Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa Baby

Claire took pictures with Santa a few weeks ago.  I haven't had access to a scanner until recently so I haven't updated the blog yet.  The Santa at Sprouts Photography was AMAZING!  What a sweet guy!  He was so nice to my little munch and she didn't even cry when she was sitting with him.  She was calm, a little suspiscious but didn't overreact.  She has a fairly calm disposition, thus far, so this didn't really surprise me.  When "Santa" said, "I wish all of them were like her," I couldn't help but feel a bashful pride come over me.  She's a sweet one, that Clair-ey.
The "Santa Question" is a one that has come up in conversation in our house a few times.  Christian and I are not totally sure about how we are going to deal with it.  Play along and tell her the story?  Play along but tell her the story is just pretend? Skip Santa completely? Teach her about the historical Christian St. Nicholas who had a giving heart? We still have a year or two until it really matters, I suppose.  We'll probably do some of each. But we want her to understand the true "soul of Christmas," the wonder of God made flesh and not get so caught up in the "gimme" of it all. I want the wonder and miracle of the Christ we commemorate to be as real and as necessary as the air she breathes. I also want her to have fun and view the season as a time of fun and even a little magic like I did as a kid.  It is a delicate balance.  
In the meantime, Claire is met super cute man who was sweet to her, got a dress that was LOVINGLY handmade (smocking and all) by a wonderful friend that cares about her and mama got a photo op to mark her first Christmas.    Not bad, sweets, not bad at all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving Thanks: Better Late than Never

So it's December.  I swore I'd complete this post before December and now it's the 1st of December.  Bummer.  But, in my defense, we did, finally, finish out Thanksgiving celebrations last Saturday and it's only Wednesday.  I could have done worse, I suppose.  
Anyway: Claire's first Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 25th, was completely out of the ordinary for us.  Normally, we give thanks and eat the Thanksgiving meal at my grandma's house or aunt Nelda's house or some combination of the two.  One year we hopped from grandma's to Nelda's and then drove to Simi Valley.  But usually, it takes place at someone's home minus a random year when my parents were divorced when my mom and my grandparents and I went to breakfast for Thanksgiving at Hyatt hotel in Huntington Beach, and then I went to the Greenhill's for Thanksgiving dinner.  Anyway, this year we ate lunch at The Cottage in Laguna Beach and then my dad was gracious enough to take pictures of us for our Christmas cards and Claire's 6 month birthday and to commemorate the day.  The following Saturday, we drove out to Christian's parent's house for a more traditional Thanksgiving with his family and Claire got to hang out with her cousin, Lila.  We are thankful for family, really thankful.  Since I'm working part time, my parents, my grandparents and Christian's mom have all helped up with childcare in the afternoons (and we are thankful for our babysitter too, whom we love and Claire loves too!) when I have to work.  It was nice to see the people who are being so helpful all in one weekend.  We are truly blessed.    
I like that Thanksgiving is toward the end of the year.  If I am attentive, I'll remember to be grateful for what has gone right during the year.  There's always something.  This year was, especially, good for us, (cozy home, beautiful, healthy baby) although not so good for others in our lives (people needing jobs, family issues etc).  I'm sure there will be years where finding things to be thankful for will seem difficult, but God has commanded us to be grateful no matter what. People, remind me of that when our bad year comes.
Thanksgiving also marks the first full year for us in our house.  I can't believe we've lived here a whole year!  I'm thankful for Claire and for the family God is growing here at this little house in Chino.  May we raise her up to follow Him -such a huge, daunting task to be the temporary guardians of this little soul!
 What I rambling post I've come up with.  Oh, well. I'm thankful for a forgiving group of readers. . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

One from the Archives

I realize I've been lax at posting lately.  Busy-ness has overtaken me again.  That's a topic for another blog post, though. I need to take time to be introspective. . .
I wrote this in November of 2006 for the First Baptist Church of Yorba Linda's newsletter when my life was very, very different.  In a way, life is both easier and more difficult in different ways than it was then.  At the time, I struggled to pay rent, struggled to know what to do next with my life, struggled to understand whether I would be the "marrying" type.   Today, Christian and I struggle to pay the mortgage in order to keep Claire out of daycare, struggle with what we should do next with our lives, struggle to raise a little soul that God has given to us to raise for Him in a era of complete uncertainty.  Not much has really changed and everything has changed.  I'm guessing there will be times in our lives that will be infinitely better and times that will seem so dark we won't know which end is up and which is down. But here it is- me, Sarah, on Thanksgiving circa 2006.

"Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing-a grateful heart!"
-George Herbert 1593- 1633

With everything going on in the world, it is incredible that Thanksgiving in America has still maintained much of its original purpose. A friend of mine in England once told me, "I think Thanksgiving is a holiday the British really should adopt from the Americans. It..s so pure and simple. There's no frantic gift exchange, no commercialism, it's merely getting together with people you love over a meal and thanking God for what has been given to you." Thanksgiving itself is something we rarely remember to be thankful for.

In the King James Bible, the word "thanks" occurs 73 times, "thanksgiving" 28 and "praise" is used on 248 different occasions. Yet, this does not even begin to cover the passages that imply giving thanks to God for His love and His care for His people. In the book of Hebrews, the author admonishes Jewish Christians, that, "by Him, therefore let us offer the sacrifice to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" Hebrews 13:15. Continually. I really had to meditate on that word. Considering the traditional first Thanksgiving celebration, I can't help but think about how seriously the Puritans took the Bible's command to continually give thanks, disregarding the circumstances. According to H.U. Westermayer, "The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have ever been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

I have to admit, I don't tend to "sacrifice continually the fruit of [my] lips giving thanks to His name." I know many people who do and I am, admittedly, in awe of them. In truth, I am more apt to be skeptical or questioning of God than to sit in gratitude for what He has done in my life and in the world. It seems that the stories and lives of these ardent Christians who left their homes for an unknown, hostile new world can teach us more than just a social studies lesson. Their faithfulness to God and to His commandments planted seeds in the history of one of the most influential nations on earth.

So how is it that we might continually remember to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18)? One reminder is directly from scripture. We cannot help but praise Him in all circumstances when we consistently remember that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow" (James 1:17). It's reminiscent of the old hymn that reminds us, "turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face, and the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace" Even in the harshest of situations, a reminder of what we really do have to be thankful for and an understanding that God's "grace is sufficient for thee" will be enough to fill the Thanksgiving celebrations for all of eternity.

This November, look around you for reasons to thank God. Family, friends, the beauty of the world around us and the wonder of our salvation are all gifts we can thank God for. Never promising us that we will be without hardships, God has blessed us in carrying us through our difficulties like just as the Puritans were carried through their struggles in the new world. They had the understanding to turn back and look on their journeys to see the hand of God guiding every step and could still sing with joy in their hearts,

"Now thank we all our God with hears and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love and still in ours today."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Everything There is a Season

"To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" -Ecclesiates 3:1
I like holidays.  I like tradition.  With a baby, holidays and tradition are an even bigger deal.  Holidays tend to mark the passing of time.  I got a small pile of hand-me-downs for Claire from our very good friends, the Schulerts.  They have two little girls (Jane 3 years and Grace 10 months . . .Claire's future camping buddies) and part of the stash was a very cute orange pj set with a little pumpkin on it for October.  Unfortunately, it was a size 0-3.  I imagine it was Jane's, a July 5th baby.  It doesn't fit my 3-6 size baby girl.  I'm bummed.  But she hit that season at a different time, her own time.  Claire was 5 weeks old over the 4th of July, and nearly 5 months by Halloween. She'll be almost 7 months at Christmastime.  Each period, we'll take more pictures and mark this fleeting, yet so important, time in her life, each holiday showing a little more growth, a little more development.  Her pictures on July 4th show a sleepy newborn who slept through city fireworks, her Halloween shots, hardly four months later, show a baby who can sit up on her own and who smiles, happily at the camera.

Everyone promised me it would go by fast.  I just think I didn't really believe them.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

4 month Appointment (at almost 5 months)

Well, today we visited Dr. Stearns office today for Claire's 4 month appointment.  She'll be 5 months on the 30th, so, really, she's closer to 5 months than 4 but, honestly, what does it matter anyway?  Everything is fine.  Dr. Stearns said she was doing "perfectly!" 
Claire weighs 15 lbs 13 oz and she is 26 inches long.  She giggled and smiled and played with her feet during the doctor's appointment. Afterward, she went to grandma's house and slept for almost 2 hours.  Being adorable takes quite a bit out of you, I guess. 
Her hat is a bit to big still (it'll fit soon I hope!  I love this hat!) and she's missing her big grin. . . . but it's the only one I took today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Girl and her Daddy

Dads are important. Just thought I'd compile some pictures of Christian and his little munch. . .

