June 30, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

Will it make sense if I tell you that I've felt like a real mom over the last few days?
Maybe it's the increased mobility.
Or cleaning up the soggy pile of puffs that congregates under the high chair.
Going swimming every afternoon with all the neighborhood kids.
Juggling the "work-at-home" and "mom" roles.
Or maybe it's just watching this little face grow and learn and change every single day.
Stop it, stop it! Let me see those dragon jammies.
Cruz and I went out for our morning run.
Apparently I dressed him as if he was in some Bob-stroller-based gang. 
It's tough in the streets! 
For those of you who have asked, here's some Mobile Cruz Footage!
He's pretty fast when he really gets going.

We love going swimming and we love it even better when Ashley and Rand come swimming with us!
Here we are, walking back to the house, all cozy in a puppy towel.
(Or maybe a bear?)
And finally, it's nighttime! 
Goodnight, Cruz-lovers!

June 27, 2011

I Try to Stay on Top of the News But it Makes Me All Sassy

 Man, can't middle school just be the worst?
Had a certain seventh grade boy insulted my intelligence, it might have stung, but I think I would have shrugged it off. I knew the truth about my mind and I knew just how smart I was.
But instead, in front of a group of people, he told me just how ugly he believed me to be.
I was completely taken aback.
Truthfully, I had never really evaluated my looks.
Sure, I was going through an awkward glasses-and-braces-and-frizzy stage, but I had never really been bothered by what I looked like.
And while I am now perhaps too convinced of my own good looks, clearly this comment has stayed with me for a looooooong time.
Now, my parents have always instilled in me a healthy sense of the power of my mind and the scope of my intelligence.
For Pete's sake, my neighbor has called me Madame la Presidente since I was eight years old because I was going to be the first female Commander-in-Chief.
Still could be, I suppose, but frankly that seems like a rather undesirable job. Less opportunity to spend the day in yoga pants, for one.

"Hey, what's the point of this post?" you say.
Glad you asked!
I try to stay on top of grown-up-ish news to prevent spiraling into a black hole of board books and stacking blocks and have recently been thinking a lot about gender roles and how parents shape their childrens' identities.
Like many people, I have been fascinated by the story of Baby Storm and the idea that parents could raise a "genderless" chid. 
I read this article about parenting and the messages we send to little girls with a lot of interest, but also some conflict.

{Caveat: I agree with so much of what the author says. So to her I say, "yes, and..."}
The author, Lisa Bloom, seems to offer what I see as a false dichotomy: beauty or brains.
On the one hand, I was inwardly cheering: Yes! Talk to little girls about books!
On the other hand, if the little girl in question is beautiful (and she is, I am sure), then we should tell her that too.
Lisa quotes a lot of statistics and I love statistics!
"Twenty-five percent of young American women," she writes, "would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize."
Quick, turn that stat around!
Seventy-five percent of young American women would rather win the Nobel Peace Prize!
Pats on the back for everyone! Well done, parents of American young women. 
But back to the problem at hand. 
By pretending that beauty doesn't exist, we make it taboo.
We make it wrong.
Or maybe someday someone will insult her, and she won't know the truth to be able to defend herself.
Pretending we don't see beauty seems (to me) to be the same kind of silly thinking that led us to believe that we could pretend not to see race or see gender. 
The problem is not that we acknowledge it but rather when we place incorrect value on beauty (or brains or race or career or car or...). 
Little girl, you do not have to choose; you are the whole stinkin' package.
(Gosh, can't we just get so tripped up when we're talking about identity? No pressure to be the whole package-- just that I think we are! We are smart. We are beautiful. Or maybe we're not and that's okay too. Just as there is a false choice between being career-minded and being a mom, I think women are often told to choose between being smart and being pretty. And that's silly. I know too many cheerleader-turned-chemistry professors  and California girl-turned-mom-turned-cancer researchers to ever believe that.)

So child of mine, I'm talking to you now.
You are super handsome.
You are very curious.
Your favorite book is called "I Love You," and that is pretty cute.
I love how social you are.
I think you might be a kind baby, but the jury is still out on that as you have recently bitten my ankle and it has left a mark
You are silly.
You feel very little physical pain (so, this morning you shut a drawer on your fingers, kept going and by the way, we should get on that whole baby-proofing thing).
You are determined and steady in trying to achieve your goals.
You are probably really really smart.

But the truth?
I hope you don't find your identity in any of those things.
If you build your identity on being handsome, there will always be someone more handsome than you. And you might someday miss out on a great friendship or relationship because you judged someone else on their looks.
If you build your identity on being smart, there will always be someone smarter than you.
You might miss out on a great friendship or relationship because you judged someone else on their intelligence or where they went to school.

