Saturday, October 31, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 43

I love the simplicity of toddlerhood. The needs are straightforward, the wants understandable. Honesty is every toddler's default setting. Not every day is easy to navigate, but the sincerity of toddlers is such that a well of compassion (or at least a puddle) can be found on even the roughest of days. But as I enjoy these days of little drama and few worries, I notice the complex beginning to seep in. It's starting with her thoughts and the way she expresses herself. I know that change is just around the corner. But for now, I'm awed, entertained, and simply taking it all in:

Audrey had a play date at a friend's house on Monday. When I called to check in on them, my friend, Elizabeth, told me about the following conversation that took place during the drive to their house:

Michael (her son) was drinking from his sippy cup. "Michael," Audrey said.

He kept drinking. "Michael," she repeated.

He kept drinking, "Michael," she said again. He brought his drink down.

"Yes, Audrey."

"Michael, I love you," she said. Luckily, Michael is a sweetheart and after informing his mom of what Audrey had said, he told her that he loved her, too.

Jason spent most of this week in Denver attending a meeting. Every night before bedtime, we would call so Audrey could talk to him about her day and tell him goodnight. Monday night, he was asking questions about the activities she had done that day when she interrupted him. "I miss you," she said, unprompted, and for the second time that day I was reminded that while she has a gift for saying things so simply, she's beginning to understand the simple feelings that can make our lives so complex.

We carved our pumpkin on Tuesday. I put the candle in, lit it, and as I showed Audrey how our pumpkin had become a jack-o-lantern, she said, " That's cool!"

While riding in the car on Wednesday, Audrey went to great lengths to describe to me how she had noticed (even using the word "noticed") that trees get bigger higher up in the sky, due to the leaves being on the branches. Then she pointed out all the trees without leaves and asked why the leaves fell off.

Audrey was still full of energy at her bedtime on Wednesday night. She begged for one more story, which I refused due to the time (and birthday projects I needed to get to). I went downstairs only to hear her crying, uncontrollably, a few minutes later. This being unusual for her, I went upstairs to check on her, expecting that she was going to beg for a story again. As soon as I was in the door, she sat up in bed. "I wanted to say I love you one more time," she cried. What can I say, the girl knows how to get one more story read to her at night.

Jason flew home from Denver Thursday night. Having missed dinner, he stopped at Q'doba on his way home. He called before leaving the airport to ask if we had eaten or wanted him to grab something for us while he was out. I told Audrey that Daddy was stopping at Q'doba and would be home. When he got home, Audrey asked where he had been.

"I was in Denver," he said.
"You weren't in Denver. You were in Cuba," she countered, and I found myself wondering if he had informed her of some secret spy activities that I know nothing about.

Today, Audrey has said a number of things that made us laugh and look at one another with expressions that say, when did she become this little person before us and what could possibly be coming next?

This afternoon Jason was sitting across from Audrey at the kitchen table. When I walked up, he reached for me and gave my belly a big hug. Watching, Audrey looked up at me. "You're a cute mama," she said.

We took her trick-or-treating around the neighborhood tonight. After visiting a few houses we told her we'd stop at Jaila and Jackson's house (a couple of her favorite friends).

"Oh, that will be fun," she said. "Do they have candy?!"

Upon discovering that on Halloween neighbors come to their doors with bowls of candy that they allow you to reach into, Audrey began grabbing candy by the handfuls once the bowls were placed at her level. Jason and I kept asking her to take just one piece, but Halloween hours nearing an end, neighbors were eager to put more in her bag. At the last house we visited, I asked her to take just one piece. My neighbor told Audrey, "You're so cute, you can take as much as you want."

"Yes, I am," Audrey replied and reached for a second handful. At least I know that self-esteem isn't an issue yet.

When we returned from trick-or-treating, Jason dressed Audrey in pajamas and we got her ready for bed. When Jason tucks her in at night, he asks before he leaves the room if she wants her door open or closed. Every once in a while she changes the response, but each night she has an opinion. Tonight, he asked like normal. With a shrug in her voice, she said, "It's fine. You can do whatever you want."

