30 Sep 2011

Brimming with Pride

There have been lots of changes in our home these past few months, starting with a month of bed rest, then the arrival of sweet Hannah and figuring out a new rhythm as a family of four. Understandably, the blog has been dominated by those things, but we have had some other fun news these past few weeks that needs to be shared as well.

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A few weeks ago, Chris discovered that he has been awarded a research grant from the project, Memoria Romana at the University of Texas!! You can read more about it here.

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As a result of the grant, his picture and project description have been added to the list of grant recipients, which you can see in full here. What does this mean for him? Funding for a trip to Germany in addition to his trip to Cairo this spring. He is so excited and I'm so happy for him! And not at all jealous.

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Furthermore, there is the matter of the SBL.

The SBL has one large annual conference each year, in addition to several regional conferences. Each regional conference has a contest where scholars present a paper, and a board selects a winner. This person is the Regional Scholar. Then, out of those various Regional Scholars a few National Regional Scholars are chosen and recognized at the large annual SBL Conference.

Chris presented a paper in March at a regional conference in St Louis, and discovered while he was still there that they had chosen him as the Regional Scholar. Two weeks ago we discovered that he was also chosen as a National Regional Scholar!

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I'm so proud of my husband! There is a part of me that debated about sharing this news, knowing how some people feel threatened in other people's successes. I don't want to make anyone feel bad so I considered not saying anything at all.

But I think that would really shortchange him and the huge amount of time and effort that he has put in, so instead I'm going to celebrate.

I have always known Chris to be smart, hard working, and aggressively driven. He was at the top of his class and a leader in his communities as a student. We used to joke about how he would like to just be a professional student, and never have to get a real job.

Though it was sometimes challenging for him to set himself apart as a student, it's a whole new ball game to set himself apart professionally. His peers come from different backgrounds, different universities, and many have been under the guidance of elite scholars. But he still continues to rise to the top. Despite his undergraduate and graduate training from a small Christian University, he continues to win awards over colleagues who were educated in prestigious universities. Watching him flourish in his career has been a joy.

Chrishannah 1

Since he won't brag for himself, I'll brag for him. That what wives are for, right? He has won 5 research awards in just over 3 years of teaching. I'm so amazed at this because he's not a researcher, he's a professor. So the time and work that goes into his research is in addition to lectures, grading, advising and mentoring. Yet he still comes home at a normal time at the end of the workday and only works on the weekends while the kids are napping.

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All of that to say, Chris I'm so proud of you. It is a joy to be your wife and partner and I can't wait to see how far you go. I love you. XO

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29 Sep 2011

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

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Last weekend we headed out to the pumpkin patch, which means, in my book, that it is officially fall.

Summer 1

We had a really sweet summer. It was different than usual, but still nice. I normally am a huge fan of summertime but I wasn't sad to see it go this year.

Summer 2

Summer normally means that we'll take a trip to Ohio to spend with my family. It means a trip to the beach. It means trips to Kentucky to see Chris' family and time spent at the farm.

Summer 4

Last summer it was trips to the pool 2-3 times per week, courtesy of a great pool that is close, cheap and has hours that are perfect for securing a good afternoon nap.

Summer 6

But this summer was different. No road trips and only 2 pool trips the whole season. (For Jayce that is, none for me.) Instead of driving around and visiting family we holed up in our home to enjoy our newest family member and revel in our new family dynamic. This year, we got our water and sun fix in the backyard.

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Hannah got to experience a bit of summer as well. She did a little sunbathing by the window her first few days home.

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(I'm sure those little foot pricks can give you an indication of why.)

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She was the only girl to get a new swimsuit this season and sported the best sandals in the house.

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I always love summer and am sad to see it go, but this year I'm so pleased that it is fall.

For Chris and I, moving into the fall helps us feel like we are moving on in our life. We would often talk about getting through the summer when we were particularly stressed these past few months, and it's nice to have arrived safely (and sanely) on the other side.

