Friday, November 19, 2010

Announcing Emmet

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Elliot had a naughty run-in with a classmate this week, because he doesn't know how to wait. According to his teacher, he asked to use the materials the other child was doing, and though the other boy said yes, he could use it when he was done, Elliot stood next to him and nagged until the other child got frustrated - then Elliot got mad... and the teacher had a situation on her hands. Then yesterday I had the realization that he really doesn't know what it means to wait, and maybe I don't either:

He wanted to show me one of his many Thomas the Train scenarios, which are amazing to him, but to the untrained eye, basically look like... a train - the same train you've seen a thousand times since you don't have the super-power of seeing into his imagination. Anyway, I asked him to wait since I was finishing an important email. He ran back to the train, then back to me, and nagged me about 10 times to come look. Finally I explained that waiting means going away, focusing on something else, and not asking again - just trusting that when I'm ready, I will come do what I said I would do. (Anybody get how deep and spiritually significant that actually is? Woah, man. Ponder it.)

So I'm in week 39 of my pregnancy now, and that's what I'm doing. Just waiting. I don't have it too bad, and I really can't complain. I'm not really uncomfortable during the day. Just sore in the hips at night. Plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions which are actually moderately painful, but still - I'm not miserable. I'm not waiting to go into labor...

I'm waiting for Erik to get home. He is due to return two days before my scheduled C-section. Everywhere I go, people notice my huge belly and make comments like, you're ready! any day now! any second now!, etc. And whenever I mention I'm waiting for my husband to get home and still have a couple weeks (well, 11 days), they all say I'll never make it that far. Not really very encouraging, though I know it's just people getting excited. Waiting is hard. Tom Petty knows what I'm talking about. Even though I'm feeling decent, and don't have the delusions of preparedness I did last time, it's just hard to wait. So right now I'm telling myself just to relax and trust that at this time two weeks from now, I will be receiving the excellent maid-service of French Hospital, smiling at my husband, and holding a brand new Emmet Angus Nappier. Yes, and Amen!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not Scared

While being pushed on the swing today by his Auntie, Elliot wrote his first song. By first song, I don't mean this is the first time he's made up a song. In fact, he makes them up probably daily, but most don't have a definitive melody, never repeat the same thing, and end up being long and wild adventure stories with lots of blood and gore, and which don't always make much sense. Today was different.

When they came in from a long and "rocky" round of swinging (which means they were close to the limit of how high he could be pushed without falling off), my sister suggested he sing me the song. Not only did it have a graspable melody, it also kind of rhymed, and made sense to me in a very 5-year-old sort of way. If you know how Elliot talks, you will be able to imagine him singing this. Hopefully I'll get it recorded some time soon before he gets shy about it. He titled his song, "Not Scared", and here are the words:

I'm not really scared of swinging
I'm not really scared of swinging so high
That's all I really needed
That's all I needed to be a brave boy

And if it's not rocky, if it's not scary
Then I'll be in bed reading a book
The swing will be resting alone on it's hook
In it's little hole

(repeat the chorus - this time slow and quiet)
I'm not really scared of swinging
I'm not really scared of swinging so high
That's all I really needed
That's all I needed to be a brave boy

Love, Elliot..... 3, 2, 1, LIFTOFF! (we say this really loud at the end)

I used the melody he made up and figured out guitar to match it. Auntie played his new "piano horn", and he played along with a shaker. Gotta say, we were pretty jammin', all things considered. I also love that it was about swinging, his fave pastime and the activity he asks to do several times daily - he asks anyone and everyone at our house to push him. It was great fun, and hopefully the first of many Elliot-made songs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Here's Looking at You

Did you ever notice it's hard to focus on what's going on around you when you're looking at yourself in the mirror? Whether it's putting on makeup, brushing teeth, or checking out a zit.... if someone is trying to talk to me, I find myself answering without really listening, or I end up saying, what a lot.

