Friday, June 30, 2006

Dad made it!

He drove up a few minutes ago. He managed to get the first flight out on standby this morning and rented a car to drive here without problems (or calling anyone). Janet said in comments that her Ian would do the same thing and ironically, we just called John and he said Jen was supposed to be home by noon and wasn't there yet (3pm). We asked if she called and he said "no". We are detecting an alarming family pattern here. Mom wants us to note it is from the MacLeod side, so beware to all relatives, it could be catching! Dad said all his fingers are in tact, but that he was in lines all night. They did give him one complimentary water for his troubles! How gracious of them!

No matter, all is well. We are glad he's made it and now we can focus on the little miss ;)

Arriving soon???

Sorry to all who are anxiously awaiting news (Netts) and the other 6 people who read this blog! At this point, we are more concerned about dad's arrival than little miss. He was supposed to come in last night and didn't come and didn't call. Thanks to the internet and 1-800# we were able to figure out that his flight in Toronto was cancelled and that he is on standby for 3 flights today and booked on a flight tomorow in case he can't make one today. We had 3 pretty frantic homes last night, mom and us here in Texas, Andrew home alone in Saskatoon and Jen. Apparently dad is not concerned, or the phones were all down or busy or all his fingers were sprained in a freak luggage accident making it impossible for him to dial a number. We are praying all is well and that he makes it soon, but were relieved at least to figure out he wasn't either lost in Dallas, or on the backroads of Texas or worse. He doesn't have his cell phone and maybe he forgot there are pay phones in the world.

It's amazing how dependent we so easily became on cell phones. Brian and I used to have a cell each and now don't have any. We were wondering how he was going to find mom in the airport, but at least she had a phone. We forget so easy how to communicate before hand or use other means. Can you imagine what it was like before even land phones existed?

So, little miss has to wait a little bit still so that dad won't miss the excitement, that is of course supposing that this mystery travellers whereabouts excitement doesn't send me into labor!! Nothing yet, we'll keep you updated ;)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flying high

Grandma Ruth arrived safely yesterday and between the all day travel and playing with Ivan, she is all wore out. She's taking a nap as we speak. Ivan is already bouncing off the walls with excitement over her arrival and neither grandpa Ian, his new sister or others have arrived yet! I'm glad that all the grandparents are so good at sharing. I hope that includes names too. Ivan decided grandma Ruth is way too long of a name and is referring to her as "nana", as one of his other grandmothers goes by. I'm not sure what he'll call grandpa, but he can't say pops the old dust mop yet, so it should be something at least better than that!

We haven't taken pictures yet, figured we'll let everyone get a bit adjusted before we go snapping crazy again, but here's a picture of our adopted neighbor grandpa and Ivan. Big Buddy came over one day in his chair and gave Ivan rides, while he checked out our garden and new house projects. They were both giddy with joy to be riding around together. I think giddy with joy may be our term for the entire month. It's just hillarious how a grandchild causes these parents who used to be such respectable, calm people to sing crazy songs, kick a toy around for hours, make faces and silly games and behave like a little kid again in order to give total delight to our son. We all love it!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ivan and daddy's video

Strawberries, Ivan's #1 food

Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting there

We've started our 40th week of pregnancy. According to baby development calendars, everything is formed and ready to go. Our little girl is just growing, putting on pretty fat, getting strong and getting immunities boosted up, plus maybe some lung development. The doctor checked me again and I'm dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced, which means that I'm further along than I was with Ivan, so that's good. Her head is in good position and it's just a matter of time. It's weird thinking these are among our last visits and that we'll soon be leaving a hospital with our daughter in hand.

Mom is arriving tomorow and dad comes in Thurs. I asked the doctor if she was on call this weekend and she's not, plus they are closed July 4th, so I figure a good day for our baby to come is her due day the 3rd, a week from now. We don't want to be induced though, so we'll just see when she makes her grand debut!

It's cooled off today with some light showers, so everything feels fabulously cool, Ivan is down for a nap, projects are done, the house is fairly clean, family is coming and we're about to have A BABY GIRL!!! Yee haw!