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nappin' -The Sleep Journey

"There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sleep has never really been an issue for Claire. Ever. I mean, we had a bad night the night we brought her home but since then, it's been relatively easy. For the first few weeks or so, she woke up to eat every two hours. No biggie since she slipped right back to sleep after her feeding. But around 3 or so weeks she started skipping feedings until by 6 weeks she was sleeping until around 4 am, getting a feeding and then going to bed. By 8 weeks, she was sleeping from 8 pm - 6am. Brilliant. World best baby.
Things began to unravel at around 3 1/2 to 4 months. At one point, Claire let us know that the swaddle was no bueno. She woke up and cried every hour one night until I took it off, then slept like normal. Perfect. Easy swaddle weaning. Brilliant. Worlds best baby evidence #2.
Then I started napping her in her crib. She used to nap for hours in her swing. Great! But in her crib she was never a great napper. 45 min to 1 hour at the most in her crib or cosleeper. But I knew the transition had to be made. Soon she got into a crib nap routine. Not terribly long anymore but a routine nonetheless. Score. Brilliant. World's best baby evidence #3.
Then it happened. Mommy went back to work part time and Claire decided that the bottle was NO BUENO at all. Seriously?! So for the one feeding she needed while I was at work, she was on hunger strike. Would MAYBE eat an ounce for the sitter. So at night, she started waking at 3am to eat. Mommy liked the other arrangement better. For nighttime, she's now in her crib as well. She began to outgrow the co-sleeper. Not length-wise but width-wise since she now scoots all over the place and invariably winds up sideways. This coupled with the fact that Claire now likes to roll over in both directions, scoot and scrunches her tummy like she wants to sit up made her a rather restless sleeper. I had planned on co-sleeping longer than this, but a foot in mamma's face and daddy's snoring waking baby up are also NO BUENO. We still like her, but the "world's best baby" is starting to show her Psalm 51:5 side.
However, the last few nights have been the biggest cause for alarm, pause, indignation. . . whatever you want to call it or where ever you want to go with this. . .she's been back to waking up EVERY 3 HOURS! The night before, it was every 1 hour after 1 or 2 am. I can't remember. Good lord. What is this?! Teething? 4 month sleep regression? (several articles on this!), general insomnia? reflux? (her spitting up is a new thing these days as well).
Now, we are not the "cry it out" types. We think it's somewhat mean at this age. The kid isn't quite being "defiant" yet. Talk to me again later, when I can see the gleam of "like heck I'm going to go to sleep!" I'm ok with "fuss it out" but full fledged crying is not my thing. So, I'm hoping, "this too shall pass." And she'll be back wearing her "world's best baby" crown in no time. Many things I've read seem to support this hope.
In the meantime, I still have this brilliant little person in my care. Who, according to us, will always be the world's best baby. Really. Even at 4 am.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

1 Year Later

Yesterday marked one year since Christian and I found out Claire was coming whether we were ready or not! It was somewhat crazy. I woke up at 5 am since I had to be at work rather early and I had wanted to make myself a real breakfast. I had to go to the bathroom and as I headed to the toilet, I thought, "Hmm, lets waste a pregnancy test this morning." Ever the pessimist, I firmly believed that I would find it to be negative and that I would go on with my month, plodding along to my next cycle. Groggily, I opened the package and took the test. I looked down and to my utter amazement, am extremely faint second line appeared on the test. I think I sat there for a minute, in a giggly, dumbfounded fog before I called for Christian come over. Reminder: it was % or 5:30 am when I found this out. He sprang out of bed and into the bathroom, thinking something must have been terribly wrong. I showed him the stick.
"What?" he said. "What does that mean?"
"I think it means we're pregnant."
"It's awfully light."
Yeah, but I think if you have even a little bit of the preggo hormone, it makes a line."
He held his hand up in a "high five" position. I humored him and slapped his hand. And he went back to bed. Mildly anti-climactic, but I was free to pass the information on to whomever I wanted to now. Laura was the first text message, who assured me that "yes, even a faint line means you're pregnant." We were so excited.
That afternoon, I went to my asthma doctor who, excitedly, gave me a blood test to confirm the test. I'm usually the only person in his office under the age of 75. He's a pulmonary specialist, so the majority of his patients are old people. I go because, unlike the rest of the world of people who suffered from asthma as a child, I did not outgrow the disease as an adult. I don't go to a pediatric asthma specialist, duh, so my options are limited. Good thing I like the guy. Anyway, when the nurse came to give me the test, she remarked, "He really doesn't do a whole lot of these." The next afternoon, Dr. Sayyur called and left me a message. With his Lebanese accent, he said, "Sarah, I haf some good nooos!" You could hear the smile on his face radiating in his voice.
Good news it was, indeed. What a blessing this little munchkin is. In a year, she's gone from a tiny head of a pin to a 4 month old, rolling, raspberry blowing, baby-chatting, nearly sitting up, push-uping little girl. She has moved from inside me, to our bed, to the co-sleeper, to her crib. It's an amazing, yet ordinary, miracle.
Today, I went back to Dr. Sayyur to renew my prescription and brought Claire with me. All the old people in the waiting room fawned over her. Dr. Sayyur kept saying how sweet and cute and happy she was. He seemed so glad to have had something to do with her arrival. I'm blessed that my girl is not just a blessing to me, but seems to bring joy to friends, family and even people I barely know or even don't know at all. She giggles at family, friends and admiring strangers. People at church inquire "where's my baby?" if they don't seen her in my arms. I think I'll be in trouble this Sunday when I try and put her down for a nap in the nursery during the first part of service.
As anything worth having, Claire is a lot of work. But I must always remember this: the Psalmist wasn't kidding when he said "Children are a gift from the Lord." We've been entrusted with a marvelous blessing, an immortal soul. I want to teach her to continue to be a blessing to others. I want to pray that God grants her that characteristic her whole life. Her name means "Clear" or "Bright," thus, it's my hope she continues to be the bright spot to those she continues to meet everyday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Growing like a weed

