Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Well, I was getting pretty anxious about this one, but as of December 15, at 15 1/2 months old, Elijah is walking. For that first week, he was only taking a few steps at a time, but over the last week he has discovered that most of the time he prefers walking over crawling. When he falls, instead of just breaking into a crawl, he'll carefully stand back up and try again. And his new talent he's learned just over the past couple of days is the pivot. That's pretty cute to watch. This is a very careful and serious task that he does with great concentration. And he's getting really good at it.
It's amazing how this one milestone literally changes your baby into a toddler. He looks so grown up now that he's on two feet. And he looks so proud of himself everytime he stands up that it's tough not to smile and show your own pride while you watch him.
So, one more milestone passed, and one more worry relieved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


In the past few weeks, Elijah has become very interested in dressing up while he plays and we're just hanging around the house. These are just a couple of pictures of some of his favorite things to wear. He thinks his sunglasses are pretty cool, but the coolest thing is to wear socks on his hands. And he seems to prefer these pumpkin socks over all of his other socks. Once he has the socks on, the loves to clap his hands together either for the sound, the feel, or maybe both. He also likes trying to pick things up with his sock hands, but once it gets frustrating enough, he'll frantically pull the socks off to get the job done. But he immediately needs the socks back on once he has what he needs. This morning we were playing in his room and his outfit consisted of a onesie, a snow hat, one shoe and two pairs of socks on his hands. He's pretty entertaining!

It's a Girl!

For anyone who hasn't heard yet, we found out last week that our new little baby is a girl. Much thanks to the sonogram tech that wiggled, pressed and shook my belly from all sides in order for us to find out! We are very excited about the news, but it's amazing how different it is from the first baby. When we found out that we were having a boy the first time, it was a pretty emotional experience and very exciting. This time, we both just said, "Wow, a girl. That's cool." And then went on with our days. I think I'm feeling this way for two reasons. First, I had convinced myself that this one was going to be a boy, which has actually proven to me that I really wanted a girl much more than I wanted to admit. Now I think I'm just a little in shock with the idea. And this leads me to my second reason for feeling the way I do. I think there's a part of me that's a little scared about having a girl. There are so many neat and fun things that go along with having a girl, but when I start to think about adolescent and teen years, it makes me nervous! Girls have to deal with so much stuff that boys don't and I think it will be very hard as her mom to know that she is having to go through that stuff. But I know it's just part of life.
So, all this to say that yes, I am very excited to be having a little girl. I have always wanted one just like I have always wanted a boy, and I am incredibly blessed to be able to experience them both. As far as all of my other emotions about it - I'm pregnant. If I wasn't worrying about what she will be dealing with 15 years from now, I'd be worrying about something else.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"The greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches, but revealing to them their own."
- Max Lucado

Saturday, November 12, 2005

First "Real" Halloween

Last year at Halloween Elijah was only 2 months old, so needless to say we didn't do much of anything. I bought him a giraffe costume, he wore it for about 30 minutes at our house and we handed out candy to neighborhood kids.
This year, I was determined to make his own costume, for two reason. One, I wanted it to be cheaper than a store-bought costume. Two, I wanted it to be original. As you can tell from the pictures, he was a skunk. The cost thing didn't work out like I expected. It was a simple costume, but it still turned out to be about twice as much as something bought at a store. But, the idea was that he would have a new black sweat shirt and pants that would last him through the rest of the fall and winter, thus justifying the cost. I was determined to make that stripe stick while still salvaging the sweatshirt, but I was not successful. So, he has a pair of pants to wear throughout the winter, but as far as wearing the hooded jacket, he now has a permanant skunk jacket.
My second reason for wanting to make the costume instead of buying was to be original. That was successful. I never saw one other skunk all night long, and only a couple of people mistakenly thought he was a cat. But those few people also thought he was a girl.
So, Halloween was much more fun this year. We went to the outside festival set up at our church where Elijah played a lot of games that involved throwing balls into buckets, and won a lot of candy for his parents!