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26 Sep 2011

Kiddos and Skype

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After Hannah started rolling last week, Mom demanded to see for herself via Skype.

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I set up the computer on the floor so that she could show off her moves. Jayce joined in and brought his computer too.

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Hannah rolled and then watched Grandma and Chelsea on the screen. Jayce watched until he realized that he could see himself in the bottom corner, and started sticking out his tongue and moving in on the screen.

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A minute later Hannah spit up all over the blanket and that was about the end of it.

A good time was had by all, and these pictures crack me up.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

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23 Sep 2011

Rollin' With the Homies

Here is little miss Hannah, doing her thing. This is waaaay sooner than Jayce, like 8 or 9 weeks. You can see him doing the baby roll here, but he's 2+ months older than her. I've heard you're not supposed to compare girls to boys because they hit these kinds of milestones quicker, but still.

On a completely unrelated side note, how incredible is technology? I took this with Chris' phone, and 15 seconds later it was on Youtube. Fabulous.

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21 Sep 2011

3 Year Old Naps: Sweet Success

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When Jayce was around 5 months or so, we had to do the cry it out thing. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for everyone. While we were in the midst of crying it out, I started our blog and wrote my very first post. There wasn't a lot to it, but if you're curious, you can find it here. About a month later, with lots of happy success, I wrote an update going into detail about how many days were involved, how soon we saw progress, what his sleeping patterns were at that point, etc. But a few days after I posted it I started feeling guilty.

Did it sound like I was bragging about my kid? Would this post turn off anyone who read it? Was it too detailed and boring? Was it too personal? Was it too specific? Would it aggravate my friends whose kids weren't sleeping as well as Jayce was then?

I went back and edited that post, removing the details. You know, those detailed, boring, personal, specific, aggravating ones. They could otherwise be known as the interesting, informative, pertinent, helpful ones. That post could now be appropriately entitled, "Here are Pictures of My Kid Smiling in His Crib," because there is pretty much nothing else there.

Now that I have another child, I wish I could look back on those specific details so that I could compare a bit, remember what worked for Jayce and how long it took to get there. Now that I've had this blog for almost 3 years, I have more of a sense of what it means to me and what I want it to be, and one of the things that I want is specific details about my kids and family. In 3 years when I look back at this I don't want to read, "Jayce has been saying the funniest things," I want to know what funny things he's been saying, and so on.

On that note, we have recently had a HUGE success around here with a few little parenting tricks, and I definitely want to remember them in case Hannah starts having nap issues around this time and I am desperate to remember the details of my solution.

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The gist of it is, Jayce hasn't been taking naps. They stopped when Hannah was around a month old. At first he would just skip a nap a few days a week, but recently I've been lucky to get 1 nap a week for him.

I thought that I could at least count on him to nap on the days that he had school in the morning, but this isn't the case. He would come home very tired but still not take a nap. Apparently some kids can stop taking naps around age 3, but Jayce isn't one of those kids. He gets whiney and uncooperative, or more wound up as the day goes on and becomes almost uncontrollable. I tried to allow "rest time" instead of "nap time," hoping that if he'd stay in his bed then he would fall asleep. But a few books at rest time turned into emptying his whole bookshelf. Books turned into toys and games, and eventually this time turned into "wreck my room time."

There were a few instances where Chris laid down with Jayce just to make him stay put and he fell asleep. Also, Chris rocked him to sleep a few times. I don't mind this on the weekends when we're both around, but I can't sign up to do this every day and just leave Hannah for an indefinite amount of time.

Luckily we have a parenting guru in town, she teaches the parenting classes at our church and always encourages everyone to call her if they have any questions. I should have called sooner, but I saved my questions up a bit, and called with a short list of things to do with Hannah and Jayce, and nap time was at the top.

