Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Post-Partum Diet

I never leave the house, and therefore I never get sick. However, for Thanksgiving, I was forced to leave the safety of my abode to travel to the faraway and dangerous city of Denver, filthy with germs and giant Ikea signs. Lo and behold, I returned home with a Denver disease. (My family swears that none of them were around any sickos, but I'll bet it was one of my sister's 2nd graders with their wee beady eyes.)

Being sick with a baby is not fun, primarily because said baby still expects to be fed. The nerve! So little Allie got a lot bottles for two days, as I didn't relish the memory from her first day of life of nursing and puking simultaneously. But baby refused to take a bottle three different times. She missed me. How sweet! And she is apparently as finicky and opinionated as her father.

The height of my sickness came when my doorbell rang on Sunday. Mike was out, and I just can never resist the temptation of answering the front door. To me, it's like the temptation of a dozen chocolate truffles sitting neatly in their box, teasing me with what might be inside. The compulsion to find out what's inside and outside is just too great. It could be two burly men wearing black masks on my doormat, and I still wouldn't be able to resist opening the door. I have an addiction to chocolate and the doorbell. On Sunday, it was not men in black, but my neighbors whom I've never met (except to throw their son's ball back over the fence occasionally).

As I opened the door and saw it was them, I regretted not flattening down my frizzy bed-head pony tail and my sicko wardrobe for the day - head to toe black spandex. They wanted to report that they'd seen a suspicious man poking around in our back yard and taking pictures of our house over the holiday. (Scary! The intruder better not come to the front door, or I' it.) As they talked and told the story, I got droopier and droopier. My face got greener and greener. I started to slump against the door frame. They kept talking. I tried to think of some way to communicate that I'd better go, but I didn't fully have my wits about me.

They kept talking. I kept drooping. Then finally, she offered their names - "Well, we're Heather and Eric if you ever need anything." And rather than saying, "Oh, thanks. My name is Amber. So nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by!" I say, "OKthanksnicetomeetyoubye," and slam the door as quick as I can.

And then.

And then without a quarter of a second's delay, I proceed to puke the quart of water I had just downed right in my doorway. Right on my bare feet. And let me tell you. A quart is a lot. It took many loud heaves to get out. Poor Heather and Eric were still just inches away with just a thin white slab between us and no doubt privy to my various gutteral exclamations.

On their way back to their house, they would have had to walk past the front window where they would have had yet another full view of me in all my puketronic glory. But I didn't see if they peeked or not because I was busy. After it was all done, I knew not what to do. I don't keep towels in the foyer. I was covered, frizzed head to bare toes in black spandex and vomit. Eventually, I simply tip-toed to the nearest towel, leaving vomit footprints across our lovely living room.

I love first impressions. I went over yesterday to apologize, once I saw their kitchen light was turned on for the night.

They didn't answer the door. (Surely they were just in the bathroom...)

Lovey Mike thoroughly sanitized his precious doorway tiles. I'm just preparing him for fatherhood. He says it was 1/4 inch deep in a 5'x8' foot passage. The next night, we had small group. (Well, Mike had small group; I hid in my room.) Mike just couldn't resist...He greeted guests in the foyer, and as they stood on the precious tiles told them all about what had just been done to them the day before. I don't know if they'll want to come back.

The upshot of all this is: I lost 5 pounds! No doubt all water, but it makes this mom who is still in maternity jeans feel mighty fine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Who Scatters Yet Increases

Man, I'm having a hard time coming up with things to blog about these days. Since I try to just blog about what's going on in my everyday world, I'll share with you what was going on in my everyday world today. For work I had to research some Bible verses, many on giving and generosity ('tis the season and all). I've read these verses oodles of times, but I found them quite convicting today. I work for a charity and write a lot about giving. But much of the time, I'm afraid I talk more about it than I do it. That's not a good position to be in! So these verses were a nice kick in the katuchie. (My new word for behind.)