I often give thanks that I lead a relatively simple life. Even when away, my husband remains present (and as far as I know, he is not a secret agent, simply a guy who loves Mexican). I have a toddler who is sweet (even though she apparently knows how cute she is). We laugh as much as we can. We take as many hugs as we can get. And tonight, after watching Audrey chase her Dad and her dog around the family room, I squeezed her and held on to two a little bit longer and a little bit tighter - because tomorrow she'll be three. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stealing Time

One of my former employers offered the option of flex time. I took advantage often, coming in around 6 a.m. and leaving at 3 p.m. Driving home those days, the sky full of sun and crowded school buses sharing the roads with me, I often felt like a kid skipping school to capture a few forbidden hours while my coworkers were still busy in their cubes. And whatever I was able to accomplish in those few hours before everyone else began their trek home felt just a little more special - a gift just for me.

While flex time doesn't exist in my current "job," some afternoons I still squeeze in a "skipping school" moment. I find myself sneaking projects into my bag whenever we head out to a park, a zoo or museum, or even just to run errands on the off-chance we get stopped by a train. In those few moments where Audrey isn't asking for a push on the swings, a game of hide-and-seek, or just requesting that I chase her while roaring like a monster (her recent game of choice), I pull out those projects and get that heading-home-early feeling.

Of course, today I measure those moments in minutes rather than hours. Projects are finished in stitches rather than rows and books read in increments of sentences rather than pages. Then it's back to my place on the swings to demonstrate how pumping and straightening one's legs can propel a swing all by itself. My legs moving rhythmically, Audrey laughing at us swinging side-by-side, these moments feel a little stolen, too - and very much like a gift.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Muddy Days and Pumpkin Lit Nights

In hindsight, we should have worn boots. But I didn't anticipate how patchy, or muddy, the grass just outside the orchard's old farm store would be. I had skipped a few steps, instead thinking that such a damp day seemed like the perfect backdrop for carving a pumpkin while cozy inside. Had I been thinking the steps through in the correct chronological order, I would have suggested that yesterday was not the appropriate day to take the teddy bear pumpkin-hunting. I would probably have moved the rest of Audrey's "friends" from the floor of the car as well to prevent the mud-trampling they received and the "baths" that now must follow. But speaking of hindsight is for those with careers in sportscasting or history, mamas skip the analysis, trudge through the mud as it comes, and get on to more important matters like pumpkin carving.

Luckily, most things wash. Luckier still, I have what you might call an, ahem, healthy appreciation for mud. To say I was the most dirt-strewn child in my family is a little like calling Beethoven his mother's "musical" child. According to my mom's records in my baby book, I needed two baths a day as a toddler and still went to bed with dirt in my hair. Things didn't improve as I got older. Between my forays in the woods and sports in the backyard, my dirt-tracking was nothing if not honed. Fortunately for me (and Audrey to follow), I don't remember my mother ever criticizing me for getting dirty. Instead, she adopted the technique of laying down a newspaper trail from the backdoor to the bathroom each afternoon before I came in. I followed the trail, and once safely inside the bathroom cleaning up, my mother would roll up the newspapers much like cleaning up after a parakeet. So when Audrey pointed out the mud collecting on her pants, my first reaction was to tell her that it was just fine to get dirty, we'd just strip her clothes off at the garage door.

Several muddy moments later, we were home, the perfect jack-o-lantern-to-be front and center on our kitchen table. Audrey took to scooping out the insides of the pumpkin, separating the seeds from the pulp and flesh. Then we discussed the pumpkin's face, and as she directed ("Big triangles for eyes. Points down. Little circle nose. Here. One tooth. Smiling mouth."), I carved. I brought out a candle and she asked if it was the pumpkin's birthday and if we were having cake. If she was disappointed to find out that it wasn't, and we weren't, it lasted only as long as it took to get the candle lit. And then, our jack-o-lantern alive before us, we celebrated with a cup of hot chocolate. Served over pumpkin light.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drop-Dead Adorable

