Monday, September 13, 2010

The Curiousities of Curious George

This is George.
He was a good little monkey and always very curious.

Thus begins the tale of a cute little monkey surrounded by bright colors and with a happy smile. It seems like a great little childrens series. Some people (who will remain nameless) even think of decorating a whole room based on pictures like the above for those reasons. And once one picks a theme, one runs with it. Right? Now, we'll take these 'people' and look at them two years down the road. After multiple readings of the adventures of that cute, silly little monkey, we're they're rethinking their decision.

Consider 'Curious George Goes to the Aquarium'. In this tale our furry little friend is too impatient to wait for his friend to purchase tickets, so he hops the wall and goes in without the man in the yellow hat. Strike one. He then proceeds to wander around oblivious to rules and regulations. Puts his fingers in a crab tank 'Snap! Ouch! Poor George. He did not like this exhibit.' Really? First of all if one gets their finger snapped by a crab, from what I understand it's no small owie. Second, how does on one see a monkey wandering around by himself and yelling ouch? I suppose for the sake of the book I can suspend reality a little, but I'm already suspect. After the crab tank George wanders out to find the penguin exhibit. He promptly climbs in the exhibit and plays with the penguins. Then when he gets busted by the aquarium staff he tries to run away. He opens a door which lets all the penguins out. 'The staff was angry at George.' You think? But never fear, our little monkey isn't in too much trouble. He saves a baby penguin who fell in the water. 'The director thanked George for his help and made him an hnorary staff member of the aquarium.'

So, what does this teach my children? If you wander away from the adult in charge and cause all kinds of a mess it's ok as long as you finish the day by doing one good thing. In fact not only will the one good deed make up for all the messes, you'll also be handsomely rewarded. Read some other Curious George stories, they present the same kind of plot scheme.

I still think the little monkey is one of the cutest little guys ever. And I have a particular affinity for monkies in general (take Stanton for example. Just kidding Sweetie!). But I'm not sure I want to keep reading these stories to my kids.

This brings me to another parenting question? How much of those undertones does a kid pick up? At what age do they put pieces together to make conclusions like I did two paragraphs above? When does a book stop just being an interesting story and start being applicable to real life? One of my friends both in real life and in blogland recently posted an intriguing picture about the Disney princesses.
I don't really agree with all these ideas. In fact, I think some of them are very contradictory to the movie ideas. In any event, I certainly didn't come away with these types of thinking when I watched them when I was younger. But do some girls develop some kind of complex from the princesses?

How much do our kids try to translate fairy tales in to real life?

I love my life!

I am so thankful to be able to take on my two part time jobs. It is absotively, posilutely the the best thing for me. I can't imagine a better situation. First, I get to stay home with my kids 5 days out of the week. How lucky am I?! I get to see Chaselyn grow every day. Right now her vocabulary is expanding. And I get to be around her enough to know her language. We have some rough spots, but generally I cna figure out what she's saying and once I figure out a word, I become the Chaselyn whisperer. No one else undrstands her better than I do. And I don't think I would be able to say that confidently if I was working 5 days a week. And Jacob, well, this little man is just a cutie. He talks and coos and gurgles. And by being at home, the two of them get to build a bond that just wouldn't happen if they were in daycare 8-5 everyday. They see each other. They interact. Chaselyn learns what it means to be careful and I have two extra little hands to pick up paci's, get diapers, an love on Jacob.

And although most of the time it's a down right love fest around here, sometimes the two of them gang up on me. They drive me close to the edge, but reprieve is not far away, because just around the corner I have a job to go to. I get to shape the minds of young people. I get to interact with adults. I have a few hours of not being the sole source of food, cleanliness, and entertainment for two little ones for a while. I even get to sneak in a few minutes for myself and usually a quiet lunch with Stanton on my work days.

I can tell it's just the right balance. I feel amazingly blessed at how the whole situation has worked out. It's just incredible.