Proverbs 11:24-25: There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 28:27: He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Luke 6:30:
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8:
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

(Isn't it funny how often we use that last verse outside of the context of giving? Not that it doesn't apply to others aspects of life, but how often do we apply it in the context in which it is given?)

And lastly, here's my family's baby fix: The baby seems to have doubled in size in the past four days. I got sick and couldn't hold her for two days, and I swear in that time she went from roughly 9 pounds to 37 pounds. (Or maybe just 10 1/2.) Since she was born, she has literally doubled in size. Here's a nice little comparison photo. One from her second week of life:

And one from Thanksgiving day:

And in other news, we used my sister's head of hair to find out what Allie will look like when she has long hair.

Instead we found out what she would look like if she were a dude in an 80's hair band.

And, to end on a cute photo, rather than one of a member of Motley Crue, here's one more.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Very Bray Thanksgiving

I was just thinking today about how fun and weird my family is and how much I love them. Here are just a few photos of how the Brays party on Thanksgiving.

Who needs TV when you have a baby that can lie on the floor?

My cousin and brother-in-law yearly place grizzly bears and other menacing critters to terrorize my mom's Christmas village, or in this case, her maple-tapping village. My mom gets all afluster every time she discovers the invader.

My husband's rascally tradition is destroying others' innocent holiday drawings. I made this chalkboard for my mom one year, and now it's her and my aunt's tradition to draw sweet drawings for each holiday gathering. Then my husband comes along and does stuff like this.

In the course of explaining planking, owling and Tebowing to the more mature members of our family, we came up with our own new internet sensation, "gargoyling." It's going to be the next big thing. You'll want to get in on this fast.

We're simple, easily amused folk, but we have a good time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Twelve Months of Thankfulness

I took a look back at my blog this past year to remember all the things I am thankful for. (There are hyperlinks in each one, I swear, they're just really hard to see.)

December 2010: I was offered a fabulous new job that has opened a new era of bad Canadian jokes in my life.

January 2011: I got to see old friends who still love us after all these years.

February 2011: We got to go on one of our favorite annual trips: Valentine's in Estes.

March 2011: We went on our other favorite annual trip to Moab.

April 2011: We finished our much awaited master bedroom redo.

May 2011: We got to spend some time in Sterling for Mother's Day and saw my family quite a lot, since now I can pull baby rank.

June 2011: I didn't die in Canada.

July 2011: I got to introduce hubby to Santa Fe (he didn't love it) and had a wonderful baby shower with my family.

August 2011: We got to go on our second annual trip to Estes...or biannual as some might put it...and have another baby shower...and another. :)

September 2011: Surprise! We had a baby two weeks early and she survived all the many trials of my labor.

October 2011: I did nothing but nurse, lay on the couch with baby, take long walks and take a ridiculous number of pictures of the baby.

November 2011: I went back to work at my job that lets me work from home, after a long and wonderful maternity leave.

Incidentally, here is a picture of my office space with my office monkey. :)

We have so much to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Girl That Lost Things

Tonight we had a Thanksgiving potluck at our house with our small group. There were brandied yams and homemade cranberry sauce and turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. (With Mike's maple gingerbread gelato for dessert too, of course.) We each went around the room and said what we are thankful for, and we closed on a poem that Mike read. Perhaps it was the brandied yams or the nostalgia in the air, but it brought a wee tear to more than one eye. So I hope you read it and are reminded of things you are thankful for and the things that are worth keeping.

The Girl That Lost Things by George MacDonald

There was a girl that lost things--
Nor only from her hand;
She lost, indeed--why, most things,
As if they had been sand!

She said, "But I must use them,
And can't look after all!
Indeed I did not lose them,
I only let them fall!"

That's how she lost her thimble,
It fell upon the floor:
Her eyes were very nimble
But she never saw it more.

And then she lost her dolly,
Her very doll of all!
That loss was far from jolly,
But worse things did befall.

She lost a ring of pearls
With a ruby in them set;
But the dearest girl of girls
Cried only, did not fret.