Thoughtful Gavin

I just wanted to brag for a minute about my wonderful husband. Several weeks ago he received his annual pay raise at work. And a couple of days later I received some beautiful flowers at my door. The note with them just said that I was his partner in everything, even the work that he does at his job. Very sweet.

I realized I don't have any pictures of my little buddy and me on my blog, so I went looking for some and this is the most recent I could find! Pretty sad since this picture is 8 months old! Someone needs to take more pictures of us. This was hiking in Gorum, La when we visited Grandma.

Second Pregnancy Phenomena

I've discovered a couple of interesting things with this second pregnancy. First is the whole idea that you're not supposed to be lifting anything too heavy while pregnant. Since I am a stay-at-home mom of a 14-month old that's not walking yet, all I ever do is pick up and put down 25 pounds of baby, all day long. So, it just boggles my mind when someone notices that I'm carrying a plate, a little tv, a broom, a glass of water, etc. and they insist that I let them take it because I'm pregnant. But, when they see me bending over and picking up my heavy little boy, there's no offer what-so-ever to help me out. Interesting.
The second thing I've noticed is that I forget I'm pregnant with this one. I'm so consumed with Elijah all day long, that I don't have time to obsess about this new baby. I remember with my first pregnancy all I ever did was think about it, wonder what was coming next, worry that I was doing everything right to be healthy, and get impatient that I had to wait so long to meet this baby. Now I don't think about any of that stuff unless someone specifically asks me about it, or I have a doctor's appointment. For example, yesterday someone asked me how far along I was and I told them 12 weeks. Then I went to the doctor yesterday afternoon only to find out that I am actually 14 weeks along. Somewhere in the last month, I stopped counting and lost two weeks. But, it's probably a blessing since I stressed out so much over my first pregnancy. I'm obviously much more relaxed this time!

Monday, October 17, 2005

swingin' at the park

Toe Tapping In Gorum

A few weeks ago Elijah and I went to Gorum, La with my mom to visit my grandmother and other family. I knew it would be a fun trip for Elijah and that he would stay pretty entertained the whole time, but I never considered the idea that he would learn a new skill that he'll keep with him the rest of his life.
A couple of months ago, Elijah had started his own little version of "baby dancing" every time he heard any music. He mostly just sat on his bottom and rocked back and forth. He had kept up this same routine, without any adjustments for several weeks. Until we went to Gorum.
One afternoon we went to visit one of my great aunts. Elijah was playing in her living room with a toy that sings the ABC's, and Aunt Carley started to tap her foot along with the song. Elijah was fascinated with her "dancing" and watched her over and over as he continued to make the toy sing. He was studying her so intently that it was obvious he was trying to figure out how to do it himself. And then he made his move. He stood up holding on to the coffee table and began stomping his foot while watching Aunt Carley's. Ever since that afternoon, he hasn't stopped stomping his foot to music. Whether he's standing, sitting on the floor or even riding in his car seat, when he hears a song he likes, his foot starts moving.
Now, I know that at some point in his life Elijah would have learned this simple concept of tapping his foot along to music. But so many things kids learn, you have no idea when or how they picked them up. But I had the honor of watching the entire process right in front of me on Aunt Carley's living room floor. I will remember that day for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Surprise, Surprise!

Well, as most of you already know, baby number two is on it's way. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle all of this. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited and happy about this new addition to our family, but it's literally happening a year and a half earlier than I expected it. I don't know how long it's going to take for it all to sink in, but I'm still in a state of shock. It still doesn't feel real to me.
As I tried to fall asleep last night, all I could do was lay there remembering, minute by minute, the birth of Elijah. I thought your brain let you forget all of that in time to go through it again. That's what I've been told by so many people. It's not that I don't want to do it again, but I really wasn't planning on it this soon. And I remember SO MUCH of those 13 hours last August.
I keep reminding myself that with Elijah I gained almost 60 pounds, he weighed almost 9 1/2 pounds, and he was turned the wrong way and had to be vacuumed out of me. And, I had to be rushed into surgery right after he was born. These are all things that I plan on working very hard at NOT repeating with this baby. I know I can't do much about the baby's weight, but the rest of the stuff I should be able to handle.
I just can't believe my little Eli is barely one year old and I had to pull out the handy pregnancy books last night to start reading them again. I still can't wrap my head around it. It feels like I'm reading the books to get information for a friend who has just found out they are pregnant, instead of for myself.
I mean, I just finished storing away all of Elijah's tiny baby clothes, and I just recently finished space-bagging all of my maternity clothes. Now in a few short months I'll be getting all of that down again and trying to figure out how to fit two cribs in that small bedroom.
It sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I'm just processing. I know that this is a blessing and I am very thankful that Gavin and I don't have the frustrations and stress of those people that are never able to have children. And maybe that's part of my shock of this whole situation. We have been and continue to be extremely blessed. But I know all I can do is be thankful and respond to these blessings with respect and admiration.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Blessing of a Child

