Friday, November 30, 2012

The Witching Hour

It did not take me long to learn about the "witching hour" with Baby SA. That hour or two between the afternoon nap and dinner. Mr. SA isn't home yet, she's bored with me, and we're just trying to survive until Mr. SA walks in the door. 

For awhile this was my least favorite time of day. I was cranky. My baby was cranky. Everything I was trying to accomplish was being thwarted. I was frustrated, tired, and ready to unload my negativity on my husband as soon as I could. 

You can imagine how well that worked out. 

Some time over the summer - after I had quit my paying job and was home full time - I decided that the way I was handling this dreaded time of day was detrimental to my marriage, and to our family as a whole. I couldn't fix Claire's attitude or behavior. I couldn't change the fact that I really was exhausted. But I could change my behavior - and I could do a few things to smooth out that time.

I thought about what the hardest part of those hours was - and concluded that it was when I was trying to make dinner, pick up the house, and get everything ready for Mr. SA to come home. Which would be fine, except that Claire often wanted to be held that whole time, didn't want to be "worn" in one of those baby carriers, and just generally needed more of my attention during the one time of day I wasn't prepared to give it to her. 

So I changed my schedule. Instead of working out in the morning, that is when we run errands, because she is happiest then and less likely to melt down in the store. I use her naps times to chop vegetables, clean up the house, empty the dishwasher, or do any other tasks that I know will be harder once she is awake. I used to work out in the morning and then was worn out by the afternoon. Now I wait and go for a run after her afternoon nap. She loves being outside, and it is the most consistent way of calming her down - and therefore the perfect activity for the time of day when she is most on edge.  

Some of these things may seem obvious to those of you reading, but they weren't to me as a new mom. I'm just glad I was able to find a schedule that works for us so quickly. 

Now we have less of this:

And more of this:

The Pampered Bird

Friday, November 9, 2012

Grandma, Because of You

This past week has been pretty emotional. My Grandma (mom's mom), transitioned from her life here on earth to her eternal life with Jesus. There were good days where we thought maybe she'd make it out of the hospital. And there were rough days when we weren't even sure if there were hours left.

Through it all she kept saying, "I'm ready to see Jesus, and I'm ready to see Paul" (my Grandpa). It was hard to watch, and our prayer was "Just take her home Lord, end her pain and bring her home."

At one point I bought a plane ticket to fly out to see her one last time, but for a long list of reasons I ended up canceling it. As nice as it would have been to give her one last hug, I knew that there was nothing unresolved between us that demanded one last in-person interaction.

Instead I talked to her on the phone, and then video-chatted with her, being able to wave good-bye and say "I love you" one more time while seeing each other's faces.

Having spent 9 years living just a few miles from her, I remember spending many week day afternoons at her house after school. She would make cinnamon sugar toast and we would do our homework at her kitchen table. We would hang out there while my mom took one (or a few of us) to sports, speech therapy, doctor's appointments, or ran whatever errands she needed to for the week. We would go explore in the creek behind her house. We'd pull out the old fashioned toys from the garage shelves. I can still remember their musty smell.

At Halloween we would trick-or-treat in her neighborhood, and all of her friends would give us extra special treats.

Grandma always had a junk toy drawer in the kitchen. Odds and ends, cheap plastic toys, costume jewelry  candy, etc. would accumulate in there and we were encouraged to take home goodies as a gift.

She always told us that she prayed for us every night.

As we got older her homework help matured into dating advice: "Marissa, sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince". Or (in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, "You know Marissa, your Grandpa and I spent a lot of time in groups, but we still always made time to find a place to neck".

Meeting Mr. San Antonio and getting married myself I watched her marriage to my Grandpa very closely and was inspired and encouraged by their devotion to one another.

And I'll never forget the time I visited her when I was very pregnant. Hearing her stories about child birth and child raising, and having her tell me how confident she was in my ability to be a good mom.

But probably the memories I will cherish the most are the ones of her holding her great granddaughter. She would lean back in her chair with Claire curled up asleep in her arms. With one hand my Grandma would play with Claire's fingers. She would close her eyes and hum lullabies while rocking gently with a smile on her lips.

Everything Claire did brought joy to my Grandma's face. She would light up and say Claire was the most beautiful, smartest, most darling baby girl she had ever seen. And she always told me how proud she was of me as a mom. She said I was the best mom she knew.

But Grandma, I am the mom I am, because of you.

The Pampered Bird

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bipartisan Photos

Ok, I've started this post several times. Each time with a brief political summary. But to be honest I get so fired up and upset while writing that I end up deleting it each time. I've sworn off Facebook for the rest of the week because I don't want to see any of my friends post things that I fundamentally disagree with for fear of harboring negative feelings towards those I care about. 

The truth is that politics do matter. Many Christians will say that we are to be above politics and that God is in control so it doesn't matter what laws are in place in our country. Yes, God is in control; however, God is also very clear that there are absolute truths and that there is an ultimate right and wrong. As a Christian I believe we are to fight for those absolute truths to exist on earth and we are to point people to God's truth and ultimately to God (and his Son Jesus Christ). So to either vote for something/someone that is opposed to the Truth, or to check out and not care whether Truth exists in our country - I believe is wrong.

Ok, I'm done (for now). 

Now, here are some recent photos of Baby San Antonio. Because I needed to post something bipartisan. :)

Claire loves things that roll around on the ground. She'll chase a ball all over the house. She'll even "throw" the ball to you and then wait for you to roll it back. I think we might have a future athlete on our hands.

Uh oh! I've been caught! 

She's not really coming for me, she's coming for the camera. 

Aaaaaand side tracked. Probably by Mr. SA's guitars, or an empty water bottle, or a shoe. All of her favorite toys.

Now if that face won't improve my mood today I don't know what will. :)

The Pampered Bird

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cutest Produce on the Block

We dressed up Claire for Halloween and let her "trick-or-treat" at some of her favorite places:

We started with Daddy's office, then went on to Grandmommy and Granddaddy's house. A stop to see Mimi also included a nap before heading off to see some friends and their kids' costumes. But we didn't stay long because this little piece of produce has an early bed time. She was asleep by the time the first trick-or-treaters hit our front steps.

I'm not sure if I wrote about last year's Halloween fiasco.... it will forever go down as the Halloween that I forgot to buy candy. Whoops.

This year I thought I had made up for it by purchasing two full bags of candy (!!!!!), but I grossly underestimated the number of children people that would come to our house. (Since when is it appropriate to ask for candy once you have kids of your own?)

Apparently (does this happen in your city too?) families who live in less desirable neighborhoods travel to other parts of town to trick-or-treat. I have no problem with this, and am glad we live in a neighborhood that families feel safe walking through; however, we end up getting some interesting characters on our steps.

Like the girl who told Mr. San Antonio to "look over there", and while he turned his head she grabbed a huge fistful of candy (after he asked her to only take 2 pieces) and ran off. She ran off into the arms of her grandmother who was carrying a pack of cigarettes in her bra (which was easily seen because of the low cut of her shirt). I don't think it was a costume.

At this point, Mr. SA came in and said "we need more candy. Oh and by the way, you're forever banned from being on Halloween candy duty. Let me show you how it is done."

He left and came bag with armfuls of candy. I laughed. But that candy also disappeared, and we ended up with a sign on our door that said, "sorry we're out of candy", and we finished our evening in a darkened house feeling slightly ashamed of our empty candy bowl.

The Pampered Bird (and her strawberry side-kick)


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