I find the following video to be hilarious for several reasons. One of which is that it encapsulates an experience that I'm sure will be played out over and over in the course of our lives as parents. We will think we have discovered the perfect toy, activity, book, event, friend, etc. and eagerly bring William in on the find, only to discover that far from finding it to be a perfect fit our son finds it to be completely the opposite. And, despite seeking to understand, we will be utterly baffled by his insistence to defy all reason, logic, common sense…
We, that is Russ and I, were so excited to get this toy! I had been looking for some fun toys for William and came across this one. It seemed great in that it had a lot of things to hold his interest and it also helped develop some hand eye coordination. I’d been anxiously awaiting this toy since I’d ordered it and it came on the perfect day-Saturday, so even Russ could get in on the fun.
After we took the elephant head off, he really liked. He plays with it quite a lot and he especially likes the balls, so all is not lost.
It’s amazing how fast William is growing and changing. Every day it seems like he does something new.
A few new things: He says “da da” when he sees Russ He pulls himself up to his knees He can feed himself a full course meal as long as it consists of bite size pieces he can pick up He recognizes different foods, especially bread. He absolutely loves bread He knows that after we pray he gets to eat so when we say "amen" his feet start moving and he just gets super excited. It's funny to see.
In these next pictures he is eating beets, chicken and bread for dinner
Mike and Barbara is a couple who have become good friends here in NC. Well, actually, they have "become" good friends to me. They were Russ's good friends for many years. They go to our church. Russ was "Uncle Russ" to their two children and now they are Aunt and Uncle to our little William.
They stopped by and gave William the cutest snowman the other day. He loved it, especially its hat and nose. One of his favorite things is to grab the rim of the hat of the person who is holding him. He'll also grab your nose.
Thus far I have tried to keep my words at a minimum as I know its much more fun to look at pictures of William than to listen to me. And do not fear, I don't intend to change the practice. But I can't resist posting a link to an essay that has become one of my favorites. Every time I read it I want to stand up and shout AMEN, or whatever you shout to give your hearty approval.
It's about the value of a woman's work in the home. I chose the word "woman" and not "mother" because much of what he writes can be applied to the wife at home whether or not she has children.
The name of the essay is "The Emancipation of Domesticity", and it was written by G.K. Chesterton who was British. It took me several readings before I could thoroughly digest most of what he is saying and each time I read it, the reading becomes even more enjoyable because the humor, satire, and illusions have become more familiar. In other words, I've found it to be well worth the effort and no, I couldn't follow all of what he said with one read. The beginning is the hardest to get through so don't stop till you've finished.
Here is an excerpt:
Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. … Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up ... For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean.
When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.
The day after Christmas William's fever went away and we thought he was getting better. He still had a runny noise but he even seemed to be acting a bit more chipper. Here he is playing with his toys.
However, he wasn't sleeping normally and he would fuss a lot when we put him down for naps and bedtime.
Then he got the croup. I used to get croup quite a lot when I was little and I can still remember trying to breath and not really being able to. So it was a bit disconcerting to hear William. The thing with croup is the calmer you can stay the better, but I kept thinking what would happen if he started crying a lot and we couldn’t get him calmed down. Of course it was a Sunday when he got it. I decided to call the on call nurse to ask what the signs would be that he was getting worse and what I should do if they got worse. She decided to call the on call doctor who told us to go the emergency room.
I didn’t think we needed to go, but what are you supposed to do when they tell you to go? So we went. They took his vitals and they were good--slight fever, nothing more. Then they told us to wait to see the doctor. We waited for 3 ½ hours. For the first 1 ½ hours he fussed and cried until finally he fell completely asleep. He slept for about 15 minutes. Then they called our name. We got up thinking we were going to see the doctor. Of course William wakes up. We walk up and the nurse tells me she wants to take his vitals again because we’ve been waiting for over an hour. I was so mad.
We sat back down and discussed what we were going to do. We called the on call nurse back and I told her his vitals were good and that I thought the best thing for him would be to sleep in his own bed with the vaporizer instead of staying in an emergency room all night. She said if we left we might be endangering his life and that the croup could be fatal. We left, got home at about 7:30 p.m. and put him to bed.
He slept great but woke up at 12:30 a.m. starving. You see I had only fed him some sweet potatoes and apple sauce. When it became obvious that nursing was just not going to cut it we put him in his high chair and feed him a full meal topped off with his favorite, shortbread cookie.
