During an every-five-year photo shoot with my side of the family, the photographer took a few of him so we have even more precious pictures to treasure.
Yesterday, I proved this with a phone conversation my 5-year-old nephew and I had:
Him: Can I get a hamster for Christmas?
Me: I'm not sure. You'll have to ask your mom and dad.
Him: Yeah (sigh). I asked my mom, and she said no. I asked my dad, and he said no.
Me: Maybe when you're a bit older you can get a hamster.
Him: Yeah! If the dogs and the kitty die, maybe I can get a hamster.
Me: We really shouldn't hurt our pets.
Him: Maybe if my little brother lets the plug out of the fish tank so the fish are in the air and can't breathe?
Me: There is no plug in the fish tank, and remember, we shouldn't hurt our pets.
Him: My little brother doesn't know any better.
Me: Is the hamster on your Christmas list?
Him: That's a good idea! I'll add it to my list. I put a check mark beside the things I really want, and a star by the things I really want. I'll put a star by it.
Gratitude is a certainly a character quality I want to instill in my son (and myself). Thanksgiving traditions should help me be purposeful about doing so. Here are a couple ideas I've run across in the last little while:
- Decorate a small box, jar, or similar container (or just purchase a pretty one). Throughout the year, when God's blessings are especially evident, write notes of thankfulness on slips of paper and drop them in the container. On Thanksgiving Day, open the container and read all of the blessings, big and small, that you might have otherwise forgotten: recovery from an illness, a conflict resolved, an extra-special treat, a lovely spring day.
- Use a countdown calendar to generate excitement about the special day and learn more about gratitude. Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, write down one thing about which to be grateful, and stick it in the calendar. Gather the notes of appreciation and save them in a scrapbook or box for future years, or simply read them all on Thanksgiving Day.
You can purchase such a calendar, or decorate your own using a pre-designed one. Here's a downloadable one for kids that you could adapt for such a project.You could even make your own. Ideas include making it from a placemat or in the shape of a tree with leaves. Or, you could simply use sticky notes to affix tidbits of appreciation to the square representing each day on a regular calendar.
He's sitting up (mostly) on his own and busy, busy, busy. I feel that when he crawls he will take off like a little rocket ship. Even though he hasn't mastered that skill, he is getting pretty good at transporting himself by wiggling to and fro in his ever-urgent quest to grab and put that pretty piece of [fill in the blank with the closest object] in his mouth. The accompanying grunts of effort are priceless.
He also loves to talk in varying pitches, tones, and vowel-consonant combinations. Every so often, we imagine that he's said words. Of course he has no idea what he's saying, but we did catch, "Brrr," "Mom-mom," and "Oh, boy" (the latter was the cutest yet).
His final adventure is eating. Perhaps it's more of an adventure for me as I play: "Let's figure out what you like to eat." So far, he just says no to rice and oatmeal cereals (although he does eat some of it begrudgingly). He loves sweet potatoes but sadly he might be allergic.
He's still completely lovable, and his smiles and big eyes melt my heart. Maybe they will forever.
I'm not a fan of the Christmas craziness, though; in my family and my husband's we have done some things to eliminate a bit of the stress. In his family, we give gifts only to children and to his parents (it's the most fun to watch them anyway) and in my family we do a gift exchange so we only have to purchase one meaningful (but inexpensive) gift for one relative.
I also love to do Christmas shopping very early when I find coupons or deals to cut the cost on gifts, and before the malls are madhouses. And shopping online reduces the hassle further. I love free shipping sales (!), or buying all my gifts at once on certain sites that offer free shipping for spending a certain amount.
With Christmas stress out of the way (well, mostly at least!), I am in search of meaningful holiday traditions. I bought an advent calendar to use with our son, but I'd love more ideas to make the season extra special.
Would you share yours? Please leave a comment about your traditions and ideas. Thanks so much!
I constantly marvel that God created this miracle of life within me and that he's ours for life. I love him a bit more every day.
My plan was to feed Jack right before church so he would be as happy as possible. This, however, also means he was as full as possible.
Unfortunately, he emptied himself a little right before we sauntered on stage—from both ends.
The dedication was to be after a set of worship songs. I purposely put a blanket between the baby and me so that my clothes would not be soaked if Jack had a bit of a blowout.
During one of the worship songs, I looked down and saw a large, brownish wet spot on one of Jack's legs. Oh, dear. I looked at my husband in a total panic. I could envision the pastor announcing the baby dedication and baby and mommy being nowhere to be found. I told him I had a spare pair of pants in the car, so I ran out of the church to get them. Fortunately, I ran into the pastor at that point and explained the emergency. He said I had time to change the diaper, so I went back into the church, got the baby, and headed for the bathroom. I nervously changed the diaper as fast as I could and put the clean jeans on him. Then I rushed back out into the sanctuary, relieved that the pastor was still in the middle of pre-dedication announcements.
My husband looked at me. "He threw up all over your shoulder and hair." Oh, dear, part two.
Frantically, we grabbed wipes and he mopped me up as best and as quickly as he could. I was wearing a black shirt so at least the wet spot didn't show too much.
Then we got on stage. The beautiful dedication message seemed far longer than it was as I glanced nervously about 101 times at the baby in the pastor's arms. He squirmed a couple times but never cried.
After church, it hit me. I should be thankful for the little pre-dedication disaster. After all, if Jack had waited just a few minutes longer for his performance, it would have been a public fiasco—on stage, in front of the entire congregation, in the pastor's arms.
Good thing God has a plan, even for the little things!
A trip to the zoo to feed the giraffes
A visit from an uncle and a cousin
But last Wednesday, mommyhood couldn't have been more real.
We were on the way back from taking my parents—who stayed with us for a while and helped us so much—to the airport. We stopped at a store so my husband could get himself some shirts and I could feed the baby in the car. I spread out in the backseat and started changing Jack's diaper. I was just about done when a fountain—and I am not exaggerating—of baby, er, waste spurted all over, paying little heed to the cute little changing pad and landing on the seat and on my shirt and jeans. Another quickly followed.
Being the inexperienced mom that I am, I gasped in horror and called my husband to come out of the store and help.
Baby Jack, of course, took it all in stride. He just looked at me innocently, as if to say, "Hey, it's not my fault you took my diaper off."
John "Jack" Stephen Phillips was born Saturday, May 16 at 7:14 p.m. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 20.25 inches long. He has an adorable little bit of brown hair and loves to make very expressive faces. So far, his favorite hobbies are eating and sleeping.
The birth—an emergency c-section—went quite a bit different than we had imagined, but little Jack is healthy and happy, and that is infinitely more important than any plans we may have had.
We are so blessed to be his parents and to share his little life!
Our baby, Jack, was technically due on Friday, but he's decided to wait a little while before making an appearance. So I halfway expected I would be a mom by today.
I suppose I am a mom, as I have a fully grown baby within me. But somehow it will all feel far more real when I can caress his tiny hands and feet, give him a little kiss, and study all of his features. I'm having a hard time being patient as I wait to meet him—to hold him, see what he looks like, and watch him grow.
Until then, a warm and loving Happy Mother's Day to my own precious mom and to all the other moms I know!
Our four-year-old nephew asked me if I have to go potty before I head to bed at night. Thinking it was a general question, I responded that going to the bathroom before bed is a wise idea for everyone. But he insisted: "No, do you have to go potty at night, because the baby is pushing on your bladder?" A little surprised, I answered yes.
He thought for a moment. "Do I have a bladder?"
Perhaps he'd assumed it's something you grow only when pregnant.
Apparently, he understood this whole bladder business to be a rather serious health issue. Because a few minutes later, when he asked the blessing on our dinner, he most sincerely prayed, "Please help the baby to come out. And please help the baby to stop pushing on Alison's bladder."
I love kids.
The excitement of meeting our little boy—combined with the anticipation of labor—is almost overwhelming. I'm not sure whether to be overjoyed (I can't wait to hold baby Jack and kiss his little cheeks! Won't it be wonderful to see my husband be a dad!) or just completely panic (Our house is not quite organized for the baby! Will I be a good mom? What if we've forgotten to read up on some critical aspect of childcare?! And labor—yikes!).
Thankfully, the baby is coming soon, no matter how ready I do or do not feel. I am grateful that God is in control of our little family. Last night, some songs on the radio reminded me of how much I needed Him—at this time in my life, and always.
It's a comfort to know God picked us to be parents to Jack, and him to be our son. How honored we are to be blessed with such a beautiful miracle.
The decor was adorable; baby blue tablecloths were accented with rubber duckies floating in little fishbowls lined with blue glass beads. Artfully displayed shimmering iridescent Easter grass gave the tables and cake table an extra bit of elegance, and a few balloons added to the festive atmosphere.
I can't completely express my gratitude for all the friends and family members who came to so kindly and generously celebrate the upcoming birth of our little Jack. I came home with gifts galore—and lots of love.
On his birth certificate, our little guy's official name will be John Stephen Phillips. My husband wants him to have a "proper" name on his birth certificate (as Jack is a nickname for John), and an option to go by John later on in life if he likes.
