Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New photos, I'm not having a meltdown, and spaghetti sauce in a jar

Thanks to all who recently inquired about my mental state! HAHA! Just wanted to make sure that everyone knows we are doin' good. I've posted before about my tendency to compose stories dripping with drama but, since we have new blog friends, I thought I better say again that I'm not flying over the cuckoo's nest anytime soon. For example, when I wrote that after seeing M's tan lines I almost cried....well, that was a bit on the exaggerated side. Actually I said something like "Ah, drat." In all honesty I had no idea that a baby's crazy sleep issues would have such an effect on a mama's life (and daddy's, too), and there are definitely times when I say to M, "Dude, if you don't stop crying my brain might explode." But life is good. Life is good.

NEW PHOTOS: Sorry, I'm too busy to upload them, so click HERE to view "outside fun". Don't forget to click on the captions at the top right of screen.

On another note, does anyone know of a good, not-too-sweet spaghetti sauce? I'm talking in the jar. Don't laugh, I used to buy the canned kind on the bottom shelf for 99 cents, so the jar is a step up. I can't find one that isn't too sweet tasting...and I'm not into making my own. Some people swear by their so-called "easy" recipes, but when you live the life of a rockstar something has to give and, for me, it is homecooking. So...any advice is appreciated! Disclaimer: I am not a rockstar. (Well, at least not yet.) That was an exaggeration.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fun stuff

Rebecca is having a Good Fun Giveaway...check it out HERE!

Taking suggestions...

On how to wean Matthew from needing CONSTANT attention. He can usually play by himself for a while unless his sleeping isn't going well...which is 99% of the time...so basically I need some advice for that 99% of the time. We play together a lot but since there are times when I need to get stuff done, I'd like to know the best way to handle the screaming, crying, my-life-is-totally-ruined fit that occurs should I take a phone call, go to the bathroom, clean the house, or actually try to feed myself.

Sometimes, if rested, he can do really well playing if I am on the floor folding laundry or something like that. SHould I decide to stand at the bar to check email or wash dishes or start lunch, all bets are off. But recently since his sleep has been really off, I can't do ANYTHING else even if on the floor by him. Try to look at the mail....no. Try to blow up his new pool...no.

I don't like spoiled kids and don't want to raise one...so there are definitely times I just let him cry and try to redirect him with words. But lately even that is not working. He will just continue to throw a huge fit that gets increasingly worse. I know so much of it is probably sleep related, but with such little control over that, I'm looking for any advice I can get.

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for your comments! I am actually doing a lot of the suggestions you made, so it may just be a matter of time...before I can go to the bathroom again. HAHA! Actually one of the best things I have done is start a Warren Wiersbe study on Philippians. It's called "Be Joyful" and is a reminder that our joy is in Christ, not our circumstances. Hmmmm...maybe I'll write that on M's forehead with a sharpie

To May, thanks for your comment! I couldn't access you blog so just wanted to note how funny it is that we both have Matthews with the same characteristics. Maybe we should think about changing their names!

photos from the playground







I love for Matthew to play hard. I love for him to get dirty and explore outside. So I will happily wash loads upon loads of his clothes. There are two "outdoor" things, however, that I can't stand the thought of. The first is for his little hands or feet to get scratched and roughed up. When I see him rubbing his hands quickly along the concrete, I shudder! The second is for his milky white skin to become tanned. I am sun lover, but for him...no way. Yesterday while outside I rolled up his sleeves so he could play in the water. I then dutifully put on a 55 spf lotion on his arms and face. So when later I took off his shirt and saw serious tan lines on his arms, I about cried! Guess I better start feeding him tofu!!! Read about that idea HERE.

P.S. Hey Mom, I just realized that the new way I am attaching photos doesn't let you click & view them in a larger size. I'll go back to the old way!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Skippyjon Jones

Just wanted to share another book we love! Well, Scott and I think it is hilarious....Matthew does think it is funny that the cat on the front is sitting in the plant, but he doesn't go much beyond the cover yet since there are no buttons to push, flaps to open, or bunnies to pat.

ummmm...yeah

What was that theory/prediction/old wives' tale I've heard so often that once a baby starts walking, he wears himself out and sleeps better??????????? Did I miss the sign up? Did I forget to pay the extra fee? Did I not read the fine print? Matthew is back to waking at 3:30/4:00 am.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DATE NIGHT...yeow!

