Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baptism

Kherington and her cousin Harper were Baptized today at Hope Arise United Methodist Church.

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It was a beautiful moment that filled our hearts with joy.

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All of our family was gathered around.

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The girls were perfect angels, these beautiful children of God.

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After church we gathered for lunch and fellowship at the ranch.

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Kherington got loads of love from her God Family, the Kneuppers.

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God is good! All the time.
All the time. God is good!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mouse Hounds

Remember my penchant for collecting animals?

Example 1 and Example 2.

I've gone and done it again, friends.

Meet Blondie and Buttons, our new barn cats.

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{no, I didn't name them. Blondie!? really? I'm thinking Wrangler and Cinch would sound better with Lucchese, Stetson, and Luckenbach.}

They are adopted from Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation in Kendalia, TX.

I made the half hour drive to Kendalia and got my first glimpse of 190 acres of animal nirvana. I saw cattle, deer, ducks, sheep, geese, horses, and birds... and that was just from the front gate.

One of my friends used to work there and so I knew the employees and volunteers were a bit crunchy, shall we say?

I also knew these people did really great things for a lot of animals. But I won't lie, I laughed out loud at this:

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Um, right. As I drove (worm-crushing speed) to the facility, I could see the safari-clad workers glaring at my gas-guzzling SUV. I felt the judgment.

Random cats, dogs, turkeys, ducks, peacocks, and squirrels roamed around.

I climbed out of the car and eyes softened a bit as they saw that I'm a babywearer. I wondered if I could casually mention that I breastfeed and cloth diaper, too. Probably not.

Kherington strapped to my back, I approached the woman with the friendliest of the dour faces. I wondered if she could smell the steak on my breath. I was pretty sure she'd had tofu and celery.

But all animosity cleared when she learned I was there to adopt, and not to dump some unwanted animal.

Blondie and Buttons were happily handed over with fond farewells. They'd been there three years, so we were all glad they were getting a permanent home.

I cheerfully made a donation to such a fine establishment. And secretly wondered how much I'd have to donate to get a peek at the bears, big cats, wolves and primates. I love big cats and primates.

But I decided that sticking around would undoubtedly lead to me taking more animals home. And then my adorable loving husband might move out. So I wisely made my way back out the gate, watching for spiders and snakes, of course.

Um, not.

So... just in case you are wondering, that brings our ranch total to six cantankerous cats, three dirty dogs, one mimicking macaw, two handsome horses, one ornery zedonk, about twelve head of cattle, countless wildlife, and of course... my chunky monkey...



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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

8 Months

Kherington Grace, eight short months have passed since I first wrapped you in my arms and basked in your beauty. You were perfect then, and you just get better every day.

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Monkey, at eight months old:

You weigh about 21 pounds.

You are 26.25 inches tall.

You are SO close to crawling.

You scoot backwards and wiggle forwards.

You are still breastfed, but also love eating solids twice a day.

You suck on your toes.

You are getting the hang of the pincer grasp and self-feed fairly well.

You enjoy grunting, growling, and screeching quite vocally.

You are close to signing "all done" and waving "bye-bye."

You are doing great at Mother's Day Out four days a week for a few hours.

You calm when I sing "Jesus Loves You."

You love being tossed in the air and pretending you are falling.

You play well with others.

You enjoy musical instruments.

You are still a happy, content, laid-back baby.

You are loved.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Sign Language


Kherington and I are using baby sign language. Well, so far only I'm using it... but she will catch on soon! I love this idea... it gives a baby that can't yet speak her needs an outlet for communicating her frustrations and desires. So I was thrilled when I was approached by Misty Weaver, Chief Editor of Baby Sign Language, to do a guest post. I hope you enjoy her post and get a chance to visit her informative site...


Starting Baby Sign Language At 6-9 Months
by Misty Weaver

You can start to teach baby sign language at any age – it is never too soon or too late to gain some benefit from signing with your child. The optimum age for baby sign language, however, is thought to be between six and nine months. One of the founders of baby sign language, Dr. Joseph Garcia, found that a baby who begins learning sign language at seven months old will need around two months of exposure and repetition of a sign before she starts using it. Starting
Baby Sign Language at 6-9 months will give you and baby the best start on your signing journey.

