As The Years Go By

2011:

We…

* moved across the country

* started new jobs

* found out we were expecting a new baby!

* celebrated the 1st birthday of our 1st child

* bought a new (to us) car

 

Things we hope for (Lord willing!) in 2012:

* To welcome our 2nd son into the world

* To purchase our first ever home!

* To finish both of our MA degrees

* To pay off 25% of our remaining student loans

 

Fair to say, our lives have been and will continue to be busy for a while now! Not a lot of hum-drum around here!

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A First

Every mom has had one.

That scary moment, where your child is in danger and you don’t think. You couldn’t think, even if you tried. You just react.

I had this happen to me last night, at the close of the wedding reception. I didn’t want to taint my “wedding” post with the details, so I separated it out.

We waited until the last possible moment to leave the reception, around 9pm to be exact. G was a mess, having not napped at ALL the entire day. I was exhausted, having done a ton of standing, walking, climbing (the hill, for pictures) and chasing after G around the 4 floors of the reception hall. I was having a ton of Braxton Hicks contractions, even while sitting down. Some were really starting to hurt!

Long story short, we were all ready to go home, and not necessarily thinking too clearly!

Jesse went to grab our stuff from our table. He noticed a half-full wine bottle and, knowing the wait-staff would probably just toss it, decided to take it home with us. He put it into the diaper bag.

5 minutes later, we were outside the door of the reception, at the top of two very long flights of stairs. All of a sudden, he noticed that the diaper bag was dripping. He put G down (or let go of his hand? can’t remember), and opened the bag to investigate. Drat! The wine bottle top wasn’t on all the way. It had spilled out over everything in the diaper bag.

I reached over to help Jesse.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw G. At the top of this very long flight of stairs. No hand on anything. About to step off.

Rewind: G has learned how to climb stairs whilst standing, but has definitely not learned to go down them. He doesn’t bend– he just locks his knees and goes headfirst forward. We’ve had quite a few tumbles, even on the 6 inch step into our bedroom.

My heart stopped. A jolt of something went through my system. I’ve never felt such a rush before in my entire life. I screamed. I leapt forward, covering the five feet between us in half a second. I reached G just as his little foot was suspended, mid-air.

I grabbed G, just as he was about to topple head first.

Here ends the super-human-mom-effort.

I had many factors working against me, such as being extremely front-heavy, being particularly clumsy, and being completely exhausted from the long long day.

So, instead of stopping at the top of the stairs with G safely in my arms, I kept going.

Jesse says that it looked like I tried to throw G behind me as I fell down the stairs. It’s true that he ended up at least 4 stairs above me, although I was still holding one of his hands.

All I remember is falling and falling and sliding on my back, trying to stop myself with my right hand.

An older gentleman and his wife were standing right there when it all happened. They ran down to us, along with Jesse. Jesse could see that G was screaming and trying to get up, possibly meaning he could fall again, so he grabbed him and took him back up the stairs. The couple helped me up, frightened, asking me if I was okay. Apparently, I had fallen at least 15 steps down!

I was shaking, I was so pumped. Seriously, mommy-adrenaline, there’s nothing like it.

They asked if I was hurt.

I replied honestly that I didn’t think so. I couldn’t feel a thing. I hardly heard their questions. All I could hear was Gregory screaming (Jesse reports that he just sounded like he usually does after a tumble or someone scolds him). The old couple continued to talk to me, making sure I was okay.

I took 2 minutes to calm myself down, as Jesse has told me many times that I make G more scared by my reaction to things. When I felt like I was in control, I went back up the stairs. G was still crying, although his sobs were subsiding.

Then, I noticed that his little nose was bleeding. That nearly pushed me over the edge– I’ve lost it over accidentally nipping him when I cut his nails.

We went down the stairs (all of them, this time!) to the bathroom where Jesse took him into the men’s room to wash off his nose. I was by myself. I didn’t know what to do or what to think. They probably call this shock? I realized that I was once again holding my purse. Funny, I didn’t remember dropping it before I sprang to G, and I didn’t remember picking it back up again afterwards.

The lovely newlyweds suddenly came out the door and went to the steps to their getaway car. Jesse came out of the bathroom with G, who was finished crying. We stood outside and waved goodbye. All of a sudden, I really just wanted to hold G more than anything. I asked Jesse if I could, but he quietly responded, “I really need to hold him too”.