I've written down the words to one of my favorite songs by Nichole Nordeman. It holds a lot more meaning now that I found out she wrote this after her son was born. It is such a great description of how I feel as a mother. In the first few weeks after Elijah was born, I remember being awake with him in the middle of the night, in a dark room somewhere in the house, just the two of us. It felt like we were the only people alive sometimes and I remember realizing what an awesome responsibility I had been given. And wondering why I had been chosen to raise this little boy. It made me feel so insignificant, but incredibly important at the same time. It was a life-changing realization that has altered me on so many levels. And it is such a gift.

Brave, by Nichole Nordeman

The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been
'Cause it's been fear that ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love, that cuts the strings

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave

I am small
And I speak when I'm spoken to
But I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name
Just Your name and I'm ready to jump
Even ready to fall...
Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave

I've never known a fire that didn't begin with a flame
Every storm will start with just a drop of rain
But if you believe in me
That changes everything

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Eli!

It's hard to believe that the little guy in this sonogram picture is a year old already. This last year has been more fun than Gavin and I ever expected. Of course it's been exhausting at times and frustrating at other times, but I can barely remember those times in comparison to everything else that Elijah has been to us.
We have been blessed with a beautiful, bright shining ray of light. This is really the best way I know how to describe Elijah. He is energetic, he is cheerful, he is very silly and loves to laugh, and he is so loving. I could list a thousand aspects of Elijah that I love and still not list them all.
I know I'm supposed to be a little apprehensive about the next year as he enters toddler-hood, but I'm not. I'm excited to watch him grow and learn. I'm excited to see his first steps, I'm excited to hear him learn new words, and I'm actually excited to see him start to assert his independence more. He is a beautiful kid with a wonderful personality and even at only one year old, I am so proud of the little person that he is. Happy Birthday, Eli!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Elijah's Dad

It's amazing how much things change between those last few hours that you are merely pregnant and the incredible first few moments when your child is born. As the one carrying my child, I felt an instant connection with that little person the minute I found out I was really pregnant. Gavin didn't feel that connection until the minute that little person actually came into the world. But once they met, it was instantaneous, committed, and unconditional love. You know that love as a mother automatically and you never think twice about it. But when you see it portrayed through the relationship of your husband and child, it's amazing to watch.
Right after Elijah was born, I was rushed off to surgery. I was so sad that I missed out on those first moments and hours with my son. I really felt guilty about it, even though it was completely out of my control. But I was comforted a few days later when I got the pictures that my parents and Gavin's parents had taken during those hours that I was in surgery and recovery. I saw pictures of my husband never leaving my son's side. I saw him watching Elijah intently through the nursery glass window while they cleaned him and pricked his heel. I saw Gavin holding Elijah's little fingers while he was prodded and poked by the nurses. Gavin transformed from a nervous, unsure man who was about to be a father with absolutely zero experience with kids, into one of the best fathers I have ever known, all in a matter of hours.
I've always known that Gavin would be a wonderful father to our children. But to see it for the first time through those pictures was and continues to be bring me joy.
Elijah is now almost a year old, and to see the way that little boy just lights up when he see's his dad every evening brings me that same feeling of joy.
We recently took a trip up to the Northwest, and I couldn't help but notice in the row right across from us on the plane, sat a father and teenage son. It was a three and a half hour flight and I don't think they said more than 2 sentences to each other the entire time. It wasn't even that aspect that bothered me, because I know that teenagers don't always want to talk to their parents. It was the fact that when the son did talk, the dad acted annoyed that his son was interrupting his reading. It was a relationship that was hard not to watch and take note of, and it made me realize even more what a blessing it is to have a husband who desires so much to have a meaningful relationship with his son.
To watch my husband and my son not only interact with eachother, but love eachother so deeply makes me unbelievably proud to be their wife and mother.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Book Review

