March 30, 2006

My Moving Target

The garbage disposal that is my son continues his sprint to toddlerhood, with me clinging to his ankles in a pathetic attempt to hold him back.

He's 18 pounds, who knows how many inches long, now crawling (has already been into Grandpa and Grandma's TV armoire, hands among the videocassette tapes), consumes three meals of solids - two jars of baby food at each - plus four nursing sessions. He's a squealing, ravenous, solid, MOVING (pardon me while I rescue him from being decapitated by crawing under his exersaucer...) bundle of energy and grins.

I'm enchanted and bordering on exhausted trying to keep up with him - No! Not the computer cords!...

[sigh] At this point, the blanket spread on the floor is just the equivalent of the 'Go' square on a Monopoly board.

Please, dear God in heaven, don't let him start walking at the end of his 7th month like my girlfriend's first kidlet did.

March 26, 2006

Joys & Concerns

At my former corporate job, we'd take turns sharing what was working and what wasn't in our various projects. One of my team members jokingly called it "Joys and Concerns," referencing a Methodist custom of asking for prayer requests by asking the congregation if anyone had any joys or concerns.

My joys seem uppermost tonight.
A wonderful, cradle-to-grave girlfriend is moving back to the area. She's the sort of friend I only have contact with once a year, but we're able to dive deep into what's really important to us now without any shallow social chitchat. Not only will we be able to connect more often, our houses are actually going to be within four blocks of each other. Talk about God having a sense of humor...

Another joy? A dear friend gave birth to her first several weeks ago. On a recent journal entry online, she (writing from her baby son's perspective) mentioned that he had slept for two four-hour sessions between feedings and that both Mommy and Daddy were glad for the extra sleep.

I'm pretty sure I'll be there again someday, but right now I'm extremely grateful to be where I am with a six-month-old. Nathan wakes once during the night ~3:30, eats, is back in bed without a murmur 15 minutes later, sleeps 'til 6:30/7, is awake/cute/interactive/eats for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, sleeps from 9-10:30/11, is awake/cute/interactive/eats for another 2 hours, sleeps for ~2-3 hours more, has one more 2-hr awake session, eats one last time, and goes down to bed for the night at 6 p.m.

Yes, you read that correctly: 6:00 p.m.
He's gone entire nights without waking - 6 p.m. until 6:30/7 a.m.

12 1/2 to 13 hours of sleeping.

Sometimes I wonder if I should be concerned that he sleeps upwards of 16 hours a day; but he's alert, cheerful, eats well, is active - and is just stinkin' cute. In the picture below, he's trying to grab his shadow off the bottom of the clothes basket. Cheap entertainment.

March 25, 2006

$60,000 Shower

Wouldn't you like to have a $60,000 shower in your house? We can have it if we want it; it's ours for the taking.

My youngest brother works for a company that manufactures carbon fiber products. If you don't know what carbon fiber is, check here. If a carbon fiber board doesn't meet specifications, it can't be used. Each board (depending on size) has a retail price of around $10,000.

We've got six reject boards sitting in my dad's workshop. One of my family members had the "brilliant" idea of surrounding the walls of the steel shower in our basement with these carbon fiber boards: no rust, and wow, is it indestructible!

I still don't think we'll go this direction. Bookshelves, maybe; shower? No thanks.

March 22, 2006

Lately in the Stanley World

Recent discoveries in Nathan's life:
Sweet potatoes (with corn, with chicken, with turkey, plain... bring 'em on)
Spinach (plain, with carrots, whatever)
Crocs (who knew they'd be incredible teething devices? Chewy and drool resistant!)
Crawling (more inchworm than crawl, but still)
Textures of all sorts (wood, corduroy, Minky, hair, anything & everything)

Recent occupiers of Mommy's time:
House, house and more house!
paint, faux finishes, flooring, design ideas (hallelujah for HGTV... I've seen some ideas I'd like to try and plenty I never want to try; they might work on one of the coasts, but not in the Midwest, where beige walls reign supreme)

Looks like we might close on the house this Friday, which would mean demolition can start that day! I'm looking forward to tearing out carpet.

Yes, Brian, we'll save the dining room light for you. : )

March 17, 2006

Let Them Eat Milk Bones

Every night it's my responsibility to put our dogs to bed.

This entails leaving the house, following the stone path to my parents' barn (read: shed that looks like a barn), and entering a space that has transformed since my childhood memories of it.

Our dogs were indoor dogs at our house. Kennel-trained, but indoor dogs. There was no way we could do that to my parents. 70-lb dog plus 50-lb dog totals potential damage that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. The dogs are therefore located in the shed and attached dog run in the back yard.