It's a nightly problem with Elliot while I'm trying to help brush his teeth. I have to say to him over and over again, "Stop looking at yourself in the mirror!", as he gets distracted by checking himself out, or making silly faces, and turns his head away from the attempted toothbrushing. The problem continues as he spits out his toothpaste while looking in the mirror, and instead of going neatly down the drain, it dribbles down his chin and neck, or sprays all over the bathroom sink area.

Sometimes I feel like God speaks to me through my son and his normal, childlike actions, which often trickle metaphorically, and in various forms, into our lives as adults. While pondering Elliot's mirror issues, I remember myself as a child. Sometimes when I'd get sad or upset about something, I would go stand in front of the bathroom mirror and watch myself cry. As self-pity increased, I would cry harder and longer, until too exhausted to do anything but collapse. I remember my mom lovingly telling me to stop this silliness, she of course recognizing the effect it was having - but for some reason I insisted on repeating this ritual of downward-spiraling agony.

Wallowing in self-pity is something most of us have done in our adult lives at one time or other. It's easy to do. Just thinking about what we want and don't have, comparing ourselves to others, and wondering what if things had been different, can send us down the rabbit hole. And it's only one of the negatives that can result in our lives from being overly focused on ourselves, to the point of denying God the worship which is our attention, and forgetting the feelings of others. Think about it: resentment, jealousy, arrogance, feelings of rejection, anxiety, insecurity, and on and on goes the list. How much less would these arise in us if only our eyes were fixed on Jesus, or our hearts moved to care more about the hurting people around us, and if not for the constant what about me? ringing by the hour in our heads?

It's a simple thought, old as humanity, but one that came clear and new to me this week - so I thought I would share.

Here are some verses that came to mind, echoing similar ponderings.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

4-11In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline,
but don't be crushed by it either.
It's the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best. At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

12-13So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

Hebrews 12:1-13 (The Message version)

Anyone who listens to the word, but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:23-25

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All By Myself

This morning marks the beginning of a new era. I am feeling the change of seasons now in so many ways, and this feels like the first turn of the gears in the the giant machine that is my life. Elliot started kindergarten today with a smile, as you see. Standing in his new classroom in front of all the new materials he will be learning how to use, wearing the clothes he picked out - old comfy stuff in lieu of the brand new first-day-of-school outfit I bought him, he seemed right at home. With a little negotiating, I managed to get a hug and kiss goodbye "special" just for the first day of school, and left him working on pink box #1 with his new teacher, Ms. Jen. There were only three other kids there when I arrived, and his classroom is pretty small, so I think he will have a small class this year. I'm excited about that because it means he'll get plenty of one on one time with the teacher, and hopefully make some good friends, and I hope to get to know some of the parents as well.

After dropping him off, I treated myself to a Starbucks Pumpkin spice latte (decaf of course) by myself, and then went to target to get him some new undies, which he hasn't been wearing lately, but probably should be. The tags bother him. Anyway.... it was so relaxing, and I found myself remembering that, despite not being a morning person at all, I really do enjoy the morning once I'm up. I love the feel of the hustle and bustle of people getting ready and going to work and school, stores just opening, and the feeling that the day is still fresh - like anything could happen.

Being home by myself is something I haven't experienced in quite a while, and it feels great. The house is already clean, dishes done (like, put away and everything, and the dishwasher is empty!), laundry well underway, and a couple things taken care of that have been bugging me for a long time. I'm so excited to be having this time by myself for a while, and for Elliot to be enjoying school and learning so many new things. Of course, Emmet reminds me every few minutes that I'm never truly by myself, and that there is a tiny squirming someone with me everywhere I go. Soon, my mornings will be a precious time to be shared with my husband and new born baby as the gears continue to turn, and change, the only constant in life, greets us with new treasures at each passing season.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Bounty

Well, it's time to start blogging again, after almost a whole year. There's just too much to share about, and facebook status updates are starting to seem a bit trite when I just write something short, and too long-winded if I think about what I really want to say.

