Conversations with Zeke

"Super Zeke!! Swim like a bird!" Running around with a cape.

"You fly like a bird, Zekey. Birds don't swim. Birds fly. Fish swim."

stops "Oh." laughs "Fly like a bird!!!"

"You fly like a bird?! Really?"

"Fly like TWO birds!!!" continues to run around.

Also I am SOOOO proud of him right now.

FIRST: He had gone 2 days now without ANY accidents as long as he is naked. Lol. If he's wearing a diaper he uses it and when we are out of the house and when he's asleep he's in a diaper, but we've been leaving him naked around the house and he doesn't have any accidents at all that way! Such a big boy. We're going to continue like this all summer and reassess in the Fall weather we want to move him to underwear.

SECOND and EVEN BETTER: We pray before dinner but not usually before other meals. Zeke now insists we pray before each meal AND snacks and this morning prayed by himself. "God, thankyou for.....DADA! Amen." I'm so proud of him.

Field Trip

When I decided to forgo preschool (and probably the early years of school as well) for Zeke there was really only one downside in my mind.

Everyone else always thinks it's the socialization thing, which is quickly becoming a charged subject for me. I'm unsure at the moment when exactly independent socialization is necessary, but I'm almost confident it's not before the age of 7 or even 9. And I'm definitely sure that school isnt the only or even necessarily the best place to get it anyways. There are team sports, there are boy scouts, there is church, ect. The socialization thing isn't a big deal for me.

No, for me, at first, the biggest downside was missing all those fun field trips. Until I realized that farms, zoos, arbors, museums, restaurants ect are just as welcoming to families as they are to schools and I have a bunch of friends that are just as willing to show up and look around as I am.

And so, even though I'm not starting preschool with Zekey until he hits 3 or 4, I am committing to doing fun "field trips" now and then. Josh pointed out that it's really not all that different from the fun activities I am always planning for us to do on Saturdays.

Yesterday was our first. We went to Spokane Family Farm, which is a local dairy farm. The dairy farm at which I will be buying all our milk from now on :) since a friend of mine is starting a co-op to take turns driving out there to pick it all up for everyone. Although for me its only a 15-20 minute drive, which in Spokane is about how long you drive to get ANYWHERE. Depending on the pickup location everyone chooses it might save me time to get it myself. Plus then Zekey can say hi to the cows. Its 3.50 a gallon, which is a lot more then I'm currently spending. But for fresh, healthful, low-heat pasteurized, un-homogenized milk? I think its worth it. They also keep beef cows, which got me dreaming about a freezer in our basement.... ahh the things I would do if we had a freezer... Maybe for christmas....

Anyways. We got to see the cows getting milked, and we got to feed the baby cows their bottles, then we got to see chickens and pigs and donkeys and horses and hold a bunny and eat icecream. It was a pretty big success. Zeke LOVED the animals. He loved them so very much that I'm going to really try to find time this summer to take him to the farm petting zoo. We spend most of our free weekends at Greenbluff, the local growing community, since Josh loves fruit so much. But if I cant find a weekend then I can always go midweek with the boys by myself.

Of course I forgot my camera. Sorry! But I have a feeling we will be back anyways. :)

Side note: Over at The Parenting Passageway Carrie is doing a short series on raising boys that I'm finding both interesting and helpful. It's obviously relevant to me as a mother of two boys but especially relevant at the moment because I'm also currently reading Let Me Be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot which also focuses strongly on the differences between men and women and their thus different needs/abilities/callings. I strongly recommend both.

Telling Everyone is the Hardest Part

I glimpse it between slow blinks. It's always at the top right hand corner of my medical sheet. Multipara 5-2.

Nothing in this life has been more sorrowful to me than those numbers. 5-2. blink. 5-2.

Five verified pregnancies. Two live births.

Five times life has quickened in my womb. Only twice have I been given the chance to hold that child in my arms.

The knowledge that it wont ever be 5-3 brings me to my knees.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away and who am I to complain when He takes from all the abundance of His giving? Who am I to cry salt tears surrounded by the dirty diapers and dishes piled high in the sink and bright plastic that has become so much background noise and yet speaks so loudly of all that He has blessed me with.

I, more than most women, understand what a blessing all those plastic toys strewn around my house truly are.

And who am I, anyways, to mourn a child that, let's all be honest with each other, I never exactly expected. But unexpected was not unloved or even unwanted and even in two short weeks shock can turn into excitement can turn into love. I don't have any excuse except that once a child was imagined, a child was longed for, and once my arms knew to expect another miracle they felt terrible empty without it.

The Lord hath giveth and I've grown to understand that He may also take away. I have learned to stand as tall as Job. God is good. All the time.

And I have so much to be thankful for. Two sons healthy. That I miscarried early, before I had a chance to fall deeper in love, and easily, with no uncomfortable medical procedures required. There is always so much to be thankful for and while my mind sometimes will wander, do fetus's who die before their hearts even begin to beat go to heaven? when is it a life and when is it just an expectation?, I mostly count the blessings. Two sons healthy. So much more than many have been given.

Ezekiel the two year old

(zeke ready to go to the park)

I might end up liking Ezekiel the two year old a bit less then Ezekiel the one year old. Just kidding. Well mostly just kidding. He IS most determinately two. He tells us "No!" and he hits the kitchen table or the walls when he is angry. Yesterday he asked for ice cream and when I told him that I was making dinner and if he ate well I would give him some after he said "No, now!" and then proceeded to count to three. (The way that I count to three when I tell him something and he ignores me).

(zeke in mommy' s shoes...a common sight. with a bottle of water that he's only supposed to have at bedtime...honestly another common sight. and no pants...the most common sight of all.)

But in many other ways Ezekiel the two year old is quite a lot of fun. He is talking so soo much more. And the way he expresses things is always getting Josh and I laughing. Hats or sunglasses make him (or Malachi) a "cool dude". Zuchinni's are called "not a pickle's". He constantly constantly asks for another birthday. EVERYTHING is birthday. Balloons and cake especially, but really anything, when he thinks its nice is "birthday blank". It must have made an impression.

(Zeke in his dirt pile. After much much thought it WAS going to be a squash patch but he loved the dirt so much that I decided it may just stay dirt for a while. Boys need some dirt to call their own.)

Zeke the two year old is also quite responsible and independent. He can get himself a glass of water, and a snack. Even if its a snack I have to pour, like applesauce, he brings me a bowl and the applesauce and I pour it and then he puts it the bowl on the table and the applesauce back in the fridge and he gets himself a spoon. He is even washing his hands by himself now, which I think is awesome. Josh pointed out last night that he didn't think he would get the yogurt off of his shoulder and when Zeke came back you could see he had washed his entire chest and arms, lol. He's also been putting his shoes and socks on (sometimes) and helping pack the diaper bag. And he tends to "his" strawberry patch. I cant be sure how many he's picked and eaten, because he stalks that thing like crazy for red ones, but he has brought and shown me 3.

(the latest of zeke's almost constant injuries.)

He is just about the best big brother you can imagine. He plays with his "Mawakai" almost all day long. They love to wrestle together and Ezekiel is so gentle I never really worry about Mal getting injured. He always shares his toys too, and even his special blanket that he wont let anyone touch. We will see what happens, though, when Mal starts crawling and gets to those toys on his own. Zeke has been encouraging him and trying to show him how to crawl but I'm not entirely sure he understands the consequences.

(zeke and mal watching blues clues.)

Zeke at two loves the color yellow, reading dr seuss, playing in water or dirt or even better a mixture of both, dressing up and especially hats, doing somersaults, eating icecream and vanilla yogurt (and pizza and fish and cookies and bananas and...), kitties AND "woof woofs", chapstick, the words octagon and kabaam, the battle hymn of the republic, tea, wrestling with daddy, naps, making up songs which he then sings to his meals, trains or anything else that lines up in a neat row, sweaters with hoods, the crab dance (basically pinching your fingers over your head while you spin in a circle), and baking.

