August 30, 2007

What's in a Name?

Before we ever even conceived Hattie Ruth, Sean and I were already thinking about names for our first-born-to-be. It didn't take long for us to decide that our first born daughter would bear the names of two beautiful, Christian women who played such strong roles in our lives.

Hattie Christine is my mother's mother. She was number 11 of 12 kids born to a strong Catholic couple who made a living working a farm as share-croppers. I know that they were poor, but I don't think I can really grasp how poor they were as I sit comfortably in my air-conditioned house, typing away on the computer for sport while my hubby relaxes on the couch watching a football game.

Hattie's father died when she was a young girl, so just a few days short of her 16th birthday, she married my grandfather, probably partly because my great-grandmother needed to marry her off for financial purposes. I remember her telling me that when she got married she and my grandfather had 13 dollars and a bucket to their name. She and my grandfather had 7 children and lived on a farm that they worked as share croppers. They never owned their own house or tilled their own land. They didn't have much at all, but God always provided for them.

Hattie was tough. When I picture her, I always picture her hands. They were rough and wrinkled and looked like a set of man's hands minus their size. I never saw her just sitting around. She was always working, whether it was in the kitchen cooking or outside on the farm. She enjoyed life, though. She would laugh and tell me stories of her childhood and my mother's childhood. She enjoyed a cold beer on her porch swing in the evenings with company. And she could tease and joke around with the best of them.

Most importantly, though, Hattie was the godly woman that I pray my daughter will grow up to be. My grandmother spent much of her days on her knees. She had the most calloused knees. As a young girl, I can remember lying in her bed hot because she had no a/c while she knelt by the bedside and prayed her prayers in Polish. Gosh, how I wish I could go back to one of those moments! She went to church every day to receive communion, and when she moved to a retirement community, she brought along as many women as she could fit in her big green car. Her heart was always fixed on Christ. I know she wasn't perfect, that she was a sinner, but she knew that, too. She was the most humble, giving woman, always putting herself last, and I never once heard her complain or gripe about anything, even when she started to get sick.

She died right when Sean and I started dating more seriously my sophmore year in college, so he never got to meet her.

We named our daughter Hattie because our hope is that she will be like her great-grandmother, a woman who didn't have a lot of "things" but had more gifts than imaginable. I think about her often, especially now that I have my Hattie. I know that she is praying for our family. She knows we have our work cut out for us. Afterall, she spent her life trying to glorify our Lord each day, and she still found time to keep a husband, tend a farm, and raise seven children.
So I think, if the day comes where a child makes fun of my Hattie for her name, which will probably happen, I will have a lot of reasons to tell her why she should feel nothing but proud and privileged to bear such a name.
To be continued......part deux - Ruth!

August 29, 2007

She Has a Hollow Leg.

The title would NOT be referring to me. No, if I even look at a piece of food, I somehow absorb the calories from the food without even eating it. I'm referring to Hattie of course. That child can eat like a horse and where does it all go!?! I don't have a clue. It amazes me. Just this morning she had: a whole banana, a whole container of yogurt, a piece of toast with butter, a whole cup of a water/juice cocktail, and 5 ounces of whole milk.

Her dinner last night was a fairly large portion of spaghetti and meat, peas and carrots, corn, gold fish, 3 strawberries, a chocolate chip cookie, and 6 ounces of milk.

Maybe it's just me, but that seems like A LOT of food for a 20 lb. toddler to consume. And the thing is that she looks like she hardly eats. She's not skin and bone, but she has always been on the slight side of the growing chart. She can out-eat any toddler around her age, though, I'm sure of it.
And she is the biggest mooch. Neither Sean nor I can eat or even look like we're thinking about eating with Hattie in the room. She's like a dog. She smells it a mile away and is at our feet in 2 seconds flat begging for some, even if you know there is no way the child can be hungry after just consuming an entire meal in adult portions. It's a habit that we've allowed her to form because we've just always shared our food with her. Big first-time parent mistake.

I just don't know where she puts it all, which is why I have come to the conclusion that she must have a hollow leg.
In other news, we are house-hunting this weekend. It's been very stressful trying to figure out where to move in the Houston area. Sean's office will be in the Galleria area. Right now we are thinking Richmond or the Pearland/Friendswood area. Our main reasons for choosing these areas are schools, and they aren't too terribly far for Sean - but they will both still be a fairly long commute for him. We are also considering just renting a house not far from Sean's office for a few years. This way we can take advantage of the fact that Hattie isn't in school yet, so Sean can enjoy a shorter commute, and we don't have to commit to anything we aren't sure about right away. I don't want to rent. I WANT to buy, to plant our roots, own a home, PAINT, make my mark, but I also want to do what is best for our family......... suggestions of areas are appreciated! Perhaps you know of a great neighborhood a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from the Galleria area that is zoned to great schools, insures great neighbors, and has homes that are in the 2,000 sq. ft. range to accomodate a growing family. Oh yeah, and - here's the kicker - it must be affordable for a one income family.

August 25, 2007

A Heartwarming Freeze

That's exactly what a picture of my baby means to me.

I have found myself getting more and more interested in photography since Hattie's birth. I wish I had the power to freeze time with Hattie. The way she smells, the sounds she makes, the way she looks when she sucks her thumb, her pudgy fingers and toes, the way she lays her head on my shoulder when she's upset or tired. It's so joyful being her mother.

Unfortunately, I can't freeze time, but I do enjoy savoring moments of my baby in pictures. I try to capture her baby ways while I can because I know they will change way too soon.

I did a little photo shoot for practice yesterday afternoon with Hattie while we were waiting for Sean to come home so we could all go out to dinner. This is my favorite shot. I love her expression - so shy and flirty. It's almost as if her high school crush just walked by, even though she's not allowed to like boys until she's 30. I wonder what she's thinking.....
And these are a few others that I like.....each one different......each one allowing a little glimpse into her personality.
Finally, Sean and I watched a great movie last night - Tsotsi - you gotta see it if you haven't already. It is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. It made me cry, and I'm not a big sap when it comes to movies, but man, this one is GOOD.

August 23, 2007

Arch Enemy

Meet Piggy:

I don't know if you're familiar with this toy, but Hattie HATES it - the toy we have named Piggy. I bought it for her about 3 or 4 months ago because she fell in love with the cow version while we were having a playdate at a friend's house; it was a pretty cheap toy, and I was excited to find something that she would play with for more than 2 seconds at a time. When we went to the store, they didn't have the cow, so I opted for the pig. No big deal, right?!?! Still the same toy, right?!?! WRONG.

Piggy spends his day hidden behind the couch. Hattie knows Piggy's hiding place. She won't go behind the couch for anything, even if the ball that she's so happily playing with rolls back there - neh eh - that ball is staying behind the couch unless I go back there and get it for her.

Several times a day while we're downstairs, she'll stop whatever she's doing, look at me, then look towards the couch, wrinkle her brow , and say "Piggy!" I kid you not. Sometimes I'll say, "Where's Piggy?" This always causes her to break into nervous whining. Sometimes I'll go get Piggy from his hiding place (the mean mama that I am), and she always begins to cry. It's so weird. I do this only to try and rid her of the fear she has for him. I have kissed Piggy, hugged Piggy, read a book to Piggy. Hattie keeps her distance and watches us with caution. She is NOT going to befriend that pig.

I don't understand her fear, but I think I'll use it to my advantage; afterall, it was ten bucks I wasted otherwise.

You see, Hattie loves to pull books off the bookshelf in our living room. We have tried to baracade it, tell her "no!" and push the books back so it's harder for her to get to them. Nothing works. I find myself spending much of my time putting books back on the shelf. It's really annoying.

I thought I would just have to remove all of the books for now until she gets over her interest of pulling books down, but then today I got a brillant idea . . . . I think Piggy needs a new hiding place!

It's working, too. The books have miraculously stayed on the shelf all morning. But then I started to worry: Will she develop a fear of books now? We don't want that.

I don't know. I guess Piggy will go back behind the couch, and we'll just have bare shelves for a while. We might use him in the future, though. You know, in the liquor cabinet, on top of a pack of cigarettes, in a boy's car..... oh yeah, this toy was totally worth the ten bucks I spent!

August 20, 2007

Walking and More

Yes, Hattie is finally walking. She's been taking a few steps here and there for about a week or so now, but just a few days ago did she really start taking lots of steps at one time. She can walk across a room now! She spends much of her day walking from one object to another. She loves to carry things in her hands while she walks, too. Sean and I smile every time she takes off because it's just so darn cute. She also still falls a lot and has tons of bruises and scratches to show for it. Poor boo-boo! She's gettin' better by the day, though.

Notice that my prissy girl is wearing a necklace in the photos. She LOVES wearing necklaces and bracelets and any type of "pretties." She is such a girly-girl!

And her 8th tooth FINALLY popped through. It's been rough for about a week around here prior to that dern tooth finally surfacing, but things seem to be on the upswing again.

Hattie's newest phrase is "mean cat!" Sean's parents have a cat that HATES everyone except Sean's mom, so every time the babies would chase it, it would hiss like crazy at them. Kinda scary. So now Hattie is on this kick where she says, "mean cat!" and then will "hhhiiiiiissss!" She acts extra proud of herself if I act startled when she does this. It's really cute.

Finally, this is one of my favorite pictures that I took of Hattie and Wendy together. They sure are staring each other down, aren't they! Wendy was so cute. She would curl her little tongue up to the faucet and try to lap up the water. I hope they'll have many baths in Mimi's sink together in the future. My cousin and I were still bathing in my grandmother's sink together at the age of 3 or 4.....okay, maybe we were a little too big to be doing that, but man, we had a BLAST!

August 17, 2007

Oh Baby, Baby, Baby!

Our trip to Houston is almost over, and we've had a ton of fun. Yesterday was Wendy's little first birthday celebration, so all of her family could celebrate with her before she goes back to Washington to celebrate her real birthday on September 6th, which also happens to be Sean's birthday! Christie, Creighton, and their son, Luke, who is about to be one, came to help celebrate, so it was fun having the 3 babies together. Seeing the 3 of them interact just reinforces the fact that Hattie is a shy little girl. Wendy and Luke are so social. They even held hands for a while :0) and enjoyed having all of the attention on them, but my shy little girl preferred to be away from the attention. She did SO MUCH better for her cousin's birthday party than she did for her own, though! All 3 babies were so CUTE and SWEET together. But man, I couldn't imagine if I had triplets, if they were ALL MINE!
Some pictures from the party:
Each baby had his/her own cupcake, which just so happened to match their outfits. Luke and Wendy went to town on the sugar. Hattie was a little more careful about it, but they all got messy and enjoyed the treat!
And another one of the girls enjoying a lounge in Mimi's chairs and a cookie break. I don't know why this picture is so big?!?!

Oh, and Hattie is on her way to becoming a walker! Last week she started taking a few steps, and since she's been here, she's been getting more and more daring, taking as many as 6 or 7 steps at a time. WOOHOO! She won't be crawlin' down the isle on her wedding day afterall, I guess :0).

August 15, 2007


Here's a pic of Hattie and me at the children's museum this morning. The girls had a BLAST!Funny story: We gave Hattie a bagel this morning on the way to the children's museum in Houston. When Hattie took the bagel from me, she looked at it and proclaimed, "Chee-O!" (cheerio). Haha! Yep, anything that's a circle with a hole in the middle MUST be a cheerio, right!?!?!

We MISS YOU, Dadoo!!!!