And then she lost her robin;
Ah, that was sorrow dire!
He hopped along, and--bob in--
Hopped bob into the fire!

And once she lost a kiss
As she came down the stair;
But that she did not miss,
For sure it was somewhere!

Just then she lost her heart too,
But did so well without it
She took that in good part too,
And said--not much about it.

But when she lost her health
She did feel rather poor,
Till in came loads of wealth
By quite another door!

And soon she lost a dimple
That was upon her cheek,
But that was very simple--
She was so thin and weak!

And then she lost her mother,
And thought that she was dead;
Sure there was not another
On whom to lay her head!

And then she lost her self--
But that she threw away;
And God upon his shelf
It carefully did lay.

And then she lost her sight,
And lost all hope to find it;
But a fountain-well of light
Came flashing up behind it.

At last she lost the world:
In a black and stormy wind
Away from her it whirled--
But the loss how could she mind?

For with it she lost her losses,
Her aching and her weeping,
Her pains and griefs and crosses,
And all things not worth keeping;

It left her with the lost things
Her heart had still been craving;
'Mong them she found--why, most things,
And all things worth the saving.

She found her precious mother,
Who not the least had died;
And then she found that other
Whose heart had hers inside.

And next she found the kiss
She lost upon the stair;
'Twas sweeter far, I guess,
For ripening in that air.

She found her self, all mended,
New-drest, and strong, and white;
She found her health, new-blended
With a radiant delight.

She found her little robin:
He made his wings go flap,
Came fluttering, and went bob in,
Went bob into her lap.

So, girls that cannot keep things,
Be patient till to-morrow;
And mind you don't beweep things
That are not worth such sorrow;

For the Father great of fathers,
Of mothers, girls, and boys,
In his arms his children gathers,
And sees to all their toys.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Outside My Window

Outside my Window... The crabapple we planted this summer is wrapped in blue painters tape. Very chic. The bucks have been sharpening their antlers on its tender trunk to mark their territory, so now my pretty little tree is wrapped in blue and surrounded by an ugly fence to avoid this travesty from happening again.

I am thinking... About writing a post on how short men are treated in this world...but feeling a little too lazy, hence this post.

I am thankful for...
My job. I went back to work last week, and I was actually looking forward to it! It was nice to have something to focus on outside of diapers and milk and laundry. I'm working at home with the baby, a situation that I'm so incredibly thankful for.

From the kitchen...
Mike had Carnation instant breakfast for dinner and I had peanut butter toast. We are the height of health around here. Don't worry, last night I had Carnation instant breakfast and popcorn for dinner, so I got my vitamins too. Popcorn is whole grain, you know. I was all ambitious last week and made some homemade meals, and then we fell back into the depths of laziness and self neglect in the past several days.

I am wearing...
Workout pants...not because I'm working out, but because they're stretchy and fit over my postpartum belly. I'm still a good 10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, so I'm still wearing maternity pants. Which isn't that fun after the fact. I'm not sure when I'll break down and either lose weight or buy pants that fit.

I am reading...
Nothing. I haven't felt like reading a bit since I had the baby, so I'll I've read has been baby/parenting books. I'm starting a study on verses on the Bible about God's love, so leave me a comment about what your favorite verse on God's love is!

I am hoping...
Alex sleeps a longer stretch tonight. Every night is different, so we never know what to expect. Some nights she'll sleep 6 hours in a row, then the next night it will be 4, then 7, then 5. Let's go for the Big Eight, Allie!

I am hearing...
Legend of Zelda music. I told Mike I didn't want to do anything today, but I needed to do something while doing nothing, so he told me video games were perfect for that. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be hearing this music in my sleep, along with my ever persistent dreams of nursing. I still dream all night long that I'm nursing the baby. I think she's in my arms, and then I put my hand out and realize it's just a pillow. Then when I'm actually supposed to nurse her, I can't remember whether I have or not. Now at least I'll have a soundtrack for it.