Scott & I went on a date Friday night. Fortunately M went down for a little nap late in the day which meant time for shaving legs, curling hair, and slapping on some chapstick! It was Taco Bell drive-thru and then on to an old theatre in the university area for a concert. Two local bands opened up, Asper Kourt and The Real Matt Jones, and the headliner was The Robbie Seay Band.

One of the reasons we love Robbie Seay is his gravelly voice..which sounds like he was weaned straight from the pacifier to a pack of Marlboros...and it was like gravel X 10 in real life!!!

Another reason we love them...these guys are golden. Here is a quote off the insert from their newest cd: There is great need in every corner of this globe and injustice taking place everyday. Can we respond together? I know that as we give ourselves away to those in need, the gospel story of hope will come alive.

Check out the ways you can join this band in responding to need at Give Yourself Away.

Some lyrics from their song Better Days:
Green grass, and I'm laying in the sunlight of you,
And the wind is moving through the trees ushering you,
And the better days you bring, the better places found,
Feasting at your table I am overwhelmed,
I lift my glass and drink to love that never gave up,
Clouds pass fading into memories gone,
And all I have to show for life is life and love and peace.
What else could there be?

here we go again

I'm putting this post in small font so it doesn't waste precious blog real estate. Rebecca pulled the BBFF card and tagged me for 3 random and useless facts, so here goes:

1. One night I was crazy tired. I got my face cleanser and a cotton round out of the cabinet and started cleaning away. All of the sudden my face started stinging like mad...MAAAAAD, I tell you...like a million bees had taken vengeance for their cousin I stepped on as a kid. I looked down at my cleanser bottle only to realize it was nail polish remover. Ouch.

2. I may have already posted about this but, since I can't remember, I'm sure you won't either. No doubt that babies change your life...so I decided that it might be nice (for Scott) if I stopped wearing flannel pants and a fleece jacket to bed at night. I started looking for a pretty, super soft robe but, since I'm as cheap as the China adoption process is long, I couldn't bring myself to shell out the $40 bucks for one. Even though I had a $50 gift card! Well, one night I stopped into our local dollar store and lo&behold there was a super soft, buttery yellow robe one the clearance rack for $7. On the clearance rack, mind you! Being in a hurry, I grabbed it, paid, and headed home. Well...not only is my $7 robe a one-size-fits-all (which is always the wrong size for a 5'2" 105lb girl), but it didn't come with the tie to keep it closed. So now instead a looking frumpy in flannel pants and a fleece jacket, I look frumpy in an oversized robe with a mismatched belt! Poor Scott!

3. Some days the only times I drink anything are when I brush my teeth. Not sure why. I guess drinking is boring, and I hardly ever feel thirsty.

To check out Rebecca's list, click HERE. I tag everyone who reads this post. EVERYONE...that includes you. Yes, even you without a blog. Make up a list anyway and tape it to your fridge...or, better yet, leave it in the comment section so we can all know useless stuff about you, too!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Look at him go!

Ok..in the last post I said that M takes about 6 steps at a time...but we got home today and he went gangbusters. Keep in mind this kid is sick...and he has NOT been interested in walking at all up to now. When Scott and I would have him walk from one of us to the other, he would try to hold on to one until he could reach the other. It's like there was no practicing; he just started walking.

video

On another note, I know that as Matthew's mama I am biased in thinking he is super cute. And while he often gets compliments about how cute he is, those comments are typically coming from other mamas, relatives, and friends...so kind of to be expected. However, I have found it very interesting how many men....strangers to us...have gone out of their way to give M a compliment. Manly men. Construction workers. Garage door installers. Tile layers. Electronics salesmen. All with a taken aback "WOW, he's a good looking kid" kind of statement. It's a funny thing for someone to be so cute and not even know it!

Playground and stuff

We went to the playground...Matthew played with sticks, pinecones, and wood chips, and I played with my camera settings. So much to learn! Matthew was most interested in the firemen playing ultimate frisbee. He would watch them throw and then act like he was throwing, too.

While I didn't take my flip video, I was able to capture some some quick frames of Matthew walking. (I actually read...errrrr, scanned...my manual and found out my camera has a burst feature to take a few photos in rapid succession!) Anyway, this boy went from 0 to 6 in nothing flat (I said "6" because that seems like the average amount of steps he is taking at once). I have the feeling the same will happen with his speech. One day, nothing...the next day, he will be reciting the encyclopedia. Anyway, anyway, I'm going to try to load them in a slideshow so you can see them in succession.