(fountains downtown)

He hates being told no or not yet, washing his hair, lettuce and all other leafy greens, crowds, strangers talking or even looking at him, shoes not put where they belong, that one child safety lock he hasn't figured out yet, when he meticulously lines things up in a perfect straight line but then Mal finally maneuvers over there to suck on one, having his nose wiped, holding hands in parking lots, and anything that he cant figure out in less than 3 seconds.

He goes to bed between 8 and 9 and wakes up between 7 and 8. He still wakes up at night needing a drink of water or comfort from a nightmare fairly often. He naps from 12 until 3. He eats more than I do some days, and then other days survives off of almost nothing at all. He is just over 30 pounds (inches to come at his check-up in a few weeks). He is meticulous, compassionate, generous, easily overwhelmed, and short tempered. He is more phlegmatic then anyone I have ever met. He is both right handed and right brained.

He's my son.

(A Mal at 6 months post coming soon)

Thoughts on a Third Baby

This is our first "accidental" pregnancy. With both of our miscarriages, and with Zeke, we were trying. With Mal, we weren't trying per say but we were letting nature take its course with full knowledge of what that would eventually entail, even if we were a little surprised at how quickly it entailed it.

I'll admit this time around, we were very actively NOT trying. And I will also admit when I finally gave in and took a pregnancy test, and then another, and then yet another, I had to go thru a bit of a mourning period. It sounds awful to say it, a baby is always a blessing. But another baby right now was not part of The Plan. And while I've learned over and over and over again that God has His own plans...well I've never much been one to take it with grace.

I liked The Plan.

Now my plan has been demolished and I'm sitting in the rubble unsure of how my body is going to handle another pregnancy so soon, or of how long I'm going to be able to continue breastfeeding Malachi, or of how I'm going to be able to parent an infant when I have a barely 1 year old and a 2 1/2 year old also in the house. The 13 or 14 month difference between these two makes Mal and Zeke's 19 months sound cushy. I'm going to have 3 kids under 3 years old. We aren't sure, either, how we are going to afford another baby. Another mouth to feed, another bum to diaper, another pair of feet that will need shoes. The babysitter is going to need a raise and our family definitely isn't going to fit in our Honda anymore, so add to it all a new car.

And so I mourned, just a bit. I mourned the lengthy time breastfeeding I had planned for Malachi. I will be happy to get him to 6 months at this point, and lucky to last any further. I mourned the loss of my body. I just got back into my size 8's last week. I mourned the fact that there really is no end in sight. I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding without break since September 2007. This baby is going to be born March 2011, add a year of breastfeeding and we're talking about 5 straight years of eating for two (and sometimes three).

Josh had been telling me I was pregnant for a week...the last straw was me promptly rolling down all the windows after picking him up from work because he had "eaten something". We've gotten pregnant 4 times in our 4 years of marriage, this 5th pregnancy coming in right before our upcoming 5th anniversary. The man can tell when I'm pregnant.

So, he wasn't much surprised when I ended his Father's Day card "Daddy of THREE." And his lack of surprise aided, I think, in his pure joy at the news. He smiled, he laughed, he kissed me and said he was happy...and then he got online to research how much our car is worth and to send his resume into a few job openings that look to pay more, giving just a little doubt to his characteristic "everything will be fine"...but only just a little.

Oh husband of mine. I can only do this because I have you.

Unrelatedly, Malachi is not fond of applesauce.

And then there were three....

Yep, you heard me right.


Due in February...

Ta Da!

The boys' room is finished!!!

NW corner.
NE corner.

SE corner.

SW corner.

My awesome stenciling work.

Woo hoo.

Our room is also finished and I'm quite happy with it. The light was awful by the time I had everything done, however, and now its pictures to come...someday.

A mishmash

I feel like I have a ton to blog. And I've been trying recently to put more thought into my words in this space. To take the time to express myself in a more beautiful way. But with the disarray around the house as we play musical rooms, and planning Zeke's small and simple but still a birthday party this weekend...well I can hardly organize my thoughts in my own mind, let alone on the keyboard. I have said it a thousand times and yet still I am constantly surprised by how much a disordered home makes for a disordered mind, at least for me. But things are looking up. We are soo sooo close to being done moving everything around.