Yesterday, Audrey and I busied ourselves with a little Halloween crafting. This weekend we are taking part in a local Trunk-or-Treat. Most of these events are community or church-sponsored. The basic concept is that participants come with their cars decorated to a designated parking lot. They pop their trunks, which are filled with candy, and trick-or-treaters visit each car. The Trunk-or-Treat we're participating in is sponsored by my mom's group (and the church where we hold our meetings), with snacks, games, and a craft project for the kids. I've been brainstorming for easy ways to decorate the car. Bats seemed like an ideal choice, Audrey being the animal enthusiast she is, and recently asking me what bats are.

I had planned on using a stash of empty toilet paper rolls I've been collecting, but then ran across this post about clothespin bats. The bats were too cute to pass up (and we had almost everything on the list to make them). We made a few minor changes. The original design used construction paper to make the bats, but I noticed a comment by a reader who used felt. I thought this was a great idea for durability sake. This reader used iron-on jewels for the eyes since a hole-punch won't go through felt. I had some white sequin discs leftover from another project that worked just fine (and toddler fingers are the perfect size for this little detail work). I left the eye-gluing to Audrey and I tackled spray painting the clothespins. Together we glued the tips of the wings to form one piece. After the clothespins dried (which happened to be after Audrey had gone to bed) I glued the clothespins to the bats. This morning I attached some clear nylon jewelry cord to each bat.

Audrey grabbed 3 of the bats and very appropriately hung them from a doorknob, a kitchen window, and the stair banister. The other five I hung from the fireplace (and I think my little designer was right, 5 are all the fireplace needs). They will hang there until Saturday morning when we drape them from the top of the car for Trunk-or-Treat. I have thoughts of making black cardboard wings to attach to the sides of the car, but we'll see if I get that far. We have more important things to prepare for this week - like a certain someone turning three.

*While Audrey and I physically did this project, I must give credit where it's due. Crafting would not have happened yesterday had it not been for my friend, Elizabeth, who upon finding out in the morning that I was functioning on a mere four hours of sleep, whisked Audrey off for a play date so I could get some rest. Without her generosity, there would have been no afternoon creativity and no bats, just one zombie of a mama. (Thanks, Elizabeth)!

I suppose I should give some credit to Martha Stewart, too, since it is her design. But I'm sure she couldn't have made them, either, had it not been for enough sleep and good friends. There are some things (domestic goddess, or not) that we all need.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Audrey's Weekend Crush

Audrey found this little guy hanging around our front door yesterday. Instantly, she was a smitten kitten. Had the playground not been waiting, I think she would have hovered in the doorway all day, trying to lure him to come out and play. He had moved on by the time we returned, perhaps lured by some other friend. Not one to give up on newfound loves easily, Audrey searched for her new friend in vain.

Today, we got creative with critters of a different sort. These crafty guys are drying on our kitchen table. More on them tomorrow. Until then...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 42

I'm a little late with last week's review. It's been a weekend of catching up on family time, trying to prepare for events ahead, and keeping up with our little almost-three-going-on-twenty philosopher of sorts. (Last week she took to calling me "Mom" and "Mother" and collectively referring to her father and I as "guys"). Here are a few of her other more memorable moments:

Last Sunday, after I made breakfast, Jason said, "gracias."

"It's not grasses. It's milk," Audrey said.

On our return trip from the playground Monday, Audrey began to cry. She told me that she wanted to swing more. Then, resting her head on my shoulder (still crying) she added, "Mom, I've had a long day." And, apparently (even though I can't remember doing anything out of the ordinary) she did. After putting her to bed at eight, she slept until 10:30 am the next day.

Monday while playing, Audrey patted my chest and asked me what it was. When I told her it was my chest, she commented that it was big (being in my third trimester, this is an accurate statement). She asked where hers was, so I told her where her chest was. "I want bigger," she said, looking at it.

Entering territory I thought I'd be able to avoid until middle school, I informed her that her chest was the perfect size and would get bigger as she got bigger. She repeated, "I have the perfect size." Let's hope those conversations all end so easily.

