CT—9 months

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My goodness. The time is f-l-y-i-n-g with this little guy (“the boy”). I am usually pretty good about posting the month-a-birthday on time, but this one already passed a week ago. Tonight I decided I didn’t need to wait much longer to post about the 8-9 month range because he has already done so many things in the first week of being 9 months.

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So, from 8-9 months:

1. Cohen learned to applaud, and this has turned into one of his absolute favorite ways to be social. If he hears a hint of someone saying good job or music from the TV he will begin to clap his hands. It is absolutely adorable and something I don’t remember my girls doing like him.

2. He is crawling! He is so funny, because he positions one leg up so that his foot can guide and leaves one knee down. He gets around, and he has gotten faster and faster.

3. He loves to eat, and he prefers to feed himself. He will refuse my spoonfuls unless it is yogurt. Maggie was such a delicate eater, and Cohen is the complete opposite. He will try to get as much as he can in a fistful, bring it to his mouth, and get maybe 1/3 of what he picked up. His favorite foods are bananas, plain yogurt, crackers, and pasta.

4. He is getting into everything. There was one evening after he had recently learned to crawl where I put Maggie’s potty seat up on a chair so he coudn’t get to it (I had not cleaned out the seat from one use from Maggie). I leave the room for what seemed like 2 seconds, and he had crawled over to the chair, pulled it over, and dumped the seat and the contents of the seat on top of himself. Disgusting. Cohen has a bath almost every night now. We have learned to move things. If he gets a hold of it, his first instinct is to take it and bang it as hard as he can on the floor and back into the air.

5. He loves his big sisters. I get him up in the morning or from a nap, and I can tell that he looks for them. He shows his excitement by kicking his legs, and when he sees them he puts his finger in his mouth and shys away on my shoulder. He is such a player. And his sisters love to be the ones to go entertain him in his room if I ask them to see him after waking from a nap.

6. He has started to communicate by screaming. It is not an angry scream, but we are hoping he can talk soon so that the scream can take a rest.

7. He understands “all done” after eating. That is the sign I have really repeated over and over with him.

8. Normally, he wakes up at 5:00 am to nurse and then sleeps until 8. He takes 3 naps during the day (9-11, 12:30-2:30, 4-5:30). He goes to bed at 7 or a little later.

9. He loves to stand alone (we help him into the standing position), and he still hasn’t figured out cruising.

10. He weighed 22 lbs at his 9 month check-up (wearing 12-18 month clothing). Grande! Oh… and his bottom teeth came in this past month. I hope that covers all of it.

His sisters giving him some love at our photo shoot in the park.

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We took the kids to City Toys (a play place for little kids) one day this past month. Cohen played for his first time, and he learned that he LOVES the ball pit.

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He is so proud of himself when he stands like a big boy. Do you see those thighs?!?

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I love his expression in this one. He is wearing a chullo (a hat from Cusco) that one of our Peruvian friends gifted to him.

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eating. which he does very well

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CT—9 months

Thirty and Thriving

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Thirty. That seems really old to me. But one of my single friends who is also turning thirty this year said to me, “Yeah. It sounds old. Like old enough to be married and have kids.” She winked at me. Even though Thirteen Going On Thirty is one of my favorite movies, I will not be prancing around like Jennifer Garner as a thirty-year-old. I can, though, hold the title as “thirty, flirty (only with Greg McKinzie), and thriving.”

My blog posts are slowly coming. There have been numerous times when I want to blog about something, an experience here on the mission field, thoughts on my spiritual journey, things about my kids, but this 29 turning to 30 year has kicked my tail. I am worn out (I think it has more to do with that third kid rather than my age). But I thought about a birthday post, and I decided I would sit down and try to think of thirty nuggets of wisdom I have learned in my life thus far. Most of these come from the past year or so. This post will probably be hilarious to me when I turn 60. 🙂

So, here we go. These are not in any particular order unless you count the order in which I think of them.

1. Growing up on a farm teaches a ton of life lessons that prepares you for adulthood. There were days that I hated it, but my parents knew exactly what they were doing.