Around the house...
Mike has finished the bathroom countertop project and now we just need to find tile do to the floors, and then we can move back into our bathroom! But with the holidays and indecision, that might be several months away.

One of my favorite things...
My husband. I have noticed that with the baby, it's easy to focus so much energy on her that our affection for one another is an afterthought. So I'm trying to be intentional in not only pointing out how cute Allie is.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Tomorrow night we're having a Thanksgiving dinner with our small group, potluck style at our house. I'll be working, so Mike gets to clean the house, watch the baby and cook turkey and pumpkin pie. He's so skilled in huswifery. Then later this week we'll go to Aurora for Thanksgiving and Alex will get to meet her great grandma from Texas who is flying in!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Surprise, surprise! It's a baby photo! Look at those chubby little arms; I want to eat them up.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Dream of Donuts

As I was thinking about gratitude and Thanksgiving recently, I naturally began to think of donuts. As I looked through past posts, I found to my utter dismay that I have never written a post solely related to donuts (though they do come up in passing quite often). How could this be? I will immediately remedy this situation.

My love affair with donuts starts with my family. We're into donuts. On occasional Saturday mornings, my dad would bring home a box full of old-fashioneds, chocolate glazed, and fritters. Fritters were my dad's favorites. Probably because they're big. (And he's from Texas.) My favorite has always been and always will be a glazed old fashioned donut. (Does anyone know why they look like that, by the way?)

One of my first memories of donuts is from elementary school, when they showed us a 1950s educational film, a la this one, about how donuts are made. Why knowing how factories make donuts was considered a vital part of our educational development, I do not know, but I salute them nonetheless. The film included an Opie-esque boy being taught by a Ward-esque man how donut machinery works. I remember being mesmerized by those rotating trays of luscious donuts.

My next earliest memory of donuts is a negative one, but a telling one. My parents took my best friend, Susan, and I to Winchell's for a late-night treat. I ate a too-big fritter and a too-large chocolate milk and got sick. But nothing could deter me from my love of donuts.

In high school, donuts were a key part of my school lunch. We had an open campus, and King Soopers was just close enough to walk to for those of us who didn't have cars. I would walk to King Soopers and buy my lunch for $1.27 (I don't know why I remember that or whether or not it's at all accurate): a hoagie bun, some deli turkey, and one old-fashioned donut. Mmm...Brain food for honors trigonometry.

These days, I eat donuts rather rarely, despite my deep love for them. It's hard to find a good donut, and it's pointless to eat a bad donut. Grocery store donuts rank thus: 3. Walmart (inedible and unworthy of the title), 2. Safeway (slightly better than Walmart, but still not worth the calories), and 3. King Soopers (good in a pinch).

Of chains, I like Lamar's the best, but, alas, we don't have any near us. And I have to admit, despite my distaste for their over-the-top 1990's invasion, Krispy Kreme makes the most delectable, hot-of-the-presses raised donut. (And they glaze their frosted donuts...that's gotta be worth something.) I love the Donut Mill in Woodland Park, though the last time we visited, I would swear we were served day-old donuts. (How could they?) My sister says the worst thing about our current economic recession (you know the one that has left thousands jobless and homeless?) is that donut stores now serve day-old donuts. My family has our priorities set right.

Every place I travel around the world, I try their donuts, as a fried round orb is fairly universal. Although I try to be culturally sensitive, I have to admit that I've yet to find good donuts in any country other than the good ol' US of A. (Except for your mother's donuts in Canada, of course, Aaron.) And I've never had a homemade donut that could match a store-made donut - though I welcome you to try and prove me wrong!

Sometimes I wonder if I love the idea and memory of donuts more than the actual things themselves, as I feel with Cheetos and other overly fatty and processed childhood indulgences. So what is your favorite donut?

And now, some obligatory and completely unrelated photos of Alexandra, who is currently suffering in her crib after her two-month shots today....She's not smiling anymore.