The photo above shows how clear my camera CAN take photos...I just wish it was (or I was) consistent with such clarity!

15 months old!


I just noticed on the ticker that Matthew is 15 months old today! So I guess that means we should go to the park! Hopefully we can get there and back without any major stomach upsets for the boy! The photo is from yesterday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not out of the woods yet

I thought Matthew was doing much better this morning...he seemed more playful and his fever was down. But now the diarrhea and vomiting are back...completely uninvited, I must say...and there are no holds barred! Poor little dude. He got mad after throwing up in his bed and tried to hit his puke, which would have been funny if not so pitiful! But let me tell you, those M&Ms are dwindling fast!

Here are some photos from this morning. Some of you have asked for tips I am learning. As you can see from the pics below, I am not using flash...because when I do I get that washed out, flashy look. The downside is the photos are darker, obviously, and more blurry since M has more time to move before the shot is snapped. From what I understand, there are some cameras with adjustable levels of flash intensity, as well as some with moveable flashes so that you can diffuse the flash by bouncing it off a wall or ceiling. Basically if you have a point & shoot with a built in flash, your best bet is to step back from your subject a bit...which means more cropping if you were wanting a close-up. Obviously you could use zoom, but if yours is digital zoom, as opposed to optical, the quality will be compromised due to the process. I tried using the forced flash and then covering the flash with my finger while I snapped the shot. The result was a darker photo, yet not the same as with no flash...it was more yellow-tinted...but it does appear that the subject isn't as blurry as with no flash at all. When I have time to look at the photos on the computer, I'll double check to see if this is true.




Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Walking the walk

To date Matthew's interest in walking has rivaled my interest in brussel sprouts. Or maybe I should say "absolute and utter lack of interest." But today...TODAY...my little sick one took self-initiated steps on his own. He just took off...like 6-7 steps in a row. And there was me....mouth gaping...and video camera in the other room.

On another note...this will shock and stun those who know me best. I did NOT eat that whole family size bag of M&Ms today. And I don't even know why! And I can't believe I'm sitting here atthe computer without the bag in front of me. I hope this isn't a change that comes with motherhood.

Somewhere...

Somewhere there's a mama who is frustrated by dirty floors caused by little feet running in and out the door.
Somewhere there's a mama whose floors ARE dirt.

Somewhere there's a mama who is wearied by the incessant chatter and unending questions from a little mouth.
Somewhere there's a mama whose child just passed away and would do anything to hear that tiny voice again.

Somewhere there's a woman who is bitter that her adoption process has been slowed down by China.
Somewhere there's a woman whose dreams of adopting were crushed because she doesn't meet China's new adoption requirements.

Somewhere there's a mama who is angry that her husband doesn't help around the house more.
Somewhere there's a mama whose husband just left her to raise the children alone.

Perspective. It makes a big difference when we look at circumstances with eyes other than our own...from a perspective other than our own. May the difficulties in our own lives lead us to seek God's comfort and then lead us to share that comfort with others...especially with those whose pain is greater than our own.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2Cor 1:3,4

Another Update

Mateo in healthier times:

Report on Matthew: No more throwing up, but we headed into the scary realm of HIGH FEVER. We have a Braun Thermoscan which is supposed to be very accurate; however, we got temp readings all over the place last night. Of course I was taking his temp like every 5 minutes so maybe that had something to do with it! Pretty much though he was between 101.7 and 103 throughout the night. I must say that, despite how bad Matthew feels, he is pretty quick with a grin or a giggle if I ask him if his daddy likes to dance.

Report on Scott: He didn't say anything funny yesterday. Not one thing. But he did make our mac&cheese AND cleaned the kitchen after dinner!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Update on Lil' M

So yesterday proved to be our first real "sick" experience with Matthew. Right before bed he started throwing up and did so about 7+ times within an hour. As a first time mama's first time experience with a sick baby, all I can say is WOW does your heart hurt for your kid! My SuperHubby, who normally has a VERY queasy stomach about such things, kicked it into high gear and became MarthaScottStewart...scrubbing carpet and countertops, washing linens and clothes, making trips to stores, and even buying me a bag of M&Ms! A FAMILY SIZE BAG! Matthew seems to be feeling better today...pretty sleepy but keeping down some liquids and light foods.

