Sunday, January 23, 2011

Advances in the Mia department

Probably saying "cheese"
I'd be so remiss if I failed to document some of the really neat things Mia is up to these days.  As one should expect, her vocabulary is rapidly expanding.  Beyond the list I shared a few months ago, here are some new words:

  • Pawpy (for potty--thanks to Jackson for this book at Christmas time! It may be the best $6.99 you e'er spent)
  • Mank moo (for thank you)
  • tcheez (for keys)
  • chair
  • clothes (conga)
  • pants
  • shirt
  • button (bonga)
  • elbow
  • knee
  • chin
  • car
  • carseat
  • mirror
  • Braden (B-hen)
  • Abby
  • Manda
  • Uke (for Luke)
  • away
  • Mia
  • yes
  • TV
  • puter (for computer)
  • puhs (for grapes)
  • more
  • all done
  • down
  • up
  • towel
  • hat
  • socks
  • apple
  • Dorothy (thanks to Elmo's fish)
  • Elmo
  • titar (guitar)
  • iPhone (the last two are totally because of Greg)
There are so many little things she notices or says.  I did not extensively teach her sign language; just a few signs here and there that she's really taken to like milk, more, thank you, eat, all done, down, etc.  But like any educator will tell you, kids are really drawn to movement and learning kinetically and Mia is no different.  If a song has movements in it, she will try to learn it. 

Nana & Granddad were here the other week right after Abby was born and Mia learned the song, "Where is Thumbkin?"  It was originally on Sesame Street and Nana, being the music educator she is, taught it to Mia.  Mia can't quite sing all the words, but she knows when to put her thumbs out and when to put her hands behind her back, and she even signs "thank you" at the end of the song, which was not taught to her in that particular song!

The summer she was born, I went to a couple baby sign classes at the local library and they handed out a few story books with the signs shown with the words.  We received "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider."  I read TTLS to her a lot and try to show her the signs for:
twinkle, little, star, how, you, up, world, diamond, sky
and just today she did almost the whole song with me.  I love seeing her brain make connections and store these little bytes of information in her mind!  

Greg & I often try to figure out what songs she is learning in bible class so we can figure out what she is singing.  I've only sat in there once or twice and they keep the class moving and do lots of movements or use objects with songs, and we'll see Mia rolling the gospel chariot along, or building houses, or shining her Christian light.  It's hilarious.

Riding the train at Wiregrass

Mia's favorite kids TV show is Sesame Street, probably because that's the only designated kids show we actually watch with her.  She'll watch the Today Show, some sports, or some design shows with us occasionally (yeah, I waffle on that at times!) but during a SS episode the other day, in the Elmo's World segment, as he was telling his goldfish Dorothy to say hello, I heard Mia say quite clearly, "Hi Dorothy!"  I guess it just goes to show ME that kids actually do hear what they're saying on television.  So I guess I should probably stop watching all those raunchy shows.  JK.  I don't watch them, unless "Say Yes to the Dress" is considered raunchy. debatable.  I do love a good wedding show though.

1st time on stage at Storytime!
She does so many other funny things, like mimicking my movements when I get dressed.  She also puts unusual items in her potty, and tries to stuff toilet paper down her pants.  What can I say, she follows me just about 24/7.

And...she may have inherited her mother's knack of imitating others using different voices.  Greg & I were joking around the other day using my "tough guy" kind of voice and the next thing I know, Mia's mimicking my manner of speech with even her lips pushed out!!  What will Greg do with two maniacs??? Only time will tell...
She drives me nuts some days, but we do love her.  She's pretty partial to her mommy, daddy, uncles, B-hen, and grandparents.  And the little girls at church.  Tonight after church, she was walking around the foyer holding hands with a hilarious little tot named Corrine.  Melt.Your.Heart.  I think she's a keeper.

PS: People always say, "It goes by so fast," and this time I'm not going to try to buck the trend.  It's true. Here's a picture on this exact day last year of Mia & Greg.  She's just a little squishy baby!
January 23, 2009


Ever had one of those moments when someone is talking to you and it feels like they can see your soul??  Greg and I have joked about this phenomenon before, although in reality, when it is actually happening, it doesn't feel so light-hearted and jovial. It's a tad scary.
Today I had one such phenomenon while in church.  I won't recount all of the events, but let's just say for all the times I daydream at church (I'll be honest, it happens quite often), I'm so glad I was listening today.