These are pictures of someone's baby at 39 and 40 weeks. Amazing huh?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Our mini vacation

We had a blast at our friend's farm. It was beautiful and relaxing. We swam in their pool, where Ivan learned that he can sit on the stairs and glide off face first in the water and doggy paddle to one of us in his floaty swim suit. It just amazes me how everytime I take him in the water he noticeably improves, but only when there are others around. I spend the whole time scooping him back up when he goes under, so I can't really swim or show him much. However, when he watches others swim, he imitates arm strokes, kicking or putting his face in! This time, his daddy was diving under the water, so Ivan thought he should too! He hasn't learned to spit water back out when he goes under though, or save breathing for when he is above water, so it's a pretty intense time taking him to the pool. I'm his full-time lifeguard, and he gets rescued often.

Brian and I read (I read a novel, first time since before I started all those crazy projects), watched a couple of movies, took Ivan on nature walks, confronted momma hens who were trying to sit on their unfertilized eggs, pet goats, checked on the deer, watered the dogs who had enough food for a month, and were awed by the beauty of cool mornings, stary nights, wild bunnies and frogs, butterflies, hummingbirds, tons of cardinals and crickets and a much needed change of scenery.

Ivan was generally very good. The first and second days, he was wonderful, exploring and having fun, but the 2nd night he didn't sleep well with sounds from a light rain, thunder and lightning disturbing him, then he was cranky and forcefully independent the next day, so we left a little earlier and got back to home sweet home.

I can't believe it, but we didn't take a single picture or video. I guess we even took a vacation from that, which was nice too. However, since we were out there the weekend before, we have a couple of videos from then. Hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Little vacation

I won't be posting for a few days, 'cause we are going to have a mini vacation! Actually we're going to house sit for our friends with the animals, sand and pool! We are looking forward to it. This may be our last real outing as a threesome and it will be great to have some different scenery. The Vann's reminds me of my parent's acreage, where I spent my teen years growing up. Wild animals are heard, bunnies creep out at night, the stars shine bright, the air smells clean, it's even cooler out there! Some of the goats are pregnant, but they shouldn't deliver in the next few days, if they do, it will definitely add to the excitement. One of my favorite moments out there was watching a goat deliver. We stayed well into the evening watching the amazing event and at one point, I looked back to say something to our host, only to find out that chickens, donkeys and goats were all lined up along with us watching. It was like they all knew too that this was an amazing event. I've laughed ever since at the memory and thought often that that's what it must have been like when the lover was born in a stable. The whole world was clueless apart from a handfull of people and animals marveling at the sight! And some say animals are dumb!

OK, maybe mine is. My dog ate half a dozen blueberry muffins tonight off the counter while we were out visiting with Big Buddy. I'm very angry with her and she gets to spend the night outside, off our carpet!!! The little scoundrel. I just can't keep baking around here! GRRRR.

Time for some R&R. Be back on the weekend.

Oh, and before you freak, I'll only be about 20 min. from the hospital if I beat the goats to the punch!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

the new and improved nursery

Here is the baby room ready and waiting for the grand arrival of our first daughter.

Open room

Ivan and Mommy show off Ivan's big boy room, where, unbeknownst to him, he will soon move after the hubbub dies down with his sister's arrival. Ivan and mommy have already enjoyed night time reading on the big adult bed, all cozy and peaceful.

snaps: cute and quirky vol.7

Big Buddy and Ivan inspect his garden. Ivan is always "borrowing" either Big Buddy's cane, walker or both!

Well, he ate his vegetables! Parent trick #007- ketchup.

Ivan discovered sand at our friend's place. Apparently their dog thinks it's comfy too.

Our cheap trip to the "beach". No ocean view or waves, but we did get to dip in their pool.

I love it when daddy cuts the lawn. It takes quite a while and Ivan is quite occupied the entire time, running from window to window to watch. He never tires of watching his daddy cut the lawn!

Monday, June 19, 2006

A different Dr.

If our baby was born today, she would be considered full term, 38 weeks down, 2 more to go before her due date. Our regular doctor is on vacation this week so we saw another Dr. at the same practice. We weren't overly wowed by him. First we waited an hour, which when you wait that long with a toddler, near naptime is at least triple time. So after what seemed like 3 hours, we go through the routine. I can tell I'm spoiled with my lady OB/GYN. Her bathroom is big, smells nice and reminds you of a spa with special soaps and lotion. This other doctor's bathroom was like a used hospital, smelly, cold and impersonal. He was kind of that way too, real quiet and unenthusiastic. He did a wow at Ivan's birth size and confirmed that this one does not seem that big. Her heart beat was fast and he asked if she'd been moving much that morning (like a squirrel with pecans!) He said I was still dilated to the same amount as last week which is good and bad. Good because she has to wait a week and a day for mom to get here, a week and three days for dad. Bad because I was at a one for a week, a full day of labor, a wasted trip to the hospital including a torterous 1 hour walk and "relax" time at home when I was delivering Ivan. Don't want to get stuck at a 1 again! On the other hand, it went fast after that.

