Sunday, August 16, 2009

Being the Supportive Wife

It is about midnight on Saturday night and I am still up because I am trying to be the supportive wife! Aaron got a call late this morning letting us know our senior pastor was sick and at the emergency room. Thankfully he only has vertigo and is on the mend. I don't know for certain that vertigo is no big deal, but it sounds better than the possible heart problems that cause some of the same symptoms. So, please pray for God to heal him so that he can enjoy his vacation time scheduled starting next week.

Aaron will be preaching and teaching tomorrow morning, and all with very little time to prepare so please pray for him also. After the normal services, there is a prayer walk and then a bridal shower for a friend of mine. It is one of those Sundays that make you cringe slightly because you know you'll be functioning on pure fumes and the strength of the Spirit alone. So, as I sit here watching him thump his cheek or thigh (that's what he does when he is in deep concentration) I am praying for God to work in and through him and to continue to renew his energy as he does some very last minute sermon prep. And, that leaves me with a little time to kill.

So, here are a few cute photos we took this week. Elijah looks like such a little boy now instead of a baby. Take a look!


Such a little boy! Check out the cool
shirt for his participation in learning
and brain development research!

Gwen and Reuben adopted Aaron, Elijah and me
while we were house-sitting next door to them at
the Wicks' house. They probably could do without
Aaron and me, but they fell in love with Elijah.
We kept the Wicks' tradition of visiting them
almost daily and it was a blessing.

Gwen is getting her Elijah fix.

Spaghetti is one of Elijah's favorites. We
went to see a play the night this photo
was taken with our good friends, Bruce and
Deborrah, so Elijah already had his bedtime
bath before he bathed himself in spaghetti. :)

Sufficiently bathed!

Elijah is a master climber now. He seems
to often see the opportunity to climb, but,
fortunately, he is too apprehensive to climb
something taller than a step or two currently.

Elijah turns to make sure I am behind him
every once in a while, especially when
he's going to do something he knows he
shouldn't or if it is risky.

Elijah is making sure I see the mess he
is making for me to clean up. He also points
at airplanes going overhead.

Okay, my body is starting to twitch because it is sufficiently exhausted, and Aaron is practicing his sermon for the last time tonight, so until next time, Adios muchachos y muchachas!

Friday, August 7, 2009

11 Months Old

As a few of you have pointed out, I have not posted anything new lately so I am making up for it here. You want more pictures, you got it! I am really glad to hear that the blog makes you feel less far away from Elijah and helps you get to know him despite the miles. Now lets get to what you are all waiting for: Elijah!

I can hardly believe he is going to be a year old soon. It has gone by in a flash and I am truly enjoying being a mom. One of my favorite characteristics of Elijah currently is his playfulness. His deep belly laugh is such a delight to hear so we play plenty of games to make it happen. He cracks up chasing me at a full speed crawl when I am running from him. I pretend to get trapped on walls, furniture and such while excitedly saying, "Oh no! He's going to get me! I can't get away." Right before he reaches me, I'll scoot around him and he is off again, cracking up the entire way. He heartily laughs at the funny faces I make and he giggles when I dramatically and haltingly come after him telling him, "I'm gonna get you!" It doesn't take him long though to start chasing me. And there's no doubt about it! The boy did not inherit my lack of ticklishness so that is fun too!

Another new or at least more pronounced aspect I have loved is his affection. Elijah will crawl up to me, pull up to a stand and reach up for me. When I pick him up he gives me a big, tight hug that lasts for about 30 seconds. Talk about making my heart melt! He isn't shy to wiggle away though. He doesn't like to sit still long. He also loves to give me kisses. The only other "people" he kisses are his teddy bears so I feel pretty honored. ;) I think Aaron has gotten a few too. As soon as he wakes up from naps, he wants some extended affection, but then he expects to go over to the desk where all his teddy bears are lined up. With a big smile he waves at them and sometimes hugs a few. It makes waking up a bit easier for him.

Another thing I love to see is how much Elijah LOVES his daddy! When Daddy comes home, Elijah celebrates and is all smiles. He crawls as fast as he can to greet him. If Aaron comes home from work and has to leave shortly after for a meeting in the evening, Elijah protests until Aaron comes back from the door to give him another hug. At dinner time, Elijah and Aaron have this cute game they play. At times, most of dinner is spent repeating the sounds the other one makes. So, our dinner conversation sounds something like: ba, ba, ba, ba, ahhhhhhh, ahhhhhhh, mmmph, mmmmph, ma, ma, ma, ma, awhoow, awhoow…you get the idea. They enjoy it and it is quite entertaining for me as well.