We piled into the car and drove away. All of a sudden, my processing began. The what-ifs, the flashback to that moment, the guilt over wishing I could’ve done better.

It wasn’t until we’d been on the road for about 15 minutes that I realized my entire right side/hip was aching. I couldn’t open or close my right hand. My right ankle hurt too.

But after a bit of talking about the whole thing, we were all able to get a good night’s sleep. I woke up, sore as all get out, but completely functional. My hand feels stiff, but fine. Gregory has acted completely normal all day.

Jesse and I aren’t at the place where we can laugh about it yet, but we are starting to make jokes. When Gregory was a crab as we got ready to pack up and go home, we kept saying, “be careful G, or momma might throw you down the stairs!” It might seem morbid– it’s our way of coping with what could’ve been tragic.

As far as Baby SnowCone, he’s doing fiiiinnnne. Super active all day, as always. I actually saw my entire belly moving today during one of his kicking sprees. This is one STRONG kid! I am, however, going to call my midwife tomorrow and let her know what happened, just in case she wants me to come in for a check-up.

So, praise God, no one was permanently/seriously harmed.

And, I’m thankful for one thing in particular. In emergency situations, I always always freeze. Cover my eyes. Scream unhelpful things.

But I didn’t even have to think about what to do. I reacted so quickly, I’m almost in awe. Apparently, when it comes to G, I’m hard-wired to protect him. I’m kind of relieved for such undeniable confirmation, honestly!

The Wonderful Wampler-Weichbrodt Winter Wedding!

Yesterday, after 6 years of dating (he asked her out a few months before Jesse and I got engaged!), one of my dearest and oldest friends got married! I consider it such a blessing that we have maintained our friendship, despite living across the country from one another.

Along with 3 other Biolans, her sister, her cousin, and her childhood bestie (nicknamed, “the Womb-Friend”), I was asked to be a bride’s-matron. Actually, come to think of it, I was one of 3 married bridesmaids! Since one had been married for 2 years and the other for only 2 months, I was definitely the “marriage veteran” of the bunch, and the only one with kids 🙂 So weird…

Anyways, the wedding was gorgeous. The ceremony took place at the church where she was baptized as a baby, and the reception was held at a neat bay-side aquarium/children’s museum called CuriOdyssey. Everything about the wedding was unique. I love it when a bride and groom are able to plan a wedding that is memorable because of their relationship, not because of location or events. Ignoring convention and instead striving to celebrate the relationship is great indication of wisdom, in my opinion!

Some of the unique aspects to this wedding that I LOVED….the bride had all of us wear dresses and shoes of our own choosing, the only stipulation being that they fell into the “green” color family. She bought us handmade pendants from an Etsy seller in England. We took our bridesmaids’ pictures on a hill that she used to play on as a child. She wrote a letter to her fiance’, including within it a letter she had written back when they started dating, and handed it to him (from behind a wall so that they didn’t see one another!) just minutes prior to the ceremony (seriously, how sweet is that?) They had a folk-band play for their reception. They walked back down the aisle as newlyweds to a David Lanz song that she and I both used to play at Biola (I’ve since taught it to a number of my students, I love it that much!).

My favorite thing? They memorized all of their vows (they used the uber-long traditional ones), so that they could say them thinking only of each other, no prompting from a pastor, only looking into each others’ eyes. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Also, I love that she used our family’s photographer. Melissa Jean’s done such a great job with both of Gregory’s photo shoots, AND her prices are hard to beat!

Such a sweet picture of the bride with her sister/maid of honor...and look at those sleeves! Anybody else seen those before? She told me that my wedding dress was her inspiration 🙂

The bride also made sure that our little family had proper accommodations for the 2 days we were up in the Bay area. A family from her parents’ church went out of town for the holidays, so they let us stay at their house! Since the family has 2 kids of their own, we had more than enough toys, cribs, etc.

We shared the house with another Biola/Torrey/Orthodox couple who also have a little boy half a year older than G. They were such fun to be with! The wife is a doula and is also pregnant (4 weeks behind me), so we had fun sharing birth stories, talking baby stuff, etc.

All in all, I am so grateful to have been a part of this couple’s life! At the bachelorette party (held at a fondue restaurant! YUM!), I got to share memories that I had of her fiance’ (“Z”) back in our old Torrey Theatre days. We actually had to act as husband and wife in one play! During one late-night theatre practice, Z threw up all over my shoes, having just come from an intense intramural soccer game. Good times, right? 😉

Obviously, I have no shortage of memories with her. We travelled around Europe together, shared a Torrey group and numerous English classes, lived next door to one another, visited and stayed with each other’s families, consoled each other after tough break-ups…the list goes on and on!