I try to be a good reader, but I'm just not. It's very difficult for me to find a book that takes me less than six months to finish. I realize this probably makes me sound dumb, but I just get bored easily. All this to say that I recently read a book that I finished in about 5 days. Now, I realize that it's not a very intellectually stimulating book, but it is a hilarious book that was emotionally stimulating for me, and sometimes that's more important!
"Baby Laughs" is written by Jenny McCarthy and is a follow-up to "Belly Laughs", which I didn't read, but now I want to. For anyone who has ever experienced the first year of motherhood, you will probably enjoy this read. I found myself crying from laughing so hard a lot of the time. Some of my favorite chapters include, "Nursing Nazi (bottle or boob)", "Rock Star Lullabies (noisy influences)", "Ouch My Udders Hurt (breastfeeding)", "Oh No, I Ran Out of Cottage Cheese. Wait I Can Just Scrape Some Off My Thighs (still fat)", "The WWE Baby Champion of the World (daddy playtime)". And these are just a few. There are actually 42 chapters, but they are all about 3-6 pages long. So it's an extremely fast read, plus it's just hard to put it down because it's so dang funny!
So, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fast, easy and just fun read. I will give you fair warning though. Jenny is very crass throughout the entire book. Some of my favorite chapters I didn't list because of their titles. It's just her personality and one of the things she's famous for. And, I honestly wouldn't recommend this to anyone who hasn't had a baby because it will either gross you out, scare you, or it just won't be funny to you. But I think she says a lot of things that most new moms are thinking but don't want to admit. Plus I just love her sense of humor.
So take this for what it's worth. I just wanted to share with anyone who might be interested!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Parent Proofing

Now that Elijah is crawling and trying to do some walking, it's time to start baby proofing the house. According to all the baby books and articles, I'm about four months too late on doing this. Apparently, I was supposed to take care of this by the time he was sitting up on his own. I think this is a little silly, personally. Elijah has been crawling for several weeks now but still hasn't attempted to open any drawers or cabinets where all the danger lives. And even if he did, there's not a whole lot of strength in those little 8 inch arms. Besides that, maybe I'm naive, but I don't usually just leave him in a room all alone to entertain himself. So, there's not a whole lot he can get into before I can stop him. I know many of you are saying, "just wait until he does get a little bigger and stronger, and can walk. It's better to go ahead and baby proof everything now." And, "just wait until you have more than one child. It's not as easy to keep an eye on two of them."
While these statements are true, I have decided to do the baby proofing as needed, as we go and as Elijah grows. Why? Because not only do these safety devices keep babies out of things, they also keep their parents out of things. So far, I have only put the little plastic covers on all of the outlets. And I haven't even put them on all of our outlets because they are so dang difficult to take off! I have only put them on the outlets in the rooms that Elijah is in the most. Since putting them on, I have had to vacuum twice and iron once. Both chores I really detest in the first place. Now I have to add an extra 10-15 minutes each onto the time it takes me to iron and vacuum because of these stupid outlet covers. And frankly, that extra 10-15 minutes can make a big difference in my day. It's almost enough to consider not doing them at all anymore. But somehow, that's not really an option.
I've heard that all of the drawer and cabinet "locks" are just as annoying and troublesome. So, until I feel that it's absolutely necessary, they're not being installed in my house. I know some of you are probably all worried now that Elijah is going to get into all sorts of stuff and get hurt or sick because of my sefishness. Not to worry. I am extremely careful and watchful of my little guy and nothing is more important to me than that. So, if it means I have to follow him around the house all day, carry him on my hip (both of which will help me burn more calories!) or stick him in his playpen for a little while, then that's okay with me. As long as it buys me a little more time to be able to cook without having to figure out how to get to my own dishes!

