Thursday, September 29, 2005

please don't be dead!

i just don't think i could deal with it if vaughn was dead. i don't want to get my hopes up. Alias does have a way of pulling off grand schemes. but tonight i was a very sad girl. vaughn is one of the best parts about the show. maybe even The best part. i can't even handle it. Alias, be good to me. i've invested a lot in you.

Monday, September 26, 2005

the Tipley Team

Lifelong friendships, I'm learning, are a rare commodity. There are, of course, the college friendships, the high school friendships, occasionally the grade school friendships that have lasted through the years. And a lot of people probably had to play with the kids of their parents' friends - but those mostly end as the years go by - a quick "hello" and a catch-up if you happen to pass them somewhere along life's path usually suffices.
I have been given the gift of a true lifelong friendship. Well, I'm not dead yet so time will tell, but I am confident that no matter where our lives lead, we will always come back together in some way, shape or form.
Of course it started out with us being friends because we were born into our respective families. She came into the world seven months after I, a couple years followed and our younger siblings were born, two more years and our group was complete.
Our families did everything together. No really, everything. Our dads worked (and still work) together, we went to the same church (even switched churches around the same time), we lived two miles apart growing up, played together constantly, went on family vacations together, spent the night together (all 5 of us) too many times to count, put on plays, made music videos (which means we have amazing blackmail on each other)...basically experienced childhood together. We became much more than friends - we were truly family. The body.
At one point the five of us gave ourselves a name. The Tipleys. It's a combination of our last names (apprently I'm obsessed with that) - we even made a rap about it (bear in mind, this was like 1991). We got really zealous and wanted to do projects to raise money for ourselves (who knows what we would have spent it on) but I think all we did was rake their yard once and sell lemonade to golfers a few times (which resulted in me drinking lemonade up my nose - it stung really badly - but I tried to convince the others to do it anyway. I don't think any of them did).
I can't begin to name all the memories we've made together. I think about it and my mind starts swirling. And what I love the most is that it all runs together. We are all ages in my memories. Sometimes when I think about one of them, she is four years old, and the next time she's twenty. Of course we've all changed, but we have this bedrock - our joint childhood - holding us together. The three girls were all bridesmaids in my wedding - the eldest my maid of honor. I didn't have a sister of my own, and they didn't have a brother. Poor Clay got roped into doing more things than any of us would divulge, for his sake. Sitting here and remembering literally puts a smile on my face. I actually laughed out loud, causing Andy to ask what was so funny.
So I reshared the memory of us playing "pioneer days" (this was a favorite of ours). This specific time we had an infant sister (played very effectively by a doll). Apparently we were holding a church service out on "the prairie." I might have been playing the mother this time - or maybe we were all orphans (we usually were) - and I think we had just learned that worship song "Sanctuary." We sang it very seriously as I held the baby. Apparently, the western frontier was just too much for said baby - she died halfway through the song (this was up on the "morbid moments scale"). I looked down and let out a wail, then the rest of them joined in, sobbing into their bonnets and kerchiefs - Clay, most likely, standing sentry holding a (play) rifle. Very dramatic. I was the oldest and could not have been more than nine.
I just now phoned the one closest to me, and we howled with laughter at our antics. She informed me that the creek, where we spent many an hour constructing a raft that we could never get to float, has dried up. This makes us sad. And then we get sidetracked, talking over one another, trying to retell all the stories that we can summon up at the moment. We are instantly giddy just Remembering.
As I think back on those times and how they shaped me as a person - not just us children's friendships, but getting to watch our parents love each other and be in one another's lives - I wonder if my own children will have that. Babies are being born by the millisecond around here, but will one of them be Ella's bosom friend? Are my future children's kindred spirits being knit in their mother's wombs right now? I deeply hope this kind of friendship for them.
One of my very favorite authors, Elizabeth Goudge, voiced this sentiment perfectly:
"No one year is ever quite the same as any other year, and the souls whom it cradles through their first months on earth are of a particular vintage and know each other when they meet."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rock-a-bye, Ella