And…another match-making claim to fame…she said that she remembers me saying that all of the boys we knew, Z was the ONLY one who could ever captivate her! How true that ended up being!

At Arthur's Seat in Scotland

graduation

 

Must-Have Deal for Moms

I just HAVE to shout this deal from the rooftops. I’m sure many of you know about it or use it, but I dragged my feet for months and didn’t take advantage of it!

A few months ago, about the time we moved to CA, I bought an Amazon Prime Membership for $79. We don’t have many of the stores I’m used to around here, and this membership gives Free 2-Day Shipping. For example, I ordered G’s Christmas Presents on Wednesday the 21st, and they arrived Friday the 23rd. It was awesome! No shopping needed, and I got all the wood toys/puzzles and books that I wanted, instead of having to settle for plastic.

What I didn’t realize was that on baby-related purchases, one can sign up for the “Mommy Membership”, which automatically gives you free shipping and 15% off! And it’s free!

Why did I finally decide to sign up? What finally pushed me to the edge?

My mom has politely asked that for the remaining 4-5 months that we live with them, we use disposable diapers. There are a couple of factors to consider.

Firstly, instead of just 3 people sharing a washer and dryer, like we did in Dallas, there are now 6 people to consider (sometimes 7-8, depending on who’s home!). This means a lot of laundry. The diapers commandeer the washer/dryer for many cycles, and, when you add in 4-5 showers a day, it’s hard to find the time run them.

Secondly, instead of just 2 people changing G’s diapers, there are 4-5. Not all of them are used to cloth diapers. They forget to fold the velcro tabs or they accidentally throw an occasional disposable in with the cloth, making for a DISASTER. Plus, my mom doesn’t like them a whole lot. And, since she changes a lot of diapers lately…well, let’s just say, I want to keep her happy! 😉

Thirdly, since we change G’s diaper all over the house (especially whilst Joe is home from school, since he takes over G’s usual room), we have been misplacing snappies, covers, etc. We also have to keep the diaper pail in the laundry room, causing stink issues. Bad smells and scented candles are two of my mom’s biggest pet peeves.

So, I completely understand that my mom would rather us wait to use our cloth diapers until we have our own place. Not only is it reasonable, but she also offered to pay for them!

But one dilemma remained– I hate most disposable diapers. Huggies, Pampers, you name it. I can’t even count the number of times G’s woken up COVERED HEAD TO TOE in those nasty chemical gel beads. I’m just thanking God he hasn’t tried to eat any of them yet! They also cause horrible diaper rash (picture scabs) on road trips.

In desperation, I shelled out $13 for a small pack of Seventh Generation diapers at our local health foods store.

OMG. I’M IN LOVE!

They hold G’s overnight pee even better than the Overnight Pampers (he’s rarely even damp in the mornings, whereas before the entire bed was soaked, including his sheets and blankets!). No chemicals. No diaper rash. Biodegradable.

The only downside? The price. $2-3 more per pack.

Unless……you buy them through Amazon!

Now, we have a subscription through Mommy Amazon, meaning they will automatically ship (for FREE!) a pack of  diapers to our doorstep every month, saving us an extra 5%! That’s a total savings of 20%! Plus, there’s no sales tax!

So, instead of paying $15/pack (with tax), my mom is paying $7.50/pack, with free shipping to our door. That makes for around $40/month for disposable diapers. No trips to the store. Not as affordable as cloth, but pretty good!

So, if your kid uses disposables, I not only HIGHLY recommend Seventh Generation diapers, but also the Amazon Mommy Subscription! It’s free, so why not?

Family Hike

A few days ago, the Cone family decided to venture on a 4 mile hike along the coastline of Cayucous. GORGEOUS. Here are some pictures!

G loved the Ergo carrier!

seriously, look at that sky?!

I took this picture. I'm quite proud of it, actually!

Brooke with G-man

taking turns with the aunts-- next up, Autie!

almost to the beach!

Lil Man and Daddy, chillin!

we, the sojourners!

um, yes, how HUGE do I look in this picture?? But at least I have proof that I made it through the hike, despite being 6 months pregnant!

Having fun with Uncle David. Since he's 6'9", G is over 7 feet in the air here!