He's such a pleasant morning person! On this morning we interrupted a conversation between him and his horse. Hearing him talking over the monitor every morning is such a nice way to wake up! Posted by Hello

One of my favorite pictures. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


As Elijah is nearing the one-year mark, I am hit with the inevitable question: "When will you have the next one?" Hmmm. This one makes me stop and pause a bit.
I love Elijah more than I ever could have imagined and I love being a mom, but I am not one of these moms that wants to just have one right after the other. There's nothing wrong with doing that, but honestly, that thought just overwhelms me. I need a good two and a half to three years between my little ones. And to me, it's still kind of crazy to even think of myself as a mom in the first place, much less a mom of two! It's kind of like the first couple of years that I was married. The thought of being "married" was so weird to me for the longest time. Now, it's hard to imagine my life without Gavin. So, I guess I'm still in the "honeymoon" part of parenthood. I'm enjoying this little guy to the fullest and I'll only be able to enjoy this "alone" time with him for such a short while before the next one comes along.
But, there are aspects of baby number two that are exciting to me. For instance, if we have a girl, it would be just a completely new experience for us (plus they're more fun to shop for!), and if we have another boy then we'd have a fun house full of boys! I know Elijah is going to be so fun to watch as a big brother to whoever comes along next, and a second one will just fill up our house with that much more fun and love.
So, if any of you are wondering when the next little Pate will come along, it will be at the right time for us as a family, and the right time for me as the one carrying and breastfeeding him/her! Right now we are thoroughly enjoying beautiful little Elijah.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Where Did My Baby Go?

Well, Elijah just had his 9 month check-up last week, and I realized two things while I was there. One, watching him get shots hasn't gotten any easier for either of us; and two, he's not the little baby I once knew.
There's something about sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor to come in that makes me nostalgic. It's probably just the fact that you have to sit in a closed up room with not much to do while you and your baby just stare at eachother. He's trying to figure out where we are and why the walls are bright orange and you're trying to figure out just exactly why it takes so long for the doctor to come in. Either way, I find myself just watching Elijah and remembering what he was like the last time we were in this office. Last time I didn't have to make sure he didn't crawl off the examining table, last time I was still happily breastfeeding and was proud to tell the nurse that when she asked what kind of formula I used, and last time he wasn't at all interested in the weird circa 1975 wooden toys on the floor.
No, this visit was very different than the last ones. For the last nine months I had just been told to basically keep doing what I was doing. I mean, we added solid foods at around 5 months and had to start him on formula at around 6 months, but now I was being told something all-together different: that basically he is growing up. He has two new teeth that he was somehow keeping hidden from me until the doctor pointed them out, he has mastered crawling and is now trying to master standing and walking, and the real sign that he's growing up: I have to start weaning him off of the bottle. I never thought I would even care about that, but when the doctor told me that, it was like I saw the rest of Elijah's life flash before me; I all of a sudden realized how fast this was all going. No more bottle? Next thing I know he'll be going off to college! It sounds so melodramatic, but it's true.
While everyone else sees a cute little baby, I see a cute young boy who is already growing up too fast. So, on the advice of a couple of aunts who have recently graduating babies, I'm taking every opportunity that Elijah will allow me to sit and cuddle, hug and kiss him and smell his little head of hair.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Back on Schedule

