We went to Minnesota this past weekend to celebrate the wedding of Tom's best friend, Ian, to his beautiful bride, Kelly. We stayed with the Janzen family: Tom's sister: Monica, her husband: Daron, and the kiddies: Will(5), Ivy(3) and Ruby 1.5). While nobody took photos at the wedding, we took lots of pictures of the fun at the Janzen household.
We kept the kids busy by periodically allowing them to watch videos. Clark fit right in and loved to play with their fun toys!
As a gift for Ivy, I made a fairy costume. Here Ivy models this glorious outfit!
Will goes to Kindergarden every day and Ivy goes to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here is Monica being a wonderful mother and reading to Ivy on her day off of preschool.
On Saturday MORNING we went to the Minnesota Zoo! Ruby loved the curly slide!!!
Ivy models with the snow leopards (you can't really see them in the pic, but Ivy looks cute). It was a great day for animals at the zoo, almost all of them were out and doing animal things!!
Here is Tom and the baby and me!
Mo-mo and Clark. Notice Clark is showing his Charger's pride! Go BOLTS!
The zoo has an awesome park. Ruby drove the park's boat....
while Will went fishing!
The little baby demonstrated his birth.
All of the kids really loved the prarie dogs!
On Saturday AFTERNOON, we picked up Tom and Monica's Uncle Leo and went to visit Aunt Marge. It was a chilly afternoon, but we sat outside in the shade. Here we all are together (minus Tom who took the photo)
There are Leo and Marge (they are siblings with Tom's mom, Janet)
Clark really liked Uncle Leo, and tried to punch him. It looks like Marge was egging him on! Marge and Leo really enjoyed visiting with us and Clark. They both got to hold him and get some baby joy.
On our last day there, Sunday, we played outside Ruby did her Ruby thing.
We are back from our trip to Minnesota and I am another year older. I will post more on that this week and also highlight a few other things we did this month. I've been out of it, sorry.
Tonight, I made gumbo for dinner. You can find my delicious recipe for this dish here. As you can see from these photos, I obviously cheated by purchasing Roux in a jar. It is pretty good, but darker than I usually make it. I've used about half of the jar already. I recommend using as little as possible if you are going to use jarred Roux. Its much darker than the caramel color I prefer. Cajun roux is usually darker and creole roux is usually lighter in color (resulting from more or less cooking).
After my last post about making gumbo, Fr. RB sent me some File in a bottle, you can see it in the photo. It actually came in the mail the day Clark, our baby Gumbo, was born. It was funny because Andrea walked into the room and said, "Hey, you got a package! Want to open it for some motivation." I think I was nearing the pushing stage, or in it, and NO, I did not want to open some mail while I was hard at work in LABOR! I opened it a few days later.
This gumbo is a seafood gumbo, made with crawfish, crawfish stock and some vegan shrimp that my best friend, Liz, bought for me. I still can't eat shrimp for Clark's sake, but did go to All you can eat shrimp @ Red Lobster for my birthday. I had to throw my milk away and there was a mild amount of spitup, but we all survived it.
In attempts to not constantly write blogs bragging about my brilliant son, I'm trying some other posts. Today's contains some interesting excerpts from a book I just finished reading: The Year of Living Biblically: One man's quest to follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. by A. J. Jacobs. You can check out his book at your local library, or view his website here.
On Winking Page 205 The Bible's anti winking bias (there are at least four warnings against winkers) is one of the least-studied scriptural motifs around. I found negligible literature on the topic. But it does seem wise and ahead of its time, the wink being perhaps the world's creepiest gesture, with the winker coercing the winkee into being a part of his little cabal.
On Community Page 214 This year I've tried to worship alone and find meaning alone. The solitary approach has its advantages - I like trying to figure it out myself. I like reading the holy words unfiltered by layers of interpretation. But going it alone also has limits, and big ones. I miss out on the feeling of belonging, which is a key part of religion. I experienced this most keenly once before, during the biblical holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah back in October. I tried to do them alone. I fasted. I ate sweets. I sent portions to the poor. But I was doing it cluelessly and by myself, and it felt empty. I couldn't even bring myself to write a chapter about the holidays, because I failed to wring anything approaching the proper level of meaning from them. And many of my more profound experiences have come when I've joined a group, even momentarily, whether that group be huge (the Hasidic dance party) or small (Amos, Julie and I singing "Amazing Grace.)
On Prayer Page 219 I have my head bowed and my eyes closed. I'm trying to pray, but my mind is wandering. I can't settle it down. It wanders over to an Esquire article I just wrote. It wasn't half bad, I think to myself. I like that turn of phrase in the first paragraph.
And them I am hit with a realization. And hit is the right word - it felt like a punch in my stomach. Here I am being prideful about creating an article in a mid size American magazine. But God - if He exists- He created the world. He created flamingos and supernovas and geysers and beetles and stones for these steps I'm sitting on.
"Praise the Lord." I say out loud.
On the rules of the Bible. Page 223 And remember, the little rules are just as important as the big ones.
"If you were in medical school to study brain surgery, would you want to follow all the rules? Or just the 'main ones'?" Asks Gil.
On cussing page 282 I'll get to the subway platform just as the downtown train is pulling away, and I'll start to say the F-word. I'll remember to censor myself. So I'll turn it into "fudge" at the last second. When I hear myself say "fudge" out loud, it sounds so folksy, so Jimmy Stewart-ish and amusingly dorky, that I can't help but smile. My anger recedes. Once again, behavior shapes emotions.
Hope you enjoyed them. Keep in mind the winking part - it IS perhaps the world's most creepy gesture.
When I was little I never really thought about vocation. People asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and my answers fell into two categories.
1. Things I though would be really fun and adventurous. -cowboy -baseball player -astronaut
2. Things I thought I would like based on the subjects I was good at school. -lawyer (I like reading) -doctor (I love science) -teacher (I was good at school) -historian? (I loved reading and was good at history)
But I never thought about vocation. When people (mostly my dad) would ask me what I wanted my life to look like when I was 30, I lied. I said I wanted to be a doctor/scientist/teacher/cowboy. But really all I wanted was a wonderful home life, a sweet husband and children, lots of fun children running around and pulling on my leg. The job I wanted allowed that to happen.
In fact, I've pretty much always had a job out of necessity. I know you're thinking, haven't we all. What I mean is, I initially worked to earn money to pay for my car insurance and gas. All other money went into adventure: road trips, causeway tolls, costumes, and cover charges. It was a fun life, its the life I still want. I love hiking and traveling to amazing places. But that's not my life.
I have never felt exhilarated by anything other than: my family, adventure, and science. Some scientists find themselves at 50, divorced, childless or in unhappy marriages. Tom and I saw that future and decided that wasn't what we wanted. We made a conscious decision to put our home life first and make decisions that fell in line with the family life we wanted. I also guess, in terms of adventure, I look to the dream I had a few weeks ago. In it, I followed my dreams to seek adventure and save the world, but I didn't get Tom in the end.
While we still hike pretty frequently, desire fabulous tropical vacations, and do plenty of science (even if, for me, its just emails to friends and family about some health topic - H1N1, vaccination, midwifery), the best moments of our lives are when we are laying in the bed. The early morning sunlight streams in the window, Tom is making the baby laugh, we talk about our day, what we will do later, what we will eat for dinner. It's not much, but it's so happy, so perfect. I know that this is my vocation. Everything else is a role that I play to obtain some end, but it's not my life's work.
I guess that's what it means again to think about vocation. In terms a 3 year old would understand, a vocation is what God wants you to do when you grow-up. I am supposed to love others as God has loved me. My grown-up job is to care for and love my child and my husband. Help bring them to heaven. Get myself there too.
Hi! I just wanted everyone to know that Clark was baptised yesterday. It was a wonderful ceremony and lots of friends and family gathered for it. I will post pictures as soon as people start sending them to me. We are excited to welcome Clark into the Catholic Church.
My dad was also baptised yesterday in our home. It was also a nice ceremony. We are happy that he is made new and welcome him into the body. We pray that we can offer any guidance that he needs on his journey of discovery.
What would normally be the most exciting news is currently the least exciting in light of the first two exciting things. This morning I looked into Clark's mouth and we have tooth #2. It was no trouble at all, a few days of fuss, decent sleep. Tooth. Sweet. =)
I just tried to put Clark down for his 9am nap. Its 10:13 (by the way).
He has been increasingly fussy the past week. Maybe the teething is starting up again, maybe he is upset about his flu shot. I'm not really sure. He also has started reaching for me when other people are holding him, not all of the time, but enough for me to notice a new skill. So maybe it's an attachment issue.
So I went to put him down for his nap. We read a book. We sang a song and rocked like we always do. He started crying. What? Yeah, during the rocking and song. This was new to me too. I thought he might be overtired, so I tried to rock and sing a little bit more, he was still crying. I put him in the crib hoping he would just calm down and fall asleep. (It HAS been known to happen).
It did not.
I went back upstairs after a minute or two of increasingly more unhappy wailing. I patted him on the back. It didn't work. I picked him up and held him. It didn't work. I sat down and rocked him. It didn't work. So, I nursed him. (What we are trying to avoid as a nap time antecedent.) When he seemed satiated and just hanging out, I unhooked him. He started crying. humph....
I held him, I rocked him. He was still crying. Not wanting to nurse him to full sleep, I gave him THE PACIFIER and put him back in bed.
While many parents give their babies the pacifier, we really haven't. Its happened from time to time and I have one in the diaper bag for when we are driving and he is freaking out - but otherwise its not a staple in this house. Its like dessert for Posh Spice, it just doesn't happen that often.
He took the paci in his mouth and calmed down. I went back downstairs and outside to start a load of laundry (the laundry room is outside). I went back inside. He is wailing AGAIN. What? So I go BACK upstairs.
He is holding the paci and laying on his side crying. I pick him up, he retains the paci in his hand. I ask him, "Clark, what's wrong?" He stops crying, opens his pure blue eyes and looks at me. The paci is clutched in his hand. He looks at the paci and then looks at me again with a look on his face as if to say, "You tried to replace yourself with this? This? This? This piece of plastic?!!!?"
So, I sat down in the chair and nursed him to sleep.
Oh well. We'll try again next nap.
UPDATE: Its 10:53 and he just woke up. All of that trouble for a 40 minute nap. That sucked. =(
Happy half-birthday to Clark. It has been an incredible, amazing, wonderful, heart exploding with love 6 months. We remember our life before Clark, but we can't imagine that we were so happy and full-filled.
In his first month, Clark met both of his grandmothers, Aunt Andrea, Uncle Jake, Couin Sophia, went to Virginia, took his first hike and went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC.
In his second month, Clark met his Aunt Monica, Cousin Ruby, and Uncle James, Great Aunt Mary, Great Cousin Sean, began to grab things, was admitted to and discharged from the hospital with a UTI, and slept 8 hours through the night for the first time.
In his third month, Clark took his first plane trip to Louisiana. He met his Granddad Averill, Great Aunt Cindi and all of her children and grandchildren, his Godparents, his USA(Uncle Stephen Averill), Aunt Katie and Cousins Kenzie and Matt. He began to bear weight on his legs, went to a wedding, crawfish boil, and pool party.
In his fourth month, he met his Grandpa Greenwell, Uncle John and GREAT Grampa Suppicich. He could hold onto things that he grabbed, he fell asleep on his own at night and developed eczema and started teething. He went to the movies, zoo, and Harper's Ferry.
In his fifth month, he met his Great Cousin Jordan. He rolled over from front to back! He started taking longer naps (1.5-3 hrs), kicked his swaddling habit, was able to fall asleep from awake without crying, gave himself arm hickies, could sit on his own for a little bit without falling over, and had a taste of rice cereal and banana.
In his sixth month, he met mama's best friend Liz. He lost all ability to sleep until he... got his FIRST TOOTH! Then he slept one night for 11 hours! He tasted watermelon, cherries, blueberries, tomato and green beans. He got his first mosquito bites, and visited the White House. He rolled from back to front and started wrinkling his nose while smiling.
Clark is pratically a big boy now! He can fit into some of his larger clothes now (9-18 months) Here he is in an adorable outfit from Uncle Ray. He is flying through the sky!!!
Clark and the rest of us Greenwells would also like to congratulate Ray on his engagement to Angela!
CONGRATS BIG BRODER!!!!
Clark can sit up pretty well now. He hardly ever falls over. Here is him sitting up and chewing on his crib!
Clark and I went to the White House on Wednesday morning with another alumni from Tulane. They don't let you take pictures inside, so I have included some pics from outside. I wasn't allowed to bring a stroller, nor a bag, so I wore some sexy cargo pants with my pockets full of diapers, wipes and links. Thanks for the hot look, Homeland Security! On the front porch where Bush gave Obama the keys.