How To Sign
Baby Signing is easy and fun – all you need to do to make a start is learn a few simple signs. It’s best to begin with signs you can use on a daily basis, such as Mommy, Daddy, Milk and More. More is often the first sign a baby learns! Begin with these starter signs then build up your range to include other objects, ideas and emotions. You will need to make the sign every time you say the word to your baby. It’s important to say the word that goes with the sign clearly, with good eye contact, while pointing to the thing or person you are describing. At first, try to sign when your baby is alert and not fussing, using an object which is exciting to him, such as Milk or Mummy. Practice the signs beforehand so you feel confident and clear about what you are doing.

MOMMY

To sign make the sign for Mommy, spread your fingers apart on your right hand. With your little finger facing forward tap your thumb on your chin.


DADDY

To sign make the sign for Daddy, spread your fingers on your right hand. Tap your hand on your forehead. This is similar to Mommy but higher up the head.


The sign for Milk is like milking a cow, but without the up and down motion – you are just squeezing the udder. Take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat. To make the sign for More, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly.

Repetition Is The Key
Repetition is key with Baby Sign Language . Be sure to make the sign and say the word every time you do an action or use an object. Your baby will learn the signs through repetition (and so will you), and it will be natural for him to eventually sign back.

Be Patient
Don’t expect too much too soon. Your baby is unlikely to be signing for more milk if he is only 4 months old and you’ve been signing to him for a week! Remember, when you are starting to sign with your baby at around 6-9 months, it will take about two months of repetition before your baby will begin signing back.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 7, 2010

4:00am
I’m wide awake. Is Kherington ready for school? Am I? What will I miss in those precious hours? What if she learns to crawl at school? Says her first word when I’m not around? Decides to wean herself? Takes her first step into the arms of her teacher? Cries for Miss Phyllis instead of for Mommy? Won’t eat enough? Gets sick all the time? Misses me? Doesn’t get enough stimulation? What if I don't get to teach her about our Awesome God? I'm being selfish. Stop it. I can do this. It will be good for her. We want her to be socialized and comfortable in all situations. Go to sleep. Go. To. Sleep.

5:45am
I hear Kherington stir. But she doesn’t cry, just starts playing quietly in her crib. We are so lucky.

6:00am
She still hasn’t made a peep, but I go scoop her up and bring her to our bed. As she nurses we both doze off. Bliss.

7:00am
Skip’s alarm goes off, but he snoozes and rolls over to snuggle with us.

7:15am
My alarm goes off. The rain is beating on the tin roof and the bed is warm and cozy. Puppies snooze at our feet. Skip has his arm around me and I have mine around Kherington. We went to bed as a couple and have awoken as a family. Happiness. I’m not ready to get up and face the day that will separate us. I am happy in this place and in this moment. I don’t want to let it go.

7:45am
Hand Skip his lunch and kiss him goodbye. He's handsome.

8:15am
I am showered, fed, and ready for work. The lunches are packed. I have to wake Kherington. The video camera is in her face; she isn’t impressed. Our sweet baby usually wakes with a huge smile, today she cries and whimpers. Is this a sign that I shouldn’t leave her? Don’t be silly, Chels. This is no big deal. Every working mother goes through it… usually much earlier than 7.5 months.

8:30am
I breastfeed Kherington. I kiss her fingers and gaze into her deep blue eyes, as I do every time that we nurse. This is so beautiful. Remember this moment. She won’t get to nurse again for almost 6 hours. Hold it together.

8:45am
It is still raining cats and dogs, thanks to Tropical Storm Hermine. I load my purse, the diaper bag, Kherington’s lunch, my lunch, my breast pump, Kherington’s school supplies/lovie/change of clothes, etc. In the drenching rain I load Kherington into her big girl car seat. I take videos and photos; she isn’t impressed.

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9:00am
We walk into the church and to Kherington’s lonely classroom. As of now, she is by herself three days a week without playmates. Pretty much defeats the whole goal of getting her socialized. Miss Phyllis is smiling and waiting. Kherington reaches her arms out to go to her. This should make me happy, right? Right? I am brave. I leave her things, give her big kisses, and march out the door like I’m not bothered a bit.

9:15am
A stay-at-home-mom wouldn’t be sitting in traffic, in the rain, listening to her own heart break.

