A Person Who Toddles

tod·dler
–noun
a person who toddles, especially a young child learning to walk.

The other night, I had a dream that took place at Lander. I was presumably still a student in the dream, although the context of this particular dream was less “classes and exams” and more “dementors are attacking the University” styled action-dream. In retrospect, I’m guessing this was Saturday night, after I’d watched most of the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at the drive-in. Anyway, despite the dream’s surreal departure from any true events, current or past, I still woke up feeling like a [worn out, existentially and magically confused] college student. With my brain slowly trying to move from dreamland into reality, my confusion peaked as I rolled over and saw a sleeping toddler next to me.

My sleeping toddler. My sleeping toddler.

Because of my unswerving dedication to keeping this blog technically accurate on all counts, I have to confess to you that my son is now a toddler. My research tells me that there are two ways of defining the official transition from baby to toddler – the first, as defined above and suggested by the word itself, is when the youngster begins to walk. The second defined transition, which is generally used in discussing age-related development, is when the child passes his first birthday. Finn falls squarely into both categories, as he is now thirteen solid months of age, and is walking with a grace that he clearly doesn’t get from his clumsy mother. However, technical accuracy aside, it’s really a very gradual transition that I’m not sure will be as starkly drawn as these definitions would have it. In fact, were the definition of the word based squarely on my emotional readiness to begin calling him a toddler, the transition would probably still be many years away.

Still, I do love it when I have moments that bring to a sharp clarity the amazing changes in life that can sometimes be dulled by their gradualness… by the everyday minutiae that surrounds them. I guess sometimes the awe in these moments is a little bittersweet, as if I’m suddenly forced to mourn for the moments, days, and years that are gone. But mostly, they are the moments when I most clearly see God’s hand in my life.

I wrote (and discarded) a first draft of this post, and its intent was sort of to catch up on things and describe my days – except I quickly realized that my days lately are slow, long, and when put into words they definitely come off as “dull”. But it’s not true! Even when my days are full of routine and things that would sound dull, life is absolutely amazing! So having no desire to write about things that are dull, I do want on occasion to tell you of the things that are exceptional… to me, anyway.

We are leaving tomorrow for a beach vacation – a mere two days, but enough to enjoy the sun and sand and ocean. I enjoy looking forward to vacations almost as much as the vacations themselves, so I’m already in a state of excited bliss! Tomorrow also marks four years that Brian and I have been married – a happy coincidence that was realized only after the vacation was booked (yes – I did almost forget my anniversary! Don’t tell!) They have easily been the four happiest years of my life. And, only because I’m living under the mandate that I need three good points to make this a good paragraph, I will add that as of last week, I can finally make pizza from scratch. You know, some things are only hard because you spend years of your life thinking they’re hard. As it turns out, you can make real pizza without having to throw anything into the air and then catch it again.

Thanks for reading! Share your pizza recipes!
-Mandy

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Summer Afternoons

Summer afternoon with fresh bread
I love summer afternoons. And, despite my aversion to the heat from my oven coupled with the heat of the day, I can’t help but enjoy making fresh bread every time I get a chance.

A couple of photos for your enjoyment…

I’m a solid week behind on these, because I couldn’t really share last week’s photo right away. 🙂 Last Saturday, Amy and JR came to visit, and announced their engagement! I snapped a celebratory picture, but didn’t want to post it until they’d told all the close family and friends, and then made it Facebook-official.

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I’m so excited and happy for them!

This week’s photo comes to you from a Saturday stroll in Abbeville. The weather this weekend was so stunning, that we spent as much time outside as we could. Finn loves to be outside, and I really can’t wait for the weather to stay warm so we can spend time in the backyard, or go for walks every morning.

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Note the Star Wars onesie… I was very happy to score that on clearance at Old Navy this week. Finn didn’t yet have any “Star Wars” merchandise, mostly because it’s licensed and very pricey (and some of it is a bit cheesy). I got this one for $3. Brian was of course very pleased.

Finn and Snow

Finn didn’t really like the snow. I wasn’t surprised – but I was glad to get one photo of Finn almost smiling. We got inches and inches of snow over Sunday evening and through the day Monday, and today – Saturday, it’s still covering our backyard. I’ve never seen this much snow in Greenwood in my lifetime. Here’s hoping that Finn will see it again someday when he’s old enough to appreciate it – but if not, at least there are photos.

finn-snow

Photo Friday

A long, long time ago, when I had a “real job”, I had to set goals each year for my career. As every good technique in the corporate world must have a good and catchy acronym, we were encouraged to make each of our goals “SMART” – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Phased. So at the end of the year, it would be very clear whether or not I had met my goal – no wishy-washy, broad or all-encompassing dreams were allowed in the annual goal list.

Thank goodness I don’t have to do that anymore.

For this year, I don’t have any goals or resolutions. All I have are some wishy-washy, broad, and all-encompassing dreams for 2011. It makes me happy!

One of my hopes for this year is that I will get better at photography. For me, this doesn’t really look like taking photos that will win any contests. For me, just remembering to bring my camera to Thanksgiving dinner would be a big step in the right direction.

So I want to try something new on this blog. I want to take and share a photo with you all each week. I’m not making any promises that they will be good, or that I won’t get lazy one week and post an unedited snapshot of my feet or my coffeemaker, or that I won’t get mushy every week and post fifty-two photos of Finn making cute faces. I can’t even promise that I won’t mess up and forget for a month, or get tired and quit. No promises – just a hope that this will be an enjoyable new ritual that I can look forward to and have fun with each week.

Week one’s photo is not super-exciting, but it’s a decent start. Our front door is new to us – we had it installed over the summer because our old door was damaged by a couple of punk vandals with some bricks. I painted the new door blue to match the hydrangeas that were blooming that week, and out of the many improvements we’ve made to this house since we bought it, this is my second favorite (right after the new shower head…. ahhhh).

We took down all of our super-Christmassy decorations last weekend, but since I don’t have any generic “winter” decorations for our house, I usually leave the Christmas wreath on the door at least until March, when I can put up the Easter wreath. Personally, I think a door without a wreath just looks a little uninviting.

So here you go… a photo of my front door. Happy Friday, and Happy New Year!

week1-frontdoor

Concerning Finn

I don’t think I can write a blog that will sum up the Finn experience of the last five and a half months. Thankfully, he has his own blog, finndean.net, that you can read for yourself.

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finn_grass

finn_tree

He has changed my life. I mean, just look at him! That is all.

The Last Eight Months

Huge events of the last eight months:

  • March through mid-June saw me through the very pregnantest part of pregnancy.
  • In April, I left my job of four years.
  • Finn Edward Dean was born on June 17th. He was much bigger than I imagined, weighing 9 pounds and 10 more ounces. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
  • Finn quickly established himself as the most delightful and precious creature I’d ever seen.
  • We travelled to the beach at the end of summer, and the mountains once autumn rolled around.

OK, there we have it. You’re all caught up. I feel silly sharing lists like this, when I know that probably everyone reading this already knows these things, but it makes me feel like I can blog about trivial things again without leaving something out.