I pray that you find your identity in Christ.
You are God's child.
You are Christ's friend.
You have been bought with a price.
You are complete in Christ.
You are free from condemnation.
You cannot be separated from the love of God (you hear that?).
You have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and might.
You are God's workmanship.

As your mama, I know that I will mess up mightily
But that is my prayer for you-- that you would trust your life to Christ, knowing that you (whoever you turn out to be) are fearfully and wonderfully made.

This I know full well. 

June 25, 2011

Before College

So we've talked about this before, I think.
I like it when things are on time and as expected. 
I certainly don't like to be behind, especially in this parenting gig.

Cruz is not crawling yet. 
Although he is pretty close.
I would be lying if I didn't admit that when Cruz is not crawling and other babies are crawling, I get a little flutter in my stomach.
Is it my fault?
Did we fail to do enough tummy time when he was an infant?
Ok, he's definitely mobile on the army-crawling-front, so putting something tempting in front of him (dog, cell phone, Wii) hasn't produced any real crawls.
(Sometimes he does a kangaroo-style hop with both legs that is way cuter than crawling. I could settle for that.)
To calm my competitive spirit, I've had to resort to my parenting mantra:
No One Goes To College Still _______
And yet...
I want the world to see what I see in my baby-- Cruz is awesome! He's the best! And I'm a good mama! (Contrary to what strangers may think-- I'm looking at you Albertson's Lady Who Thought Cruz Should Be Wearing Socks in California in Summer. Also, be my guest trying to keep them on.)
So I've thought about helping him.
But how? Getting behind him and moving his legs?
Showing him videos of babies crawling?
Crawling alongside him?
(None of these methods work by the way, I will just save you the time.)
But really, really this is Cruz's figurative and literal journey. 
He needs to figure out mobility on his own.
I need to step aside and allow that to happen. 
Because look-- he's practically ready for college now!
Well, just as soon as he figures out that books are more than just snacks. 

June 23, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

It's Wednesday, Cruz-Lovers!
Ok, yesterday was Wednesday.
But still.
The morning is a great time for high kicks and also for practicing airplane moves, doncha know?
It was cold and drizzly in Santa Barbara, so we headed to the valley for some sun and Danish pastries. 
Cruz's grandpa is visiting from Seattle and we've been having a blast!
And finally, some snuggle time with Daddy before bed.
Goodnight, Cruz. 

June 22, 2011

It's Me, Eight-Month Old Cruz

What's up, world? It's me, eight-month old Cruz!
I'm here to check in and tell you all about being a Big Boy.

{My mom would like to warn you that this is not a picture heavy post because I am too wiggly to take good (read: still) pictures sometimes.}
Yeah, of course, woman, I gotta MOVE! 
These rings aren't gonna chew themselves.

Here's a list of things that I like:
sweet potatoes
going outside
old ladies
army crawling
books with texture
sweatshirt strings
VeggieTales songs
visiting with all my Grandparents
Abby the Dog

Here are some things I don't like:
green beans
not seeing my mom
when my banana doesn't get to me fast enough

If you are a lady sitting near my high chair at a restaurant, I guarantee that I will bat my eyelashes at you.
Are you standing in front of me? Do you have a tempting dangly shoe lace? I am coming for it-- FAST.
Life is pretty good! In the next month I have high hopes of actually crawling, biting my mom with my many many teeth (four going on five!), weighing at least 20 lbs, and finally getting my hands on the dog's bone.

A big open-mouthed drool-y kiss to you!

June 21, 2011

Guest Post: Confessions of a ...

A few weeks ago? Months? I did a guest blog post for my friend Emily. 
And now we return the favor.
Here's Emily!
You will notice, please, that she is hilarious. Want more? Check out her blog, 

Becca recently asked me to write this guest post. At first I thought “How nice!” then I thought “Hmmm…I don’t know what I would want to write about.” But then I realized that the email itself provided all the inspiration I needed. Here it is:

It is summer and Eiley will be here soon. I think you should write a guest post for me before she arrives. :P It does not have to be about being pregnant. Or being a mom. It can be about living in Virginia, being married to an actor, working at a Christian college, having long legs.... you get the picture. I just want to share your voice!!Will you think about it? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top? -Becca

And here’s my blog post:

EMILY BECCA! Are we shouting at each other enthusiastically or what?! I LOVE IT!