Our baby girl is growing! I've washed and cut the tags off all of her 3-6 month clothes and she's fitting nicely into them now! It's amazing. Not long ago I remember looking at those dresses and onesies thinking she was so tiny and she's never fit into them! She rolls over both directions and when she rolls onto her tummy, sometimes she pushes up on her arms. She has started to scoot forward a little bit while on her stomach, too. Apparently, early mobility is a trait she may have inherited from both my brother and I who crawled at 6 months and were walking by 10 months. I love that she's so strong and spunky but, at the same time, it'd be nice to be able to have an immobile baby just a little bit longer. Who knows, maybe she'll calm down a little bit. (I think that's my denial creeping in).
This past weekend, she also started sleeping in her own room as well. It took us a bit to come to that decision since we were planning on co-sleeping for a while longer but after much discussion, we decided this was the time. Claire is strong enough to roll over and I am not as concerned about suffocation issues as I was before and, recently, she started to wake up much more during the night. I began to wonder if we were all waking each other up! She did sleep a little better in the crib, only waking up once to eat. Even this is odd for her, though and hopefully, as she gets adjusted to babysitters and my work schedule, she's get back to being the great sleeper she's been since the first or second month of her life when she started sleeping 8-7 or so.
She has her 4 month check up with the pediatrician coming up, so they'll be more to say then, I'm sure.
There's the baby update. I need to commit to doing this more often. At least once a week. I've thought time and again that I need to do this more often and have considered topics. . . making it happen is the rub.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here's to 30 Crazy Years!

Well, here we are. I'm officially 30. Christian has another year to go until he hits the next decade of his life. But I'm ok with that I suppose. So far, I've had a quiet but fun few days of celebration. It all started at the Herman's celebrating all the July and August birthdays which included Lori, Lydia, Christian, Jeff and my birthdays. It was a good time with family and Claire went in the pool for the first time (ok, it was the spa turned down to bath temperature but close enough). Then, last Saturday we went to my grandparent's house to celebrate my and my grandpa's birthdays. His birthday is on August 12th, right before mine. Today, my mom took me to Glen Ivy. It's free admission in your birthday! My grandparents were gracious enough to take care of Claire for the morning and while the were babysitting, they gave me a HUGE surprise. Claire cooperated and took a LONG morning nap so they were able to CLEAN OUT MY GARAGE! Seriously! One of the best presents I got, if not the best. I can actually PARK MY CAR IN THERE! I'm so blessed. I'll get pictures of these events, although mom and I didn't take any at Glen Ivy, unfortunately.
But the next evening we went to a climbing gym with some friends for a "day late" birthday celebration. So this all works for me. I'm not a big "party go crazy" person, but doing something relaxing and a little crazy to commemorate 30 years is just perfect for me :-) Here's to my next 30 years. . .

Beginning of the Blog

So here's my attempt to update family and friends of our little family's happenings. I'm pretty excited about this page right now and am hoping that you all can keep us accountable to update it regularly. As soon as I get some dedication pictures in, I'll post those.
Going from being "just us" to a little "family" has been pretty exciting and quite an adjustment. But we're loving every minute of it! :-) Life "AC" (after Claire) is proving to be pretty amazing and we are glad for this community we get to share it with!