Sunday, January 31, 2010


So I joined the church today - although I was baptized at 17, this is the first time I've ever officially been a member of an official church. It was kind of a last-minute decision (literally - I made up my mind and called the pastor at noon on Friday, just as the bulletins were going to press - but got my name in the program) and wrote my confession of faith at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Here it is:

When I was five years old, an older friend led me in a prayer to ask Jesus into my heart. When I was fourteen, I recommitted my life to Christ and I was baptized at seventeen by a visiting minister at the mission in Peru where we lived. I understood then that as I continued to grow up, I needed to periodically reorient my spiritual life along with my growing understanding and knowledge. In college I found myself working through a number of questions and doubts as my simple understanding of God and life and faith was continually challenged. As a young adult I felt strong and secure in a deepening spiritual life.

About 12 years ago, a series of painful tragedies in the lives of my loved ones derailed that sense of security, and for a long time I have felt adrift and without anchor as my beliefs were pared down to a bare core. Today, I feel a renewed sense of purpose and freedom in my faith. I am prepared to affirm the doctrines of this fellowship, and to commit to walking in the light with you all as together we seek to know God more fully, and to live out his love and justice in this world.

It's kind of funny, since I've been attending this church now for almost 10 years, ever since we moved to the Valley, and have served on I think 3 different committees. I was worship leader one time and helped serve Communion once as well. Terry has been a member since high school, and Valerie was dedicated here when she was 3 months old. We're planning to dedicate the new baby here before we leave for Albania (oh, I haven't posted about that yet, have I? I'll have to do that soon). I didn't want to be the only person in my family who didn't formally "belong" I guess!

There was a nice potluck after the service and all the new members (8 of us) got a potted plant and didn't have to bring anything, which was nice :-).


So, this week I decided that in addition to the revised child care schedule, I'd try something else as well: early bedtime.

Once upon a time we were putting Valerie to bed at 7 p.m. every night, then pulling our hair out as she fought sleep until 8:30 or 9:00. We got tired of fighting this fight every single night so ended up just going with the flow - bath time at 7:30, then snack, then lights out at 8:30. But watching her get progressively more and more tired and cranky every day this week - even though she's been getting good solid naps on a regular schedule and still eating well (with 1 or 2 off days) - I decided desperate times call for desperate measures.

Tonight was the first night of this new regime. We also plied her with protein - yummy salmon patties with rice and beans and sweet potato - and 2 glasses of milk - for supper, which started a little after 5.

She was asleep by 7:30. IT'S A MIRACLE. We'll see how she does tonight in terms of night waking. I've braced myself for waking at 11:30, 1:30, 4:30, and 6:00.... just in case - but hopefully we'll be pleasantly flabbergasted yet again.

Regardless, the plan for the next 7 days is dinner starts at 5, and bedtime is at 7. No ifs ands or buts.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feliz Aniversario

Dear Mom and Dad,
Congratulations on 39 years of marriage! "For better, for poorer, in sickness and in health..."
Love you lots!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Started feeling the baby move over the past few days! Overall I'm feeling like this is easier the second time around; knowing what to expect, knowing better how to take care of myself. I'm eating much better than I did with Valerie, partly because I'm cooking and keeping around lots of healthy food for her, and partly because I eat at home most of the time instead of on campus (where it was a lot of cinnamon bagels and decaf soy lattes). So more fruits and vegetables this time.

Valerie has been going through another difficult phase with the sleep. For seven nights straight she fought bedtime (sometimes past 10 p.m.) PLUS would wake for about 2 hours sometime after midnight. Last night though she went down easily, was asleep by 9 (it tells you something that that felt like a major accomplishment) and only woke for about 45 minutes in the night. It seems like changing her diaper when she wakes up helps her get back to sleep more quickly. We're trying to be super-consistent with the night-time routine, and I want to see if we can creep bedtime to an earlier hour as well. The biggest challenge is getting enough food into her before bedtime. I've been tracking it, and it seems like it takes a good 2 hours for her to eat supper. I'm not kidding. That's how long it takes until she's full. Of course she doesn't sit in her high chair that whole time - she gets too bored - but whatever it takes to get food into her, I'll follow her around with her bowl and spoon as long as she keeps eating.

We're also making some adjustments with her childcare schedule so that the days are on a more predictable rhythm. Hopefully that will help. I hired a new babysitter 3 weeks ago who we love, but it's taking some time for V. to get used to having her come. I was having her come Tues/Thurs for 3 hours in the a.m. and 3 hours in the p.m., but I think it was too confusing for Valerie to have that split schedule. She never knows from one day to the next what's going to happen. So now we're going to have the sitter come 4 mornings a week - luckily her schedule is flexible enough that she can make that change. The afternoons are just tricky, anyway, with V's naps sometimes going long, and her waking up cranky sometimes too. I'm also hoping this change will allow us to start dinner earlier (like 5!) so we can move bedtime earlier too.

Hopefully this will all come together soon because Terry and I are POOPED and GRUMPY.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

20 months

I missed the 20-month mark! Last Friday was the 15th, and Valerie was 20 months old. Yeah, I don't think I'll be keeping up with these after she turns 2.

She's been talking a lot more these days, and babbling more as well - experimenting with different sounds and different things her mouth and voice can do. A favorite new word is "hou" (house); also "Emo-mo-mo-mo" (Elmo). She just starting saying "dado" (for cuidado, Spanish for "careful," which I always say when she's close to the edge of something) especially as we come down the stairs. She says "Hi!" now, and seems to really derive tremendous pleasure from this simple word.

She loves to climb things, and since she's getting taller there's a lot more she CAN climb! Her legs are still short (some 18-month pants are too long) but she can get up and and off of adult-sized chairs by herself. I'm continually surprised to see what she can now reach that she couldn't a month ago - shelves, drawers, etc.

She's experimenting with crayons and magnetic drawing boards, just making little marks usually as opposed to lines. But she can identify at least 6 shapes, the basic colors, 40 different animals, and nearly all the letters of the alphabet (still confused by G, J, Q, U, W, and X). She likes putting together Lego blocks - and pulling them apart again.

And she continues in her love of dogs, elephants, turtles, and cows.

I think we need to work on her social skills, though. Her latest thing is kicking people off the comfy chairs. She'll pull on your knee and say "Off! Off! Off!" insistently, until you get off, and then she climbs on and sits like a queen on her throne.

She's still eating really well, a great variety of foods, although the sleep is still a bit hit-or-miss. We have "problem" nights about 1/4 to 1/3 of the time (meaning night waking for an extended period of time).

I'll probably think of 20 more things after I publish this!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Guess what? If you haven't heard already, Valerie is going to be a big sister! We were very surprised - and excited! - to learn shortly before Christmas that we are on our way to becoming a family of four. This week we move into the second trimester. So far I'm feeling pretty well, just some mild nausea especially in the evenings, and of course the daily naps. Our due date is July 19.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

more pictures!

The day before we tried to leave Harrisonburg:
The day we left Savannah:

My lovely sister posted some of her own Christmas pictures, where you can see Valerie making funny faces and a lovely photo of Solana and Lotus in their matching Christmas dresses that my mom sewed for them (this was, I believe, during a Valerie meltdown).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Christmas Pics!

Here are some of my favorite snaps of Valerie from Christmas. She had so much fun!

We did get some nice portrait-ish shots of her and Lotus, too. Sadly poor Solana was feeling quite unwell by this time, running a fever and just miserable. But here are the babies anyway: