We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

We're Thankful

This list doesn't even begin to capture all that we are thankful for...but after returning from Eric's parents' house tonight, we sat down and read out the things in our thankful jar. Here's just a glimpse at some of the many blessings God has bestowed on us.

Melody:
I am thankful for flexibility in our jobs that allows us to care for Cate.
I am thankful for our pets who entertain me regularly.
I am thankful for the yummy lunches Eric packs (yes, he does pack my lunch everyday).
I am thankful for Eric and Cate and how much joy they bless me with.
I am thankful for Paris (we went on our honeymoon there and it was absolutely wonderful).

Eric:
I am thankful for laughter, especially when we laugh so hard we cry.
I am thankful for the blessing of family.
I am thankful for patience and forgiveness.
I am thankful for being closer to financial peace.
I am thankful for being able to share my relationship with God with my family.
I am thankful for a wife who sacrifices a lot for me and Cate.
I am thankful for Cate's cries so she can let us know when she's in pain.

Cate: (okay, so I wrote this one after watching Cate and Eric reading together one night last week)
I am thankful that you read to me Daddy.

And from those who played along by commenting on an earlier post:
Kristin (Eric's Sister):
I'm thankful that no matter where I go, in life, and on earth, I know there will always be people back home who love me and support me no matter what. Love you guys!

Leanne (Friend and fellow blogger, check out It's a Blair Life on our blogroll):
I am thankful for synthetic insulin (as noted on my blog post, which is similar to your post). Without it, my husband would not be here today ! :) And I am thankful for him, so indirectly I am more than thankful for insulin! :)

Cecily (Friend from Hudson...we've known each other since middle school- also a fellow blogger, check out 100musings on our blogroll):
I am thankful for each and every day, the good ones and the bad ones, for each helping hand, each moment of kindness. I am thankful for the world around us, for music, for food, for babies, for warm fireplaces and woolen socks. For dancing, for little old ladies on park benches, for strength in times of trouble, for a tiny star shining brightly in a completely black sky night. I am thankful for work, for toil, for studies, for health. For life, for love, and for friendship. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep writing.

Well said by all three! You can still play along if you'd like. To leave a comment, go to the end of this post and click on the comments (sometimes there is a number next to the word comment to show how many have been left). When the comment window opens, you should be able to type your comment. Then either input your GMAIL username and password, or click on Open ID. Under Open ID you can select another platform you may be using or just simply type your name. Type in the security verification word or letters, and then publish your comment. It's that easy and we'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from Cate's first Thanksgiving. She wasn't crazy about the turkey, but loved the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and corn pudding.

This first picture is from this morning. While Eric raked leaves, Cate and I headed up to our local convenience store to pick up a paper. I love looking at the turkey coloring contest winners in the paper every year and wanted to see if there's anything worth getting up early for tomorrow. I figured that wearing her would create more body heat.
And here are the rest from today:

Notice how Cate is down to her onesie by this last one with all of the cousins. She was getting frustrated trying to crawl in her skirt.

Happy Thanksgiving!
~Melody :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Children's Museum

Since Melody already had the day off of work, Eric decided to take today off too, and we all headed down to the Children's Museum. We'd been wanting to go for awhile, but wanted to make sure Cate was really old enough to enjoy it. Turns out she's at the perfect age to begin enjoying all that the museum has to offer and it doesn't look like she'll be outgrowing it anytime soon.

We started the day off in the Little Sprout area- made just for kids 4 and under. And within this area, there's an area just for crawlers. Cate had fun playing there.

We soon ventured out of the crawler area though. Where Cate discovered a new friend (sort of).
Then she got busy crawling around to check everything else out.
Mommy introduced her to sand at one of the big sand tables. She'll be ready for Hilton Head this summer for sure.
Cate never ceases to amaze us with how quickly she picks up on things. Right away she learned that the felt shapes stuck to the giant felt board.
And she loved maneuvering the boats and cars on this wooden table.
There were a lot of other cool things to explore in the Children's Museum, but we started to get hungry, so we headed up to the cafe where we all enjoyed lunch together.
After lunch, we headed to a special traveling exhibit of Clifford- the big red dog.
And we slid down Clifford's tail.
The whole display is setup to be like Birdwell Island, where Clifford and Emily Elizabeth (children's book characters) live. Cate found Clifford's big dog bones quite fun. Our dog is probably the size of one of Clifford's bones!
She learned about raking leaves with Daddy over by the tool shed.
And had fun crawling through a tunnel.
There was a special area for little ones with lots of stuff close to the ground for babies to play with. Cate loved playing hide and seek with Clifford (he popped in and out of his doghouse with the turn of a crank).
And she loved opening a little door to reveal a mirror too.
We read a Clifford story as Cate started to wind down.
But we made one more stop at the "Woods" section of the museum. It's a playground with all kinds of tunnels and slides and bridges and caves for kids to climb on. In a word- awesome!
Needless to say, on the way home, Cate did this...
I think the Children's Museum may be one of our new favorite places. There's plenty of space for Cate and activities and displays that will grow with her. We're looking into getting an annual pass (especially since it will be a little too cold for us to use our zoo pass this winter). We can definitely see ourselves spending lots more time here.

