Saturday, February 28, 2015

Grandma & Grandpa Hagen in The City

My parents were in San Francisco for a 5-day weekend (Thursday night to Tuesday evening) after attending a veterinary conference in Las Vegas. You can't come that far west and not see us! Or, at least that is what my mom says! We loved having them here with us and although we're still in our little one bedroom apartment, it didn't feel as crowded as I anticipated.

I had to work on Friday, so they got to see how I manage my work-from-home career with William. We went to the park together, ran a few errands and came home for lunch. They watched William for me so I could run into the office and then Grandpa played with him while I worked and Grandma made dinner. (I decided since then, that I could really go for a nanny and cook). We had my cousin and her husband over for dinner that night and it was fun to catch up. We don't see them often enough, so when family visits the city, it's a must!

On Saturday we took my parents to Sonoma to go wine tasting. This is something we had not gotten to do with them before. We got a sitter for William because we didn't think he'd handle the outing very well. And although Grandma was sad to leave him for any amount of time, really enjoyed herself. My dad had a pleasant time but after three wineries said he was finished (which was good, because we needed to get home anyway). We went to B.R. Cohn, Jacuzzi and Cline.

I really enjoyed our day together; I don't think we've ever done something with just the four of us before. It was great to have some uninterrupted time together and share an experience that we really enjoy.

Sunday was our big Oscar Party, but before that was the Alemany Flea Market and church. The flea market was the only request my dad had made before coming. If you know my dad, you get it. I was very proud of him for limiting his purchases to items that would fit in his luggage this time! It was a busy day, but very fun.

On Monday, my husband took my parents to the Golden Gate Bridge so my dad could run across it and back. He's a 5K addict so it was just about the perfect length. He did it in 24 minutes. SuperDad! He got the most perfect day for it; the sky was clear, it was a little breezy but not cold. William and I met them in a park and ate In 'n Out burgers for lunch when they got back. And that afternoon we rested.

Tuesday was pretty low key. The Grandparents, William and I headed to the park to play in the morning. I took the opportunity to show them more of my neighborhood and point out the places we frequent. My hope was they'd see more of our daily lives and get a feel for it. I think they caught the feeling of walking up hill all of the time.

I had a dentist appointment that afternoon so they babysat for me and then after William's nap it was time to take them to the airport. It was sad to say good bye. Their visit really did feel short. We talk often enough that it doesn't feel like much time had passed since the last time I had seen them, but it had been nearly six months. I'm so thankful they came to see us and that William seemed to bond with them well with Duplos and books.

I tried to be intentional in taking photographs of William with Grandma and Grandpa, but it seemed that whenever I made my presence known, William ran toward me or started crying. So, most of the time it seemed better to enjoy the moment rather than try to document it all.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The 3rd Annual Oscar Party

Our 3rd Annual Oscar Party was on Sunday. We intentionally planned on it being a little smaller than our previous parties as our apartment tends to feel smaller now that William is on the move all of the time, and my parents were also visiting; cramming 20 people in for a long evening didn't sound too appealing. But the party ended up being even smaller than we anticipated. We had a grand total of 10 people attend, but only 6 stayed the whole evening. 

The guest book

The ballots

It was still plenty of fun and there was plenty of food. We had miniature pigs-in-a-blanket, fruit salad, french bread with cheese and salami, chips and guacamole, Chex/pop corn mix, See's candy, and wine.

I think everyone enjoyed the evening; even though Chris and I didn't see very many of the nominated films this year, he still ended up guessing the most awards correctly and won the prize at the end of the night: two movie tickets! Another guest went home with a little goodie bag of candy and popcorn for seeing the most nominated movies.

We set up a little backdrop for a photo booth but didn't have as many props as I've made in the past, it was still fun and they turned out pretty well. 

