Monday, April 30, 2007

Busy girl!













This was a jammed packed weekend. Annikah kept very busy: She went for a walk(gorgeous day but only in Chicago could you need a winter hat and mittens on Friday and air conditioning on Saturday), studied a bit (wearing Papa's glasses), grabbed lunch (at Chili's), caught a concert (Jason unplugged), and hung out with friends(Avery who will soon be moving to Indiana :(). We have a rough time keeping up with her busy schedule but we managed!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Annikah loves eating!

Annikah's ear can't get her down especially when food is around. She loves to eat- just like Mama!

Papa does drugs


Yuck! Poor Annikah still has her ear infection- it is apparently a nasty one as the amoxicillin did not even put a dent in it. We went back to the Dr. yesterday because Anni still seemed to be upset and feeling yucky. So now Anni has some new (and expensive) medication that we hope will kick this thing! Today Annikah seems to be feeling much better. She took a good morning nap and has been rolling over like crazy and playing. Yeah!
I had to post this picture of Jason- yep that is right he decided to drink the amoxicillin that Annikah had left over. His reasoning: "I have fond memories of that pink stuff and I want to remember the taste." Now that is taking the reminiscing thing too far!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

life's a beach that is in constant motion




Today was a big day! We had our commissioning service this morning at church which makes us actually going to Africa seem so indubitable. Although we still have much support raising to go it feels scary as well exciting to be taking these steps as a family. As we were sharing I looked out at so many close friends and was brought to tears at how grateful I am for the awesome relationships we have built since coming to Chicago. It is truly a blessing to be able to share our lives with so many authentic people.
I guess I was vulnerable because of feeling a little nostalgic lately. It all started after I decided to get rid of some stuff we had not used in a great while that was taking up precious room in our condo. We had a camera that worked great but uses 35mm film- that is right! It is from the dark ages when we had to take a whole roll before getting it developed, make sure we packed "extra film" on a trip, no instant gratification digital. I offered the camera on freecycle but realized it still had a roll of film inside that had not been developed. Jason and I searched our minds for what these pictures could be and came up with nothing. What were they? We could not remember the last time we used that camera. This mystery was too intriguing so we rushed off the Target to drop off our film and waited. We picked the film up yesterday and it was taken before we were married, 6 years ago! We looked so young (mere children, how did they give us a marriage license:)! This then prompted us to look through old photo albums. Needless to say our front room is now covered in albums, old photo envelopes, and faded ticket stubs. It is so strange to be looking at a pictorial history of your former self. We do not feel older and yet in certain ways our college days seem so distant. We long for days of less responsibility but at the same time would never trade our lives now. Having a baby somehow puts us on the other side of an imaginary, arbitrary, but seemingly real line that at least in my mind we were walking or straddling prior to Annikah. Now our life seems a world apart from the girl who slept on the Quad in freezing weather and the guy who backpacked around Europe by himself. Those people are still embedded in us and have helped to usher in the now. Another thought as I gave the camera away struck me: Annikah will probably never know how to load a camera, wind film, or what it feels like when you accidentally expose your pictures and those memories are lost to you. She will never have to wait the 2 days to pick up her film. In these days of instant results she will miss out on that anticipation but instead trade it for convenience and ease. That makes me feel old like when our parents reminisced about records and 8 tracks and we rolled our eyes as if they were remnants of some ancient civilization sent to earth to constantly embarrass us. Funny how the world is cosmically shifting!
I also got a call today from my "little" sister (who is graduating from high school in a month but who I still see as a 10 year old girl following me and my friends around). She was crying but thankfully they were tears of joy as she made the Illinette squad at my Alma Mater University of Illinois! Her hard work and dedication to dance has paid huge dividends. How exciting! She will just start the photo books of her college days this fall.
The end of our day was busy too. Jorie, Mark, Joel, and Silas also came down to visit and we went to the beach at the end of our street (did I mention I love living here?)! It was a fabulous time of hanging out while chasing kids and baby wrangling. We reminisced with Jorie and Mark about "the old days" while Joel staked blocks, Silas rubbed rice in his hair, and Annikah spit peas.
I am blessed both to have the experiences, hardships, struggles, immense joys, and opportunities that have brought me to now and I anticipate the unique and special days that lie ahead.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

dinner conversation while spitting peas

One thing I miss about life before Annikah is us being able to sit down and have enlightening dinner conversation. We don't too much of that these days but at least if we cannot have enlightened we get rousing conversation!
Tonight Annikah had a lot of opinions at dinner. Here are a few of them.

worst camera woman ever!

