Monday, June 23, 2008

I love date night

On Tuesday, Ian and I arranged for a babysitter swap so that we could go out on Friday night on a date. I looked forward to this alone time with my husband all week. I couldn't wait for Friday to come. I had always heard that once babies came into the picture that have an uninterrupted conversation was pretty much impossible. Little did I know how true this really could be. Dinner time is spent with Niev asking for "burr" (more) or throwing what she doesn't want to eat on the floor or spitting a bite out onto the table, etc. It is no longer the time when we catch up on our lives together.

Anyway, on Friday we went to "Son of Rambow" which is really cute British film. The editing was kind of weird in parts, but oh so cute. It is about two boys that go to the same school, but are total opposites. One is the rebel, bad-boy of the school and the other is the shy, quiet kid who is a bit weird because he belongs to the Plymouth Brethren group (kind of like the Amish). They become friends and it is about their blossoming friendship. It really is one of the cutest films I have seen in a while. I would highly recommend it.

After the movie, we went to dinner at the Olive Garden (the dining experience in the tri-cities is very limited). Being pregnant, I easily out-ate Ian. I really thought my belly would explode, but I couldn't help myself; the breadstick and salad are too delicious!!! (Melissa, you know about me, pregnancy and the Olive Garden so I am sure you can relate to Ian being quite shocked out how much I could down!)

It was great to be reminded of why we love each other and realize that we were still the best of friends. I truly enjoyed our weekend together.

When we went to pick up Niev from our friends, she was sitting on a Sit-and-Twirl and saying, "Wee, wee, wee!" She didn't even miss us!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No circus for us

We had heard there was a circus coming to town and would be in our area on Monday. Now I normally think of the circus as a place for creepy men and crazy people to hang out, but when you marry an artist that paints "interesting" people, you end up in places you never would have imagined yourself. We also found out that it was free float day at A&W. We planned on going to the circus with Niev, stop by A&W on the way home, and making a Family Home Evening out of it. Well, Ian got sick. He didn't feel well all day. We didn't make it to the circus or A&W (I did find out that the free float day was canceled--no loss there).

WARNING**The following contains Lora's inner thoughts which are not always positive. Continuing to read may lead to negative thoughts about sick people, Ian or groaners. Precede with caution!

I love my husband...when he is healthy. When he is sick, he groans and it is the most irritating sound. I can't handle it. It makes me not feel bad for him one bit! He winces and moans as if he is playing a mummy in a horrible horror flick in the 90's. I can't get away fast enough. It truly is worse than nails on a chalkboard.

So unfortunately for all, he was sick yesterday. Niev loves her dad though and would not let her lay down for a nap. She continued knocking on the bedroom door until finally Ian let her enter. She climbed into bed with him and was being the cutest thing ever!
Kissy-faces are the cutest on 17-month olds (and 27-year olds!).

One of my tactics at trying to allow Ian to get some rest without Niev was to give her a popsicle. I am not anti-sugar, but I try to limit the amount of sugar she has in a day so this was a real treat. After it started melting too much, I put it in a bowl for her as to try to avoid some of the mess.I think she quite enjoyed it. Every last drop!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Best father for my children

Ian with Niev and her buddy, Tyler at her 1-year birthday party
Happy Father's Day to my one and only true love! He is the unselfish one in our relationship. For example, it being Daddy's Day yesterday, he should have been the one to take an uninterrupted afternoon nap. But after Niev had knocked on his bedroom door twice (both times crying as I pulled her away), he allowed her to come in. He then let ME take a hour and a half nap (even though I told him not to let me sleep longer than 30 minutes!). His reasoning: I'm pregnant and need my sleep, plus I had made a delicious lemon chicken thing for lunch that he LOVED! He is so kind and thoughtful.
The sun was quite blinding! (Niev 9 months old)
Niev loves her Dad. We have to build a wall to separate Ian's garage door (his studio) from the rest of the house because Niev hears him talking or squeaking his chair and she will run over and knock on his door unmercifully. She then will talk through the door if that does not warrant a response. She loves to give her Daddy pats or rubs on the back as he holds her. She definitely prefers him over me (which is not a bad thing after spending all day being mauled by her). When I get her out of her crib in the morning, her first words after "Out, peese" are always, "Daddy!". She really cannot spend enough time with her Dad.
I loved this time period when Ian and Niev had matching haircuts! (Niev 6 months)
I have always loved children and one of the priorities I looked for in guys that were marriage material was their views on children and excitement level for having a family. Ian's matched my desires so perfectly it actually turned me off at first (I was not wanting to date him at first, remember). I had never met someone that desired children and loved ALL kids as much as me. I could not have married a more perfect match for me. He is priceless and such a great caretaker, father, husband and love of mine!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stuff, stuff and more stuff