Christmas Day

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Our Christmas Day was great, but very hectic. We had an early morning surprise– G awaking at 3am! He screamed for about 20 minutes before Jesse got him quieted and comforted (ahh, things were so much easier when I was nursing! The ultimate secret weapon for these situations!). Then, he put G in bed with us (why?). That lasted all of 20 minutes before it was clear that he was uncomfortable, tossing and turning every which way. While I was sort of glad to have G with us for at least a few minutes (I used to LOVE co-sleeping!), I was also glad to have our bed back. It makes for much better sleep for all 3 of us!

We woke up at 7:30 am and got ready for church. At 8am, we went out in the living room and opened presents with my family. We were supposed to skype with Keith from his station in Hawaii, but that got postponed until later in the day. He got the whole family wonderful gifts, however– for example, he gave Jesse and I a $200 gift card to Pier One! Since I already got another $50 gift card as a going-away gift from one of my piano students, I have my eye set on a NICE table….

We woke G up at 9am and left for church at 9:20am. We made it to our lovely church in Santa Maria by 10:05, where we immediately had to change a huge poop blow-out, courtesy of G 🙂 Can I say, it’s SO NICE going to liturgy on Sunday? Brightened my whole day. It just felt right, you know?

We then stopped at Carl’s Jr (poor fasting Jesse! All he wanted was the biggest burger he could lay his hands on! Unfortunately, In N Out wasn’t open), and made it back to Atascadero by 1pm for some leftover breakfast food. My family arrived home from their church service a few moments later and we all skyped Keith to wish him a Merry Christmas and watch him open the gifts we mailed. It’s hard being in the military over the holidays, that’s for sure!

At 3pm, we drove out to the Cones for more presents and dinner. Jesse and I were exhausted by this point (we are SOOOO not down with this waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing!), but we had a grand time with the family. I worked extra hard this year on presents, crocheting scarves and headbands for 6 people! It was a lot of work! Pictures to come 🙂

At 9pm, we left the Cones and met my family at the movie theater. My mom took G home and put him to bed, and we saw Mission Impossible 4 (it was GREAT, btw).

So, busy busy busy. We have spent today chilling, eating candy and looking at real estate with my sister-in-law Brooke.

Band March!

One of the cutest things EVER.

24 Weeks

I’ve decided to celebrate the 6 month mark by spending the majority of my day in sweats and Uggs. Oh yes.

it's becoming really crowded in there!

14 Month Letter to Gregory

Dear Lil’ Man,

Mommy’s been putting off writing this letter to you, even though your 14 month mark was nearly a week ago. There’s just sooo much to say, so much to write. How can there be a way to show you all the joy you bring us on a day to day, hour to hour basis? How can we let you know just what an incredibly sweet and extraordinary boy you are?

Mommy can only proceed whilst knowing that it will never be enough, but also knowing that you will be grateful for the memories, just as we will be.Someday, you might turn into a surly teenager who sleeps until 12pm and never says, “I love you” because it isn’t cool.

On those days, Mommy will surely want to remember your sweet mornings together. She comes in around 8:30am to find you in your crib, cooing and talking away. She says, “Hi!”, because she’s sooo glad to see you and missed you so much. Your “HA! HA!” (hi!) is just as loud and excited, and you don’t stop saying it for a few minutes. Your diaper gets changed immediately (sometimes, your sleeper, too, if your diaper couldn’t withstand 13 straight hours of pee!), you are handed a bottle full of yummy milk, and you cuddle with Mommy while she dozes a bit longer. When you are done with your bottle, you politely chuck it across the room and begin your usual morning onslaught of kisses and hugs to Mommy’s face. It’s Mommy’s favorite time of day. You are so cheerful and well rested, and you have no qualms about showing off your abundant affection.

That’s something we’ve noticed, over and over again, about you– you are so cuddly and so affectionate. You wear that sweet little heart right on your sleeve.

Eventually, you start to whine because you are hungry for more breakfast. Mommy says, “Are you hungry?” and you respond with, “NUM-NUMS!!!!” You then eat a banana and some wheat cereal while Mommy drinks her coffee and checks her email beside you at the table. After your food is gone, you “ask” to get down by trying to climb out of your high chair (and, since you’re frighteningly coordinated, you almost always succeed!).