Elijah and I had a rough day yesterday. Just when you think you have these kids figured out and in a routine and schedule, they change. I've heard it before, but I just realized last night that this applies to me and my own child as well.
Elijah is almost 9 months old. Which means he is extremely curious, active and mobile. What this means for me is that after about 5 minutes, he's bored with eating. He wants to do everything else but eat. Emotionally, I have had a very difficult time with this because over the last few months we have been in the process of switching him to formula in order to give him more calories than I apparently could through nursing, monthly weigh-ins at the doctor and ultimately trying to catch his weight back up to where it "should" be on the stupid percentile chart. (I have come to hate that chart and the word "percentile"). I have become so obsessed with his weight and making sure he's healthy that I have neglected the all-important schedule that has been so vital to me, and I have let Elijah take control. My common-sense and my child-development knowledge tell me that I can't let him take an hour to finish his bottle by taking a couple of ounces at time when he decides he wants it. But my emotions have been telling me that his nutrition is more important. So I hit a mental wall yesterday, put him on the couch and walked away in frustration. He then fell off the couch face first. I was pretty guilt-ridden the rest of the day. And now he has a carpet burn on his nose that is a constant reminder of my loss of control.
I know what I've been doing is not in the best interest of Elijah or our family in the long-run. But I was having a really hard time getting over this mental hurdle - until last night.
Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else. And last night I heard it from a mom of three and a pediatrician. Good sources!
Here's what made it click for me:
Number one - being told that I'm not alone in this struggle.
Number two - I'm not a bad mom for letting my son fall off the couch.
And number three - I was treating him the same way a parent might treat an older sibling when the new baby comes home. You neglect the older one because you are paying so much attention to the baby. So in turn, you let the older child get away with things that you normally wouldn't because you feel bad about the fact that they're not getting the attention that they're used to. I was letting Elijah get away with making his own rules and schedule because I ultimately felt bad that I had failed him in his nutritional needs.
So, I got over it. I'm a good mom. Elijah is a healthy boy. And I'm back in control.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Playing in the grass Posted by Hello

Visit from Princess Posted by Hello

Grateful For "Now"

It's so cliche, but so true! These babies grow up way to fast. While I'm excited about Elijah getting older and all the new things he learns every month, I find myself missing so many things about his first few months.
It's so exciting to see him trying to crawl and pull up on things to stand, but I miss just holding him when all he could do was lay in my arms and let me hold him.
It's very freeing after 18 months of pregnancy and breastfeeding to have my body back to myself, but I miss the cuddling and bonding that we got to do during all of those feedings.
I'm proud of the fact that I have an independent son who wants to just lay down and put himself to sleep at night, but I miss being able to rock him to sleep as he completely relaxed on my chest with his ear over my heart.
It's hard as a parent to really enjoy "now." I find myself always looking forward to Elijah being either in or out of a certain stage, or I find myself missing aspects of past stages. But now that he is almost 9 months old, I have realized that this first year went by faster than I ever imagined and that every year seems to go by faster than the last.
So, for now I will be grateful for this stage we are in now. Scooting, not crawling yet; babbling, not really talking yet; formula and baby food, not "real" food yet; and still taking two naps a day!


As I sit and write this, I am listening to Elijah talk/whine/yell over the baby monitor as he fights naptime. And he has now learned a new sound: ma ma ma ma. So I now feel even more guilty and annoyed as he calls out since it sounds as if he is specifically calling for me. I know he's tired, he knows he is tired, but he wants to win this battle. He wants to stay awake and play. It's amazing to me that this little 8 month old boy is already asserting so much independence. Probably the most frustrating times during my day are when it's time to eat. Every time, without fail, he will take 4 oz of his bottle and then decide to stop and play. It then takes me another 30-45 minutes to get him to take the last two ounces, which he really needs. It's a battle between us every single time.
And I know this is only a taste of what's to come in the future. Elijah has already demonstrated to everyone who knows him that he is very smart, independent and determined little boy. These are wonderful traits to have, and I am very proud that he is my son. But as his just as independent and determined mom, I pray every day that the two of us continue to learn and grow together and love eachother even more as we go through these battles.

Thursday, April 21, 2005



Friday, April 15, 2005

What Is It With Bluebonnets?

So, it's Springtime in Texas and I have a baby, so that means I have to find a patch of bluebonnets for pictures. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea, and it makes for some beautiful pictures, but who started this craze? It's the one time in a child's life when a mother is willing to put her child in danger just for some pictures. When else is it okay to pull off the side of a major four lane highway, or better yet, a tiny two-way country highway with dangerosly sharp s-curves, set your baby on the ground, step back about 10 yards and snap a picture?
I'm willing to bet that if that child ever wanted to stop for any other reason, he would hear, "Are you kidding me? We're on the side of a highway! It's too dangerous. We'll pull off at the next gas station." But, every year at this time, you are bound to see multiple families pulled off on the side of the road trying to set up the perfect bluebonnet picture. Do these families just assume that the drivers in Texas automatically know that it's "bluebonnet picture season," so be on your best driving behavior? Maybe so. Maybe the danger is part of the fun!
Personally, I'm still searching for my picture spot so that I don't have to dodge 18-wheelers. I just hope this doesn't mean that I'll have to miss out on this Texas tradition. Call me over-protective.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Do You Work?

