Thursday, January 31, 2008

Our Snowy Day

When I was a kid, I loved Ezra Jack Keats' book, The Snowy Day. Recently, we bought a board book of this classic story for Sydney (never too early to read!) and the vivd, colorful illustrations brought back memories of childhood reading. (I always loved the page where the big kids are having the snowball fight.) Today, we are having a "snowy day" here in St. Charles, with 9-inches falling. We are cozily snugged in here at home as a family and enjoying the day very much.

(So is Bailey, whose Wisconsin puppy-roots always come out when he has the chance to roam in the backyard with the snow all around. He becomes "wilderness-trek" dog and spends hours out there sniffing, rolling, running and generally enjoying life as a dog.)

Sydney is four weeks old today and as a gift to her parents, she decided to sleep through the night. We have been implementing a sleep routine and our pediatrician gave us the thumbs up to let her sleep at night. So, last night a sweet, snuggly Syd was bundled and soothed and put to sleep at 9:00. It was night three of the routine. We followed at 9:15 ... and my eyes opened again somewhere in the middle of the night and then again at 4:45AM (my ears never really turned off, of course).

We were stunned. We ran to the bassinet and there she was, content and STILL SLEEPING. She finally roused at 5:15. She gave us 8 hours of sleep. Delightful baby girl. We couldn't believe it and honestly feel like we could take on the world today. Of course, we know better than to bank on this happening again in the near future. If it does ~ super! If not ~ we'll keep forging ahead. But we gotta say, last night was great.

It's the little things, isn't it? Like ... sleep. Like ... snow falling on the last day of January and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup for lunch. Like ... a fire and hot cocoa; homemade chocolate chip cookies baking; the smell of wet wool mittens on the radiator and ice cold noses.

Like packing our pockets with snowballs for tomorrow ... I think I need to stop blogging and go out to enjoy the deep, deep snow!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Simple Things

Who would ever have thought that a 30-minute excursion to the local market would be cause for much musing and reflection? I certainly never did. However, this week, after almost 4-months of fairly restricted home life, I went to the grocery store. More to the point, I went to the grocery store all by myself. I drove there and everything. The trip, from getting ready to pushing the cart to reading the headlines of gossip mags in line at the checkout to driving there and back, was completely exhilarating. I drank it all in ~ the new location of cilantro in the produce aisle; the new assortment of energy water (a need for Daddy Leon in our house these days since he remains bound and determined not to drink coffee, silly man!); the new “soup of the day” in the deli. For some reason, being able to successfully navigate such a mundane trip, after so many weeks of restrictions on even the most basic functions of life, gave me renewed energy.

Right now, life centers on Sydney’s needs. Her waking, sleeping, eating and … other functions ;-) are a source of great focus. Life is definitely defined anew. It's different and that's okay. In the midst of all this newness, I am also taking a graduate class – Media Law, if you can believe it. So last week found me entirely focused on baby and cramming in a few minutes of writing here and there to complete a paper covering First Amendment case law. This week, it’s a case study on tort law, specifically building a case for a libel suit that proves actual malice. Good stuff. And certainly interesting in between feedings, naps, diapering and tummy time (yes, we attempt just a bit each day already … it’s fun, not so much because Syd is terribly proficient at it yet, but because Bailey gets in on the action and she is fascinated by him!) Oh, and we have become newly addicted to Hannah Montana. Yep. That’s right. Late night wakeful periods at the Jameson Ranch might just find us with the T.V. tuned low to an episode with Billy Ray and all the crazy Hannah gang. … In light of all of this excitement ;-), maybe you can see why a solo-flight to the market was truly inspiring.

I don’t know about any of you, but my life has always been intensely driven. I love pushing my mind and talents and whole self in pursuit of good things, whether those things be experiences on the home front, the work front or just personal, “inside” things. It’s incredible to be experiencing these first few weeks as a new, young family. Leon and I love navigating challenges and this is no exception. We are being pushed in entirely new ways; what an awesome thing.

I love being intentional and reflective during any new experience. When I take the time to sit and “ponder” (to borrow from that most famous of mothers) all that is happening in my life, in our life and even already in Sydney’s life ~ I am so encouraged and inspired. Thus far, and I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture because there have been late night tears (ours included with Sydney’s) and mid-day melt-downs and early morning frustrations; but thus far, the pursuit of this good thing, this family life, this existence that eclipses “just” Leon and I, this new, weird adventure of our household with a baby, this life with Sydney is just the most incredible “thing” we can imagine!

And it’s only been three weeks ….

Wow. There’s plenty of trips to the market to come, plenty of simple life moments in which to revel and we can't wait.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Week by Week ... A Second Installment

This week has been a wonderful adventure for the Jameson family! Whether navigating 2AM feedings, or conquering diaper changes with only a minimum of fuss, or avoiding the occassional projectile spit-up ~ Leon and Gret are enjoying these early days of new parenting.

And thus far, our little Sydney is putting up with us and exhibiting tremendous tolerance for our blunders ...

(you know, like giving her the first sponge bath and getting soap in her eyes, oh dear ... we've already problem solved THAT little snag! And here's a shot from a successful bath with Grandma Jameson helping out!)

The first night was tough, we won't lie. And what we quickly realized during the successful nights since is that, as with so many things in life, attitude and mindset make all the difference. We would guess that most new parents carry, in the way-way-way back of their mind, a belief that "in time" things will return to "normal". 40-weeks of intentional preparation still doesn't quite pack the same wallop as that first night, when suddenly it becomes clear that the new normal is: this. And it's great and awesome and overwhelming and challenging all at once.

We have a little notebook in the nursery wherein we record the "ins and outs" of Sydney's day-to-day experiences. To make this little book more than just a physical rundown of Sydney's life, each night we take time to write down three things: today's beautiful moment, how Sydney grew today, and what Mommy and Daddy learned ... here are some highlights:

  • We learned, "that when we take our time and are in the moment, there's no place we'd rather be. Our life won't go back - so much lies ahead."
  • We learned, "That [we] each have given of ourselves for our family and we trust that the other knows it and loves them for it."
  • We learned, "That we can't seem to beat the spit-up, no matter how hard we try, but we are determined to triumph yet!"
  • We learned, "Too much stimuli and too many visitors leads to a long night for all! Help!"
  • Finally, "Each day we learn more and more about working together ... and are stronger for it."

It's kind of exciting to wake up each day to a totally new sense of "expected." After 10 years of married life, it's sort of a strange thing to have no real idea of what the day will bring ... that in and of itself has been a challenge. But, we are realizing that being patient and open to whatever comes, being sensitive to and focused on all that God has granted us, and most of all "shelving" self in the interest of our family, our spouse and our child makes these days of total "new" absolutely awesome.
What more could anyone ask from a "normal" life?

Friday, January 4, 2008

~ Sydney Grace ~ January 3, 2008

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."

January 3, 2008 at 5:14PM Leon and I welcomed our sweet, 7lbs., 2oz, 20.5 inches "tall" Sydney Grace into the world. We will share more details soon; until then, enjoy these first photos of our little wonder.

We cannot give thanks enough for the safe delivery of Sydney ~ for the prayers and love offered by our friends and family ~ for the abundance of God's provision. Join our prayers of thanksgiving and joy!

Papa Staude greets his newest granddaughter.

Daddy loves his little girl!

Papa and Gramma Staude smile with Sydney.

Mommy and Sydney see eye-to-eye.