Saturday, March 31, 2007

museum passes.. I love free stuff!

Jason and I are pretty "frugal." Ok, that is really a nice way of saying cheap but as I have stated before we get a high from finding things cheap or for free. One of the perks of living in Chicago is the free museum passes you can get from any library branch. Every library branch in the city has passes to get you and four other people into any museum for FREE! Now, it sounds too good to be true right? Well, the catch is you have to snag the right pass at the right time and they do not reserve them, it is every Chicagoan for themselves. I literally spent about 2 hours last summer calling around and then driving to branches just to acquire the free aquarium pass (one of the most sought after). It became a challenge and I could not quit. After driving all the way to a far away branch only to have the woman in front of me grab the very pass I had driven like a mad woman to get!! I thought about jumping her in the parking lot but thought that might be in poor taste.

All this to say today when we saw that yet again the weather was dismal we needed to find something fun to explore indoors. Jason got the Nature Museum pass and we headed out to let Annikah see the famed butterfly room. At first she was a bit scared as the butterflies whizzed around her head but then really enjoyed watching them. Her parents got a high as they got into the museum for free and even found street parking (now all you suburbanites may not appreciate the amazing feat this is but take my word for it) so the only money we shelled out was for a diet coke (ahh, my other addiction) and some pretzels! Here are some pictures of us invading the butterfly habitat and the rest of the museum. As for our free museum pass Ferris Bueller would say, "it was so choice, if you have the means I highly recommend picking one up."

Friday, March 30, 2007


These are pictures we took of Annikah with her cousins this week. I drove out to the burbs to visit Jorie (jason's awesome sister) and her two little boys; Joel and Silas. After trying for most of our visit to get at least one good photo of the three of them we realized this was a futile task. An exercise in ludricisy (is that even a word?) if you will. Trying to get one baby to sit still and smile is monumental and then add an almost 3 year old and a one year old and ..... well lets put it this way we are lucky we got them in the same frame. It was a blast to see them though. As always I enjoy Joel's intelligent and hilarious quips. Highlights include when he eats something and states " hmmm, that feels kinda tasty" and when he asks to come to "ca-go (Chicago) and see the trains (el in our front window)." While I was there Joel asked me to play hide and seek and frankly I am worried he is missing the concept a bit. He hides and then proceeds to laugh and make noises the whole time I am looking for him. He really needs to grow in his hiding skills. His seeking on the other hand in quite impressive (but it isn't hard to find a gal who is 5 foot 11 inches and holding a squirming baby). It is blessing to have family close by and to be able to share and compare stories from the trenches of baby parenting. We salute you Jorie and Mark!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Annikah gone wild!

That Annikah looks sweet and innocent but I tell you she is a wild chica!! The warm weather has made her lose her sensibilities and throw caution to the wind. After getting crazy she usually passes out and sleeps it off (see photo).

Big city...small town

We could not resist the weather and were outside as much as possible today- it was 75 degrees!!! We met some friends at the park that have a little girl who is 3 months older than Annikah. On the way we saw 3 people and families we know. This is why I love where we live. It is a big city but feels so small when you are cruising down the lakefront and someone yells your name. I feel blessed to know so many amazing people. Annikah and Charlotte love their daddies and had fun poking each other. Anni felt grass for the first time. Other highlights included a couple walking past Anni and remarking that she was the coolest baby they had ever seen (all due to her ridiculous sunglasses that we thought she would never wear but actually keep the sun and wind out of eyes and she apparently digs them) and a woman commenting that Annikah was "so little." She even asked "is that a newborn?" Now our baby is many things but at almost 20 pounds "little" is NOT one of them. Thought I would share some fun pics of our frolicking by the lake. Ah, spring makes me happy!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

marvelous discoveries

For me one of the funnest things about being a Mom is getting to see your child explore her world. Everything is new and fabulous (or detestable as the case may be). Jason loves when she is playing and catches a glimpse of her hands. She can stare at them for a few minutes looking at them in awe and wiggling her little chubby fingers like she has never seen something so profound. I think her hands are pretty marvelous as well, so intricate, so clumsy yet so precise at times. My favorite time is to lay on our bed with Anni. We do this ritual daily and everyday she loves to explore my face. She laughs and talks to me as if I understand everything she says all the while sticking her fingers up my nose, grabbing my cheeks, pulling my hair, and touching my eyelids. I know one day I'll have to teach her that this is not the way you converse with someone but for now I am as enthralled as she is by her daily discoveries.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

worst mom of the millennia forgiven!