Is it summer yet?

We visited a friend in a nursing home not too long ago and a sign up said "Weather: hot, Day: Friday, Season: Spring". I was shocked. Was it really spring still? It's been hot enough to cook an egg on the pavement for the last couple of months! OK, so I haven't tried it, but people here steep tea by placing it outside in a glass jar and one night we were going to roast marshmellows at a friend's house only to find that they were already melted in the bag!

Many people don't think Ivan looks like me, but apparently he's got my ability to tan. Which my coloring is what I call residual tan, so maybe Ivan will become darker like me too. Not yet "summer" when this was taken and he's already several shades different on his sandal tan!

There are some signs of beauty and life, no matter the extreme heat and parchness. Our flowers have come up, although they are not as breathtaking as we had hoped.

All but about 5 of the wildflower seeds came up and we had three packs of them, they are supposed to bring the beauty. These zinias that did make it were intended to be filler flowers, but they are the only things that came up. We have butterflies visiting.

Notice Ivan pointing one out as it flies away? And the most exciting part is that the bird house I painted years ago is not only occupied (for once) but is now home to a little litter of baby birds.

We can't see in, it's too high up in the tree, but Brian managed to hold the camera up for a birds-eye-view (ha, ha!) There are also nests in the trees. Other years, we've had nests in the front porch hanging baskets and have had babies hatch in them. It's so fun to see new life, whatever the species.

Our garden is trying to come up, but is languishing in the heat. We've had radishes and spinach so far. Friends have given us squash, so someone is doing something right. Ours have flowers and little squashes growing, but nothing mature yet!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fatherhood 5- Fathers of Excellence

Apparently the kinds of fathers I’ve been talking about are something kind of new, sort of rare and in the making. David Blankenhorn explains:
"Defining and celebrating the New Father are by far the most popular ideas in our contemporary discourse on fatherhood. Father as close and nurturing, not distant and authoritarian. Fatherhood as more than bread winning. Fatherhood as new-and-improved masculinity. Fathers unafraid of feelings. Fathers without sexism. Fatherhood as fifty-fifty parenthood, undistorted by arbitrary gender divisions or stifling social roles."

Well, I’m a witness. I hope these posts have opened all our eyes to both the unfair treatment we give to many fathers as we lump them in with others who are not fulfilling their place in the home. I also hope this has given us a chance to honor men who have stepped up to the plate and brought excellence in the home and in parenting. I am so excited to get to witness this beautiful love affair every day between father and child. It was a delight to be on the receiving end and still is, and it’s another realm of beauty to get to experience excellent fathering from the parenting end. There is nothing like love in action. I didn’t realize until I started looking into this topic what a tough job caring fathers have. They have to first combat the fears in them, then the attitudes of society and even, often criticism from the mothers. Then they have to invent a new path for themselves in this seemingly unchartered territory. Not that there has never been good fathers, but it’s a new day, a new era and men are slowly being invited to be involved in child rearing as never before. This must be somewhat daunting… like a wild adventure, full of heroics and strength… the perfect place for the father of this generation, the perfect fit for our favorite in house dad, also called Brian, hon or DAEEEEEEEE!!!

Brian, you are a father of excellence. Thank you for forging this beautiful path, for completing, complimenting and giving spice to my parenting, for investing sacrificially in your son and soon to be here daughter. We delight in who you are as husband and dad.

And you dear reader, what do you think the future of fatherhood will bring?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Guess who!

Guess whose dads these strapping young lads became.

Happy Upcoming Father's Day! I hope it is filled with joy, fun, relaxing, maybe a nap and most of all the knowledge that you are loved by your child/children and that you are an excellent father.

Friday, June 16, 2006

done and done!

