Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Girls Gone Garda

People use marathon metaphors all the time (and rightly so) to describe getting through a RLBT. Of course I will have much more to say about the actual marathon in a little bit, but until then this ex-English major remains with the metaphorical one.

Ladies, as we head into the final click of this race, let me just say, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to run this one with each of you.


Welcome, Austin William!

Congratulations to Aunt Heather, Uncle Dave, and big brother Charlie! My nephew Austin was born at 5:41pm on September 18th. He weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz and was 20 3/4 inches long.

Jillsie cannot wait to meet her new cousin, and neither can the rest of the Gutsy Family!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Of Hickles And Such...

Recently Jillsie has been inserting H's when she is not sure how to pronounce a word. Once she gets it right the incorrect H disappears. But there are three H's that remain, in spite of my best efforts and, perhaps, in spite of Jillsie's secret knowledge of the correct pronunciation. She insists that it is hickle, hunders, and hayak. As in "Zephie is hunders my high chair. I dropped a hickle down there." And as in: "I want to go hayaking with Kiki."

Next. Do you remember how much fun it was to make a sort of nest or fort or "beddy-bye" somewhere other than your actual bed? I walked in on this blissful meditation the other day. She was so lost in her beddy-bye reverie that I was able to walk away, grab the camera, and return without her moving an eyelash. (Worth clicking to enlarge.)After explaining to me that she had made herself a little beddy-bye, she then hopped up, spent five minutes fussing, and came up with this alternate and rather cozy-looking configuration.Forts made out of blankets and chairs could be just around the corner.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Gutsy Dad

Seven years ago today we got married for the first time.

I remember standing at the back of the church with you before our marriage celebration began feeling nervous and a bit unsure. I knew I loved you and I wanted to marry you, but the events of the previous eight days had left us (and the whole country) shaken and--for lack of a better word--unsure. Were these momentous and historical events enough to justify speeding up our wedding by 11 months? Did it make sense to tie the knot without any family there and with just a handful of local friends? Would I be able to bear the experience of walking down the aisle without my dad at my side? Were we panicking to do this so suddenly? In our scramble to prepare for the wedding we felt lucky to be able to focus on something positive in such a scary time. But were we reacting in fear?

As our friends and our amazing choir gathered at the front of the church, Janne came back to ring the bell. You held me at your side, getting ready to walk me down the aisle. I remember looking up into the rafters of the church as the deep tones of the bell tolled out into the dark Austin night. And then, God came to our wedding. Without warning, a peace came over me, a clarity. I knew then--for sure--what I have known ever since. We were not reacting in fear, but in love. We did not act simply in haste, but also in certainty.

Certainty that this would be good. That this would be blessed. That this was it.

Certainty might seem like a funny word to use, especially when the very events that prompted our hasty wedding led to the circumstances which keep you away from me now. But I have learned that it is simply our love for each other--and our certainty in each other's love--not location or length of time together, which stabilizes our marriage. And this is rather important when a couple has spent only three years of their seven-year marriage living together, when they have shared five homes in two States and two countries.

So, thank you for marrying me. And thank you for continuing to provide that same foundation of certainty and love every day of our marriage.

I love you. I miss you.

Stay safe.

The Gutsy Mom

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update in Pictures

24 WEEKSShort sleeves still necessary in my overheated house, but it is getting cooooold out there. It's been in the low 40's these past few days. Brr!

I MADE THISThe assignment, within certain parameters, was to design a "personal statement of graphic design style" or something like that. Had to use 9 squares, had to use the colors brown, red, and green. The rest was up to me.

GIRLS NIGHT INWine, cheese, a chick flick, six sleeping or self-entertained children, and four good friends. What more do you need? (If you said "a tub of ready-to-eat cheesecake filling," well, yeah, we got that, too.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jillson Is In Love

The Gutsy Dad and I used to do experiments with Zephie and Tilly to figure out which treats are of the highest value to them and therefore elicit the best behavior. Well, now we have results for all three of our girls. For a long time now we've known that Zephie's highest value treat is peanut butter or dried liver and Tilly's is a tennis ball. But now we also know that Jillson's highest value treat just might be The Dentist.

Today, Jillsie went in for her first routine dental check-up. I was predicting and preparing for a complete melt-down because the appointment preempted naptime, but to my great relief Jills enjoyed herself--and behaved nicely--the entire time.

She began performing the moment The Dentist walked into the room. "Hi, therrrrre!" she says to him, "I am two!" While I filled out paperwork, she showed him her belly button, counted to six, sang a portion of a (real) song called "This Is My Song," and carried a child-sized blue chair across the room so she could sit down right next to him. "You sit with me?" she invites him, coyly tilting her head to the side and placing a dainty hand on his knee...