Babies are so resilient and forgiving and for this I am grateful. Last night after much discussion we decided to try "sleep training." Annikah was a pretty good sleeper only getting up once for a while but after a few trips, a cold, and teething (see post teething sucks) she was starting to get up around 3 times a night and it was affecting her personality during the day(needless to say mine as well). So after re-reading the "Healthy Sleep Habits Book" and consulting with many other moms we decided we better start making her sleep thru the night. We defined thru the night as 11pm until 5am without eating. We geared up and last night tried to "let her cry it out." I hate that term because really what is "it"? "It" is the fact that I am all alone in a dark room and I want to get out of here and get me a booby! I do not think "it" is easy to get over but we tried because like many moms I realized I have not slept consecutively for more than 3 hours in 7 months. At around 2:50 am she woke up and Jason went in to calm her without feeding her and put her back to sleep. She was not having it. She basically told him "bring me the lady with the boobs and get out!" in so many cries. So we sat in our room and prayed she would go back to sleep. 5 minutes felt like 5 hours and it turned into 40 minutes which felt like waiting in line at the DMV in Chicago (useless and frustrating and makes you want to cry). She finally conceded and went back to sleep. At 5:30am she woke again and I went in to get her and feed her only to discover she had pooped EVERYWHERE! It was thru her diaper, on her PJ's up to her neck(really how does that happen?), on her sheets, everywhere. I felt horrible and thus have decided to award myself the WORST MOM OF THE MILLENNA! award for allowing my daughter to cry while covered in poop! Lucky for me she is very forgiving and this video was shot after we fumigated the room and her. She clearly tells us what she thinks of sleeping thru the night but offers a wet kiss to show she forgives me! Thank you Annikah!

Friday, March 23, 2007

family resemblance

I have never really thought Annikah looked like Jason or I (I guess it is harder to recognize in your own baby as I often think other friend's babies look like mini-me's of their parents). But today she did resemble us.
Annikah tried mangoes for the first time today and to say she enjoyed them would be an understatement. She LOVED them! She even grunted at me as I was not feeding her fast enough and took the little bowl to try to lick the rest out while also banging the container on her tray (maybe to summon the mango fairy to bring more). Anyone who has seen Jason and I eat at a Mexican joint can already see the similarities. She acted just like we do when our chips and salsa are not refilled fast enough (sans the grunting, but sadly Jason has licked the bowl, and in public, he is proud of this cuz as he says "it's good" but hey that is why I love him)
See video for evidence.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

ch-zillin' like a villian!

Annikah would like me to apologize for all the comments I made about her being fussy for the past 2 days and would like to submit this photo of her today on our walk to Devon Market as evidence that she is in fact a laid back and groovy chick!

Can a girl get her free undies?

This is a simple story about a girl who just wanted to get her free undies......
My mom had one of those free undies coupons (I say "undies" because i cannot bring myself to say or write the p-word as I call it, you know the other word for gal's underwear). Anyway, being a thoughtful Mom she gave me the coupon so I could pick out a cute pair for me. So, I ventured out with Annikah a while back to a certain national lingerie chain (with the initials VS) which shall remain nameless :). Strolling thru the mall we approached the store not knowing what we were in for....We entered and usually there is always a helpful (even sometimes annoyingly perky) sales person to ask if you need help (as if declaring your bra and underwear size is your favorite thing to do). But not on this day, as we entered no one, notta, in fact I did not even see anyone who worked there. So we made our way to the back as with the stroller I dodged string thongs and nighties that seemed like some sort of strange torture devices. After a valiant effort we approached the register to find someone who could point out the free undies so I could get my pair and get out asap. Here begins the saga. I had to wait in the line because as I said there seemed to be no one else working there. After just 30 seconds I realized why the line was not moving. There was a sales person (who we later discovered was the manager) "talking" to a customer. I say talking because it was more like arguing and snipping at each other, it was so rude it was a couple snaps short of a Jerry Springer episode. There was another Mom with baby in tow in front of me and we kept exchanging glances that read "can you believe these fools" but we waited patiently. After about 5 minutes of this discussion here is what i gathered: the girl that was buying something was an employee from another store who I think was being shady by trying to use some sort of unauthorized discount at this store, well the manager was not having it and threatened to call her store and get her fired. Neither one of them was going to be wrong or back down which resulted in a stand-off. Meanwhile two more VS employees came out of the back and you would think they would help the now 3 customers waiting in line but no they proceeded to watch the verbal bashing of the two women. Finally, the customer yelled "just give me my bag and I'll leave" and reached behind the counter and grabbed her bag and spun around to leave. She then uttered the B-word under her breath. Well, this is when the manger screamed "what did you call me, she called me out my name!" I had flashbacks to the halls when I taught middle school. Allow me to translate: calling someone "out they (their) name" means calling them a B*#@*! I discovered this after a breaking up a few fights when I taught 8th grade(one of which I got clocked straight in the jaw). The manager then leaped sideways across the counter and ran after the other woman. I am sure she was just going to offer to give her a free bra fitting :) The other two employees ran after her leaving me and the other bewildered customers alone in the store looking at each other as if we were on candid camera (or wished we were). I tell this story because a few things went thru my mind: 1. I have become a lightweight wimp as I used to see this stuff everyday and learned to not let it bother me but now with Annikah sitting watching this all I was sensitive to her witnesssing this clearly dysfunctional behavior and wanted to shield her from it and 2. I could not believe grown women were acting this way and thought it was normal. Finally, everyone came back in the store and we were helped, I mentioned to the emplyee that I thought the behavior was crazy unprofessional but no apology. She just said "we had to go out there to make sure she didn'y lose her job by beating up that girl." Oh, well that explains it! I picked out my undies and got the heck out of there. I got home and it was still bothering me so I called and talked with some people at corporate and rehashed the whole sorted affair.
I was inspired to write this story up because this week I got a 25 dollar gift certificate in the mail! Yeah, hopefully this time I will have a better experience getting my free undies, or at least sans WWF(VS) smack-down!

