Saturday, December 30, 2006

A quiet moment

Sometimes I just wish I could hear his internal monologue as he discovers the world...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas morning times 5

I’ve had more “Christmas morning” moments in the past couple weeks than I think I’ve had in the past few years. When I was younger Christmas morning was filled with the surprise and awe of awakening to the piles of gifts that had materialized under our tree overnight, as well as the gleeful anticipation of what could be hidden under that wrapping. That’s worn off over the years, although gifts are still fun, and I found myself this year with a new kind of “Christmas morning” feeling: awe and gratitude at all that has been given to me, in so many varied ways. I’ll just give the three big ones (keepin’ it Trinitarian, folks!): help moving into our new house, two families filled with joy and generosity, and of course our little son.

Word to the wise: when moving with an infant, ask for lots and lots of help, particularly if you are the primary caregiver to said infant and expect to get any packing done at all. I think I packed a total of three boxes all on my own...and that doesn’t count the help I got actually acquiring the boxes themselves. I don’t think I actually ever asked for help, but we were overwhelmed by it, and thanks to everyone who came, we actually made it out of our apartment on time. My mom came over and quite professionally packed up our entire kitchen, and my dad played Santa, surpising us a few days before Christmas by packing up our whole living room for us while we were out at Michael’s Advent Concert and YA commitment Mass. On top of all that, he came back to help us move furniture with the Uhaul, along with my father- and brother-in-law and a wonderful friend who I’ll name here as “Juan Mas”. My father-in-law recently commented to Michael that it takes humility to receive a gift. I think I learned a good dose of humility on that Wednesday that we moved...on top of taking care of a baby, I was also down and out with a bad cold. I’m so used to being in control, and I had to humbly admit that not only did I not need to control the situation, because other people were doing it for me, I had to even more humbly admit that I couldn’t control it even if I wanted to, and just had to receive the great gift of help that so many people were offering to our little family.

I won’t go on for too long about #2 and #3, as Gabriel is wiggling on my lap and I will never post this on the blog if I keep writing. I have to just note that coming home to two warm houses filled with good food, pretty decorations, and great company felt extra good considering the chaos that our own home was in. And last but certainly not least, little Gabriel. He’s quite the “infant” now, and no longer a “newborn”. He’s become Mr. Grabby, wanting to snatch anything that passes his line of vision and stuff it into his mouth. He also likes to talk quite a bit, particularly in church or in the Eucharistic Chapel. The other day as we walked into Mass at the St. Luke’s chapel, I asked if he could hold off on the charismatic prayer until after Mass was over. Fortunately/unfortunately he just couldn’t hold back his exuberance to see Jesus and babbled and talked during the whole Mass in that little echo-filled chapel!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The coolest Dad ever

Michael has a thing for yeast products. He created a sourdough starter (basically a lump of dough with lots of natural yeast used in place of the powdery dried yeast bought in the store) by fermenting organic flour on our balcony for a couple weeks last year. "It's fine," he assured me, "as long as the starter doesn't get any nasty red streaks in it." Not quite the most reassuring comment, but the starter has faithfully leavened many a loaf of delicious homemade bread for us.

This summer, after aquiring a couple oak barrels from Freecycle, Michael decided to expand the home economy from baking to brewing. His first batch of homemade beer was a success, gagued by a non-beer-drinking friend's comment upon tasting it: "This beer made me almost want to take another sip!" Tonight is the start of Michael's Homebrew #2. While he held Gabriel at dinner, he mused about what our son's friends would think in the years to come: "Hey Gabe, what did ya do last night?" "Oh, nothin' much, just brewed some beer with my dad..."

Blog O'Clock

I'm convinced Gabriel knows that I've been blogging at 3am. For the past two weeks, he has consistently woken at 3 or 4am and refused to go back to sleep with a simple nursing. And so here we are again, bouncing... bouncing.... bouncing... just like every other night. He'll fall asleep, mouth agape, in his sling, as I rock back and forth and type this with my one free hand. We'll keep swaying for another ten minutes or so, just to make sure he's in a deep sleep, and then it's back to bed for another couple hours (if I'm lucky!).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

All together now...

Dominic, Gabriel's two-month-younger cousin, accompanied him last night in an evening of overtired wailing after we had a nice dinner (Vegetarian Chili with Rutabagas and Butternut Squash, YUM!) with his parents and older brother. Two sad and tired (or possibly gassy?) babies does not for a pleasant household make. Particularly because two sad and tired babies make for two sad and tired mommies. We did experiment with the little guys, testing to see if they would startle each other into being happy again. We held their crying faces close together;"Look at your cousin...!" we hopefully pleaded. Dominic was fascinated and paused for a moment in his tirade, whereas Gabriel took one look at Dominic and shrieked even louder, causing Dominic to start up all over again.

Monday, December 04, 2006

In the swing of things

Life has been dealing us one lesson after the next in “letting go” these past few days. Around Thanksgiving we finally sold our condo after several months of having it on the market, so we have to let go of the little home we’ve made here, most regrettably the beautiful tile work Michael did on the backsplash in the kitchen. There are very few houses on the market around the holidays, but there were a couple that we really loved that had been on the market for months and months that we were sure we’d be able to get if we made an offer on them. Both were whisked away through various circumstances, just as I began to daydream about what color to paint the walls and where we would put the sofas. Somehow, I’ve been unusually okay with these circumstances. I’ve been disappointed each time we “lost” a house, but the words “foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests but the Son of Man has no where to rest his head” from Luke 9:58 keep coming back to me. And then of course it’s Advent, which reminds me that even the Holy Family faced a tough housing market on the night of Christ’s birth. I’ve prayed so much that God’s will be done regarding our housing situation, that I think I’m beginning to accept even the bumps in the road as part of His will, part of His way of conforming us to more and more to Christ. I also get the feeling that God gives us practice getting over small bumps so that we can trust Him to carry us over even the higher, more precarious peaks that we’ll certainly have to traverse in our lives.

Here’s Gabriel helping us house hunt. This is his first ride in a swing, in the tot lot of one of the developments where we were looking for a place to live.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Taste and See

I missed posting at Thanksgiving... so here’s a silly photo of my little boy with a ribbon from a box of chocolates on his head. :) Great for those embarrassing photo collages in high school, hm?

The blog’s been silent for the past couple weeks due to a string of recent baby events. Gabriel’s an early teether, which means for the past month he’s been a veritable fountain of drool and has needed bib changes practically every ten minutes. After a week of teething, he caught his first cold of the season, which led to a fever and some long-lasting sniffles whose only benefit is the fact that I can hear Gabriel breathing down the hall so I don’t need to peek in on the sleeping baby to “make sure he’s still breathing” as often! Now that he’s getting over his cold, we’re working on a new project following suggestions from Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution. Our little “project” involves making sure baby takes at least three naps a day, that we have a “routine” for every day and for before bedtime, and that he learns to fall asleep once he’s in his bed. The whole goal is to get the little one to sleep a bit longer through the night. It’s been difficult at first...some days Gabriel has refused to go to sleep for two hours! But I think it’s working, or Gabriel is just changing on his own. Last night he slept from 8 to midnight, and then from midnight to 4am, which was really good for him. I’ll let you know when he goes a full five hours, which is supposedly the definition of “sleeping through the night”!

And it begins...Gabriel’s new thing this week has been grabbing things and putting them in his mouth–anything from cloth napkins to books. Watch out he comes!