And what was not to love? He talked about princesses and Dora and gave her yellow, heart-shaped sunglasses to wear. Giggle, giggle, giggle. She got to sit on my lap (facing me) and then leaned backwards until she was lying with her head on The Dentist's lap. (He was sitting with his knees almost touching mine.) Giggle, giggle, giggle. All throughout the oral exam she just smiled and grinned and laughed and flirted, and let him poke all around in her mouth, brush her teeth, stretch her lips to Timbuktu while checking out her bite, and she willingly opened wide so he could apply a fluoride foam treatment. She thought the whole thing was a hoot.

And, then, of course, because she wasn't already in love with him enough, he gave her a sticker for her shirt. An advanced courting technique, I'm sure. She was smitten.

As we skipped down the hallway after receiving an A+ on our dental report card, Jillson stopped and sighed and said: "I love dat man."

Now if only The Dentist were as portable and readily accessible as peanut butter and tennis balls.

The Beckoning of Lovely

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good Morning, Jillson!

Here is what I have heard in response to my morning greeting over the last several months. (Note: These are in chronological order, but near duplicates have been removed from the list, so things get more creative as we go along. For example: "Oh, hi!" is a common response, as is "I'm awake!" but I have only listed each one once. Phrases, such as those about poo-poo, differing only by a syllable, are only listed once.)

When I walk into Jillsie's room, it is pitch black. I let the light from the hall shine in and usually see Jills standing in the back corner of her crib with her babies arrayed in front of her and carefully covered by their blankies. If she has still been sleeping, she quickly scrambles to her feet. I walk over to her window and open the rolladen (black-out shades) as I say, "Good Morning, Jillson!" She always looks down because the outside light is startling to her. Sometimes she sneezes three times (the Gutsy Dad has this same reaction to sudden light). Then she grumbles her response:

1) Oh, hi!
2) I am not awake.
3) I'm awake.
4) I am not sleepy.
5) I need to fix my hair.
6) No, Mommy. Not yet.
7) I want some milk.
8) I don't have poo-poos.
9) You take my baby, please.
10) No.
11) You need to fix it.
12) I want to hug you.
13) I've got to get out of here.
14) What's that?
15) I need to help Papa pap Zephie. (pap = pat)
16) I want some milk and some water, somehow.
17) My vagina is in my pants. You need to put clothes on your vagina. (I was fully clothed.)
18) Zephie is a little bit crazy. I back up.
19) It's beautiful, Mom.
20) I cuddle with my blankie.
21) I need a little moment.
22) Where are my socks?
23) I do not have a nose. I have a snout.
24) It's wet here.
25) We cannot get the binky from Marion.
26) Those are your blay-slips. (blay-slips = bracelets)
27) I heard you with the laundry.
28) There's some poo-poo in there.
29) Where's Pasta? (Her baby doll.)

And, lest you think she only showers her lingual genius on her mother, here are some things she has said to the dogs recently:

1) Woa, Nellie.
2) Back up, back up, back up.
3) Hold your horses.
4) You're a little bit crazy.
5) Stop panicking.
6) Your snout is beautiful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Gutsy Dad,

We met nine years ago today, and I would give almost anything for a dinner out at Z'Tejas and a romantic walk around Town Lake with you today. I love that you wore your khakis and blue button down and waited until halfway through dinner before you put your glasses on so I wouldn't think you were too geeky. (How did you read the menu?) I love that you drove a pick-up filled with adventure racing gear and a humongous jumble of training and mapping electronics. (Some things never change.) I love that you sat on the lakeside bench with me and talked and talked and talked for HOURS before daring that first kiss. (Please don't make me wait that long again when I finally get to see you again.) I love that you were, and always have been, a gentleman. I love you. All of your Gutsy Girls do--me, Jillsie, Zephie, Tilly, and Sieby--with all of our gutsy, girly, goofy, geeky hearts.

Stay safe.

The Gutsy Mom


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Gutsy Dad Wins!

For anyone who has been dying to know, the Gutsy Dad did indeed guess the correct brand and flavor of the dessert Jillsie is eating in the "Europe is Out of Raisins" post below. (He couldn't type it into the comments for security reasons.) Jillson was devouring Round Top of Damariscotta's black raspberry ice cream. This is the Gutsy Dad's favorite, too. Jillsie obviously comes by her love of ice cream naturally. (Not from me--I'll take a brownie.) She gets it from her father, my father, my grandmother, and Aunt Covie. If that is not the perfect storm of ice cream love, I don't know what is.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Minor Achievements & New Moves

Highlights from the weekend: I went "running" and I went to church. It has been a looooong time since I have done either of those things. Felt good, and I'm hoping I've re-started a trend...

