Monday, August 29, 2011

Valuables

Over the past few days, the entire east coast prepared for Hurricane Irene. This potentially catastrophic storm was supposed to hit my area Saturday afternoon-Sunday morning, and Allen and I did what we could to secure our home and belongings in case of disaster. We did not venture out to Walmart to stare at water bottle shelves that looked like Ipod aisle on Black Friday, but we did bring in our lawn furniture and fill our bathtub with water, among other things that felt futile in light of the disaster that was supposed to be upon us.

Our family lives in a mobile home nestled in a bunch of trees, and to be honest, I was a bit afraid that our entire house would be carried away a la Wizard of Oz, or that a tree would decide to become a permanent fixture of our roof. With these fears in mind, we decided to venture west to Allen's parents who live in Lancaster County and were not even on the "tornado warning" map. Nevertheless, I was still anxious about what we would return to and what we could lose. Even though Allen and my dad explained to me several times how home insurance works, I still felt the need to do something. So, as we packed enough clothes and baby toys to last us a week at mom and dad Paisley's house (you know, in case we couldn't make it home or Lorelei decide to mess up every article of clothing she had on at every meal), I also decided to pack some valuables to bring with me. But what?

When one is scrambling to condense memories of a lifetime into a few items, one begins to really think about what is important. Allen and I are pretty simple people. We did not pack any precious jewelry, a piggy bank full of savings (does anyone do that anymore, really?) or a massive CD collection. We did not grab every article of clothing we owned or bring the xBox and extra laptop. What I deemed important were a few special items that spoke about our past and present.

My laptop, filled with our picture files.
My DSLR camera.
Our Wedding Album
A box of photos from Lorelei's first year.
A frame containing Lorelei's and my hospital bracelets and her birth stats card.
Photos of our grandparents and some of my parents' wedding photos.
The earrings Allen gave me to wear on our wedding day, along with a $15 vintage locket that he bought me during the summer I lost my job and a golden cross he gave me for my 17th birthday, before we were really even an "us."


Altogether, those things were not really worth that much, but the value was priceless. These small things were a reminder to me of how precious and tiny my baby girl was. Of how beautifully captured some of the moments in our life were. Of loved ones frozen in time. Of how my husband knows my taste so well, and desires to please me with simple gifts during meaningful times. Of how incredibly in love we are, and what a beautiful story we have.

Needless to say, all of the preparations we made ended up being unnecessary. Our house and yard came out of the hurricane/tornado unscathed, we never lost power, and there was no flooding. While at first I was tempted to think that we had hyped this whole event up for nothing, I was later faced with the realization that many had lost a great deal in the storm, and my family was one of the lucky ones.

I cannot imagine how devestated I would have been had I lost these valuable items, but really, they are just things. The memories are preserved in my mind and heart, and my love for husband and children cannot be even slightly recreated with a tangible object. As I sat at my in laws' house, surrounded by delicious food and a family who I love dearly (as well as a ridiculous amount of Melissa and Doug toys), I realized that I had my greatest treasures with me. My husband who I adore more today than the day I married him. My daughter who fills me with more joy and laughter than I could ever imagine. A tiny baby, the size of a pepper, squirming around in my belly. And my Savior's love and peace living in my heart. I am truly blessed.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lorelei at 17 months



So, I figure it was time for a Lorelei update, considering the last time I really wrote about her she was still a new walker and just saying about six words. My has she changed. I know this sounds so weird when I say it, but she is such a little person now, not just a baby. Aside from the fact that she is over 20 lbs now and has bangs (they are SO cute!), she just understands so much now and tries so very hard to communicate. Here are some silly and sweet things my little buddy does:

Lorelei absolutely loves music, and has in the past few weeks made it a really interactive experience. She likes to listen to Laurie Berkner songs and "sing along" and/or dance with them, even if it is only two words and two movements. I was used to her singing little nonsense words to songs on her own, but on the way home from a vacation, I heard her actually start singing words. Allen and I were driving somewhere with Lorelei's CD quietly playing as we talked, and then the song "Moon Moon Moon" came on. Suddenly, I heard Lorelei start singing, alternating between softly and loudly, "moo moo MOO! moo moo MOO!" It was so cute! That still continues to be one of her favorite songs and she wants to sing it before every nap, bedtime, and car ride. She also loves "Buzz Buzz Buzz" and "We are the Dinosaurs." Ironically, she also loves a Garth Brooks song thanks to her daddy. Sometimes when Lorelei and Allen are having special daddy/daughter time (normally when I am resting), I hear "Wrapped Up In You" come on and come out to see Lorelei and her daddy dancing and singing along. It is so cute, and she asks for that song every day now.




