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...

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

(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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Money Saving on my Mind

In my efforts to be frugal, I've decided to wear glasses on most days. Sometimes, I still like to wear contacts, but it's not necessary that I wear them everyday, besides it requires I use cleaner each time and it shortens the life of my few pairs of disposable contacts each time. So, I'm going to go get my prescription renewed as it's been several years and I know my sight has changed and I figured the cheapest frames I could use would be ones I already own. When I worked full time as a counselor I had optical insurance and took full advantage of it. Hence, the three pairs of frames to choose from below.

So, I'm taking a vote. The top pair is my most recent pair and my oldest pair at the bottom. Pairs A and C are plastic frames, pair B is made of wire. Pairs B and C probably need adjusted to fit my face again as it's been many years since I wore them.

Money for Nothin'
I have to share, I've been making a go of the whole CVS shopping deals. I've found, since I'm a little slow, I need explicit directions on how to make the savings thing work there. I've shared before how much help I've found on MoneySavingMom.com (MSM) and that's been a primary source of CVS tutelage. Also, my friend, Kristina at Yarnsticks, has been holding my hand all the way. Here's what I've learned so far...

1) Stock up on stuff your family uses, then you're less likely to buy at full price just because you NEED it right then. Keep an inventory if you use a deep freezer, so you know what you have for meal planning purposes.
2) Gather coupons from on-line (help sites like MSM or the manufacturer's site), your newspaper, fliers that stores have when you walk in, mailers.
3) Compare store ads with each other and with your coupons you cut/printed out to find super savings.
4) Do NOT take your two year old with you to bargain shop. It was due to this that I neglected to get a free item that came with a "Buy two get one free" coupon AND that I neglected to use a second coupon that I had on a Buy one get one free deal, which would have saved another dollar. Totally defeating!

Here's a deal with explicit directions that YOU can do THIS week only (through Saturday, Sept. 13th) that I did successfully from a tip on MSM: 1. Print out THIS coupon from Colgate two times (it's at the bottom of the page). You may have to enter your info twice to get it to print twice. Each coupon is worth $1.50. 2. Go to CVS where Colgate Total Whitening is "Buy One Get One Free" until Saturday. Use both coupons. 3. Total cost would have been $4.98 (at $2.49 each), but with the CVS sale, it's two for $2.49, with the coupons totalling $3 you MAKE 50 cents and get two toothpastes. Isn't that so totally happy? Enough with the puns, we just made money. I know, it's not much to you old pros out there, but I'm just beginning and I'm excited. I'm hoping there's other newbies that benefit from detailed directions like I do. If for some reason you can't print out the second coupon, using one still makes it $1 for two toothpastes which isn't half bad.

A quick, happy update on Z and preparing for baby girl. Although potty training was a bust, we have made progress in the area of sleep with much thanks to Daddy! Saturday night Ben was inspired to say goodnight and leave the room when he put Z down. He stood outside the door while Z cried (he was already having a fit before he left) and ten minutes later Z was asleep. The next day we tried it again at naptime and he called, "Mommy, mommy, daddy, daddy, are you himing?" That's Z-speak for "hiding". Fifteen minutes later he fell asleep, no crying at all! It worked again at bedtime. Monday's naptime took longer for him to fall asleep because we missed his sleepy wave, but today, I read him a short book, prayed with him, kissed him goodnight and he said, "Bye!". He fell right to sleep! We've been laying with Z until he falls asleep for naptime and bedtime for two years and two months! I told you we're a little "doting". So, I was wondering how I'd continue this with two kids and praise the Lord, it can be done. It would have been nice to have a potty trained two year old instead of two kids in diapers, but that wasn't meant to be.

Finally, an update on the other things on my "Nesting To Do" list. Yesterday, I made a double batch of freezer jam (raspberry/blackberry), last week I made a quadruple batch of Gramma's six week bran muffins (technically good for three weeks after my due date), the week before I made six loaves of zucchini bread. I think this is what I have left to do in my two and a half weeks before D-Day as my friend, Chrisie, calls it:
  • Sew more Christmas and birthday presents
  • Sew doggie coats
  • Fill out as much of the "first year memory album" as possible ahead of time
  • Pack bag for me and another for Z for quick departure to hospital, just in case
I have a lot of sewing to do. I did have a lot of baking and now I'm quite done. It would be dreamy to make a quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookie dough balls to freeze and pull out as needed, but I'm not making that a priority.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nine months and counting...

Well, it's kind of hard to compare these pictures as I'm dressed so differently. The first pic is of me at 36 weeks with Z in May of 2006. The second is of me at 36 weeks with baby girl in Sept. of 2008. Different months, different attire.

Today at the airport. It irritates me when you can't see my pony tail in pictures.
It's there, just take my word for it.

Quick funny for you, well kinda. Ben and Z went to WV for the weekend and I stayed home since I can't bear to sit in a car for four hours straight. Well, this was my first opportunity to do whatever I wanted for more than a couple of hours since Z was born and seeing as I'm due in a few weeks, it probably was my last opportunity for a long time. Friday night, after the boys left, I went out for dessert with a girlfriend, Saturday I did nothing but fun, fun, fun! It was truly my perfect dream day (if I'm going to be alone that is). I'll summarize: actual quality time with God in my closet, walked the dogs, garage saled, bargain shopped at CVS and JoAnn Fabrics (my favorite place!!), out to dinner with another friend, and the best part...I listened to "Enter the Worship Circle" and Jennifer Knapp while sewing and eating gummy worms.

So, I had another whole day to enjoy and all I planned to do was try two different churches (since we're hunting right now) and to sew some more. Well, I woke up Sunday morning to a personal tsunami. After I puked up all I could (yes I wondered if it was pregnancy related), it came out the other end for the next twelve hours (then I knew it wasn't pregnancy related). Just a yucky bug that took the whole day to go away. T'was a bummer, but miraculously I'm not bitter. I'm so glad I didn't have to watch a two year old while I was that sick! Ben helped me lots on Monday so I could regain my strength and today I'm totally better. That's my story, kinda funny, kinda not.