Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bread and Butter

OK, after a few other posts, I'm back to the bread and butter of this blog: pics of my kiddo. There is a neat place in town that is basically a big indoor playground. It has a bounce house, big sandbox, lots of riding toys, dress-up clothes, a play structure and more. You have to pay an annual fee, but it we got a deal when they first opened, and it was really reasonable, considering the park is open 7 days a week from 9 to 5. It is GREAT for Oregon winters, and my mom has gotten into the routine of taking Carson there when she watches him for me when I work. They both love it! Here are some pictures of their last adventure at the play park.

When they get there early enough, Carson is one of the only kids, so he gets the bounce house to himself! Did I mention tons of toys?

My mom said Carson and this little girl both got doll babies and brought them into the play school (which is right next to a play house) and wrapped the dolls up in blankets and were kind of talking to each other. When she went to leave, Carson said "Ok! See you!" and leaned out the window for a kiss! She was not impressed and he didn't seem too bothered by her rejection.

This is to give you an idea of how big the sandbox is.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sub Surprise

My current part-time job is as a substitute teacher. The bad parts about this job are that sometimes I get really early morning calls (yes, 5:30 am is when they start), sometimes I don't know where I'm going until I need to be out the door, often kids are rude, rowdy or worse, teachers leave horrible lesson plans and I have to stand up all day and maneuver around unfamiliar schools all the time. The good parts are that it's probably the best $$ per hour that I could find, I dont' have to do any prep, grade any papers or go to any meetings, and I can choose days I want to work and days I don't, and there will ALWAYS be a job for me if I want it.

One constant about doing this is that it is always unpredictable and full of variety. For instance, tomorrow I'm going to do a 1st grade class at a small Christian school. Today, I did 11th grade American Lit at one of the largest high schools in town. The public high schools (6 in town) can be particularly intimidating, because they are HUGE, and the parking lots are HUGE, and I'm assigned to park in a specific numbered spot. (Often which are not marked clearly, or found on a one-way maze of a lot.) Also, if you have a "break period" or a prep, often they send you to the other side of the school to cover another class because there wasn't enough subs for each teacher to have their own.

Today I went to one huge high school, found my parking space, went to check in at the office, and was told that I needed to cover a 1st period weights/PE class. I'm sure she could see the severe hesitation on my face. First, I'm wearing dress shoes, slacks and a sweater. Second, I'm 5 months preggo and not feeling very athletic, strong or graceful. I asked where to go, and she gave me a long list of directions to a side of the school that I had never been. Plucking up my courage, I set off, repeating her directions to myself, trying to look like I knew what I was doing. Following the directions exactly, I turned to open the weight room door and instead found....the men's locker room. Sigh.

20 minutes of wandering, asking students (whom I'm guessing by their mohawks, dog collars, spiked tongues and purple hair have never voluntarily taken a weight training class in their lives) where the room was, I was directed to go through a completely dark gym to find a dark, huge, old, smelly, creepy weight room. By that time, there was only a few minutes left until school started, and I hadn't seen any students. I tried to call the office, the weight room phone wasn't working. No lesson plans, no teacher's desk--no sign of life anywhere. And one minute until I'm supposed to have 34 kids in there.

I grabbed my bag and walked back through the dark gym to the hallway in the athletic wing and saw a handful of kids hanging out. "Hmmm.." I thought. "They are going to late for class! Tsk, tsk" the teacher in me thought. Then I realized...DUH! Maybe they are in my class! So I asked, and one of them told me that he is in another teacher's weight training/PE class, but they usually start off all together. FYOOSH. Also, they aren't allowed to go in the weight room or gym until the bell rings. Also, you have to make noise to get the lights to turn on. Gee, information that would have been helpful 20 minutes ago! So, then, 65 kids spilled into the gym, kind of stretching and looking at me, still with dress shoes and no lesson plans. FINALLY, 15 minutes after the first bell rings, the other teacher came in. He is actually very nice and helpful (he asked about my belly and said his wife is pregs and due in August) although tardy, and he split the class in half, sending me with the advanced kids and a student aide who took roll and who pretty much ran the class on stairs and sprints while I stood next to him and we chatted about his girlfriend and his freethrow percentages. It totally turned out fine, but it was just another example of the kinds of surprises I manage to find in this little "job" I have!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

So, it's a.....

