Monday, June 23, 2014

I've already answered you.

Liam has entered a pretty interesting, and exhausting, phase. I like to call it "The Parrot." When he asks a question, he doesn't just ask it once; he asks it over and over, either until someone repeats the question or until whatever he asks to happen actually happens.

This little parrot gig often plays out when we go for a run. The community park is located in the neighborhood where we frequently go running. Once Liam realizes that we're headed that way, his little brain becomes fixated on a trip to the park that will immediately follow our run.

"Mommy, can we go to the park? Can we go to the park now? Are we going to the park?"

It doesn't matter if I answer him. It doesn't matter that I waste what precious breath I have left from pushing 50 pounds of kid in a 20-pound stroller around a hilly neighborhood to respond, he will continue to ask this series of questions for the duration of the run, until we manage to get to the park. Until I have actually unbuckled him from the jogging stroller and placed him safely on the concrete, where he takes off toward the slides, forgetting I exist.

When this phase started, I would answer him every time he asked a question, hoping that eventually he would understand the answer and just wait peacefully for me to keep my word. Well, THAT got old really fast, so my husband or I would tell him to stop asking, or that if he continued to ask, the answer would be no. When that didn't sink in, I decided I would answer once. If he continued to ask, I would simply say, "I've already answered your question," and leave it at that. Because really, NO ONE can hold a conversation while pushing a stroller uphill. But he persists...

He is so consumed by his own desires, his own need, that he does not even notice my answer.

How many times is that me? How often do I request something from the Lord, only to be so distracted by my desperation, so overwhelmed with my own need, so whiny and persistent that I fail to pause and listen for His answer? How many times does He say, "I've already answered your question," but I missed it because I was speaking over Him?

Turns out, I've been quite the chatty parrot myself.

Sometimes, Liam will ask to go to the park, when I have planned an outing to the zoo (which is MUCH cooler than the park). In these cases, the answer to his question is no; not to be mean, but because there is something much better that I have in store for him. If he could just stop asking, stop fixating on what he wants long enough to listen, or if he could just muscle up enough patience to wait and see what's ahead...

Isn't that how it is with God? 

Do I still not fully trust Him? After all of the shadowy valleys He's led me out of, after all of the ways He's directed my steps into greener pastures, do I still doubt whether He'll do it again? Do I still question His love, His faithfulness, His sovereignty? 

Just like my toddler, it's easy for me to grow attached to the picture I have in my mind of how I want my life to turn out, but if I'd just wait, if I'd just open my hand a little, I'd see that what God has in mind is much, much better. Actually, it's pretty perfect. 

Thankfully, God is a better parent than I am. While I get annoyed, He remains patient. When I threaten to take back my yes, His is there for the taking. His way is infinitely best, and He answers me always, if I'll just take the time to listen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Riley is one!

Happy birthday to our little gingersnap! Last week, we celebrated Riley's first birthday with a woodland-themed small family party. Although, Riley was teething and under the weather, and he's not one for crowds, so he didn't feel much like celebrating at first. But he perked up when it was time to open presents!

I snagged some photos of the food, but I'm sort of kicking myself for leaving my camera behind once our family arrived. I'd so hoped to get some good family pics, and I didn't even manage to get one of us four, or one of Riley and his big brother! (I'll admit, I enjoyed the party a lot more, though, than I would have behind the camera lens.)

I did manage to capture Riley with each of his parents (you can tell he wasn't in a celebratory mood):

He wouldn't even touch his smash cake...

It's hard to believe I have a one-year-old! Riley is developing quite the little personality. He's a talker, just like his big brother, and he has mastered the skill of scooting around on his bottom. Who needs crawling? He's got a classic redhead temper.

This guy is growing like a weed! He weighed in at just over 20 pounds at his checkup, which puts him near the 40th percentile, and he's still 50th for height. He decided to forgo bottles the week before he turned one, so I handed him a sippy cup of cold milk, and that was that. I'm thankful there was no lengthy weaning process, which is pretty consistent with his anything-goes mentality toward food. (I refused to let him eat a crayon this morning, though.) His hair doesn't stick up anymore, which makes him look even more like a big boy!
He's dropped his morning nap, which is bittersweet (for me, anyway), and instead we've been spending our summer mornings enjoying swinging at the park, splashing in the kiddie pool (I believe he was a fish in a past life), enjoying the animals or the splash pad at the zoo, or picking out books at the library. He flips the pages and jabbers away at each one like he's reading aloud.

If he had his way, he would be held all day (can we say separation anxiety?), which doesn't help our quest to help him meet those gross motor milestones, but it's also meant perfect timing to introduce playpen time. You know, so I can do things like shower or brush my teeth.

And then there's this little guy, who never stops moving and runs from the camera. But I managed to snap a couple of pictures of him running around at the park. He's two going on eight. Seriously, when did he become such a handsome little man?!

Life with these two continues to be an adventure, and they make life so much fun!

Checking in...

It's been a little quiet around the blog lately! I haven't gone anywhere, but boy, have things been busy at home! A couple of updates...

I've been taking a little break from blogging and from designing, mainly to focus on some health issues I've been dealing with. It's thankfully nothing too serious, but I have been pretty sick since I was pregnant with Riley, and I finally took the time worked up the nerve to go see a doctor. As it turns out, in addition to a vitamin D deficiency and a sluggish thyroid, I have a whole host of food allergies. My diet has caused migraines, joint pain, nausea, stomach upset, bloating, and exhaustion, to name a few symptoms. I was afraid I had a more serious autoimmune disorder (which it's too soon after pregnancy to draw a conclusion from my test results); I had no idea food allergies could cause similar symptoms!

My blood test revealed I am majorly allergic to corn, wheat/gluten, cow's milk and cheese (excluding yogurt), peanuts, and eggs, and have minor allergies of almonds, cashews, walnuts, oats, rye, bran, barley, and salmon. I know, right. What's left? Well, bacon. So, at least there's that.

Completely eliminating these foods from my diet for at least the next six months is proving to be a daunting task. I thought avoiding gluten was difficult, but CORN is in EVERYTHING! And if something doesn't contain corn, it contains eggs. I have to avoid any foods containing corn syrup or corn oil (or unspecified vegetable oil), and ketchup, barbecue sauce, Ranch dressing—so many of my favorites are out! I can't even marinate burgers or steaks in Dale's. Many of the gluten-free foods contain corn, eggs or some substitute that causes the same reactions the allergens do, so many of the manufactured allergen-free foods are out. Yes, I threw myself a mini pity party last week!

You know what this whole discovery has revealed? How strong of an emotional attachment I have to food. I LOVE to eat! I love trying new restaurants, new recipes, meeting friends for a quick dessert or dinner. It's going to require a complete lifestyle change to avoid all of these allergens. So, of course, I'll be blogging about it. And come the holiday season, I'll probably be whining about it, so consider yourself warned.

Another thing I'm discovering: it's incredible how connected the foods we eat are to our overall health. It just reinforces that our bodies really were designed to function on certain foods. The old adage is true: garbage in, garbage out. In my case, anything other than fruits, vegetables, and meats in, and my body goes berserk.

I ordered a few cookbooks last week, and I can't wait for them to come in. I'm hopeful that I'll find some new favorite recipes that our family can enjoy. If you suffer from food allergies, you might find these helpful (click on each to view on

Do you have any food allergies? If so, I'd love to hear your stories, tips on eating out, recipes, etc.!

As you have probably guessed, a lot of my energy the past several weeks has been directed towards researching, grocery shopping, and recipe testing. I'm eager to get back to work and business as usual!