav took a tumble and now he won't stop crying and he refuses to breastfeed."

Even still, the truth remains. No matter what, God is good. Yet I will rejoice!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Father and Son

We had our big family Christmas today. Yes, I realize it's March 13. Maybe Jesus was really born on this date, and we're the only ones in the world who got it right this year.

We were actually planning to have this gathering several months ago, during the first weekend of January; but that was the weekend that sickness hit hard and fast here in our home, felling each of us one by one. So we consulted our calendars and discovered that the first free weekend that would suit all of us was March 13. Some branches of our family tree are BUSY!

It's been a fantastic day, and I have so many pictures that are dear to my heart and that I want to post. But for tonight, here is just one.

When David (or Big David, as he's known when both my brother and my son are around) comes to visit, inevitably he and Dad eventually head down the hill to Dad's office. They go off by themselves to talk business, I suppose: taxes, investments, other stuff that's over my head. Today I managed to capture their trademark walk from the house to the office...
A father and son - what a beautiful sight. Though I'm in no hurry to race through these years when my boys are small, I do look forward to the day when they are grown and can relate to their father in this way: man to man, friend to friend.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hello, Stranger!

It's been a while since I've seen you! Yep, the 150s and 160s (and even higher than that) have become very familiar to me during the past 16 months; but you - well! - you are definitely a welcome sight!
Stick around for a while, will ya? In fact, show me some of your relatives - your smaller relatives - say, 145, 141, even that little guy 139. It would be refreshing to see them again, that's for sure.

Just for the record, at the end of last year, I was feeling frustrated by how my pregnancy weight wasn't disappearing on its own; in fact, I was feeling a lot like this post that I wrote a few months after Tobin's birth. I can't remember exactly when I started paying more attention to what I was eating in a conscious effort to lose some weight; but I do remember where my weight was hovering in those days: right around 162 pounds (and sometimes bumping a pound or two higher). I made small changes in what I ate and did, and that has resulted in small changes in my weight. The scale hasn't revealed a quick downward zoom, but I'm grateful to at least be heading in the right direction. I plan to continue losing weight until I reach 140 at least, but meanwhile I had to celebrate the happy milestone of something less than 150! :)

And now, speaking of weight...and food...and delicious, healthy calories (how's that for a transition?)...I've been enjoying a new blogging adventure: The Foodie Spot.
I was asked to contribute some recipes to this new blog; and although I felt like my plate was full (appropriate analogy, yes?), I decided to say yes anyway because preparing food is such an integral part of the way I care for and show love to my family. Food can be a necessity, something we shovel into our mouths without much thought; or it can be a feast, lovingly chosen and prepared and enjoyed together with those we love. I want the act of eating to be the latter for my family.

Here are the posts I have done so far for the new blog: here and here. But if you click over and take a peek around, you'll discover LOTS of great recipes. In fact, Brittany's Best Banana Bread just might be to blame if my scale doesn't get any lower than 149.8 for a while! ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Jamestown, We...

...walked through a beautiful museum (no pictures of that). Josiah and David were intrigued by it and ran excitedly from one exhibit to the next, exclaiming over the things they discovered.

...were thankful--again!--for our double stroller.

...used oyster shells to scrape the hair from a deer hide.

...learned how to make a dugout canoe: light a smoldering fire in it, then...
...scrape the charred wood with shells.

...admired the ships (these are replicas, of course) that carried the colonists to the New World in 1607, and marveled at how small they were. Such precarious crafts in which to cross the wide, wide ocean!


...explored the ships.

...talked to costumed guides about the ships.

...or looked overboard and ignored them while they were talking.

...went below deck on a ship.

Meanwhile, I held a fussy blanket-wrapped Shav inside my coat. That helped us both stay warm, and he drifted off to sleep in my arms. This is, by the way, the only picture of me from our trip.

We also admired the beauty of creation...



...watched a boat moving slowly down the expansive river.

...sang? or yelled? or yawned? or yodeled? who can tell?

...tried on armor and discovered how heavy it was.



...talked to bored guides in the fort (there weren't very many visitors there on that day, and some of the guides seemed a little tired and lethargic).

...went to church (it was Sunday, after all).

...photographed an old lock (Jeff took this one, by the way, and many of the other pictures).

...went inside the weapons building where a guide talked, answered questions, then...
...locked up to walk the short distance to the end of the fort so he could...
...fire this (very noisy) gun.

Some of us slept on the way home (and some of us only wanted to sleep).

And that was our trip to Jamestown!