Now, as rosy as it all sounds, there's still plenty of areas to improve upon. First, I haven't fully grasped how to take care of the kids and get the house cleaned up. I keep on top of the basics with Stanton's help, but it's a far cry from the picture perfect house I have in my head. I try not to beat myself up too much, but it is something I'm working on. Second, my body is in desperate need of some shaping up. Jacob is now over 4 months old. I had a remarkable feeling last week when I got my pre-pregnancy jeans back on. But, they don't fit like they used to. I have a bit of a belly bulge, which is very unlike my usual body shape. Up until recently I always felt that my belly area was one of my better features, but right now, I don't have that. And so I feel kind of down on my body as a whole. Third, I need to be a better teacher. I need to be more on top of things for my class. I need to find some extra material to really draw them in and make them see why Statistics really can be important for them. Fourth, I need to be more on top of my parenting game. Stanton and I have started to realize that if you wait until a situation arises to figure out how you'll deal with it, it's too late. Chaselyn is starting to figure things out. She knows "no" and she knows that sometimes she can press to figure out if it's a "no" or really a "NO!" It also seems that potty training may be around the corner. Do you have any idea how many different approaches there are? Fifth, I need to be a better wife. Stanton is an amazing man. He does so much for me and his kids. It was different when we were both at work. For some reason being home without him makes it seem like we're away from each other more. And I've become way more sensitive to him working overtime. It's not fair to hm to be hard on him. I know he wants to be home just as much as I want him to be here. But he's fortunate enough to have a job that he loves and finds great reward in. I shouldn't take anything from that. Sixth, I need to be a better friend. Both to my friends that have moved on and to my family. I just get so caught up in the everyday that I forget to check-in on people until I get in bed at around 11 o'clock at night. Nobody wants to get a call from me then, so I just lose touch. Seventh, I need to be a better Christian. I thought that being a stay at home mom would mean it would be easy for me to find a niche in the day to fit in regular devotionals. I've never been good at this before and for some reason I thought this time it would be different. It's not. I still put it at the bottom of the list. There's more to add, believe me. But that's probably enough public self-deprication for one post.

I don't want to end on that downer list, look at the name of the post. Remember, I'm in such a good place now. I know I can fix a lot of those issues if I just apply myself to make this one of the best times in my life. It's already a fantastic time based on the amazingness of my children, they are a constant reminder of God's grace in my life. But there is so much more I can do to reflect His grace.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cute Dress

Ok, so the last post started out with the same purpose that I'm starting this post, but my love of football carried me away. Last week we made it out to the Baylor game. And as any good fan should, our family was gearing up for the big event. There was only one problem...Chaselyn had no Baylor gear. We made do last week with a plain green onesie and a white skirt, but not the level of support we generally like to show for our team. So, I got a plan. I would fashion Chaselyn a dress out of one of the cheap gold rush t-shirts. In the past these shirts were only $5 add some thread and maybe some ribbon and for about $7-8 Chaselyn would be ready for the next game.

So a project began.

Materials: one size youth Med. Gold rush shirt ($7, they upped the price), one roll of "I heart FOOTBALL" ribbon ($1), gold thread (free from the same place I got the free sewing machine, Thanks Debbie!), one strip of rough cut white t-shirt.

The before shots:

And the after:
Isn't it cute.
See where the t-shirt strip comes in. :) I found it on this blog. She has lots of re-purposing ideas for old clothes and such.
One satisfied customer! :)

Hooray Feetball!

As many of you know, our house thrives on the excitement provided by hundreds of student athletes that lay it out on the grid iron every fall. We love college football. We enjoy a nice NFL game as well, but the college level just has so much heart and school loyalty. It just brings joy to our home for the start of the season. And undoubtedly as the season progresses there will be some disappointments, some questionable calls, and some long discussions with Stanton about the precise play in a particular game that changed the whole outcome of a season for the Razorbacks. Even as I sit here now, Gameday is on the tv. Chaselyn woke up asking for "feetball". And we're figuring out what the game plan for the day is.

