Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Boogie Wipe State of Mind

The cold bug has hit the Jorgensen home yet again, which means I'm finding myself floating in and out home and work this week, attempting to be in two places at once, yet doing everything in this sort of foggy state - the kind where you know the clear is in sight and it's just a matter of hitting the gas and riding it through.

Because after all, life is a highway, right?

When Cruz is sick, my mom-guard kicks into turbo gear.  I watch him closer, hug him tighter, and love him stronger, because really, that's about all you can do when your baby's fighting a cold.  Love and a whole lot of Vicks, I guess.

And in between the frequent cuddles and tender moments this week, the Cruz Man has been giving us a few reminders that the terrible twos aren't too far away.  I keep reminding myself that he doesn't feel good, that the constant snot, slobber, and cough are enough to make anyone a little reckless and a little defiant.  So, let's just say I've let a few things slide this week and done my best to keep my little guy tear-free.  Because tears=more snot, and Lord knows we've got our fair share of that around here.


...After two days of struggling to get Cruz to eat anything, I was finally able to get him to eat some yogurt tonight.  This involved a process of me sticking the end of the spoon in my mouth, and doing a sort-of airplane glide (with sound effects) until the front of the yogurt-filled spoon hit his mouth.  I know it sounds weird, but it worked, and I even scored some laughs from my nugget.  

While getting Cruz's bath ready tonight, I casually ignored the fact that he was using his finger and my conditioner to paint a picture on the toilet lid...

...and I didn't get upset when he 'accidentally' threw a half-filled cup of sudsy water onto the bathroom floor, followed by EVERY TOY IN HIS BATHTUB!

I crossed my legs the other way when I noticed a snot stain on my dress pants during my meeting this afternoon...

...and although mortified, turned my sleeve the other way after noticing how disgusting it was when handing my debit card to the cashier at Hobby Lobby last night.

I've decided it's perfectly fine to let your child help you unload the dishwasher in nothing but his birthday suit...  

...and okay that a Little Debbie Snack Cake followed Cruz's yogurt for supper tonight...

...and that crackers and cheese on the living room carpet before bed was perfectly acceptable....

...and that sometimes, you just gotta let your baby sit by the kitchen sink and repeatedly suck water from his toothbrush for a half hour simply because he was content.

There is nothing glamorous about parenting.  It's raw, it's real, and sometimes, it's rather disgusting.  But somewhere in between the Boogie Wipes, the upturned sippy cup leaking in the corner of the living room, and that sticky-something on the bedroom floor, there's a beauty in parenting that is nearly impossible to put into words.  

Because tonight, after the third vapor-bath in a row, a freshly lotioned baby, and a smudge of vaseline to his little nose, the two of us snuggled together in a still and quiet house with a soft white blanket and exactly three books.  After two rounds of whispering the words to 'The Wheels on the Bus,' and 'I Love You As Much,' I could hear his little breaths get deeper and could see his eyelids get heavier.  I set the books on the table next to me, turned his little body toward mine, and closed my eyes. 

There we rocked, together in that chair, and nothing else mattered in the world. 


Monday, January 30, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...

Cruz is such a busy boy these days, that at times, it seems all we do is follow him around as he 'grazes.'  Yes, he grazes.  Fumbles from one corner to the next, rearranging nicknacks and tearing through anything he can get his hands on, never really committing to one toy for too long.  No end table is safe!  In fact, last night, I was in the kitchen checking my email and Beau was in the bedroom with Cruz.  Cruz was once again going through my night stand drawer, looking to get his hands on a battery powered back massage toy that looks like a robot with three legs.  All of a sudden, I hear a loud crash and run into the bedroom to find an overturned lamp, a broken (glass) candle vase, and a collapsed night stand.  Fortunately, Cruz escaped without a scratch, but was a little scarred by the crash.  Until this morning that is...
Although Cruz is all over the place right now, there are a few toys that have become his favorites.  Likewise, these toys have become our favorites, as they tend to preoccupy our busy bee for more than five minutes!

These flashcards are great.  We now have three sets, and try to keep them in different rooms so they stay organized.  This is the first go-to toy in Cruz's toy room, and he can't play with them unless he's sitting at his little table.  One by one, he takes them out of the case, recites a made-up sound he's attributed to each, and throws them on the floor until he's made his way through the entire set.  They're a great way to learn words and I give them the credit for Cruz's 'vrroom' sound, as well as his newest recognizable words: 'ball,' 'shoes,' and 'keys.'

