Dean Family Blog

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And She's Off!
Grace is officially crawling now...forwards! Each day it looks more like a crawl and less like a hopping frog and it's amazing how fast she can go when she's motivated (read: when one of her brother's favorite toys is just out of reach). I know a lot of people dread this stage because it means nothing is safe, but I'm rejoicing. I've found that when my kids can crawl they leave the crying-whiny-generally-annoying stage and suddenly become little people that are so much fun. She's laughing more and I was told twice yesterday how well she did in the nursery...this is a major blessing.

Our weather was beautiful this weekend and is supposed to be even better this week. I even got to run yesterday! I now have shin splints, but it was worth it. Josiah has been having a blast playing outside and apparently doesn't remember what short sleeve shirts are because he was getting upset this morning that he couldn't pull his sleeves down and wanted to know where the rest of his shirt was. I was amazed to see that all these push ups have been doing something when I finally got into a T shirt...who knew? I know that it will get cold again before this weather stays for good...heck, we're in Iowa so it'll probably snow again, but we're all enjoying it while it's here!


Just When You Figure One Stage Out...
...they've changed already. Both kids seem to be changing rapidly again and Philip and I are just trying to keep up. Grace has been sort of crawling for a couple weeks...backwards. However, Nanny got to see the first real forward motion this weekend while they were visiting. It was more of a frog hop, but it counts! Philip saw her actually crawl tonight. She also pulled up to almost standing twice today, is doing much better about being held by other people (much to her grandparents delight), and has started showing that she knows when she's doing something she shouldn't she also got her first slaps on the hand this weekend.

Not to be out done, Josiah is once again starting to outgrow his clothes, has learned to spit (which is actually a good thing because now we can use regular toothpaste with him), is having more potty successes, has begun eating more like a toddler (which is not always a good thing), and has definite preferences. After putting him to bed last week I heard a blood-curdling scream and went back in to see what could have possibly happened to him in the 5 seconds I'd been out of the room. He was in the middle of a full fit and when I finally calmed him down enough to talk he told me to 'turn that funky music off.' The same music he's listened to at nap time for a year and a half. He now drifts to sleep to the sounds of Toby Mac. Whatever works. His imagination has also kicked in full force. When I went to get him out of bed this afternoon he didn't get up and told me nap time wasn't over. When I assured him it was he told me the rosebush outside his window had little mouths and they had told him it was still nap time. I'm not sure how to argue with that.


It's a Date
Two dates in one day...what more could you ask for? My feelings have been hurt that Josiah refuses to spend any time with me when Philip is around. I know this is normal, but it still hurts. So yesterday Philip put his seal of approval on a Mama date and Josiah reluctantly agreed to go. We went by the pet store and had fun looking at all the weird animals and trying to guess which one had been Daddy's favorite as a kid. Josiah was sure he loved the turtles and Nemo fish and did NOT like the loud birds...just like him. Then we headed over to Walmart to do some shopping and he got to ride in the huge kid cart (those things don't turn!) and have a granola bar for his special snack. He's never had one before and it seemed to be a hit.

Philip and I had a date last night too. It's been wonderful to have these standing dates each month to look forward to. After dinner we decided to see if some of the shops in Marion were opened that we've never had time to peek in. One of the art galleries was open and as we walked in Philip mentioned that it was a pretty sure bet that we wouldn't know anyone in there. This was the artsy, wine-drinking, weird-jazz-music-listening, no-one-has-baby-spit-up-on-their-shirt crowd. Some of the art was really cool. All of it was very expensive and most of it just made us laugh because we couldn't figure out why someone would want that. One artist liked to put glass beads all over things like wrenches and thread spools. Another made journals with pieces of paper from random books and newspapers...which meant there was no where for YOU to write anything. There were weird clay busts that were slightly similar to deer heads and we laughed at what Philip's parents would say if they saw something like that in our house. And the whole upstairs was filled with one artists drawings/paintings. Some were good, but many reminded me of the sketches Mimi always made for her paintings while she was planning them and I figured we should let her know she could sell those for hundreds of dollars. We ended the evening at Barnes & Nobles. I camped out in the homeschooling section to get a feel for what we had in store for us. After just looking over a few books I'm overwhelmed and grateful all we have to do this week is play with Thomas and read books.