teething sucks!!

So monkey has been so fussy for the past few days and I am losing it. She makes her what I like to call "dead monkey" noises all day (although this is perhaps a misnomer as I guess a dead monkey would be silent). But her noises are in no way silent. She groans and whines practically all day. In my feeble attempts to get her to stop and be happy I pretty much go from holding her, to bouncing, to nursing, to dangling an array of toys in front of her. I feel like she is Hitler and I am appeasing her...."go ahead take Czechoslovakia.. Poland too? Sure! Why not!"
Anything to get her to subside with the whining. After cataloging the noises and general fussiness and concluding that she is too young for PMS I think it may be teething. A girlfriend said she agreed and that it should pass within a week (only to return every time a little tooth emerges- YUCK!). I hope it is teething but I feel like every time a baby is less than adorable in attitude and over the age of 4 months people jump right in with "it must be teething." What if Anni just recently decided that is was fun to whine and fuss and watch me desperately try to stop her? I hope not. It must be teething and I hear it goes away and my sweet baby will return soon. Until then I shall march on in my noble fight against the dead monkey noises...

ps. Speaking of horrendous noises: what was up with Sanjaya on Idol?- it was hard to watch like staring at a train wreck in slow motion!! I am embarrassed FOR him. I love that Randy, Simon, & Paula have even given up on even commenting on his singing. Hint:If your performance makes 10 year old girls cry you are not a serious singer!

Monday, March 19, 2007

"mamitis: a near chronic condition"

I was introduced to this term by a girlfriend of mine who had twins around the same time I had Annikah. Ok, We need to pause for a moment to appreciate the gravity of twins!!! I cannot imagine, but she and her hubby are doing great and the babies are growing so quickly. You would never guess they were early and she had so many complications. Now they are giving Annikah a run for her money! We used to work together and still try to connect often to marvel at the crazy antics of our bambinos. Well, I was telling her the "woe is me" story of how Annikah pretty much screams in horror when (Gasp!) someone that is not Jason or myself tries to hold her. The situation was starting to get nasty. I can count on one hand the number of times I have ever left her since she has been born (which might be part of the problem) but nonetheless she just "knows" when I am about to hand her off. Even if it is just to actually go pee by myself (a luxury you no longer take for granted once you have a baby. In fact, my friend Beck mentioned the crazy amount of times she had realized her zipper was open after having her second baby. It is because you pee so fast that taking the time to do something frivolous like zipping your pants would result in full scale meltdowns so one must chose carefully and washing hands always wins out over the zipper).
I digress, so "mamitis" is the Spanish slang word for babies who are obsessed with their mamas. I do not need a diagnosis- I know this is what Annikah has! But I am excited to report that my mom was able to watch Anni and even put her to bed this past week without me!! Also, on our trip to Iowa Grandma and Grandpa Engstrom got to hold her, feed her, and even make her dance crazy (well, just Grandpa did that :)

Hallelujah! I know that this "Mamitis" will rear its ugly head again but for now I am happy that she seems to be warming up to the outside world.

weekend fun in Iowa!

