Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crayon Box

An assortment of non-consequential thoughts of varied colors...

First and foremost, Sophie started smiling!!!


I've gotten to video call with Jon three times and talk with him on the phone once since he left. Everyone join in... "Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But I STILL love technology... Always and forever. Our love is like a flock of doves, flying up to heaven above... always and forever, always and forever..."


Here is our Super Bowl feast... neither of us enjoying the sport, the Super Bowl is pretty much an excuse to eat party food! We had chips & cheese with guacamole & salsa, crackers with spinach/artichoke dip, wings (Jon grilled them), and root beer floats. All for the two of us. Suffice it to say we didn't feel great the next day...


Jon's sister Emily had a baby 6 weeks after I had Sophie, but since Alice was bigger when she was born, they're about the same size. When I'm up this summer we're going to get matching outfits for the girls for a photo shoot... gotta love cousins! :-)


I had a bad experience with a USPS employee on the phone yesterday while ordering my military kit. Two days after my husband deploys is NOT a great time to lecture me about how important my USPS customer ID# is and make me feel like an idiot for not keeping track of it since I last used it 3 years ago... (btw- why in the world can you not order these online???)


Last week Jon & I went shooting. Ok, so I'm no marksman, but I was pretty impressed with myself. Jon was just impressed that I didn't cry this time.

Jon was awarded the Bronze Star a few weeks ago! Long story short, he was supposed to have gotten it at the end of his first tour, but the paperwork for it (in typical Army fashion...) was lost. It finally came through! He got it for a period of about 10 days when his unit suffered 11 KIAs. That's really when he proved himself to his soldiers- he went way above and beyond what would be expected of a chaplain, including helping with the recovery effort. He also was awarded the Meritorious Serviceman's Medal as well as an Army Commendation Medal.


Are Oreos made with more cream filling nowadays? I bought some Springtime Oreos and was disappointed with the cream-to-cookie ratio... some of us like the cookie the best!!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

He's gone.

Jon left for Iraq yesterday.

Last time, there was a big farewell ceremony, with the whole brigade (several thousand soldiers) in formation on the parade field.

Yesterday, there were less than 10. We all met at a small parking lot, they lined up all their gear, and we sat... for three hours...

Jon & I were actually able to stay in good spirits and had a rather enjoyable morning. Then, a bus pulled up. He walked me to the car, and we said goodbye.

Honestly, I felt relieved. I had been dreading that moment since we found out 6 weeks ago that he would be deploying. Of course, I went home and saw Sophie (she stayed with a friend), and I instantly had an incredibly empty feeling... Jon is such a great dad, and I have so much enjoyed having him home with Soph and me...

My sister-in-law, Amy, is in Jacksonville for a Young Survivor's Coalition conference this weekend, so Sophie and I came down to hang out with her. It really put some things in perspective for me last night, as we walked through the conference area. There are several hundred women here, all survivors of breast cancer- and under 40 years old. It reminded me that, while this season in my life is a struggle, I have so much to be grateful for. Our decision to go into the Army was just that- OUR decision. It has its pitfalls- but it was our choice. These women didn't have that luxury. They are having to deal with the life that was given them, to look for the good in the midst of the bad...

So, we're doing alright. These next few months will be hard, but focusing on the good and taking life day by day make is the only way to live- for anyone...

We'll both be journaling this season through our blogs- be sure to check back (sort of) often! :-)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A little perspective...

Millions of American Christians pray in their churches each week, oblivious to the fact that Christians in many parts of the world suffer brutal torture, arrest, imprisonment and even death—their homes and communities laid waste—for no other reason than that they are Christians. The shocking, untold story of our time is that more Christians have died this century simply for being Christians than in the first nineteen centuries after the birth of Christ. They have been persecuted and martyred before an unknowing, indifferent world and a largely silent Christian community.

---Nina Shea, Freedom House (human rights organization), International human rights lawyer (worship.com)

Our PWOC Program was this week (it went well!), and I did speak for just a few minutes on the persecuted church. I'm not sure how many women were affected by it, but even if just one commits to praying for our brothers and sisters in these countries, good was done.

I found this at the website of the Voice of the Martyrs. (I just realized you have to create a free account with them to view this page- but it is worth it!) All the colored countries are those in which Christians fact persecution of some kind. Isn't that amazing!?? So often we take for granted the freedoms we have here in the U.S. Just as the author of Hebrews encouraged in Hebrews 13:3, so we need to be in prayer today.

Bible League also has a REALLY cool program that I found- you can "recycle" your Bible! I don't know about you, but we have several copies of Bibles on our shelves that we haven't cracked in years- if you send it to Bible League, they will actually place it in an English-speaking home overseas!

I would really encourage you to check out these links I have provided, read some stories, and learn more about what is going on in the world- things that somehow are never reported unless an American happens to be involved...

By the way, if you're wondering- yes, I did in fact make a potpourri sachet... wasn't so bad after all...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ya Gotta Laugh...

Jon and I tried out a new church this past Sunday; unfortunately, the pastor wasn't there, so we decided to go back for prayer meeting.

