Tuesday, January 31, 2006

4 generations of Baggett men

We had a nice little trip to Granite Shoals, TX to see great-grandpa Baggett then on to Austin to take grandpa Ray to his plane to head back home. Ivan was a bit sick and grouchy and so was great-grandpa Baggett, but I think that is his usual self. I've never had much relationship with my grandparents. Grandpa MacLeod (my dad's dad) lived with us about 15 years or so, but he had alzheimers. Dad said he was always kind of gruff and distant, the alzheimers didn't help any. Great-grandpa Baggett isn't very friendly either and can be downright mean to his son and grandson, but he seemed to warm up to Ivan. Kids just do that! As much as we love Mr. Griffin, he doesn't have good relationships with his kids either, but he thinks Ivan is the highlight of everyone's day.

We did get this 4 generations picture and got to look at old pictures. We saw a picture with Ivan's great-great-great grandmother and her baby (Brian's great-grandmother). That was amazing. It's so captivating to see how the lineage was passed down and even the short visit helped me learn more about Brian and his family (for better or for worse, right? ;).

Saturday, January 28, 2006

love to cuddle???

I wanted a cuddly baby and I got one! There is nothing to me in the world that compares to Ivan's hugs. He gives them readilly and often with great affection. I love the way his little soft body wraps around me and warms me from the outside in. He will often stop in the middle of playing and come to give me a hug, or one to the dog or cat. Words can not describe this gift from him. However, I have come to realize that I do not love cuddling near as much as I thought. The hugs and cuddle sessions are great, the all-night cling on are not so great!

Ivan is having a rough week. He got some vaccinations that I think he may be reacting to, plus he has a cold. Last night he didn't sleep, neither did I. OK, he had a nap from 9:30 to midnight and from then 'till 5am, we walked, bounced and were absolutely miserable. He was miserable in my arms and even worse when I didn't hold him. We both knew he was exhausted and he was truly trying to get comfortable and sleep, but it was like a kazillion caffeine stimulators were coursing through his little body. I even resorted to walking about 10 laps around our backyard, with him in a baby sling and both of us in our pyjamas. Everytime he dozed off and I tried to put him down, he woke screaming and desperate. So, we cuddled all night. We also cuddled Tues. and Wed. night.

I love him and as I said I love to cuddle, but so far over the last few days, my most heavenly moments were Thurs. night and my nap today, all by myself, in a cushy bed, with Ivan all by himself, asleep in his own bed.

I would not have it any other way. But I was surprised, knowing how much I love to cuddle, that after many days with a 23 pound appendage, the bed could feel so much better WITHOUT him! Along with wonderful hugs and cuddles, Ivan loves kisses.

Ivan's nightly rituals include bath time and night-night kisses. He says "mmmmmmmmmm" and puckers but doesn't do the lip smack, just touches his lips to a cheek.

I loved hearing all the responses from my last question, so here's the next one. This one lends from the ideas of Gary Smalley, who wrote about 5 love languages. His theory is that everyone feels love by one primary "language". Think back over the years and tell me which of these made you feel the most loved...
-physical touch (hugs, massage, human contact...)
-receiving gifts
-words of affirmation (verbally or in notes)
-quality time with someone
-acts of service (someone doing something for you)
One useful lesson from these is that we usually assume others respond to the same aspect that we favor. Therefore if I feel loved when I get gifts, I'll tend to give others gifts to show them I love them (even if this doesn't affect them like it does me). So the trick is to find out which way our friends and family perceive love and try to communicate love to them in their favored way.

Find out my favored love language in comments and leave yours there too, then "accidentally" leave the screen up with your comment where your mate can read your answer! ha, ha ;)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sharing our lives, mine and yours!

We made a friend from the blogging realm, Deana, who has a fabulous blog about her life and a second blog with one of the most inspiring stories you'll ever read about her son's miraculous exhistence (from her site, click on Max's story). Anyways, she often has questions on her blog. She asks, then answers in the comments and invites her many readers to answer in comments also. It is a great way to share our lives and get to know each other while we're at it. So, I thought I would do the same from time to time.