Once Mommy gets you down, you begin your morning workout/play-time. Basically, this consists of you squealing, “Ball! Ball!”, finding your basketballs and throwing them around the house, over and over. You pretend to dribble, just like you’ve seen the big highschoolers do, and it’s the cutest thing ever. You barely even realize Mommy is there, throughout all of this, you are so intent on your sports skills, but occasionally you flash a big grin her direction with a little giggle, just so she knows you’re having fun.

You love to rip apart grandma’s cabinets, but lately you’ve taken to putting it all away when you’re done! Lately, you’ve also started playing “house”, using a scrub brush you found to scrub the tiles, rubbing a washcloth against the sofa chairs for “stains”, using your Dodger bat as a vacuum.

Sometimes, though, you “ask” for Mommy to play with you by bringing her books. You LOVE to read books, flipping pages, babbling away the whole time. The touch and feel books are your favorite– you are so very tactile. You also love anything with peekaboo flaps on it. You are almost always very gentle with books. Chapter books without pictures are often your choice, simply because there are so many pages to individually turn!

Sometimes, our “playing” consists of throwing a ball back and forth. You are obsessed.

You love to sing. Mommy often hears you as you play, humming away. You have the same dozen words you’ve been saying for a few months now, but they’ve become clearer and more distinct. You even make some of the animal noises when Mommy reads you a Farm Book! So far, you know: “Mama”, “Dadda”, “Dod-gy” (doggy), “Baww” (ball), “Tee” (tree), “Boo” (book), “NUM-NUM” (food of any kind), “Dis” (this), “Dat” (that), “HAWW!!” (hi), “Buh-buh” (bye-bye), “aw” (all done, while holding your hands out to the side) and “Yay!”. Sometimes, you string “sentences” together” (usually, though, we can only understand a word here or there).

But what Mommy and Daddy love most– more than how smart or how athletic you are (and we can already see a LOT of both!)– is how sweet and loving your personality is. We know that this is not all of our doing as parents. It’s something God created in you. You are so easy-going, so willing to love. Anyone who’s ever received a “Gregory-hug” knows just what a sweet thing it is to experience. Our dog, Claire, is the only one who would disagree with this. You are constantly trying to smother her with hugs, and all she wants to do is get away! But that never stops you from trying.

We are not the only ones who’ve noticed how sweet and special your personality is. Just a few days ago, we were down visiting our church family in Southern California. They could not believe what a good baby you were! Despite the fact that you had two late nights in a row (one, you were up until 11pm! The other, until 9:30pm!), you didn’t have a single breakdown. No tantrums, no crying. You just walked around throwing toys (your usual source of entertainment!) or sat on the floor and read books! Even Mommy and Daddy were astounded at how well you behaved– we’d never kept you up that late, so we had no idea you could be so good! As long as you have your blankie, white noise and pack n play, you can fall asleep anywhere. You even fell asleep in Mommy’s Mei Tai wrap as we were walking around Uptown Whittier!

Because of how sweet you are, it’s getting hard to punish you. When we take something dangerous away, we always ask for it, then say “thank-you” afterwards, but 75% of the time, it doesn’t matter– your little heart breaks. You just stand there, lower lip quivering, and burst into tears. It’s so sad. The same thing happens when you’re exploring in something forbidden (usually the trashcan). You react to having it taken away as though someone just made fun of your shoes. Luckily, you’re easily distract-able with something else exciting. And you always want to be comforted. We’ve joked that your “Terrible Twos” aren’t going to be as hard on us as they are on you. It’s just that we know you’re going to get your “feelings hurt” quite often…

Mommy knows that there are many mommies out there who make a choice to work outside the home. There are others who choose to stay home, either because they think it’s the right thing for their kids or the right thing for their calling. Mommy often feels that the choice was pre-determined for her– it isn’t that you need her home, it’s that SHE needs to be home with you. Just an hour or two away, and she feels achy and sick inside, missing you.

Your little brother is only 4 months away (possibly sooner!). Sometimes, Mommy feels guilty, wondering if you’ll think that we wanted another baby because we didn’t feel complete with just you.

That isn’t even CLOSE to being true. We started wanting more kids right away because you are sooo wonderful! If all of our kids are as sweet and fun as you are, we’ll probably never stop having them. You make us want to have more kids, just because raising you has been such a blast. We joke that your little brother is probably going to get sick of us saying, “Why can’t you be more like Gregory?”

Thanks for making us such happy parents, Lil’ Man.

Love, Mommy

Shield Your Eyes

I haven’t posted one of these in over a month, so here you go. Props to Pinterest, once again!

reminds me of "Meet the Robinsons"