Ian had asked me for several weeks/months/YEARS to watch The Story of Stuff online. He found it really motivating and true. I watched it last night and I think she has some very interesting points, but I wasn't quite as excited about it as Ian. Don't get me wrong it was great, but it did seem a little extreme and maybe a bit depressing. Maybe I have a hard time facing the reality of the world. I'm not super environmental, but I enjoy different viewpoints of what I can do differently to help things be better.

I did enjoy however that she mentions in the 20-minute video how we are controlled to think that we constantly in need of new things. She gave some interesting statistics that make you realize how media controls our thoughts and actions more than we realize. She also leads to the point of our stuff controlling us as well. We think we MUST have that new gadget or electronic gizmo, when really society and media help us to think that. I did like the overall feeling of simplify, simplify, simplify!

I would recommend checking it out for yourself and if you do please let me know what you think. I am very curious in people's response to this video. It only takes 20-minutes and it is well done and entertaining as well as informational. Click here to watch the video.

PS--Luckily Niev is a bit more herself today. She seems to be pulling out of this sickness. YEA!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sickness in the Strawn house

Niev is sick today. I hate when a baby is sick; you never feel as if you are doing enough! She woke up this morning with a horrible fever. We fed her and I put her down to play. She was not her normal Niev. Very lackadaisical--not her normal busy self. I sat down on the couch for a few minutes to outline my day and dream about going for the first time to the local farmer's market to see if it is any good. Niev waddles up to me slowly and says, "Up, peese!" I pull her up and she lays on my chest for a bit. She begins to squirm as if she wants down, but them cries when I put her down. I pull her back up and just lay her on the couch next to me. She rolls over on her stomach and tucks her chubby arms under her belly (her usual comfy position). I started rubbing her back and tucked a blanket around her. Every few minutes, she would say random words: Dadda, out, slide, baby, etc. Finally, I look over and cute little lips are puckered out and she is asleep. She had only woken up an hour and a half previous to this. I moved her to her crib where she slept for over three hours! Poor girl. So needless to say, it has been a tough day.

Here is a picure of Boston and Niev at about 6 months old--gotta love Boston's excitement!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Memories in the corner of my mind

I have recently been going through some of Niev's older pictures from birth until present--organizing, picking favorites, categorizing, etc. I didn't realize what an alien I gave birth to. She was quite tiny even though at the time I thought she was HUGE (a whopping 8 lbs 7 oz), but I guess when you think of that coming out of your body, that tends to distort the picture a bit.

Luckily she grew up quickly and within a matter of a few weeks became quite the chunk! I love the sumo-boobies in this picture!
This reflection has allowed me to remember a few fond memories of my sweet girl that I haven't written down anywhere yet so please excuse my mushy gushy mother-ness.

It was very hard for me to go back to work after having Niev. Luckily, I took 8 weeks off and only had about 11 more weeks of teaching 6th grade left when I went back. This did not make that transition easy by any means. I was fortunate enough to have a loving and supportive husband that stayed at home and took fantastic care of Niev. More importantly, this is what greeted me each day when I came home!
There are several memories of mine that as soon as I would get unloaded from work, I would scoop Niev up and play with her on my lap. Oh the giggles that she rewarded me with. Ian, I think, was feeling a bit ripped because he had been with her all day and did not get this kind of reaction. This time was something I looked forward to all day. Near the end of the school year, when I was getting hate letters from parents, pressure to teach the next year from my co-workers and feeling exhausted from a years worth of hard work, Niev was giving me smiles, giggles, and gaauhhs before I could even try to make her laugh. She was my world and still makes life so rewarding.