Tonight as I was typing in bed--laptop balanced on belly--the whole computer suddenly jumped up. I picked it up and moved it aside and stared at my belly. Sieby* was kicking up a storm, and, for the first time, I could see her moves from the outside. I only wish the Gutsy Dad was here to put a hand on top of Sieby's belly-bucking antics.

*Sieby is pronounced Zee-Bee and is Baby #2's in utero nickname. Many of you may remember that Jills was known as Fuenfy when she was in utero, because she was the fifth grandchild on both sides of our family and also the fifth girl of all the cousins. (Fuenf=five in German.) Uncle Dave and Aunt Heather are expecting grandchild #6 on my side of the family, which makes Jillson's little sister #7. Sieben=seven in German.

Friday, September 5, 2008

This Could Be Dangerous

Jillsie's preschool is across the street from a German bakery. This is a 1500g, completely irresistible Steinofen loaf. Sarah, if you are reading this, it is just like that loaf we got at Maximillian's Grotte, except cheaper and you don't have to drive into the middle of the woods to get it.I wish you guys could smell this bread. Not to mention the Rosenbroetchen, the Brezen, and the Krapfen. Dear readers, if you know what these things are, you know how much trouble I am in. If you don't know what these things are, consider yourself deprived. The other day I indulged in a Nougat Croissant. Imagine the most buttery and decadent croissant you can, and then fill it with homemade, fluffy, creamy Nutella-like filling.

This could be seriously, seriously dangerous.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Consider the Bullet Bitten

Today I enrolled in an online graphic design class. I've been thinking about it for a while, and since my cute husband was nice enough to give me the tuition as an anniversary present, I had no excuse not to enroll. So, starting October 3rd, and for 12 weeks thereafter, I will be a student again! And you all know how much I love being a student. Yes, I have already started gathering my school supplies into a dorky binder. I've read the syllabus and done the pre-requisite homework. (I got to do homework!) If I thought it was relevant to the coursework, I would sharpen up a nice bouquet of yellow pencils and put new AA's in my TI-81. I am so excited about this I am having trouble sleeping. Is it too early to purchase my own Pantone swatch book? Say no. Please say no.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jillsie geht in der Schule!

I've been feeling a bit torn about our decision to send Jills to preschool. It sounded like such a good idea when we signed up for it back in April. I was exhausted and needed help. But lately, I've been feeling so wonderful, and Jillsie and I have settled into such a nice routine, that I've been second-guessing. So, following the "better safe than sorry" maxim, I figured we'd give it a go. If she hates it, or I hate it, or I am overwhelmed by maternal guilt for putting my child in preschool for no apparent reason, I can always pull her out.

She's only going three days a week, for up to four hours a time. As it turns out, drop off and pick up times are quite flexible, so if I only need an hour or two, so be it. This is good. On the other hand, if I need to go to the doctor or have a meeting, I have built in childcare for four hours. This, too, is good. And, if I am feeling exhausted, the peace of mind that comes from knowing the German teachers will provide Jills with a far more stimulating morning than I could by napping on the couch, is also good.

So, without further ado, here's what you really want to see. The photo documentation of Jillson's first day of "school."

Breakfast this morning. So much for the cute, clean outfit.

All set to go! Backpack, raincoat, and lunchbox required.

Jillson's hook at the school. Please note the required hand towel, cup, toothpaste, and toothbrush. They are really into hygiene at the preschool!

Drop off was almost effortless. There were only three other kids in her room that early in the morning, and Jills started playing with them almost immediately. There was a semi-crisis when Jillson's brand new haus schuhe were too tight (ah, my rapidly growing child!), but the teachers were very understanding and allowed Jills to wear her outside shoes inside.

When I picked Jillson up, she was in a great mood. The teachers reported that she talked the whole time. Of course. And that she ate her entire snack. Imagine that. When we left the room, Jills said "bis morgen!" and "bye, bye, friends!" Aw.

Here she is, scooting into the shared play areas, outside the two-year-old room, for a final play before heading home.


This is where parents pick up messages, organized by child's name. How cute is that?

And a final shot, leaving the school. I'd call the day a success. Jills was happy, I got errands done in record time, and the kid took a 3-hour nap and was racked out hard. I could probably get used to this.

Monday, September 1, 2008

It's A Girl!

The Gutsy Dad and I are very excited to announce that we finally found out what we are having. Another girl to add to our already very girly household (and neighborhood)!

And there will be sisters in our household! I don't really know anything about having a sister, but Jillson is going to find out in about four months.

This is gonna be fun.