The Guests: My parents

Toddler Boy William

The Ronans

And Your Hosts

It was a fun little party and I'm so thankful we did it again this year even though it ended up being small. The award show is always more fun when you watch it with people and make a game out of it! And I love an excuse to dress up!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

They Left Everything

My daily reading plan has brought me to Luke 5 today and I was struck anew by a common story.
The story of Jesus calling His first disciples. So you can follow my thoughts, please read the text (ESV):
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by uthe lake of Gennesaret, vand he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were wwashing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And xhe sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, y“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, zwe toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, athey enclosed a large number of fish, and atheir nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. bAnd they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, c“Depart from me, for dI am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon,“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”1 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, ethey left everything and followed him.
Can you picture this story? Simon Peter had been fishing all night. He had worked hard and caught nothing. What a long night. He must have been tired. Then while cleaning his nets, he sees Jesus being swarmed by people trying to hear him speak. I'm sure Peter was trying to listen too. Suddenly, Jesus gets in Peter's boat and when he finishes teaching, tells Peter to put the boat in deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Notice Peter's response. He had worked all night and knows there is nothing out there. My internal dialog would have gone something like this, "C'mon Jesus, I just spent the whole night out there and I have nothing to show for it. Can't I take you fishing tomorrow? I need a nap. And breakfast." But he did it anyway because Jesus said so.

And then it happened, Peter has the biggest catch of his life. He calls for the other fishermen to help. Both boats are full and starting to sink. Can you imagine the number of fish it would take to sink a boat? Peter's response is worship. He falls down at Jesus's knee for he knows that he does not deserve this blessing.

This is what struck me: the abundance of the blessing Jesus gave and Peter received. Peter had just worked all night by his own strength and earned nothing. Jesus did a miracle and gave Peter more than enough. I had a financial perspective of this when I read it. Was this a month's worth of income for Peter? Was his family set for a long time? Was this a small fortune? Was Peter astonished by what this would mean for his family?

But keep reading. When they reached land with all those fish, what did they do? They didn't split it up between the three fishermen. They didn't count them and figure the sum they would earn. They left everything and followed him. 

I listened to a sermon on this passage, just to help me grasp this. Jon Courson said that they knew being with the giver was far better than any gift they would receive from him. Following Jesus was far better than the best catch they had ever had. Far better than the money they would have earned.

This is hard for me. I pray for provisional things all the time. Housing, a lasting career for my husband, our budget, etc. Do I, can I leave all of it behind to follow Him, the Giver? I had the same thought when I read Genesis 22, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac, for who they had desired for nearly 70 years. God had promised Abraham a son, and he finally had him. And then God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, just like a ram. And Abraham was going to do it! 

Genesis 22 says "Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son." It makes me a little sick to imagine this. But isn't this the kind of obedience God asks of us? Thankfully the angel of the Lord stops him in time. And Abraham is blessed and given a promise because he obeyed.

Obedience is hard. But I'm reminded by these two men, these two stories, that being with the Creator of the universe--with God and his Son--is far better than any gift we've received. He is worth leaving everything.

Friday, February 13, 2015

First Swim

A friend invited William and I to a pool for toddler/parent swim time today. I have no photographs to help illustrate how much fun we had, but it was a blast!

I was a bit nervous and perhaps William could tell, because he seemed a little apprehensive, too. This was his first time being in a public pool. (See prior pool experience here.) I wasn't sure he was going to like it or how long he would last . . . and I feared dropping him.

I carried him down the steps until his feet hit the water. He didn't panic or seem too worried, just a little unsure. I sat on the step with William on my knee and I showed him how to splash his feet. He started shivering and looked a little scared.

My friend suggested I carry him "Koala" style (carry him on my hip, and allow him to cling to me). This seemed to ease his tension a bit. We went in a bit deeper. We bounced in the water so it hit his knees, then his bum. He borrowed a water toy from our friend and he seemed more interested. We kept going, swaying from side to side so he could feel the water splash his tummy, then shoulders. We swayed a little faster and then the smiles came!

It only took him 10 minutes or so to warm up. I think having our friends there (mom and baby girl) helped as he could see she was having fun too. We splashed and played, "swam" around and bounced. He loved watching a young boy dive for pool toys that had sunk to the bottom.

He didn't seem to mind getting splashed (at least not as much as he does in the tub!) or getting water in his face. Only once did he try to reach for something under the water and accidentally dunk his face in getting some in his mouth, which scared him.

Other than that, he was all awe and smiles! We will have to go again. It was a blast!
I'm so thankful for my mom-friends who pull me out of my routine to try new things! I think William is too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Apartment Tour

In June, we will have been in our apartment for five years. FIVE YEARS! I mentioned a while ago that we were looking for a new home, one with an additional bedroom. And the search continues. We've seen a few more since then, but nothing that fit our needs. 