In other news, she moved from the 7th percentile in weight (at 5 lb 3 oz) to the 25th percentile - now at 9 lbs 12 ounces. Hooray for baby!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like Father, Like Daughter

There's an old African proverb that says a woman's first child must look like the husband to prove she's an honest woman, and after that it doesn't matter.

So what do you think? Is he the father, or what?

Monday, November 14, 2011

What I Did on Maternity Leave

Do you remember those essays you had to write in school after a long break, like "What I Did on Summer Vacation"? What I didn't know was those important essays were actually preparing me for real-life blogging.

I've come to the end of my eight weeks of maternity leave, so I thought I ought to write down what I did so I can look back and appreciate my time off. Eight weeks is a long time! I haven't had that long off since...summer break after my sophomore year of high school when I was 16! It's been totally wonderful. Although I am getting a bit bored during nap time and am eager to get back to work, I am so grateful for the time I've had. And so, here is my essay.

What I Did on Summer...Oops...Maternity Break

My maternity leave was great. I really liked it. It was fun. (Obligatory introductory paragraph)

First, I spent a lot of time laying around in bed. Some days, I didn't get out of bed until eleven a.m. Who am I kidding? One p.m. Although I didn't get much sleep, I sure did lie around in bed a lot. When I wasn't laying around in bed, I was laying around on the couch. I successfully watched three and a half seasons of Psych and one of Monk. I watched nearly every sappy British masterpiece theater drama made in the last twenty years. I watched the extended Lord of the Rings trilogy. I checked Facebook nearly every thirty minutes.

Second, as I was busy doing a lot of nothing, I was also busy either feeding or being fed. Nursing eight times a day makes you oddly busy while being completely unbusy. When I wasn't feeding the baby, I was feeding myself. Wonderful friends and family provided us with meals for the first six weeks of baby's life. Because we had such an overabundance of food, we froze some, which we are still eating through. Having so many yummy home-cooked meals have made me want to get back to cooking...I tried making Mikey a delicious home-cooked meal last week, which reminded me why I really need to stick to recipes or maybe just PB&Js.

Last, my little family and I spent a lot of time enjoying our beautiful surroundings. We went on a lot of walks around our neighborhood and also took time to introduce Allie to some of our favorite spots, like the Broadmoor, Red Rock Canyon, and Garden of the Gods. I had to walk awful slow at first, because of the c-section recovery, but by the end of it, we were able to go much farther and longer. (Three main body paragraphs containing supporting information)

In conclusion, maternity leave is really neat. I like it a lot. I'd like to do it again. (Conclusion)

The end.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Breaking News!

We interrupt the previously scheduled posts to bring you some breaking news:

Alexandra has rolled over for the first time! Here is a picture of the triumphant athlete just after her successful attempt.

Her parents were ridiculously proud and started clapping and shouting, while Allie looked on, nonplussed. Her mom even teared up, then wondered what had become of her previously hardened exterior.

After her workout, Allie was tired out and took some well deserved time off to chill out.

Master Bath Update Deux

Saint Michelus has been busy working on our bathroom countertops. They used to be a fake white marble laminate that we seriously disliked. Fake white marble just shouldn't be done. So Mike found some tile for $35 on Craigslist and has been getting the job done in stages.

So as a refresher, our bathroom used to look like this:

And then Mike redid the cabinets to look like this:

And now, Mike has finished the countertops to look like this:

Here's a closer look at the color. We put in two crystal accent strips just for funsies.

We also ditched one of the sinks because I hate double sinks. I would far rather have more counter space than a second sink to clean. It might decrease the value, but whatever. I do what I want. (Name that quote.)

And now we just have to decide what to do with the floor. Fake marble vinyl floors also just shouldn't be done. But the floors will be the most costly part of the redo, so we've been dragging our feet a bit as we haven't found anything good on Craigslist. I kind of like a chocolate colored porcelain tile like this. While Mike is into something more colorful like this. What say you?

