A Break from Routine

Dear Erin,

I’m glad you’re back – and with pictures of Little Man! Things have been kind of busy for you lately, so it’s good it’s slowed down enough for you to get time to write. I’ve got something for Little Man; I just have to do a bit of finishing. But time is passing so quickly, I’d better actually finish it and send it off or he will have grown out of it before it gets there!

This weekend, we left our own little boy at home (with VERY good friends) and flew down to LA for a grownup weekend. It was the first time we had left him overnight, so it was a little hard, but it helped that we trusted our friends. It also helped that we really enjoyed our time to just be a couple.

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But we couldn’t just lounge around, drinking coffee and reading the paper, and enjoying a fabulous view. There was an office party to go to, and it was a big one.

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So we dressed appropriately. They set up a tent on top of a parking garage, and inside – well, just think of a big L.A. party, and you’ve probably got the general idea.

It looked amazing – a sparkly karaoke lounge, a frozen Norwegian landscape and wise guy bar, a prison, a vampire-infested swamp with shotgun cabin, a D.C.-style bar and model of the Capitol.

There was lots of food and drink.

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Some were more interesting than others.

There was live music, and there were celebrities. Snoop Dogg (who needed five people to introduce him for ten minutes before he came on stage), Robin Thicke, Jared Leto, Vince Vaughan, and then lots of others I didn’t recognize. We got pictures with the only ones we cared at all about.

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Anyway, most of the other celebrities stayed in their special area up above the riff raff (some of whom kept staring up at them and taking pictures; it was the weirdest thing and felt a little like a zoo. But I’m not sure whether we were the animal exhibits or the celebrities were.)

So, overall, an unusual night for us, but a lot of fun. Sunday morning, it was back to normal in my jeans, t-shirt and cardigan, and flying back home to this little guy.

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And that’s a pretty good normal life.

So That Happened (Or The Difference 5 Weeks Makes…)

So Kristen told everyone that we had a baby. This is Little Man, our second little Munchkin.

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His arrival was a little surprising. Not in the sense that I didn’t know I was pregnant; I was DEFINITELY aware his arrival was on the horizon. What was surprising was his time of arrival – five weeks early. His sister wasn’t early and there were no causes for concern during my pregnancy…until he came. And even then, the doctors were hopeful the contractions would decrease and we would go home. In fact, they had us so convinced of this possibility that we stupidly didn’t bring anything helpful to the hospital – like extra clothes or toothbrushes. We did bring our phones; those were helpful.

So Little Man came 5 weeks early and 8 hours after we got to the hospital, on Labor Day weekend.

What were our plans for that weekend? Well, if you’ve been reading for awhile, our plans were to finish Munchkin’s Peter Pan room – the schedule was to have it complete by the first week of September and we were on track to finish then.

In fact, we were slated to have EVERYTHING done in the five weeks before his ETA and by everything I mean the following:

  1. Finish Peter Pan room
  2. Move Munchkin into new room
  3. Get nursery ready for the new Munchkin
  4. Install new door
  5. Wash all baby clothes
  6. Have deck replaced in back
  7. Pack bag for hospital
  8. Buy diapers
  9. Finish fixing attic (and hole in the ceiling)
  10. Get all baby things out of attic and ready for baby
  11. Make some meals to freeze
  12. Replace broken microwave
  13. Clean entire house, top to bottom
  14. Get the sister and the puppy ready for another person in the house

Little Man’s due date was October 2 – this coming Thursday – and we are actually closer to having this list done due to the help of friends and family. It’s not ALL done, but its close. This is the list in its current state:

  1. Finish Peter Pan room – only the mural and finishing touches are left. A friend helped with the seat cushion and enjoyed playing with a staple gun!
  2. Move Munchkin into new room She needed to move in, even if it wasn’t done…guests were coming! She thinks she’s big stuff now.
  3. Get nursery ready for the new Munchkin – its been serving as the guest room and he’s been sleeping in our room, so, no – it’s not done
  4. Install new door YAY!!
  5. Wash all baby clothes Thanks to Matt’s mom for this!
  6. Have deck replaced in back Yay! And its awesome (though not stained yet…it needs to stop raining first…)
  7. Pack bag for hospital – N/A – and it took about 5 trips between the hospital and home to have everything we needed for being in the hospital
  8. Buy diapers – done! At least for now; I’m sure we’ll need some more soon and we’re considering doing cloth diapers again, he’s just too little right now
  9. Finish fixing attic (and hole in the ceiling) – yup, there was a hole in the ceiling
  10. Get all baby things out of attic and ready for baby – it took awhile to find the car seat…
  11. Make some meals to freeze – nope, but friends have brought meals to us, which is wonderful.
  12. Replace broken microwave
  13. Clean entire house, top to bottom – putting this on the list is like shooting for the moon – ridiculous. So it gets cleaned bit by bit and I will resign myself to not having it clean all at once.
  14. Get the sister and the puppy ready for another person in the house – they didn’t need it – they are in love with him!

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Now life is most interesting, and we are often put in places where we can praise the Lord and turn to Him, when the unexpected happens. And this was unexpected. In fact, this summer has been full of the unexpected, and we are praising the Lord through it all. And its not hard, looking at this guy – who is healthy and happy and very loved.

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Hereabouts

Dear Erin,

Good friends were here this week, so we got to be tourists in our home again. Little Mister did really well for a six month old, mostly tolerating the long periods in the car, the strange schedule, and the late nights. Here’s the proof.

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Okay, so he’s not in these pictures from Big Sur, but that’s because he was asleep in the car.

