Monday, February 27, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Sweet sounds from the recording "studio"

I figured since you all got to hear him say "da", you should get to hear him say "mom" too. This was easier said than done! I tried Brian's trick and it didn't work until the very end, which is the first snippet you hear. The next little sound clip, I was showing him a picture of me to which he usually says "momma", but today decided to say "I don't know", listen close, it's a little blurry sounding, like a teenager's reply!

I've been wanting to get a recording of some of his freestyle babble, but he's too fascinated with the camera, so I'll have to try a different recorder or something.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Chewy nuggets, vol.3

Don't ask me what potty training and ear infections have in common, but ever since Ivan's ear infections (which he has long recovered from) he won't use the potty. Up until then, he was doing great, now he cries when I take him to it or suggest it, so our executive decision is to give him a break and retry in another month or so (maybe with bribes). This is just another of those parenting things where you have to fly by the seat of that little nudging in your soul saying this may be a good way through this dilemna.

I've heard a lot of people say that they wished there was a manual on our kids and parenting. But I can honestly say, that I enjoy not having a clue. I read some and observe others or hear their ideas and often those help, but in the end it really comes down to communing with Father Love. When my day is absolutely horrendous, I turn to him, and like a good mom with a cranky child, he makes the situation come out better, or changes my attitude by showing me something good, or gives me chocolate. Often, I've felt the nudge that has helped us narrowly miss catastrophes. I've heard the call to chill out, just relax, give it over and these have made all the difference in the world.

I exercise with a group of pregnant women and they often have fears and worries. We all do really, but why let them dictate our lives? One friend is so worried that her firstborn will not cooperate to show if it's a boy or girl and both she and her husband really want a girl. I'm glad we found out, but it won't make a difference in the end if you know or not. I figure, if you know, OK and enjoy, if not, let the adventure begin and enjoy that too! I don't think we are accidents or that our days are. If we have a bad day, (week, month, year), the least we can do is learn from it, go to sleep and wake up the next day to see what it's newness will bring.

I've learnt so much from my older (one in his 60s and one in his 80s) friends. One is homeless, an orphan, he has nothing. OK, a tent and some tarps and yesterday he bought a toothbrush. It's been cold and rainy and he usually never gets 3 meals a day, but he is the most pleasant, serving, peaceful, giving person I've ever met. And he loves and enjoys life! The other is in constant pain, often at the mercy of others, currently in the hospital, and while he will criticize (the food tastes like mud apparently) he is upbeat, cracking jokes, taking everything in stride. Now that I think of it, both these friends know Father love intimately, maybe He gave them chocolate today ;)

My point is that there is something envigorating in the dance of learning, hearing, not knowing and letting go. There is a strange empowerment in releasing control to someone greater and trusting that it will come out better than I had ever imagined. I love to read, but the fun is while I am reading, not knowing what will come next, discovering, being challenged, learning... Once the book is read, it's not as appealing, unless there is more to be discovered in it. It's the same with parenting. Part of it's beauty is in the discovery, the never ending realm of mushy unpredictable love that causes us to soar and fall and get up again, laugh, cry and know that we are alive, that we are human, because we fail and triumph all in the same step.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the Ivan funnies vol.12

I've hidden the fish food behind the couch, beyond the side table piled with warm throws. Apparently I haven't hidden it well enough! The morning I took this, Ivan managed for the first time to open the container and dumped what remained of the food on the carpet. Our dog was quite happy to lick it up. Good thing we had a new container of food already.

Ivan is all too happy to drink mommy and daddy's coffee, but since this is not exactly recommended toddler food, I've taken to making him his own special brew. Sometimes it's milk and cinnamon, this time it was milk and a little chocolate powder heated. Ivan is happily sporting his toddler "coffee" mustache!

A friend stayed with us over the weekend and entertained our pets and our son. Here he's getting a laundry basket ride. Later, Ivan gave a ride to the cat by pushing her in the basket, but she didn't enjoy it near as much as he did.

Ivan bundled up for our big cold front. It's been under freezing which is cold for us and according to Mr Griffin, who we were about to visit, not conditions for taking your child out. If he was in charge of affairs in Canada, no one would go out below freezing all winter!

Brian thinks I'm an anomily because I never go back to comments I've left to see if the writer answered. Apparently lots of people do this. So my question is: after leaving a comment, do you go back to see if you got a response?

Monday, February 20, 2006

She's a girl

Hugging our little girl!

We had our big sonogram with the sonogram specialist on his super-dooper sonogram machine. You could really see a lot on it. Of course, we were most interested in finding out that our next baby is a girl! I think Brian and I are getting better at seeing the images, because we both were seeing a girl before he told us she's a she. The specialist said she is definitely a girl and here's the proof! Poor girl, not even out of the womb and she's already flashed the world.

We saw her face beaming at us, her arms and feet waving and moving, the heart beat (156bpm), the inside of her head! Amazing! This picture is of her face from above and then from a more direct angle.

The first picture here is the heart beat and the second is the bottom of her darling little feet ;) It's so fun seeing the baby moving on the screen because she becomes so much more real to us. I guess in some ways seeing is believing! Ivan enjoyed watching the baby on the screen, then decided that he wanted to operate the sonogram himself, or at least get up on the recliner with his mommy. The doctor was very nice though and printed off a face picture just for big brother Ivan. I'm feeling lots of movement now, although she hasn't kicked hard enough for the daddy or brother to feel yet. Maybe by next month!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weirdness thanks to technology

Ivan and I have experienced a really strange phenomenon lately. Discovering a mirror is one thing, but watching Ivan watch himself on the computer is totally weird! He found it quite intriguing too. We were watching a video of him feeding himself and he can hear and see himself and he hears and understands what I was saying on the recording. In the video, I ask him if he's going to get a drink, but as the reflected Ivan makes his decision, the watching Ivan is already looking at the cup on the screen as if to say, I'm going to get a drink, watch this! At another spot in the video, Ivan gets excited and starts bouncing up and down. At that point, Ivan imitates himself, so we've got two boucing Ivans!!! Told you it was weird!

I'm also realizing how much he knows and remembers. Tonight, I watched him do a series of movements, waving his arms in the air, reaching down to touch his toes, turning and "jumping". I was trying to figure out what he was doing, when I realized these were the actions to a song they do at tot time at the library. That was 4 days ago! Of course, he didn't do the actions along with the other kids at that time. I guess he was watching to figure it out so that he could practice later. I was just so amazed he remembered it! Maybe with the practicing he'll join in next time ;)

Friday, February 17, 2006

He's an olympian in our eyes!

Ivan is getting better and better at feeding himself. He does pretty good with oatmeal and anything sticky, like this rice with curry sauce, chicken and brocoli. His other new accomplishments are to spin. One of the first times he did this, he got so dizzy, he ran into a chair and sported a big red grid on his face a couple of days. He is also learning to jump, which is hillarious because he doesn't get any air, but thinks he does really great, by the way he claps and cheers himself.

I don't think these feats would win Ivan any medals, but Kim made sure he is cheering for his momma's country. In fact, tonight we watched 3 insane olympians speed down a track at 120 km/h (70miles) with nothing for protection but a helmet. 2 of them were Canadians and they won gold and silver. Oh yeah! I do have to say that while American's have an advantage of a greater population pool to pull from, Canadians don't have much to do 8 months of the year but play in the snow and ice, so it is only logical that Canadians would do well. Ivan did start spinning and "jumping" when the speed skating came on and clapped at the end of the song. What he lacks in technical ability he makes up for in timing!!

Love and kisses to all our friends and family!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A new kind of love

Growing up I always heard of different kinds of love, but I never really understood what they were. In fact, I'm only beginning now to see the differences and I've noticed it most of all since having Ivan. When brought into the world, ideally we experience our parent's love. I did. I always knew that no matter what, my parents loved me and still do, even if they don't agree with everything I think or do. I came to know sibling love and friend's love. Then I encountered romantic love. Each one expressed itself differently and entails a totally different relationship. And although Brian is my marriage partner and nothing can compare to that love, I have been flabergasted by the dimensions of parental love.

There is something about loving my own child that is mystical, unfathomable, unending. I don't know why that is, if it's that he's so small and hugable, but at times I feel like I could hug him all day long! He's vulnerable, so there's this fierce desire to protect him and guide him through dangers. He's a mix of us and a total miracle and this amazing little being growing, learning, becoming in every moment. I can't describe the love I feel for him. It's not like anything I've ever known. I have a much better grasp of all the other loves. They are all mysteries, they are all a gift, they are all meaningful and life-giving and enriching, but this one is far more mysterious, unsearcheable and beyond telling. It seems with the other loves, even towards my husband, I have to consciously place his needs before mine. Self-sacrificing is exactly that, a sacrifice. It's rewarding, necessary and fulfilling, but purposeful. Sacrificing for Ivan or for the next baby do not seem so much like sacrifices, but like privileges. It's more automatic, easier, even expected and in that there is a beauty unlike any other.