Ever since Cruz's birthday, I've had a thing for sock monkeys.  And for $10 at Target, this pirate sock monkey has provided hours of entertainment and loads of laughs.  It plays a song by the Black Eyed Peas and is the background music during diaper changes or really any time we're in Cruz's room.  It's the only toy in the house we've had to replace the batteries on, and really the only stuffed animal Cruz shows much interest in.  If only the other 20 or so stuffed animals in his room knew how to sing the Black Eyed Peas ;)

I'll never forget when I picked Cruz up from daycare last spring and saw him in the corner of the playground, riding a plastic rocking horse similar to this one all by himself.  It was at that moment I knew he needed one here at home.  My parents surprised him with one for his birthday and it's now the toy he goes to when he really wants to show off.  It's downstairs in our family room and we share many laughs watching him rock (and now stand) on his rocking puppy. 

Finally---I thought the day would never come!  The last month or so, Cruz Man loves to read books!  Several times during any given day, Cruz comes waddling into the room with two or three books.  He does his adorable little back-up into our laps and listens quietly as we read.  Sometimes, he sits for 30 seconds before he's up looking for another book, and other times, especially around bedtime, he'll sit for two, or three, or one, over and over and over again...

...like this one.  Cruz has had a thing for Dr. Seuss since he was tiny, and this book is great on many levels.  It's small enough to stick in a diaper bag, includes touch-and-feel fun on every page, and has fun, catchy rhythm on every page.  It's definitely one of his faves.

And of course, Let's Rock Elmo!  Elmo is another part of our family.  After all, he's the only one who's seen the killer rock concerts and dance parties that go on around here (unless I forgot to shut the curtains again ;)

There's a few of Cruz's favorite things!  All you mamas out there, don't be afraid to pass on your favorites!  We have a few open spaces left on our toy shelves :)

Have a good week!  Can't believe tomorrow is the last day of January.  Looking forward to love month, Superbowl food, and a fun surprise on my blog---stay tuned!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cruz's Bag of Tricks

While I'm positive these videos aren't funny to anyone else, I had to post.  A video of Cruz showing off his latest bag of tricks (and up a little past his bedtime the other night), and Cruz and his cousin Charly eating popcorn during the Patriots' game!  I think their expressions are hilarious!  

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's Going On

Life seems to be going in waves lately.  One week it seems we're hardly keeping our heads above water, swimming from place to place day by day with a whole lot of chronos time in the middle.  Cruz seems to follow in step, and it seems the busier we are, the faster he moves!  

But, as soon as a big, rough wave runs through our house and creates quite the stir, it slows down again, giving us just enough time to sink our toes in the sand and enjoy the sunset.  

This weekend was slow time around our house.  A perfect little snowstorm blessed us with another three day weekend, and gave us time to be home, hibernate in our surroundings, and enjoy each others' company.  

It started with breakfast.  Breakfast at Gravy's, a 1950s inspired diner, complete with a black and white checked tiled floor, Elvis Presley posters, and old movies playing on the TVs that overlook the open kitchen.  Bundled up in our pajamas, we nestled in a red vinyl booth and sipped hot cups of coffee, and devoured plate-sized waffles, crispy bacon, and fried eggs that smelled like Grandma Henrichs' house on Sunday morning.

Cruz Man loves the pig.  Ham, sausage, and bacon are his go-to proteins.  Only lately, he's become quite picky with the way his food is served.  Gone are the days when he lets me feed him; gone are the days where I cut everything into tiny bite-sized pieces.  No, our independent one likes to do things himself - whether it's attempting to stab a piece of waffle with a fork, or stick an entire slice of bacon in his mouth.  

We're settling into our wintertime routine, and although I'm already itching for warmer temps., tan baby legs, and sidewalk chalk, I welcome cold excuses to stay inside and take life easy.  And it's good time to establish new routines and continue with old ones...

...Like bedtime.  Cruz has his fifteen month appointment tomorrow and I am not about to tell the doctor that Cruz is still getting a bottle (because as of Saturday night, Cruz is not getting a bottle).  With the What to Expect the First Year doctrine ringing in my ears since October, I've struggled with weening the nighttime bottle from Cruz.  When you have a good sleeper, you'd rather shoot yourself in the foot than do anything to mess with it.  But, because we'd never tried putting CB to sleep without one, we had no idea how his nightly routine would change.  

The last couple of nights prior to this new bedtime routine, it seems Cruz has been trying to take matters into his own hands.  As if to say, 'Guys, really, I'm not a baby anymore,' he hasn't seemed as interested in his bottle and has even started playing after drinking it.  
"Thanks for the drink, guys, but if you think it still works to put me to sleep, you've got another thing coming."

It's time to work a little harder.  So, Saturday night, I started a new bedtime routine.  After playing downstairs in our family room after supper, I scoop Cruz up about 8:00 and take him upstairs.  After pajamas, a new diaper, a soft blankie, and exactly three books, we cuddle up in the recliner.  No TV, no cell phone, and no computer, the two of us read, and snuggle, and initiate bedtime.  It's worked both nights.  By the third book, Cruz is almost out.  After holding him in the quiet for about five or ten minutes (sorry, can't give this part up), into his crib he goes.  Although this sends him into panic mode (clinging, screaming, stomping), it only lasts about five minutes.  And the best part of our new bedtime routine?  Sunday morning, our sleepy head woke up at 8:00, and this morning, 7:30.  

So far, so good.  Goodbye for now, bottles!

With the new bedtime routine now established, it's really important that I continue to maintain my New Year's Resolution of family meals at the table at least three nights during the week.  Last night, while Beau and Cruz took a nap downstairs, I cooked dinner for my family in a clean kitchen.  Having the time and the quiet to chop, blend, and perfect was so refreshing for me.  That, paired with a delicious, home-style spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, and a toddler who ate an entire plateful of spaghetti noodles, was enough to make me feel like June Cleaver herself.  These nights are exactly the vision I had of motherhood before I was pregnant.  It's as simple as taking care of my family, providing yummy things to eat, and keeping the house in order.  And due to the superwoman status of today's working woman, simple nights like this don't always happen as often as I'd like.  I guess that allows me to really appreciate when they do.  

I remember this picture my mom took of me when I was about Cruz's age.  I was sitting in a highchair in our tiny little house with a handful of spaghetti noodles on my tray.  Mom was dishing some noodles out for Jordan and everything seemed so together.  I'm not sure why I remember that picture so much, but it's always represented this picture of raising babies and maintaining a household.  And last night, I had the opportunity to relive the picture.  That picture, coupled with a glass of wine and a sprinkle of fresh basil was the perfect combination to end the weekend.      

Have a good week!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chronos vs. Kairos

Have you come across fellow mom blogger, Glennon Melton's recent blog post, 'Don't Carpe Diem.'  It's a must-read.  Her honest portrayal of motherhood is realistic and so relatable.  I love her contrasts and polar opposite views of motherhood, because in all reality, motherhood is full of them.  Like one minute, you feel like superwoman mom-of-the-year, powerfully able to balance work and home, groceries and grading, bills and play, love and discipline, Green Eggs and Ham and The Grapes of Wrath all in a pair of high heels and a perfect hair day.  And the very next minute, well, you're an utter wreck.  Like tonight, when I bent over to grab the umpteenth piece of food Cruz deliberately threw on the floor, just in time for him to smear a half of banana in my hair.  Or finally deciding to clean the cat's litter box after the twelfth or so day, only to realize the little helper beside me just got his first taste of litter.  Or the fact that when we finally sat down at 7:00 to eat our five-minute tacos after one of the busiest days ever, I realized I hadn't peed since 7:00 this morning.  

This is what Glennon Melton refers to as brutiful.  A mixture of beautiful moments and brutal moments.  Moments when you feel as though you could literally explode from happiness, and moments when you can't wait for your child to fall asleep so you can sit on the couch and watch a half hour of Steven Tyler on American Idol---in peace.  For the most part, I choose to use this blog to record the beauty of it all - the moments I embrace and hope to write down in order to remember it all.  But every now and then, it feels pretty good to write about the mess.  The mess that has to be part of it all in order for us to really appreciate the rainbows.  

Today, thanks to Glennon Melton, I learned that life runs in two different time zones.  The Chronos and Kairos.  Chronos is the real time of life, the time parents often live in.  The time when you're on your hands and knees scrubbing sticky, dried-up juice off the kitchen floor, or wiping the lick marks off the dishwasher, or stepping on a toy pirate ship in the shower at 5:30 in the morning.  It's the 22 minutes you sit in agony listening to your overly tired child cry in his crib, and the 12 minutes it took to mow down the Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal you grabbed at McDonalds (and the guilt you felt afterwards).  It's the raw, real, not-so-rare time that leaves you feeling panicky when someone stops you in the line at Target and says, 'enjoy every single minute.'  Because in all reality, there are moments that just aren't that enjoyable (aka, banana in hair). 

And then there's Kairos time.  Those moments straight out of a storybook, straight from God Himself, when we stop, look, and melt with happiness.  The moments when you feel like the luckiest woman in the world, in the absolute best place of your life.  And because these moments aren't planned and aren't predicted, it's critical that you see and soak 'em up.  As Glennon says, 'If I have a couple of Kairos a day, I call it a success.'  

If only we had watches that told time in Kairos.  

Mine would point to last Monday, a free day at home with Cruz in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.  The hour or so we played in his room, danced to his pirate sock monkey and sang 'Yellow Submarine' with Raffi.  Kairos is time in Cruz's room, his cozy little nook that provides this little escape from the rest of our house.  I've loved his room since the first night I rocked him to sleep in his great grandma's chair.

Kairos would also be those moments when I really take a moment to soak up Cruz's face.  The way his eyebrows turn inward as he's focusing on a flash card, or the close-mouthed smile that cracks when he catches you staring at him.  The moments when you stop and remember that he's mine and I actually created that.    

Kairos is the moment you connect with a student you've been trying to crack for two years, or the day you finish teaching and think, 'wow, that couldn't have went better.'
Kairos is sitting down to eat the most delicious orange chicken recipe clinking glasses of beer with Beau and feeling like we still got this cooking thing down.

Kairos is quiet time in the bathtub.  Everything seems to slow down when there's suds involved.  From the way his hair smells after being shampooed to the wrinkles on the bottom of his feet, bath time is the perfect Kairos at the end of a day.

Kairos is catching Beau and Cruz dancing in the living room to Taylor Swift.

Kairos is having conversations at the window, watching Cruz's animated expressions as he tells me stories I can't comprehend.  The way his eyes light up when he's excited and the way he laughs at himself when he knows he's funny.

Kairos is every kiss I land on his kissable cheeks.  It happens at least twenty times a day.  And when I'm lucky, he kisses back.  

Thanks, Glennon, for the added perspective when the days are fill up with a lot more Chronos than Kairos.  And for the added reminder that sometimes less is more.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Into Our Wild

 "If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry...that is your success.  The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them.  They are the highest reality...the true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.  It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched."
We are deeply caught up in literature again in my 10th grade Integrated Language Arts class.  This week, we're studying the disturbing, compelling, and deeply sad story of Chris McCandless, inspiration for the novel and film, Into the Wild.  Written by Jon Krakauer (a must-read), and adapted by Sean Penn, this story recounts the life of McCandless as he embarks on a journey to cleanse himself from the cynicism in society and seek spiritual clarity and ultimate happiness in the wild.  He does this in the extremist of senses, burning his identification, giving his $24,000 savings account to charity, and refusing to let anyone in on his plans.  Spending years backpacking across the country, Chris forms relationships with many interesting people along the way, and ultimately ends up in the Alaskan wild, with nothing to keep him company but his own mind and the characters in his books. 

Although I won't spoil the ending for you in case you've never seen this film, Chris's story not only infuses quotes and excerpts from so many of the authors we read in class, but brings up important, provocative questions about society, happiness, and personal freedom.  Students empathize with Chris and relate to his distaste for life, yet contemplate whether or not he's some reckless slacker who needs to assimilate, or a person with meaning, purpose, and all the right ideas.  Although leaving my family and living alone in Alaska is about as far from my idea of happiness as running a marathon or ripping my big toenail off, there are pieces of his philosophy I admire and strive to make part of my life.  

Like seeing the beauty in the small things.  The ever-present details that are as soon as forgotten in a world caught up in the supposed big things.  

Or the importance of reflection and self-evaluation.  Moments of pause that whisper truths in our silence.  

Today is a snow day and I'm enjoying the chance to slow down and be at home with Cruz.  It may not be the Alaskan wild, but it definitely feels like it sometimes...

We make messes.  Our wild one tears through our house, pulling hot pads from cupboards and books from his shelves at the speed of light.  This morning, as I was putting away his kitchen explorations, he came out of the bathroom holding a feminine product he scored from the cupboard under the sink.  Sometimes I wonder if my cupboards will ever look the same.

Cruz's highchair has already seen toast with grape jelly, Pillsbury croissants filled with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and finger paint and it's not even 1:00.  And Cruz's mouth has met all of that, too...


Even the finger paint.


We made masterpieces and sang 'If You're Happy and You Know It,' in between bites of chocolate croissants.  We snuggled and watched last week's episode of Glee, and cheered on daddy as he made his way through the eight-or-so inches of powder on our driveway.  And as the snow fell outside, we lived our little wild safe inside.

Thanks for the free day, Mother Nature.  We're making good use of it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When Dad's in Charge...

Tonight, I decided I was long overdue for a bender at school.  A night of catching up, finding my desk again, and getting to the bottom of my inbox.  Beau was happy to pick Cruz up from daycare and enjoy a 'guy's night' with Cruz Man.

I just received a text...

I'm not sure what stuns me more about this picture.  The fact that Beau decided to go shopping during 'guy's night,' or the outfit that my son is wearing in public. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Came

After taking Cruz on a walk last Monday night, grilling burgers for supper, and playing outside on Tuesday, I was beginning to wonder if winter was MIA this year.  And as someone who could never quite imagine Christmas without a blanket of freshly fallen snow, I've been surprised to say that I haven't missed the white stuff one bit.  Not having to warm the car up in the morning, or bundle Cruz up until he can't walk has been a nice transition into the season and made our mornings much more bearable.  But, in the midst of our 50 degree weather, gorgeous sunsets, and January green grass, we all knew in the back of our minds that winter could hit and shock our systems whenever it pleased.

I just hoped it wasn't in April.

On Thursday, winter came.  It came in the form of 4 or so inches of the perfect wintery snow, light and fluffy.  That, mixed with 30 mph winds made for a Winter Weather Advisory and drifts much higher than Cruz in the middle of our driveway.  When we left for work Thursday morning, Cruz was pretty confused by it all.  Last year, we ventured out in the snow when he was just two months old, but the white stuff seemed all new to him this year.

So to get him acquainted with the precipitation that will likely be a part of his childhood, on Saturday, Beau and I bundled him up and took him outside.  

After piling on layer by layer of snow gear, I have all new appreciation for a Kindergarten teacher!  Our snow baby thought his snow pants were awesome.  He pranced around the house and liked the swish swish swish sound effect they made as he walked.

The boots were another story.  While I'm glad he got some use out of his adorable Gap boots I scored for 40% off, he definitely wasn't used to walking in them.  He'd go really slow, topple over, then resort to crawling to get to his destination.  And this was just in the living room!  The Robeez he's used to definitely don't provide the ankle support these boots do!

After spending 20 minutes bundling him up, we spent about 20 minutes outside.  Up and down the street in the sled Santa brought him, Cruz was pretty emotionless for most of the experience, except when Beau would send him down a slippery slope and he would 'crash' into a snowbank on the side of the street.  Cruz would respond with a low 'ohhhhhhh,' which we equated with interest and awe.  When it came to pushing Cruz down the street, Beau was a little more 'aggressive' than I expected, which left me repeatedly reminding him, 'He's only one!!!!!!!!!!'  But, Cruz seemed to enjoy it, at least until he got a mitten full of snow, and wouldn't stop messing with it.  

After his cheeks began to turn a storybook pink, and our tired boy attempted to rub his eyes with his snow-filled mitten, we decided to call it a day.  And just as we pulled his boots off and set his mittens by the register to dry, he was out like a light.  Cruz took a three-hour nap (in his crib, score!), and I was able to relax with a cup of cocoa and a movie.   

Time to go in!

I'm not sure who was more exhausted by the adventure---Cruz or his parents :).



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