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We went to San Francisco and did the bridge first thing. This time, we parked at one of the batteries and enjoyed the non-stress approach to the bridge, with a view of the ocean and the entrance to the bay.

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I think he’s figuring out what the camera means.

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We took the requisite – but always cool – boat ride into the bay, under the bridge, around Alcatraz, and back to Pier 39. LM wasn’t interested in anything except the fact that it was mealtime.

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He perked up on the way back.

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We did a few new things this time around. Besides the batteries, we visited the Disney family museum (very thorough in this content! So many letters and pictures, this was a surprisingly well-documented family.), drove down Lombard street (the famous windey one), and visited a new winery in Napa (it was okay, but not the highest on my list for the future).

And then there were the old favorites, like Ghirardelli Square – LM’s first time.

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I think he’s excited!

Church Blessings

Dear Erin,

We’re traveling tonight, so I’m writing on the tablet. That means no pictures, I’m afraid. Instead, I want to chat about our church this weekend, and how strongly I was struck by their love for one another as well as for strangers in their midst. It was a great weekend to be a part of East Valley’s church family.

When Charles and I first visited East Valley three years ago, what attracted us was how clearly it seemed the Holy Spirit was present among this body of believers. They were a group of people of all ages, from all walks of life, full of joy and welcoming to us from the beginning. And joining with them, seeing beneath the facade – well, there’s no facade. There is genuine love there for God, for each other, and for those who come in the doors.

On Saturday, one of the daughters of the church got married, and I think half the church was involved in helping prepare for the event in some way. For a week ahead of time, every time I came to the church building, someone was doing something – arranging flowers, cooking food, sewing, doing hair and makeup, creating and putting up decorations. Her church family came around this bride and helped her accomplish her special day, and it was the sweetest, most beautiful thing.

Sunday was a day of honest teaching and worship, but for me, it gave reminders of the universality of the Church. Some friends are leaving to move cross country, and today was their last week. One friend, who had moved several months ago, was back for the weekend. And we brought friends who are Christians from another country. And all of us worshiped together, part of something ultimately unbound by space or time. We know that all the separations we go through are temporary, even though they are painful, and we mourn the loss of our friends. And that security in the future (and the good God who secures that future even while he calls us to live lives that necessitate separations) gives us the ability to worship even when the present is painful.

I don’t know if I’ve really communicated how I felt about East Valley this weekend, but basically, this church was living out some of the best that the Church can be for each other, loving one another and caring for each other. And I was proud and blessed to get to see that. God is good, and He blesses His people greatly with each other.

Pictures of adventures on Friday.

Top 5 Fall Plans

Dear Erin,

I’m sorry about the missing post from last Friday. How is it that one can be pretty much super busy and still have very little to say about it afterward? I got an hour that day to exercise and then read and drink coffee. Woohoo? I guess I could tell you that I was reading Wolf Hall, which has been quite fun and accessible so far, but I haven’t finished it yet, so I don’t want to talk about it much. I’m so enjoying being back in that world; I miss it when I’m gone, although I usually don’t realize that until I’ve been gone a long time.

Other than that, it’s been life and this little guy pretty much 24/7.

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In fact, a little more 24 than is desirable right now. Did I mention we’re up to two teeth? Plus, he’s not so good at napping while out and about any more. He used to be able to sleep anywhere through pretty much anything, but now, I guess the world is too interesting.

Anyway, I want to set aside the quotidian for a bit and think bigger. Now that we’re back into the fall semester – I still think that way – I can see to the end of the year, and there are some things coming up in these next few months that I think are going to be lots of fun. (Unlike last year, I’m not as interested in the fall TV schedules starting up. Partially because I’ve got other things to occupy my time – well, just one other thing, really. Well, not really a thing, more of a Little Mister. Mostly, though, it’s probably because my favorite show is already on. Insert happy dance due to excellence of season so far.)

Fun Things Coming Up Before the End of the Year:

  1. Two events coming up for which I get to dress up!! Like, wear a dress. Like, actually get a new dress and shoes and things. One is a friend’s wedding, and the other is a fancy party in LA. More on that after it happens, hopefully with pictures although they might not be great quality. I don’t think a honking great camera is really the right accessory for my dress.
  2. Our best British friends are coming this weekend for a visit! I think they want to see all of us, not just the baby, but who knows. I don’t really care. Charles is taking time off, and we’re going to get out and enjoy the area. They’re always fun to be with.
  3. NaNoWriMo, or the National Novel Writing Month (known to normal people as November). You set a goal to write 50,000 words over the course of the month, and a certain section of the internet cheers you on and helps you persevere to your goal. I did this two years ago and got a big chunk of a novel done. However, it’s basically sat in a drawer for the last two years waiting to be finished. Last year we were traveling for half of the month, so it was impossible to do NaNoWriMo. Even considering trying to do it again this year is probably foolhardy, but that’s because of Little Mister, not because of travel or other time-consuming obligations, and he goes down for naps every day. I’m not committing yet, just rolling the idea around in my head to see how it feels. I need some sort of motivation to keep writing on this book, and competition combined with public accountability is one of the best for me.
  4. Holidays! Specifically, Little Mister’s first holidays! Need I elaborate?
  5. Knitting. I still have ambitious plans to produce warm garments for the tiny persons in the family. Here, take a look: for Munchkin, for Little Mister, also for Little Mister, maybe for our cousin’s new bundle. Plus, of course, whatever else strikes my fancy, as well as a gift I’m already working on. This may be slightly overambitious. But, on the other hand, fall is as good as January for productivity of all sorts.

It’s going to be a busy, fun fall. I can’t wait to share it with you here!