As this clip illustrates I just may be the worst camera woman trying to capture the most unstable subject.
NOTE: No bambinos were harmed in the making of this film



Friday, April 20, 2007

sicky sickerson update

Thanks to everyone for your concern about Annikah. She was doing much better yesterday and it seemed as we were over the worst part but today has been pretty rough so far. I think her ear is really hurting because she will scream for what seems like no reason. She did not sleep at all this morning and in general seems pretty miserable. Poor little girl. I do have to say she is an over achiever when it comes to being sick. Instead of just having croup and an ear infection she also got a diaper rash that quickly became so bad her little butt was bleeding. All at once! Thanks to fab Mommy friend Andrea who suggested a "magic" butt paste sold at Merz Apothecary in Lincoln Square her bootay is healing. I ventured out over there yesterday and made my way to the counter to ask if the salesperson knew if they had this magical diaper rash cream. Before I got 3 words out he ushered me over to the product explaining that it was a German cream that was their number one seller. Crazy! I see why as it has already helped so much (experienced Mommy friends rule!). She is sleeping now so hopefully the rest will help her to feel better. Luckily, it is so nice today so I think we will spend a lot of time outside this afternoon. Today will just be one of those days that not much will "get done" except for holding Anni and hoping she feels better soon. The saddest part is when she looks up at me with her teary eyes as if to say "Mama, help me." I am sure this is just one of many times in her life that I will not be able to fix it but at least we can tough it out together.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bald is beautiful!!























Annikah (as you may have noticed) is pretty much a baldie! I think she is envious of other people's hair because every time she gets a chance she tries to rip it out (cats, other babies, unsuspecting ladies in front of us at Target). I sat her down and had a chat with her about how being bald is beautiful and has huge advantages. For example, you save a lot on "product" and you can wear adorable and ridiculous hats. We submit these photos as proof that Annikah has spent her 7 1/2 months on earth making bald look good!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

poor anni monkey

My poor little baby is sick. She had a cough that has gotten worse over the last 2 days so yesterday I took her in to the pediatrician. Turns out she has croup (which I had no idea what that meant but is apparently a collection of symptoms that stink) and an ear infection. Her cough sounds like a dog barking and is so sad! She wants so much to be happy. Case in point: she was crying this morning after coughing but then caught a glimpse of the cat walking thru the kitchen and stopped mid-cry to clap her little hands. Precious.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

sons and daughters

I really do not have the words to express anything remotely meaningful about yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech. I do know that I prayed for the families today and for any kids out there that feel so isolated and unloved that they would resort to such drastic and extreme violence. What struck me in a powerful way is that all the kids who died are someones son or daughter. This has new meaning to me now. I pray that those that are profoundly effected will find some peace amidst their grief.

losses, gains, and self-reflection...

Yesterday a friend said to me"You've been a mom for a while, I need advice." What? I have? I still feel so new to this but then upon reflection decided that I have been at this for a while. I have learned so much over the last 7 1/2 months (with much to come). The learning curve after having a baby is huge, whether you are a quick learner or a slow study (like me). I have been journaling and processes this Mommy gig and decided to think about what I lost in becoming a Mom and what I have gained. I also have learned so much about myself. These lists, no doubt, will grow and change as I do but here is a start:

losses...
the ability to decide last minute to go to a movie or out to dinner
the way I usually travel, walking all day and staying up super late
working out whenever was convenient for me
deciding what to do today
calling in sick for work
seeing the kids I work with grow and change daily
sleeping in
peeing without an audience
wearing cute bras and fitting into my skinny jeans
being able to be irresponsible
not feeling guilty taking time for me


gains....
being the favorite person in the world for another little person
knowing you are needed
being privileged to watch Anni discover the world
sharing life with so many great Mommy friends
watching Jason as a Papa with Annikah and realizing it makes me love him more
being utterly entertained by a baby laughing
being more acutely awakened of the plight of mothers and kids in other parts of the world
getting to explore my neighborhood more and meet people
no more grade books or report card days
not being able to compartmentalize my life neatly but being stretched to really live what I believe
a challenge to rise to
slowing down my pace in life to take time for little thrills like watching Annikah learn how to clap


What I discovered about myself.....
I can no longer can hear about stories involving pregnant women and/or babies without a deep feeling of pain or joy
I can get excited about peeing and pooping (hers not mine :)
That being a mom ties you to so many other moms in meaningful ways
That i desperately crave time to myself but then spend much of that time missing Annikah
I appreciate my own Mom so much more
How long some days are and how others fly by
How impatient and short tempered I can be
How much I need to rely on God for strength and wisdom
How to set boundaries for my family
I actually can love a little person so much it hurts
How much more I appreciate God adopting me as His child
Little thrills in life are amazing

Saturday, April 14, 2007

more fun free stuff!


