Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feeling inspired

As I stare at the blank walls around me (smattered with various paint swatches in completely random places), in preparation for the weekend-long painting extravaganza ahead of me, I can't help but daydream about all the other rooms in this house that need some color and pizazz. The previous homeowners must have either been extremely non-committal, or they really, really liked beige, (I'm betting on the latter) because every room in this house is utterly, boringly, beige.

(That is, except for Owen's room, which received a fun makeover before he ever stepped foot in it!)

Anywho...the color we decided on for the kitchen/living room/hallway (our main living areas) is called "Castle Path" and it is what I consider (and hope will be!) a "safe" color. (It is the kinda gray-ish one on the left, right above the light switch in the picture above.) We are working in a large area of the house that everyone who comes into our home will see, so I'd rather not go too bold (although it MUST be bolder than beige!) I figure we can always accessorize with other things (like our dark wood floors, dark granite counters, and dark leather furniture - hardly "accessories," but it's what we're working with here, people.)

There are three little rooms off of the main living area - a front entryway, a small bathroom, and the laundry room - that are not being painted this weekend. I am excited, however, because I think I can do something really fun in those three areas. I've been looking at other blogs for all kinds of decorating ideas and am in love with this.

Fun, right? I found this stencil here.

Stenciling a whole room will probably be more work than the hubs will approve of, but I think I can probably handle it on my own. I am thinking of doing this (or something like it) in the front entryway, which is a pretty small space. We'll see how it goes.

Maybe I outta get this weekend's project out of the way first. Pictures to come...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

18 months (warning: long post)

Here are Owen's latest stats from his 18-month check-up a couple weeks ago.

Height: 32 1/4 inches (44th percentile)
Weight: 26 lb., 12 oz. (60th percentile)
Head Circumference: 48.3 cm (63rd percentile)

Pretty average! (Although I think he's pretty extraordinary!) Here are some of his latest accomplishments:

New words creep up every day, so it's getting hard to document them all, but here are a few I have noted recently:
  • "Chee" (i.e., "cheese") - mostly accompanied by a great big grin for a photo!
  • "Chaya" (i.e., "chair") - he LOVES climbing into all chairs, particularly those that are kid-sized. I've been thinking about getting him one of those adorable leather wingback chairs for his next birthday.
  • "Baa" (i.e., "bath") - which he now really loves! He tries to climb in the tub whenever we're in the bathroom. He does still HATE having water poured over his head, though.
  • "Beh" (i.e., "bread") - a favorite at dinner time.
  • "Chewww" (i.e., "Cheerios") - a staple in our house.
  • "Awtaaa!" (i.e., "Awesome!") - a la DJ Lance on Yo Gabba Gabba! ("Listening and dancing to music is...Awesome!")
  • "Ppp-ppp" (i.e., "poo poo") - I thought he might be an early adaptor to potty training since he seemed to recognize when his pants were dirty by repeating me when I asked him if he had poo poo. Turns out, he says it when he toots, too! He actually has no idea what it means, I'm afraid.
The other day, he handed me his book, Tickle Monster, and then lifted up his shirt to reveal his tummy (ready to be tickled!) and slowly started backing away from me. We never actually make it all the way through this book, but he sure is fun to tickle anyway!

Lately, I find Owen "reading" books to himself. He likes to sit and flip the pages back and forth and spout off a bunch of gibberish that I have to assume is his way of "reading." It is SO cute! I haven't captured it on video yet, but I'm working on it.

And speaking of video, here's a funny (albeit kinda gross) one I took of him tonight, enjoying his after-dinner dessert, butterscotch pudding with bananas. We are working on perfecting his use of utensils, but we've got a long way to go!

Quite the domestic gentleman, Owen watches Mommy doing lots of things that he likes to try, too. Like wiping down stuff. Give the boy a paper towel and he will go to town wiping down all sorts of surfaces – like the carpet, the cabinets, the piano bench, his toys, etc.

Here, we see him "reorganizing" the kitchen utensil bucket. This is a new favorite pastime that I like to make use of to occupy him while I'm cooking dinner.

Putting items inside something and then taking them out (repeatedly) continues to be a favorite hobby for Owen. Tonight, he discovered a deck of playing cards in a little tin box. Oh, boy!

As I've mentioned before in a previous post, I have pretty much stopped reading all the emails and books updating me on what milestones my child should have reached by now and what new activities I should be working on with him. However, I do still receive these emails and occasionally I will glance at one. Last week I discovered that (gasp!), Owen should be proficient in his crayon coloring skills by now. (That is to say that he should be moving beyond drawing random lines and begin drawing "discernible shapes.") I felt a little ashamed to admit that I had really never even given him crayons to practice with up until now. I did try once or twice, but the crayons always went right into his mouth, so I figured he just wasn't ready yet. Anyway, I've been trying a lot harder this past week and, although he still prefers to eat the crayons than draw with them, he does ask me to color ("cuh, cuh"), and will occasionally make a few random scribbles on the page. Hardly the level that babycenter tells me he should be at, but I can't blame him for that. Maybe I ought to go back to reading those emails, huh?

Or maybe I don't really need the extra stress.

I had been debating for a while whether or not to document on this blog what I'm about to say. (And I actually decided to go ahead with it some weeks ago, but just kept forgetting. Plus, most people who read this know anyway.) Here goes...

On our anniversary (New Year's Eve), we were over at my parents house, picking up Owen after his sleep-over with Grandma and Papa. After changing his diaper upstairs, I let him start down the steps, which is something he's been doing (by sliding down on his tummy) for some time now. He sort of got off at a weird angle and, as I bent down to try to straighten him out (I was still in front of him at the top of the stairs, about to make my way to the step below him), he just started tumbling down, down, dowwwwwwn the stairs. (Boy, this is really hard to type out because I've been trying to avoid replaying it in my head ever since.) My parents live in a two-story house, so this was a full flight (probably 16 steps, or something like that) and I watched in complete horror as my little baby tumbled sideways over, and over, and over, and over, and over, until he abruptly stopped (with a bounce or two to the head) on the vinyl-floored landing below. And then it was over.

I (the only one who witnessed the terrifying event) remember weird details about it - like how I kept thinking in my head, "stop, stop, STOP!," but just kept saying screaming, "oh my God, ohmyGod, OHMYGOD!" And how I was reaching out, wanting my go-go gadget arms to magically extend far enough so I could grab him. As it was, I somehow ended up at the bottom of the stairs (still don't remember getting there), freaking out in a way I have never freaked out before. I thought for sure there must be blood gushing out of his skull and he was never going to be my same sweet little boy. I insisted that he go to the ER, although I, myself, was in no condition to drive him. After a LOT of consoling (me) and urging (Ryan) to take him to the hospital, we all got in the car and went. By the time we left, Owen was no longer crying and actually seemed fine. He played with the toys in the waiting room and, although he did not like being examined by the nurses or doctor, he behaved quite normally the whole time. Long story short, he was fine. Nary a scratch or bump on him (save for one small bruise on his leg).

I, on the other hand, am not the same. Immediately afterward, I went through a brief period of shame, remorse, and complete self-loathing. I was embarrassed to tell anyone about it, I did NOT want to talk about it with those that did know about it, and I was convinced that I should not be responsible for the care of this child. I cried out to God, feeling guilty, unworthy, and scared. I had long talks with Ryan, my mom, and God. Then, nearly two weeks later, I (tentatively) shared the story with a group of other mom friends and, low and behold, learned that several of them also experienced a child falling down the stairs (or some other similar accident). They all reacted to my story with lots of "pshhh, that's nothing" type of comments. It made me feel TONS better. I know that I am human, flawed, and will always make mistakes while raising this child. But I feel redemption in knowing that I do the very best I can, and am immensely grateful that Owen was completely unharmed (and will likely never remember any of it!)

But I am not the same. I feel more cautious now, particularly about potential falls. I have a hard time taking my eyes off of him at play dates and I can't get the image of him toppling down those stairs out of my head. I have nightmares about it, actually. But maybe that's good. Maybe I needed a reminder to be vigilant about keeping after him. He is so delicate and precious. But so daring and FAST!

Dear Lord, please watch over Owen and keep him out of harm's way. And please provide his mama with the wisdom to protect him to the best of my ability and the strength to handle the bumps and bruises along the way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martha vs. Mary

Exactly three times in the past week, the Biblical story of Martha and Mary has been presented to me in one way or another. I knew I had read this story before (it is very short!), but I had never really given it very much thought. But just now, after the third time in one week that it has crossed my consciousness, I am beginning to wonder if God is trying to tell me something.