Maybe it has to do with choice. I chose to love Brian the day I agreed in my heart to give my life's love to him. I chose to love him above all others the day we married and everyday since (some days better than others). With parents and siblings there is some degree of automatic love, but especially as an adult, I again must choose to love them. I choose to continue relationship with them and to do so in love. I choose to remember growing up with them in the light of love. But with my own children, the choice I made was to have them. Once that occured, it's like a wild, untamable, unsearchable force was birthed along with them. This love is uncontrollable. It has a mind of it's own. In some ways, I have to choose to love my children in the way I care for them, the way I speak to them and treat them, but underguirding these decisions is a wild love power that is way beyond me.

Of course, the ultimate is the highest, most perfect love of the Lover, who invented, encompasses, originates and propels all these loves at the same time. He takes every attribute (parent, lover, designer, sibling, friend...) to describe His love for us and those only start to scratch the surface. If I can't even grasp the love I have for Ivan and #2, I can not possibly hope to fully understand on this side of heaven that exponentially impossible love from above, the real love unknown, the love unending, the love I feel for Ivan and Brian, for my friends and family, for the hurting and troubled, times infinity.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Have a lovely love day!

OK, so I'm not one of those super health conscience fanatical type moms who only allows Ivan whole grain, organic grown and the such. My philosophy is that we eat pretty healthy, but this earth also contains delicacies, one of which is chocolate and since I am having some to my great pleasure, so should Ivan. Just because he's small doesn't mean he should be deprived! I guess what I'm trying to teach him is balance. Having some treats once in a while is ok.

I made a german chocolate cake from a recipe I pulled up online for Brian's birthday in Jan. and it was fantastic. We all agreed it was awesome, so come Chocolate day (I mean Valentine's day) I figured I should make it again. I didn't have any baker's choc. so we made our own from cocoa and lo and behold, it made another dish dirty (to Ivan and mommy's delight!)

Wishing all of you a wonderful valentine's day.

So... What is the most romantic thing someone has done for you?
What is your ultimate treat of indulgence?
If you could have your favorite dinner, anywhere, with anyone... what, where, who would it be?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

He's got personality

People say that they can see some of both of us in Ivan. He doesn't favor either one of us neccessarily in looks anyways. I think the same can be safely said about his personality.

Like the momma...
-Ivan is very independant. He doesn't want to hold hands to walk. He wants to feed himself with his own spoon and eat at the table instead of in the booster seat with his tray.
-He loves to cuddle and will give hugs liberally once he is comfortable with a person.
-He loves people and animals, but mostly dogs. Tonight he followed a rabbit that appeared in our yard. The rabbit ran from me, but it was about to let Ivan pet it until I scared it off. Of course Ivan called it a "daw"- his way of saying dog. Everything is a dog, except for cats which he calls "meaw" like the sound they make.

Like the dadda...
-Ivan can be very neat. He will close the drawers when he gets something out and is meticulous about putting the alarm clock back sitting the exact way he found it. He'll pick up tiny things off the floor or table and give them to me to throw away. He's also learning to throw away trash and he picks up every minute piece of trash outside.
-He is very attentive to every noise, even in the periphery. I don't hear the background noise of the radio. Ivan claps when the song is over, even if we are in the middle of doing something else.
-He has taken up with darts (his dad is the one who plays the most). All day he cries out for us to play "da" (darts). When we give in and play, he runs to pick up each fallen dart and give it to the thrower, even if they aren't done yet. He practices throwing his dart and tries to stick pencils in the wall.

More questions for you and me, answer in comments.

Are you more like your dad or mom, in what ways?
Do you think you are an introvert or extrovert? (The best definition I heard is that introverts are drained by being around other people, they recharge by being alone. Extroverts thrive on others and are energized by being with people).

Friday, February 10, 2006

OH, the power!!!

It's every parent's right and priviledge to name their child. You would think they would have rules and for some children's sake, I think you could make a case for abusive naming. Brian used to love this site with bad baby names that is no longer on the net. Some radio station apparently went into city records to highlight how idiotic (and insensitive) some parents can really be. Remember, these are REAL names, given to actual, live, innocent babies. Some of the ones that still have us laughing (or crying or crying with laughter): Anastasia Anestesia Anderson. Pimp Hard Jennings. Darth Vader Smith. (they went on and on, but we forget them now) I've read of parents naming their child "it" and "abc". Now, don't you think that should be outlawed???

The 20th we hope to find out the sex of our developing baby and before any of you can protest the names we choose, we are wielding our power by not telling! ha, ha. No really, we keep it a surprise until we have the baby in hand and named in case we decide to change our minds or if anyone really hates it, it will be too late. (See, the power is already getting to us!)