We spent this weekend in Cedar Rapids with Jason's folks. We had a great trip (except for the last 30 minutes of the car ride.. how is it that babies know "as soon as Mama hits busy Chicago traffic I should scream until we get home just to make sure she knows I am sick of this seat"). We had a great time spending time with Grandma and Grandpa Engstrom and this was the first time Anni did not cry every time someone else held her :) A BIG YAY! for us and Grandma and Grandpa! We made a trip to Steve and Barry's to stock up on mid quality super cheap clothes and of course ate at Chick-Fil-A (my Atlanta throw back fav), and presented our ministry info to some friends of JimRho (the nickname for Jason's parents (Jim & Rhoda)- we have adopted these abbreviations for everyone in the Engstrom clan- so Jason and I are Ja-Rox, Justin and Annie are Just-An, and Mark and Jorie are JoMark, now there are some haters out there but we do not care and carry on with our names). It was a great weekend- here are some pics!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


How is it that I just finished folding Annikah's laundry and already have a pile of dirty clothes and bibs. It is one of the great mysteries of life... kind of like what happened to Atlantis or how the pyramids were built...or how the heck is Sanjaya still on American Idol? You do not know how or why but it really drives you nuts!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

big bad stroller wielding Mama gang!

Be afraid... well not really. We are pretty friendly but mess with our kids and we will throw our latte on you :)
To celebrate the glorious weather the RPM (Rogers Park Moms and Anni's hommies) decided to meet up to go for walk to the lake on Monday. One of the Moms remarked that we looked like a stroller gang. I thought I would lay down some "rules" if you will for this gang:
1. You must have a baby (preferably one that keeps you guessing at every turn, never allows sleep more than 2 nights in a row, goes from happy and smiling to screaming in horror all within 60 seconds, and is adorable) Ok, so a baby!
2. You must live in the Rogers Park neighborhood complete with its fabulous and shady parts and be willing to trek thru them in a proud band of mamas. You must brave the cracks in the sidewalks, sand in your stroller tires, and mud on your shoes.
3. You must be fully equipped for "war" at any moment: this means at all times carrying your boobs (should not be a problem), a diaper bag filled to the brim with everything needed to meet any challenge such as a massive blow out with ease and grace.
4. You must be willing to openly admit that sometimes you just have no idea what you are doing in this mommy gig but without a doubt you love that lil' chubber and would throw yourself in front of the next CTA bus that drove by to save her/him. We will problem solve and put you into check together!
We tried to come up with an initiation to our gang:You must be able to change a diaper in less than 20 seconds on the street while holding your latte and talking on the cell phone.

So, if you are out and about in Chicago...beware the RPM'ers... we will mess you up unless you stop to remark how exquisitely beautiful our babes are!

first trip to the zoo....

well, mini-zoo anyway(it wants to be a zoo when it grows up). Annikah and I went out to the burbs today to visit Grandma Rohrback and we took advantage of the SUMMER like weather by going to a little petting zoo called Cosley. I have memories taking my little sister there in the summers so it was fun to return with my baby (kind of surreal as well since most days I still feel like a kid). She loved being outside and looking at the animals, well some of them. Here is Anni's review of the farm life she viewed. Cows: pretty cool, they mostly just sat there smelling funky (so Anni could relate). Ducks: they made lots of splashing noises and had these weird tufts of hair on their heads. Rabbits: They were really interesting to watch as they moved around a ton, it was hard to keep up with them. Horse: Grandma held Annikah up right by the horse and quite frankly it freaked her out, after the trauma of that she enjoyed looking at Mr. horse from afar. Goats: They were quite busy, going in and out of the barn and keeping us running back and forth to see them. It was the bureaucratic busy, you know busy but not really accomplishing anything. When we finally got a view the two that were closest to us proceeded to take a dump right by Anni's face. You would think this would affect her feelings about the goats but seemed all right with it. Her favorite animals by far were the little cartoon ones in the board book Grandma brought her (because Grandma can never resist the urge to buy something for Anni) . See pictorial proof that her favorite page was the MONKEY page!!
It was another beautiful day so any where outside was amazing. As I said yesterday: take a Zoloft OR go outside: same effect on your emotional state of being :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

