Monday, September 27, 2010

A Hurdle Jumped

Last week, Doodle and I attended a formal dinner, leaving Tigger with an unrelated babysitter for the first time. The anxiety I experienced during the day before the event was little less than consuming.

I wondered how to leave the house without scarring my little boy for life.

I worried that he would refuse to go to bed, not having had anyone aside from his parents ever put him to bed for the night.

I fretted that the dog's puppy-like behavior would demand more of the sitter's attention than my son's easy-going playfulness.

In fact, I half-hoped my husband would call from work and say he was super busy, and that we'd have to cancel.

In the end, of course, the evening went very smoothly. We said goodbye to Tigger, who shook his head "no" when asked if he'd like some goodbye kisses. After all, he was busy playing with a plasitc container he had pulled out of our recycling bin!

I texted our babysitter twice in the three hours we were gone, asking if everything was okay.
"Ya, everything's great," was the first response.
"Ya," came the second.

When we arrived home, Tigger was in bed, and the babysitter was sitting on the living room couch with the cat curled up next to her and the dog lying at her feet.

It was a hurdle for me. Not for my son.
Not even for my husband. Except that now he's excited that I'll agree to more frequent date nights in the near future--before the next little one is born!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Little Girl

I actually wrote this back in May, right after we found out we were expecting #2.
Now we know she's a girl. :)
I'm so excited to meet her.

A Mother’s Day Reflection

“Children are a gift from God,”
The old man quoted Psalms.
I’d heard it growing up, of course,
Now hear it as a Mom.

My day is short—so much to do!
I wonder at his tone.
He speaks like one who’s been there, and,
He’s sad those days are gone.

I look upon my little son
Who stares at the old man.
This little one, his perfect form,
A gift from heaven’s Hand.

A strong compulsion beckons me
To squeeze him. So I do,
Then look at the old man and nod,
“Sir, I believe so, too.”

Suddenly all my concerns
Of dirty floors and dust
Disappear, as in their place
I feel my Lord’s sweet trust.

He’s given me a precious gift
To cherish, love and lead
He’s deigned that I—this broken soul—
Provide his every need.

Humbled by this noble task
I turn to go inside.
My fingers stroke my middle where
Another gift now hides.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Furry Friends

Tigger is becoming attached to stuffed animals.

Two stuffed animals in particular.

One is a teddy bear from...are you ready to follow this one?...
the girlfriend of a former member of Doodle's old grad school lab in North Carolina, whom we met when we were in Houston for Doodle's dissertation defense.
Her name is Sue, and she's a pediatric nurse.
Tigger was only two and a half months old at the time. But the teddy bear is a classic looking teddy, with a bib that proudly proclaims, "My First Green Teddy."
So we're all hip about the environment, too, I suppose. (How is a teddy bear "green," I wonder?)

His other favorite is a small creature that looks sort of like a baby lion with a cloth diaper on, except he has spotting like a giraffe. We named him Girrion (jer-I'-yen) from the very beginning. This was also an early gift, from my best friend's mother-in-law; she sent it along with an outfit when Tigger was first born.

For about the last two weeks, it's the same every morning. We hear him wake up and start calling out. One of us enters the room. Tigger is in his crib, either sitting or standing, but always with Teddy in one arm and Girrion in the other. And we have to lift all three of them out of the crib, or else he becomes very upset.

He allows us to seat them, side by side, next to the toaster in the kitchen while he sits in his highchair to eat breakfast. After that, he forgets about them for most of the day. But come nap-time, and then later at bedtime, it is much easier to set him in his crib if you've tucked Girrion under his arm and set Teddy close by.

I mused to Doodle the other night, "I wonder what he thinks about them. I wonder if he just likes how soft they are, or if he thinks they have personhood."

Either way, it's really precious to see him clutching them first thing in the morning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Declarations

For Mrs. Bear.

And because I also think these are fun to do!


1. I chose my blogger name because I love the name of Moses' wife (of the Old Testament) the way it's spelled and pronounced on the movie "The Ten Commandments" (as opposed to the spelling and pronunciation on the movie "The Prince of Egypt"). My blogger name has nothing to do with a certain line of cosmetics.

2. My tendency to multi-task can sometimes get carried away. Yesterday, my dear Doodle came home earlier than I expected, and caught me halfway finished mowing the front lawn. I suppose I count on knowing he'll come home at a certain (later) time, so that I can "wrap things up." Because inside our home, there were a number of tell-tale signs of multi-tasking:

~a basket of clean but unfolded laundry sitting next to our bed.

~an unmade bed, because the cat decided early in the day to make it his napping spot, and I didn't have the heart to move him. Yet.

~little piles of dirt and pet hair in the living and dining room, not yet collected by the dustpan.

~dishes soaking in the sink.