Last night as soon as we got home we drove up to meet both of our families at the Macaroni Grill for a wonderful celebration dinner. After one accidental pronoun slip up on my part (grrrrr), we decided not to wait for a big reveal (for fear that I could not hold the secret for another 30 minutes) and just put up our pink balloons for each family member to see when they came in. It was a wonderful night and we felt so loved and supported. Thank you to all who came, called, texted and commented! We can't wait to meet her! It was a blessing to see the little body on the ultrasound screen...details as amazing as each chamber of the heart, the buds of future teeth, every finger and toe and even her tongue! I'm sure it is shocking for you to know that I was brought to tears a few times. ;) Also...the ultrasound said she might be coming closer to the last week of June rather than the first week in July, so....we'll see!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pregnant Musings Vol. 2

Well, today is the big day! Actually, today is probably the 3rd most exciting day in the 10 months of pregnancy. Yes, I said 10 months. It's 40 weeks, so I like to say 10 months. First most exciting is the LAST day of the pregnancy, but the first day you find out ABOUT the pregnancy is pretty important. Today we are having our big ultrasound to find out if Carson is having a brother or a sister. We are praying that little Phoebe or Pheobo will be nice and relaxed and in a condusive position, ifyaknowwhatimean.

I'm hesitant to write anything at length about my desires or gut feelings, for fear that Phoebe will look back and think I wanted a boy, or Phoebo will look back and think I wanted a girl and much resentment and counseling will follow. Ha! Who am I kidding? I can't write anything without it being "at length." So, read it or don''s always your choice.

I've been telling people that I kind of think it will be a boy. Not sure why. I think a boy would be great for Carson and boy2 as they grow up. I can picture bunk beds, lots of dirt and trucks, wrestling, soccer, a bathroom that constantly has urine around the toilet where little boys weren't quite focused enough on their aim...all that good stuff. Sometimes I think that I'm destined to be a mother of boys. I can think of three friends of ours at different stages in life that all have 3 boys: Greers, Marples and Posenjaks. The Pjaks boys are 1-5, the Marple boys are in HS and early college, and the Greer boys are getting married in their early 20's. Having my own son already, I'm past the stereotype that boys are ALWAYS rowdy and dirty and naughty. Of course, they are sometimes all of these things and more! I admire each of these families and the way they have parented really delightful boys...some into delightful young men. That is really encouraging to me! Plus, Mrs. Marple tells me that there are some benefits to being the only girl in the house. Like her family kept taking her new water bottles that she bought for herself. So she bought one in bright pink and no one ever touched it! I have fallen madly in love with a little boy already, so I know how easy it is and would love another one. And also, he has cousin Jack who will only be 6 months older, and that would be fun.

But I would also love to have a girl at some point--partly for selfish reasons! I want the experience of having a little girl in the house. I want all the silly little things like barrettes and dresses and pigtails. I'd love to see Trent with a daughter. I have four friends at my Bible study table who have one boy and one girl. All of them tell me that their girls came out already much different than the brothers. Little divas is what they concluded would be a good description, and said they are much more dramatic, even as infants! So, it's not as if I have this idea in my head that a girl will be a little angel sitting with ribbons in her hair reading Nancy Drew whilst Carson is trashing my house, "swordfighting" in the bathroom with Ethan. I think part of it is that I'm close to my mom as an adult, and many of my girl friends are also still close with their moms. The two adult guys I observe the most, my husband and my brother, are still lovely to their mothers. They talk with them and visit them and hug them openly and let the moms see their grandkids anytime they want, which is great. But the relationship is just not quite the same as their wives & sisters have with their moms. So, part of my desire to have a girl is my expectations for 25 years from now!

So, there you go, Phoebe/Phoebo. I'm just excited to find out who you are!

On a totally unrelated note, here are some pics of Big Brother Carson painting the other week. Look for a post tomorrow with an update! Yes, he's wearing my old "No Moshing Please" shirt from Ekklesia.

We're having issues with the "camera smile."
Who needs a brush?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How great...indeed.

I totally had a "moment" at church today. For those of you who know me well, you know that it extremely normal and common for me to get choked up or full-on cry during worship. Something about corporate worship, or singing praise songs with a bunch of other people if you aren't as familiar with that phrase, just leads me to tears quite often. Certain songs more than others.