Our first prayer during worship this morning was beautiful.  The prayer included some very timely thoughts about all the newborns that have been born these past few months, and the orator prayed for the babies yet to come, and for those who are parents or who would like to be parents, but haven't had the opportunity because of miscarriage or some other situation.  He asked that we never disparage parenting and the miracles with which we are entrusted.    
Needless to say, I felt convicted in light of my last post.  Sheepishly I wondered, "Did [TG] read my blog??"  As soon as he said those words I knew I needed to remember those thoughts & to never cavalierly put down those greater aspects of parenthood, motherhood, or raising children to the extent that I make it seem like, "I could do without this," or, "I think I'm good. I don't need any more help."  I still think the main ideas in the post hold true and aren't unspiritual to relay, but I didn't want to communicate it in a way that led people to believe I thought all this stuff was "below me".

I tried to connect it with a topic discussed in bible study the hour before.  The two seemingly disparate concepts of "grief in all kinds of trials" and "rejoicing" (1 Peter 1:6) seem difficult to weave together.  Joy with grief? And trials?? But one student (SLS) brilliantly shared that when we are going through trials, the neat thing we can see and rejoice about is seeing God at work during those trials and at work in YOU.  You can rejoice through the trials because you can see all the amazing things God is really actually doing.

SO, in an effort to refocus the 'tude...let me just say what I'd really like to say is: I do not intend to disparage parenting.  Some things as I've alluded to many a time feel MUCH like a trial.  I mean, let's just call it what it is: a trial.  And I hope I wasn't discouraging about it. I hope I haven't made it seem like, "Lord, I could do without these trials, or these little children who 'get in my way,'" because that's definitely not how I see it.  I will say, however, that I have seen God at work during my trials and just as I am humbled today, I was humbled then too.  I've never felt as unworthy of his grace as I have in the past 2+ years.  Why God continues to share his grace with me when I'm indifferent, apathetic or just disobedient is beyond me.  But God knows me and cares for me and that is definitely something worth rejoicing over!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scaring the living daylights out of friends sans children

Of course I am perfectly well-behaved ALL the time.
Of course I am!
I was at a bless-ed baby shower the other night, which for me, unless I am hosting, is like the biggest girl gab fest I can sometimes find, and I love it.  I used to not be crazy about [baby/wedding] showers. What's the big deal about a mixer, you ask?  Or, how many bibs can a little bub have?  (Not too many, I tell you, not too many.)
But now I look at them as an excellent way to get a collective mass of fun-loving, heart-throbbing people (mostly women) together to discuss the "hilarities" of life, including the good and the bad.

I was part of one such conversation Sunday night, which upon reflection, and confirmation from these gal-pals, slightly scared them from EVER wanting to have children.

What is it about moms that makes them discuss perhaps the most non-flattering aspects of parenthood?  Do we just love to torture others?  Are we sharing battle wounds?  Looking for commiseration?  
Indeed I think it is multi-faceted.

I will confess there is some enjoyment in seeing the shock on others' faces and their jaw drops because they cannot believe you just said [that].  I would give you a real example but I know I have some more prim & proper readers on this blog and don't want to make even them aghast.

There is also enjoyment in explaining to others: "This is how it really goes down."  People will tell you all aspects of motherhood are glorious and while the good most definitely outweigh the bad, there are a few parts of being a mom that are not glamorous.  Privacy, diaper poop, pumps, I mean...let's face it.  Little people are little people, still learning the ropes and don't know that generally speaking, most adults like to close the bathroom door when they need to go.

But most of all, I think there is enjoyment in relating to other women & moms that what happened to me is also happening to you...and vice versa.  There's a sense of normalcy at that point that I'm not totally absurd and my house isn't running perfectly 24/7 and nor is yours...and we're okay.

This perplexed me quite a bit pre-Mia.  I heard awful stories about crazy, ill-behaved children, sleepless nights, never going out with your spouse, and then what felt like in the same breath, a person exclaiming "I LOVE my children! I can't imagine life without them!  I love being a mommy!!!!!!!"  (With probably at least that many exclamation points.)  
I thought, okay, either you're LYING, or there's something I'm seriously missing here.

Until I had Mia.  I got it.  There are minutes, hours or days where the role of motherhood is challenging, daunting, gross, irritating, awful, despicable, unflattering, lonely, grueling.  It's true.  Just like pretty much any other job.  There are days you love it, and days you hate it.  And sometimes it takes a while to get used to it.
BUT.  And this is a BIG but.  And not a butt.  To be a mom, to have your own little munchkin(s), to be building something greater than yourself, with your best friend (who also drives you bonkers sometimes as you do to him -- let's face it, marriage ain't always a cake walk either, is it?), is one of the coolest jobs in the world.  
I told my friends, after I realized I probably scarred them for life with my "horror" stories (which are not funny as they are occurring, but are much funnier weeks & months later), that being a mom has helped me be more balanced, content, secure, and even chilled out in some ways.  Cause we all know, I was all over the place beforehand; at least I felt like I was!