~Eric and Melody

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I almost forgot...

...as of this weekend, Cate has been out of the womb longer than she was in it. Someone asked me why this wasn't the case the day after her 9 month birthday. Let me explain real quick:
1. Women are pregnant for 40 weeks, which is 9 full months
2. Cate was born at 41 weeks and 4 days gestation- I started a 10th month of pregnancy!
3. Each month has a few days more than 4 weeks
So...I used a calendar, counted up the weeks and as of this weekend Cate has been alive for 41 weeks and 5 days- meaning she's officially been outside breathing air longer than she was an inside water baby.
(at 27 weeks gestation)

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

I don't like paying too much for Cate's clothes because she outgrows them so fast. However, once in awhile, I like to splurge on an outfit. So here's a look at Cate's holiday outfit (you'll be seeing more of it in the coming weeks). You can't tell very well in the picture, but it's an ivory turtleneck sweater, a maroon tutu-ish skirt, and ivory tights with maroon snowflakes. Her patent leather mary janes from Nana complete the outfit. I want to get some use out of it though, so she wore it to church today and a Thanksgiving celebration at my grandma's (my mom's mom) church. She'll wear it on Thanksgiving of course (she's a pretty neat eater right now), and throughout the holiday season. I picked snowflakes though because then she can continue to wear it through the winter too...until she outgrows it.

Cate also went to church decked out today in a new coat.
It's actually my old coat from infancy which my grandmother (my dad's mom) made. It's made out of velveteen and has a hat and leg warmers. We didn't do the leg warmers today though. Cate actually didn't mind it, even though this picture tells a different story. As long as she can still move, she doesn't care what you put her in.
Here she is on the move. Next she she'll have a similar coat to wear that's red. And she's got two cute white spring coats that are a lighter weight (one for this year and one for next). I really love all of the hand made clothing Cate has that was mine. My grandmother is a talented seamstress and every time I dress Cate in something she made, I am reminded that if I ever find some time I need my grandma to teach me to sew (even just basic things).

Don't forget to read the post below this one entitled "Blessings" and leave a comment about what you're thankful for.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blessings

If you got stuck in traffic on Madison Road between 4 and 7 this evening (or if you get stuck tomorrow morning), know that it is for a good reason. Close to 200,000 people in both Cincinnati and South Africa will be blessed this Thanksgiving through Thanksgiving boxes provided by Crossroads. They make it easy by providing you a box, a list, and then unloading your car for you. As I drove away, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the many blessings in my life. Last week, Brian Tome, the lead pastor at church, encouraged us to write down the things we are thankful for and to put them somewhere so that we could read them on Thanksgiving Day. We took out a small square vase and in our dining room we started our collection of things we are thankful for. I'm humbled that our words on a few pieces of paper aren't even close to being adequate enough to expressing all that we are blessed with. As the holiday season begins, Eric and I have continued to practice some of the traditions started in our families, but we're forging some new ones of our own. I think the thankful vase needs to be one--although truly I feel like it should be a year long thing because I so often "forget" just how blessed I am.
If you'd like to "add" to our thankful vase, feel free to leave a comment below (on Facebook or the regular blog since these notes import to Facebook too). I'm going to share the thankful notes from our vase in a new post next week and will post yours too if you'd like.

~Melody :-)

PS...I sometimes randomly come across strangers' blogs and take an interest in them (see the list at right under people we don't know). I've come across another one that you can see by clicking here. She's having a fun FRYday contest (I realize Friday is over), but I think you can still enter if you have a blog. Her blog is fun and one of these days I'll get around to posting on "not-me Monday." And if you have time to read the story about her youngest son, you should. It's pretty amazing what God can do.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sooooo BIG!

Cate has learned how to tell everyone she's "so big" if you ask her how big she is. Sorry the video is so short, but I did it from my camera and I can't send it to the computer if it's too big. She also knows how to give kisses (ask her for a baby kiss and she'll oblige by opening her mouth and pressing it to your cheek), but I have yet to catch that on camera.
video
~Melody :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Little Girl...

Rocks and Rolls...
And this little girl holds her own bottle in the morning.
I managed to snap this picture this morning because Cate woke up before I left. She's getting two new bottom teeth (a total of 6 teeth now), and as a result she's either been waking up around 11:30 every night wanting to be held or waking up at 6:15ish to start her day. I can't complain though...she's still as pleasant as ever. When she wakes up at night, a little rocking puts her right back to sleep. Eric spends a couple of hours with her in the morning before he takes her to the sitter and heads to work...apparently she's been doing this bottle trick for awhile, but this is the first I've seen it (since she's attached to me when I'm home and feeding her).

She's growing up...and speaking of growing up...
the child Eric and I have sponsored in Mozambique through World Vision for the past 4 years got married. We just received a letter in the mail about it because it now makes her ineligible to be sponsored. It's not uncommon for young teenagers in her culture to marry and we have the opportunity to write a farewell letter to her. So it looks like we'll be getting a new child soon. Please keep Malita (the girl we formerly sponsored) and our new child in your prayers.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Renewal and Remembering

This past week at school, our grading trimester ended. It was definitely a stressful week getting there. Now that I'm five years into teaching, I am pretty good about planning out when assignments are due so that I never have to take home work to grade. I like to think I use my plan time pretty efficiently too. However, with the swollen corneas, mastitis, and missing school for some professional development that was scheduled before school even started, I've been out of the classroom a lot. The assignments still went on though. So this past week I found myself with a mountain of grading to do before I could turn my grades in on Friday.

I made it though (with a couple of late nights and some help from Eric, who graciously graded some quizzes for me) and this weekend has been all about relaxing and renewing. Ahhh.... *sigh*. I have to say, the Johnson and Johnson's Lavender Bedtime Bath makes a great bubble bath for mommies too. And this little munchkin, in her cute hat and Miami shirt, also helps me feel renewed. It was also a weekend of remembering. I met Fred in the fall of 2006 when I was training for the Disney Marathon with Team in Training. He was training for a marathon in Arizona. We ran at about the same pace and usually ended up running together at our long runs. We also started training for the same bike ride in the spring of 2007, but I dropped when I found out I was pregnant with Cate. I also saw Fred frequently at school since he subbed in our district. As Eric began to do stuff with TNT and was eventually hired by them, he got to know Fred as well. Fred was just at just about every running event in Cincinnati and definitely at anything TNT related. He raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ran or biked several hundred (if not a thousand) miles in training and in races, and volunteered countless hours for LLS. At mile 22 of the New York City Marathon this year, Fred collapsed with a heart attack. After being in a coma for a couple of weeks, he passed away this past Thursday morning, giving of himself even in death through organ donation. This morning, Eric watched as over 200 runners that knew Fred gathered in the rainy cold to run 4.2 miles (and "finish" the marathon with him). The picture below is of Fred at mile 20, just 2 miles before he had his heart attack. He will be missed.
I also learned this week that the younger brother of a girl I knew from church growing up passed away after falling off of his roof. Her brother is the same age as my brother, so it hit a little close to home. I wish I could've been in three places at once today...with Cate, with the runners, and with the Ball family in NE Ohio. Eric got to go with the runners and obviously I stayed with Cate since she was still sleeping when the runners took off (NE Ohio was kind of out of the question given the stress of this past week), but my prayers and thoughts were with everyone.

So here's to enjoying the rest of the weekend and continuing to remember and be renewed.

~Melody

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My new obsession...

Baby Tights!!! I mean really, could those cute, little, stripey legs be any cuter?
So now I'm on the hunt for more cute little dresses and fun baby tights. Still kind of obsessed with Cate's baby leg warmers too...but now that it's cold outside, the tights are winning.

Spent a great weekend with my family. My sister and I stayed up past midnight both nights playing the Wii (the new Guitar Hero World Tour has a great song selection- we rented it from Blockbuster and played head to head guitar since we don't have drums or anything). I rocked it out on Interpol's "Obstacle 1" and didn't miss a single note. It was the only song I actually managed to beat my sister on. I creamed her in Mario Kart to make up for her pounding me in Guitar Hero.