So we show up- the obvious novelty in this 50-person church. There was an impressive 15 people there for the mid-week meeting- all old enough to be our parents; most, our grandparents. Of course, Sophie needed to eat as soon as the meeting began, and as there is no inconspicuous way to nurse in such a setting, I went to an unused nursery. As I came back in and sat down, Jon noticed Sophie's face looking red and determined...

He looked at me quizzically- "Has she had her blowout yet??"

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than- PPPTTTHHHSSSLLLBBB...

Yep, you guessed it. LOUDLY. In the middle of the pastor taking prayer requests.

(Did I mention that- for the FIRST TIME EVER- I had chosen to put a shirt and pants on Sophie- without a onesie?)

Just then, I felt something warm and looked down- yellow goo was oozing out of the back of Soph's diaper- pooling on my lap...

Jon, helpful father he is, reached into the diaper bag to get me a cloth to keep our daughter's... uh... you know... from getting all over the pew. I quickly sopped it up off my jeans...

That's when I realized- I was using her spare outfit.

(Thankfully, her sweatshirt emerged unharmed, so she could still wear that.)

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Saturday was Jon's birthday. We dropped Sophie off at a friend's and had a date day!

It was GORGEOUS- I think it actually hit 80! There is a section of downtown Savannah called City Market- it's a couple blocks of walking district with restaurants and shops. We ate lunch (baked brie and portabella/ gorgonzola pizza... yum!) on a patio while listening to a live band play classic rock- of course, Jon didn't know most of the songs, but I knew them all!

After getting gelato (Italian ice cream), we went and saw There Will Be Blood- it's about the oil discoveries in the West in the early 20th century. It was a fantastic movie! I'll admit, I wasn't looking forward to it- Jon's birthday, he got to choose... but I really enjoyed it. You know it's a good movie when it gives you conversation fodder for the whole hour drive home!

I did have a few surreal moments- we hung out in City Market with Jon's siblings right before he deployed the first time... it seems we've come full circle...

But, this time, we know (well... sort of...) that he'll be home for his birthday next year! (gotta look at the bright side, right? ;-)

The Stuff of Parenthood

I had an interesting feeling the other day in the waiting room at the hospital.

I was thumbing through a magazine for grandparents- it was actually pretty cool. Its secondary premise was informing new grandparents of all the things that they were told to do back when they were new parents, that now are the mark of a horrible parent. Now, you see, if you put your baby on their stomach to sleep you are probably handing them over to SIDS. Nursing is once again the preferable way to go, according to literature anyway; don't even think about giving your infant water in a bottle; you should feed your baby every time she wants it- banish the thought of a schedule!

It also offered suggestions on how to be a good grandparent.

Which leads me to its primary premise- getting you to buy stuff.

(Did I forget to mention this "magazine" was published by Fisher Price???)

Of course, I was wise to their little scheme. Their blatant and unabashed marketing won't work on me, I thought.

Until I started seeing the pictures of the happy little babies.

And the smart little babies.

You see, they realize that plain old toys don't sell to new moms.

Nope, today's mom has way too much pressure for her child to succeed in every area of life.

Today's mom buys developmental toys.

If you don't have a mobile with bright, contrasting colors, your child won't ever be able to focus- you're dooming him to a lifetime of glasses!!

If your precious little one doesn't have a play gym with things to grab at, he will be behind all his classmates in motor skills!!

If you don't have a hanging crib toy with mirrors and things to look at, he will never be happy enough to go to sleep (didn't you know? stuffed animals in the crib are another death sentence...)- and without the mirrors, he will not know that he controls his environment until way too late!

Then there's the safety aspect- no ordinary infant bathtub will suffice- only the Fisher Price Rainforest one- equipped with the latest in safety equipment- and a padded armrest for Mom!

It worked on me.

For about 10 seconds.

Then I realized that our stuff is ok. Yep, most of it is either from garage sales or given to us- and it's all in great condition. I'm not saying developmental toys are bad or wrong- Sophie has some and will have more. I just maintain that the same end result can be attained through other means. It amazed me how I felt like I needed to have all that stuff to be a good parent. That I was doing my child a disservice by not depending on toys for her development. That the only way to ensure her success would be to follow all the latest research (which, I'm sure, in another two or three decades when I'm a new grandparent will all be wrong again anyway...). It doesn't matter if the mobile on Sophie's swing is of tan teddy bears and not bright red and blue shapes- she'll learn to focus. We read to her. We interact with her. We smile at her and hug her and kiss her. We show her pictures. We expose her to different textures and music. We give her "tummy time"- which she happens to love.

When people would talk about the responsibility of being a parent, I never quite "got it." Now I do. I feel like every decision I make will impact the rest of her life. But you know what? It will all be ok. She'll be a good kid. I'm sure I'll make mistakes- and I'm sure her younger siblings will have a slightly different experience than our little guinea pig.

I do know that I don't want to raise her to be materialistic and always need all the latest and coolest.

I also know that no toy can replace me and the time I spend with her.

That said, I thought I'd share this picture. Without developmental toys, we thought we'd better get a head up on teaching her to read now... (said tongue in cheek, if you didn't catch that...)