It is summer I know! I keep getting “True to Your Heart” from Mulan in my head because it seems to always be 98 degrees here lately. This would be a bearable temperature if not for the 139% humidity. And Eiley will be here soon. You’re right. She’ll be here in less than a month. I am completely unsure if I’m excited to meet her and to perhaps eventually be comfortable and have more than four outfits that fit again or if I would prefer her to stay inside where she is easy to care for and quiet. Oh how I’ll miss the quiet. Plus I don’t really want to go through labor. I think you should write a guest post for me before she arrives. Okay, I’m on it. :P Ah, a lesser used emoticon – the smiley face with the tongue emerging playfully from the mouth. I prefer the :), but yours is nice too. It does not have to be about being pregnant. Good, because I’m all tapped out on that subject. Or being a mom. Also good, because I have no idea about being a mom yet. I’m going to need to consult Eiley for a while before I have comments on that subject. You and Zoe sure make it look easy though. Thanks for that. It can be about living in Virginia I hate Virginia. Some of the people are nice, but most of them aren’t actually from here, so I still hate Virginia. Being married to an actor I love being married to an actor. I get to go to shows all the time. For free. And he is required to look good for his job. And since he has to know how to access his emotions for his job, he tends to be more sensitive in real life. It helps that I’m married to a talented actor who tends to do things I enjoy watching. If he wasn’t talented, things would get awkward fast. It also helps that he would like to be a theater professor because he’d like a little more stability than living job to job as an actor (and, you know, because he loves teaching and is good at it). I appreciate this. Working at a Christian college I have done this for almost five years. I love it! The only downfall is when people call in looking for a free education and get upset that it’s not free because they think Christian = free stuff. Like these regionally accredited universities must be run by volunteer professors. Silly people. Having long legs This is an important issue in the world today. While there has been a recent rise in the availability of affordable jeans with longer inseams, there is still a great shortage of pants available to behemoths like me. I am grateful for skinny pants being in fashion, as those look completely fine when they hit me at or above the ankles, but I do still dream of a world where there are more options available – where I could consider a wide leg trouser or a straight leg chino without fear of people asking me about a flood. (I’m talking to you, my favorite store, Target.) …you get the picture. I just want to share your voice! Well, that is so nice, thank you!

Will you think about it? I did. Please? I did! Pretty please with a cherry on top? Again, I did. However, if you need to convince me to do something with ice cream toppings in the future, may I make some alternate suggestions: miniature gummy bears, sour gummy worms, strawberries, or caramel. I really don’t like cherries.

-Becca This was fun. Lahve, Emily

June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

You've been a natural since the moment Cruz was laid in your arms.
Boy do we love you.

June 15, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

Morning in Cruzville is earrrrly.
Good thing it's also cute.
This is one of my most favorite pictures so far.
How sweet are those chocolate brown stripes?
Love those blue Bunz!
Ok, I am a fanatic about good customer service. FuzziBunz has been incredible. They always respond to my email questions, and when one of our diapers had a problem, they exchanged it immediately.
Thank you, FuzziBunz!
Baby Wonder. That is some pure love.

June 13, 2011

Things I Am Thinking About This Morning

How does Cruz know that it's time to crawl? I am teaching him absolutely nothing about this process, and yet he gets closer and closer to full mobility every day. 
Not that he isn't awfully mobile.
If you have a cord out, he morphs into the fastest roller in the West!

I don't have a very snuggly baby. He loves to be held, but only as long as you let him use you as a human jungle gym. Also, if you have strings hanging off your sweatshirt or any kind of jewelry, he will spend as much time in your lap as possible.
Now, myself? I love a good cuddle.
So my favorite favorite favorite is when Cruz falls asleep in the car and I get to carry him into the house and up to his crib. 
That, my friends, is a great snuggle.

My mom visited us over the weekend. Cruz was on his most charming behavior. 
Success! We have her convinced that we are great parents.
Two minutes after we drop her off at the airport, he screams for 45 minutes. 
Come back, Mom!

Does your eight month old eat a lot of solid food? Mine does. I fear that I am overfeeding him! My day revolves around food. 
Sample schedule:
6:30am Nurse
7:00am I scarf down breakfast as I am starving from trying to sustain a chunky baby.
7:30am Cruz eats bananas and oatmeal.
(By the way, when I first wrote that, bananas had far too many 'a's and 'n's, but I considered leaving it because I don't really care for bananas and how they feel)
10am nursing again
11am oh boy does he need a snack-- applesauce or pears
1pm nursing
4pm nursing
6pm boy howdy it's dinner time and that means sweet potato, squash and applesauce
7pm bedtime nurse
I feel as though I am constantly feeding him, preparing food to feed him, washing up from feeding, or feeding myself so that I don't starve from feeding him.

