this food is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

atticus has begun eating fruits and veggies. and by fruits and veggies, i mean sweet potatoes and bananas. we asked him to vote on his favorite, and the results are in:

sweet potatoes.


it really was close.

more photos!

looking startled and ridiculous in his girly newborn hat. (it's the only sunhat we have yet, so he sucked it up like a little girly man.)

in his easter outfit, looking a bit alarmed.

adoring makenna.

kay, girls don't like it when you do that. for future flirting reference.


NOT happy about getting older. or about the paper moustache or the label stuck to his head. but i think it's mainly about getting older.

getting ready to eat cereal for the first time!!

i LOVE this picture!!

ah, anticipation.


alright! not too bad.

then he started attacking the spoon as it got close to his face.

all in all, pretty successful!

again, looking slightly alarmed. (that's our friend andy, who's a rock band-it.)

he actually was propping up his own bottle, which was cute!

such a sad boy!

with my dad and his wife. (my dad's wife, not atticus'.)

curling up with a good book. (right before he wrestled that book to the ground like a demon cobra.)

loving st. patrick's day. hurrah.

getting fired up about going on a walk with dad.

that's his best friend, the Very Tolerant Zebra. that zebra will get whacked in the head over and over, and still keep right on grinning at atticus. what a guy.

brushing his teeth. (yes, that's an infant toothbrush.)

before todd's friend mike's wedding.

after the wedding, totally pooped out at the reception. atticus partied hard. (and literally - and quite loudly - pooped out of his clothes in the middle of the ceremony, so we did a major clothing overhaul in the church bathroom)

todd with his brother mike :)

this too shall pass

todd and i were discussing the origins of the phrase, "this too shall pass" on tuesday on our way up to sioux center. to make a long story short, king solomon wanted something that would make him both happy and sad at the same time, and his servant turned up this saying (this is legend, not biblical). and most of the time when i look at atticus, i can totally see why this fulfilled the king's request.

there is this delicate balance that exists as atticus grows - the relief of knowing that someday middle of the night feedings and lugging heavy carseats and being sticky ALL THE TIME will pass...i'll sleep (theoretically), and have flabby biceps, and maybe even feel clean, and life will be good. but he'll also stop cooing, stop being enthralled by silly things like my hand or the pie pan i hung from his bouncy seat (thanks for the idea, allison), stop being perfectly content with spending his whole day staring at me. he'll stop needing me as wholly and desperately as he does now. this too shall pass, and it's so sad sometimes. (not that i want to wind up with a forty year old son that lives in my guestroom and still needs me to pat his butt to put him to sleep.)

i already miss his newborn self so much, but i love the little guy he is. i'm so excited to see him grow up, but i don't want to let go of the little guy he is. and i can't help but wonder what i'll look back on and wish i had done differently, appreciated more, been more willing to let go of. and i can't help but wonder what HE'LL look back on and wish i had done differently, appreciated more, been more willing to let go of. and i wonder if he'll ever totally forgive me for the mistakes i'm sure to make, or if the happy memories will outweigh the rough ones. or if, when he has kids, he'll be adamant that he'll raise them so much better than i had raised him. or if he'll say things like, "my mom did the best she could, but..."

i just wish wisdom came completely and immediately. i wish i didn't have to make mistakes BEFORE i knew how to do things right. i wish i didn't have to live 25 years in order to have 25 years of knowledge.

but mostly i wish i was god - existing outside of time, being able to experience past, present and future all at once, never making mistakes or being sinfully selfish, always being the perfect parent.

but thankfully, GOD is god, and he forgives me when my sin makes me fall short of these things, and he reassures me when my humanity limits my abilities to experience these things. and it all makes me think about eternity, where time (presumably) is not a continuum and where there is no regret. it's unfathomable, really.


so this week my hy-vee total was $10.75 and thanks to my good friend "bounce" (who also happens to be a total rock band stud!) i got $4.20 in crushed cans and smashed bottles that normally would have either have been left on the side of the road or thrown away at hy-vee after the machine rejected for the fourteenth time. so that brings my year-to-date total to $60.30 in cans.

that's a free month of my health and dental insurance. so that's swiggidy sweet!

my wife is amazing. if i am, it's perhaps only in her eyes (and maybe my mom's). either way, it's nice to be something to somebody, even when you know you do not deserve it. i suppose that is what makes her love seem all the more a blessing from God. not hard to see why marriage was God's idea and His favorite metaphor for our relationship with Him.

getting to know todd

what i know and love about my awesome husband:

.he is dedicated and deliberate. in whatever he decides to do, and whomever and whatever he decides to love, he is whole-hearted. if he does something, it is because he has CHOSEN to - he is not flippant, negligent or impulsive. every little thing he does is thought through beforehand with amazing attention to detail.