What in nature mezmerizes you? Excites you? Gives you peace?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blossoming Belly, at 4 months

We sent pics of my growing belly during Ivan's pregnancy and to be equal (yes Jen and Kim) we are doing it all again with #2. You can also expect another surprise name, since we won't tell until the birth, but next month we should know if the upcomer is a she or he.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chewy nuggets, vol.2

I read a quote on a newsletter I subscribe to. I forget who the author was and I'm sure I'm saying it all different, but if I can remember and follow the advice, I will become a much better person. This is something I am SUPREEMELY bad at and have only come to understand in the last few years. The advice was this...

Listen to understand, don't listen to answer.

Pierce me in the heart and reconfigure my entire being! I hate how hard it is to change myself and also how I always think others should change easily. This is a biggie for me. I want to listen to understand and to know and to love and to empathize, not a small task. I think this got harder in a way when I became a mom, because you have to find answers and teach and direct. But I don't want to be bossy or a dictartorship either. I want to actually hear my children, husband, friends... I think this will teach Ivan even more than if I always have an answer.

On another note, I did UNDERSTAND Ivan's body language when he had his first encounter with a bird (our neighbor brought it over). At first he thought it was great. He would pat it (a little too roughly) and it would run away. He looked at it and watched it climb up my shoulder. Then when my neighbor had it, it flew down to me and caught me off guard, making me squeal. I was surprised, but Ivan was terrified. It was like one of those America's funniest videos clips where the kid goes hysterical. I put my hand on him to calm him and he must have thought the bird had landed on him, because he flipped out and screamed and cried and wanted to crawl into my lap. I had never seen sheer terror on his face before like that, (well, unless you count the time he crunched down on a jalapeno- our mistake). That time, he made gestures for us to remove his innerds, tried to crawl out of the high chair and hurl himself into my lap, like I can fix everything! I guess Ivan already had his first lessons that just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I know everything!

Monday, January 23, 2006

First sentence

No one was even close, but how could we guess? I'm making official Ivan's first sentence. I hesitated since I wasn't totally sure, but grandpa Ray heard it too, so I have a witness. We have new house phones and Ivan was trying to reach the handset on the desk. When he managed to snag it, he said very clearly "all right!" He hasn't said it again and most the time all we hear is babble, but then all of a sudden, clear as day, rings out something understandable and it makes you wonder if he can really talk more and is just leading us along.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Training ground

You can tell that both Myka and Ivan are only children, so far. They both have areas of their personalities that cause conflict when they are together. Don't get me wrong, they love playing together and imitating each other. Myka squeels, Ivan squeels. Ivan flaps his arms, Myka flaps hers. Very cute really. Not so cute are the other times... Myka is sensitive. She doesn't like Ivan to look at her wrong (like, "I want to take your milk now") or take her things or pull at her. Ivan can be a bully. He wants whatever she picks up (including her sippy cup) and sometimes he hurts her feelings or pulls at her or pats her on the head (I wouldn't like that either).
This is not a good combination if you want peaceful relations, but it is good training ground. Myka is learning that she doesn't have to cry over little things. I can look at her and tell her it's not something to cry about and I can see her gathering up her inner resolve to get over it. Then I distract her and boom, her smiling face bursts into the scene. Ivan is also learning to share and have compassion. He grabbed her sleeve the other day, which made her cry, and as I was comforting her, he came over and gave her a hug too. We've added, "I'm sorry" to our vocabulary to learn.

I can see that they are learning critical skills for the day when they will both be older siblings and for the days of school and other social situations. I'm learning and beeing stretched too. Some behaviors annoy me more than others and this is showing me my personality and value systems that often need rearranging. I'm learning to try to be fair and nurturing to the tune of each of their idiosyncracies. It's not always easy. Ivan only listens to sterness, but this upsets Myka who easily and readily stops if I calmly tell her "no". I've learnt to try to give her her milk when Ivan is not in the room. Of course the biggest lesson is that no one is perfect, that I have as much to learn and improve on as they do and that children are making me a better person, more aware, more attentive and more understanding (well, on my good days anyways!)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

His first tea party

Ivan wants to drink whatever mommy is drinking. The other night it was tea. I told him it was too hot and he couldn't have any, but he insisted, so I squeezed the bag out into his own little cup and added cold water. He loved it. Then I drank mine in peace.