I think anyone who is a mom, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or you work outside the home, will be able to relate to this one, and laugh along with me.
I have discovered something to be true among men. They don't seem to know how to handle the ever-so-touchy issue of asking, "What do you do?", or "Do you work?" when talking to a mom. Every time the situation comes up with me, I can't help but laugh, but also feel a little bad for the guy. I mean, who can blame him? It can be a difficult situation to be in. Depending on what type of woman you are talking to, there's never really a safe way to go with it. Maybe she'll get annoyed that he's assuming she shouldn't work, but should stay home to raise children and clean the house. But, then again, maybe she'll be annoyed if she thinks he has implied that staying at home is not a full-time job in itself. There always seems to be some misunderstanding or implied sexism or something.
Personally, I think this is the fault of us moms. We're too hard on these guys. Don't get me wrong - I, just as much as the next woman, don't think that my job as a stay-at-home mom should be made into any less than it is - it's a full-time job. But, I think we need to lay off the guys a little. So what if they ask "Do you work?" There's no reason for me to assume that he thinks my days are spent watching soaps and eating ice cream. There's no reason for me to get defensive and shoot back to him with pride and disdain, "I do the hardest job in the world 24 hours a day. Of course I work - I'm a mom!"
Let's be realistic about this. Most men in today's world are very aware of the fact that many women have careers and many women stay at home with their kids. Most of them are married to one of these women. Most of them are intellegent creatures with logical thinking brains. And some of them are even sensitive and caring. So, the way I figure it, most men don't mean anything by their questions when inquiring about whether or not you earn any income for your family.
So, the next time a man stumbles over himself while trying to ask you about your life, let him off the hook. Don't assume he's implying anything. Just be nice and answer his question.
But if he really is an unintellegent jerk, let him have it!

Monday, April 11, 2005

I recently had to take my car in to get the oil changed. No big deal, right? Usually. But there are some things that are still difficult to work into Elijah's schedule, and this happens to be one of them. But, I had to get it done. So, Elijah and I woke up very early, ate breakfast, got dressed and headed out to the dealership. (Bear in mind that I woke up at 7:00, but by the time we actually left the house it was 10:00, which is 30 minutes later than when Elijah's usual morning nap takes place). Once we got to the dealership, I asked and asked again, and they assured me that they could have me out of there within an hour - as Elijah was due to eat again at about 11:00. So, I handed over my keys and prayed that they weren't just feeding me a line and that I would be done in at least an hour and a half. I then proceeded in to the waiting area, where I was thankful, yes thankful to see a tv on. I don't let Elijah watch tv at home, and he's probably the only 7 month old outside of the Amish community that hasn't watched a DVD yet. But, he is enthralled by the tv and I know that if all else fails in this boring waiting room, I at least have this to fall back on. But before I sit down and get us settled in for the next couple of hours, I realize Elijah needs a diaper change. I mean, this one is bad and it needs immediate attention. So, off we go to the bathroom. I open the door to this very nice, multi-million dollar car dealership bathroom, only to find that there is NO diaper changing station, NO counter space by the sink, NOTHING that I can put my son on to change his diaper - other than the bathroom floor. Unbelievable! So I turned back around, went straight to the cashier at the front desk and rudely inquired about this and asked for access to another bathroom. She proceeded to tell me that there was a bathroom in the sales office, but "oh yeah, it's exactly the same as this bathroom." Thanks a lot. I angrily walked away, back to the bathroom and gently laid my son on the hard, cold, dirty tile floor and quickly changed his diaper while I apologized to him and prayed that nothing too nasty was coming in contact with his little body.
So, all of this to say that it's unbelievable to me that any place of business in today's world would not have a place to change a diaper. I've even been to tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurants with hardly what would qualify as a bathroom, and they still have a place to change a diaper. Many places even have these diaper-changing stations in men's bathrooms (which is wonderful, and I love and thank the first person that thought of that - I mean, why is it that only a mom can change their kids' diaper in public?). So, why in the world does this incredibly nice, full-of-money dealership not have anything? Who knows. But, the important thing is that they are now currently getting some installed. And, they did get me out of there within an hour like promised.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Diaper Begging