9:25am
I glance in the rearview mirror to see if the baby has fallen asleep. Oh, yeah. Sigh. If I were to cry, I could just blame it on the rain... Nah, I can do this. Suck it up. Be tough. In the car, in the rain is a very lonely place to be.

9:30am
Sissy calls to check on me. Skip calls to check on me. I thought I was fine, now I’m tearing up a bit. I rush into the office to occupy my mind elsewhere. Tai-Pan makes a joke about my having separation anxiety. My co-worker Barb gives me a commiserating look. She misses her already, too.

9:35-11:30am
Trying not to look at the baby toys flung about my office, I immerse myself in work and am too busy to think about her. Much.

11:30am
It is time to pump. I stare at her photos and I have to think about her. I love how she… The milk flows. The tears flow. I get milk stains on my shirt.

1:35pm
Oh wow! I look at the clock and realize that I must leave immediately to pick up Kherington. Yay, I can’t wait. Time really flew and I got so much done! I almost wish I had another hour. No, No, I’m ready to hold her. The storm is still raging outside. I have been working feverishly (and saving feverishly because the power has already gone out twice). I quickly gather my work, my purse, my uneaten lunch, my breastpump, my mail, and my umbrella and scamper out the door.

1:40pm
The umbrella was pointless. In a storm like this, you just can’t avoid the wet and the wind. Carefully, I venture onto the streets. The weather is awful. Must get to my baby. Sheets of water run off the windshield, the water on the pavement is deep, the wind blows the car in strong gusts, traffic lights have blown off the wire and exploded in the middle of intersections, flashing lights warn of accidents in the gloom. Must survive to raise my daughter. Carefully, I drive on.

1:55pm
I arrive at the church, five minutes early. Parents chaotically dash through the parking lot with children in tow, umbrellas flipping inside out and papers flying. I race inside, eager. As I walk down the hallway, I can feel the she’s-gone-mad smile on my face stretching from ear to ear. Chill out. Act like you’ve done this before. Why? You haven’t, and that’s okay. I reach the classroom door. Ms. Phyllis is reading to Kherington. I say “Hi KherBear!” and she looks up, smiles that glorious smile, and reaches for me. Oh, love. I gather her in my arms for a hug, and she whines. I know it is because she smells my milk and wants some, but it feels like she wants to stay with Ms. Phyllis. Shake it off. Ms. Phyllis tells me that she did wonderfully, ate all of her lunch, and behaved like an angel.

2:00pm
Leaving the church, another teacher tells me how much they adore Kherington. I’m glad. And jealous. We make it to the car and not a single square inch of my body is dry. I look like a wet dog, but I feel like a proud mama bird with my chicky back in the nest.

2:10pm
Safe at home, with the rain lashing the windows, we snuggle and nurse. Kherington smells like Ms. Phyllis instead of like my sweet baby. :-( But she nurses like she is ravenous.
Elation.

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2:30-6:00pm
Kherington naps on my lap and plays at my feet while I work. We read some books, sing songs, and pretend to dance in the rain.
All is right again.

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6:15-7:30pm
Daddy comes home. We play with Daddy, have dinner, take a bath, say our prayers and settle down for bed. She falls asleep at the breast and I am reluctant to put her down. Be still my heart. Safe in her crib, she rests up for another day of school. I can do this. I must do this. This is going to be good for her.

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8:00-11:00pm
Snuggle with Daddy, prepare to do it all over again tomorrow. Thank you Lord for this day. For the rain. For our jobs. For the ability to care for our child. For our health and safety. Thank you, Lord, for a life that I love. And people to share it with. May I wake tomorrow to serve You and love others. Amen.


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Monday, September 6, 2010

Baby Legs and gDiapers...

Should send us some money, don'tcha think?

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Surely they would pay for this amazingly adorable advertising...

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done by one majorly mesmeric muffin-topped model.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

{Nearly} Wordless Wednesday

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{sweet, sweet puppy love}


____________________________________________________

The winner of the Jewelry Giveaway chosen by random.org is.... Lindsey!
And I see she has a son named Southern, and I think that's kinda cool!

Congrats Lindsey, I'll email you for your mailing address.
Thanks for playing!

And a huge thanks to Velvet Moon Designs for the awesome earrings! I got jealous and ordered my very own pair of the starlight earrings and I adore them!
Mine are medium in erinite and silver.
(Photo coming soon)

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