So until that fine fine moment, when I can breathe in the knowledge that everything HAS a place and is IN that place....

A mishmash.

1. The garden is doing great, better honestly then I expected. I should have taken some pictures, but I didnt so just use your imagination. The strawberries are fruiting, the tomatoes and peas are flowering, the peppers look the same as always I have to admit...but they aren't dead! (except for one that was I suspect eaten by a cat but we ended up in the end with 11 peppers so I think I can spare to lose one. We've had more lettuce then we know what to do with, and enough spinach to not buy any for weeks now (and that is saying something because I eat a LOT of spinach). The beans have come up out of the ground and the squash have been planted (hopefully not too late, it was into June by the time I got around to it).
This has been a really fun experience. I love to dig around in the dirt and I love how excited Zeke has been watching everything grow. He plants "seeds" ALL day long in his dirt pile in the yard.
I'm also getting a whole new respect for people that actually had to grow all their food. With bugs and surprise freezes and pesky cats not to mention toddlers my garden is in a constant state of danger. I cant imagine knowing that our very lives depended on it. After all, if my garden fails it only means I need to go to the grocery store. For some, it meant starvation the next winter.
2. Zeke is really cracking me up these days. He's been using all sorts of new body language, I can see him really studying and copying the way I hold myself. Not to mention a TON of new words, he is really getting talking lately. He can sing twinkle twinkle, and the itsy bitsy spider, although his favorite song right now is the Battle Hymn of the Republic...that and Bad Romance (he's only heard the Glee version, not the lady gaga...Zeke and I LOVE Glee). He's also started to get more and more imaginative in his play, which is so exciting to watch. I'm loving having a toddler. Even when he tells me I'm "no nice!".
3. Malachi is also cracking me up. He is getting sooo angry at his inability to do everything Zekey does. This kid absolutely HATES being left out!! We've put his crib in the boys' new room 2 days ago and he's slept in there from 9 till 4 am one night and until 6am the other. You cant imagine how exciting that is for me, lol. At this point I'm going in there more often for Zeke.
4. Our neighbor gave us this awesome slide her kids have outgrown. Zeke wanted to push Mal down, but I convinced him baby Burt might enjoy it better.
5. Since I have to move all of our books I've decided to get rid of some of them. We have a ton of books, this is a little under 1/3rd of our collection:
But I have to admit not all of our books are really treasured...many we will likely never read again. So I signed up for and I've already mailed 4 out, giving me 4 credits to get books that we actually WANT. I'll probably wait a few months and then just donate the rest of the books that no one wanted, but its nice to get a few good books out of the pile of bad ones (though I almost feel bad giving away some of my pregnancy books of the "what to expect when expecting" caliber, it seems wrong to continue the misinformation)

6. I read The Tent a few years ago but this poem has come up twice now in conversations this week. It was my favorite from the collection, although honestly I'm young enough that its talking about more of my grandmothers' generation. Well worth the read.

Bring back Mom,
bread-baking Mom, in her crisp gingham apron
just like the aprons we sewed for her
in our Home Economics classes
and gave to her for a surprise
on Mother's Day--

Mom, who didn't have a job
because why would she need one,
who made our school lunches--
the tuna sandwich, the apple,
the oatmeal cookies wrapped in wax paper--
with the rubber band she'd saved in a jar;
doing the ironing
or something equally boring,

who smiled the weak smile of a trapped drudge
as we slid past her,
headed for the phone,
filled with surliness and contempt
and the resolve never to be like her.

Bring back Mom.
who wanted to be a concert pianist
but never had the chance
and made us take piano lessons,
which we resented--

Mom, whose aspic rings
and Jello salads we ate with greed,
though later derided--
pot-roasting Mom, expert with onions
though anxious in the face of garlic,
who received a brand-new frying pan
from us each Christmas--
just what she wanted--

Mom, her dark lipsticked mouth
smiling in the black-and-white
soap ads, the Aspirin ads, the toilet paper ads,
Mom, with her secret life
of headaches and stained washing
and irritated membranes--
Mom, who knew the dirt,
and hid the dirt, and did the dirty work,
and never saw herself
or us as clean enough--

and who believed that there was other dirt
you shouldn't tell to children,
and didn't tell it,
which was dangerous only later.

