Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year Indeed!

Guess what?!!?!? We paid off Ben's school loan!!! We still have mine to pay off, but then we'll be free of debt that's not a mortgage. My loan is currently deferred since I'm not working, so we plan to focus on our savings for a bit until we have at least three months worth of paychecks saved up, right now we have almost a month and a half's worth. Our hope is to buy the next car outright and hopefully it won't take up all of our savings. Then, we'll decide if we need to replenish the savings or dive into paying off my school loan. We'd like to be completely debt free by age 35, that's only three years away though, so it's a bit ambitious as my school loan is HUGE...like $30,000 huge. I'll start a ticker for that when we start paying on it. I love tickers, they so motivate me!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!!!

We just had our family Christmas and put Z to bed. He loved his train set and didn't want to go to bed and have to leave it. We can hear him over the monitor muttering, "Choo choo" to himself between sobs. We had an impromtu dinner with our friend, Dale, who stopped by to give our "Christian dogs" presents (he says he caught them praying one time). We had Mexican Mole over chicken and bean filled corn tortillas. Ben got SmartWool socks as requested and I got a HUGE surprise...a serger!!! I couldn't believe it! I can't wait to try it out! Juju got a gym membership...well, more like a monkey gym that she lays under. I didn't even know it played music till she grabbed the middle monkey and pulled it! There's a picture on the slideshow of that. This morning Ben's sister, Debbi came over to help with the kids while I finished some secret Christmas sewing.

The next couple of days are busy with Ben's family. I talked to my folks tonight, they arrived in Germany safely today. I'm so thankful I got to spend seven of Juju's first twelve weeks with my mom. I cried a lot yesterday after she left. I hope you enjoy the pictures in the slide show. Some were taken by my Dad, my mom, Ben and myself. Below is a short video Ben took the other day that we wanted to share to give you some holiday cheer!
video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Random Wigness

Every year there's usually at least one present I'm super excited about giving, mainly because I felt inspired about it. Like it was a really clever gift for that person. This year that person is my Grandpa V in Iowa. Are you excited, Grandpa? I am!!! I'm also really excited about the presents I made for people. I've never made quite so many gifts as this year. I was telling Ben how making gifts helps me grasp a better understanding of God's love for us. All the effort I put into making something isn't my effort to top other gifts (sometimes it actually feels cheesier to give a homemade gift "Oh, it's another one of Becca's bags! heh heh), but rather to give the person a glimpse of how much they're loved. The whole experience gives me a tiny glimpse of how much God loves us and it overwhelms me.

I found my first gray hair today. I'd been praying it would go white, not gray, but we'll see. Looks pretty colorless, can't tell.

Atticus (aka BooBoo)

I just made a bed for my dog, Atticus, in the bathroom. Ever since Juju was born Z's love for the dogs has turned more and more violent. Scout quickly found respite in our bedroom during the day. We kick her out for nap time, then she goes right back in afterwards. Anywhere Z is, she is not. Finally, Atticus, the slower, slightly special one figured out that he's happier alone in the bathroom upstairs than downstairs amidst the chaos. It's a sad existence for our poor dogs right now. Especially compared to their previous life as our sole babies. Someday, Z and Juju will be their best friends and life will be better than ever for them, but for now they're in purgatory and it stinks.
Scout as a puppy

I haven't mentioned our dogs much as I started this blog after Z was born and he completely overshadowed them, but they're actually very special dogs. They're American Hairless Terriers. We bought them in Spotsylvania, Virginia from a wonderful breeder who is very selective about who she sells to. We made the cut somehow, but were given lots of rules. We actually had to promise not to tattoo our dogs. We have to bathe them weekly and cover them in lotion afterwards. They don't get fleas and if they would get a tick, it would be easy to spot. When they've gotten a cut, it's easy to put neosporin on it and a band aid if in a spot they can't reach.

Dogs donning freckles
Yes, they get cold, that's where I started my sewing career. It was way cheaper for me to make outfits than to buy them custom made at $35 each. Most doggie outfits at the store don't cover enough to keep a hairless dog warm enough. So, I made long sleeve, long legged, turtle-neck outfits that covered most of their bodies. I made a bunch before Z was born and I haven't made any since. I recently bought fabric to do so as their coats are starting to wear thin. They wear them year round as the air conditioning is pretty cold in the summer. Some people ask us why they wear clothes when it seems fairly warm outside and we explain that if we're wearing clothes, they need clothes. Only when it's so hot we wish we didn't have to wear clothes do we take theirs off. Yes, they need sunscreen. Another funny thing about them is that they develop freckles in the sun that cover their whole bodies. They lose them in the winter.

Scout just after Z was born.
She's had post-partum depression ever since.

They're good tempered dogs and easy to train. Surprisingly, they're not test-tube dogs, but rather a naturally occurring species that was just born of a rat terrier! If you're interested in learning more, here's a link to their history.

Now, for those who were thinking, "I want to hear about the kids, not the dogs!" I'll throw you a bone. Juju got weighed yesterday and was 14 pounds and 24 1/4" long! The doctor said over and over how big she is for almost 3 months. Juju holds her head up consistently and rolls from belly to back and from her back to her side. She loves to stand up like a big girl and lifts her knee like she's doing a jig. Her favorite thing is to have conversations with people. She likes eye contact and will responds to being spoken to with great enthusiasm.

Z who is almost 2 1/2 years old now, weighed in at 37 lbs. Not sure how tall he is, but he's slimming out a lot. He's the best big brother ever and kisses the baby and nuzzles his face to hers everyday. He cries whenever she cries, which is not fun for us. We're very eager to retire his car seat and move to the booster, and we're just a few pounds away. He's absolutely, positively smitten by Thomas the Tank Engine, which is why we got him a Geo Trax Train set for Christmas. It has a remote control for toddlers! He likes everything that "goes" be it cars, planes, tractors, boats or trains. He's very social and loves to play with other kids at our Play Group and play dates with friends. Oh, and if you've ever called our house, you know he loves to talk on the phone. He has a pretty big ornery streak and I just found that he's been painting my bathroom wall with liquid hand soap as I typed this. At least the one thing in the house will be clean!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome Zerbik!