Today there was a man sitting directly behind me with Down's Syndrome. We shook his hand during the greeting time. During the first few songs, he was kind of kicking my chair and trying a little to sing/mutter along with the songs. Then we stood and sang "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin. And let me tell you: the guy behind me KNEW THIS SONG. He started "singing" at the TOP of his lungs--every single word loud and clear. His voice was harsh and grating. It was much more like shouting than it was singing. Many people started turning around to see what the deal was.

But I am telling you: I just LOST it. I started bawling at the beauty of it. My reasons for the sudden rush of tears was complicated...and isn't it always when a woman bursts into tears!?!? :) I was so blown away by the sincere, authentic and passionate praise coming straight from his heart. His simple mind probably did not process a lot of the sermon, which was pretty intellectual, especially in parts, but he absolutely knew what he was singing: "How great is our God! SING WITH ME! How great is our God! ALL will see how great, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!" I was completely overwhelmed. He was truly singing for an audience of One, and he didn't know (or care?) that some people thought his voice wasn't good. I can only imagine how much joy our Father was experiencing through this man's worship, as honest and beautiful as a child. I don't know if I'll ever be able to sing that song again without thinking of him.

Another thing that kept going through my mind is that this very week we had decided to have a blood test done to check for any genetic abnormalities in our unborn baby.  There was a small dot on our baby's heart during the first ultrasound, and although they don't think it's anything significant, they recommended this blood test to confirm and rule out certain possibilities. Although I am an optimist by nature, ever since college I've had dreams and daydreams that one of my children will be handicapped in some way. The test this week was particularly checking for Down's Syndrome. I've often wondered what it would be like if any of our children were born less than perfectly healthy. Through Trent's job, he has seen and told of numerous disabilities and birth defects that can cause a family immense grief, inconvenience and incomparable sacrifice. But I think through this man today, I felt God was reminding me that HE IS IN CONTROL of the health of my child. If my child is born blind, or deaf or with Downs? We will love them just the same and He'll give me the strength to deal with it. It was abundantly clear to me this morning that God can move in the hearts of those who are not physically perfect in the world's eyes. In fact, I wonder if our intellect, health and complicated emotions often stand in the way of God's moving/speaking/leading in our lives? We rely on our own strength to fight through hard times, our own brains to figure out tough situations. This morning, my desire was to find a way to be a little simpler and purer in my own worship--and trust--of our great, GREAT GOD.


OK, all you readers, regular or occasional lookie-loos, I need your help. Pretty soon we will start really diving in to our third bedroom to transform it into an actual bedroom for the coming kiddo. We've done zero decorating in this room, but loved having a separate room for the computer in our little house. But times change!
Here's my problem. The previoius owners left us these lovely bolts in the wall. I think they would be called bolts? They are like one long piece of metal, including the flat circular part you see on the outside of the wall and a cylinder part that goes into the wall. They are about 3/4 inch diameter (on the flat wall part). There are 5 of them on a prominent wall. My mom is the Family Handyman, and I know she'll help me, but I wanted to see if anyone has ever had to remove something like this before? The only thing I've tried is prying up the sides of the part on the outside of the wall with a screwdriver, but it does not seem very pliable.
Any ideas?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What's in a name?

This video is not that exciting, but I was attempting to interview Carson from the bathroom floor, because he was just talking up a storm as I was fixing my hair. Of course, as soon as the camera turns on, he starts acting differently, but this is kind of amusing. Especially when I asked him his Dad's name.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Favorites Vol. 3

Plain old sugar cookies. Betty Crocker recipe. Powdered sugar frosting. Cooked just right...not at all brown or crispy. Sprinkles optional.
Oh. My. Gosh. I love them.
Even when I made them at 10:30 at night because I forgot I signed up to bring cookies to Bible study the next morning. Heck yeah, there is one missing! And people? It melted in my mouth. YUM!
Also, FYI, powdered sugar frosting accepts red food coloring way better than buttercream frosting, especially when made in bulk to create 25 mini-Elmos.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Make yourself at home.

