Monday, August 28, 2006

Cheese Curds & Brazen Beer Bellies

This weekend Atticus and I experienced our first Minnesota State Fair. Parking was an event unto itself -- I was thankful for my astonishingly patient husband and our equally agreeable new friends -- Cody and Melody Oaks. Endless lines of traffic inching in and around neighborhood streets and outrageous parking fees have never been so "enjoyable". The big goal of our little group was to consume fair food -- between us we were corn-dogged, french-fried, chocolate-covered nut-rolled, fried veggie-kabobbed, sno-coned, caramel-appled, and fried cheese-curded. Quite the gastronomic catastrophe. In between dinner courses we explored the exhibits. The favorite tent of the day was the fine-arts show though the main form of entertainment was people-watching -- as Cody noticed -- who knew there were still people bold enough to sport cut-off (midriff) shirts?

People are just so bizarre to me -- Brad reminded me of something he loves about L'Abri -- that they acknowledge and discuss high art as well as low art -- popular culture is out there and it is us -- we can't deny that every one of us has something there that "gets" us. I grew up with a mother who took me to the ballet in downtown Chicago and to weekly classical piano lessons at the local university and yet loves demolition derbies and doesn't mind a nice WWF moment now and then again -- not to mention her disparate range of movie and reading favorites -- oh my.

So State Fairs -- by the way, my parents living now in southwest Wisconsin have the honor of being near the only state fair that I know of that has COMBINE (giant grain harvesters) demolition derbies -- THAT is fantastic.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Atticus Favorite of All Things -- Standing Up!?

For those of you who've been asking for more about Atticus, here's a little new-sie compendium of Atticus at 3 1/2 months old:
I don't know why -- but Atticus just adores standing up -- and likes to try "walking" across the floor or the couch or our laps. He doesn't seem too interested in getting the "basics" down for month four -- like pushing up on his arms while on his tummy (Brad says, 'Don't worry, he'll get it sometime or another -- Every baby develops differently -- He's ahead on some things and behind on others so it all balances out.' -- and other infuriatingly reasonable assessments and proclamations. As an aside, I think firstborns are just insufferably didactic.) And when he's put on his back he'll turn onto his side to grab something but looks at me quizzically when I try to get him to roll over (He has done this a couple times but almost "by accident") like, "Why would I do that, Mom? I don't particularly like being on my tummy -- I can't see as much, and I don't like working my arm muscles so I can be developmentally "on schedule" according to your baby books.) He is getting better at balancing while he's sitting but ends up at some crazy angle careening forward at such a sharp angle that he keeps spitting up. The couch, his bouncy seat, or the crook of my bent leg work better for him.

Just in the last couple weeks he has started staying awake for our whole 40-minute daily walk. He just loves trees -- light through tree leaves. This week we went down to 50th, parked, and walked for an hour on the Minnehaha trail along the creek. We stopped at the bridges, and I lifted him up to watch the sunlight on the water. He was fascinated -- intently watching it for 10 minutes.

He's also getting into his mouth -- actually everything else is getting into his mouth too: His blanket, his bear, my hand, my shoulder....

We are finally enjoying him finding a somewhat regular schedule for sleeping and being awake. He wakes around 6 am -- when we rise for the day -- and stays awake for an hour or so and then takes two shortish naps during the morning. Then in the afternoon he'll take one longer nap and a little snoozy 10-15 minute thingy later. We've been getting him down to bed around 8 o'clock and having him sleep until 2:30 ish (with one or two feedings in between there) when he has a bit of a problem with going back to sleep but eventually does so until morning (with another feeding in there). So finally Brad and I are having some time to ourselves and with each other in the evenings. This has been so good for us. We love Atticus beyond beyond, but we were "fragging out" mentally for awhile -- "stretched" as Bilbo Baggins says "like too little butter on too much toast".

I've finally decided to find a pediatrician rather than continuing on with the group of general practitioners we've been using since I was first pregnant with Atticus. For those of you who pray, please ask that God would guide us to the right group of doctors. I just haven't jived with any of the ones we've had so far, and the whole process of finding one overwhelms me. Atticus has his next set of immunizations in another couple weeks so I am going try to get this sorted out by then.

And, that is that. Atticus is just a delightful little person. He continues to be cheerful and patient, but not passive, really -- just a very content fellow. He does have a "thing" about not wanting to be left out of things. If Brad and I are talking or there is a group of grown-ups in discussion at the dinner table -- Atticus loves to "chatter" loud hoping someone (usually his mommy) will hear him and talk with him. And he just hates being left in a room without being able to see what I'm doing. In the last few weeks he's decided he just really digs his mommy. I love having him wrap his arm around my neck or have his entire jolly being light up with a dimpled grin when I smile and talk to him. If he wasn't so real, if being his mommy wasn't so grounded in dirty diapers and tired mornings and bits of over-tired "cry outs" -- I would think this whole thing was just too victorian sentimental. Unbelievable how hard your heart is pulled into joy and worry and anticipation and affection and sadness and weariness and restlessness and devotion and tenderness.

So this is the person of Atticus Robert Johannsen in his fourth month of life.

Atticus Talks With Mommy

Sometimes I Play in My "Bug" Play-Yard

Atticus Enjoys Sitting on the Couch

Atticus Discovers His Hands

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Toad's Wild Ride...

Recently Brad will be smiling a little longer at me or will shake his head in wonderment at our young son and say, "It's been a wild ride, Sarah, just a wild ride...." August 9th we celebrated our first year anniversary. One year. Married to Bradley Johannsen with a 3 month old son. Wife. Mother. And a homemaker, at that. I still don't know what I'm doing with this husband and child and house. But I am thankful. I am thankful for my husband who works hard for me to be able to stay at home with our baby and to be able to care for our home and entertain. I am thankful for my husband who prays for me and loves our baby. I am thankful for arms that are quick to hug me, for someone to eat dinner with, for someone to go to the movies with...I am thankful for being surprised at this man I married -- And not in the bad way, all you cynics out there. Surprised that my engineer-beatles-rock'n'roll-baseball statistics-politics-i-love-my-money-management-program-
and-kevin-smith-quentin-tarantino-movies husband -- that he is so often gentle and can write beautiful letters that are like prose poems; that he brings home flowers; that he's actually quite good at punning and throws down fantastic words in everyday conversation -- words that ought to be used, that are perfect in the context, words that are usually buried in obscurity; that this man has nearly perfected a latin-boogie form of dancing; that he is as addicted as I am to gathering information -- reading and talking to people and looking around on the internet -- that he has a total weakness for reference books of all kinds; surprised that we still can't have a conversation about theology or ideology without veering off into arguments and hurt egos and emotional reactions. Okay, you cynics, there have been those kinds of surprises too -- but far less than I would have thought. And for all my restlessness and wanderlust and indecision, I am increasingly assured that this was a good idea. That marrying this man was a good idea. That making this baby with this man was a good idea. God is gracious to this neurotic loner gypsy. God is gracious.

Tomorrow Atticus will be 3 Months Old