Yesterday I experienced a "first." Elijah and I decided to go to the Ft. Worth arts and jazz festival with my brother. We were having a nice time, enjoying the weather, cruising through all of the many booths filled with artists and their crafts. Some really great artists, some really not so great, which are good at starting up conversation and laughter. It had been a couple of hours since we had gotten there, and Elijah was due for a diaper change and bottle. We spent at least 20 minutes looking for a decent place to take care of all of this business. Once we found a bench in the shade, we got everything set up and ready go, only to find out that I had failed to re-stock the diaper bag before we left for our outing. I couldn't believe it. I knew it would probably happen at some point, but this was probably the most inconvenient time and place possible. And believe me, this was NOT a diaper that needed to be left alone and unchanged. Something needed to be done. So, I left my brother, diaper bag, stroller and my pride at the bench, gathered Elijah in my arms and went searching. Somehow, in the "family area" of the festival, I couldn't find any children that looked to be in the same age range of Elijah. But once I found one, I pounced. Now, anyone who knows me knows that asking a favor of a total stranger on the street is not easy for me to do. My shyness compounded with a sense of pride tends to make me run in the other direction of a lot of situations. But, since it involved Elijah, I didn't have much of a choice. So, I begged them for one of their diapers. Being a mother myself, and knowing how precious and expensive these diapers are, I was just praying that they were nice people and that they had plenty on hand so that they wouldn't mind giving one up. Just as I should have expected in the first place, they were very nice, understanding and helpful. They even asked if I needed any wipes, and if I only wanted one diaper. So, thank you to the nice family that helped us enjoy another couple of hours looking at art, and for chipping off another little piece of my pride.

First hike, Gorum, La in Kisatchie Natl. Forest Posted by Hello

Elijah Winston 7 months Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Never the Same Again

Casa de Pate

I didn't think it would come true for me, but it did. In the months leading up to the Christmas season, I read numerous articles in my many parenting magazines about how to prepare for the holidays as a new mom. Why would it be any different? Other than the fact that I had this wonderful new person with me to share it with, why would Christmas be any different? Well, just as the holidays are changed forever once you get married, they are also changed forever once you have a kid. And the only problem with that is that I sometimes still feel like a kid myself - selfishly wanting Christmas to hold all the same magic it did growing up. But I guess that's all over now and I have to grow up and start making that same magic for my own son. I discovered all of this while sitting at my parent's house, all by myself in their bedroom nursing my son, while sounds of laughter and fun wafted through the hallways. I then re-discovered it all over again later that same night while I was again alone in my parent's bedroom with my screaming son, trying to put him to sleep.
I had read in my magazine articles that during the holidays all of the grandparents, aunts and uncles would be fighting eachother off in order to hold your little one, as long as he wasn't crying. And, to my surprise, that actually wasn't the case. I have to give my aunts and my parents credit for trying, but it seemed that only I could soothe him at the end of an exhausting, overwhelming Christmas day. So, there I was, left alone. After going through my emotions of resentfulness and anger toward the rest of my family for leaving me all alone in the back of the house with a screaming baby (remember I still feel like a kid myself, and still getting used to this whole baby thing), I realized that it's no one's fault that I am in this situation. I have a wonderful, supportive family that would gladly hold onto my son no matter how loud he was screaming. I'm just a mom now. Plain and simple. My life is changed forever. I'm no longer the kid, I'm no longer without responsibility. I am one of the adults in the family and more importantly, I am a mom - and I couldn't be happier or more proud of that fact.
So, while Christmas is forever changed, I am excited about creating a lifetime of memories for my son like the ones I have of my own childhood.