The Tiny does not like to nap. I've tried everything. You name it, we've done it. Today I even turned a drive from a friend's house that usually is about 2 minutes to a tour around our neighborhood lasting 45 minutes, just because I knew a nap would ensue.
Now, if you read me a couple of stories, rocked me for a few minutes in a dark room humming tunes I've heard from the womb, and placed me in bed with the sound of waves rolling gently beneath me, I would be out in a little less than 10 seconds. Not my sweet baby. And I do mean sweet. She is one of the most docile, easygoing babies I've ever been around. Many people have even commented on her calm demeanor. But when this child is put down for a nap, we aren't quite as happy as we are the rest of the day. Pretty much the moment she realizes she's alone and supposed to be sleeping, the wailing begins.
ALONE being the key word, here. This afternoon, after 20 minutes, or so, of dramatic crying, I went to check on her. I rubbed her belly, which usually calms her down. No no, she had worked herself into a frenzy and rubbing was not enough. I picked her up. Instant silence. It's like she's so happy to be held, she doesn't want to do anything to mess it up. She's been like this since the day we came home from the hospital. So I sat in the rocker, and we rocked. And rocked. Of course, she instantly snuggled into me and fell asleep. For my Ella's a cuddler.
I've had a hunch about her cuddle tendencies since she resided in my belly. I would rub my stomach constantly when I was pregnant, and ever since I was able to feel her, she would move to wherever my hand was rubbing. That has carried over into some major cuddle sessions, which I love. I hope it lasts forever.
However, this does not bode well at nap time. As much as I love to sleep, I can't take EVERY nap with my baby. For nothing else would get done, ever. We've got to get this baby napping solo!
Now when it's bedtime, it's a whole different story. Tonight she had her nighttime feeding, we rocked a few minutes, I put her in her crib, and she rolled over and fell fast asleep. I won't hear from her til morning. I know, I don't get it, either.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

soundtrack of our lives

When you spend most of every day by yourself in the house with a baby, there's not much talking going on. Actually, I do talk to Ella all day long, but there are only so many one-sided conversations you can have. So we listen to a lot of music. I try to pick songs and albums for the occassion, and since I'm in list mode, I thought I'd document what's in our rotation these days...

Mealtimes: now that Ella's eating in her highchair 1-2 times a day, I like to have something in the background. Not too crazy, mind you. I don't want to be like Hard Rock Cafe, where they play really fast and loud music so you eat faster and can't really talk. Not that I know the last time I've eaten at a Hard Rock, although I have a pretty impressive international t-shirt collection...
The Far Country - Andrew Peterson
Jill Phillips' self-titled
Station Wagon - Sara Groves
Kierstin & Jeremy's Greatest Hits (a wedding shower party favor - good times - esp "She Will Have Her Way" by Neil Finn)
Long Gone Before Daylight - the Cardigans

Playtime: her "i'm awake and excited about playing" music - this includes dance parties both in the Johnny Jump-Up and with Mommy and/or Daddy...
Redemption Songs - Jars of Clay
Rainy Day Music - Jayhawks
Greatest Hits - Jackson Five
the Indelible Grace records
the Bees
Pet Sound Sessions - the Beach Boys
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill (esp Doo Wop (That Thing))
Outkast - mostly the song "Rosa Parks" (nothing like a hoe-down in the middle of a hip-hop song)

Chillaxing: usually takes place on Ella's "frog" or in Mommy's arms or in the car
anything Classical
For the Road - Matthew Perryman Jones
Joshua Judges Ruth - Lyle Lovett (North Dakota is a great rock-your-baby-to-sleep song)
The Road to Ensenada - ole Lyle...he also fits in the "playtime" category
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
Souvenirs & Postcards - the great Andrew Osenga
1000 Kisses - Patty Griffin
Glow - the Innocence Mission

Of course, mixed into all the fun, are Daddy's most excellent ditties he comes up with on the spot. It almost always elicits a big smile and little shimmy from the tiny. Oh, and sometimes she "sings" along, which is highly enjoyable.