She has SO many words now, though a lot of them sound the same. She can identify and say by name most of her family members (Aunts and Uncles are still hard to say), knows where the baby is in my tummy (baaaay be!) and makes a ton of animal sounds (my favorite being the elephant). Normally she can get her point across when she wants something, though with her newfound verbal skills have come an affinity for whining and a preference for the word "no" (pronounced "mo!") I think I have heard that word several times just in the time it has taken to write these few paragraphs! I still adore when she wakes up in the morning shouting "Mama!!!"

While it sometimes slows things down, Lorelei loves to try to do what we do and help with things. She likes to hand me dishes out of the dishwasher, help me make food, throw things in the trash, sit on the potty (sometimes), blow dry and brush her hair, and wash herself and brush her teeth. I knew I hard to really watch what she can reach when I saw her trying to shave her legs with my razor. :-)




Some of my favorite things about Lorelei are the little sweet things she does to be close to us. She has started taking our hands and leading us places when she wants us to sit down with her. She is constantly bringing us books (often the same ones over and over) and climbing into our laps to listen to them. She holds my hands when we pray together and voluntarily gives kisses. She even kisses my belly goodnight. I can't wait to see how she interacts with the baby.




I love being Lorelei's mom and am so blessed to spend all day, every day with her. It is tiring keeping up with her and entertaining her, but I really can't complain. She is a great napper, getting to be a better eater, and she still likes to cuddle with me. As the tiredness and sickness of early pregnancy are wearing off, I am looking forward to the fun things we can do together this fall. I hope to do more crafts, take more walks, go on more field trips (to gardens and museums), and learn more games and songs. It is amazing seeing the little girl she is becoming.


Monday, August 8, 2011

End of Summer = Baby update



Well, it has been almost three months since I have updated. And for once, I have a good excuse. I am 15 weeks pregnant with number 2! Now, why does that mean that I could not blog? Well, up until the past couple weeks, I was dealing with yucky morning sickness (which thankfully has ended), extreme fatigue (which unfortunately has not ended), and have been chasing around a toddler the whole time. That, and I did not want to make the announcement public on a blog before it was facebook official (because really, when else is something as real as it is when it is facebook official?)

So, for fun, I thought I would take a little pregnancy survey to tell everyone how things are going. Maybe soon I will post some belly pictures :-). Eventually I will resume regular Lorelei updates; she is quite the character now!

PREGNANCY:
Mother Name: Diana
Age: 24
Birthday: September 11
Height: 5’4"
Father Name: Allen
Age: 25
Birthday: December 13
Height: 5'8"
How far along are you now?: 15 weeks, 1 day
FIRSTS: Is this your first pregnancy?: Nope, its my second!
How did you find out you were pregnant?: I was waiting for my monthly friend to arrive, when I noticed some really strong back cramps that felt JUST like ones I had with Lorelei. I tried to hold off testing because Allen was in Japan, but after I was over a day late, I just knew I was pregnant. After Allen told me to go test (via Skype), I drove straight to CVS.
What kind of pregnancy test did you take?: The CVS brand of Clearblue. It said the word "pregnant" on it so no lines were up to interpretation :-)
How many?: I took 1 that first day, then another once Allen came home.
What were your first symptoms?: back cramps, fatigue, bloating.
Did you have morning sickness?: Ugh...yes! More like all day nausea/food aversions.
Who did you tell first?: Allen over the phone, then Gretchen and Daniel, Meghan, and a few other friends. I kinda told my sister before I tested :-).
Who was with you when you found out? Lorelei!
Was baby planned?: Yes :)
How far were you when you found out?: 4 weeks





My BABY:
Due date:: January 30, 2012
Do you want to know the sex?: Absolutely! The ultrasound is scheduled for September 1
Any intuitions?: I think it is another girl, but I was wrong with the first!
Any Old Wives Tale for Gender? Chinese Gender Chart says girl...and I think the heartrate has been on the higer side.
Do you know the sex?: not yet!
Any ultrasounds?: One at 6 weeks just to see if everything was there, then a nice surprise one last week where I saw that it actually looks like a baby :-)
Have you heard the heartbeat?: Several times. I love that sound and wish I could hear it everyday!!
Who do you think baby will look like?: Maybe more like me this time!
Will baby have any siblings?: 1 sister...for now.
Have you felt baby move?: Maybe? Nothing definitive

MISCELLANEOUS: Did you have any cravings?: Sushi sushi sushi!
Did you have any mood swings?: Yes, lots of moodiness and anxiety
Are you a high risk pregnancy?: Nope
Any complications?: None so far, praise God!
Formula or breastfeeding?: breastfeeding, Lord willing
Have you bought anything for baby yet?: Nope!
When did you start to show?: About 10 weeks? Or maybe that was still some bloat.
How long could you wear your regular clothes?: I had to break out the Bella Band pretty quickly :-) But no maternity clothes yet.
Are you excited?: Yup! Getting more excited now that it is feeling more real.
Who will help with baby after their born?: My husband, our parents, my best friends, our church family...
What is your favorite thing about being pregnant?: I love seeing how my body changes and feeling movement. I love being God's vessel for one of His precious children. And I love that I can eat whatever I want and sleep whenever I want with no judgment :-)
What is the worst thing about being pregnant?: Being SO tired that I feel like I can't keep up with my house. Not being able to enjoy Lorelei as much or the new baby as much because of being preoccupied with the other.
What’s one thing do you miss doing since being pregnant?: diet coke and RAW sushi
Are you ready for baby?: Not yet, but I think we will be by the winter!
How many kids do you want?: I would love 4! 2 girls and 2 boys.
Do you talk to your baby?: Not enough yet, but I ask Lorelei to give the baby kisses and she does.
Do you still feel attractive?: Yes! Especially since I lost 6 or 7 lbs in the first trimester so all the weight when straight to my bump :-)
Have you had your baby shower yet?: I am not anticipating having a baby shower this time.
Do you like kids?: Yup!
What are you most looking forward to in the next trimester? Well, I am looking forward to finding out the sex THIS trimester, and for how awesome second trimester feels.
What is your biggest fear? That having an almost-two-year-old and a newborn will be way more overwhelming than I think. But I am sure God will provide!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things I miss when my husband is in Japan...


So, my hubby has been away on a business trip to Japan since last Friday night, and gets home tomorrow night. A little less than seven days is definitely not the worst trip ever, but it is still long enough to help me appreciate him even more. This is the third time he has gone in the past six months, and I still miss him just as much and am just as excited for him to come home. I will try to spare you the gushing and mushy-ness, but here are some of the little things I miss:

-I miss his and Lorelei's little time together every morning. Every morning, when my child starts squawking (or screaming) through the monitor, sometimes I treat it like an alarm clock and hit the snooze turn it off, roll over, and beg for five more minutes (mama likes her sleep). Not my proudest moment, but I honestly am not even thinking. Allen then gets up, gets her out of bed, and fixes them a bowl of cereal. If I were to come out of the room at this point, I would find two sleepy-eyed buddies in their jammies and bed head eating cereal and watching cartoons (like Pink Panther and Jimmy Newtron, not Blues Clues or Wonderpets, or any of the other things I put on for her). They spend a good 20 minutes together while I rest and marvel at how blessed I am (well, that part normally comes when I am more awake). Then, once Allen needs to get ready for work, Lorelei stays glued to his leg until he is out the door. And let me tell you, if I try to take Miss Lorelei away from her daddy before he leaves for work, it is like removing a limb.

-I miss the convenience of being in the same time zone (or in a time zone closer than 14 hours apart), and knowing that I could pick up the phone at any time and reach him. It is nice to not have to file things in my head for our 15 minutes of conversation a day.

-On the same note, I miss how when we are together, there is not really the need to intentionally SAY so much to communicate how our days were. I can just be with him and conversationally talk about random things (or nothing) as it flows. When we are in front of Skype (God bless Skype by the way), I feel like I need to think of all these interesting topics and things to mention, and my mind draws a blank. It is normally OK because I am spending our whole Skype time trying to keep Lorelei from encrypting my computer.

-I like my cat as much as the next person, but I miss sharing my bed with the hubby. It is just so nice going to sleep and waking up next to someone.

-And on THAT note, I miss the fact that Allen normally is the one who feeds that cat and cleans out the litterbox. Poor Hailey.

-I just miss his presence. His smile, his hugs, his voice, his smell...I know I am in love with my husband, but it is amazing how much about a person one can take for granted until they are thousands of miles away.

Only 26 more hours!

Friday, May 13, 2011

And speaking of gardens, we go to this place a lot...

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For Mother's day, my dear husband bought me a membership to Longwood Gardens. I have been going to this place since I was young, and to be honest, at first it did not thrill me too much. I mean, I like pretty flowers as much as the next person, but there is only so long I can look at them before I get a bit bored. I preferred to go to Longwood for their outdoor theatre or because it is a pretty romantic spot for dates. When he mentioned getting me a membership, I did not know what to think at first. Would I use it? Would I like it? Would we get our money's worth?

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The answer is yes, to all the above. My perspective on this place totally changed with a child in tow. It is so perfect! Sick of walking around my local park? I just hop in the car and drive 30 minutes to the most gorgeous place for miles. There are special designated kids gardens which I never really paid attention to before, tons of places to have a picnic lunch, (clean) bathrooms all over, and discounts on lots of fun activities and concerts. I also found out that not only I have a membership now, but a great many of my friends who like to bring their littles. Apparently this is the cool place to go and I was the last to really get it!

We went on a family outing the day before mother's day, and I have since taken her twice with friends. She loves to walk down the paths, to try to swim with look at and feed the catfish, and especially to play in the fountains. I am so excited to have this special place to go all year, and am so thankful to my wonderful husband for knowing before I did how much I would love this gift!

Here are some pictures from our first trip:

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(it is the perfect place to bring a fancy camera!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Come, sweet day

Come to my garden nestled in the hills
There I'll keep you safe beside me
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Come to my garden, rest there in my arms
There I'll see you safely grown and on your way
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Stay there in the garden
Where love grows free and wild
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Come to my garden
Come, sweet child
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Lift me up and lead me to the garden where life begins anew
Where I'll find you, and I'll find you love me too
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Come to my garden
Rest there in my arms
There I'll see you safely grown
And on your way
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I shall see you in my garden
Where spring will come and stay
Come to my garden
Come, sweet day
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photos taken at Meme and Poppop's house on 5/5/2011, song: "Come to my Garden/Lift Me Up" from The Secret Garden by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Motherhood

This is my second mother's day

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Last year, I definitely felt like a "real mother." Lorelei was two months old and we went through our share of struggles. But it was still very new to me, and I felt like a "newbie" in a special club. Now, I am not saying with a 14 month old I am this expert now. By no means! In fact, every day I am more aware of how selfish and inexperienced I am. God's grace is so beautiful and so applicable to motherhood. Nothing I do wrong could make Him see anything but Jesus when He looks at me. I am that covered by His grace. And likewise, no matter how much I screw up, no matter how sub par I am at this mothering thing, Lorelei still looks at me with adoring eyes, clings to my leg, and cries out "Mama! Mama! Mama!" with a grin on her face. I know that someday, far too soon, she will look at me with a critical eye and be embarassed by things I say or how I dress, but for now, I love being her best friend.

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And likewise, being a mother helps me to look at my own mother with new eyes. I don't remember any times I was angry for getting in trouble when I was little, or any of the silly things that I got annoyed at when I was a teenager, but I remember that my mother was always present, always there for me, and always giving of herself. I hope and pray that I can be so selfless with my time and talents as Lorelei grows, and that she always remembers me being there. And now, as a new facet of motherhood was bestowed on her as a grandmother, she is even more beautiful. I love how she acts like a total nut for my kid, and Lorelei adores her for it. Whenever my mom comes to see Lorelei, even if she just saw her the day before, my mom gives her the most excited greeting ever, and Lorelei lights up like the sun. We kicked off mother's day with a bang this year by trekking to the Flower Market, observing a tradition that I used to have when I was small. My mom pushed her around in the stroller, sat with her knees up to her ears in a pint-sized car ride, and bought us ice cream cones and petting zoo tickets. My mom, my daughter, and me- a complete circle, loving life.

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And I couldn't write a mother's day post without honoring my incredible mother-in-law as well. Even before there was a ring on my finger, my husband's mother made me feel like a daughter. She has always been one of the most welcoming and serving people I have ever met, and always made me feel like I was one of the family. I know many other non-blood-related people who feel the same way. Her house is truly like another home to me, and I love that I can just go there with Lorelei to enjoy her delicious food, company, and gorgeous yard. I love watching her love Lorelei so much, and love how observant she is to Lorelei's needs. Not to mention the fact that my husband is the sweetest, most hard-working, most respectful person in the world is a great testimony to what an incredible mother he has. I know he learned so much who what makes him the wonderful man that I love from her. I am so so thankful that I married into a family where I can share her.

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(Lorelei loving Meme's flowers)
It has been a long year since the first mother's day, and I feel like God has grown me so much. I have seen temper tantrums and first steps. I have endured a choking scare and an ER visit. I have heard real words uttered from her lips and still thrive on the sounds of her giggles. I went through times where I had to defend my wishes for her, even if it made me look like a control-freak, and times where I had to kick back and acknowledge that my kid is going to eat dirt or paper or poop and still be OK. I have want to watch her learn things like how to swim, how to dance, how to bake bread, how to color in the lines. How to read books. How to take pictures. How to bless others. How to love Jesus.
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Oh, what a wonderful calling this is.

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