Sometimes when Cruz is protesting whatever cruelty I'm subjecting him to (ie: putting on a shirt), I have to tell him, "Cruz, mommy is in charge."
This is just as much for my benefit as his. 

So being a mom can be hard. Ok, this is probably not news to anyone who is actually a mom. Not the actual mom-parts, but the financial hardship and the loss of freedom to do whatever I feel like doing. I miss hanging out with my girlfriends spontaneously. I miss wearing necklaces. I miss putting on an outfit that isn't chosen for maximum nursing access.
But then I put 19 pounds of baby chub into the bath and see his utter fascination as he watches water pour from a cup into the tub. 
Pure delight.
I am right where I want to be. 

June 9, 2011

Finding Love: Jury Duty and Domino's Pizza

This is part three in our Finding Love series. Need to get caught up? Start here and here.

About a minute after we decided to have a baby, I found myself rushing to Albertson's for a giant bag of sour cream and onion potato chips and ravenous for my Aunt Carol's triple chocolate cake. 
Another minute passed, and I was horribly sick to my stomach. 
One week later, the pregnancy test finally stated the obvious and showed up positive.
Have you ever been hungover? Had food poisoning? How about the flu or mono?
Have you ever had them all at the same time? 
Or for seventeen weeks????

I thought I was going to die.
I thought I was going to harm the baby because I couldn't keep any food down.
It was fun to be pregnant for about the first five minutes.
(And I mean that literally. I was sick as a rat before I was even late.)
And then the reality of "morning" sickness set in as I threw up every meal I ate and was faced with an exhaustion that defies the imagination.

You know how much I longed to have a baby, but my body seemed to be rebelling big time.
I wanted to nest, to coo, to glow...
I felt incredibly cheated.
Here I am pretending to be happy.
But I began to find love, even in a difficult, and seemingly endless season.

I found love in the County of Santa Barbara.
You got that right, mister.
Praise Jesus, I was selected to serve on a three week jury and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Sitting still and not speaking for three weeks straight?
I'm all in.
I sucked on Jolly Ranchers and threw up during our breaks.
Jury duty will always have a special place in my heart.

I found love in my parents.
They came to spend a week with us, and ended up taking care of me while Tovi was out of town. My sweet dad drove me everywhere. My mom cooked.
It was like being nine years old all over again.

Once again, the gals in my Bible study came to my rescue. 
Jen showed up with a basket overflowing with morning sickness remedies and headbands.
Melody lent me all of her pregnancy books and made me feel like Not A Crazy Person.

Love from my friends who guessed I was pregnant and still acted surprised when we shared the secret. I could only keep down pizza, and you all ate soooo much pizza with me. 
Thank you for not being snobby about our food selection. 

My boss who put up with me rushing down the hall and laying my head on the desk day after day.

I think that the best way to find out what kind of father a man will be is to watch how he takes care of his pregnant wife.
 Ps: I should totally cut my hair like that again. I look great!
And this guy?

Having gone from such a dark period of my life to such a trying season was wearing on my soul.
But, oh the love that was beginning to blossom around me...

June 8, 2011

What He Wore On Wednesday

Guten tag, Cruz Lovers!
There is something wonderfully babyish about these monkey jammies.
These days I am feeling as if my little guy is less little every day.
Yup, these jammies are a balm to my soul.
I think you know how I feel about striped pants.
However, I think these pictures prove that Cruz does not share my fond feelings.
Cruz proves to be a show-stopper in pink.
Moms of girls from the Dos Pueblos High School class of 2028...
May I apologize in advance for your daughters' broken hearts?
He's just not to blame for the damage those eyelashes will cause. 

June 6, 2011

Books for Snarky Babies

Cruz has a book of baby faces. He enjoys babbling to his "friends" and sometimes giving them a nice chomp or two.
It's all love.

This is a "Begin Smart" book, which promises to be a "Book for Smart Babies."
Thaaaat's right.
The inside cover of the book suggests that "Babies are more than cute and engaging."
That's right! They are also a delightful source for chub-nibbles.
I mean, "they have amazing brains."
The book goes on.
"Talk to your baby as you show her the faces in this book. Say whatever comes to mind."

This baby looks kind of annoying.

This baby kind of looks like your cousin Julia.

Overall and a mullet? Who do you think you are, AC Slater??

Bad news-- this baby already needs a comb-over.

I like this girl's style. Let's be friends with her.

Yup, I think we're doing a great job "building a brain for a lifetime of learning."

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