The reading nook is finally done! Hurray! I actually found a huge error after I thought it was done, but I glued over it and you can only find it if you are looking for it! I ran into several snags at the end that neither running to neighbors or calling dad at home seemed to help. It ended up that Meredith had to come to my rescue again and lend me a huge, scary power tool, an air compressor, which shoots little staples out at dangerous speeds to far out, unknown destinations like eyes and other body parts if not handled properly. It made Ivan cry just to hear the loud motor come on. It was an amazing machine, but we sent it back to it's home as quick as we could!

So, here's the finished product, from idea on paper, to cardboard replica and now a functioning piece.

It opens up to fit tons of toys, huge books and games. It could hide a small child quite easily (although this is not recommended). It has a book shelf for short and tall books and can be sat on to read that captivating book one more time.

Yeah!!! Now we are hanging decorations, reorganizing and trying to undig baby stuff. Jamie, featured with Ivan in the shots, came from down the street to hang-out and got dragged into the role of moving lady. She was great help and so was Ivan, putting toys and books up!

Brian said he's glad I'm not someone who starts out with good intentions, then leaves half finished jobs all over. I could never do that. I'm a product person. I don't enjoy the process so much, I always want to get to the grand finish, which I guess is good in projects like these, but not so much in the journey of character building and life journeying which has more to do with process and relationship (or should) than product and tasks. Do you enjoy process? Do you finish jobs or have a bunch of ideas and start, but don't finish? I do have a bunch of ideas that have never come to fruition, but once I get materials and start, it will get done, whether it turns out good or not is another matter!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shocked and surprised!

I couldn't believe it. This just in. Maybe an hour ago, we were at Big Buddy's. Ivan brought me 5 candies, so I thought we'd count them. I counted to five with him then he said "six, seven, eight, nine, t--yeah!" No joke! I asked Brian if he'd been counting with Ivan and he said just to five and so have I. He knows 1, 2, 3 pretty good, 'cause it's often associated with something quite memorable (like time out or a spank), but we've only been going to 5 since that's all we thought we should start with (I've gone to ten a few times on his fingers). Brian said he has lots of books that have "one cake, two dogs..." up to 10 or 12, but none of them just count straight out. I'm still blown away, but when he saw how pleased we were with him, he kept saying "7,8,9", which I guess are his favorites. Quite a bit better than 1,2,3 anyways!

Fatherhood 4- Not the momma!

Did you see that show, the Dinosaurs? The wife and mother, Fran was lovingly called “momma” by the dinosaur infant, however, the baby’s name for his dad was “not the momma”. It was hilarious, and shows a lot of truth. Ivan often has meltdowns (ok, always has meltdowns), when I leave the house without him. But he’s also done this with his dad a few times. The other day, Brian was caring for Ivan and said he actually called for HIM when he got hurt. Due to the natural bond the mother and child forms, one would think the dad is not as tightly linked to the mix, but this is not so.

It doesn’t take long to notice that Ivan is mesmerized by his daddy. He imitates him, wants to be around him, wants to be like him and copies his every action. Ivan has taken to wearing his sunglasses and hat when he goes out, not because he likes them (you can tell they irritate him and he’s not comfortable with them yet), but his dad always wears them, so Ivan wants to too.

"the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense"

Donald Justice (b. 1925), U.S. poet

Many of the quotes I found talked about the mystery of the father. Mothers are more present in many cases, and the fathers become this enthralling figure to discover and know more deeply. We need both.

Brian and I were witnesses once to a situation that showed us how father and mother can come together and create a good balance in the home. A toddler had fallen and cut her mouth (baby’s first blood). The mom was hysterical and really losing it. The dad stepped in and brought peace and a healthy dose of reality to the minor episode that was being unreasonably escalated by the mom.

Brian brings wholeness, balance and excitement to my parenting. While I may over coddle, Ivan will listen to daddy (thank goodness). Where I’m too loose, he’s more restricting, where he’s too controlling, I’m more allowing and yet we can come together and say we are a team and move somehow in the same direction in a most beautiful linked dance of parenting. (At least that’s what we strive for). Love and strength, familiarity and unfolding mysteries, it takes a little bit of all to make this world vibrant and beautiful, to fill our homes with wholeness and the delicious adventure of living.

The above quote also reminds me what an enthralling discovery it is to watch my husband go from who I’ve always known him to be to involved and caring dad. Each day as we both discover how to parent, I get to watch Brian learn, grow, stretch and delight in this challenge and joy before us.

I realized the day Ivan was born as tears flooded Brian’s eyes, that he loves our son as much as I do. Now I get front row seats as I watch that love transform not just one, but two people, both the son and the father. No, he’s not the momma and does not parent like I do, and that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Loving our neighborhood

We have such a great neighborhood! We've made such great friends here and are often overwhelmed by their generosity, care and friendship. Sat. was a great example.

Our neighbor's sister-in-law told me early in the week that she wanted to give me a baby shower, which I was surprised at since I didn't think you have one for the second child. The only weekend they had free before my due date was this past Sat., so they quickly organized a party. A lot of friends couldn't make it on such short notice, but it was great to invite half the neighborhood. 5 neighbors did make it, plus some other friends and the hispanic host extended family who we have gotten to know some through all their many parties. They lavished me with gifts, fed us and played games through the 3 hour party. It was a blast. I got lots of girl clothes, some diapers, I won three prizes playing Spanish Bingo and all sorts of other loot, diaper bag, swing...

Next we went to visit Big Buddy who I hadn't seen in a few days. He said he was going to call us to come to dinner, but didn't know if we were coming or going since our car had been gone at one point. We hadn't eaten yet and he insisted we stay.

After our impromptu meal there, we went back home. I was trying to get my cabinet stained and Brian was watering the garden when another neighbor hollers over the fence to come for bbq. Apparently they had told Brian for us to come by earlier in the day and he'd not heard or forgotten. There was no way I could eat again, but we got to hang out with them some.

It was all just so awesome.

Last week, Ivan ran away from me accross a neighbor's front yard, through their open gate into the back. This neighbor often has us over for birthday bashes and Ivan obviously remembers. At that moment I realized how fortunate we are to have friends living all around us. That as Ivan grows up, there are homes all up and down the street where he could get help if in need, where he will be greeted and is already cheered, where he will be watched over and known. Sometimes I wonder what we are doing in Abilene, but I know we were placed on this street, on these blocks, at this time for a reason.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Showered in pink love

I didn't think people had showers for their second baby, but one of my friends wanted to host one for me. They threw it together last minute (as in a few days), so a lot of friends didn't make it. I was surprised therefore by the big turnout. Of course, my hosts come from a huge hispanic family, so they were a bunch to start off with. Here is Marisol, me and her sister-in-law (my neighbor).

Even a great-granmother came who I had never met. Then we had quite a few from the neighborhood, which was fun, since the party was accross the street from me. Other friends also made the trip over. Most couldn't stay long, so our group picture is 1/2 to 1/3rd of the actual guests.

It was another English/French/Spanish fiesta which totally messes me up! I'd start a sentence in French and switch half way through to Spanish! We ate and played Spanish bingo, with great prizes (I won three times!)

They had a cake with "La bebe" written on it and I got great gifts including clothes, diapers, diaper bag, swing... I actually have a couple of swings handed down from me with Ivan, but this one looks like it will do what the other two did and I have one loaned out to a friend who also happens to be pregnant, I hated taking it back from her. So now I can let her keep it for her next and Jennifer and Kim will be happy to know that the 2nd child will have something NEW just for her!

More baby news... Our doctor visit yesterday went well. If you want the technical details, read on, if you're queazy (DAD) skip to the next paragraph! I already like this hospital better. We went to check if I was pre-registered, and they had my information in the system, but also let me fill out more so that I won't have to worry about it during all those critical moments when the baby is arriving. I thought that was so tacky when I was having Ivan, "just sign these for us and let's explain them to you as you push a not quite 10 lbs baby through a little hole!" I would have signed about anything just for them to get those papers out of my face! They also have shuttle service to your car. I asked the guy if he'll be there when I deliver, and he said sure as long as it's before 4pm. Our daughter has been informed! She is still head down. The doctor estimates that she is about 7 or 7 1/2 pounds. I'm dilated to a one, which is more than last week, but my cervix is still up high. She doesn't expect us to go early and thinks we may want to induce if she gets big (which we don't). Next week, she is out of town, so we will see one of the other doctors in the same practice. That should be interesting!

Ladies in our swim class often ask me what is the most necessary baby item to have, or what I like the most. I tell them that I had thought pre-Ivan that the digital camera was an indulgence, but that now I would sacrifice a crib over the camera if I had to choose! Ivan's already going to change to a big bed and he can sleep anywhere, but time really does fly, it's easy to forget and those pictures capture the moments from day one, helping you watch the miracle and joys of this precious life, budding, growing and changing by the day! All the rest of the stuff is good too, but to me the pictures and videos are priceless!

If you have kids, what baby item could you "not live without"?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ivan the carpenter

It's true when they see kids learn by watching us. He's picked up all sorts of quirks and skills depending on what we've been up to. This day, he reached up to where all my tools for the toy chest/reading nook were stored and grabed the first thing he could get. Good for me it was only sanding paper. To my amazement, he then went to our project and correctly sanded away! What a little helper!

Fatherhood 3- Not all HIS fault!

It’s hard to let go. For some reason, we as women figure since we were the sole provider for the little growing fetus, we are the expert on the baby too. We start making our own path in parenting and often forget to allow our husbands a say so! A couple of days after Ivan was born, the grands were marveling over our little treasure, who I held often due to nursing demands. No one had realized that Brian had not gotten to hold his son all day, until he mentioned it to me. I immediately went in and whisked the newborn out of someone’s arms and handed him over. Can you imagine! We just left the daddy out of the loop.

Sometimes we do this because of ignorance, and other times, regretfully, because we think we know better. Often women are more informed, but does education raise a child or does love? He loves that baby too! The movie I am Sam was so very telling in this arena and showed us that love is everything, not knowing all the answers or having the perfect technique.

"In a number of other cultures, fathers are not relegated to babysitter status, nor is their ability to be primary nurturers so readily dismissed.... We have evidence that in our own society men can rear and nurture their children competently and that men’s methods, although different from those of women, are imaginative and constructive."

This quote by Kyle D. Pruett, professor and child psychiatrist assures us that men can be capable parents if allowed the chance. Again, I know that some men willingly give up their opportunity to be an excellent dad. That is a whole other issue. This is about those men who want to be there, who want to play an integral part and are constantly questioned about their methods or ways (sorry Brian). Remember, he can’t read our mind! (I need to tell myself). This realization came to me after I criticized Brian for making Ivan’s rice cereal with water instead of milk, I mean, I’d changed the formulae a month earlier (and a week before that, and the week after that, and sometimes mid-way through the day!) How is he to keep up with that kind of schedule and reasoning?

I often have to tell myself that Brian’s ways are not wrong, just different. I also have to admit that his ways are often complimentary, balancing and sometimes even better than my ways! Most of all, I have to remember that we are a team.

What things did your dad do different from mom, but was good or even better than mom’s way? (Or your husband)

Friday, June 09, 2006

In progress...

I'm working on the last big project and hope to be done with it by the end of the weekend, although each time I think a step will take me a few hours, it ends up taking WAY longer! I'm excited to have it finished soon. Projects like these seem to go the same way all the time with me. At first it is really daunting like looking down a sheer drop off they call a black diamond run and thinking there is no way I can do that. It takes me a while to work up the courage to start, but then I get going and it's fun and it's not as hard as I thought, but it is long and tiring and by the end I think I'll never do that again, or at least not for a while. You are happy with the product, but realize why people spend a fortune on stuff like this instead of going the cheapo version and doing it themselves.

I do have to say that it is coming out way better than it might have were it not for my kind neighbor, Mr Meredith. He is a cabinet maker and helped me figure out parts of it (like that the hinges could not be put on the inside or the doors wouldn't open!), he sold me some of his top quality wood (birch) instead of having to settle for cheap Home Depot plywood, he spent an entire day cutting pieces for me on his table saw, (for free) when he initially thought it would only take 30 min. and even cut new cupboard doors for me when I accidentally told him the wrong measurement and we cut them too small. He has also offered to cut (he calls it rip) a new piece for a door that is warped, but I told him that it's not a big deal (at least it has one imperfection that was not my fault!!!) But as my dad used to say, you won't see it from the road. Of course no one will be looking at this from far away, but I think it's allright.