Jack/John means "God is gracious"—and He certainly is, in the gift of His Son, and the gift of our little boy. It's a beautiful reminder to us as parents, and we hope it will be to Jack, too, as he grows and learns about his Lord. Stephen (pronounced Stephan) is my husband's middle name and his dad's first name.
In just about six weeks, we'll have the honor of holding Jack. It's hard to wait!
Last night, we braved the spring snow storm (OK, drove just a few blocks) and went to Walgreens. Right before, we spent a few minutes looking at store fliers and coupons we'd collected and tried to find some good deals by combining sales and coupons. Then, we marched into the drug store with a fistful of coupons and a plan.
When we got to the store, we hit a few bumps in the road. We realized that some of those "deals" were not deals at all. For example, we had a rebate offer for a certain type of shampoo, but since it was a super expensive variety, even with the savings it would be more than we usually spend on shampoo. And a few of the products were out of stock. In addition, we forgot to clip a $2 off coupon and give it to the cashier for one of our items. Oops.
On the whole, though, it was worth the small amount of effort. We saved more than $40 (including a few free items: shampoo, Pepsi, and Excedrin) on a variety of items we use all the time, such as toothpaste, laundry soap, garbage bags, and batteries.
With a bit more practice, I think we'll be on the road to saving big.
This past weekend, family kindly helped us paint his little room. We ended up with one blue wall, two yellow walls, and one wall with both colors (thanks for the great suggestion, Grandpa!), with white trim.
My husband is in the process of installing a ceiling fan and new carpet today. Then, we can collect all the baby furniture and accessories scattered helter-skelter around our house and complete the room. I also ordered a Bible verse to put on the wall above his crib that ties into the nautical theme and teaches him a bit about his Creator: "I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land" (Jonah 1:9).
Gotta love growing!
I was gung-ho about completing my outstanding scrapbook projects before my little boy's birth. Armed with a plan (and then, later, an accelerated plan), I was determined to snip and tape until my book was up to date.
Now, however, I am hopelessly behind. While I've worked on my album a bit here and there, I remain in November 2007. A busy work schedule, made worse by pregnancy-induced tiredness, has not been helpful. And my priorities have shifted away from stickers and ribbons to blankets and bears as my husband and I have shopped and prepared for our baby.
I'm a bit frustrated, because I want to be caught up on older photos so I can make a book of memories about my baby as he grows.
Enter: new plan.
I am resigning from my full-time job (although I hear motherhood can keep one quite busy, too!) about two weeks before the little one pokes his head into the world. If all goes well and I have the baby close to his due date, I will have several days of peace to focus on catch-up. If I'm not done when the baby is born (imagine that!), I'll work on his album alongside my photos of pre-child life with my husband.
Here's hoping my new plan works. Either way, I can't wait to take lots of photos of the little guy to treasure.
She is no mere coupon clipper. This girl is the coupon queen. She has uncovered all sorts of complex strategies that most of us have no time or desire to figure out, and then fills us in on them. She figures out how to combine coupons, rebates, and the like to get items you actually need for extraordinarily cheap prices—and many times for free. (Sometimes, she even makes money with these strategies!)
One thing I found amazing is that she has two little kids and hasn't paid for diapers since last June. That's a very substantial savings right there—maybe even enough money for a little vacation.
Further, even if you aren't into stashing coupons or taking a lot of time on savings strategies, she constantly posts links to deals you can take advantage of with online coupons, such as a free movie or free fast food.
Go get yourself some awesome savings!
Now, we're getting down to the final details, which means we are decorating the nursery. Last weekend, I painted one wall blue; family members are coming over on Saturday to help us paint the rest of it cream. Before they arrive, we'll need to get some furniture out of the room that is moving to other parts of the house. I have some nautical decorations to put up on the walls, and my husband plans to install a ceiling fan and new carpet. Then, we'll bring in the furniture (crib, dresser, rocking chair, and bookcase) and window coverings.
The baby is due to arrive in just eight weeks. I can't wait to have his little room ready for his appearance in the big, wide world.
Caleb holds the number-one slot with 16 votes (or 37 percent). That's one of my favorite names, but it's not flying with my husband. (Also, I've sadly since discovered that it doesn't have the most flattering meaning: dog.) Other top names were:
- Hudson (10 votes)
- Matthew and Oliver (6 votes each)
- Luke (5 votes)
- Charles (4 votes)
Less popular were Isaac, Russell, and Thomas, with three votes each. Carl and Henry each got two (odd, since Carl Henry was a famous theologian), and Clark, James, and Walter just one. Poor Theodore and Ivan got left out in the cold with not a single vote, probably a nice, clear indicator that we should stay away from those.
My husband also ran a poll on his blog. Interestingly, James got the top vote, followed by Caleb and Luke. Oliver, Henry (Hank), Russell (Rush), Clark, Matthew, and Charles also got the thumbs up from a few people.