Here Comes The Sun
Praise God, it's been warm here the past 2 days! It almost reached 70 yesterday and we're at a sunny 58 right now. I can't express how wonderful this weather feels. After an early doctor's visit yesterday I packed the kids into the double stroller and we walked around Lisbon for almost 2 hours. Being early, it hadn't actually warmed up much...ok, it was in the low 40s, but I got excited and just couldn't stand being inside anymore. I practically pulled Josiah out of bed after nap time so we could head back to town to play at the park. The poor kid is so used to cold weather that he refused to go outside without a coat and asked me to zip it up the entire time. Grace and I rejoiced at not having to wear ours! Today is just as pretty and we soaked up the sun during our picnic lunch on the front porch.

A side effect of the warmer weather is the return of the lady bugs. I refuse to complain about them because they are part of summer, but I prefer if they don't take over my house. So every morning I vacuum them out the of sunny windows in the hopes of disrupting actions. I'm only having limited success at this, so I think we've started the lady bug experiment today. Josiah wanted a few of them in his bug box and I decided we should catch every one we see for the next few days and see how many we can get. We've already got a pretty good swarm going on in that box. This is much more fun than trying to get rid of all of them.


Into the Future
As the mother of young children I consistently get the advice, from older women, to cherish these days because they go so quickly. They often walk away with teary eyes as they remember their babies, who are now married with babies of their own. I have to admit, some days I feel like screaming when I get this advice because I know these women are suffering from at least partial memory loss. No one genuinely enjoys being screamed at, pooped on (for the 5th time today), sleep deprived or riding the hormonal roller coaster of motherhood. But I also know they are passing on truth and a reminder to enjoy the rest of the ride...the one filled with sloppy kisses, morning smiles, fuzzy blanket hugs, imaginary friends and silly games. As I look back at pictures of Josiah and Grace I'm amazed at how much they've already changed and can't believe they will some day be in school, be driving, be married. The little boy who likes to snuggle may one day make me ask for a hug and the little girl who wants to live on my hip will want her own space.

I decided some time ago that I want to be able to look back at this time with no regrets. Not that I won't wish I couldn't hold my babies one more time, but that I'll know I enjoyed the time I had and did what God had for me to do so I can look forward to the next step with as much anticipation as I do this one. I don't completely know how to do that, but it's my prayer each day. And as I mature into this role of mother I am filled with more and more gratitude of what my mother did for me. Of all the times she read to us, took us on day trips, fixed meals when she was exhausted and sacrificed her own comfort for ours. I know what it feels like to give that without ever knowing if you'll be thanked for it. So, here's a belated thank you!


Calling All Diaper Experts
Ok, I concede defeat and I need help...Grace is in a very messy stage. She's just starting to figure out that the cheerios and chunks of food on her high chair tray are food: mess #1. She spits up so much that she regularly wears 3-4 outfits a day and is not allowed on the carpeting unless it's covered by an old comforter: mess #2. She's cutting tooth #6 and drools buckets every day: mess #3. She has an insane ability to wiggle her feet away from me when I'm changing her diaper and stomps them in the diaper I just removed (ewwww!): mess #4. But the one that's really getting to me is that she completely soaks her diaper every night and I have to change that blasted crib sheet that is so tight it's practically shrink-wrapped onto the mattress: mess #5. We've tried Walmart, Sams, White Cloud, Pampers, Huggies and even resorted to pull ups last night in the hopes of keeping her dry. We thought maybe putting a cloth diaper insert into the disposable diaper would help. No. So, I'm sending out an SOS to all you diaper experts out there...what works?

Where Did All The Caterpillars Go?
Hallelujah, it's warm enough to get outside today! For the first time in almost 4 months it was warm enough to walk around the yard and play outside. It felt so good to get out of the house. Part of me feels like it's coming back to life. Josiah and I kicked a ball around and did our usual walk around the yard to check out all of his favorite spots. He was not happy that his raspberries and strawberries all looked dead and actually started crying when he couldn't find any caterpillars or grasshoppers for his bug box. I rejoiced at the sight of tiny iris shoots coming up (YES!)and we looked sadly at all the rocks that have been pushed onto our lawn from the snow plow. Daddy will not be happy; maybe the pocket full of corn cobs Josiah picked up for him will make him feel better. Even Grace seemed to like being outside and feeling the breeze on her face. As I put the kids down for nap today Josiah asked to pray that God would bring him caterpillars and grasshoppers soon...if that means that it'll be warm enough to wear flip flops, I'll second that prayer!

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