My mind changes on an almost daily basis of how much longer I can handle our living arrangements. The pros and cons lists change all of the time. One minute, I'm content to stay here until we find the perfect next-home; the next moment I'm suggesting we broaden our search outside of city limits or rent out someones basement. Should I stay or should I go now? I struggle to stay content with what I have.

Anyway, enough drama. On to the tour I should have given you four and a half years ago!

We'll start in the kitchen, with a photo taken just weeks after we moved in! Me and my lovely baby sister showing off the kitchen. It looks the same except we've just recently put photos up on that big blank wall!

And the dining room (the photo is also from four and half years ago): We've updated quite a bit but I never have my camera around when it's clean enough to show you! We have a new chandelier (Thank you, Lord) and a new china hutch. The table and chairs are the same old squeaky furniture that was given to us when we moved in! 

the new china hutch:

The living room: At one time we had a computer desk and bookshelf in this space, but now William's toys, clothes, diapers, and everything he owns lives here. On the wall to the bottom left of the photo is our television and DVD collection, everyone has one, so there was really no reason to show it to you.

Here is another angle of the living room so you can see how it appears when you enter our home (I'm standing near the door). Also, the dining room starts right behind the couch on the right side of the photo. Cozy, right!?

And now for the bathroom. Everyone has one of those too, but you would be surprised that they don't all look normal. We've seen some interesting ones in our search and I cannot tell you how grateful we were when we found this place. The bathroom was my favorite. It's not pink, it is all in one room, and there is storage under the sink! And it was very clean. 

The last room in our tour is our bedroom. It looked a little nicer before we squeezed the pack'n play in the corner; the lamp and nightstand were actually near the bed. And we had art on the side wall which was removed in the name of book-storage. 

There you have it! Our home. We love it most of the time. It really is hard to find a place (in our budget) that we like as much as this space. We've been spoiled with things like a dishwasher, laundry in the building, and a bathtub. Some of the places we've looked at don't even have an oven -- just a range on the counter! And a new thing I'm seeing is tiny sinks, as in dishpan size. 

Thanks for reading. I will certainly keep you up-to-date in our apartment hunt. Maybe we can start a reality TV show, "Normal folks trying to Live in San Francisco" 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Toddler Boy: 16 Months

Toddler Boy is 16 months old and "so big." I was originally going to wait to do an update until he hit the 18 month mark, but I couldn't wait any longer. So much has changed in the last four months. At his last appointment he measured 33 1/2" tall and 22 lbs 14 oz.

The biggest change is that he's starting to say words! So far we've understood:

  •  Ball
  •  Apple
  •  Up
  •  Cheese
  •  This/That
  •  Da (Dad)
  •  Ma (Mom)
  •  Juice
  •  Pear
  •  Jump
  •  Bath

Not all symbols are sounded out completely, but we've been able to understand what he's saying anyway. I can't describe the relief I feel when I actually know what he's trying to tell me!

The animal sounds he's learned so far:

  •  Dog = wff or panting sound
  •  Cow = Mm
  •  Monkey = Ah Ah Ah
  •  Elephant = Ooooh with arm swinging upward in elephant-trunk-fashion

William signs a little too: milk, more, fish, all done, eat, and yes. We're working on hungry, please and thank you.

He also understand us a lot more, too! We can ask him to put his toys in a basket, spoons in the dishwasher, or close the door and he will usually do so. He knows when dad is going to work and will wave bye-bye and blow kisses. He can stack his blocks (and knock them down) and "vroom" his trucks.

He loves to read. We go through a dozen books before breakfast and repeat them all day long. He's starting to point to things on the pages too. We sing songs and he'll clap or dance along.

Meals are still a little challenging. One day he loves pancakes, the next he doesn't. And so it goes with everything we offer. His favorites are pears, apples, roasted broccoli and bread.

Toddler Boy sleeps fairly well during the night, he will usually stay pretty quiet until 6 a.m. for which we are grateful! He still takes two great daytime naps allowing me to work part-time, we've been told that will change soon.

William is a lot of fun these days! Sure, he likes to whine and demand attention, but usually he's fairly happy to play, read, and stroll/walk outside. He has started to show an interest in being a part of everything we do in the kitchen. He loves to stand up on a chair next to us and see us wash dishes, prep food, load and unload the dishwasher, and be in the refrigerator.

We did a little side-by-side comparison of Baby Babiak at two months and Toddler Boy at sixteen months. He had the same outfit in 0-3 months and 18 months which probably won't fit him much longer.