(Due to a technical glitch and losing information I had stored in my phone, I can't remember this next story verbatim, so I won't use quotes. Here it is as clearly as I can remember). Early this week Jason shaved off his goatee. He then showed Audrey. On Tuesday she asked me, Will Daddy grow his goatee back when he gets bored? I laughed and told her that he probably would. The next day she informed him that she wanted him to grow it back. I guess we have a toddler with a penchant for men with facial hair, at least her Daddy.

Wednesday, Audrey and I were having a little make-believe session in her room involving her bedsheets as a tent and a slew of stuffed animals (or "friends" as Audrey refers to them) who were our tent companions. Audrey would tell me when we needed to go in or out of the tent, often to join a bunch of imaginary, but "friendly" worms. At one point, in her most serious of toddler voices, she informed me, "We don't have much time, but we have much time." Hmm...

Somehow, I know just what she means.

I hope that you were able to find "much time" in your short weekend for the things and people you love. Wishing you a happy week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Audrey the Worm Charmer

The weather report called for rain. But in a brilliant show of that's what you think, the rain never came, only a perfect afternoon. We took advantage and moved our plans outside: me putting the garden to bed for the year and Audrey worm-hunting. She dug up several earthworms before finding these woolly worms hiding in the mix. To my surprise, she soon had these two crawling all over her.

They spent the afternoon with her: cradled in her hands, crawling across her hood, even taking a ride on the handles of her tricycle. She let one loose in the garden, and not able to find it again, focused her attention on the other one.

"Can I have him, Mom? Please, can I have him?"

And just like that, we took in our first stray. Not having a suitable worm house on-hand, and a little worried for the state of this little woolly worm who had been handled all day, I convinced Audrey to find a home for him in the yard. She picked a special spot on the back patio. Part of me wanted to bring him inside, create a shoebox house, and suggest we name him Rufus. But the other part - that thirty-something (on some days, wiser) part that wondered if this once lively insect was not just "taking a nap" or playing dead as woolly worms are wont to do kept those thoughts to myself. So Rufus has stayed in his special spot. And that rain? It looks like it could come down any minute.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taking in the Day

Dishes lay staggered in the sink like Lincoln Logs. The ironing board sits out. The floorboards can't remember the last time a mop has run across them, and the dog needs a bath. But dirt can wait. The weather waits for no one.

And, today was perfect. No coats, no boots - just long sleeves and a cooling breeze. Never being one who needs more than an inkling of an excuse to get out of dish duty, we loaded ourselves into the car to enjoy what just might be one of the last nice fall days. I steered us (stroller in tow) in the direction of one of our local parks, intent on walking the paved path and playing at the various playgrounds. While happy to comply, Audrey also had a few of her own plans, preferring that I push a stuffed rabbit in the stroller while she walked beside us, and deciding to take our outing (stroller and all) into the woods.

We spent the better part of our afternoon under a canopy of colored leaves, every once in a while finding ourselves the spectators of a sudden golden shower. Audrey led the way, a stick as tall as she held high above her head: her "umbrella" (because walking sticks are so last season).

Had it not been for a slight brush with what looked to be poison ivy, I would have followed that umbrella all afternoon, crunching and collecting the fallen foliage beneath my feet. But not knowing how my little one would fair with poison ivy, we left the umbrella for another visitor or another day. When Audrey pointed out a "big snake", aka a long stick, I asked her to pick up two smaller snakes and bring them with us. This ploy, coupled with the discovery to two lady bugs on my shirt, kept her hands busy and off her face until we were able to get her scrubbed down in a bathroom outside one of the playgrounds. One last foray between slides and swings and we called it an afternoon well-spent. Now to get the rest of the burrs out of her hair...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sneak Preview

As much as I try to stay in the moment so as not to waste this gift of time with Audrey, especially since our days of unlimited one-on-one time are numbered, I can't help but find my mind (and hands) wandering forward as I make to-do lists of pre-baby projects. This weekend, over kitchen-table conversation with Jason and a high school friend, one such project got crossed off my list. It's the Sweetheart Pullover from Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas' Knitting for Baby, made from Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool in Nature's Brown.