He looks terribly sick don't you think? Oh well, you have to live and learn and the only way to learn is to go through it.
Russ's mom likes Christmas just as much as I do. The first time he took me to meet his mom and dad his mom made sure to leave up the Christmas decorations so that I could see them.
Her house is always full of pretty bows and lots of lights.
We got there in the early afternoon and, even though this picture doesn't show it, William was happy and able to open some of his presents while Grandma and papa watched. He didn't feel the greatest though, and he was tired so we tried to get him to take a nap. He did take a short one.
Another way Russ's mom and I are alike is that we love giving presents. The first year we were married we had everyone over to our house for an early Christmas celebration since we were going to be in St. Louis on Christmas Day. At Thanksgiving we all make a list, and then we choose one thing off the list to give to each person. So I made my list and put a variety of things on it.
Russ was still at work when his mom and dad got there. I had asked his mom to come early to help me with the last minute food prep and cleaning. I'll never forget all the presents they carried in. They made at least 4 trips to and from the car. I couldn't figure out what in the world was going on and I thought maybe they had misunderstood and brought everyone's presents. Nope. They were all for us. I got almost everything on my list. I really could not believe it.
So this is what his parents living room looked like on Christmas Day. Pretty fun don't you think? Just imagine what will happen in a year or two when William is old enough to realize what presents are. Oh, and this is cutting back. His mom told us all that with the sudden addition of three grandchildren she was going to have to cut back this year.
William and his cousin got wagons. His dad stained and polyurethaned the wooden rails. William has already taken one wagon ride with his dad and he absolute loves it.
We all got up the next morning and opened our presents. It was fun to watch William. He did rip some of the paper and he got excited when he “heard” what we got for him, so that was fun to see. We got him a xylophone and then a John Deer phone and set of keys. The phone makes noises and so do the keys. They make beep noises like when you lock your car. William loves phones. He knows when our phone at home rings and it’s so fun to watch him perk up and look and listen. If I put it on speaker phone, he talks away with whoever is on the other line. He really is a people person.
Of course we couldn't forget about the dogs. I got them dog biscuites from a pet bakery in St. Charles. They were decorated with doggie icing and everything. As you can see they loved them.
The last present we gave were the shoeboxes. This is going to be one of our traditions. When Russ's mom and dad were kids the only thing they got for Christmas was a shoebox filled with nuts and fruit and candy. So every year that is one of the things our kids will get as well. Their shoeboxes will also have a special ornament that represents something about them. The idea being that when they leave home they'll have all the ornaments to take with them.
We spent Christmas Eve at our house with our little family. William started running a fever first thing Christmas morning and he didn't stop running one until the day after Christmas. Thankfully it didn't make him feel too bad. I kept him on Tylenol so that probably helped.
We opened one present each on Christmas Eve. I made some good things to eat and Russ and I watched Christmas movies, wrapped Christmas presents for the Ayscue Christmas the next day and just enjoyed the blessing of being married during the holidays. We've spent lots of holidays being single and it’s much more fun this way!!!!
And now for the last installment of our St. Louis Christmas.
Williams loved hanging out with Grandpa who is already introducing him to great reading material. Hopefully William will be a third generation World Magazine subscriber.
He also loves his Aunt Susan. She is not his "real" aunt but she is my very best friend and so that is what William is going to call her. Hopefully he will be able to hang out with her sometime and she can teach him the real way to eat spaghetti.
This is one of his favorite things to do--Hang upside down.
I love being able to give Christmas presents to everyone, but coming from a family of 6 children who now have 17 of our own children, well, its challenging to make it fit into the budget especially when you think of having to ship things. I used to shop all through the year and delight in finding great bargains that people could actually enjoy, but you can't really do that as much when you live 1000 miles away. Now the requirement is great bargains, that people will actually like, that are small and light enough to fit in a suitcase.
This year I decided to order most gifts from LTD Commodities. Some years it seems like they have nice things and this was one of those years.
Stan got a little lab beanie baby. When he came to visit last May he loved the one we had. He played with it and carried it with him everywhere. I told Becky he could take it home. WOOPS! When I told Russ he said, "NO you can't give Buster away". Buster was Russ's first lab that had cancer and suffered terrible seizures for about year before he died. Russ cared for him and had many nights of rushing him to the vet in the wee hours of the morning. He died and Russ had to bury him. I cry every time I think about it.