Tuesday, April 26, 2011

13 Months

LE's face above pretty much sums up my feelings on the weather this last month. It has been extra dreary. It's snowed, hailed, rained, and whatever other kind of cold precipitation that you can think of. It's as if God is extending winter by a month to make up for the month of sunshine we got in Fiji. It's months like these that I'm thankful we have LE to entertain us, and since she's at the perfect age to keep cooped up indoors. She's started to get more cuddly, loves to giggle and be gently tickled, loves bath time, squeals with delight every time she sees our cat, pulls on her highchair when she's hungry, and is completely weaned from breastmilk and formula. Most notably...

She's still a little wobbly at times, but LE's preferred method of transportation is walking! She just mastered getting up on her own without support, which has opened up a new world. This first set of photos was taken when she could only go about 3 steps before falling. She would cautiously take a step, catch her balance, and then go again.

You'll notice a clip is almost a permanent accessory for her. At least, that's the case until she realizes it's there and slowly pulls it out and puts it in her mouth. Her hair has gotten long in the last two months, and without support, it goes directly in her eyes.

On a "warm" Thursday (in the 50s, I think), John was off of work and our family of 3 took a trip to the zoo. LE's first trip there was with the mom's group and me when she was about 4 months old. This time she actually noticed the animals were there, though, admittedly, I think she was more interested in watching the kids walk around. She wore her grump-face almost the whole time.

Last year, she went on the carrousel and instinctually held onto the bar. This year, she was not enthused with the carrousel. Perhaps me hitting her on the head on her way up to the seat didn't help, but she wanted down the whole time. The only time she smiled is when we would circle around and see her dad standing on the side.

Nanny sent a tent that she found in Spain for us to play in just like my mom and I did when I was LE's age. It was a really sweet gesture that actually made me tear up. After Mom died in April 1998, I carried the photo of us peeking out of that tent until mid-way through college. I looked at that photo every time I missed my mom.

LE instantly loved the tent. It was the best form of peek-a-boo with her inside and me outside. She opens the flap, laughs from her belly, puts it back down, and does it all over again a second later.

One day a huge box was at our front door. It's the type of box that will be perfect to turn into a mini playhouse next winter (but I'd prefer to not think about next winter right now). Inside the box was a gray plush elephant chair named Felix from LE's Godmother, Ashley! LE doesn't quite get the concept of sitting in a chair for any reason other than getting fed, so for now, Felix is more of just a giant stuffed animal, and she loves it! Seriously, I think she thinks Felix is a relative of Sweetheart (our cat). Throughout the day she'll go put her face up to his face and giggle. Or she'll touch his trunk and giggle. Other times she goes and lays across him briefly as if she's giving him a hug. 

Many crummy weather days later gets us to Easter, which was a remarkably pleasant, sunny day. We went to church, stopped by our friends' home to congratulate them on the Easter baptism of their son, and then headed home to light up the grill. We cooked a fabulous lunch with coffee-crusted grilled porkchops and bourbon cream sauce, grilled asparagus, and a simple salad with homemade sun-dried tomato basil vinaigrette dressing. It was so nice to get to have grilled food again!

After recovering from our food coma, we all went outside. LE felt the cold, prickly grass under her bare feet for the first time. She took a few steps and then stopped, looked up at me, and wanted to get picked up. I guess we'll work up to that.

She explored the grass around her, pulling up a blade, breaking it, and then pulling up another.

Meanwhile, John was working on finishing building our square foot vegetable garden. I did all of the studying up on the garden and planning, and John did all of the construction. We plan to have lettuce, spinach, two kinds of peppers, tomatoes, snap peas, cilantro, parsley, shallots, green onions, tomatillos, carrots, radishes, mint, dill, thyme, chives, basil, and rosemary. Whew!

LE wanted to taste test for us. John reminded me it was probably cow manure compost that she was testing. Oops.

Thanks to Granny for the Easter outfit and to Mimi for the tent dress!

Touring John's Office

Anyone who has come to visit us has taken a tour of John's office campus. It's a spectacular place full of creativity, artwork, and whimsy. Just before we headed off to Fiji, LE got baptized (more on Fiji and the baptism to come, I promise). Her Godmother, Ashley, and Ashley's husband, Dustin, came up from Austin for the baptism. Oh how I loved having friends come visit!

Here's a *glimpse* of where John works {when he's not traveling}. There's so much more there that wasn't captured; who has time or energy for a 3 hour tour?

In case it's not obvious, Ashley is imitating the penguin.

LE was sick but still well-behaved. 

Book Review

While we were in Fiji, I spent many hours in our pool reading This is Your Brain in Love by Dr. Earl Henslin. The book is intended to help couples learn about themselves so that they can experience the perfect marriage. Dr. Henslin is a psychiatrist who worked alongside a neurologist for many years, through which he discovered how SPECT brain scans pinpoint the areas that can indicate specifically how individuals can change their diets and consciously adjust their ways of thinking to be better spouses.

I found the majority of the book to be like an infomercial for Dr. Henslin. There were parts here and there that gave insight into how people I know may be partly like one of the five types that he described, but quite honestly, the relationship examples he gave were too extreme or specific to relate to.

Despite the underlying sales pitch, what kept me reading is that I found it interesting how brain damage at even a very early age can affect the way you think and act as an adult. Admittedly, it made me want to get a SPECT scan to see what areas are over- or under-active, thus preventing me from being a better spouse, mother, daughter, friend... and how I can work to counteract that damage.

The last quarter of the book was helpful. It gave relevant and relatable ways to show love to your spouse. They were more or less basic, but a good reminder.

Overall, though the book was interesting, I don't think that it should be marketed as a marriage book since in order to get the "more passionate and emotionally healthy marriage" that it talks about, you'd likely need to go see Dr. Henslin in person.

I received a copy of this book for free from BookSneeze with the agreement that I would write an honest review when I finished it. The opinions expressed are mine and not influenced by the agreement.