Elijah has really gotten into books lately, but mostly animal books recently. Animal books evoke a thoughtful look of curiosity and concentration. It is quite cute and the reading teacher in me breathes a sigh of relief when he intently looks at books and listens to a story.

Those are just a few of the joys we are experiencing these days. Life has definitely gotten a bit more challenging these last couple months also. The three biggest contributing factors: crawling combined with pulling up, teething and violence. Crawling and pulling up brought on much more potential for getting into things, causing us to adjust our home yet again in the next stage of baby proofing. For a while I felt like I was always saying no to him. We rearranged some things so that we have to fight fewer battles now. The most frequent piece of advice we've gotten at this stage is to pick our battles. I think that has been really helpful.

I am convinced, though, as of today that he can learn to just look or touch things. The little girl I take care of two days a week only looks when her parents tell her, "Look, no touch." She only touches when they tell her, "Touch, no play." It has convinced me that he too understands and can learn to control himself and obey. For those of you who told me this a long time ago, sorry for needing some more convincing. In this case, seeing really was believing! So, now starts the quest to be consistent. I have more confidence in the area now so that makes a significant difference.

I do think the pattern I seem to go through as a mom is interesting and more predictable these days. Here's the order: anxiety over a given struggle like sleep or sickness, prayer, a search for answers, a sorting of the differing advice from friends and books, a few random attempts using differing advice, and finally a confident approach to dealing with said struggle. A lady from Moms' Group whom I greatly respect, but sadly moved away suggested I read Shepherding a Child's Heart shortly after Elijah was born and since then a few others have also suggested it so that and Instructing a Child's Heart are my next parenting books to read. If you ever think of it, pray for us as parents and for Elijah's response as we try to teach him.

Elijah now has six teeth and it seems like he is much more emotionally fragile when he's working on a new tooth. The little guy who had only cried real tears a handful of times for the first nine months of his life has made up for it the last couple months. Most of it happens when he is teething, but there are a few other things that set him off. We are house-sitting for some friends and caring for their dog, Ella. Elijah absolutely loves her and he is growing on her. He will occasionally come up and lick Elijah, but most of the time she steers clear of him. Ella is a wonderful watch dog and barks whenever she thinks the house is under attack. Occasionally, she mistakenly thinks noises are a threat of attack and she starts barking. The first couple days here Elijah was petrified of the barking and cried huge crocodile sized tears inconsolably every time she barked. I repeatedly comforted him and told him that I could understand how it could be scary, but that is just how dogs talk to us. When Ella has barked the last couple days, it hasn’t fazed him in the least so I suppose he doesn't mind Ella talking anymore.

Now, you have to be wondering about the reference to violence. Yes, I am being overly dramatic for the sake of entertainment. For a few weeks I was pretty anxious though about Elijah’s level of physical contact with people in general, but especially kids around him. When I picked up Elijah at the church nursery, two different adults told me, "Wow, he is quite a scratcher!" Not the news a first time mom likes to hear. Tell me something good first! :) So, I was pretty concerned, but on top of it, at our first two visits to the baby story time at the library, Elijah pulled quite a bit of hair, grabbed several kids and scratched/pinched a few in his excitement to meet them. Now, in his defense, I do not believe he has done any of it aggressively. I think most of it is done out of excitement or just unknowingly, but it is still stressful.

While my anxiety is not completely gone, most of it has dissipated. Last week we went again to story time and he kept his hands to himself. I am guessing it was a factor of being excited to be in a new place with a bunch of new kids. It was quite a relief, but he is also learning to touch people gently. Overall, he is a fast learner as soon as we figure out what we are doing as parents, but sometimes that takes a bit of time because we aren't the fast learners he is! We continue to seek counsel from other parents and to pray for God to grant us wisdom and follow through as parents.

Well, here are plenty of pictures to show you what life has been like the last couple of months. Enjoy!

Elijah is having a blast watching Fin play
peek-a-boo at a birthday party! It was the first
party Elijah was invited to attend.

Maddie's first birthday with her parents and friends.
Maddie is the little girl I care for two days a week.