We miss you, Mom,
though you were reviled to great profit
in magazines and books
for ruining your children
--that would be us--
by not loving them enough,
by loving them too much,
by wanting too much love from them,
by some failure of love--

(Mom, whose husband left her
for his secretary and paid alimony,
Mom, who drank in solitude
in the afternoons, watching TV,
who dyed her hair an implausible
shade of red, who flirted
with her friends' husbands at parties,
trying with all her might
not to sink below the line
between chin up and despair--

and who was carted away
and locked up, because one day
she began screaming and wouldn't stop,
and did something very bad
with the kitchen scissors--

But that wasn't you, not you, not
the Mom we had in mind, it was
the nutty lady down the street--
it was just some lady
who became a casulty
of unseen accidents,
and then a lurid story...)

Come back, come back, oh Mom,
from craziness or death
or our own damaged memory--
appear as you were:

Queen of the waffle iron,
generous dispenser of toothpaste,
sorceress of Mercurochrome,
player of smoky bridge
at which you won second-prize dishtowels,

brooder over the darning egg
that hatched nothing but socks,
boiler of horrible porridge--
climb back onto the cake-mix package,
look brisk and competent, the way you used to--

If only we could call you--
Here Mom, Here Mom--
and you would come clip-clopping
on your daytime Cuban heels,
smelling of sink and lilac,
(your bum encased in the foundation garmet
you'd peel off at night
with a sigh like a marsh exhaling),
saying, What is it now,
and we could catch you
in a net, and cage you
in your bungalow, where you belong,
and make you stay--

Then everything would be all right
the way it was when we could play
till after dark on spring evenings,
then sleep without fear
because you threw yourself in front of the fear
and stopped it with your body--

And there you'll be, in your cotton housecoat,
holding a wooden peg
between your teeth, as the washing flaps
on the clothesline you once briefly considered
hanging yourself with--

but forget that! There you'll be,
singing a song of your own youth
as though no time has passed,
and we can be careless again,
and embarrassed by you,
and ignore you as we used to,

and the holes in the world will be mended.

The Tent, Margaret Atwood

Happy Birthday Zeke

When told this morning that it was his special day and he got to do whatever he wanted, Zeke got a big smile on his face. I was afraid he wouldn't get it, but boy oh boy he did.

First he wanted to make waffles. He loves working the waffle maker, and usually its just a weekend kind of thing. Then after breakfast he ran straight into our room and promptly spent the rest of the morning lounging on our bed, again not usually allowed. Even better, because our house is half moved around at the moment our TV is actually in our bedroom. I think the idea of laying in bed all day (his favorite thing to do) AND watching blues clues (his second favorite thing to do) at the same time was almost too good to be true.

So we spent the first 5 hours of the day in pajamas in bed. We watched cartoons, we built a few block towers, we read some books, we jumped, and we had a lunch of icecream...all on daddy's pillow.

After a very very short nap (which is why we dont lay about all morning) we went to the children's museum, where Zeke spent almost the entire 2 hours we were there playing with the trains. He is TOTALLY in a train obsession at the moment. Then we went to the toy store to spend his birthday money, he bought a medium sized bouncy ball as his choice and I chose a magnetic alphabet set for him ;) Then perhaps best of all, we talked daddy into leaving work an hour early.

Then we had a dinner of Zeke-loved foods, yogurt, mashed potatoes, peaches, and fish.

All in all, I'm thinking it turned out to be a pretty decent birthday.

I love you my baby boy.