And for the fam, here some cute pics of le bebe et le papa.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Walking in a Red Rock Canyon

Alexandra has still been having many adventures here in Colorado, but many closer to home as Daddy Dearest was sick and then pulled his shoulder out of joint. Now he's feeling better and my maternity leave is dwindling, so we went on a few adventures this week.

First we drove to Denver so that Alexandra could meet Scout. Scout's mom is Sarah. Sarah's pretty cool (notice that I linked to my blog talking about her blog, rather than directly to her blog, so that you'll be forced to read mine more rather than hers. If you read that post, you'll realize that I'm still a jerky jalopa).

Sarah and I were compatriots in dragging our feet into motherhood (into our 30s, in fact), so it's pretty fun that we now have baby girls who are one month apart in age. It's also funny to see the difference in our babies (based on what we've projected onto them), since we are both such different people. My baby has the fussy name of Alexandra, while Little Miss Swan's name is cute and cheeky "Scout." My baby was wearing an outfit from Baby Gap while Scout was wearing a hand knit poncho (sadly not in this shot). My baby's hair lays neatly flat, while Scout's hair already looks like a total punk rocker's. Anyway, I'm glad our babies will be friends.

Yesterday, we ventured out for a hike in Red Rock Canyon Park, one of our favorite local gems. Allie-Alligator enjoyed looking around at the rocks for roughly 3 minutes before she fell fast asleep.

And, oh yes, I meant to scribble down several thoughts about these first days of parenthood, lest I forget them.

Several observations: I had various ideas about my approach to parenting while I was pregnant, which all seem to have flown out the window. I wanted my baby to be able to entertain herself and play alone, so I thought I would leave her be to play and coo by herself. But instead, if her eyes are open, I find myself cooing and oohing and making a general fool of myself on her behalf every single second she is awake. I'm sure there is still plenty of time to come for independent play as she is so young, but so far I am one of those ridiculous, drooly helicopter parents. I also thought I would be fine letting my baby "cry it out," but it turns out I'm a total softy and I can't handle letting her cry for more than 2 minutes. And even that kills me.

Toe jam: No one ever told me about the toe jam. Or maybe other babies just don't have it. But Alex seems to always have sock goo between her toes and it gets stinky if I don't clean it out every day. She also has hand jam - especially bad because she constantly has milk dripping over her hands. It's kind of gross. No one warned me.

Baby poo: It's true what they say, that it really isn't that bad. Especially since Allie is solely breastfed, changing her diaper doesn't bother me one iota. It doesn't even really seem like poo. You're not supposed to use bleach on our cloth diapers, so there are yellow stains all over them that look like tie dye. I like to pretend they're super cool rockin' tie dye diapers. Speaking of which, what do you cloth diapering moms do about stains?

Coming soon: Mikey Boy has been working hard on our bathroom, and he has completed tiling the countertop. Hooray for hubby! Pictures will be forthcoming once it's a bit cleaned up, as we need help choosing what kind of a floor to go with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things I Don't Like

Throughout my life, I have to admit to pretending to like certain things that I, in secret, really do not like at all. Something to do with insecurity and wanting to seem like a hip kid. But now that I'm a little older, there are several things I am now ready to confess.

I don't like wine. Or really any other kind of alcohol. I remember in post-college days the popularity of wine tasting parties and microbrew tours. I went through a phase of ordering a glass of white wine with dinner. But now I realize: I hate wine. I think it tastes like corroded, humiliated grapes. If I were to go out to a fancy dinner and treat myself, I would want a chocolate malt with dinner. Not a glass of wine. I guess I'm just not super classy.

I don't like Thai food. Thai food is super hip. I'm not sure why it's so much more chic than Chinese, but it is. Really most non-Chinese Asian foods are super hip: Vietnamese, Laotian, Indian. But now I realize: I'd rather eat a burger. With a chocolate malt. I guess I'm just not that worldly.