Wendy and Laurel are in town for a while, so Hattie and I made the trip to Houston for just a few days to spend a little time with them. Katie, a friend, was so sweet to buy them matching outfits! We took them to the store and got asked, "Are they twins?" I don't think they look a thing alike, but the matching outfits are so cute and "twin-like," I guess!

The girls are really bonding so well. They enjoy each other's company and smile and talk to one another. They even give each other kisses. It's so sweet - this cousin love!

August 8, 2007

Daddy's in Charge

Monday morning I awoke at about 4 a.m. with a TERRIBLE stomach virus. BLEH. So being that we have no family near us, Sean was forced to take a "my wife is sick" day. Since I was either in the bathroom or curled up in the fetal position on the bed, Sean was completely in charge of Hattie for the entire day. A first for him. Don't get me wrong, he helps out with Hattie alot when he's home, but he has never had complete responsibility of her for an entire day.
Needless to say, a day with Daddy looks a lot different than a day with Mommy.

1.) When Daddy's in charge, Hattie gets to watch XBOX (NCAA 2007 to be exact) on the t.v. for much of the afternoon.

2.) When Daddy's in charge, Hattie gets mac-n-cheese and oreos for lunch.

3.) When Daddy's in charge, Hattie's one outing for the day is to go to Target and check out the flat screens that are now on sale just in case Mommy is SO deliriously sick that she might actually agree it's time to upgrade.

4.) When Daddy's in charge, Hattie gets to wear her clothes on backwards.

Even though the day didn't go quite as I would have planned it if I were in charge, Hattie had a blast! She absolutely adores her Dadoo, and getting to spend an entire day with him was such a treat for her. And Sean - the next morning he called me from work and gushed and gushed about how cute Hattie was for him all day and how much he enjoyed spending his day with her.

I am a blessed mama. And thankfully I am well now, too, and a few pounds lighter - woohoo! Sean did get a mild case of whatever I had on Tuesday, but he feels fine now, and luckily Hattie hasn't gotten sick yet (and I pray she doesn't). I figure since the oreos and mac-n-cheese didn't give her the runs, then she's probably in the clear :0).

August 5, 2007

Little Luau

Yesterday afternoon we took Hattie to a little luau party that one of the moms in my Mommy Group hosted for all of the families in the group. Above is a pic that Sean snapped of all the mamas and babies. It was chaos but a lot of fun! Hattie had tons of fun playing with the other babies. She is starting to get more social, and is actually noticing other babies around her age more.
Sean also snapped a few pics of Hattie and me at the "partee." I like these two because I didn't even know he was taking them, and natural "unposed" pictures are really my favorties.
We had a really good weekend overall. Hattie is moving to one nap a day, so you can imagine how rough my days have been lately. If you don't know what I'm talking about, imagine having a wee one that is SO TIRED by 1:00 after taking an hour morning nap but will NOT fall asleep for anything. She did this for 3 days straight, so today we decided to keep her up until 11:00 (when she just couldn't take it anymore) and then she napped for an hour and a half. I'm slowly gonna push that nap back, aiming for an early afternoon nap - I hope. Sean keeps telling me that there isn't a science behind it, but the books keep telling me that there is. I don't know. I just want to find a good rhythm like we had before. I hate the limbo stage, and I hope it doesn't last long. So anyways, Sean knew that I have had a few rough days, so he surprised me, got a baby-sitter, and took me to see Becoming Jane on Friday night. The movie was really good, we thought. Romantic and sweet and beautiful. It made me realize that we NEED more date nights. Hopefully moving back, close to family, will help with that :0). Until then, I'll relish in the few nights out we have together. Go see this movie, though. It's good!

August 3, 2007


They took me about 10 minutes to fix, required TONS of patience from Hattie during those 10 minutos, and then she pulled 'em out in about 2 minutes flat. They sure were cute for those 2 minutes, though!
We went to the pool yesterday at Lifetime. Hattie kept pointing to all of the little boys and girls, calling them "gul" (girl). One little boy got a little offended and said, "I'm a BOY!" We're wokin' on it. We're workin' on it!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2