2. I am a people pleaser, and I think some of that is because I am smack dab in the middle of five siblings. Being a people pleaser can be a good thing when it helps me to think of others around me, but it can be a bad thing when I care too much about what others think of me.

3. I am a home body, but I have traveled to quite a few places in my life. It is good to take adventures for the experiences, even if one is not adventurous. (But I would take hanging out at home with my family over a trip to a foreign country any day.)

4. It is a blessing to grow up in a church for your entire childhood and then be supported by that church in the mission field.

5. I love being a mother, but there are days when I wish my kids were already on their own so Greg and I can have our couple time back. And I think it is okay to feel this way sometimes. It means that I love my husband a whole lot. (And it stinks to not live close to grandparents or family that can babysit.)

6. The person you marry doesn’t have to be your best friend, but they do have to be your soul mate. Greg and I have so many things that we enjoy doing that we don’t enjoy together, but we have really good friends that share that with us. We find things to do together, but what I have found to be the most important thing in our marriage is that he is my partner in ministry for kingdom work. I had always heard that you marry your best friend, but if Greg and I had hung out in high school together (non-romantically) he would not have been my best friend. Some do marry their best friend, but it is okay to not be best friends with your spouse. I hope that comes across the way I want. It depends on how you define “best friend” I guess. Oh, and if I could chooses one person in the world to be with, it would be Greg. He knows me better than anyone.

7. Throwing up is one of the worst kinds of sick, especially when you have to nurse an infant through the night.

8. Best friends keep in touch and think of each other often. Life can change who your best friends are but there are those few kindred spirits that remain your friend for life even if life changes drastically around you.

9. Parenting advice is the worst (when it comes from someone that just thinks they should tell you something). All kids are different. All parents are different. Oh, and all cultures are different. 🙂

10. Grandparents and great-grandparents are a blessing. I was blessed to grow up in the same town as my great-Granny and Granny and Granddad. They are some of the most precious relationships to me. I hope my kids can say that one day about their grands.

11. I openly communicate to my parents and have a very good relationship with them. I think the reasons for this are: 1. They have always cared to listen to me. 2. They have never been “hoverers.” There was a distinct difference between my parents being a “friend” and being my mom and dad. 3. They have respected me in making my own decisions even if they knew from wisdom that I was making a bad decision. 4. They always made “quality time” important in strengthening our relationship. 5. They always encouraged open communication.

12. My dad told me that the best thing for my marriage would be to move far from both families so that my spouse and I could make our own little family. I never thought Peru would be the place, but I think that Greg and I have matured about 10 times faster than we would have if we had been closer to family.

13. Family is a blessing from God. That is why he calls the church “family.” It is a blessing to have family all over the world.

14. When you hang out with people that gossip it is really easy to participate. Pray to be able to hold your tongue or be an influence when you are around those people. If you can’t do this, avoid being in conversation with them.

15. Listening is can be better than talking 90% of the time. I need to listen more.

16. It is good to find something that releases stress. I love trying new recipes and it is something that I love to do by myself.

17. Potty-training is one of the worst parts of early parenting.

18. You learn a ton more about your spouse after having children.

19. One of the best things that parents can do to be good parents is to be on the same page when it comes to discipline. It is a team sport.

20. I have a world of respect for my mom after becoming a mother. I never realized just how many things she sacrificed to be a stay-at-home mom.

21. I love peppermint tea and it is an incredible relaxer in the evening after the kids are in bed.

22. Living in a different culture transforms ones mind, and I will never be able to live in the US and think the way I used to about many things.

23. God really does do more than we ask or imagine.

24. Missionaries are blessed beyond measure to witness the generosity of people that would never brag about what they give or do.

25. When you stink at learning languages being a people-person and extrovert really comes in handy. It also comes in handy to be married to a language pro.

26. Something that makes a momma of three very happy is to have all the laundry done and a clean kitchen. This is a rare occasion in my house, but when it happens bliss. Oh, and hanging laundry is a wonderful way to relax and have time to think and pray.