Some of you know I have kept another blog, Zerbik, for about two years now. I call it "My deep thoughts blog", but it's really where I journal my spiritual struggles and revelations. I've decided to import the entire blog to this one.

The move is symbolic, I think, of my own being ready to integrate my faith into every area of my life. As I write this I realize it's an answer to prayer really. I'd been praying that God would teach me how to share His Love with others. In putting this on my heart, to move my Zerbik site to this one, I learn that I need to be my whole self with everyone. In the past I'd compartmentalize friends as those that I can talk about spiritual things and those that I could not. I didn't want to make people uncomfortable. I'm not out to bash people on their heads with my Bible, but it's really good for me to be myself, my real self, all the time.

The name Zerbik came about from what my parents call "Raspberries" that you give each other on your stomachs. We called them "zerbiks". I grew up to find that the word was actually "Zerbert" and it was made popular by the Cosby show in the 80s. I think there's a lot of things like that in life where you grow up thinking one thing only to find out it's actually another, but actually someone just made both of them up. I think we're supposed to reevaluate what we were taught growing up and then continue to reevaluate what society continually tries to teach us. Perhaps the way most people raise their children isn't beneficial for your child! Perhaps the common view of God isn't the true picture. Perhaps how we act as Christians isn't that Christ-like most of the time. Zerbik is about my search for truth in every area, especially the gray ones that the Bible isn't explicit about.

You'll find posts about circumcision, balancing freedom and discipline, loving others (even competitive moms), handling self-imposed crisis and lots more. I
hope you enjoy this "new" addition to WigLife. Click on the label "Zerbik" in the list of labels on the left to read some of my heart poured out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

WigNews*

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels crazy busy lately. I just wrote out a to do list this morning that seems nearly impossible with two little ones. Two big things in our house of late: We've switched Z's nap and bedtime schedule around so that he's getting a shorter nap and going to bed much much earlier.

Old sleep schedule: 2 hour nap with wake-up call, 10pm bedtime, wake-up call at 7:30am
New sleep schedule: 1/2 hour nap, 8pm bedtime, sleep in

So far, we're really liking the change, we wake him up just one time a day instead of both times, he's sleeping through the night just fine even though it's longer and he seems well rested. Oh, and we're getting a couple hours at night together with just the baby.

The other is that after a month of the dairy free diet for me, we didn't see much change in Juju's congestion. So, last Thursday I reintroduced dairy, but every time I ate much I got nauseated! Sure enough, two days later, Juju's sniffles worsened to the point where we had to leave the bedroom so the boys could sleep. We realized that her congestion had improved, we just hadn't noticed until the hand saw noises sounded more like a chain saw. So, I'm back off dairy. Now, I suspect there's something else I shouldn't be eating to help her even more, but I've no idea what to cut out next. Eggs, wheat, soy...?

In other news, I've made two new friends and they're both really interesting. One is from Mexico and the other is from Germany. Both moved here six months ago and have been having to learn English. They both had English lessons growing up, but it's still like a foreign language for them. I've been learning so much about their cultures. Last week Clara (from Mexico) taught me how to make Chicken Mole and sushi! She also sews, does dry wall, plumbing and regular Handy Manny type stuff. She's quite impressive. Alexa, the German one, has two little ones like I do, plays the stock market and is super duper fit, like she runs triathlons fit. I so want learn from these women! They are the ones who inspired the schedule change for Z and a few changes in our meal plans.

Here's a clip I took just today, just for you!!!
video
Enjoy your day!

*Note: New pictures in sidebar slideshow!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas or Xmas?

Ideas for Keeping the true meaning of Christmas your focus:
  1. Do advent calendars or advent candles/wreaths to prepare yourself and family for the holiday.
  2. Do a Jesse Tree! See this link for more information! [Thanks to Kristina for this tip]
  3. Give just one gift to others in your family to symbolize the one special gift of Jesus' birth.
  4. Use a child-friendly nativity set to tell your kids the story of Jesus' birth.
  5. Participate in your church's Christmas activities as a family
  6. Read the Christmas story aloud on Christmas or Christmas Eve: Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.
  7. Teach thankfulness by role-modeling. Don't take back gifts unless you need a different size. Have your kids pose for pictures with their new possessions and send those with thank yous, better yet, have your child write the thank you! Why not make being grateful as big of a deal as opening presents?
  8. Volunteer at shelters, visit a nursing home or someone who's lonely.
I think there's a number of things we can do (and not do) to keep Christ at the center of this holiday that bears His Name. However, just as in Christianity it's no longer about what we do or don't do that brings us closer to God. Jesus' perfect sacrifice was the fulfillment of all our debts, and now what's left for us to do? " To glorify God and enjoy Him forever," according to the Westminster Catechism for children that my parents had me memorize when I was five. So too, with Christmas, we will get the most out of that day, as with every day if we love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love others as we love ourselves. The true meaning of Christmas is love, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

In my last Zerbik post, I wrote that our relationships on Earth reflect our relationship with God. It goes without saying, though I'm gonna say it anyway, it's a good time to get right with God and mend broken relationships here too. How many kids are just wishing that their parent would just spend time with them or be nice to them, and secretly wanting that more than any other gift. Or maybe it's the parents wishing their kids would be loving toward them? The same goes for husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, co-workers and so on.

The best way to enjoy your holiday and keep the true meaning of Christmas all at the same time is to remember that you were created for something bigger than yourself and then act like it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and other ideas on this subject.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Updates!

Here's the new glasses that I am so spoiled to get! These are my first black pair and my husband likes them a lot, which is important. As my friend at Fragile Flower said when she got her new haircut and glasses, "I feel pretty, oh, so pretty!"



My Dad arrived last Saturday and took the above picture (not the video) and the six new additions to the slide show (check out the bathtub pic!). My parents watched Z yesterday so Ben and I could have a date, yes with Juju in tote, but she was such a good girl and slept the whole time! Today, my parents are on a date by themselves to catch up, they've been apart for over two months. Tomorrow, we're picking up some pies from Der Dutchman, where they're yummy, oh, so yummy! On Thanksgiving we're ordering in. We couldn't rationalize making a huge meal for just the four of us so we're ordering a turkey dinner from Zoar Tavern and Inn. It's a first for my family to do such a scandalous thing and I'm proud of us for having the hutspa to do it!


I remembered something else to update you guys on! Remember the Discover Card deal that I shared in a previous "Money For Nothin'" article where you earn up to 5% back on gas and automotive purchases? Well, it was a little too tempting for us to have a credit card to use after just having paid off all the others. Also, it only gives you 5% back on the first $100 of automotive expenditures AND it wasn't counting the gas I bought at Giant Eagle's GetGo as automotive, but rather, grocery! So, we decided to pay the thing off and stop using it. Now, "petrol" is a budget item, to be distinguished from the "gas bill" item. My grandparents in Tennessee are very good about sticking to fuel only purchases and don't really spend more than $100 a month on it, so they're truly maximizing the benefits of the Discover Card fuel perks program. We didn't want to feel like we still had debt or a huge bill to pay off every month, so we're better off without it.

Finally, next week I want to hear how you and your family are making efforts to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year. My friend at YarnSticks and I have been discussing this topic by e-mail. I think she has some good ideas which I'll share with you next time. Be ready, WigLife will really dive into this next week! As for Thanksgiving, our pastor at LifeBridge Community Church had a good idea for maximizing quality time with your family which he shared from the pulpit last Sunday: Turn off your TV! Just turn it off!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WigUpdates

Hi there! New pictures have been posted in the side bar. I omitted a cute naked picture of Z, he'll thank me someday. Speaking of the Z-man. About a three months ago we were visiting Daddy at work and he overheard someone call him, "Ben," which led to a good week of calling Daddy "Ben". We thought that was behind us when we noticed him calling Daddy "Bubby" last week. That's my pet name for Daddy! I over heard the following last week from another room:

Daddy: "My name is Daddy, so you call me Daddy, Okay?"

Z: "Okay, Bubby!"

More recently I noticed MY name had been replaced. I thought perhaps it was a one time thing when in the middle of a tense dinner moment (we were all stressed out trying to eat quickly before a church function), I give Z his juice and he says, "Thanks, Honey!". Thank goodness for comical moments that bring us out of our grumpiness. I'm trying really hard to only call Ben, "Daddy" when Z's around. It's almost subconscious though! Poor little guy sprained his ankle last night chasing Daddy. He hasn't walked on it all day, crawls around instead.

Updates on things I've talked about with y'all on WigLife:
Update on Juju: I'm still on a dairy free diet, it's been a week and a half. I'm sticking with it for another week and a half before I decide whether it's working or not. So far, there's been no change in Juju's breathing at night. The Ear, Nose and Throat doc said that she's just got dry nasal passages. Though it sounds like she's congested, she's essentially snoring when she inhales and exhales. It's really sad to listen to like one of those snuffly pug nosed doggies. We're to use saline drops up her nose 5 times a day. Anways, we'll keep you posted.

Update on the budget: I'm sold on keeping a budget for our family expenses. Though it's a bit of extra work, it's crucial to keeping organized and sticking to goals. When I was greatly pregnant I went on strike one paycheck and didn't do a budget, we not only didn't make a payment on Ben's school loan that paycheck but we overspent and couldn't the next paycheck either. It seems we paid it down really fast at first (partially thanks to our tax returns) and now it's going super slowly. It's discouraging, especially when we've barely scratched the surface of my school loan, but we'll get there and the budget will only help that goal.

E-Mealz: I did not end up doing that e-mealz program that I thought I might. I've been making my own meal plan and sticking to it, which has been a huge money saver.

FlyLady: I haven't been reading these e-mails since Juju was born, HOWEVER, I did read them and other articles on her website before she was born and I learned a lot about how to incorporate regular cleaning into your schedule. I haven't figured out how to have two kids and do most of them, but I still run the dish washer at night and empty it in the morning which she suggested.

Earth Shoes: I wore my fancy sandals all Summer long and after the first week I no longer felt like I was going to fall backwards. A yoga instructor invented their Kalso negative gravity heels which I really really like. I think the BEST place to buy these is on e-bay though as my friend has bought several pairs for under $20, which is better than the deal I got at Shoebuy.com.

Recycling: I wish I could keep up my nifty plan of recycling all my junk mail, but I'm afraid that was a wonderful symptom of my nesting during pregnancy. I used the envelopes up till a couple weeks ago for keeping grocery and gas budgets on the outside, with receipts on the inside. Now, I realize, I'm not sure why I was keeping those receipts anyways. So, I just keep their running totals on the opposite page in my budget notebook.

TV: I'm being real with you guys here, OK? We waited until last season's "The Office" was over before we cut off our cable for all our noble reasons. I wish in some ways we'd waited until the Olympics and the Presidential election were over too, but in other ways I don't. So, we've missed a TON of American culture and I feel myself becoming more and more disconnected with things.
Like, for instance, I haven't heard of any of the movies listed on the marquee at our mall. I heard enough presidential campaign coverage on the radio. I figured out all by myself that cardigans that button up at the top only are in style right now. Ooh, and puffy vests. Lots of trendy people wear those now. It almost makes me less inclined to follow suit, even if I like the style. But, I guess I was kind of like that before we cut the cable. I learn about new cereals when I get to the grocery store. We learn about breaking news when my Grandma calls me. In a few years I suspect we'll be completely foreign to the culture we're living in.

I like it though, if "Daddy" lets me, I'm rearranging the furniture in my living room so the comfy stuff doesn't center around the TV, but rather is more conducive to discussions and relaxing. Z still watches Thomas the Tank Engine excessively, the TV isn't going anywhere soon, but I like not feeling enslaved by it. Y'know?

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Since we didn't send birth announcements to very many people, I thought I'd share what we sent which was the above picture with the following:
"The Wigton Production Co. announces...2008 Wigton Baby Girl...Model released: September 26, Weight: 7 pounds, 8 ounces, Length: 20.5 inches. The Management Team, Ben & Becca assures the public there will be no new models the balance of the year."

Yes, her full name was included. If anyone missed that memo, please e-mail me or leave a comment here and I'll send you an e-announcement. The picture was taken when she was one week old and I don't think she's changed much except in size. I'm planning to update the slide show in the sidebar soon, so come back soon. Here's some footage of our little squeaker that I took today:
video

Also taken today...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Milk



Hi! I had a busy week with Play Group, Mommy Group and La Leche League on top of helping our starter church move to their new building this week. Lots of fun though! Juju and Z are doing well. Still getting along for now. When I went to wake Z up from his nap the other day, I laid Juju on him and he put his thumb in her mouth. She started sucking it and with his eyes still closed he smiled really big! Made me laugh.

Oooh, I baked for the first time this week since the baby joined us. Chocolate chip cookies from scratch and peanut butter cookies with a mix I had in the cupboard. Yeah, my plans to eat better and start exercising have definitely not been happening. I'm still losing weight though, thanks to the miracle of nursing! As a side note, Ben told me he saw a statistic on the hospital wall while we were there for Juju's birth that nursing for five months decreases one's risk of breast cancer by 80% and nursing longer decreases it even more, I don't recall the exact numbers he said. Not bad, eh? Nursing for eight months has been proven to increase the child's IQ by six points. OK, I'm out, that's all the factoids I have on nursing.

Juju's been having a strange congestion that comes on at night and by 5am every morning is really obstructive to her breathing, nursing and sleep for all four of us. So, I spent all Thursday making appointments for her at an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor and an allergist. Friday morning at La Leche League (aka "The Milk" league in our house, which Ben chuckles at every time it's mentioned) I learn that it's possible her congestion is actually related to a food allergy or intolerance of a food that I've been eating. Since I'm lactose intolerant when I'm not pregnant it's most likely that it's lactose intolerance in her too. They also taught me that I need to abstain from milk for 2-3 weeks before I'll see any change in her. So, I'm praying this works for her sake and ours. If she struggles to breath too much at this age it can change her bone structure and cause her to have an overbite. I'm hoping to see a difference in the next week before our ENT doctor appointment.

After I troubled you all for votes on which glasses to get new lenses in, I've gone and lost the winning pair. I haven't seen them for two weeks. Perhaps because I can't see very well without them....just kidding, I'm wearing my contacts. My sweetie heart wants me to get a new pair just because he knows I'd love a new pair, so I'm rather excited. I promise I didn't lose them on purpose. I'm convinced they are somewhere in the house and a certain two year old might have an idea of where they are if only he could communicate better. Anyways, had to update you on that.


Becca's Favorite Things
Two cereals I really like right now: Kashi Go Lean Crunch! and Honey Bunches of Oats with chocolate clusters. The Go Lean is way better for you, but don't try it if you don't love honey as that's the predominant flavor. The other is almost as good as the schoko-meusli that my parents send me from Germany. Very yummy! I took this pic while my mom was still here. I do plan to share more pics of the kiddos soon, I think I can, I think I can!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloweenies to you

How'dya like the new look? I liked so many of Lena's designs I had trouble choosing one. Check her out!

Happy Halloween! I promised earlier in the week to get back with you on the results of my informal random study of which presidential candidate had more signs in yards that were decorated for Halloween*....and the winner is....Obama! By a massive margin of 4 to 1! Does this mean his supporters are more festive than McCain's? Or perhaps, McCain's supporters are more religious and opposed to this holiday? I dunno! The real question is, are people who decorate for Halloween more likely to vote than people who do not? If so, my little study could be indicative of next week's election results.


I neglected to mention last time that baby Juju is now 10 pounds 8 ounces and 22 inches long!

Oooh! I also found the day after I posted my last post that the local paper did a write up on that same house I featured in Modern Day Mayberry! Check it out here! Speaking of our little town, John McCain must think we're pretty important to this election as he's coming to visit today. He's speaking at the baseball field in our lovely Tuscora Park.


*see last post for more details regarding my study.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Over the weekend we had two big fun events. Saturday, we got together at our pastor's house with a great deal of the rest of our starter church and played crazy games, sang songs and had fun. Sunday, we had a birthday party in Mansfield with Ben's siblings and had yet more fun. We ended the day by taking our kids trick or treating. I had brought my amazing bargain costume I found for Z at a "Once Upon a Child" store. Half price and was an awesome race car, just needed new straps to hold it up. At work Ben found two seat belts from an airplane and sewed them in, it was a custom made bargain! Of course, he wouldn't wear it! Thankfully, Aunt Missy had a bin full of costumes and he had lots to choose from. Aunt Biz got him to wear the dinosaur outfit, so we called it good. Here's Aunt Biz and our picky dinosaur before his first time out begging for candy:

And our scary nephew and nieces:
We have three more events that Z could potentially dress up for, perhaps we'll try the car again, but we were sent home with the dino just in case. Thanks Aunt Missy!


Modern Day Mayberry
This is a house in our town that I gawk at every time I drive by. Once, I went by at night and the little house in the back had five ghosts on top of it all blown up and glowing. There were lights on lots of the lawn decorations too. This house is not representative of our town by far, but I must say, our little Modern Day Mayberry decorates for Halloween more than any town that I've ever lived in, and I've lived in a lot of towns.

Guess what? Next week is the election, I know, you're surprised! Well, I got thinking...how many of the people that decorate for Halloween are voting for Obama and how many are voting for McCain? So, I did an informal random study. I drove around my town to places I was going anyways and if a house had BOTH a presidential campaign sign AND Halloween decorations, I took a tally. I did not count benign Fall decorations, just Halloween, which excluded nice looking scare crows and pumpkins without faces. Surprisingly, I didn't find that many houses that had BOTH a campaign sign AND Halloween decorations, though I saw many of each separately. I'm just dying to tell you my findings, but I think I'm going to wait, just to keep you in suspense. On Halloween, I'll share the results of my study. I'd love to hear any guesses you might have as to which candidate had more Halloween festivities shared on voter's lawns. Yes, I know it's silly, but why not?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

which is which?




Here's a couple of photo comparisons of our kids at the same age. Z's on the left, Juju on the right for both.


On Monday I had my first day all by myself. My mom left for Iowa to be with her parents for a while. It went better than I expected. It's a good thing I've recuperated like speedy lightning as it is quite a transition to go from one to two kids.

I've created a schedule to keep us organized. I've heard that pregnancy brain can last up to six months after the birth. Studies have shown that the grey matter in the brain actually shrinks in pregnancy by a certain percentage...that I can't remember, so it's not my imagination. I put my glass in the fridge yesterday instead of the milk and have twice tried to put Z's diapers on Juju. Note, he wears the largest diaper (size 6) and Juju is in was in the smallest when I did this.

Speaking of diapers, I transitioned Juju to cloth diapers yesterday. They need changed more frequently which makes it QUITE often as I was already changing her every other hour. But they're SO much more fun with snaps and colors though they're mostly boyish colors as Z wore them first.

Juju is nearly sleeping through the night already which feels like a miracle after all the trouble we had with getting Z to do that. He was a year and a half the first time he slept through the night and two before he did so regularly. He still has bad nights about 25 % of the time. Juju takes a while to get to sleep, 11:30pm is late for me, but then she has a five hour stretch of sleep before she wakes herself up pootin'. Then I feed her and she goes another two hours before she poots again. She's so noisy when she's tooting and eating that I have to take her to the other room for that second half of the night. She also grunts in her sleep, a lot. She's getting a reputation at our church as the grunty baby. She loves to sleep, more than she loves to eat, she loves to sleep.

Here's a pic my mom took of Z before she left

I love it when babies lips do this!

My silly cheese ball.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Participation Day!

Hey! Two thoughts to share. The other day I bought our birth announcements. We're trying to do them as cheaply as possible as we'll be sending out Christmas photo cards soon. So, we figured to cut down costs we'd only send announcements to family and we'd take our own picture. I used Picnik to edit a photo Ben took and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'll share it eventually but don't want to spoil the announcements.

I searched the web for the best deals on photo cards. I didn't like Snapfish's selection, I did like Kodak's but they were a dollar a piece for one photo card! I checked out VistaPrint, found a simple enough card, not my favorite, but when I saw coupon codes for half price I was sold (deal ends October 31st)! Actually, the cards themselves ended up being 29 cents a piece, the envelopes were free, $2.50 for using my own picture, $7.15 for S/H and don't forget 42 cent stamps for each. Grand total? 87 cents a piece all costs included. I know these cards are cheaper the more you buy, so it may be hard to compare our deals, but can anyone find a better deal than that? Unfortunately, I can't buy our Christmas photo cards early because I want my Dad to take our picture. But perhaps you can benefit from this deal for your Christmas cards (follow the coupon code link).

Also, I noticed gas was $2.65 today in our town. I filled up last night at $2.69 and couldn't have waited any longer. Just wondering what it is where you're at! Also, any predictions as to the bottom price it'll hit before going back up? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life is good...



All week long I think of things to share with y'all and I finally get a moment to sit down and I can't think of much at all. It'll probably be remembered as I sit here though. We're all doing remarkably well for having a major life change just two and half weeks ago. My mom's visit has helped this transition go as well as it has. She has worked so hard to keep me from working at all. She leaves next Monday and reality will slap us around a bit. I've only been alone with my two little ones a few times so far. Tuesday, I took them to Play Group by myself and I took a picture when I got them both in the car (as seen in the slide show). You'll notice a lot of grandparents in the slideshow. Our kids are very fortunate to have so many grandparents. Six grandparents, six great grandparents and one great great grandma (Z met two great greats). My Dad is still overseas and won't be over to see baby Juju until the week of Thanksgiving, I know he's super bummed about that. He'll make it just in time for her to smile while she's awake and actually be awake a little.

A quick update: I just heard tonight that our friend, Matt, actually won a gun from the gun raffle I posted about a while back. Way to go, Matt!

A funny story from Wednesday's nap time: I went upstairs to wake up Z and a fire engine was blaring just as I did. I asked Z if he heard the siren, then Juju screamed and so I asked Z which one he thought was louder, the fire engine or his baby sister and with his eyes still closed he responded, "Car." Just to be ornery and because I know he loves fire engines I asked him, "Which one do you love more, fire engines or your baby sister?" Bleary eyed he smiled really big, sat up and I kid you not, he kissed his sister who was in my arms. He's a boy of few words, at least words that I understand, but he certainly understands us.

This was just too perfect not to share: Even though the economy stalls...
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
Habakkuk 3:17-19a (NLT)
(found on the back of our bulletin on Sunday)






Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's her name?

A big welcome to all my FaceBook friends! I sent out one e-announcement to everyone in my e-mail's address book, but I got several returned, so if you didn't get one and want one, leave me a comment here, on FB or send an e-mail and I'll get you an e-announcement pronto!

Her official name is NOT Juju, but it is her screen name. Not that e-mail is that much safer than posting her name here, but it feels more private anyways. Thanks for all your comments, e-mails and support! I feel so loved!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Juju's Birth Story

This took me a while to muster the mental and emotional energy to write, but here it is, hopefully, it doesn't embarrass my grandparents or others I respect.

I always wanted to do things as naturally as possible. Besides, quadrillions of women since Eve have been giving birth without any pain killers, why couldn't I do it? I always imagine the settler's wife jumping off the wagon train, giving birth beside a rock along the road then jumping back on the wagon train. I don't know, I heard once that had happened.

Thursday was Ben's birthday and my mom watched Z so we could have a date. We went to Quiznos then to the mall to shop for clothes for Ben. I was having a lot of pelvic pressure and had to walk super slow. I ate a bunch of guacamole for lunch as I heard that can help bring on labor and I think it was starting to kick in. Around 10:30pm I was pretty sure I was in labor and called Ben's sister, Debbi, at Messiah College in PA so she could make sure her car was fueled and bags packed. I had to pause for a contraction while we were talking, so I count 10:30pm as my labor start time. Ben said, "I'm going to bed, sounds like it could be a long night." He got about 45 minutes of sleep, when he heard me on the phone talking to his mom about my contractions. I had heard they were supposed to be five minutes apart, one minute in length for one hour. Mine were only 30 seconds long, but they were growing in intensity and getting closer together.

By the time we left for the hospital (an hour away), they were three minutes apart, but still short in duration. I had invited all of Ben's sisters, his Gramma H. and Aunt Val to come witness the birth. Debbi had taken her chances and just left for OH when I called even though I hadn't known for sure I was in labor. Gramma H. called everyone else for me around midnight when we left for the hospital.

Shortly after checking in (see checking in story) I was in the tub and though that alleviated the pain initially, it relaxed me and the contractions got stronger and longer quickly. Gramma H. and my sister-in-law, Bekah, arrived pretty early on. I remember once between contractions asking the others to tell me when Debbi got there. My bane at this time was the IV port they made me get and the antibiotic I had to get for being positive for Group B strep this time. The antibiotic hurt my whole arm like a giant bee sting and I had trouble not complaining about it. I told them I expected the labor pains, but not the arm pains! I didn't have to get that with Z's birth.
I had a little back labor with Z and really hoped it wouldn't happen again, but alas, it was worse. My mother-in-law, Bobbi, said the baby was slightly anterior and caused more back labor this time. Thankfully, I was more alert this time around and more relaxed so I was able to expediate the process by relaxing the best I could through contractions. Ben constantly rubbed my lower back as each contraction came. I remember wanting him right with me just like with Z's birth. I remember praying three prayers, "Thank you, Lord, for this honor," "Lord, be with me and help the pain to go away," and, "Why does it have to hurt again, Lord?" The only thing that I found super motivating was the thought of having to get a C-section if I didn't keep on trucking. They had me get out of the tub at around 8cm dilated to push. Evidently, it's not kosher to push in the tub, they'll only let you stay if the baby jumps out while you're in there. I remember going from freezing cold to boiling hot as I started pushing. There was a time Bobbi told me to not push, evidently she was moving things around down there to make the pathway clear. Then, I was allowed to push again and once her head was out, she came flying out. Ben cut the cord, and then I got to hold my baby girl for the first time.
She had a little trouble getting her temperature to stabilize at first, but after a few hours she got there and all was well. She took a little longer to learn to latch on for nursing than Z did, but within a day she got it. I ripped a little just like last time and moments after I was stitched up, Debbi arrived! She made it in record time (five hours from Eastern PA), but we were quicker! Four hours from the time we got to the hospital, six hours of labor all together. I didn't sleep much that first day due to all the excitement, but caught up that night and we checked out a day early to keep our hospital bill down.

Here's the crew from left to right: my mother-in-law/midwife, Bobbi; Gramma H., me and Juju, Ben, and two of my sisters-in-law, Bekah and Debbi. Four generations! It was special to have our kid's grandma deliver them, but this time it was also special because Ben's Gramma H. had never seen her daughter work her wonders as a midwife before. My mom was able to be with Z the whole night, which was a super big relief. If we hadn't moved her arrival date up, she wouldn't have been here. She came up to the hospital that morning with Z and we spent the morning together. Last time, I was talking about baby #2 within an hour of Z's birth. This time, I remember thinking, "I'm OK if I never do this again." We'll see if I can remember that once my baby is getting big and I see other babies I want to hold.
Update: Z got a cold the weekend she was born and Juju caught it at one week old. It's been sad watching her struggle to breathe through her nose, but thankfully, it's just a cold. Without comparing our children too much, Juju has been a super easy baby. We had no idea when Z was born that he wasn't. Juju sleeps a ton (practically through the night already!!!), she nurses for 15 minute intervals and can go hours without nursing. My own experience of nursing has made that easier too - keep lips flanged out, take Lecithin to prevent mastitis, and knowing different positions and ways to get her to latch on. All around I feel completely blessed that this experience has been so much easier than I anticipated.

Another sister-in-law, Biz, came to visit over the weekend (I have four!), and we did one week old "Glamour Shots" with her fancy camera. Check out the swirly in the middle of her forehead! Can you say, "Cow-lick"? Hoo boy, that'll be fun to watch as it grows out! Well, that's Juju's birth story, only slightly censored for world-wide viewing. It hurt more than the first time, but was quicker by a couple of hours. Pretty sure I couldn't have done it alone beside the wagon train like the Colonial women, in fact, I doubt that story's even true. I knew what to expect this time and in the chaos of my nesting and preparations, I didn't spend much time thinking about the little girl that was about to enter the world. I've bonded much quicker this time and spend hours, just as I did with Z, watching her with wonderment. In fact, I've called her my "Joy Surprise". All the pain and labor was such a small price to pay for such a gift of joy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Five days old


The cute bunny footed fleece outfit from Grandpa W. It's a favorite around here!
I just love her toes!

This was the "moment" my friends have been telling me would come.
The moment I would realize that my little Z was no longer a baby.

The hard working grandmother, taking a Juju break. She's been thrown into the life of caring for a toddler, cooking meals, cleaning, and laundry. I think we've thoroughly exhausted her, but you'd never know it!
I'm finding it hard to update this and nap when the kids nap too. Juju still sleeps a ton which is great. We had our first doctor appt. today and Juju was 7 lb. 10 oz which was how big Z was when he was born. I have lots to share, keep checking back for little bits and pics when you get a chance!

One quick story of "the night" that still makes me laugh. By the time I got to the hospital it was around 1am and I was still in early enough labor that I could talk and laugh in between contractions (then 3 minutes apart). They made us "check in" when we got there and the lady asked me all sorts of questions and had me sign some paperwork in my hormonal stupor. She had just asked me if I was married and I affirmed I was, when she asked who Ben was. I found the question so ridiculous, I couldn't help myself and answered slightly incredulously, "Umm, my lover?" Of course, I found my answer much funnier than she did and laughed till I cried. Just about then my mother-in-law shows up, probably wondering if I had gotten her out of bed for nothing. For the record, Ben felt the need to tell the lady he was indeed my husband. Which I also found hilarious. The woman never cracked a smile...which made the whole thing even funnier.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Prompt Arrival

Introducing....baby Juju! Well, that's what we'll be referring to her as on the world wide web.
Born at 4:45am on Friday, September 26th, 2008. Yes, on her due date! She was 7 lbs 8 oz and 20.5" long. She is the spitting image of her brother when he was born!

She has lots of hair...well, in the back anyways.

I plan to send out name details soon for those that haven't heard already. I also plan to jump on-line and share more about the experience whenever I have the time and energy. We were released a day early from the hospital and so have been home since Saturday afternoon.

We're praising God for this perfect blessing and for how well our first blessing is handling the changes so far. We're also VERY thankful to have a good sleeper so far. Z never slept this much even at two days old. Thank you all for your prayers, words of encouragement and love.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Savoring every minute together

First off, my apologies! I should have been upfront last week that I was recalling the Power Balls recipe from memory, which evidently is not a reliable source at all right now! I made the necessary amendments to the recipe below, please forgive me if you tried it already. What's super funny, is I made them according to my faulty memory and they weren't all that bad, just gooier than usual. I don't think you can screw up Power Balls. Everything in them is yummy and you can't even burn them. I also added one tiny thing to the rhubarb recipe that I did in practice but wasn't on the recipe I copied down. I nuked the rhubarb for quite a while before baking it, so it was sure to be cooked through when the topping was done. OK, no more corrections for now.

I've been so very emotional this past week anticipating this baby's arrival. I've been soaking up every minute with Z as though it's our last few days together. I cried while Ben was trying to share an interesting part of his book with me because I wondered when the next time would be that we'd get to stay up and talk like that. The first year of Z's life was the hardest in our marriage and part of me fears we're in for another tough year, but I'm praying it won't be as bad. We'll be sleep deprived again, surely, but hopefully we'll be a little more seasoned as new parents.

The following collection of pictures were taken since last Thursday of our special time with Z before he becomes a big brother.


Mass producing chocolate chip cookies with Mommy

At the county fair with Daddy...

..."Poopy!"
"Hewhoa? Segobadoo manna gow. By-ee" Which is translated as,
"Yeah, Mom? We're on our way home, so go ahead and start dinner, would ya?"
My mom arrived last night from Germany and is already anticipating taking over Z's care. She's asked for reminders on how to collapse our stroller, how to get to different places, for Z's schedule and details on how to put him down for naps. We're even meal planning and she's only been here a few hours. Finally, her jet lag kicked in and she's napping now. What a blessing to have her here in our time of need!

For those interested in my philosophical ramblings I finally updated Zerbik last week. I'm not sure when I'll post on any website next, if it takes me a bit, you'll know why! Make sure I have your e-mail and/or snail mail address if you want to know our baby's name. E-mail me: beccawigton [at] tusco [dot] net. Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, September 19, 2008

One of Becca's Theories

I'm sure I'm not the only one who creates theories. I'm currently working on a theory of what one's eye brows say about a person. The one I'm sharing today, however, has been in the works for several months if not years. I thought about it a lot as I worked as a mental health counselor for six years. I do know that there are much more qualified and well spoken people in the world who have probably spoke or written on this very subject. As with most of my Zerbik entries, this is just something that's new to me. Very likely it's not to you. The most exciting part of this is that in my struggling to understand this "theory", I feel God revealed something to me. Now I get to share it with you!! I'll be as succinct as possible.

MY THEORY
The two primary foundations for relationships are trust and respect. Being able to rely on someone's integrity and knowing that they will not intentionally hurt you is how I'm defining "trust". Respect is more complicated. The dictionary backs up my feeling that there are two ways to really define "respect". One, is to like a person, the other, is to value the rights of another and to defer to them. In counseling couples struggling in their marriages, I found often that at least one person neither trusted the other or respected them, in either definition of the term.

TRUST
I've shared before how excited I was to be rewarded upon entering marital vows to be given such a gift of trust between my new husband and myself. I still attribute it to demonstrating self-control (abstinence) for three years as we dated. Watching each other struggle and taking turns being strong to uphold our shared values paid off in a way we couldn't have expected. We were obeying God's Word just because we were supposed to. Who knew blind obedience to God could be so rewarding. We had many older couples tell us that we were very "mature" for a couple only married two years (now eleven). We weren't necessarily "mature", but we were able to give each other a freedom that didn't result in endless arguments. It also helps in preventing lots of bickering in our marriage when we trust that the other is on our side and not out to get us. I do forget sometimes, but how much worse it could have been without our gift of trust?

How can one build trust with others? I believe that following God's commands however they apply to you in your situation is the best way. We can NEVER trust another person so fully as we can trust God. We're fallible, He's not. Ultimately, in my marriage, it's not Ben that I trust, but God in Him. I trust him to trust God, do what He commands, be obedient to the best of his ability and that God will honor that and protect us where we fail.

RESPECT
This is the area God has revealed the most to me lately. There's two major revelations I've been given.
1.) If you don't respect or like someone, the problem is actually in your heart.
2.) To respect someone is to truly love them.

These principles apply to relationships that aren't romantic as well. They apply to co-workers and churches and friends. If you struggle to find love in your heart for a person, simply ASK GOD. He will, I promise, give you love for that person if your heart is open enough to ask. As with developing trust you may find yourself being led in baby steps of obedience to God in loving that person. Sometimes, He just fills my heart with love and compassion for a person. Sometimes it's work and takes time.

NO TRUST
In the situation that you cannot trust a person because they do not obey God and have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. It is still your job to love that person, however, do not marry them, if you're not already married! It is when we must have people in our lives that we cannot trust that we are to develop healthy boundaries with the person. Read "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend for more details on setting boundaries.

NO RESPECT
Again, God made this very clear to me, that this is due to sin in my heart, not theirs. Do we hold them to a higher standard than ourselves? Why can we not find grace in our hearts for this person? If you don't respect a person, I'd like to say that you're not likely to have married them in the first place, but it happens all the time. The wife looks down on the husband for being unmotivated, the husband looks down on the wife for being emotional or weak. There's too many scenarios to list, but there's no problem too big for God's love to heal. We will only grow closer to our God and become more like Jesus when we weather those storms in our relationships.

THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL
We all know that there is "give and take" in a relationship. Our sinful hearts are so easily tempted to make gods of our own pleasure and focus on what we're getting out of a relationship. Here's the true give and take in relationship: I give God my trust enough to obey His Word and His leadings in my heart in loving others and simply living as He has called me to live. I, then, receive the trust and respect of others and am filled with God's love for others irregardless of how much I "get out of a relationship" with them. Every relationship is an outpouring of our relationship with our heavenly Father. Our God is a God of reconciliation. When there's trouble in your relationships, throw yourself down before the throne and ask for healing in your own life. When you've gotten right with Him, you'll see with new eyes the others in your life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Big Boy Helper

This is what is going on outside as I write this. Ben took the day off to get caught up on stuff he wants to do. Little did he realize what a helper we had under our own roof! Earlier they stacked a bunch of wood that Ben had already split and Z scratched his cheek all up from carrying the wood. Now they're out there unloading the wood in the truck bed and splitting more (hence the ear protection). Perhaps I'm not the only one nesting...


As I mentioned before I have two recipes to share. They were SO awesome and I was just too busy this summer to blog about them sooner.

POWER BALLS
(found in the Wonder Years magazine)
Mix 1c. peanut butter and 1c. honey
Add 3 c. rolled oats, 1/2 c. flax seed, 1 c. dried fruit (ie. raisins, craisins, etc.) and nuts,
1 c. chocolate chips. Mix well, roll into balls. Refrigerate for an hour or freeze.

Now here's my feedback after making them three times. I recently added a half cup of wheat germ and would have added nutritious yeast if I'd had any at the beginning with the flax seed. Don't use too much flax seed as it gets overwhelming, but in moderation it's my favorite part of the texture. I did a cheap version and a fancier version. I love it with pecans, walnuts and craisins, but honestly it's just a good with cheapo nuts and raisins. I did not like the chocolate chips in it and omitted them all together this last time. I added chex cereal and some granola in it's place. Tiny choc. chips might be OK though. Also, I like these straight out of the freezer, but maybe that's because I'm pregnant and I like frozen stuff more right now than usual. They are very gooey and could be called "Gooey Balls", but they're easier to manage when frozen. Oh yeah, spray the bowl before you start and spray or butter your hands before rolling to help with the stickiness.

Rhubarb Crumble from Grandma J. in TN (Thanks Grandma!!)
1/2 c. walnuts
1 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter at room temp.
2 lbs rhubarb
3/4-1 c. white sugar
5 T flour

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toast the walnuts in a baking pan until lightly browned and aromatic. Let cool and coarsely chop. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and stir to mix. Working quickly with your hands or a pastry blender, add the butter until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Stir in the chopped walnuts and set aside.

Wash and trim the rhubarb in a large bowl and add the sugar and flour. Toss until the rhubarb is well coated. Microwave for 8-10 min., stirring occasionally to pre-cook the rhubarb. Spread the rhubarb evenly into a 12 in. baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake until the rhubarb is tender and bubbling, approx. 45 min. to an hour. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

You can replace half the rhubarb with strawberries for a yummy twist.

Feedback: This wasn't as hard as it sounds, I realized I had a pastry blender and didn't know it, so that made it quick and easy (it's a hand tool, not electric!). I made this for a vegan friend of ours and used Earth Balance as a butter substitute. Worked great! I think I doubled the topping as that's my sweetie's favorite part. I made this at the end of rhubarb season and wished I'd tried it earlier. Next year, we'll surely be using this as an alternative to pie, which is usually all we do with our rhubarb. I highly recommend printing this and saving it for next year or buying some frozen rhubarb so you don't have to wait. It's that good.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It was blowy out!

Yes, I said "blowy". I said it on Sunday when we got a little taste of Hurricane Ivan all the way up here in Ohio and my husband made fun of me. I think it's descriptive. I know it's a tropical depression now and can't even begin to compare to what it was, but WOW! It looks like the Tazmanian Devil whirled through our little town. No one was hurt, but I've personally driven by four homes that have had trees fall on them. It seems like every other house around here has a tree at their curb strip to get picked up. The airport still doesn't have power and there's a nearby town that is said will be without power for at least a week. We just got our internet and phone services back today, hence the post. Here's a picture of the tree outside the parking lot next to our house. Ben asked Z if the tree was sad and he said, "No, happy!" and smiled his new cheesy grin where he shuts his eyes. As of now, I can't say there's much left to do before the baby comes. I could make more gifts, always, but with my mom here to help after next week, I might even get more sewing done after the baby! The dog sitter is lined up, I filled in as much as I'm able to in the new baby book and updated Z's, over the weekend I made myself a new diaper bag. The last one grew yuckies on the inside from spilling different food items. Since the yuck was under the vinyl I had to toss it. This is the first bag I've made for myself. So, here she is...it's got a liner with a divider and three pockets inside.
I have two favorite recipes of my summer to share with you, but they'll have to wait until next time as Z just woke up. Take care and hope you have an awe-inspiring day!