the girl with the rain boot

Today Annikah and I went for walk to the Post Office (an excuse really to WALK outside as it is beautiful- no coat needed, just a sweat shirt thank you). Well, I guess I went for a walk and Anni really rode along in her little Zooper chariot (as Jason likes to say, he wishes he had one and someone to push him around the city, I try to talk to him about this but it is useless, I'll let him have his "chariot" dream but I ain't pushing it..). Anyway, we were headed back to our place for lunch when we went by the Waldorf school about a block away. There were a bunch of kids outside playing so I crossed the street so Anni could watch them make delightful noises as they chased each other around. As we were cruising by I noticed a little girl sitting all by herself on the stump of a log. She had a white hat that was stained with mud from the damp play lot and wavy chestnut hair. When I looked closely I realized she had taken one of her pink and purple rain boots off and was scooping up the wood chips on the ground. My first thought was "ah, how sad, she is by herself and why on earth would she being doing that?" Then I had a moment of panic as I thought "What if Anni becomes that girl- the loner who collects dirty wood chips in her boot?"
We stopped to watch the kids and Annikah started squealing at the kids and then looking at them as if she was annoyed they did not understand her clearly commutative speech and reply. They were too busy in kid world, running back and forth, seemingly going nowhere and having a blast. Then I looked back at the girl with the boot. With her boot stuffed to the top she got up and walked over to a group of kids I had not yet noticed. These kids were attempting to fill the inside of a tire with the wood chips. One boy seemed to be the leader of the group as he hollered out orders to the others. The rest of the kids clumsily grasped at wood chips with their hands. It was sort of like watching a very inefficient assembly line. As fast they grabbed them and stood up to deliver them most of the chips would fall out. Then up marches our girl with the boot! She confidently sauntered over and proceeded to dump her boot into the collective pot. Utter amazement came over the other kids faces as they saw her brilliance at accomplishing the goal. Even the leader of the pack was impressed.
So upon further reflection I decided I hope Anni does become a her own unique version of the girl with the boot- defying convention, not afraid to stand alone, an innovator of sorts!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Urban Cowgirl!

Check out our Urban Cowgirl...she mostly just ropes us in so that we are unable to resist her charms.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

my homies in the hood

On of the lifelines for any Mama (especially an extrovert like me) is a Mom's group. Usually under the guise of "play groups" these groups function to keep babies happy and Mommies sane and I have the best one! Actually two; one that meets at our church First Free and one that meets in Roger's Park. It is kind of random how this second group came into existence....a friend that I met thru my birthing class (the scary one with birthing porno tapes(see 1st blog)) and I met for coffee soon after our babies were born and decided it was great to
1. Have a reason to shower & get out of the house
2. Have a sort of Mama- system of checks and balances (i.e. "does your baby poop like this?, What about those crazy noises? Do you lose track of what day it is...ok forget day..what month it is?") just to make sure you are not the ONLY ONE that has completely lost it
and 3. to adore and gush over our lil' cuties
so the next week we decided to meet again and this time invited friends, other women we knew in our neighborhood that were also in Mama-la-la land. And VOILA! our Moms in the hood group came into being.
This is a picture of Annikah's friends. We (the fab mommies and babies) meet each Friday to decompress, talk, laugh at the antics of the bambinos, and just feel sane. They are in order from oldest to youngest in this picture. Anni is the oldest (and wisest :) of the bunch followed by Elliot (he and Anni share hairstylists, do not mock remember bald is beautiful, his parents were so kind to have me over to dinner when Jason was out of town on business and Elliot proudly sat in his pink Bumbo seat- that takes a very secure man), Gillly (she is an amazing miracle as she was born early, she is so big now compared to that first time we met her at Starbucks and fabulously brilliant), Francie (Anni totally digs her hair and is jealous of the way she rolls, as you can see she is the groper of the bunch :), and Angus (he is hilarious as he screeches and smiles at Anni, we think he has a little crush on her (and who wouldn't? he must like junk in the trunk) We may allow him to court her , although he might be a little wild for Anni as his dad is a rocker. We shall have to see.
Anyway, thought I would share Anni's friends. Not pictured are the awesome women I get to share time with each week.

get out of the house!

If you are reading this and it is still light out STOP IMMEDIATELY and GO OUTSIDE! It is fabulously beautiful! I had forgotten how wonderful the sun was. Annikah, Jason and I spent 2 hours outside today enjoying our neighborhood. I am convinced we saw every parent and baby in the city out as there seemed to be an endless parade of strollers. Can you blame us? We have been stuck inside for too long. I felt like National Geographic should have been capturing the whole emerging from our buildings on film with some British guy narrating (cuz everything sounds better with a British accent).... "watch as we see the stay at home mom and her baby emerge from the desolation of winter." In my opinion the best thing about Chicago winters is that they eventually end. Annikah is a champ and loved our exploration despite the fact that she got 4 shots today. Here is a video of one of our many stops on our tour of Rogers Park.