Today after driving to 2 post offices to try to apply for Annikah's passport and being denied we decided we needed a fun distraction from the wasted time and brain cells (spent "discussing" with government employees). We needed a fun experience after dealing with the post office bureaucracy. We of course set out on our voyage full of hope and excitement (ok, not really but it does make it more dramatic). I can hear you now, "why on earth would they go on a Saturday?" Well, both parents have to be present I guess so the baby daddy does not run off with the baby to Honduras or something. We called first and both places said they would be open and able to help us. Ha! They must love to laugh at the silly people who actually believe they can accomplish anything. Once we arrived we were told the Rogers Park Post Office does not do passports on Saturday and to try another branch. We returned home to call the other branches and specifically asked "Are you sure we can apply for her passport today?" To which they replied yes, anytime before 3pm. After Annikah's nap we headed over only to wait in line and then be told "sorry, we only do passports before 2pm." I think they just make up the rules as they go along to see our reaction and utter inability to do anything about it. But whatever we at least got to go swimming at Welles Park. It was free open family swim and we met some fabulous other families with babies. Annikah LOVED splashing around and sported her new bikini.

Saturday morning in my PJ's




Annikah is now in 12 month clothes- crazy! She has so many cute summer outfits that are just sitting in her drawer so sad and lonely. I am just hoping the weather cooperates so Anni can be stylin' soon. Snow in April is a cruel joke!! This is a picture of Annikah taken this morning when we were all just hanging out as a family. Annikah is always happiest when the 3 of us are together. I swear Jason thinks I tell stories because for the most part she is always happy when we are all together (she saves all the fun stuff for me during the week). The best part about Saturdays is just chillin' in your PJ's- although we all have pudgy bellies hers in the only super cute one :)

alderman race in rogers park


Our ward is having a run off election for alderman. Everyday we get phone calls asking us who we are voting for, knocks at the door trying to convince us to vote for Moore or Gordon, and multiple full color glossy mailings (that one only wonders the cost involved).

Looks like Annikah made her decision about who to vote for: Gordon for the 49th ward!
UPDATE: We are definitely voting for Gordon because today a Joe Moore roadie rang our buzzer super loud and woke Annikah up from her blissful nap! He lost my vote!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

comparisons can be good

Yesterday we had a rough start to our day. Annikah woke up at 5am and would not go back to sleep so after 2 hours of screaming I was losing my mind. I actually felt angry at her. An emotion that I hate to admit I feel towards her sometimes. I know rationally that she is not screaming to irritate me and keep me from any restful sleep but in the moment it is hard to convince myself of this. I do not have the reputation for being the most rational person around and I swear that sometimes she calls up her little baby friends and they decide to all go in together on making their mamas nuts. I thought about the passage of scripture that says "do everything without complaining or arguing" and was convicted that too often I am quick to complain and slow to be patient. I am thankful for God's grace at times like this. I asked Annikah to forgive me for my impatience with her and even though she may not understand my words she looked up and smiled at me. After nursing her for an hour we both fell asleep in bed. When she got up we ate breakfast and started our day. As she was jumping in the bouncer and I was admittedly still feeling a little sorry for myself that I got no sleep and today would probably be hard for both of us I flipped on Oprah (a great mindless only one eye needed morning activity).
Turning on Oprah was the best thing I did that morning. The first guest was a couple that had sextuplets! That is right- a LITTER of kids. Just for an added challenge they also had an older son. They are the only surviving African American sextuplets in the world. I listened as the mother was very candid that having these 6 babies was a blessing but also made her question her sanity. She even breastfed all of them explaining that she was pumping over 50 bottles a day. Would there be time to even eat or shower? I might have given a few of them away on freecycle :)
They are precious 4 year olds now and so full of life. The show included a brief clip of their everyday life including a trip to the store. Can you imagine? Getting 7 kids in an SUV so big it might as well have been a bus and making sure they were all buckled in and no one is killing anyone else. I thought of my many days taking kids on field trips and thought it must be similar with one gigantic difference: her kids NEVER get picked up and go home! I feel overwhelmed just going grocery shopping with one baby. I know God gives you as much as you can handle. I am glad he knows me well. I looked over at Annikah happily jumping in her Jumperoo and decided that I was done feeling sorry for my minor inconvenience that morning.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Sunday.