Since I mentioned Scott above and rarely talk about him, I thought I give you a glimpse into the one who holds my heart:

After my recent trip into the very cool but oh so expensive Anthropologie store:
Me: I really like their clothes but a shirt is like $100.
Scott: Well, did you ask them "When's this stuff gonna make it to TJ Maxx?"

As I was getting out a jar of caramel sauce for my afternoon snack...and eating a spoonful right out of the jar (don't worry, I don't double dip!)
Scott: Ah, sweet nectar straight from the vine.

As I was opening a package of Velveeta to make our nutritious dinner of Rotel dip & chips:
Me: This is rank! Does Velveeta go bad?
Scott: Not for a couple of decades; it's fine.

Reading the label on Matthew's dinner jar:
Scott: Savory carrots. IS there such a thing?

This Friday night we are going to a Robbie Seay concert!
Me: Oooh...this Friday night we have a date.
Scott: Yeah, everyone will probably be screaming and holding up lighters.
Me: Everyone including YOU?
Scott: Not me; I'm too stoic.
Me: no response
Scott: Babes, just kidding! I'll be jogging in place.

New Prayers for America

New intercessions listed at my site.

P.S. Please pray for little Matthew. Last night we had our first experience with throwing up...and thowing up...and throwing up some more.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Water Play

Today we went to play by the river. Matthew had a great time...afterall, it was all about getting dirty and throwing rocks! We had to strip him down for the ride home. Pictures are HERE. Click on the "water play" album, and don't forget to click the box next to "captions" at the top right. There is also a photo of the newly painted foyer...but I keep seeing white spots as I walk through in different directions! UGH!
I'm wondering if my photos aren't as sharp as they should/could be because of my mad cropping. I like upclose&personal, so perhaps I end up cropping way too much for my pixel size to handle and still have the sharpness I desire. Maybe I need to learn how to compose photos better in the shooting process so I'm not Edward Scissorhands in the editing process. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Give me Grace

We received this little book, Give me Grace, as a gift, and I thought I would share it with you. We keep it at our kitchen table. The book is broken down into the days of the week and has a prayer and picture for each day. Every morning I ask Mateo "What day is it?" and then read that day's prayer. We also talk (well, I talk) about each picture...describing what I see. Then we talk about what our plans are for the day or anything special to note (such as on the weekends Daddy doesn't work), as well as what M is eating for breakfast, the color or his spoon and bowl, etc.

I'm always interested in how families worship God together through devotionals, prayer, music, etc...so if you would like to share something that is special for your family, I'd love to hear it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Jetsons!

My instructor gave me this site to check out....talk about futuristic technology...but it's right around the corner! Click HERE and the click on the "Possibilities" at the far right.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You've Got Mail

Matthew and I often walk down the road to the mailbox, and today I took my camera along. I don't have time to upload all the photos, so to view them please click here and click on the "you've got mail" album. There is even a "rock" photo by Matthew!

RE: the foyer. The foyer would be excellent if I hadn't used the blue painter's tape. I have NEVER used it in the past but, since I have virgin walls, I decided to be extra cautious. Well, due to our super duper textured walls, the tape must not have stuck correctly...paint seeped through...so now I have to do trim work. BUMMER! The color turned out nice. It looks different throughout the day and actually runs the gamut of green-gray-brown. But now the house looks really funny since it is all white except for the foyer! I'll post a photo soon.

Odd but true




Here are three funny things about Matthew:
1. When he drinks millk with a straw it often comes out his nose.
2. On regular occurrence, he wakes up in the morning with a hole in his sock...and his big toe sticking out!
3. When he gets a new ball, he cannot stop smiling!

Whew!

Got a 100 on my first quiz!!!!

This class is not really a course designed for you to "practice" your photography...it's more of the nuts&bolts basic stuff. Like "what is a pixel?" and "what type of camera should I buy to meet my needs?" So I don't think I will be having any photos to show from the class. But if this class goes well, I may try another!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1st day of school!

Woohoo! Today my intro to photography class begins! Scott got up way too early to take a 1st-day-of-school picture of me, so I'm posting one I let Matthew "take" a couple of weeks ago. He loves looking through the viewfinder and seeing items both on the camera and in real life at the same time! I'm excited about the class because it starts with the very basic stuff...like "what is digital photography?" EXACTLY where I need to be!

I started doubting whether or not I should take the class since Matthew has only been napping for 20-30 minutes per nap lately...and has been extra needy while awake. But this morning God's grace has been poured out all over me. We had a great morning of both playing together and him playing while I did housework. I wondered "Wow, is this what it is like for some moms????"