Friday, March 9, 2007

the watcher

So i think "the Watcher" was the name of some creepy made for TV movie I saw when I was little that really freaked me out. From what I remember it was about this old lady who watched kids from her window all day. They had no idea they were being watched that is until she had to come out to tell them something of monumental importance. Of course I cannot remember what that was; all that stuck with me was the creepy lady watching them. I thought of it today while Annikah insisted that we do one of her favorite activities. That makes it sound too laid back, obsession is what it really is. She LOVES to sit in our front room and watch out the window. She will not do anything else for as long as the window will hold her attention (I think she has my ADD). She intently watches the people running to catch the El, the cars trying to parallel park into too small spaces, the people walking their dogs, and the El cars rumbling by (this is by far her favorite as she can hear it even if we are in another room- her love of public transit brings joy to her papa). She loves watching these daily festivities unfold. Jason and I noticed from when she was just a few months old that she really watches and observes things around her. Her window watching also includes my narration of the events. I tell stories about the people... "Look Anni he has his overpriced latte now he has to hurry to make it to work on time without spilling" "Anni see the pretty lady with her dog? Do you know what kind of dog that is? That is right a Welsh Corgi" "That red van is going fast- that is what car you have to buy when you have 2 kids, it is like a weird rule or right of passage"
She listens with a sort of shock and awe like I am a politician telling the truth. If I try to stop my narration and say slip a book on my lap to read while she continues her gazing she is having none of it. She quickly puts an end to any such thoughts and refocuses my attention on describing the snap shot of the world rushing by outside. As we watch I think about how much is new to her and how many things she learns each day just by watching. I think I would learn more if I took cues from my "watcher" and really try to see people. I pray that as she grows she does more than look but truly sees people for who they are and desires to impact those around her!

This picture sums it up- when I look at it it is kinda sad, she looks like she is in a jailhouse longing for freedom! I tell her I sympathize what with the winter blues but we should see some warmer weather soon or we are taking our window watching elsewhere!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

the death of multi tasking

Like many woman I usually pride myself on my ability to multi- task- just ask my hubby. When he gets home from work some days I tell him of our escapades during the day. It goes something like this.....
Jason "so, what did you and Anni do today?"
Me "Well, we threw in some laundry while cleaning the kitchen, then Anni played while I put away toys and reorganized and sorted her clothes, typed up some lessons for my History Museum meeting, answered emails, went for a walk to Devon market to pick up some groceries while catching up with friends via cell phone, all the while making dinner and standing on my head" (Ok, i made up that last part)
But I usually love getting things done, you know that feeling of crossing things off your list. Today i had a realization, not a new one, just a reoccurring one that I have had from time to time. An important lesson God teaches me again and again (I am a slow learner). It is not what I do that makes me important or successful but rather who I am. I think my desire to achieve can be a good thing but for me sometimes it gets in the way of just taking in the big and small blessings of life and appreciating the grace God gives me each day. That verse "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)came to mind because in the midst of mommy-hood it seems there are infrequent opportunities to be still. It reminded me that while there are things I need to do, there are many things only God can do in my life and I need not try to earn my worth with my business.
Oswald Chambers said "We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save ourselves or sanctify ourselves, God does that; but God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character."
Today, even if just for a few moments I built character in being a mother.
Usually when I put Annikah down for a nap I rock her for a few minutes, promptly put her down and go about my race to get things done while she snoozes. But today I just held her in our rocker and smelled her head. It is the sweetest smell ever. Her little chubby hands gripped my hair and I listened to her little breathing noises. I felt blessed that I am her mama and she doesn't care how much I get done today. We don't have a homemade dinner tonight and email can wait. I savored these moments.

Stacy and Clinton HELP ME!

So I admit I am quasi- addicted to TLC's What Not To Wear. For those who do not watch (or won't admit it :) let me give a brief synopsis: basically 2 fashion gurus take a person who dresses frumpy, ridiculous, or just plain crazy and make them over with the help of a 5,000 dollar budget, hair, and make-up people. What I like about the show is redemptive quality the people exhibit (Ok, maybe that is too deep for a TLC show) but really the people usually look fab after their transformation.
So I bring this up because I need to turn myself in for rehab (perhaps I have been inspired by recent Brittany developments or maybe not). I caught a glimpse of myself in the glass doors at Target today and realized I am one step away from needing professionals. This is my plee for help. Let me break it down: I was wearing pants that are too big (I guess the only blessing in the outfit), galoshes (with the pants tucked in- did I mention I hate winter?), a sweatshirt, a sleep bra, no make-up, and my hair in a messy ponytail (not the messy kind that stars pay hundreds of bucks to make it look messy, just plain, lazy messy). Of course Annikah was dressed in her cute lil velour jumpsuit with her little stylin' shoes. So, I have concluded I am one holiday sweater and pleated mom jeans away from the edge.... help! This is my pledge to reform.
The trip to Target did have 2 highlights though (as any trip to my beloved Target has :)
1. Since the photos I submitted on-line were not ready they gave me a 3 dollar off discount coupon and the whole order was only 4 bucks- Yeah! I get a rush when I get free stuff (hey, don't judge it is better than crack)
2. I bought this funny little flower hat for Anni and she looks too cute! (I love the dollar bins-o-crap, be careful they suck you in.....I hear the voices... "it is only a dollar"...)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Annikah's food review and other random ramblings...