Iowa winters aren't as kind as Kansas ones. The phrase "I wouldn't put a dog out on a night like this" must have originated in Iowa. We have such nights. Even inside a shed, the dogs wouldn't be warm enough to last the winter. Late last fall, before the worst of the sub-zero weather, Trent insulated the barn and hooked up the electrical line we ran down there this summer. The dogs have heat and greater warmth than I ever remember experiencing when we kids used that building as a clubhouse.

The dogs express their gratitude by barking at passing cars outside, climbing the lumber stacked up on one side of the inside space, and (in Sugar's case) shredding any accessible insulation. There must be something about the taste of fiberglass...

Back to my original point: I put the dogs to bed. There's a routine - and go figure, that I, of all people, would have a routine. Pick up the food dish, slide the panel in to block the dog door (raccoons or rodents with caged dogs sounds interesting in theory, but the reality would be a mess), and give the dogs affection for a while. Usually Jasper (the black behemoth, the one we call Hellhound) loves this time. Sugar is too excited for her daily treat fix to want much attention. The last couple of nights, they've been too eager for the next step in the routine: once in their kennels, they each get a Milk Bone.

They don't want my love anymore; they'd rather have treats.

Hmph. Ungrateful beasts.

March 13, 2006

Shudder Lane

I think it will be a Good Thing(tm) once we're in our own house without cable TV again.

Trent & I have talked about this. I tend to turn into a helpless addict if the TV is on - a sort of ADD compulsion to watch it if it's on rather than walk away. While spending some time with Nathan this afternoon, I flipped through channels and came across Cheerleader Nation. Watching it was a trip down memory lane - and not all of those memories were good ones.

In a matter of minutes I remembered going through flag corp camp with snotty juniors and contemptuous seniors, sitting on a hard gym floor as the volleyball coach ran through the list of who made JV and who made varsity, watching the popular girls flirt with their boyfriends and look incredible in bathing suits while I huddled in a far corner on my towel with a book, and (above all of these) the irritation I had with conversation time spent on stupid subjects. Who cares whether this freshman is getting above herself by trying to break out of her clique and hang with the upperclassmen? Why does it matter if that senior has never gone out for something until her last year and thinks she can make the team/squad/roster/choir/cast?

So much of high school is usually spent being uncomfortable in your own skin; you're so concerned about others articulating your shortcomings that you find it hard to believe they have any. I alternated between anxiety about not fitting in and irritation that my peers were being so immature and shallow. It didn't change until college.

You couldn't pay me enough money to put me back in junior high or high school.

Ugh. [shudder]

March 11, 2006

Marital Benefits

Thoughts while watching my brother's girlfriend pack yesterday for a wedding this weekend (including a sleeping bag):

- Benefit to marrying (aside from the obvious ones): you usually score a bed or at least an air mattress when it comes to family gatherings or friends' events

- Benefit of having a small child or infant: you usually get a room of your own at family gatherings or friends' events

I don't remember the last time I was asked to sleep on the floor or on a couch. I think it was when I was in college or shortly after.

March 09, 2006

Again, Tired of Consulting

I've been in some kind of funk the last several days... Nathan likes the taste of solids, but his digestive system doesn't like processing them; he screams at the drop of a hat now as food works its way through his gastrointestinal tract. The weather was nice today, but has been gray and rainy the two preceding days. Trent's wrestling with a sleep problem; I think it's obstructive sleep apnea, but we don't have the $3,000 a nearby sleep clinic would charge to get an official diagnosis (let alone the $1,200 for the machine needed to treat it), so meanwhile Trent's getting the equivalent of 3-4 hours of sleep a night.

He hasn't been very social lately.

It was while we were talking this morning that I realized what I miss so much about where we were: there, I knew so many people who were actively seeking God - more than that, pursuing him with abandon. Here, I think more people consult God. There's a big difference.

My dad has remarked that this area is perhaps the hardest area in which to be a Christian - not physically, since there isn't persecution, but emotionally and spiritually. Everyone is surrounded by the forms of religion from childhood. We're close to being innoculated against true, life-changing belief. It's how I grew up: keep all the rules and try harder, because you're not doing enough.

I don't want to be back there. I don't want to live my life and take my blueprints to God for his rubber-stamp sign off. That's consulting, not surrender. I got enough of consulting at my former employer. Form of language mattered more than the content, and there were a million ways of answering a question without saying anything of substance - certainly no promises I could be held accountable to keep... I left the corporate world because of the changes I saw in how I responded to friends and family; I don't want my relationship with God to be that way. "Fake" and "truth" cannot exist in the same relationship for longer than a breath.

I miss being part of a group of seekers. Here devotions seem more "discipline" and less "devotion".