And there really is just too much... to say, to share, to think about, and I can't bear to keep it all to myself!

I'll start by saying, for those who aren't aware, I'm in the eighth month of pregnancy with baby boy #2, Emmet Angus Nappier. Feeling pretty good, and hoping Emmet waits for Erik to come home, two days before my due date. Erik is currently in Vietnam working in a ship yard, and I just got back from a relaxing and wonderful trip to Hawaii. Elliot starts Kindergarden in about a week. See what I mean? Too much not to tell! These pictures were taken last Wednesday, a beautiful day which yielded quite a bounty, in many ways.

Here's my sweet boy at his favorite pastime, getting pushed on the rope swing in the back yard. I love this picture, and am currently working it into a painting of sorts.
Elliot and I picked a gorgeous bouquet from the garden!
Picked a ton of delicious oranges from Mary and Bill's house.
We have been eating them every day!
Here's what I've been drinking instead of sugary soda - refreshing mint water with fresh mint from the yard. I usually drink the whole pitcher myself by the end of the day. Mmmm.
Donna joined me for a trek out to Gopher Glenn, where we got 20lbs of Empires and 5lbs of Galas. Super delicious apples filling up my crisper.
Got home and picked all this stuff from my vegetable garden. Some of the zuchinni
really got out of control within a week!
Elliot went and got a haircut since he was looking pretty shaggy.
Now he looks like a super handsome big boy for kindergarden!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Gnome of My Own

Blogging seems hard these days. All I can think of is one line to say, and then I just say it on facebook, but I think I am about ready to get back to this. Stories are so much more meaningful than single sentences.
Well, the big deal since the last blog is that Elliot has started preschool! He is loving it, and learning so much. I think it's great for him to be around other children, and spend more time in a group setting where he has to learn about rules and listening to teachers. At the same time, since he's in a Montessori school, he has a lot of freedom and creativity with what he does, and I think that makes him a happier boy as well. Although he is only going to school three half days a week, I can tell that his overall behavior is better, and he just seems to be a happier child with so much learning going on, and the stimulation of a different environment.

I am also really excited to be getting involved with his school. One of the things I love about it is that parent participation is required. I have volunteered to head the decorating committee for their annual Fall Family Festival, which is their major fundraiser of the year. Hopefully I haven't gotten in over my head, but I'm really stoked to meet some parents and get creative together!

Here are some recent pictures of Elliot:

For some reason I recently thought it would be a good idea to take Elliot on a hike in a new recreation area that has opened near Santa Maria. Not such a good idea. It was very frustrating with him stopping every three seconds, complaining of getting tired, etc. Also, I realized later that you aren't supposed to go off the trail or climb trees at all.
So, here's Elliot breakin' the law.

Tree hugger!

A somewhat typical Saturday morning of post-pancake hyperactivity.

Elliot has been wanting to dress up lately. I think it started when I brought him to my friend Jessica's Acholi Bead party the other night, and he wanted to wear all the necklaces, but I wouldn't let him. The next day he started wearing Austin's shoes around the house, then put on his basketball shorts, then a sweatband. The next day he dressed himself, and had on a 70's style shirt of Elisha's that Brandi left here, black sweat pants, one of my headbands worn across the forehead, and two of my hair bands on his wrist for a bracelet. Hmm... so I decided to get him a costume, and found this super cute Garden-Gnome costume at Walmart of all places. But also I think it would be really easy to make. Especially if you already have the pants, plaid shirt and suspenders. All you really need is the beard and the gnome hat (with eyebrows attached.) Just felt and fabric. Anyway, he's the cutest gnome ever, and loves wearing his costume. Even asked to wear it to bed. Yesssss! Elliot continues to have the greatest imagination I've ever seen in a kid. The other day I came to pick him up from school, and he was pretending to be an owl up in a tree. Oh, and in case you ever see him pretending to be a bee, his bee name is Rightie. Acting lessons?