Who needs toys when you have boxes!

Where's Elijah?

There he is!

Playing on the balcony while Mommy
does some late spring cleaning!

This is a funny contrast between Elijah and Maddie.
If Maddie loses a cheerio out of her snack trap, she
meticulously puts it back in. If Elijah has a cheerio
left in his snack trap, he eagerly and assiduously
shakes them out. So, for kids like Elijah, instead of
calling these snack traps, we should call them
snack removal challenges.

Hmmm. Very interesting!

A kind couple at our church has offered their cabin
in the mountains for our youth retreat this year.
Looks like we are going to be seeking God in style
this September!

Elijah trying to temp his daddy into playing
with him instead of working.

No caption could capture this cute bath shot.

This is at a Five Day Good News Club this past summer
that my friend Celia hosted at her home. I did the games
portion of the club and the kids had a ton of fun. We are
opening a new Good News Club at another Seattle school
and I'll be teaching at it. Please pray for God to work
mightily through it.

One of few left with a balloon.

Elijah takes part in research studies on infant
learning and brain development at the
University of Washington. He gets a shirt
and the satisfaction of knowing that he
contributed to the cause of Science after each study.

Elijah chasing me!

One of Elijah's bears from Lee Ann!

Pucker up!

Such concentration!

Play-date with Aidan and Ryan at a Moms' Group park date.

This is my dear friend, Lisa, and her son, Aidan.
Lisa and her husband do childcare swaps with
Aaron and me on Sundays so we can enjoy less
expensive dates. I absolutely love this family.
You can really tell when people truly love your child
and when people are simply polite. Ian and Lisa
seem to love Elijah like he's their own and it is really
means a lot to me.

We walked down the road to Alki beach after our time at the park.

Elijah is obviously hamming it up here, but
there are a few other things to point out.
Elijah is able to get one shoe off by using the
other shoe as leverage and then he pulls off
his sock. However, he is currently unable
to get the other shoe off so often times you
will see him wandering around with one
shoe and one sock. Also, take a look at how
he has his right foot up on his high chair.
This is generally how he relaxes as he eats.

Elijah's first Baby Story Time at the library.

The library has an honor system for baby board books.
You take what you want and return them when you are done.

Chillin' at the library!

Our favorite hole in the wall pizza joint
across Greenwood from our apartment.

As the outreach pastor, Aaron organized a church booth
at the Ballard Seafood Fest where kids could fish for a
prize and get their face painted. Since Elijah knew the man
in charge, he got to take a dip in the fish pond. He loves to swim.

A puppy Elijah met at the Seafood Fest. The other
dog was barking so Elijah was a bit scared here.

If they had toilet paper unraveling as an olympic sport,
Elijah would take the gold.

Elijah's favorite sleeping position.

Day #2 at the hot Seafood Fest. Elijah got
a duck from one of the booths representing
a hospital. He loves ducks and says,
"D, d, da," when he sees one.

We hiked down to Carkeek from my apartment with
a picnic lunch on an exremely hot day. Lisa and
I laughed at our stupidity most the way back.
Aidan and Elijah enjoyed the ride though! By the
way, the water in the distance is the Puget Sound.

Lisa, Aidan and Elijah!

The beautiful, uphill hike back home!

Still the favorite sleep position!

Elijah's Baby Story Time teacher at the library.

Elijah and I in the 90 degree library. Seattle sure
could use air conditioning a few weeks out of the year.

We stopped to visit the ducks on the way to the
Greenlake wading pool on Seattle's hottest day,
ever, I believe.

This frog was a gag gift from one of my
past birthdays, but Elijah loves it!

"Shewww! Daddy is packing up to go house-sit
for friends and he agreed to pack and take me too!"

"Oh no! If I don't fit Daddy may not want to take me!"

"Daddy took my high chair to the Wicks' house, where
we'll be house and dog sitting so that leaves me
one place to eat. The kitchen floor!"

Elijah watched other babies crawling up the stairs at
story time so now he has mastered it also. He crawls up
a flight of stairs to Luke's room when we let him.

Elijah's new sister, Ella!

Some of Michelle's beautiful flowers!

Some more of Michelle Wicks' beautiful flowers.

Flower bed of Seattle Pacific University.

I don't remember what Elijah was clapping
about here, but he sure looks cute!

Have a great week! Thanks for loving Elijah!