Saturday night we made a big pot o' chili and chowed down with my mom, dad, sister, and both of my grandmothers. It was a full house. Thanks mom for helping me with all of the dishes afterwards :-)

I'm feeling way better than I was feeling at the beginning of the weekend. Still a little sore, but no real pain unless I'm feeding Cate, and even then it's just at the beginning. Cate's still battling a runny nose, but she's hanging in there and is quite a trooper. We're hoping and praying for both of us to be 100% better (including new contacts for mom) by next weekend.

~Melody :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Really Must be a Mom Now

Cate wiped her snotty nose on my shirtsleeve yesterday. She's had a runny nose for a couple of days. Thankfully, it seems to just be that. No other congestion or cough. A slight fever at times, but pretty much your run of the mill cold. Also, she is thankfully still sleeping through it all, which is the best thing for her.

I have not fared much better the end of this week. On Thursday morning, I noticed the left side of my chest really hurt. After pumping at lunch, I started to get chills, but was sweating. I went ahead and ate lunch, barely made it through my intervention class after lunch, and decided I really needed to go home since I was in so much pain and had such horrible chills. I work with wonderful people who stepped in to cover my last two classes. It was a good thing I left- the pain was so overwhelming, I barely made it home before I got sick.

Turns out this is a really bad case of mastitis, which is normally something that only affects moms nursing newborns. It's really rare to have it this late in the breastfeeding game. My doctor is fantastic and called in some meds right away (which my wonderful hubby left work to go pick up). Other than still having pain on my left side, I feel fine again. The fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms are gone. I'll be back in business for work on Monday. Hopefully Cate's cold will clear itself up by then too.

~Melody

PS...she doesn't let a runny nose stop her. Here she is playing hard last night. My mom, dad, and sister are in town this weekend too. Family is always great medicine. Catherine and I stayed up playing Mario Kart and Guitar Hero on the Wii until midnight last night.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy 9 Months Cate!

Our 9 month checkup went smoothly this afternoon. Aside from a runny nose right now (which could be from any number of things), Cate is a very healthy girl. Weighing in at 19 pounds, Cate has dropped to the 60th percentile for weight. I guess that's pretty normal at this age though. She's eating more, but since she crawls around so much, she's also burning a lot of calories. She's 28.5 inches tall (75th percentile) and is still in the 90th percentile for head circumference (all that brain power). She's not anemic (which is apparently pretty common at this age as baby drink less breast milk/formula and eat more baby food). And everything else looked good too. Dr. Brown was very pleased. She didn't even need Tylenol after getting her flu shot and one other vaccine. Go Cate! We felt bad taking her to the doctor on her birthday, but were proud to hear our little peanut is one healthy, happy, kid.
Cate's new carseats arrived yesterday. Cate checked them out and gave them her seal of approval. She likes being able to sit up more in the car (even if she does have to continue to look backwards until she's 1).
I also caught a still picture of her peeking under the rug this week...it cracks us up that she is so fascinated by this.
I'll leave you with this one-- Cate loves when Eric plays guitar. She tries to help him play by putting her hands on the strings (which actually kind of "mutes" the sound of the guitar). She bounces up and down and growls and coos while he plays. It's wonderful noise.
We've got a busy weekend coming up. Nana, Grandpa, and the namesake (Aunt Catherine) are coming to town!
~Melody :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Peek-A-Boo

Cate has learned another new trick (for lack of a better word...although I feel like "new trick" is when your puppy learns to fetch or something-- which ours does not know how to do). I've been meaning to post this for about a week, but just haven't had a lot of time- which videos take a lot of to upload. So anyway, this is our new daily game, usually played just after she nurses since the burp cloth is handy. Enjoy!
video
~Melody :-)

PS...She also enjoys "peeking" under the rug, but I have yet to catch it on video.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Growing Up

It's still hard for me to fathom that this time last year, I was just at the beginning of my third trimester. Cate is a maniac, crawling all over the place. We're feeding her more table food now. She still eats baby food for lunch and some for dinner (since more of her finger foods end up on her and the floor than in her mouth). Zoey doesn't mind this new venture. Cate seems to love the chicken nuggets we got her (Whole Foods sells some yummy, lightly breaded, growth-hormone free chicken nuggets).
Cate is also quite the mooch. She ate quite a bit of my mashed potatoes last weekend at my in-laws and likes to share in my Sunday morning doughnut.

Cate also outgrew her baby bathtub. She's been trying to climb out of it for awhile, but we didn't have a bath mat to keep her from slipping. Tonight we finally bought a bath mat and Cate couldn't be happier to have full reign of the tub (with Mommy and Daddy's supervision of course).
I think she especially liked that she could "crawl" after her toys.
People weren't kidding when they said the time flies by so quickly.

~Melody :-)