I don't like rock climbing. I went through a phase in high school and college in which I pretended that rock climbing was fun. In high school, I took a month-long course on rock climbing that was taught by the super-hot math teacher who was the son of our football coach. In later days, his father was fired for having a picture in his office drawer of he and his son posing nude with guns while hunting. But I digress. In college I went bouldering with the boys, but I dislike bouldering even more than rock climbing. Rock climbing and bouldering aren't fun. How can you enjoy nature when you're clinging to the face of a rock? And why cling to the face of a rock unless you're about to die? I'd rather take a slow stroll by a mountain stream. I guess I'm just not that adventurous.

I don't like fish. All the hip foodies are into fish. The weirder the better. I went through a phase of ordering fish whenever I ate out at fancy meals. You know, Omega 3s and all. But now I feel I can fess up: I hate fish. That is, unless it's a mahi mahi caught fresh and served on a beach in Kauai. Other than that, I don't want to ever eat fish. I'd rather eat a bowl of Cinnamon Life cereal. I guess I'm just not that healthy.

I don't like book club books or Literature with a capital L. I was an English major, so I'm supposed to love all those deep Oprah books, right? The more depressing and "raw" the better. The more convoluted and subculture the better. But now that I'm 10 years from my lit degree, I feel I can admit: I hate all that so-called Literature with a capital L. I like happy books. I like fairy tales. Move over, Holden Caulfield; I want Father Tim and Miss Marple. I don't want to read about internment camps or the Holocaust or child abuse or genocides. I want to read about happy people in happy places doing happy things. I guess I'm just not all that sophisticated.

I don't like artsy movies or documentaries. Because I work for Compassion, I'm often asked if I've seen the next edgy documentary on this issue or that. But after a long day of reading about life in poverty, there's nothing I want more than to watch an episode of Shaun the Sheep. My favorite movies are all either animated or written by Jane Austen. It's a good thing I have a kid now to legitimatize my childish taste. I guess I truly am the child of my parents (who play Candy Land for fun, long after their three daughters moved out).

Now is your chance to come clean too. What do you really dislike that you have pretended to like to be a cool kid?

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Week of Learning

This past week was a big week for Alexandra.

She learned to stare at people quite intently and track their movements.

She found her hand and learned how to suck on it.

She started smiling at mom and dad.

But not long enough to capture many non-blurry pictures!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Week in 2010...

Since Ye Olde Braine isn't full of delightful thoughts to deluge you with these days, but rather full of this little peanut:

I thought I'd give in to the nostalgia of fall and post what was going on this week in past years.

In 2010, I was posting about fall leaves and pumpkin muffins and cider...quite similar to what I've been experiencing this week. (I admit to having at least two chocolate chip pumpkin muffins a day for the past four days.) The leaves have looked like this picture from last year, until yesterday when the snow knocked most of the leaves off of the trees. We were also starting our big house project, re-doing our master bedroom, by scraping off the popcorn ceilings.

In 2009, we were just back from Kauai and still basking in all its glory. Truly Kauai is paradise. I was also busy writing a Bible study on joy. That was two years ago, so by this time, I've pretty much mastered the art of joy. ;) I was also praying for little Micah, who was born at 1 pound and 14 ounces. And, check it out, she just had her second birthday party!

In 2008, I was giving away autographed copy of my books. (Weird, huh?) I was pontificating on women. And I was getting ready to go to the Dominican Republic and Haiti for work.

In 2007...I have no idea what I was doing, because I hadn't started blogging yet! I pretty much assume life didn't exist before 2007.

Happy first week of November!

Badonka-donk Baby

We're trying cloth diapers for the first time today, as Alexandra has officially outgrown newborn diapers...

They make her look seriously deformed. Her hiney is roughly the size of mine in these things. No one warned me that one of the downfalls of cloth diapering was the impact on fashion. Hello?! Priorities, people! How is she supposed to rock this bird-adorned onesie when she looks like a morbidly obese pear? ...Although the sherbet-colored diaper cover is mighty cute.

The jury is still out on the diapers. (Gratuitous diaper photos added for grandparents' sake.)