Her name is Jan. Her and her husband have taught the Babywise/Prep for Parenting line of classes for over 20 years at our church. It is so helpful to talk to her because there is rarely a situation that she hasn't already come across in that time period. She always has a little game plan or list of things that you can implement, and that's just what I want. Plus she's great to vent to and always very affirming.

I told her about nap time, briefly. That I couldn't get him in his bed or to lay down on most days. Sometimes I can't even get him to stay in his room, and time out/removing toys/spankings weren't working.

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Her suggestion:

#1. Stop giving him options throughout the day.

Think about your day. For breakfast: Would you like Cherios or Cornflakes? Orange juice or milk? Red cup or blue cup?

So I thought.

Do you want your blue blankie or your rocket blankie? Do you want to walk or ride your bike? Do you want your sandals or your running shoes?

Okay, yes, we give him lots of options.

I was skeptical of this at first and wanted to re-state my question. "Sooo...if I stop giving Jayce options about random things during the day then he will take naps for me?"

She responded that we think we are empowering him by giving him these choices, but a 3 year old already has plenty of decisions to make on any day simply regarding his play. He won't understand why he has a choice about so many other things throughout the day but not about his nap time.

Okay, deal.

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Regarding him not staying in bed.

#2. Set a timer.

Call it "quiet time" instead of nap or rest time since he already has something negative associated with those.

Tell him that during quiet time he has to lay down in his bed and be very quiet so that he can listen for the timer to go off. When the timer goes off, he can get up.

She also said that the first few times I may want to set it for a shorter amount of time and not count on a nap. This would get him used to the whole timer idea and set him up for success.

To my complete and utter amazement, this has worked like an absolute charm.

After lunchtime, we do just as she suggested and he naps. It has worked for 5 out of 6 days which sure sounds like success to me.

At first I made a big(ish) deal that we weren't going to have nap time or rest time, but were doing something different that day, quiet time. I explained the rules. I let him help me turn the timer and set it on a shelf, then I walk by and quickly crank it up to 55 minutes or something like that. (I'm pretty sure she did it somewhere outside of the room, but for now it's still in his room.) At first he started to get up a few times and I quickly reminded him, "Shhhh...you have to be quiet so that you can listen for the timer!! ...This isn't rest time it's quiet time, so you have to get in your bed. When it goes off you can get up and we'll play." Then I leave.

The first day Jayce didn't sleep, but he did stay in his bed for about 40 minutes which was heavy progress. He got up once for the bathroom and another time for something legitimate. I noticed that he was getting fidgety so I turned the timer so that it would go off, and we went downstairs to play. Every other day since then he has fallen asleep.

Apparently, as I had suspected, he IS still very tired and needs his naps. This is the little trick that gets him to stay in his bed long enough to fall asleep and I'm holding tightly to it.

Also worth mentioning, once he has been quiet for 15-20 minutes I go sneak a peek at him. If he's sleeping, I sneak in and grab that timer so that it doesn't go off and wake him up. But one day I forgot about it, it went off in his room, but he didn't even wake up.

Poor sleepy kid.

Happy happy mom.

Linking to Picture Me Imperfectly.

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19 Sep 2011

A Lovely 3 Months

Little Hannah. You have changed so much in the past month in ways that are so endearing and sweet. Dare I say it? This is our favorite stage.

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Your traits that I previously would have said were the sweetest things about you have evolved into new "sweetest" things.

It was so sweet when you were a newborn and would curl into a limp ball on our chests to sleep. Your tiny sighs and squeaks were the sweetest!!

Now you will sit happily in your seat or lay on the floor, your eyes roaming around the room and taking everything in. But when your eyes meet our eyes they stop, stare at us for a second and then your face breaks into the biggest smile.