.he is reliable. if he says he will do something, i NEVER question if he'll follow through; it's a given. he is punctual, trustworthy, and considerate.

.he is practical. he is detail-oriented, and his mind is able to weigh different options and discern which is most efficient with amazing wisdom.

.he allows for wiggle-room. sometimes, i like things to be pretty. it doesn't matter as much to me if they're practical or efficient or necessary. sometimes it only matters that they're pretty. and he likes that about me. he likes to surprise me with blue wine glasses even though we have perfectly useful clear ones, and even though we hardly ever use the clear ones, and even though he's not a huge fan of blue glass, and even though we have nowhere to put them. i like them, and he likes me.

.he's a great dad. he lights up when he sees atticus, and atticus lights up when he sees todd. todd loves coming home to play with him, loves holding him, and loves telling anyone who will listen all the reasons he's so proud of atticus. he gets excited with me about seemingly silly things that atticus does, and is already thinking about how he'll be able to be the best dad possible as atticus grows up. (he's already looking forward to "the talk" - now that's a great dad!) he likes going to as many of atticus' doctor appointments as he can with me.

.he loves learning. and he loves sharing what he's learned. he's a reader and an absorber, but he also is a great "outputter" of information - he's a wonderful writer and a clear, concise teacher.. he has a hunger for god's word and for truth. he is also ridiculously smart.

.he hates contemporary art. and i love that about him. we can make fun of it together.

.he's really funny. he tells jokes that make me laugh even when i think back on them, which is how you know something's truly funny if you ask me. when it's still funny the next day.

.he's such a servant. he loves giving and doing things for other people, even if they're not his first-choice idea of fun. for instance, when i was pregnant, he rubbed my legs ENDLESSLY when they were all restless and horrible. not his first choice of things to do, but he knew it was something that i would find helpful, so he did it.

.he has more self-discipline of anyone i know. this kind of goes along with what i said before, but if he decides he's going to do something, he does it. he doesn't "try" to do anything; he either does it or he doesn't. and he never DOESN'T do something that he had decided that he WOULD do.

.he likes to surprise me. and he's a great gift-giver. he surprised me before our wedding by taking me to a counting crows concert. i, on the other hand, gave him his wedding gift over a year after we got married. his gifts are always super thoughtful and i'm always blown away by how perfect they are.

.he's FANTASTIC with money. he is such an awesome provider and budgeter, but he's also super generous. i never feel like we go without, and it's so cool to see him get so excited to give what we can away. and while he would never spend money on himself, he likes to get me little gifts, which i can't say i don't love!

.he's helpful. he sweeps the floor, puts away the laundry, dries and puts away the dishes, and takes out the trash (including the diapers...blech) without ever having to be asked. he frequently asks if there's anything he can do to help me. he's tidy, so i'm really only ever picking up my own messes (of which there are more than i'd like to admit.)

.he's respectful. he has never, ever yelled at me, even when he's been frustrated or angry with something i've done. he only brings up problem areas in a "let's work this out" kind of way, never to spite me or make me feel bad. even when we're disagreeing, he still speaks to me respectfully, and he NEVER EVER puts me down.

.he likes ice cream. i never fully appreciated ice cream until we got married. and i know it's silly, but i love how much he loves ice cream.

he's a hard worker. his work ethic is beyond description.

.he makes good decisions. i fully trust him to make decisions for our family, even when they're not what i would've chosen, because i know that he makes the best decisions for US (whereas, i seem to want to make the best decisions for ME). and frequently when there is a decision that can't be best for both of us, but rather is better for one or the other of us, he makes decisions in my favor. which must be ridiculously difficult.