We do have our own standards. 1) We like unique names (as in not everyone has it) 2) We try to balance this out with not doing totally weird names (like something no one has ever heard of or is totally off the charts) 3) We like the names to have good meanings. We think names mean something, maybe that rose wouldn't smell so sweet if it was named a thistle!!

Of course, Ivan Truth Christophe Baggett is a little wierd in that it is long and you've probably never heard of someone named Truth. We added that name part way through, 'cause we felt we should. My cousin's son is also named Truth, so at least there are 2 of them. Ivan is learning his alphabet through all sorts of games, one of them online, so maybe he will be able to write or at least type out his name before middle school!

If we have a girl, we may already have the names, chosen since before Ivan. If we have a boy, the name game begins (it took us a lot of work to come up with Ivan's).

I am curious about the commonality of names in different places. Angela was rare in Saskatchewan, Canada. I'd only heard of one other Angela all my years growing up, until I came to the Southern US. Everyone is Angela here or Angie or Angelica. I have at least 2 other people named Angela that I would consider close to me (one as a friend, one down the block).

So tell me... How many people do you know with the following names? Tell us your name and where you live (if you've lived several places a long time, pick one for our little survey). Count people you actually know or know about (not a name tag you saw on the cashier, but at least aquaintances).


AND tell us the weirdest name you've heard.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

raindrops on roses

raindrops on roses,
and whiskers on kittens,
little pink piglets
and purple block glistens

These are a few of my favorite things!

I'm not sure why, but Ivan gravitates toward certain things. A friend gave him these puzzles. There are a total of 8 animal pieces, but he almost always takes off running with the little pig. If he chews on a piece, it's the pig. If he walks around with a piece, it's the pig!

Likewise, he got this train set from his cousins (through marriage). It has tons of pieces and Ivan likes nothing more than to destroy the neat patterns. He does the same with block towers, "quick, tear it down". Not to mention that the train tracks take genius level engineering to put together. We don't have all the pieces and the wood is not at all pliable. We've managed to make 2 tracks that actually worked (ie. continued in circles, ovals and the like), but it doesn't matter, Ivan has them demolished pretty much the minute we have one put together. Along with the track pieces are a wooden car, blocks, tubes, arches, squares, trees and what Brian thinks are people and I think are trees. (He says where have you seen red trees? I say in autumn, where have you seen cherry red people with no faces???) Whatever they are, Ivan leaves them alone. But not the purple square. He loves to chew and hold and carry the purple square.

I guess some things just comfort us.

Here's your questions, answer in comments...

Is there anything you are strangely attached to?

What do you find comforting?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Ivan funnies vol.11

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ivan loving on Smacky.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~She never fully appreciates his love!~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was trying to see how Ivan would do drinking his smoothy all by himself. At first I helped him get the glass to his lips and put it up, but he was doing so well with this slow moving drink that I thought I'd just give him the glass and see what happened.

He drank without spilling and thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn't know what to do with the rest, so he threw it on the floor, effectively spraying himself. I let him wallow in it while I took his picture- maybe he'll learn throwing it was not such a good idea??? (a hopeful mom reasons).

Saturday, February 04, 2006

They don't make them like they used to!

So has anyone else noticed that playgrounds no longer have: teeter-totters or merry-go-rounds. This park doesn't even have swings! They've replaced everything with plastic and rubberized stuff, I suppose in the hopes of kids not getting hurt (or more likely, them not getting sued for a kid getting hurt). Sometimes us adults take all the fun out of stuff.

Even with all it's seeming innocence, Ivan banged his head at this playground (ok, so I was helping him up the step by pushing on his bottom over my head, so that I could lead him to the slide and get his picture- He barely cried, and it was worth it! Big smiles as he came down and a great pic!)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

a walk on the wild side.

Deana (see links to the side) challenged her blog's readers to post pictures from a frequent walking path of theirs. I wouldn't say this is my favorite path, it sure isn't very picturesque, but we do it often. Come along for the ride...

We head down our street, Briarwood and start a criss-crossy path. There are no good streets to use. Some are pretty busy and few have sidewalks, except for ours, for which I'm very thankful. If we want a quick jaunt, we do just our block, sometimes I let Ivan walk it. It's very long, 3 blocks, so to the end and around would be like walking 6 blocks. Pretty good for someone a little over 30 inches long! Katty corner to the stop sign is an elderly lady's house from whose yard we often hear ducks, geese or some other mystery creatures. She calls her yard xeroscaping, but others call it a jungle!

Xeroscaping is supposed to be water efficient landscaping (using rocks, heat resistant plants...). Many people use cactus to decorate their yard with. I always think they look like a huge toddler hazard. This is why we moved our struggling rose bush to the front yard, next to the wall, behind a little cement wall. Ivan shouldn't fall on it, unless he is playing where he shouldn't be, then I guess it would be live and learn!