It's meant to be the major (or possibly, only) handmade gift tucked under the Christmas tree for our newest sweetheart after he arrives. As I rub my hands over the nubby wool, I can't help but wonder if I've finally managed to knit a garment too small. I am reminded of Jason pulling up in front of a store on our way home from the hospital so I could run in to buy preemie clothes, Audrey (at full term) being smaller than we had even imagined. But the bigger surprise was how someone so tiny and new could grow to color my every perception.

It will be months before I know if this new sweater will fit. But today, it serves as a little reminder of the one on his way, who will add his own hues to my perception. And, how lucky I am to have his big sister, who upon finding the sweater this morning yelled, "Good job, Mom! Good job making it, Mom. I'm going to hold it so it doesn't get dirty." Just gotta love almost-three-year-olds. Now to get started on her sweater...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Celebration

Happy Birthday to my little sister, who lives far away in distance but is always close at heart (and who I'm so excited I was able to spend Sunday with). The cake is carrot cake, made by my mom, half slathered in icing and half not-so-much in fitting with her mother's desire to please us all. Contrary to what the candles might imply, my little sis did not just turn three (although, when looking at this picture Audrey insisted that it was her birthday cake - and acted as such when she rearranged the candles, hence the extra holes on top). But three or not, my sister has managed to hold onto that inner joy so fully present in childhood and so easily spread. And, that is a reason to celebrate. Happy Birthday, shaky mama!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 41

Audrey and I spend the majority of our hours together, and yet, each week she surprises me. Sometimes it's a newfound athletic ability (although, I'm not sure that scaling the outside of the refrigerator using the door handles to pull oneself upward - monkey-style - has been deemed a sport yet). Other times it comes in the form of creative repurposing (as when she comes out of my closet with a pair of my underwear on her head and tries to convince me she's wearing her new "hat" to Kroger). Most times, I find myself amazed by her thought processes: wondering where she comes up with her ideas or how she's become so clever so fast. Here are my favorite Audrey musings from this week:

After our foray to the pumpkin patch on Monday, Audrey was eager to show the pumpkins off to her Dad. "This is my pumpkin and this is mommy's pumpkin," she said, indicating who picked out what.

Jason looked at the pumpkins and asked solemnly, "Where is my pumpkin?"

Audrey looked down at her pumpkin, cradled in her hands. Without saying a word, she looked at Jason and held her pumpkin up to him for him to take as his own. I think we have the makings of a true Daddy's girl.

We were almost late to preschool this week. Normally, Audrey is up an hour early on school days eager to get ready and go play with her friends and teachers. This week, she had a slight hang-up. Each time I tried to get her dressed she complained. "I want hot clothes!"

"You want hot clothes?" I asked to see if I heard her right.

"I'm cold. I want hot clothes."

As many times as I tried to reassure her that the pants and sweatshirt I was about to put on her would make her warm, she would not be comforted. After considering throwing the clothes in the dryer to heat them up, I finally convinced her to let me dress her so we wouldn't be late. I couldn't help but think of visits to my grandmother's house when my sisters and I would get out of the shower to find that our grandma had set our clothes on the fire hearth so they would be toasty when we put them on. She's not off her mark, this little one, there is definitely something to putting on hot clothes. (I fear reliving this same incident come her teenage years but with a different definition of "hot" in mind).