Am I being too much like Martha and not enough like Mary? Of course I am! That's obvious. But how do I switch that around? I know I should expend more time and effort on developing relationships with others, spending time in the Word, and hearing God's message for me, than on cleaning my bathroom (which I should be doing right now), preparing meals, and paying the bills. BUT, those latter things all need to be done, too. Today, I am searching my heart to find a way to balance the "Mary" and "Martha" aspects of my life. Suggestions are welcome. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sharing Cheerios with Kinnick

Owen has learned to share. Kinnick is eating it up, literally.

Wedding in Vegas

Admittedly, I am not a big fan of Las Vegas. It's just not really my scene. But, I was happy to leave Owen home with Grandma and Grandpa Peterson last weekend as Ryan and I traveled with the Betts family to "Sin City" to support my big brother Chuck as he married the love of his life, Randi. And we had a BLAST!

First on the itinerary (which Ryan painstakingly set up), was a trip to the Hoover Dam. Pretty interesting stuff. (I'm skipping over all of Ryan's very lovely photos of the dam because we all know we'd rather see pictures of people than landscapes, right?)

From left to right: Todd, Rachel, Jeff, Dad, me, Ryan

At the state line: Ryan standing in Nevada, me in Arizona.

Looking over the new bypass bridge (Todd, Rachel, and me).

Then, back to the strip to see the sights. Here are a couple amazing "scenery" photos (kudos to Ryan) that were worth sharing.

Paris Hotel

New York, New York Hotel (and some sunset!)

Sunday night was the wedding and reception. The beautiful couple (and I mean to tell you, Randi looked gorgeous!) were married in a small, but elegant chapel in the Mandalay Bay (where we all stayed) with a dinner reception afterward. Unfortunately, I didn't get very many photos of all of that (I was having too much fun, I think!), but here are a few...

Sisters!! We are absolutely thrilled to have a new, fourth sister! We LOVE you, Randi!

Not sure what we were laughing about (there was a LOT of laughter – and a few tears of joy – that evening), but I though this was a fun snapshot of the amazing bond the Betts kids have and always will have. I love you, Chuckie! And I wish you and Randi a lifetime of happiness!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday Recap

Ok, so it's been about a month since my last post (despite the fact that blogger is dating this post Jan. 3, which I think is when I started to draft it). Oops! Lots of stuff has been going on. Stuff that I've been wanting to blog about (like Christmas, New Years [also Ryan and my 5th anniversary], and Chuck and Randi's wedding in Vegas), but that same stuff has prevented me from finding the time! So, here's a recap of Christmas, and I'll try to capture some of the other stuff in future posts...

This holiday, I felt very inspired (once again having my own kitchen, I'm sure had something to do with it) to do some baking and crafting. One of my projects was something I learned through a friend's blog – making homemade laundry detergent. It was super easy (see the link to her instructions) and I love it! Here are the ingredients...

See the fun soap shavings? Shredding a bar of soap with a cheese grater was a little hard on the ol' upper arms, but totally worth it.

I even gave some of it away as gifts. Too cute!

I had been craving macaroons for a while, so I found an excellent recipe in one of my many, many cookbooks and am pretty proud of how they turned out.

My new friend Teri made these Snickers cookies for a MOPS cookie exchange and I just knew my family would love them. Delish!

Christmas was fun this year because Owen sort of started to "get" it. I still don't think he knows who Santa is – maybe because I never took him to see Santa, which I feel terrible about. 2010 (age 18 months) will be a big, gaping hole in the series of Santa photos throughout his life. Sorry, buddy! But, we did teach him to say "ho, ho," which he dutifully recited whenever anyone asked him "what does Santa say?"

And after three different present-opening events, he eventually figured that concept out.

A surprise hit was the rocking cow that I bought on a whim months ago. We almost didn't even give it to him because after it resurfaced from the closet it's been hiding in, I didn't think he would care much for it. But it turned out to be a lot of fun! He immediately climbed right on it and started rocking without any prompting. He was squealing and clapping in this shot – too cute!

Another favorite – a mini vacuum cleaner. It lights up and makes noise just like the real thing. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one that actually cleaned because, believe me, I would have been all over that!

A brief video of his vacuuming skills...

And one of Owen's VERY favorite presents was this Brobee doll (from Yo Gabba Gabba). I was delighted to capture his pure glee in this 2-part video.