~all the shower contents (shampoo, razors, etc) sitting atop the closed toilet lid, not yet returned to their places in the newly-scrubbed shower.

~a can of cat food sitting on the kitchen counter.

3. My favorite color is still purple, and my favorite flower (and scent) is still lilacs. These have been such for a long time.

4. I dislike slowing the car down on a main thoroughfare while trying to locate the exact building that I'm looking for. Usually, I end up driving past my destination a few times until I'm sure I know where to turn in. If I don't see it the first or second time, it is likely that I will give up or find an alternative destination. This happens often when I'm looking for a post office.

5. Autumn is my favorite season.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Time for a Recipe

This is not my own.

Oh, no.

I am nowhere NEAR that level of domestic woman.

But it is a favorite in our house, so I thought I'd share. We usually have it with scrambled eggs mixed with some kind of meat, smoothies, and coffee (or tea, if you're my husband). Basically, it's our special-occasion substitute for toast!

And the season is upon us!

Apple Oven Pancake
From Williams-Sonoma “Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch”

My own 2 cents added in italics, from many early-morning learning experiences!!

4 T unsalted butter, separated into 2 T and 2 T
4 c diced peeled tart apples such as Granny Smith (about 3 large apples)
2 T firmly packed light brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t ground cinnamon (I just sprinkle til it looks like a nice color!)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c whole milk (I only ever have 2% on hand; it works fine)
1 c all-purpose flour
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t salt (I think you can officially call this a “pinch,” which is how I add it—who wants to measure out 1/8 teaspoon of salt in the morning??)
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 425∞F.

In a large frying pan over med-high heat, melt 2 T of the butter. Add the apples and cook, turning as needed, just until tender, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

(While the apples are cooking) Place a large baking dish (9x13 or 12inch diameter) in the oven to heat for 5 minutes (and set a timer!!). Remove the dish from the oven, add the remaining 2 T of butter, and (keeping in mind that it’s hot and you STILL need a pot holder) tilt the dish to coat the bottom and sides with the butter.

Spoon the apples over the bottom of the dish in an even layer.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, and salt until blended. (Usually I do this first, after I dice but before I cook the apples.) Carefully pour the batter over the hot fruit.

(Keep in mind that the baking dish is STILL hot, and you STILL need a pot holder to put it into the oven!)
Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. Serve at once (with real maple syrup!).

Sunday, September 05, 2010

"And I thought I loved you then..."

If you've never heard Brad Paisley's song, "Then," please open it up and listen.

It's one of my current favorites.

He acknowledges the excitement and the intensity of love felt at the start of a couple's relationship, but then also describes how it deepens and grows. The song tells of how a married man becomes more in love with his wife over time.

It's a favorite of mine because it echoes how I feel about my husband.
(You're about to learn a little more about my Doodle.)

When I first met him, I couldn't believe that anyone could be so "right" for me. Not only did he have all the attributes I was looking for in a man, he also seemed to have a sense of the person I was striving to be. Nothing I said surprised him; none of my imperfections upset him. He took me at face value, but also gave me the benefit of the doubt where my foibles were concerned.

Little did I know then that this is how he meets everyone--he accepts them where they are, recognizes the best in them immediately, and chooses to relate to that "best" person. My husband can meet and talk to almost anybody. His sincerity is completely disarming, and it puts others at ease. Children and animals are drawn to him like a magnet; his intuitive way of meeting others wherever they are extends even to the little ones.

At the same time, he's not naive. He recognizes when people aren't living up to their potential, and he's an excellent judge of character.

This sincerity of heart allows my Doodle to really enjoy life, and to have a childlike Faith. There is no guile in him; no energy is wasted on pretending to be more or less than he is. He is always ready to have fun, and he takes delight in the beauty of natural occurrences.

As a scientist, his humility and sense of wonder recognizes God, our Creator, in the workings of microscopic proteins in cells. As a father, he truly enjoys making up games that our Tigger will laugh at, and loves teaching him little bits and pieces about the world around us.

In the evenings when our son is asleep, Doodle asks me about what Tigger did that day. We marvel together at his newest little accomplishments, and share amazement at the way God created His little beings to grow.

There is no way I could have seen the extent of Doodle's love of life, and awe of creation, from the beginning of our relationship.

Anyone who has met my husband knows that he loves animals, and that he especially loves birds. He knows more about birds than anyone I've ever met. He is the only person I know who recognizes--and can name--a bird he's never seen before. We have several bird feeders in our backyard, and a few on our front porch. It takes several hours every week to keep them fresh and full, but he doesn't mind. His quiet time in the morning is spent with a mug of hot tea and his binoculars, watching the birds at the feeders. If I come stand by him, he'll make a few quiet remarks about what he's observed so far that day. Knowing that he can find such peace from this favorite activity gives me so much joy.