*sorry, pics wont load*

Beauty in the Home

Our house is a mid 1940's cape cod. I believe, to be even more accurate, its a colonial revival cape cod (leave it to me to know such a thing). In many ways it shows its age.
But we love this house.
It lends itself well to quite a bit of whimsy.
And it has enough architectural detail to support the bright colors that I love.
It has been nothing but a joy the past year, working with this space, and turning this house into a home.
I've heard often the quote, "Have nothing in your house that you dont know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" (in fact I've heard it so often that I have no idea the origional source...sorry). I've taken it to heart, and worked hard to make sure every room has it's share of beauty,
and usefulness.
It has been a labor of love, including many cans of paint, many trips to thrift stores, and the knowledge that very often it's the smallest details that make a room truly finished.
But I think I can firmly say that this is our home.
There is no corner, no wall hanging, no piece of furniture, that is not beautiful, useful, and fully representative of who we are.

When we bought the house, it had an *almost finished* upper story of 2 bedrooms and a half bath. We used the space to store our books, and also our TV and video game equipment, but it wasn't quite livable since the temperature ranged from 20 to 100 degrees (no insulation).

Well we are in the midst (the staying up until midnight every night midst) of finishing that space, turning one room into the boys' bedroom, and the other into ours.

The boys' room I am nothing but excited over. I never did much with Zekey's room because A. its the tiniest room imaginable and I couldn't, and B. I knew this move would soon happen. It's coming along beautifully and I'm so excited to share the finished project.

Our room, I'll admit I have mixed feelings about. I love love love our current room. I purposefully didnt share photos because I dont want to dwell on how very much I love it. I spent a lot of time, more time maybe then any other room, creating that space. I love the way I have it, I love the color on the walls (a light calming green). But sleeping on a different floor from the boys just isn't realistic to me getting any sleep, so move we will. I am hopeful, though, that I can make the new space just as relaxing.

And one wonderful thing happened because of the decision. For a long time Josh has been wanting to create a turtle-utopia involving 2 tanks and a bridge between them. I never exactly forbade such a thing but I think the expression on my face was "not in MY sitting room".
Well, between our old bedroom (main floor room) becoming our new TV/library room, and our leaking tank requiring the purchase of a new one, that may very well finally the TV room. I don't mind an 135 gallon water tank and a 75 gallon land tank, 10 feet in all of turtle-dom if it's tucked away in there.

Especially as it leaves this wall empty.
(ok it was strange looking empty so I put a dresser there for the time being)

Our 5 year anniversary is coming up and year 5 is wood. I think I'll spend the coming weeks emailing Josh links to old pianos on craigslist. :)

Wish me luck on finishing the upstairs. Our goal is this weekend but I keep getting distracted by other related projects...reorganize my art supplies? Might as well, since it's going in a new closet. I've got the paint and stencils out...I should write something over the front door as well... What? Are those embroidery hoops at the thrift for 25 cents each?! Those would look amazing on the kitchen wall...

You know you're the mother of boys...

You know you are the mother of boys when there are sticks at the breakfast table...

And spoons are always abandoned before the cereal is quite gone...

When the living room could also be described as the construction zone...

And a lawn mower is never a surprise in the hall.

And you definitely know you are the mother of boys when every available surface...but especially the bed you are trying to perfect for an impromptu wrestling match.

Welcome Summer

Ah Summer, one of my favorite seasons. (Fall and Summer, in that order, in case you were wondering. I love the heat and all the activity, and then I love the relief from the heat and all the activity.)

But Summer truly DOES have it's particular joys. It's the season of Ice Cream, after all.

And laying in the grass, looking up at the trees.

The season of digging freely in the dirt.

The season of scraped knees,

And warm earth under your toes.

The season of BBQed burgers and corn. And zucchini, and chicken, and peppers, and kabobs, and, and, and...

The season of baths. Every. single. night.
I am very much looking forward to summer. The fair, and the u-pick farms, live music at the park, strawberries, peaches, backyard picnics, weekend hikes. Kiddie pools, and ice-cream trucks. Farmers Markets. Splashing in the fountain downtown. Salads every other night in August because its too hot for the oven. Letting the kids stay up late for 100 different barbeques.

And then when we're exhausted from it all, we get to welcome Fall. Sweaters, and filling warm meals, and falling leaves, and pie. :)

I love seasons.