.he doesn't tickle me, even though he wants to. meaning, he loves me selflessly. he watches chick flicks (or Nacho Libre or Talladega Nights or Hot Rod) too many times to count, but he doesn't make me watch scary movies. he lets me eat all the oreos and the life cereal. he likes it when i try new recipes, and is very very graceful about the ones that don't make the "tastes-good" cut. he likes my cooking. he cuts his hair the way i like. he wears jeans that i pick out. he takes care of himself. he compliments me in front of other people. he compliments me TO other people, even when i'm not around. he holds my hand in church. he opens my car door for me every time. he usually lets me decide where we go to eat on our date nights. he still takes me on dates. he gets dressed up to go to olive garden, even though that's silly, just because i want to. he cuddles with me before bed. he watches friends with me, even though he thinks it's kind of dumb (which it is). he requests certain meals that i make. he gives me neck rubs. he doesn't make fun of me (too much) for liking 7th heaven. he asks me what i think about things or what i'm reading.

there are so many more, but who knows how long it would take to list them all? i just love my husband, that's all.

frugal friday: reiteration of everything you've already heard

meaning, energy savings. go green, save green, right?

*be purposeful about output. most things that plug in to the wall suck energy even when they're not in use. coffeemakers, cell phone chargers, electric toothbrush chargers - everything. unplug them when they're not in use. the BIGGEST wasters of energy are things on "stand-by" power: things that can be controlled with a remote. put these things on a surge strip that can be turned on and off. we put our TV, VCR, DVD player and stereo on a single surge strip, turned the whole thing off when not in use, and saved like 15 bucks the first month.(granted, none of our things were energy-star rated; savings would've been less if our stuff was newer/more efficient to begin with.) turn off your computer when it's not in use, and put all computer-related electronics (printer, speakers, etc) on a surge strip and turn off when not in use.

*think a tiny bit harder about laundry. not much, just a tiny bit. wash WHATEVER you can in cold water (i'd say 99% of our laundry is washed in cold water only - even baby stains come out if i "shout" them first). do consecutive loads - the dryer doesn't have to work as hard to dry the second load, since it has already been warmed up by the first. run your loads after 9:00 whenever possible - you can save 50%-75% on water and energy after 9 pm.

*think a tiny bit less about dishes. don't do them very often - or TOO often, really. only run the dishwasher when it's full. don't rinse them if it isn't necessary (depending on the dish and your dishwasher). if you follow these rules, you actually can end up using LESS water and energy than if you did them by hand after meals. only run the dishwasher after 9 pm. only use half the detergent the dishwasher can hold- it still works as well. use the normal or light cycles, and don't use the heat dry.

*cook creatively. if you can cook two meals at a time, or use leftovers, the stove/oven only has to be on once rather than twice. the smaller the appliance the less energy it uses, so consider that when cooking. (grill>toaster oven>microwave>range>oven). use the smallest pot necessary, since it takes more energy to heat a larger pot, and use the right-sized burner (don't put little pots on big burners, or vice versa).

then there are the standards:
.dust lightbulbs - it makes them more efficient.
.don't set your fridge/freezer too cold (but obviously cold enough!)
.turn off lights when not in use.
.turn down heat at night.
.turn off water when not in use.
.take quicker, cooler showers.
.turn thermostat down and dress in layers instead.
.turn a/c to higher temp and open windows/run fans instead.
.close north-facing shades in winter and south-facing shades in summer. (open them in opposite seasons.)

if you live in ames, you can call the electric department and request a free conservation packet (515-239-5120; ask for steve). it has TONS of information, audit sheets, fridge and freezer thermometers, and tons more stuff. it's really interesting, and FREE. it can't hurt to call!!!

that hideous strength by c.s. lewis

finished it this week. such a good book. i think it may have been my favorite of the series. it is certainly bizarre, but i like it. i like the twists and peculiarities of it. my friend andrew vardeman deserves many prompts for letting me borrow the series for the months it has taken me to find time to get through them all. they were well worth the read. they may be among my favorite literature, but that may be a bit "prisoner-of-the-moment" of me. however, i will definitely want to re-read them again someday and look forward to owning them someday so that i can read them to atticus as he grows up, among others (i.e. the chronicles of narnia, lord of the rings, etc...)

i highly recommend them.
thanks again andrew for first suggesting them to me, and then lending them to me.
you're a good brother.