We had a rocking chair in our last apartment that squeaked horribly. When Niev was just barely home from the hospital, my sister Melissa came to visit us at home. Melissa was rocking her in the noisy rocker and Niev was actually imitating the squeaking of the rocker! It was amazing. I should have known then that she liked music. Melissa stopped rocking and Niev stopped making her high-pitched groaning noises. It was classic.
I do realize I look very haggard here. And I thought I was so skinny!
When she was about six months old, she would eat anything in sight. Whatever she found she ingested. We visited Ian's grandparents on the coast and a group of us were in the bedroom chatting, including Niev and her aunt Kaki. As we were talking, Niev LUNGES for Kaki's nose and starts sucking on it as if it were her binkie! She started make carnivorous noises as if she were a T-rex and for several minutes sucked on Kaki's nose! We were all laughing so hard to do anything about it except grab the camera. I finally pulled Niev off of Kaki and Kaki did form a dark hickie on the end of her nose. It was quite disturbing and yet hilarious. Poor Kaki had the ugliest end of nose any of us had seen for several days. You are a good sport Kaki!
Don't get me wrong, some days I really consider getting a job so that I don't hear whining all day or have to deal with laundry, dishes and the never ending chores. But then I think of Niev's cute smile or her "Peese, Peese, Peese," with her head slightly tilted. Being a stay-at-home mom has been a challenge for me. I won't deny it. I loved teaching and consider going back almost weekly, but I wouldn't miss Niev's cute moments for teaching. Not at this stage in my life. That is not what I am to be doing. With every job, there are miserable things. I just need to accept the ones that I don't like about being a mom and housewife, instead of trying to change them.

Although we are expecting another baby, I hope that my first babygirl will always know what a prize she is to her mother. Niev has truly trained us how to be parents. She has been the easiest baby ever! I keep telling Ian, "I don't know what we are going to do when we have a real baby!" because Niev is completely unreal. I love you, Niev. I could not be more proud of my daughter. She is beautiful, bright, happy and has a large sense of humor for a 17-month old. What a perfect first baby!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Phone calls from Gramma Buh

So I don't know if I have mentioned it or not, but Ian's mom loves being a Gramma. She has looked forward to being a gramma since she was just a tiny girl and Niev made her greatest dream come true. Unfortunately, they live in California so they don't get to see Niev all that often (Paula does try to visit as often as possible, but that is normally about every six weeks; a lot happens in the life of a little one in six weeks time!). Luckily we have phone calls. Gramma Buh has called Niev since she was about six months old and could barely giggle or babble on the phone. As Niev has been able to communicate more and more, these phone calls truly have been little treasures.

I clipped several videos together so sorry if it seems choppy, but I wanted you to get all the highlights!

During my birthday trip to Portland, Ian had called to talk to me and Niev. I told her to tell Daddy that she missed him and loved him and it was the first time she started kissing the phone like that. I thought I was going to cry.If you ever tell Niev, "Say I love you!" (and she is in a good mood) she will pucker up and give kisses. It really is the sweetest thing. She is truly the joy of our lives right now. Tiring, but so much fun! We wouldn't trade her for the world (most days anyway...)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Best Present Part 2

One of the days at the coast, we went on a beautiful hike to the lighthouse and to the Octopus Tree. It was fun to see the kids outside, exploring, experiment and experiencing new things.

After staying at the beach house in Oceanside for a few days and catching up with Melissa and Julie, we headed back to Portland for a day of Powell's (one my favorite hot spots in Portland), even more great food and of course some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. It really was such a delightful trip, but poor Niev and I were missing Ian something awful.

Melissa and I drove back to Kennewick together and I was able to show off our new house. When Niev saw Ian, she got the biggest smile and started saying, "Daddy, Daddy, hi Daddy!" She was so excited to see him. It was a great moment. (Unfortunately, she won't let him out of her sight these days which makes it very hard for him to go to work; he has a heart made of butter.) For the first few days that we were back, it seemed to surprise her every time Ian would walk into a room. She would again greet him with, "Daddy, HI Daddy!" Ian ate it up.

We decided to go to a playground next to our library. Something that is really great about this area is that they have water parks next to a lot of the playgrounds. Little did we know that the water would be turned on and so of course Boston and Niev had to partake! They couldn't run or strip off their clothes fast enough! They had a blast. It was freezing cold water and it was close to 6 p.m. so the little guys were freezing, but we could NOT convince them to come out of the water. In fact, they both had to be carried to the car in order to forget all about the water.