This is one of Carson's favorite places to sit/rest/read/watch TV. It fits him pretty well! He's found himself there a bit more this weekend, as I've been sick. "Sick" is used loosely, as our dear friends in California have been dealing with a sickness that really puts my miseries into perspective. If you can't tell by Carson's beautiful attire, my energy levels and motivation have been a bit low, and my patience seems even lower. I'm missing my Dayquil, but alas, it's another pregnancy no-no. Today we have something to look forward to, as Carson's buddy Ethan is getting a little sister today! (Scheduled C-sections are so convenient for everyone else!) Surely more picture will be posted, although I'm not sure if I should hold this little babe, whom I have affectionately named "Audry" after the Pottery Barn bedding they chose for her room. Can't wait to meet her!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

This just in....part 2.

I had to have some blood work done today, and I took Carson. It was supposed to be a short visit, but because of miscommunication and lost paperwork, we were there almost an hour. Carson was very patient. My version for him was that I had to have a "shot" so they could check on the baby.
When we were finally done, I told Carson as much, and as I was putting my coat on, he scrunched up his forehead and looked at me with a confused look and said, "They not take the baby out today?" Ha! Nope, not for a long, long time. Right, Jenna?

This just in...

I'm sitting in the computer/soon-to-be-new-baby's room, and Carson is playing in his room in a rare moment of self-entertainment. He is pretending to talk to someone/thing, I'm pretty sure it's a dog. (I think I overheard the name Riley, which is his Auntie's dog's name.)

I heard "No no!" and then "Uh-oh. Bummer! Time-out," which is our exact phrase that Carson hears a LOT. Ha! I guess it feels good to punish someone ELSE. (Poor little Phoebe/Phoebo.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh, the old bath time.

We have a routine that works pretty well for us on "normal" evenings. After dinner, Trent gives Carson a bath so I can do the dishes and clean up the kitchen without "help." Carson still LOVES bath time and it is not unusual for him to want to stay in there for at least an hour. Sometimes we take turns, or we bring a book to sit in there with him. This night, Dad gave C-dog a new little faux-hawk.
Carson does NOT like having his hair rinsed. Do they grow out of this? He cries almost every time, even when we get him to tilt his head enough that no water goes in his eyes.
This shot captured a rare brave moment. "Yet me see!" is the common phrase I hear, which means, turn the little screen around so I can see myself. As I have probably mentioned, this makes the viewfinder stop working, so I can't see what I'm aiming the camera at.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pregnancy Anecdote

It's actually not from this time around, but when I was preggo with Carson....

It was July, so I was about 7 months big. It was July, so it was HOT. One of my best friends, Howie, came to visit from Cali, and she got me one of the best gifts ever...a pregnancy massage! She just looked on the yellow pages for somewhere in Portland that provides regular massages and some for pregnant girlies, and we followed the address to a sketchy looking building near Front street. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of it. When we saw the building, we were a little nervous, it shared the store front with a Plaid Pantry with some interesting clientel.

Anyway, it turns out, after getting past the waiting room which was smaller than my closet, the massage rooms were AMAZING! They were beautiful and clean and--at least mine, the only one I saw personally, but Howie liked hers too--had a HUGE bathroom as part of it, with a jacuzzi tub, big shower and a sauna, along with other bathroom things. "My" gal told me to take about a 15 minute bath in the jacuzzi, which she had already filled for me (with warm--not hot water--she was so in tune with pregnancy faupax), then get in my bathroom and wait for her. I did this, and then she came back and we started the massage.

I need to back up. I had been lucky enough to borrow some great maternity clothes from a few different people. In order to keep track of whose was whose, I put little round stickers on the tags with their names on it. The day before, I had sung at a funeral, and worn a black dress that was borrowed.

Back to the massage. Right after she started massaging my back, she said hesitantly, "Now...what was your name again?" "Jen," I said. "It's just that there's a little sticker on your upper back that says 'Tami.'"

OOPS! In my warm pregnancy hormones and hot summer weather, I must have sweated that little sticker right off of Tami's dress, and it STUCK TO ME for almost 24 hours, even through a shower AND bath. Oh, dear. It was embarassing, but funny. She said she'd never had that happen before. Tami got a kick out of it too.

Inspector Tompkins

I know the 2 Grandmas that watch Carson when I work think of all kinds of fun things to entertain him. This particular day, Grandma Jo found a big magnifying glass that she uses for quilting. Evidently, it was quite a hit, and Carson went around inspecting the room and most of his toys and books.
"Holy cow!"