So Annikah started the venture into "solid" foods a few weeks ago. I say "solid" because really there is not much solid about them. They are pretty much mashed or pureed beyond any resemblance of their former appearance. I say this to all those who may not realize that in baby land solid foods means anything besides breast milk or formula. I now know the need for such an explanation after I went to a friends birthday dinner ( a throw back to my former life,- it was amazing no one smelled like spit up even!) and a single guy friend of mine from college asked what the baby was up to these days. As I searched my mind for something he would find interesting (or at least not "Oh, sorry, I forgot I have to be the dentist"...boring)
and so I mentioned solid foods. He then asked what her favorites were and I kid you not he asked "Has she tried a T-bone yet?" After I realized he was serious I had to explain that she has no teeth and big hunks of meat come later (or never unless her daddy makes them, I can barely touch the stuff). Another reminder of the HUGE learning curve of becoming a parent. So, here is Anni's review of her experiences with solid food thus far:

this was her first food besides rice cereal and she was not having it, in fact her face actually seemed to twitch in convulsions as she starred at me in horror as if i was feeding her raw fish (oh, some people pay a lot to eat that-my bad). It was hard to not take this personally as I would eat a shoe I found in the alley if it was covered in guacamole! It is getting better- see the video. We will keep trying...

Bananas: tried them today for the first time and it went over much better than the avocados.
She looked only mildly disgusted at first and seemed to warm up to them. We will continue our foray into fruits.

Sweet Potatoes: on the menu for later this week...stay tuned to find out!

at least the exercise ball is getting some use....

It is really pathetic how we live to make Annikah laugh these days. That little laugh just is the best! I mean we try everything... while most of the time she stares at us like we are nuts and would call DCFS or at least the local media outlet to report us as a couple of crazys if she could dial (and talk). Well, here is an attempt to get her to laugh that worked. One part of the video speeds up so do not worry we were not giving her whiplash! As a bonus this video also includes her fake cough that she does frequently now for attention.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Video Game Maven!

We discovered that Jason's Wii playing needs some serious work after Annikah started laughing at him "bowling" and playing "baseball". She laughs every time he plays. It is too precious. Check it out!

Baby couture

Yesterday we ventured out to have 6 month pictures taken of monkey joy. We wanted to get a picture of her in this fab dress that was custom made just for her! You got it: baby couture! Now, I know you are thinking "Jason and Roxanne are super cheap, how did they swing that one?" Well, here is where I give a shout out to my amazing mommy pal Beck for creating this dress from remnants we found at a local fabric place (as a side note Beck is a total inspiration to me as a Mom. She is the kind of gal pal you can call when you really are close to jumping and she will talk to down. But not in a "poor you" way but a "buck up girl, you can do it" way. She rocks! I first met her thru the Kidstreet ministry at our church and her heart for kids and her talents have no now our hubbies have become Wii partners in crime). She made thsi over the top crazy dress for Annikah's dedication at out church a few weeks ago and we love it so much that we had to get picture before she outgrows it. So here is my favorite shot of the day. Anni quite enjoys the dress, mostly because she attempts to eat the orange tulle on the bottom but hey she looks pretty good for her first (and probably last) couture gown.

random thought while getting ready for church today....

why is it that you can get up at 6am and still be late to something that starts at 9am??

monkey days...why?

so, the story behind why we horrify our parents by calling our little girl a "monkey".....When we brought Annikah home we had every intention of NOT being one of those parents that mumble baby talk constantly and call our baby everything BUT her name. Ah, day two every time we looked at her we would think that she looked like a little monkey (an adorable one) but her little bald head, scrunched up face screamed MONKEY! Se we gave in and began the process. I say process because the name have now evolved (pun intended)! We now float from plain monkey to the more serious "the monk" to the silly "monkey joy." I took this name one step further when, I think out of pure exhaustion (at least that is the excuse we will go with)in the early weeks I was babbling to the baby and made up a story about how Jason and I went to Lincoln Park Zoo and saw Annikah in the trees in the monkey enclosure. We then of course asked if we could take her home because she was so cute and then friendly zoo keepers obliged! So that is the story behind Monkey days. As this picture shows we think she is living up to her name by still making monkey faces now and again.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Anni's love affair with her Papa

So this is my fav picture of Annikah with Jason. It was taken at our church retreat (hence the ugly hotel bedspread, lest someone think we own such a monstrosity). I am so thankful that Anni loves her daddy so much! She lights up when he comes home from work and frankly I am convinced she would rather hang out with him all day if he had boobs!
I was blessed the other day to come home after working out to find Jason and Annikah in our room playing what Jason calls a new "game." He was so excited to show me this little invention. Let me share the "rules" of this game with you: Papa holds Anni up high then proceeds to drop her onto a big throw pillow at which point she rolls over and falls off the pillow landing on her tummy on the bed. She then laughs hysterically. At first I was tempted to rush to catch her thinking there is no way my baby (who acts as though I am stabbing her when I even suggest "tummy time") likes that but to my shock she laughed (just as the rules demand) and squirmed until he did it again. This reminded me why God gave Anni her Papa- to teach her and play with her in ways I would not think to. My hope and prayer is that they continue this lil' love affair and that Annikah always knows she is loved by her mama and papa!

call me a conspiracy theorist

Ok, so I have been known to love a good conspiracy theory....
I think I should be considered for medical evaluation as I think I was actually pregnant in my butt and thighs. No, seriously! The medical community should take this seriously, search me out, put me on that crazy "Medical Mysteries" show, or at least look into my condition as I think my butt and thighs think a baby is still in there. Billy Blanks and I have our daily meetings (I have to be honest here he is way more peppy than I about our rendezvous), I've cut back on eating everything in sight but still a stubborn 10 pounds hovering, laughing, mocking.... I also think my old pants are getting in on this gig and conspiring against me. I tried to neatly put them away so as not to have to look at them until I am emotionally ready but every time I look for a purse I forgot about, pair of shoes I have neglected... there they are.....starring at me...reminding me.....Oh well, I think I'll go eat some chips and salsa to forget all about this!

so, when did Anni become "Monster Baby" big?

So I was talking with my hubby about how our baby girl has actually become one of those "monster babies." We coined this term soon after taking her home from the hospital and seeing other babies when we were out. We were appalled that these BIG babies existed, that they were not off to college or at the very least paying rent. They seemed so big compared to our little girl. But alas, after visiting a new mom from church and her little son I have come to realize that my Annikah is indeed one of those "monsters" I remember thinking they were so big. The weird thing about being a stay at home mom is that time creeps by so slowly sometimes during the day but at the same time seems to have past us by so quickly. We barely remember this little girl in the picture at 6 days old. The adorable 6month old "monster baby" is too lovable- don't you agree? First seen here sitting up, next it will be wanting to borrow the car or stay out late! AHH!

Friday, March 2, 2007

from fairly capable to incompetent mess! my story as a mom

So, I actually am "blogging", I think anyway. My hubby Jason will be so proud when he realizes I created this all by myself. Wow, my first post and I am already making myself look rather incompetent but I suppose that is what I have been feeling these days. Mostly since I became a new Mom. Let me start by saying that prior to becoming a milk producing, diaper changing, would rather sleep than party gal I actually considered myself somewhat able to accomplish what I set my mind to. I was a teacher (something I still miss desperately some days), a ministry leader, and heck I even ran the marathon! But all that changed when Annikah Joy came into my life.
No doubt she is the biggest blessing to me but since she showed up I feel like life is crazy most days. I now FINALLY understand why all of my "mommy" friends were so unreliable and I am proof that God has a sense of humor. So many times I thought to myself "I will still be able to handle everything" or "how can one little baby change so much" HA! OK, God, I get it. I repent of my caviler attitude about how much a baby changes your life. I actually thought you could "be prepared" for a baby. Now don't get me wrong I still believe in the value of reading some books, talking to other moms, and maybe even taking a birthing class. (Although, as an aside, after my husband and I attended our first birthing class together and saw some video that boarded on birthing porn i distinctly remember saying thru tears "I am not having this baby" to which my hubby so smartly and keenly responded as he looked down at my 8 month prego belly "Yep, honey, I think you are"). Anyway, I do see the value in all these things but none of them adequately prepared me for this journey. I guess that is how it should be though. The best and most difficult things in life should take our breath away and force us to dig and find out what we are made of. So, I guess that is what this blog will be about. The search for me in the midst of mommy.