Emmy ran to the backdoor Thursday afternoon as Audrey and I were finishing up a batch of pumpkin bread. Trying to get the pumpkin batter poured into bread pans, and keep Audrey's hands out of the already-poured pans, I asked her to let Emmy out. A few minutes later I asked her to see if Emmy was still in the backyard. Audrey informed me that Emmy was no longer inside the fence. I, of course, had pumpkin batter up to my elbows at this point and needed to get the bread pans into the oven before Audrey decided to "mix" them. I asked Audrey to go to the front window and see if Emmy was in the front yard. Audrey saw this as an invitation to open the front door. She couldn't see Emmy outside, and told me she was going to go find her. I explained that going outside wearing a tank top (we had taken off her cardigan before baking) and no shoes in mid-forty degree weather was not an option. She fixed this by putting on her rain boots. I frantically washed my arms off as I yelled for her not to go outside. Arms dripping, I ran to the front door. "There she is!" Audrey said. Emmy had run around the corner back onto our street, and bounded up the sidewalk and the driveway back into the house. "Where did she go?" Audrey asked. I told her I had no idea. "I think she went to Target," she said.

It was Jason's turn to put Audrey to bed on Thursday night. As she was being tucked in, Audrey saw her children's Bible and told Jason she wanted to read him a story. She began flipping though the pages of her Bible, telling Jason who the people in the pictures were. As she pointed to a picture of Adam and Eve, she said, "This is Adam, and this is Easy." Ahem.

Oh, and you can decoupage your mixing bowl - just in case you're bored and feeling crafty and have discarded butter wrappers laying around.

Thursday, October 15, 2009




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Sneaky Chef

What you get when your sous chef likes to sneak bites of the bread before it hits the French toast batter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Colors and Textures of Fall

Yesterday we followed a dusty road, the footprint of trucks frequently gone by, past rows of apple trees, teeming with bright fruit and scattered men on ladders. We walked until we were on our own, the two of us amongst the overgrowth of reed-like weeds and curling vines, speckled with glowing orbs. Shoes now muddy, we waded through pumpkins no bigger than cantaloupes, their larger counterparts already adopted by schoolchildren on field trips and earlier patch-goers. Soon, I heard Audrey yell, I want this one. I turned to find her holding a freshly-pulled pumpkin still green on the vine, the size of a baseball. Walking back, I thought of "Along the Frontage Road," a short story by Michael Chabon in which a father takes his son to a pumpkin stand to get him out of the house while his wife recovers from a medical tragedy. As the father watches his son quietly inspect each pumpkin (also settling on one of the smallest offerings) he wonders what his son's criteria is for selecting the best pumpkin and thinks that maybe he's looking for the one that is the most sincere.

I did not ask Audrey what her criteria was, but instead took her hand as we walked out of the patch and stopped with her each time she found something new to inspect: the slick spotted shell of a ladybug and the fuzzy hairs of woolly worms who crinkle at each touch. And as with most of our outings, I wished that I had planned better, allotted more time before we had to run off to the next activity. Wished that I did not have to repeat, we have to hurry now. Then Audrey waited, perusing multi-colored gourds, as I dug through a bin of "Cinderella" pumpkins that according to the sign make excellent pies. We drove home, each with a cookie (so conveniently located near the cash register at toddler eye level) in hand, Audrey cradling her pumpkin and me daydreaming of pumpkin pies and fairytale endings.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let the Party Commence

After several stamping and coloring sessions (intent on keeping little fingers busy),

and a demonstration on double-fisted drawing,

this weekend I finished Audrey's birthday invitations. We tend to keep our parties simple, family and a few friends (we aim for not more than one same-age friend for each year of the age she's turning, so 3 this year) at home. Still, I find myself a bit preoccupied with birthday-buzz each October as I try to think of creative ways to ring in the beginning of a new year of Audrey adventures and celebrate this vibrant little one who has made each day since her arrival a day to celebrate.

Let the circus, I mean, party planning begin.

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 40

On Logic and Putting it All Together:

That growing brain is working overtime, and making me laugh all the time. And, while I never know what's coming next, odds are, it's going to be entertaining.

Here's a sampling of our conversations/interactions with Audrey this week:

On Monday, Jason gave Audrey some sort of instruction. Not finding his request favorable, she yelled, "No!"

"You don't yell at me," Jason told her calmly.

"Only Mommy can?" she asked.

"Yes, only Mommy can," he answered as we laughed [not the correct response when being asked about appropriate yelling behavior by your toddler, I'm sure. But you see, we're just not a yelling family. The last time I remember yelling at Jason was about nine years ago before we were married (which is a pretty funny story in itself). As for Jason, I don't remember a time that he's ever yelled at me other than in a cheering capacity (or one time in a high school drama class while playing my 70-something counterpart who was attempting to put the moves on me. I, I mean, my offended character, yelled back)].

When Jason put Audrey to bed on Tuesday night, he told her that she had to go to sleep, but after she slept all night, she could go to school in the morning. He left her room at 8:30 p.m. At 9:15 p.m. we heard her at the door. "I slept all night. It's time to go to school!"

Wednesday while playing Audrey said, "Mommy, I love you, okay?"
"I love you, Audrey," I said.
"Okay. You can love me, too. If you want to."

Thursday night, as is the case most nights, Audrey was still running around as if she'd been given a continuous sugar drip when we told her it was time for bed. She sprinted behind a chair and burst into song, bellowing, "I am hiding because I don't want to go to bed!"

Today, as we were riding in the car, I asked Audrey what she's been learning in school. She began telling me how God made the moon and dogs and a big whale. After asking if she knew why God made all those things, I told her it was because He loves her.

Through the rearview mirror I saw her look up at the sky. "I love you, too, Jesus. You're a good man." Then she looked back at me. "Is Jesus a man?"

A little while later, I asked about a craft project she had made. I had been informed that it was baby Moses in a basket. "Do you know why Moses was in a basket?" I asked.

"Because I colored it," she said.

What can I say? God made the world, and Audrey rewrote the story of Moses. It's been a full week. Until the next one...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bringing the Picnic Inside

We found ourselves with a bit of a soggy day today. So instead of spending the afternoon enjoying fall outside, we improvised with a blanket, the family room floor, and a picnic of sorts. I just love the combination of buttery popcorn flecked with salt and a crisp tart apple. Audrey didn't seem to mind the combo, either.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's A...

Yes, those of you who noticed the allusion to a "he" in yesterday's post weren't just seeing things. We've been told to prepare for a little boy to join us this winter. This is the type of news that most find out at the doctor's office. But we prefer to receive it over a nice dinner with a good view.

Someone gave Jason this idea when we were pregnant with Audrey:
Rather than hear the news from our doctor or ultrasound tech, we asked them to write down what we were having and seal it in an envelope. We took the envelope shopping. Yes, shopping. At a children's store we picked out a girl's outfit and a boy's outfit. We handed both outfits, the envelope, and some cash to the sales associate. Then we told her we were leaving the store. We asked her to open the envelope; ring up the corresponding outfit; and gift wrap it, the envelope, and our change in a box that we would come pick up in ten minutes.

And then we took a box out for dinner. Somewhere, between courses and watching the waves come in (I did mention the good view, didn't I? We did this back in Florida for those wondering) we opened the box. Suddenly, the talk shifted from unknowns to concrete ideas: what color we would paint his room; how Audrey would act as the sister to a little brother; and what new activities he might bring into our lives. And, as easy as the unwrapping of a gift, our picture of who this little one (and our growing family) will be came one touch more into focus.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shoes to Fill

Those of you who know me, or have passed me on the street, know that we're anticipating a little arrival this winter - one that will change our family and our lives in ways that we can't even imagine yet. We are trying to prepare in the only ways we know how: painting this little one's future room; stockpiling and reorganizing baby supplies, and talking to Audrey about what it means to be a sibling (and, of course, I've brought out the knitting needles).

But having become a mother once, I now know that what we need to prepare for most is to be surprised. The physical changes hit first: feeling the weight of a baby in my arms as opposed to kicking me from the inside; the unexpected back pain when I changed from an upright well-postured adult to one incessantly bending over a child; the zombie-like days of sleep deprivation (and the wonder and relief of catching second winds that kept us coping) that I believed would happen (I had heard the horror stories) - but hey, there's reading about Rome and there's actually being in Rome.