Ivan has been a challenge, working around his schedule, chasing down tools he's carried off, retrieving a hundred screws out of the grass (a couple of times) and trying to be sure he doesn't get in the way of something dangerous like the ancient, hard to control jig saw Big Buddy lent me (my recharger died!) In the meantime, I've learnt that he's been watching and learning. He picked up a piece of sandpaper and started sanding the reading nook/toy chest. He puts the drill up to it and loves the measuring tape!

I'll try to post a video of him sanding soon. I caught him in the act!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fatherhood 2- Needed: heroic dads

I hate how people blame things on their parents and growing up, although a lot of messed up people can find the root of their problems there, but at some point, we all have to take responsibility for who we are. Needless to say, it’s hard to be something we’ve never seen, known or felt.

This is the theory by some about the failure of dads to be involved, caring and nurturing parents. Frank Pittman, an American psychiatrist and family therapist explains: "What we men share is the experience of having been raised by women in a culture that stopped our fathers from being close enough to teach us how to be men, in a world in which men were discouraged from talking about our masculinity and questioning its roots and its mystique, in a world that glorified masculinity and gave us impossibly unachievable myths of masculine heroics, but no domestic models to teach us how to do it."

Brian and I read a revealing book before having Ivan called Wild at Heart, by John Eldridge. He explained that men want to be the hero and long for adventure, but with our society being the way it is, women don’t want to be rescued, we are self-sufficient and the man is reduced to a more tame role, a less fulfilling role.

I know my dad felt like he was raised by a grandfather. There was a big age difference and grandpa never played ball or invested much emotionally in him. Apparently, the man who raised grandpa was real strict and it was a very rough upbringing.

But dad broke the tradition. He was in many ways our hero as we were growing up. Having had a plethora of careers, he could do pretty much anything well, from fixing bikes and later cars, to helping with school work (even in French, which he "didn't" know) and playing sports or games, to discovering and learning about the world, if we were interested (or not). As a teenager, I remember growing up wanting to be like dad, excited about life and the world, knowing how to rest, play and work hard, building things and building up people along the way.

Ironically, the very adventure, the ultimate hero status could be readily attained by being an involved dad. Our society needs to get past it's idea that raising kids and being involved in children's lives is a woman thing, both for the kids sake who desperately want their daddy hero, for the dad's sake who desire deep down to be the hero and for women who need to see there is a place for both of us, who at times need to give over control and watch a beautiful love affair unfold between dads and their children. If they (all of us) would only try, it's so natural. Ivan thinks Brian is the ultimate hero, in his eyes, daddy is authority and love, stylish, strong, manly, he works with machines like the endlessly fascinating lawn mower and "plays" in the dirt of the garden. Daddy-hero cheers him to go down ever bigger slides and scrapes the dirt off his shins when he tumbles out of them. Daddy makes magical music come out of a two-by-four looking thing and makes mom so happy when he bathes or takes on some daddy responsibility-- what more could you ask for? see, he IS a hero!

What was the best part about your dad growing up? Is he an involved and adventurous dad?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Last month!

I can hardly believe the time is almost here. Almost as in the next 2-6 weeks, unless she's really early, but I don't foresee that. Grandma Ruth has given her first grandaughter instructions to arrive up to one week minus a day early and soon after that. Ivan had the same guidelines and complied wonderfully coming 1 day before his due date, on my birthday, a week after grandma arrived, leaving her two weeks to cuddle, spoil and pamper (baby and mom). This time will be extra special since grandpa Ian will make the trip too. Last time Nana and Papa Terry didn't make it on time for the birth, but were there a few hours after Ivan's grand arrival. Grandpa Ray has a trip planned for Sept. and grandma Sue has her hands full with a set of grand twins at present, but we hope she can make it down soon too! Come one, come all, it's a party celebrating new life: starts as soon as the little guest of honor arrives and continues through her lifetime. We've loved sharing our kids with family and have so very much appreciated the trips made, since we have not been able to get far yet... but we're hoping to make it up to Canada this Christmas to return the favor and see another precious bundle due to Auntie Jenn and Uncle John (my first niece or nephew, I'm SO excited). Isn't all this new life great? Nobody told me how very exciting it would be. I can hardly wait to see my daughter's face and little body, hold her, smell her (well, at least the top end) and kiss her, kiss her, kiss her. I'm hoping she likes to cuddle too. Ivan likes to cuddle, especially when he wakes up from a nap. There is nothing like holding his precious little chubby body and feeling his hug in return.