Oooooh, only 10 minutes left til I can log in to my class and pick up my assignment!!!!

UPDATE:
I.AM.A.DORK! I was working on my assignment when I heard Matthew wake up...so trying to hurry, I went ahead and posted my required introduction...IN THE WRONG PLACE! And, unlike Blogger, the class doesn't have a delete comment button. Ugh.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mall Rats

Matthew and I hung out at the mall today...driving cars, playing in the kids' area, and sippin' on smoothies. I do think he had a good time even though there isn't a hint of a smile in any of the photos. I believe he was just zoned out from only taking a 20 minute morning nap.

Not sure what he is mad at this dog about, but this photo is in sketch mode:
Another sketch photo:



Yes, I know he is wearing brown socks with blue shoes...and I let him go out in public anyway!
His little lips kill me in this photo:





Monday, April 14, 2008

short post

this post will be short as i poked my eyeballs out today. i hunted down that little green baby spoon and out they came...one by one. well, since there were only two it really didn't take that long. and i will remain eyeball-less until my baby sleeps.

on a good note: i'm almost through with the foyer painting!
on a better note: i signed up for an on-line class (intro to digital photography) which starts this week! i have to go read the syllabus. what was i thinking???? i can't read the syllabus without eyeballs. ack...the class hasn't even started, and i'm already behind.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Prayers for America

New intercessions are posted at my site.

The weekend is over....

Photos from behind our house:




What you really came to see:
video

We chilled out this weekend. Scott & Matthew watched the Masters, and I actually started painting the foyer! Yes, the "white house" now has a smidge of color. A smidge of Ralph Lauren Cobblestone in matte. Little paint samples had been taped to the wall for some time now, so I figured I might as well just make it official and actually buy some wet paint. Of course, with a baby in the house you can only paint like 1 square foot at a time...but it's getting there!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A boy after his mama's heart

Every morning Matthew and I hang out in his room while he drinks his morning milk. We play, read books, do a daily devotional, etc. This morning I happened to mention something about his stuffed Duck which was sitting in a chair with Teddy, Blue Puppy, and Sweet Pea. The next thing I know, Matthew scoots over to the chair and gives Duck a drink of his milk. But...he didn't stop there. Of his own doing, he gave each animal a drink of milk. And when he saw Baby Tiger on the floor next to the chair, Matthew made sure he got a drink too! Making sure everyone is included...that's what I love!

Matthew thinks it is pretty funny that I put a diaper on Big Teddy. Even for our serious little guy, just mentioning this gets an audible laugh. Here he is washing the bear. I know it's kinda girly stuff, but we do our fair share of dirt playing and ball throwing! The second photo came out blurry, so I used the "sketch" action in photoshop express.




Happy Friday!

checking his reflection out in the faucet:


Thursday, April 10, 2008

You can't make me!

As with sleeping, talking, and growing teeth, Matthew has little interest in walking. He has numerous "walking" toys but prefers to sit on the floor and push the buttons on them. I bought this new, button-free walking toy in hopes that it would initiate some excitement about walking. As you can see from the video, my plan was foiled. I was outsmarted by my baby.

I told Scott last night that with Matthew's great throwing skills, he might end up a Major League pitcher one day...but if he refuses to walk forever, I envision him only be drafted by the American League since they have Designated Hitters for their pitchers. I can just see it now...the team mascot carrying Matthew out to the pitching mound...he pitches three strike-outs in a row...then the mascot carrying him back off the field and into the dugout.

video

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Our little is getting big!

My how you've grown! The photos of "little" Matthew were taken last fall (September, I think) at one of our favorite restaurants. The photos of "big" Matthew were taken last weekend at the same restaurant. Next thing I know, he'll be asking for the keys to the car!





Priceless



Thanks for the new shirt Grandma Garner!

Monday, April 7, 2008

BEAUTIFUL!

I'm writing this with tears running down my face. I can't believe how beautiful this post is, and I wanted to share it. Through the internet Rebecca met an American family who is living near Owen's orphanage, and they printed out her photo and took it to him. Then they were generous enough to send back a photo to Rebecca. Praise God for His lovingkindness!

Check it out HERE!

New Prayers for America

New intercessions listed at my site.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shady Lakes

We went to Shady Lakes today...yep, we have some shade and some lakes in the desert. Here are some photos from the day.




I should note that Matthew and Scott are in this photo: