Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The greatest of these is LOVE

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
  If this be error and upon me proved,
  I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

OK, I'm about to English geek it up in here...consider yourself warned!

I have loved Shakespeare's 116th sonnet from the very first time I ever read it; I think I was in middle school.  It is one of the few pieces of literature, with the exception of scripture, that I have memorized, and much like reading a favorite passage of Bible, every time I read it, I get a familiar, cozy feeling.  Now I am usually not one for flowery, lovey-dovey stuff like romantic poetry, but this sonnet is an exception.  The ol' Bard really nails the essence of true love on the head here, without dressing it up with lots of frills and "gag me" over-the-top sentiments.  He's basically saying when you love someone, really love someone, you just love them.  Problems don't stop you from loving them.  You don't change the way you feel about a person you love, or stop loving them if they change, or leave, or even die.  You love them "even to the edge of doom!"  This is  why so many people stay in relationships they know are bad for them, but it's also why good marriages stay together.  Love is a crazy strong bond, a double-edged sword for sure...but that's a different topic for a different time.

I am writing because I heard the sonnet read on TV as I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, and as I listened, I thought about it in a totally different light.  Tonight I heard it as a momma.  It stuck me how the sentiments apply just as aptly to my love for my son, even though my relationship with Ethan is not at all romantic.  There is a lot about this world that I do not know, but I know this much is true: there is no limit to how much I love that crazy little man, no amount of "tempests" he can throw at me that will make me ever stop loving him.   I pray all the time that Ethan will make good decisions as he grows older, but even if (perhaps when) he doesn't, I want him to know that his place in my heart, in our family, is "an ever-fixed mark."

And as I stood at the sink thinking about my love for my child, I started to think about God's love for us, His children (my thoughts are usually one big stream-of-consciousness spaghetti platter- everything flows into everything else).  That lyric, "Oh love that will not let me go," came to mind, and I had a thought: every ounce of love I am blessed to experience on this earth, be it friendship, familial, or romantic, is just a mere reflection of God's love for me.  This morning in the Tuesday morning ladies Bible study I go to, someone mentioned that the Bible, boiled down to its simplest form, is just a great big love story- a God who gave up everything again and again for a relationship.  And I've never really thought about it that way before, but it's true.  Christ told us that our primary job as Christians is to just love people like He would.  I say "just" love them, but oh, what a task that is when you think about the way Christ loved.  That means not judging, not giving people what they "deserve," not keeping score, not holding grudges, not getting tired, never giving up...whew!  And it's not just in my own life!  On top of all that, I've been entrusted with this precious baby's heart as well, to make sure that he grows up knowing God's love for him just as much as my own.  It would be overwhelming if I thought I had to do it on my own!  Thank God I don't!

It never ceases to amaze me how completely humbling motherhood is- raising a HUMAN is a BIG STINKIN' DEAL!!  Never before has the fact that I can't do it all on my own, much less do it all right, been more apparent in my life, but it's exactly what I need right now in my walk.  I love that as I get closer to Ethan, I also get closer to God- I'm enjoying the ride!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some pictures of my sweet boy, in no particular order

Apparently, Ethan is a fellow tooth-brushing fanatic?! He gets it from me- I won "Best Brusher Award" many times at my orthodontist's office.  Can't believe I just bragged about that. HA! 

This mischievous little devil  found the extra Easter grass in a SEALED Ziploc bag, in a SEALED  gift-wrap box.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked in and saw this!  He was so proud of himself, and I was pretty impressed!! :-)

This picture makes me giggle.  What a FACE!  Still don't know what that expression is!  Also, this shows his love of dog toys, which he prefers to his own.

This was the first time Ethan ran a high fever.  He randomly got a 103-104 degree fever in the middle of the afternoon one day, and battled it for about 4 days.  The fever was the only symptom, and the doctors couldn't figure out what the deal was.  Anyhow, we knew he wasn't feeling like himself because he was sleepy and cuddly, which is SO not like him.  He's normally a little whirlwind of activity.  Even though I hate that he was sick, I love this picture.  Seeing Clay with our son like this makes my heart just swell.

Another mischievous look.  Cups are one of his favorite things to play with.  They roll across the floor (and he chases), and they echo when he "talks" into them.  He also likes to drink from them (when we're helping).

My happy boy!

Lots of pictures look like this because he's always on the go!  He's gotten everything down except for independent walking.

Shielding himself from the mommarazzi! ;-) 

It absolutely thrills me that Ethan enjoys reading!  The book above, Toes, Ears, and Nose is one of his favorites these days.  He loves to look at books on his own, and loves to be read to- it's pretty much the only way I can get in any snuggle time, because he will not sit still while being held otherwise!  I really hope he continues to enjoy books, because I sure do!

Ethan is into appliances.  Well, I should rephrase that- Ethan likes trying to GET INTO appliances.  He tries to climb into the dishwasher and fridge every single time they're opened.  I'm a fanatic about keeping him away from the stove, or I'm sure he'd be all over that too!  Perhaps this means he'll enjoy doing the dishes one day?  I hope so!

Look at that face- ferocious!  I've never seen a kid eat the way Ethan does!  As my mom says, "That kid can put away some groceries!"  Everyone remarks on it.  Homeboy has never met a food he doesn't like, and if you are eating in front of him, you'd better be prepared to share, or you're going to hear about it!  It's crazy- he stole a cupcake from the baby he sat next to at his friend Raleigh's first birthday party.  He regularly takes Puffs away from the kids he sits next to in Sunday School.  I promise, he eats at home, but he's still a little food bandit!  And he has never stopped eating on his own- it's only been when the food has run out.  And let me tell you, if the food runs out before he's ready to stop, he'll yell until he gets more! Maybe he has a hollow leg?!  Now that he's getting teeth, there's going to be no holding him back!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Well it's official- I fail at blogging!

Ethan is now 10 months old.  Aaaaaand the last time I posted an update on our sweet man was when he was 5 months old.  Thus the title.  Truth be told, I know exactly why my postings have been so spotty.  It's not that I've forgotten about the blog.  No, quite the contrary!  I can't tell you how many postings have been thought out, down to the pictures that will accompany them!  But (and this is a big BUT), I keep waiting until I can sit down and really concentrate on writing something well.  Something witty.  Something with a good layout, with plenty of pictures.  Ha.  All of you fellow mommas out there, especially the veterans, are probably clutching your sides with laughter at this point.  "Silly girl!  Don't you know that once you have a baby, free time becomes either a thing of the past!?"  Yes, I think I am finally beginning to learn.

It's not that I literally don't have free time...there's just a lot less of it, and it certainly looks a lot different today than it did this time last year! For example, when I do have a free moment (also known as the blessed, holy nap), a Sophie's Choice decision usually presents itself: should I do what I want to do, or what I should do?  While it is definitely a much simpler thing to scrub a toilet without a bebe climbing up my legs, chanting "Mamamamamama," I also prefer to drink a cup of coffee relaxed on the couch, while reading or catching up on DVRed TV shows, instead of blearily gulping it down with one hand, while feeding the wee one breakfast.  And so the choice presents itself: what do I do with that morning nap hour?  This type of decision making occurs during the afternoon nap as well.  And with the exception of those 2-4 hours of the day, I am a full-time baby entertainer!  So perhaps you can see how blogging has not quite made it to the top of the list.  :-)  If nothing else, my 2 month blog absence serves as a testament to how busy life with Ethan has become.  That's not a complaint, just the truth!

So I've decided that in order to be successful at this blogging thing, a shift in focus needs to occur.  Instead of waiting until I have the time to do it "right," I am going to work on squeezing in little postings whenever I can.  After all, it's not as though I'm being graded on this thing!  I am such a perfectionist freak that I've been treating my own blog, which probably has 3.5 readers total, as something that needed to be done, instead of something to enjoy.  And Lord knows a new mother like myself should not, I repeat should not, be adding things to her own to-do list!  And so I am going to make a very conscious effort to change that.  Here's proof: every single bone in my body wants to make this a massive catch-up post, in an attempt to make up for my wayward blogging ways. I want to write about every single milestone achieved, fun trip taken, and memory made within the past 5 months.  I really do.  I'm so neurotic, I even know exactly how I would do it!  I would divide it by month, with headings like "6 months," and "7 months"-- there would be pictures to accompany all of the text-- it would be lovely!  It would also take 19 years, and would put me even more behind, thus propagating a vicious cycle of perfectionist self-loathing, a constant dance of one step forward and two steps back.  So I'm not. going. to. do. it.  I will post a few pictures, hit a few highlights, and move on!    

I've actually had to have a very similar shift in focus-- a relaxing of standards, you might say-- in all areas of my life since becoming a mother.  I can no longer spend an entire day cleaning my house from top to bottom; instead, I've had to learn how to tackle chores quickly and creatively, fitting them in when I can.  Does this mean that my baseboards might stay dirty longer than I'd like them to? Yes. (My inner Monica is actually screaming YES!!)  But did the world implode?  No.  I know I've said this before, but one of the most unexpected benefits that came with motherhood (aside from Ethan) has been a forced recognition of my own limits.  From the first moment I learned I was expecting (not planned!), I have learned more and more that some things are out of my control- that I have to let go.  Granted, I've never actually been able to do it all, or control it all, but having Ethan has forced me to realize that I shouldn't even try to!  And although I can't change who I am- I'll probably always want to tackle one too many things- Ethan forces me to look at things from a new perspective, which is a good thing, even if it's uncomfortable for me.

So! Here's the "Cliff's Notes" guide to what's occurred in the interim, in no particular order:
- We cheered on Clay in his first marathon!  So proud of him!  Now he's working on training for a triathlon.
- Ethan went from scooting on his belly, army crawl style, to crawling, to pulling up and cruising along furniture!
- We went to the beach a few times- Ethan loved every single thing about it, just like his momma and daddy!
- Ethan graduated from purees to feeding himself small bites of food (I just dice everything now).  He has yet to taste anything he doesn't like.  The boy even eats crazy things like pickles, curries, even LEMONS if we let him!
- Ethan gained his first uncle!  We went to Tennessee to be a part of Rachel and Jason's wedding earlier this month- it was lovely!
- Friends have moved away, loved ones have passed away, but God is still good.
- Ethan attended his very first birthday party!  Also tasted his first cupcake.  He stole the cupcake of the kid next to him soon after.  Suffice it to say he was a fan of frosting! :-)
- He went to his first Easter egg hunt, and sat on the Easter bunny's lap.  Truth be told, he wasn't that impressed with any of it, with the exception of the crinkly Easter basket grass.
- We toured and enrolled Ethan in the "Mother's Morning Out" program at  FUMC - starting in August he'll go 2 days a week, from 9 am- 1 pm.  I know he'll love it!
-Ethan started distinctly saying "Ma ma" and "Deh deh"- other than that it's just a lot of squeals, screams, and sounds.  He's making the rolling "r" sound (like in Spanish class) all the time these days!  Cracks us up (I think he likes feeling his new teeth).
- He has 4 teeth, and more on the way!
- At his 9 month well-baby check up he weighed 20 lbs 2 oz (only 50th%, but he looks like such a little chunk!) and was 27 3/4 inches tall (about the 33rd%)

Well, it's been about an hour, and Ethan will be waking up soon, so I am going to go relax for a bit.  Pictures to follow!


"Although our house is entirely baby-proofed and filled with a veritable smorgasbord of toys, she wants exactly what she can’t have. If it can maim or kill her, if it contains red wine or hot coffee and can be spilled on a carpet, a piece of electronic equipment or her head, if it can destroy a plant or some small piece of our adult happiness, she wants it."

Read this quote in a magazine- cracked me up!  Ethan is the same exact way!  Homeboy's naughty escapades include (but are not limited to): joyfully dumping Buddy's water bowl all over the floor and/or all over himself, and splashing in the aftermath -- shattering a glass (he pulled up on the side table, which had previously been way too tall for him, outta nowhere!) -- dumping out and playing in the contents of small trashcans -- trying to climb into the refrigerator and dishwasher -- secretly munching on remnants of charcoal from outdoor grill (found on patio)-- finding a tiny, mostly empty bottle of lotion, unscrewing its top, and smearing its contents all over himself...  you get the idea!

And lest you fear for Ethan's well-being (and before you get the phone to alert DFCS!), let me assure you, I have been right there for every single one of these events!  That's what's so impressive/amusing/crazy about it- it's not as though I ran out to my car for something, or went to check the mail.  These things happen  when I've just turned my back, or have walked out of the room to do something superquick, like put something in the dishwasher.  Little man is a ninja when it comes to trouble-making!  He certainly keeps me on my toes, but life with him is such a joy- wouldn't have it any other way!