Now since we are displaced from our team down here in TX, we have adopted the Baylor Bears as our secondary team. While we love the opportunity to see such a display of athleticism live and in person, it's just not the same. Stanton and I spent 6 years on the front row of the Trough at the U of A. We didn't miss a (true) home game during those 6 years. We spent weeks of our lives waiting for the games to start. Gates would open 3 hours before game time. But the student section was first come first serve seating. Meaning to get on the front row and avoid most of the drunks you had to get there extra early. For a game that started at noon, that would typically mean getting to the stadium around 6am, with the occasional overnighter camping by good ol' Razorback Stadium. For a night game, we got out there at about the same time, because if it was a night game that generally meant the game was on tv. And if there's one thing that draws out the crazies, it's a tv camera. We used to referred to them as seals. Bring out a tv camera and they would start barking like performance seals. Now, I'll admit we had our fair share of tv time and it was fun to hear grandparents and other family and friends say they saw us on tv. We bonded with our fellow fans during those hours. We're still in touch with a lot of those guys still today.

But that time in our lives has passed. Now we're toting two little tots around and buying real tickets. Trying to watch as much football as we can while keeping the peace. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the old times at all. I miss the feeling of being involved in the game. I miss the way we would lose ourselves in the game. It was intense and relaxing all at the same time. Sitting on the couch is probably more restful, but oh how we miss the days when we were there right with the action on the field.

My advanced little man

As promised, Jacob's 4 month update. Isn't it utterly amazing to watch children grow? To watch them go from little floppy headed squirmy little bundle to making those first attempts for their freedom to move and eventually (a long, long time from now right?) really taking hold of their independence and forgetting how their mothers and fathers used to be their sole source for everything. But I digress...

For now, I can scoop up both of my babies any time I want. And I'm scooping them up A LOT. Especially my little man. Because he's getting bigger!

We went for his 4 month check-up on Wednesday. He currently weighs 13.7 lbs and is 24.75" long. That puts him in the 25% for weight and the 50% for height. He's a healthy little fella too. He eats about 4-5 oz. of milk about 7 times a day. Unfortunately, I've been having some issues, so sometimes we have to supplement with formula. But usually I can make it, and it's never more than one feeding a day for now. Jacob is an excellent sleeper. We've started swaddling him up tight at night so that he can't hit or scratch himself. And since then, he generally sleeps soundly from about 11pm to 7am! I'm so lucky. He still generally takes a nap (maybe 45 min.) in the morning, a longer nap after lunch (up to 2.5 hours) and then a late afternoon or early evening nap (again about 45min. - 1hr).

Jacob is currently teetering on the threshold of 0-3 month clothes and 3-6 month size. Really, he's in the 3-6 month size, but there's some of those little outfits I'm just not ready to let go of yet. I never thought I would grow so attached to silly little shirts.

Jacob did make one big step this month. On Sunday, Aug. 29th, he rolled over for the first time. He rolled from his back to his belly, over his left shoulder. I have some video of not the first time, but some repeat performances. However, I'm holding out until I can get a video where the little man is happy with his new moves and doesn't get so frustrated.

Speaking of frustration, Jacob can be quite the temperamental little guy. He is very particular about how he wants to be held after he's done playing on the floor. Namely, he likes to be held to the side, facing out, in kind of a squished up position, while the holder is standing. Sitting in a similar position will not do.

This past month we spent quite a bit of time in AR. We stayed with Papa and Granny for a whole week again. We also made a trip up to Dallas to go to the Dallas World Aquarium (an upcoming blog post in of itself.)


You are such an amazing little boy. We constantly marvel over your fantastic smile and your beautiful (still) blue eyes. You have such a love and joy about you that is infectious. We've even used your laugh a couple of times to get your sister to stop crying. You are really at a fun, fun age. You interact with us. You coo and gurgle and laugh. And, you love naked time. Whether it's just diaper time or bath time, you are happy to be free. We love you so very much. We are holding on to every precious minute while you are small, but we look forward to seeing you grow into the handsome young man that we know you'll become. You are a constant reminder of God's hand in every part of His creation.

Mommy & Daddy

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Chaselyn's awesome accessorizing.

Happy 4 month old boy!

I'm blessed!

More later.