27. If I don’t put my husband’s clothes away for him I will stare at a pile of folded laundry in our bedroom floor for a long time. He can function just fine without a wardrobe, and as much as I want what bothers me to bother him, it won’t.

28. When you assume the best in someone it makes you a more positive person. Trust is a beautiful thing.

29. I chose the right career path, and as a stay-at-home-mom it is important to find venues to use my gifts and talents that I would have used in the work world. I have been blessed to be a part of the library program here.

30. As much as I can plan and think about what to expect in the coming year, God always shows up and surprises me with his plan.

So… here’s to hoping that I can thrive for thirty more.

Thirty and Thriving

2012 Resolution, Part 1

My resolution is to be a better global citizen. To do that, I am going to experiment with David Livermore’s “seven strategies each of us can begin practicing right now to speak up on behalf of our global neighbors,” from his book What Can I Do?: Making a Global Difference Right Where You Are. They are:

  1. Be aware
  2. Inform and recruit others
  3. Work it into work
  4. Give
  5. Shop responsibly
  6. Invest/divest
  7. Influence government and media

Even though this is supposed to be something like “Personal Globalization Ethics for Dummies,” I have to say, each of these looks daunting in its own way. I’m going to blog through my experiment in case anyone else finds these things difficult to do and needs the encouragement of hearing from another mediocre global citizen. I’ll add for good measure that I don’t expect this experiment to make me look especially good, so let’s start with sufficiently low expectations. My resolution is just to do better by trying to follow practical advise, and my goal is to find out what I can actually do from with the limitations of my day-to-day existence.

2012 Resolution, Part 1

Rainy Season Chicken Pot Pie

It has rained almost all afternoon today, and it is only the second day of the new year. That is early compared to the other three rainy seasons we have been present for here. I hadn’t planned on making this dish because it was a comfort food. Actually, I really like chicken pot pie, I bought the ingredients on my market run this morning, and Greg has been a little under the weather so it seemed like a good meal for him. My mom never made this when I was growing up so I didn’t have a family recipe to pull from. I received this allrecipes.com email in my inbox this past week, and I am so glad I did! It uses biscuits instead of a pastry crust. I used my high-altitude recipe from this site and they turned out great. I am a fan of the biscuit topping.

My only note after making it my first time is that I need to make it in a deeper dish or a larger dish. The filling overflowed while the biscuits were still cooking. Other than that, poifect. If you are looking for a comfort food for a cold winter day or a cool rainy day, try this one out:

Mom’s Fabulous Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust

Rainy Season Chicken Pot Pie

Stupendous Beef Tenderloin

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This recipe has definitely made it into my list of “special occasion recipes” folder. I found the recipe on allrecipes.com. It is worth seeing the comments if you don’t believe me, “It was soooooooooo incredibly good.” Here is the link if you want to see it with the original title: Fabulous Beef Tenderloin.

The cut of meat is super expensive here (“lomo fino” to all my Peruvian friends), but so worth it for a special occasion like Christmas or New Year’s. I bought little hoagie style rolls and we ate mini-steak sandwiches for 2 days afterward. If there was an Arby’s Super Gourmet restaurant, I am pretty sure they would serve something like these.

I followed the recipe exactly and got excellent results. The only critical feedback I received from Greg is that he wished I had doubled the sauce. I totally agree with him. There wasn’t enough of the sauce to drench our mashed potatoes for every meal. 🙂 And what I really love… it is super easy. So easy that I am not going to make you go to the link if you don’t want to. I can type it out from memory.

Fabulous Beef Tenderloin (serves 6)

1-3 lb beef tenderloin (or 1.5 k lomo fino)

3/4 c soy sauce

1/2 c melted butter (but we will be doubling the bottom 2 ingredients next time)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place tenderloin in shallow baking dish and pour sauce over the meat.

2. Bake 10 minutes, and then flip over continuing to cook the roast another 35-40 minutes. Baste occasionally. (when interal temp is 140 F it is medium). Cook to desired doneness. After taking it out, allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

We like ours medium and 40 minutes was PERFECT. If you are looking for a yummy, special meal try this out.

Stupendous Beef Tenderloin