Today we spent Easter at my parents' house in the burbs.
It was a fun time spent going to their church, eating way too much (as you can see anni enjoyed this part too!), playing Scene It, and mostly just watching Annikah be cute. She was gone all day and did great! No meltdowns and was happy to see everyone. Usually at my parents house she spends a lot of time fussing because of the chaos of a house filled with loud people and dogs but today she was a new woman. The crazy dog even sniffed her head and she just chilled on the floor and observed.
It is amazing to me how she is really becoming a little person. Jason and discussed this metamorphosis on the can ride home. Annikah has always been amazing but she is really starting to figure out who she is in this big world. She has preferences (some strong and she will let you know), favorite games, moody times of day, etc. They are all uniquely Annikah. She has such a personality now and it is so fun to watch her adventures in becoming Anni! I feel blessed this Resurrection Sunday to celebrate that Jesus does what He says He will do and can be trusted with our whole lives including my precious Annikah Joy!

Friday, April 6, 2007

hot chica!


Looks like Annikah is yet again taking after me....look at what she grabbed off the counter while I was getting her lunch ready. Apparently she thought her food was a little bland and maybe it would compliment her lunch of mashed banana, mango, green beans, and cottage cheese. I know if I had to eat that stuff I would be reaching for it!

monkey: the most dangerous known predator of the house cat

Annikah noticed Bonita (our cat) when she was around 2 months old. Before that she couldn't care less about her (really she did not care about much except boobs and being held). Once she realised this fast moving, soft and furry, noise making animal lived in her house she has been terrorising the poor creature. We captured a small portion of this on tape. Lest you think we are cruel to allow the cat to be subjected to Annikah notice that she can easily run away to any baby free areas of the house. But instead she stays and takes the abuse like a champ. The cat and Anni are actually buds. We cannot keep the cat out of the baby's room. In fact, the other day Annikah awoke early from a nap and when I rushed in to see why she was upset I found the cat sitting on the floor next to the blaring CD player, figure that one out?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Happy Easter!




Anni's Great grandma sent her this little bunny in the mail- I think she likes it. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hallelujah we have sleep!

Sleep training has been rough but I am elated to announce that Annikah has now slept thru the entire night twice! I was fearful of sharing this news with you when it was only once as Jason and I were sure it was some freak accident that would never happen again. But she has two nights of sleeping 7pm until 7am under her belt (or diaper)! I admit I was starting to doubt that the sleep training or "training torture"(for both her and us) would ever help. In my desperate moments at night I really thought I would still be getting up with her around the same time she goes to Kindergarten and gets her drivers license but praise God I was wrong. She is so much happier during the day (and so is her Mama)! Jason prayed the other day for us and asked God to help us have wisdom and for Annikah that she would be able to sleep peacefully. It seems like such a small thing but God answered and we are grateful. Now, I know there will be setbacks but for now at least we are rejoicing in our happy sleeping monkey!

Monday, April 2, 2007

unfit


I am confessing that I seriously worry about my ability to care for Annikah when; as the photo is evidence, I killed a cactus. I have heard that cactuses (or cacti?) are pretty hard to kill so I suppose I am actually a rare phenom in my ability to totally whack the thing. Here is where I could blame Annikah's arrival on my utter neglect of the plant but that would be a lie. It was on its way out way before Anni crashed in here. It is only now that it makes me sort of sad. It is not like I just ignored it. Whenever I remembered (which was not often) I watered it but because it had been too long I probably over watered it feeling guilty that it had been left for so long. So in my attempts to keep it alive I actually killed it. It was counting on me and I failed. This may not be far off from parenting. I can see how you feel bad for your inadequacies and so you over compensate in other ways that actually may not be good for your child. You feel bad for not being able to do whatever you deem valuable whether it be time, energy, stuff, etc for your kids and so you "over water them" in other areas. I am sure the result on the child's soul is similar to my cactus. We all see the results of this everyday in kids that are allowed to do whatever they want. Now that I am a mom I see why and I have more understanding and less judgement.
I did indeed fail my cactus. Thank God not all my failures have this consequence. I have already failed Annikah many times but she is still smiling at me and awaiting our new adventures. We are on a daily journey together and she is stuck with me. I just am thankful I can ask for forgiveness and that I have an amazing partner to raise Annikah with. Kids are resilient and for me anyway I hope more so then this cactus. Luckily, so far I have a better track record with our cat and Annikah than with my cactus (RIP).