But it's the non-physical changes, the ones that have shown themselves gradually, that have stuck with me and altered me the most. We were only a few months into parenthood when I began to feel as if Audrey had always been a part of our family. Dynamic things come wrapped in very small bundles, and this vibrant one was going to leave a mark. And she has. I could not have imagined the courage, strength, and full-blown love (not to mention comedic relief) that comes in a three-foot blond with dirt under her nails and hummus slathered in her hair. But here she is, surprising me daily.

So I busy myself, making tiny shoes that will be too big for this new baby, and wondering just who this little one will grow to be. I don't know how he will change us, enrich us, or teach us. The only thing I know for certain is: he will.

~ The shoes were made using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in Nature's Brown. I used the Beginner Booties pattern in Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas' Knitting for Baby (A new book! What?! I know friends, it's a new day).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Countdown to Three

This weekend I pulled out Audrey's birthday crown to sew on the flower that will mark three years come November (I add one for every year). I can't believe we're almost there. And, I can't wait to see what this new year brings.

But first, there are things of great import to think about. Like cake. Definitely cake.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 39

I operate like most moms I know, attempting to multi-task where I can and squeeze the most into each moment. You can find me knitting in the passenger seats of cars, checking my emails from my phone as I stand in line at the grocery store, and listening to books on cd (or finally listening to my own music) during those rare moments where I'm doing the dishes solo while Audrey runs around the backyard. Some nights, I blog bathside after washing Audrey's hair, getting her thoroughly cleaned, and playing for a few minutes. This had been the plan last night, but as I leaned back from the tub, she grabbed my hand and said, "No, I want to keep you." She likes to squeeze the most into her moments, too.

Here are some other memorable moments from this week:

On Monday, Audrey got my attention, "Look at me," she said in her sternest voice, "I love you."

Tuesday she informed me, "I'm not Audrey. I'm just pancake (what her Dad calls her)."

Later that day after finishing a snack, I told her she needed to go wash her hands or stay in her seat. Protesting, she said, "But I'm one of the girls who goes to school!"

During a Lego-building session, she said, "We need a touchdown."

I asked, "What's a touchdown?"

She stood up and performed a little dance, bobbing up and down to touch her toes.

My little sister, Ashley, came by to visit on Wednesday. She calls Audrey her shaky bunny.

"Come on, shaky bunny," she said.

"I'm not a shaky bunny," Audrey answered. "I'm just a pancake."

Then, Thursday morning, Audrey asked, "Am I your shaky bunny?"

"You're Aunt Ashley's shaky bunny," I said.

"Oh," she said. "Shaky Ashley."

This morning I made french toast. I began setting the table: putting out the french toast toppings, napkins, and silverware. Anticipating that I was getting to the drinks, Audrey said, "One wants water, one wants juice, and one wants soda poison (what Jason calls the sodas he drinks since he knows I don't want Audrey to drink soda for a very long time)."

We're hoping you're having a good weekend, squeezing the most into every moment, and spending your days with someone who just wants to keep you. Until next week...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Enjoying the Harvest

Other than slicing up an apple or two for lunch, I really didn't think we'd break into our orchard stash this week. It's not that I haven't wanted to, it's just that basement renovations and little sisters visiting from California happen on a certain timetable. Apples in cold storage can wait.

But then we went to the library where, en route to snagging a Where's Waldo book, we passed another picture book propped up on display entitled, The Apple Pie Tree. I picked it up, quickly scanned the pages, and flipped to the back where the author, Zoe Hall, had included her recipe for apple pie. I'm telling you, it was a sign. Or at least the little nudge I needed.

Tonight, we let things slide. We forgot about fixing dinner and rolled out dough, instead. We ate leftovers and Audrey used the smidge of leftover pie dough (trimmed from the edge of the pie plate) to make this mini rustic dessert. It came out of the oven just as we finished dinner and the rain and lightening began rolling in. Audrey capped off her night with a little bit of sugar and a past-due bedtime. But sometimes, you just have to give in to the apples.

Next week, I will write about other things. I promise. Maybe.