Did I mention that he is artistic?
There is almost nothing I feel confident arranging in--or on the walls of--our home, without his input. Not that he would ever criticize my choices, but I just respect his detail-oriented opinion much more than my random tendencies. He has a perceptive eye for everything from decor and landscape to fashion and photography.

Speaking of detail-oriented, Doodle is the best gift-giver I've ever met. He picked out my engagement ring; it was perfect. I didn't see my wedding band until he put it on my finger during our exchange of rings; again, beautiful. Everything he's ever given me has been perfectly suited to my style, my personality, and my taste.
But this talent of his extends beyond gifts to me; I now consult him when I'm giving gifts to my friends--these are people I've known for years! Maybe it ties into his knack for really connecting with people that he meets. Whatever it is, it is another area where he amazes me.

Sincere, humble, joyful, peaceful, artistic, thoughtful,... and loving. Man, can my Doodle love! He knows how to make me feel special, how to make me smile, how to tease me just enough to be playful but not too much to be hurtful. He somehow knows just how to make me happy.

The other day, before I left for work, I told him that I'd like one of our crosses hung centrally above the kitchen windows.
When I came home from work that day, I found:
~the living room walls tastefully decorated by our framed pictures
~the stereo system set up, music pouring from the speakers
~the fireplace mantle clear of excess items
~the fish tank set up in the dining room
~the dining room furniture re-arranged
~another picture frame hung on Tigger's bedroom wall

...and the specified cross was hung centrally above our kitchen windows!!

Finally, he is a man of principle. He is not outspoken, nor does he engage in debate unless absolutely necessary. However, he lives by the principles he knows to be true--without wavering.

As each year passes, I realize more and more that my Doodle is the stronghold God has given me to cling to while I struggle with my imperfections on this journey of life.

"What I don't see is how I'm ever gonna love you more; ...but I've said that before."

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I didn't learn until I was in college that the reason humans laugh is because we're rational.

Apparently, it takes some logical brains to decipher whether something is humorous.

I remember reading one author in particular (don't ask me to remember which one) who explained that humor is recognition of the absurd. This makes sense to me; people with a highly developed sense of humor generally have the knack for quick analysis of a situation in all its complicated, potential absurdities.

My little Tigger laughs everyday. I'd like to say I do, as well, but he definitely does; and if I definitely do, it's because his is contagious. He expresses his rational soul on a regular basis. It's like his little innocent being understands what it means to be human in the fullest sense.

St. Iranaeus said, "Man fully alive is the glory of God." In other words, the more we actualize or participate in the life God created us to live, the more He is glorified. God created us after His image, higher than the animals, with a rational soul. So the more we are true to ourselves (aka: act like the rational beings we are), the more we are glorifying God.
This leads me to conclude that joyful laughter glorifies God.

A corollary to this conclusion might be that children glorify God, but that's more of a first principle, don't you think?

I think it's marvelous that my Tigger laughs everyday. Perhaps his sense of humor is not the most sophisticated, but the more he learns, the more he develops into the man God created him to be. For now, his laughter has enough meaning to convince me of the active presence of his rational soul.

And it reminds me to actualize mine, to the glory of God.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fall Shedding

Doodle assures me that I'm not crazy.

That yes, it is possible to have thoroughly swept the floor three times today, yet still acquire a huge pile of hair the fourth time.

We have a dog and a cat.
Both black.

So actually, I shouldn't say I know for sure who to blame more. But the hairs that I gather up into the dustpan are long, and a bit bristly. And whenever the dog shakes, I see little tufts of these long hairs on the wood floor, in a circle around him. And whenever the dog lies down, I can tell where he's been by the scattered black hairs left behind.
In all fairness, the cat is also black. And he goes everywhere in the house. And I find black hair everywhere--even where the dog hasn't been.

However, I told Doodle this evening, "The next dog we get should be a Labradoodle, or even just a Poodle."

His suggestion: "Those Mexican hairless dogs are becoming wildly popular."

"Um, no, thank you," I replied. "I don't want an ugly dog; just one that doesn't shed." (Apologies to anyone who owns a Mexican hairless dog or thinks they are good-looking animals. Personally, I think they look naked.)

Then I turned to the dog. "I love you, Caomhan, but you just shed too much. Do you want to learn a new trick? Maybe how to collect all your fur-droppings into a neat pile for me to sweep up?"

Doodle laughed. Then he taught me something I didn't know before. Dogs shed extra in the spring and the fall. Isn't that amazing? Even domesticated dogs. It's a seasonal change of coats. So maybe this craziness is only temporary.

Like the loving husband he is, Doodle proceeded to take the dog out back tonight and brush him with the Furminator.

I stayed inside, excited about another revelation: Fall is here!!