I had left my empty cup on a side table and was reading when Ivan crawled up to sit with me, snuggle and improvise his first tea party. He kept taking the cup, acting like he was drinking, say "mmmmmmmmmm" then set the cup back down and chatter for a while. Then he'd repeat the whole scenario over and over. It was hillarious!

On another note, it is extreemely dry here. We haven't had measurable rain since Oct.9th. I told Jaime, our 7 year old neighbor it could rain tomorow (50% chance, which is a really good chance for us). She was so excited she did a dance and sang a song, something like "it's raining, it's raining!". Then she made up a skit using a play phone. She was acting like it was raining and had to call 911 to tell everyone we had rain. You would have thought I'd told her Santa was coming the next day! That's how dry it is.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Chewy nuggets, vol.1

There is an uncanny ability that develops when you become a parent. You start to use internal ears. I know this is often the spirit of the Lover whispering to me. "You should go check on him, he's real quiet" or "what if he were to get into..." and sure enough, when I listen, 99.9% of the time the voice was right. Last night, it was very eerie as I thought about what has become a "natural" thing. I was thinking in the night that Ivan was crying, but when I came awake and listened with my physical ears, I couldn't hear anything... still, internally, I could hear his cry. I just knew he was crying. After waiting a while, his cries got loud enough for my auditory sensors to pick up and then I could actually hear him with my ears. This happened repeatedly through the night (he's teething again) and I kept thinking, is that really crying, my ears don't hear anything, but inside, I hear it!

We hear important messages all the time. I'm sure you've heard the myriad of stories always surrounding tragedies, like the man who didn't want to get on one of the 9/11 planes that eventually crashed. Other messages are more subtle, but just as profound. I've encountered some personal messages to me that have challenged me deep in my core, so I thought I'd share them as they come.

The first is from the character Yoda, in Star Wars III, Revenge of the Sith. Anakin has this deep inner struggle, wanting to do what is right and not wanting to lose the love of his life. He goes to Yoda for advice. Yoda explains that "the fear of loss is a path to the dark side" (only he says it something like, a path to the dark side, fear of loss it is). "Then what do I do?" Anakin laments. "Learn to discipline yourself to let go of that which you fear losing". This is so profound, so deep and so critical. As a parent, the first thing that hit us was, "what if something happened to him?" Every car looked like a bullet and I feared his sleeping, wanting to hear every breath. But fear is a noose around your neck that will strangle out life.

There is balance, I must fight for my loved ones knowing my rights as a friend of the Lover, but also knowing that Ivan is not mine. Time is not mine. I do not own our destiny. I must accept and let go and even rejoice in the tragedies, knowing that this is not the end of the story. There is a greater story being played out, one of love, giving, surrender, ultimate sacrifices and final victories. While my chapter is vitally important, especially to me, it is but a small chip in the big scheme of things. When fear tries to creep in, I can reverse it, be free of it and throw it away by letting go, saying, "not what I want, or what I think should happen, but what is according to the way of the Spirit" I know this will be a lifelong endeavor, one of those dreaded PROCESS things. (I hate process, unless it's a fun adventure and not the dying to self stuff). I like instant results and satisfaction, but process is often the truly important part.

The ultimate Jedi would give up his home, his loves, his comforts, his desires and his life willingly for others, sacrificially for the good. Thank you Lover, a friend before I ever knew, may I walk in your path and may the Force be strong in me!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

a game!!!

Remember the game, "One of these things is not like the other" from Sesame street? Well, you have to pick out the one item that is different from the rest. Ivan received a wonderful gift from Lela who now lives in China. She also lived in South Korea and brought Ivan this bilingual Korean/English children's book. It is beautiful and Ivan loves it, and so do us parents for all the laughs it generates. I wish you could have seen the look of our 8 year old neighbor when I asked her which snack food was not like the others! I thought she'd jump out of her chair and run away! Enjoy!

Ice cream.................................................................Cake


Biscuit............................................................... Candy

Hamburger..........................................................Hot dog

Indian corn.............................................Sea weed roll rice

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

a community effort

The day after Brian turned 35, he decided to mobilize the entire neighborhood into a yard clean-up for Mr. Griffin. Well... actually, he's been meaning to work on it for quite some time and he just now got to it, but it did become an impromptu neighborhood affair.

The main participants were of course Brian and his dad, but they borrowed tools from 4 homes including ours, the Jennings, the Merediths and Mr Griffin. Big Buddy Griffin had the coolest and most useful tools along with the super high extention ladder from the Merediths.

Jaime and Christian saw the effort and joined in. One of the teenagers came by to try to fix his limb cutter that was malfunctioning.

Of course, Ivan was in the middle of it all, rolling in the dirt and leaves, waving long sticks and wanting to be like the big boys. He thought it was all great fun, stayed in the action through nap time and crashed once we got home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Heard the little one swimming

We had doctor visit #2 today. It went very well. She gave me her philosophy of episiotomes which reassured me (her two rules were only if the baby wasn't coming out or if time was critical due to baby's heartbeat) and said that mine had healed up perfectly and the previous doc. had sewed it up excellently. (I know you didn't want to hear all that. My mom probably did though).

We got to hear the heartbeat, barely. Apparently this one thinks he/she is in an olympic training pool and was doing a few laps, so mostly the machine picked up wild wooshing sounds. Then all of a sudden, some thump, thump, thump, that brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. It is just so INCREDIBLE! I don't think I could ever tire of it, even if we had 10 kids, and no, we won't be having 10 kids!!!

We may find out if the little one's a he or she next month when we get a sonogram (the 20th), plus we have a regular visit the 14th. We really liked the doctor this time, so that was good. Part of me was still wondering if we should change doctors now before we were too far into it, but I think we like her now.

In the meantime, grandad Ray was at home with Ivan (bless you grandad). The 1st visit with the doctor took all day as she had a delivery. We were sequestered off into little waiting rooms with NO TOYS (apart from what the diaper bag held), through a nap time and snack. It was aweful. SO, since Grandpa Ray was here and just LOVES to play with Ivan, he agreed to watch him while we took off. Of course they had fun... Grandpa chassed Ivan (which he loves) and pushed him in a box and gave him a snack, he even dried Ivan's shirt in the dryer since it was coated in droll!

Here grandpa Ray shares his life wisdom with a fascinated Ivan.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The birthday bash

Here are some scenes from Brian's birthday bash. I asked Brian what kind of cake he wanted and listed what I thought were some of his favorites and some others, to my surprise, he requested German Chocolate, the one I thought he'd want the least. Of course, I've never made it, but three cheers to the internet, I took the first recipe I found and it came out really well. I didn't want to put 35 candles on the cake, so I "wrote" 35 with the candles.

Once he blew them out, I thought we'd need to evacuate the premises due to the smoke. "Big Buddy" must not have a functioning smoke alarm, 'cause nothing went off. Can you see all the smoke???

Also seen here is Brian's dad who came all the way from NY for his birthday!! OK, so his birthday happened to coincide with the fact that he found a great deal for flights here and back and that he is newly retired, so he can make the trip.

Along with the cake, "Big Buddy" fried fish-- it was yummy good ;)

We got to play dominoes after, which was fun for all. Ivan is half naked because he decided to pour his water out from his cup onto his chest. His hooded jacket was also wet somehow, so he happily scampered around displaying his impressive torso!

Back at home, we watched Brian's present! His new favorite movie is Napoleon Dynamite. It's weird, but funny (in a weird way).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Brian!

You are a man of integrity and of realness.

You are devoted and make Ivan's days bloom with joy and discovery.

You are a good friend and companion.

I have seen more and more through the years why you are who I was meant to live and share life with.

You are a trooper, stretching, learning and growing through the years to become all that you can be.

You cherish and value your family in word and in actions.

We love you, happy 35th birthday!!! from Angela, Ivan and the baby in the womb!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Ivan funnies vol.9

Ivan loving on Smaky. I'm not sure she really appreciates his affection.

Our little Yoda.

Our little Jedi equipped with his lightsaber of choice, the dustpan. Beware all intruders and especially all dust bunnies!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tidbits from Texas

A little of almost anything with absolutely no correlations...

WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP, what is a "dell", as in "Farmer in the dell" or whey, as in "eating her curds and whey" (I figured "curds and whey" out watching cable and was excited this lifetime mystery was solved, but I realized tonight that I don't know what a dell is, although I could guess.)

I was amazed to see that Ivan remembers things. We went for our second walk down the block and back (it's a very long block) and when we got to a certain spot between two houses, he pulled away from me, stopped, pointed and kept saying "da" over and over. I then realized this was where a dog barked at us last time, only it wasn't there again. I was explaining to him that the dog was maybe inside, but Ivan kept insisting and tried to run up the lawn to the fence. Our commotion finally brought the dog to where we were (some watchdog!!!) and Ivan was pleased to greet it and continue on our way.

Ivan loves to have conversations on his phone or whatever he uses as a phone, another toy or even the dog's chew bone. What is hilarious is that he will be jabbering away then start laughing and talking and laughing. I'd like to know what he and his "friend" on the phone find so funny!

I find it interesting that my accounts of Ivan's first potty pee garnered the MOST COMMENTS EVER! Is this because we've all gone through this (well hopefully all of us have!) or that we all have potty issues. Our awesome sequel to this is that he peed while standing on a stool into the big potty. He also peed on the carpet after getting up from his potty seat with no contributions in it, so don't think he's totally perfect or anything! We also found a returned portion of food on the carpet that night and the scary thing is, we don't know who it came from, the dog, cat or Ivan. None were acting weird, but usually the dog's returns do not stay there long for reasons we will not elaborate on, so that leaves the cat and Ivan and I don't think the cat's ever left us something. But could it really be Ivan, running around so happily? Lucky for daddy, he was busy on the phone when he found it, so I got to clean it up. Wait a minute, he was laughing on the phone... Was he talking to the same "friend" Ivan talks to on the play phone??? I might think so, except that I answered the phone first and there was a real person on it, but was that person still on the phone when Brian found the incident???

Ivan's new games include: pulling books off the shelves, hitting the dog in the head with various objects, pulling mommy's glasses off, chewing on his hair brush, being chased by anyone or anything, hide-and-seek, spinning in the office chair, and pulling the train set apart. He also got a tricycle when we had supper at friends. (It's amazing, Ivan can hardly go out without getting a gift, he's gotten gifts at the grocery store from an old friend who wanted to give him something and now to a new friend's home when we go to eat!)

We've been having to get creative at times to make sure Ivan eats his vegetables. We've put green beans in his oatmeal, mashed them and hid them in potatoes, added salt, given him canned ones, fresh ones, frozen ones, dipped them in ketchup... and all along what we needed was an older "sibling". Little aunt Shayshay was over, eating green beans and Ivan wanted in her lap. She obliged and he started helping himself to her plain, cooked green beans! She'd eat some and say "mmm", then he'd grab some and say "mmmm" and smile at her. He loves his auntie and we love her. Maybe we should have her over for dinner every night, you never know what we could get him eating then! Of course, we'd have to get the teenager eating it first. Maybe he thought if the teenager ate it, it couldn't be all bad!

Ivan has reconfigured the English language and simplified it. Most of what he says revolves around a single vowel sound "ah", (mamma, dadda, nanna=banana and grandma, ma??, da=dog, ba=saba...). The command for Saba to give us her ball is "donne" (pronounced like dome with "n" sound replacing the "m"). Ivan loves to throw the ball or steal it from the dog and chew it himself, so I was trying to teach him to say "donne". He would listen carefully, then very deliberately say "day" and burst out with a beaming smile of accomplishment like he'd pegged the word right on. I don't know if his hearing is off, or if he thinks we should all adjust to his new findings. Every other need is related with the "I need" grunt. I need a drink "uhn", I need this opened "uhn", I want to destroy that "uhn", I don't like you telling me NO, "UHN" and the full body throw of exasperation on the carpet. Yikes! Where did this all come from? and where is Shayshay when you need her? I try to look at it this way... His strong will means he will not be weak and can stand up for himself and what he believes in, (even if it's having the plant tore up to shreds). He'll learn all these fabulous words eventually, just like everything else, rolling, crawling, walking... just be patient and enjoy the guessing game.