More recently, we've discussed Jonathan and Jack.
Regarding the later, I'd like to name him Jack, but my husband thinks we should put John on the birth certificate and call him Jack because it is odd to give a child a nickname as his full name. He has a great point, but I believe many people consider Jack a name in its own right (your opinions on this are welcome). And it seems slightly strange to name him one thing and have no intention whatsoever of calling him that (though he could chose John when he's older, of course).
Don't worry, baby, you'll have a name before you're born—I hope! :-)
I was especially grateful for all the good deals God provided for us, including:
- A wooden rocking chair in a furniture store's clearance section
- A dresser my husband's parents gave us (cute childhood furniture of my husband's that happens to match the rocking chair and crib splendidly)
- A coupon we used to save on the high chair
- The exact stroller, playpen, and car seat we wanted at a discount baby store
- A fabulous deal on crib bedding online
Now that we've accumulated most of the essentials, there's the hard work of carpeting and painting (OK—my husband's hard work on the carpet) before the real fun of decorating the room begins. The bedding and decor will be in a nautical theme, a thrifty move since I'm transferring many of the decorations from another room.
I can't wait to welcome our baby into his little world!
The blanket on the back is part of the nautical bedding set.
Some of the baby gear: high chair, stroller, car seat
The book "Baby Bargains" was a lifesaver! I highly recommend it.
1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your significant other? Adorable
3. Your hair? Shorter
4. Your mother? Generous
5. Your father? Warm
6. Your favorite thing(s)? Hugs, sunshine, little surprises, cozy blankets, days off
7. Your dream last night? Weird
8. Your favorite drink? Five Alive
9. Your dream/goal? Motherhood
10. The room you’re in? Office
11. Your fear? Heartbreak
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Content
13. Where were you last night? Taste of India
14. What are you not? Extroverted
15. Muffins/donuts? Muffins
16. One of your wish-list items? Seeing England
17. Where you grew up? Canada
18. The last thing you did? Work
19. What are you wearing? Maternity clothes
20. Your TV? NCIS
22. Your computer? Lifeline
23. Your life? Full
24. Your mood? Mellow
25. Missing someone? Family
26. Favorite pastime? Scrapbooking
27. Something you’re not wearing? Necklace
28. Favorite Store? Archiver's
29. Your summer? Unforgettable
30. Your favorite color? Blue
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. Last time you cried? Wednesday
33. Four places you go over and over? Church, Chipotle, work, Subway
34. Four people who e-mail me? Bill, Dad, Gina, Natalee
35. Four of my favorite foods? Avocados, cheese, chocolate, eggs
36. Four places I would like to be right now? Vancouver, PEI, England, here
37. Four people I tag? Cherissa, Shawn, Tracy, Marianne
We've thrown several on the table, and they've all been more or less vetoed: Too common. Bad meaning. Not manly enough. Might get teased with that one. Simply horrible. Too old-fashioned.
So I'm posting a poll with some of the names we've discussed. Please vote, and share your comments about your favorites and your not-so-favorites. In fact, feel free to rank them if you have time. We'd love to hear your opinion! And our little boy will be ever-so-grateful to have a name!
By the way, you can select more than one name when you vote if you can't decide! :-)
My husband, smiling and indicating with his hand several inches in front of me: "You have this far to go!" Splendid.
Ladies at church, knowingly, who have birthed several kids each: "Ahh, this is where the stretch marks come in." Lovely.
But of course, it's all for the most delightful cause, so I can't complain. I'll just watch it grow and grin at the evidence that every day our little boy is getting bigger, stronger, and more ready to be born into the world—and to hold in our arms.
I think of how our little boy will never remember this decade, or the last century. He's starting out afresh as a person of this millennium, who didn't see the entrance of personal computers into society and can't remember cell phones larger than land-line sets. The only absence of the Internet he'll ever know will be when our cable is down. The Gulf War and the Y2K scare and the horror of 9-11 will be history lessons.
But there's a bright future ahead—for him, for all of us. It's exciting to imagine what adventures life will take us on as we add him to our family in 2009. In addition to the gobs of baby gear that we have yet to entirely accumulate, the changes will be dramatic. As I feel him jostle and kick inside me, I imagine tickling his toes, rocking him to sleep (no matter what the experts may say), and kissing his tiny cheeks. Then I dream of watching him grow: sharing uproarious laughter, hearing "Are we there yet?!" on road trips, watching his dad play catch with him, and seeing delight dance in his eyes during holidays.
I just can't wait to see what life beyond the first decade of the Os will bring us. The adventure has barely begun.