OK, ok, so on to the doctor visit (yes, another one). I gained as much weight in two weeks as I have been in 2-3 months, but my doctor said it is probably swelling, thanks to the 100 degree temps we've been having (around 37 C). I didn't mention the facts that I've been outside in those temps building furniture or that we have 3 tubs of ice cream at the house. She said the baby's head is down and that I was dilated a fingernail, I guess that means just a wee little bit. We are going in every week now. This was my first visit by myself with Ivan since Brian is working with a neighbor on a ramp for Big Buddy. Ivan did wonderful. He wanted to get his blood pressure taken also and showed me his belly with "baby" too. I keep telling him his does not have a baby, but I'm not sure he believes me.

On a side note, I did feel better since last night we butchered Ivan's hair with his worst haircut ever, but at least two people told me how cute his hair was without me saying anything. At their comments I said we screwed it up, and my nurse told me about a time she took her son to the hairdresser where they butchered it and that she cried. So then I thought, another hairdresser may have screwed it up too and we would have had to pay for it on top of that!

Ivan made up a new trick today. He was standing on my belly and could almost touch the ceiling hovering about 7 1/2 feet above the ground. He thought it was hillarious. The above picture is in honor of all those women in their last trimester! We call it: "no room at the inn!!" Poor Ivan was enjoying the recliner until momma and enclosed baby joined him, it was not quite so comfortable after that! One of the ladies in our prenatal swim class noticed that there are tons of pictures of pregnant women in ads, but they are only ever about 5 months along. Somehow, the 8 and 9 month pregnant women don't seem as photogenic I guess.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fatherhood 1- Shame, shame, shame

I have read and read and looked and scoured web sites about fathering, fatherhood, fathers, father… and was absolutely shocked and horrified. When I did this about moms, there were quotes upon quotes of beautifully written testimonies to women loved and cherished as mothers. But when I went looking for these delightful gems about fathers, there was nothing. NOTHING!

My caveat: I do understand that there are jerks in the world, who fulfilled the quote which says it is easy to become a father, but hard to be one. I know there are bum dads, uninvolved, practically non-existent and uncaring dads. But lets be real, there are moms like that too, just not as many and not as publicized or ridiculed. Furthermore, there are excellent dads, I believe more and more all the time who go the extra mile, invest in, love and care for their kids, sometimes even better than the moms or at least with their own special flair for parenting.

Have you noticed that men are the brunt of most our jokes? I had a cartoon I thought was hilarious and I’d show it to Brian often, but he thought it was insulting. Then I saw it. Our society constantly puts down men and fathers, whether it be in jokes, magazines or TV shows, or just our way of talking. If women were treated this way, there would be immediate and aggressive outrage. It’s our trend to defend the woman, “she had a rough day, she has her hands full, we all make mistakes…”, but for the men it’s, “what an idiot, he should know better, men are always like that…”

Of course there are grains of truth in much of the hilarity and stories, but again, women can be air headed just like the guys. I’m seeing there are lots of factors to the reasons men are not excelling in the parenting arena and will share along these thoughts in the coming weeks to all those captivated by my discovery (ha, ha!)

I noticed magazines and newspapers honor mothers in May and have people write about the wonderful ways their mothers have impacted their lives. But come June, the feature becomes "funny things dad has done". Last year, I distinctly remember crying with joy over pictures and comments of people with their moms. For father's day the same paper had readers send in the ugly ties they had sent their dads! (What is wrong with us?) Do we think men are too macho for all that sentimental stuff. Are they not close to us because WE push them away with our heartless ridicule. How many times does it take before the man says to himself that maybe he really is incompetent as a parent or partner and that things are better left with his least involvement? Pay attention to what you see, hear and say. What evidence are you discovering about this inequality in the way we treat the “opposite” sex?

(Look at what I just wrote! Why do we call the other “opposite”? Are we at war? Why not “complimenting” or “seconding” or “balancing”) What do you think? And what do you notice?

Friday, June 02, 2006

snaps: cute and quirky vol.8

Ivan and the big men.

He'll get this fixed in just a few bizillion minutes, after he scatters all the nuts and bolts over the yard. At least, that's what I'm sure he'd like to do.

Ivan still likes to be carried, but momma doesn't have any room in front anymore, so he has to settle for a backseat view.