Niev trying to catch the water, yet running away from it at the same time:

Ian caught some great pictures of Niev and Boston playing:

My sister, Kathy, drove down from Moscow, Idaho that day to spend time with Melissa and me. She brought her daughter, Jenna, with her. We stayed up late talking, went on walks, cooked, tried to play a few games (they were not up for it, and yes I still think you are both party poopers!). Overall it was a great birthday! They even made me a cake and sang to me. Melissa accidentally sprained her ankle the day before she was flying out. She was pretty sore, but luckily I had some "voodoo healing salve, save the world" cream and she could fully walk on it without pain in a few days. Because of the problems with the ankle, I have no proof of the rest of the vacation. We did go to another really awesome park with the best playground and a great water park, but Melissa was the only one that remembered her camera.

Overall, this birthday, I realized that my husband loves me and wants me to be happy. He knows me more than I give him credit for and he works really hard at being a fabulous dad. I also realized how much my family means to me. I really love my growing family, but sometimes I need to be grounded again by my original family members. I truly am blessed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Birthday gifts are the best--when given by my husband!

This is the first birthday in several years that I have not been in school, finishing up teaching for the year or too busy to really care that it was my birthday. Because of this, my birthday was one that I really didn't care about. In the years past, I just wanted to relax and have no real responsibilities for just one day. Because of all of this mind set in the years past, I decided that I wanted this birthday to be special. (One might say that I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed with being pregnant and have a VERY busy 16-month old.)

I had told Ian over a month ago that he had better plan something very special for this birthday. Little did I know that he was already on the ball. Some of you may know my little sister, Melissa. She is my dearest friend and the move to Washington has been hard on both of us (moving from a 15-minute drive to now a 9-hour drive tends to be hard on seeing each other regularly).

Tuesday night, Ian and I were lying in bed talking and Ian mentioned that I needed to pack my bags the next day because on Thursday, I would be going on a trip with Niev. He didn't tell me where I was going or what I would be doing. On Thursday, he told me to drive to my sister, Julie's, in Portland and that she could tell me the rest of the surprise. Unfortunately, Ian had too much work to be able to take off almost a week, so off I went with Niev to see Julie. I was SHOCKED to see Melissa at Julie's. I was so excited. Ian flew Melissa into Portland to meet my sister, Julie and we all headed off to the Oregon Coast to Julie's beautiful, relaxing beach house. Boston and Niev were so cute together and played like great friends (with just a few "bully" moments from Niev). It was a great break from the every day work. On Tuesday, Melissa and Boston drove back with Niev and me to see my house.

Another sister, Kathy, was planning on coming down to see Melissa at my house. She was not aware of our plans so she had to leave immediately on Tuesday night. It was great to spend so much time with all of my sisters. I could not have asked for a better birthday present. My husband knows me well. He seems to always know just what to do to make me feel loved and appreciated as his greatest love. He is my everything. I cannot thank him enough for this birthday surprise. Julie and Tom were real troopers for putting up with two very active babies destroying both of their houses. Thanks for all the great food and hospitality. Thanks to Melissa and Jeremy for making all the sacrifices to also make this possible.

It was a blast to see Niev and Boston at the beach. The water was freezing, but both of them loved the waves and playing in the sand. Niev couldn't wait to take a dive into the waves. She had absolutely no fear. If we were not there to stop her, she would have just kept walking straight into the waves. She really was so cute with her determined self. Notice how she is trying to get free of Julie when Julie is only trying to help her. What am I in for when she is 16???

She finally got too cold so we took her back to the beach and started playing in the sand. She was investigating the sand castle/mound that Tom and Boston were working on when she slipped and fell, face first, into the sand mound. Her mouth must have been open because she had sand clear in the back of her tongue. Note the sand in her eyelashes:
Then because of her trying to spit out the sand, she formed a perfect muddy goatee. I could barely hold the camera still (yes, I am a horrible mother to take pictures instead of helping my baby girl, but words alone cannot give you these images!) I was laughing so hard.
She got so cold that Julie had pity on her and wrapped her in her sweatshirt.
She then would not let us pull the hood up just so she could see out of it.

More pics to follow, but I must go to bed. It really was the greatest vacation. Ian is amazing!