28 April, 2011

My Baby Bear Turns One

My sweet little Clara Ann turned one on Monday. Sadly, the last weeks have been so busy that I am quite delayed on her birthday post. Delayed but not forgotten.

Clara got a double dose of fire in her personality. Compared to my even-tempered little man, Clara has no patience, no tolerance, and a stubborn streak that could get her an oceanside view in Arizona.

She is not the marathon sleeper that her brother was and spent many a night bonding with daddy well into the second half of her first year. Though she resists sleep, she needs it and is so much more pleasant when she wakes up from a good rest.

She only has 4 teeth: the two bottoms ons and her fangs. She really looks like a tiny little vampire.

She talked a lot sooner than John Ross. She has a very raspy, deep little voice which usually cracks people up when they first hear it. While she spent the first many months growling, her first word was "gentle" which comes out sounding like "GEN-toe". It is quite amusing when she actually growls the word. While we were in FL this spring, her auntie bumped her head on the stroller while putting her in and she softly whined "GEN-tooooeee". Her second word was "touchdown" which everyone worked very hard on prior to the Superbowl seeing that she was born in Green Bay.

She is a SUPER-eater! She does not gag on her food or resist anything we give her which makes her a joy compared to her brother at that age. She loves bananas and graham crackers and is learning to use a spoon. Unfortunately, right now that means using her fingers to eat things off the spoon, but every painter starts by fingerpainting, right?

She inherited mommy's chin and thunder-thighs. She hates wearing dresses because she can't power-crawl in them and she doesn't look good in pastels. She is bright and bold and a ball of love. Her best feature is her dusky blue eyes and pink little lips and they are best when her cheeks are rosy and she's giving kisses. I love every padded, pudgy inch of her.

We've called her Scrappy from the time she was in the womb, but she also goes by Beara, Clarie, Clarita, Scappa, and Clara-bear.

She is my snuggler and the best birthday gift she gave her mama was an hour of snuggling in the baby wrapper at Easter Sunday Mass. She lays in my arms and gazes up at me lovingly no matter what her size. Her sweet little wistful smile always leaves me wondering who this beautiful little girl is going to be.

She will take her first steps this week and who knows where those little feet and fiery personality will take her. All I know for certain is that God has BIG plans for my LITTLE bear and I pray that God shows me exactly what maps she needs!

09 April, 2011

A Home for Nuthatches

I'm sitting in my dining room this morning working on an assortment of tasks from bills to parishioner welcome cards. One of my sitters likes to pull back the sheer curtain on our front window so that the kids can watch the cars while they eat lunch. Yesterday she didn't put it back and so I'm looking out onto our front yard and the busy street.

A couple of years ago, Kevin decided to overhaul the landscaping in our front yard. His dad is in the landscaping business and has a large nursery of various plants not too far from here. During this particular project, Kevin decided to transplant a less-then-thriving weeping mulberry that he had rescued from his grandmother's home before they sold it. It has since taken root and thrived in our front yard.

It is a small but beautifully melancholy tree. Most people wouldn't give it a second thought and we both fear as we try to sell our house that the new owners won't appreciate it's history. It really wouldn't survive another transplant and so we must reluctantly leave it behind.

As I looked out at our mulberry today I spotted two new residents: a pair of nuthatches. As they bopped and hopped their way around the small tree I felt a deep sense of sadness that they were moving in just as we are (hopefully) moving out. I watched them poke their bodies into a knot as they cleaned out a little space of their own.

As I watched them diligently go about their task and heard them peep cheerfully, I realized that God was sending me a sign. No matter where we go and when we get there, we too will carve out our little space in the world. We too will create a safe and soft place for our family to grow. And while we may not be able to take it with us, our mulberry tree (and its residents) are part of our legacy of love at this home. We hope that our love of this place will bless the new residents.

Please keep our family in prayer as we wait for a buyer to secure financing for our home. We are living in limbo since we can't make decisions about a new home until we are certain that someone can buy this one. We ask for patience and peace, but are also so grateful for this experience. It has allowed us to more fully enter into the season of Lent and the waiting for new life at Easter.

04 April, 2011

Recent Weekly Menu

John Ross looks so little here! Since they could eat solids my kids have not stopped eating. Meals come every 3-5 hours no matter what other work needs to be done or how long the day has already been. As much as I love fast food, it needs to remain a treat for both our the health of our bodies and the health of our checking account. That takes some planning.

For the busy women out there, here is my weekly menu! Mix, substitute and complement as necessary! Good stewardship of the body is as easy a little bit of whole wheat and a container of fresh spinach!

Monday: Crockpot Beef Roast Over Whole Wheat Egg Noodles

Tuesday: Family Date Night @ Chili's

Wednesday: Crockpot Vegetable Vindaloo Over Brown Rice and Chicken with Naan

Thursday: Sausage Potato Soup (but I leave out the heavy cream and use turkey sausage - swiss chard also works in place of kale), Spinach Salad, and French Bread

Friday: Fish Fry @ Church with My Family

Saturday: Raspberry-Chipotle Shredded Pork Tacos, Black Beans, Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Sunday: Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Meatballs, Spinach Salad and French Bread

My favorite spinach salad right now is fresh spinach, grape tomatoes, and shredded cheese topped with some basil olive oil and freshly cracked pepper! Mangia!