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Last week we had an important dinner to attend, so I took a bottle for you so that I could remain a part of the activities even while you were eating. We still ended up tucked away in a room together for your dinner time, and it was the first that you have eaten looking up at me and the room instead of at my armpit. Well, you kind of ate. What you ended up doing instead, after the first few sucks on the bottle, was talk with me. Constantly. You started smiling with the bottle still in your mouth, your eyes on my eyes, and let out a big "Ooooooo. Ooooooo. Hmmmmm. Aaaaaoooooo. Aaaaooooooo. Mmmmmmmm." Over and over, all with a big smile. I kept laughing at you at first, but eventually made myself look away while I was giving you your bottle as to encourage you to actually eat and not just play. As I told your dad about it later, I said, "She loves me."

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You have found your hands. Your hands and arms used to behave similar to however your legs were behaving. By that, I mean that if you were kicking your legs around you were also waving your arms and hands around as well. Furthermore, I could tell you were getting sleepy if your arms were drawn in with your hands up under your chin. This was one indicator that I needed to retire you somewhere to doze off to sleep. At week 11 your arms were often drawn up even when you aren't tired, with your fists opening and closing and your fingers clenching one another. If we didn't stick a blanket in your hands then you would eventually, out of boredom perhaps, start sucking on your fist or occasionally a finger or two. You still have the "sucker mark" on your fist. Some people have asked me if it's a birthmark, but I tell them that it is a reinforced hickey.

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At week 12 I realized that though you still like to watch us around the room, you are less entertained by it than before, so I pulled out the play gym. You love it. A few of the toys dangle low enough that, even though I don't think you are purposefully swatting at them, you smack them as you are moving around, and then coo and squawk at them as they bounce around. At week 13 you put your fists in your mouth regularly, often trying to get both in at the same time. At week 14 you sometimes will lift your knees up when you are flat on your back, so the archer's pose days are coming to an end.

3month 1

You are sleeping a 6 to 7 hour stretch at night, and your naps are starting to get shorter, creeping down from 2 hours to 1 hour 15 minutes. We are working on that this week, and trying to stretch out your feedings to 3 1/2 to 4 hours. We hope it's just growth spurt time.

3 months 3

You took your first road trip over Labor Day weekend to Louisville and did so great! We only stopped once on the 5 hour trip, fed you, and were back on our way. There was no crying. The car soothed you to sleep and you stayed that way-a huge improvement from the days where we couldn't even drive for 2 minutes without you screaming. You still don't love the car seat, but if we can distract you a little, which is easier to do now, you get over it.

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We discovered on our trip that you definitely prefer to be lay down in your crib to go to sleep as opposed to be bounced or held to sleep. This is sad sometimes when we want to snuggle with you, or your grandparents do, but I also think it's an accomplishment. I remember when you were around 6 weeks old and we were having to walk and bounce you to sleep every time, sometimes for an hour or so, and it was killing my back to be holding you all day. We had to do a few days of crying it out at nap time, which was rough on ALL of us, but after a few days you could get to sleep on your own, and I'm proud now that you will coo a bit in your crib and then drift off to sleep. You also sleep easily and happily in the bouncy seat or swing.

3mon 11

When you want to be consoled now, you like to be down in the crook of our arms and swayed, as opposed to up on our shoulders and bounced. This is different than the newborn days. I wonder if it has to do with how often you are rocked, by me, by your dad, and every time that you eat.

3mon 12

Your "belly issues," if there ever were any, are gone now. I can eat pizza, dairy and everything else. Other than a little gas, it doesn't seem to phase you a bit, at least not compared to before. I was reading an old post the other day where I had mentioned that you had a short fussy period most days, and had to ask your dad about it because I barely remember it. He barely did either. It's nice to realize that we've come past that point now.

3mon 13

At 4 months I started giving your brother cereal. This is crazy to me because you just don't seem anywhere near old enough for something like that yet, and I will probably wait a bit longer with you. I mentioned this to your dad, who remarked that he still kind of thinks of you as a newborn. But you are getting so much bigger. You're wearing 3-6 months clothes, with some room in them, still in 0-3 month shoes though.

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Happy 3 months, sweet girl.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


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