So do not fear. You will hear unflattering stories. You will hear people proclaiming there's nothing better.  You will wonder what to believe.  Believe both, but know that you can also choose your 'tude and make it how you want to be.  And create a purpose that will drive you and keep you going.  It's not all drudgery but it ain't all tulips either.  It's life.

So go on, have a kid*. Don't be skeered!  It will change things, of that I will not lie.  But in my limited experience, it can improve things too.  

/The End.

*Of course if you cannot have children or do not want to have children, I do not intend to say that by not having children your life is incomplete.  Certainly not.  The Apostle Paul was not married nor did he have children and I would venture to say he lived a pretty full life.  I am only sharing this message for people earnestly contending with the idea of having children and am in no way trying to say to others that your life won't be grand if you don't have them.  It can be grand either way.  Again, choose your 'tude.  God bless.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Everything in Moderation

Did you know that I'm not very good at returning phone calls anymore?  Or maybe I wasn't ever, and just can't recall my life pre-motherhood??

Something switched after the bambina was born and I just didn't feel like calling people back.  I think, in truth, part of it was because if that friend / medical person / family member heard my voice, they'd know I wasn't doing too swell, and I didn't want to 'fess up to my postpartum baby blues.  But then the other part was that I was actually enjoying the quiet.  When I would have a chance to call someone back (like, I wasn't tending to a newborn, pumping, or trying to catch some zzz's), I just wanted to "sit and be quiet," which is something that I sometimes make fun of my beloved semi-introverted husband for. 

In fact, now, in order for me to talk on the phone, I almost want to be doing something else simultaneously that's worthwhile, so that I feel like I haven't used up all my designated quiet time.  If someone calls, I might start cleaning, or emptying the dishwasher, or sorting laundry, in other words, semi-thoughtless but productive tasks.  So, maybe it's good that people call me, and I answer the phone now, whereas I used to just let it go to voicemail (shame, shame on me!), because then I get things done!

One of my mantras (to steal from Jessica @ Sew Homegrown) for 2011 is
Everything in moderation.

Including phone calls.

And the internet.  

And googling "gluten free dinner recipes."  I mean, c'mon!  Give it up.  

So I'm just going to let go.  Variety is the spice of life, so I'm going to try to kick back and do a little here, a little there, and let moderation balance me out.  But you know, stick to my guns on the important stuff.  (Not that I have guns or even know how to use them, but I'm pretty good on the Wii and have been known to kick a few brothas in self defense.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm an Aunt -- Again!!

And Greg's an uncle (again) and Mia has a brand new cousin!

This morning Brian & Amanda welcomed Abigail (Abby) Sophia at 8:10 AM.
In Brian's words: She's 8lbs. 1oz., 20 1/4 inches and doing great. Amanda is doing great as well. Please join us in praising God for this wonderful blessing!

Mia & I were able to visit the newest addition to the family early this afternoon.  She is darling.  Can't wait to watch her grow up and play with "B-den"(how Mia says "Braden") and Mia.  She has dark brown hair like her dad...and that Ciampa nose must be a dominant gene, because so far it seems she's staying in-line with the family protocol.

Being born is hard work! Tuckered out.

Mia checking out the "beebee" 
Either wanting to sit next to Abby or resume her role as "only girl" 

blissful sleep

Happy birthday, Abby!  You have one of the coolest birthdays I know (1/11/11)...and just a few days after mine! ;)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why coconut milk?

Photo Credit:
Occasionally I am asked why Mia drinks coconut milk.  In truth, I know I know the reasons, but I can't always spout them off lickety-split.  So, imagine my delight when The Nourished Kitchen (a neat new foodie blog I've been following) does an expose on how to make your own coconut milk, from a real coconut.  Not that I've ever done that, but maybe that will be just one of the things I try this year!

In other news, here's something new I started doing the last few months of 2010, and maybe it will be helpful for you too.

Do you always pick up the same items at the store, nearly in the same quantity?  Now that we're a family of 3 with a pretty regular schedule, it seems that we consistently go through the same food items from month to month.  Of course, I try to stock up and save when these items may be on sale at the local grocery or health food store, but I have found that sometimes an even better option is shopping online.

Mia guzzling down her "coco" & discovering her
Dyson vacuum cleaner on Christmas morning!
I follow Saving Naturally and from time to time, she'll post updates of deals on  You can "subscribe & save" and save 15% more on those items if you subscribe to buying that particular item every month, two months, or so on.

So for us, because Mia is a little coconut milk drinker, we regularly "save" and receive a shipment of 12 cans of coconut milk per month, and Coombs Grade B Maple Syrup every 2 months.  These prices are just as good or better than what I can get at my local health food store with coupons. And shipping is free.  So why not do that?  I promise I'm not being paid by Amazon or these companies.  Just wanting to help a brotha or a sista out!!