It's christmas year round here! I didn't know back home that mistletoe is a fungus, not a plastic decoration. It loves mesquite trees. It also saps all their energy and causes them to barely give their thin leaves in the summer, but it makes for a long walk of kisses or easy, cheap decor for the December festivities.

I promised a walk on the wild side, so here it is! Actually stray dogs can be dangerous, this one followed us accross the street after I took it's picture. It was just fine until I had to disturb it's potty break! We've seen people walk the streets with a club and Brian started carrying one after two incidents. We once used an umbrella stroller (that was WAY to hard to maneover) to ward off two BIG stay dogs as I carried Ivan protectively in my arms (the stroller made a better weapon than a mode of transportation). Another time, we actually called 911 when a pitbull attacked Saba, who was on her leash with Brian holding her and I had Ivan in the REAL stroller. The responder told us to be very careful- yeah, duh!!!

The only things green right now are the mistletoe, evergreen bushes and trees (some pine, most leaf). Coming from Canada, I didn't know there were evergreen leaf trees. This tree is desperate for greenery and accepted some vine to climb it in a poor impersonation of an evergreen tree.

Here's Ivan in the somewhat busy street. We go 7 blocks down this one to get to an elementary school.

This peach tree either gives off early fruit or is confused by our warm weather, as it has already budded and is blooming. It's been summer temps here (80F, 20C) today.

You can spot a pecan tree from a block away by its distinctive pecan clusters. These ones have already opened and dropped shelled treasures, but I've walked with our little neighbor Jaime and enjoyed seeing her hunt down and collect all our stroller's tray could handle in pecans. She was delighted with her "crop" off the street and headed home to eat them. Something else I learnt. Since the only way I knew how to get into a nut was with a nut cracker, I was amazed once as I watched a 3 year old crack open a pecan with no special tools. Adults can put two side-by-side in their palm and crack one with force, but this little smarty placed a pecan on the concrete, stomped on it and picked up the (crushed) pieces. He and his cousin had a little stomp and eat fest in our backyard one day and I was that much wiser.

The neighboorhoods go from what Brian calls "the hood" to suburbia the further we walk toward the school. Our street is a good blend of both. There are both trashed out yards and manicured ones, sometimes right beside each other. But as we walk, they become more uniformally upscale. This yard features a fancified condo for the wildlife. Many of the yards in this area have signs saying "well water". This means they have a well and should indicate a more lush yard, assuming they use it. The rest of us commoners are subject to the city's mandated water rationing in the summer drought. We are allowed to water on a specific day and at certain times, according to our house number twice a week. If caught watering on an off day, one can be fined.

The school is on a huge property square, 3 blocks long and wide. There is a walking path all around it and they recently added stroller friendly ramps at each corner. It's nice not to worry about traffic and greet the many walkers who benefit from the "trail". When the sidewalk was put in, they let each grade write their names in the cement, a constant reminder to us of the little people being formed on the property and how quickly they grow up. It also says each grade, the kindergarteners would be turning 30 this year!

We loop around the school property. This elementary school is being fully renovated this year. It is closed to the public, it's students are shipped to another school during reconstruction. You can see the air conditioners on the roof of this building. There are 4 octogonal buildings, linked by covered sidewalks, then a main area with cafeteria, library, offices and other classrooms.

Here's the front, with it's circular drive for crazy pick-up times. Most kids are driven to school or walk. If we are here that long, this is where Ivan will go. We may walk for pick-ups, I'm not sure how we'd do getting up early to walk for dropping off.

Either the workers really identify with the poorly decorated tree from Charlie Brown's Christmas AND forgot it is February, or this tree is extremely dangerous. Ivan and I kept well away from it!

On the way home, we like to take a different circuitous route through the nice neighborhoods. We are reminded what beautiful landscaping can occur with mucho dinero and what garages look like when they are used as garages and not add-on rooms for the home. I read that twisted, half laid down, mesquite trees were made this way by the buffalo that long time ago roamed these parts. When the trees were mere saplings, the buffalo rubbed against them and reconfigured the direction of the tree. The now old scratching post makes for interesting visuals and challenging mowing.

On we go, until we reach our home. 1534 Briarwood. It features laughs and cries, real people trying to find their way through this journey. Now that you know you're way around, you may be more comfortable to take us up on the offer of coming down. There is an extra room and you are welcome anytime. (Unless you are some wierd blog reader who I don't know, at which point we'd want to meet you first!) Happy trails!