Friday, September 16, 2005

happy one-half!

ella is 6 months today. one-half of a year. she's a half. my little baby is not quite so little. she's definitely forming opinions and attachments. i'm sure i don't have it all figured out, but this is what i've deduced as to her likes and dislikes.

cuddling - especially when she's sleepy
rolling over
putting her feet in her mouth
"the wheels on the bus"
looking out windows
her caterpillar
her frog play mat
her multi-sensory clutch cube
her pacifier
grabbing people's noses
feeling her daddy's scratchy face
getting her diaper changed
her bouncy seat
having daddy play the guitar to her while she's in her crib
playing with mommy's cellphone
the bell hanging from her carseat
putting everything in her mouth

getting her nose picked
getting her fingernails clipped
taking naps in her crib
being put to bed by anyone but her mommy

her smile
her little "cough" laugh
her fat rolls
the way she pats my face and hair when she's tired
her sneezes, and the sigh at the end
the way she sleeps on her side, or with her arm over her face
how she smacks her toothless gums
how she scrunches her nose
how she plays Very seriously with her toys
blowing raspberries
how she blows through her pacifier right as she's about to fall asleep
how she studies everything and everyone
her "old woman" face
her hands
well, ok, everything...but those are the things i'm currently thinking of that make me extra happy

her eyes
her toes (yeah yeah, she has all of them)
her yawn (it lasts several seconds)
how she crosses her ankles (it's girly on her, but not on him)
she puts one finger in her mouth (he bites his fingernails, but it looks the same)

her lips
her fingers, including the way our pinkies slightly curve in at the top
that's all, i think

Thursday, September 15, 2005

my baby's daddy

i miss him. i'd like to the think ella misses him, too, but she just may have no idea. she sure gives him a big smile when he comes home, though. i know it would be ridiculous to compare myself to a single parent - let's see...i don't work, i talk to my husband on the phone several times a day (he gives really good advice, by the by), and i know there are about 8 million other differences. however, i Do know what it's like to be the sole caregiver for several days on end, and that is no fun. i mean, i LOVE ella and playing with her and being with her and kissing her most huge cheeks. but there's no reprieve at 6pm when andy's out of town. the master early-morning-diaper-changer is not there to be gently nudged (ok, sometimes kicked) awake to do the honors. the house gets amazingly cluttered (which i usually hate) and i start to mind less and less, cause what does a baby that still doesn't see 20/20 care? of course, what i MOST miss is my husband, not just a joint-caregiver. 2 more days...
speaking of single parenting...who wants to bet the newest mom on the celebrity block will be on her own within the next couple of years? that's right, your pop icon and mine, ms britney spears, birthed her bundle of joy yesterday. preston michael spears federline, welcome to the world. lord help us. but mostly him. he'll probably have a cigarette in one hand and a frappucino in the other on their way home from the hospital. maybe he'll be sporting corn rows, if he's been blessed with hair. he'll at least have some nice bling, i'm sure. do they make louis vuitton snugglies? keep your eyes peeled, people - life as you know it has ended.
onto another VERY important celebrity topic...ole brit and kev have not been blessed with the highly annoying "celebrity couple moniker" - not that i know of, at least. for those of you blissfully out of this loop, basically some gossip columnist comes up with an easy and oh-so-clever way of refering to a couple, and the world catches on. the following are examples:
BENGAR - sounds like some sort of ointment, but really it's ben affleck and jennifer garner (ooo, alias in 2 weeks!)
BRANGELINA - as sad as i am for jennifer anniston, ole brad pitt and angelina jolie seem to be the real deal. she Does have cute kids, and "Mr and Mrs Smith" is a very good time.
TOMKAT - there are so many things i can't deal with about these two. tom cruise and katie holmes, please stop. just stop.
VINCEFER - this one just makes me laugh. out loud. vince vaughn and jennifer anniston aren't even a couple and they have a name! i mean, who knows what'll happen. and the bigger question, who should really care? for some reason, i do.
BENNIFER - the now-defunct couple that was ben affleck and jennifer lopez. both remarried, and one even got into another scary couple name (see above). however, they Did start this annoying and ridiculous craze. so i guess they should get some credit. even if it was because they were beyond-belief barfy and over-the-top. matching bentleys? i'm so sure.

but even as i rant and rave, i must point out a glaring fact. my blog address is, in fact, an homage to the pairing of andy and my's last names. shipley and osenga. to credit myself, i said it, in passing, while we were engaged. it stuck. ok, maybe just in my mind. i thought it was funny. i even signed the church registry pad at my parent's church "andy and alison shipenga" when we were engaged. we got a welcome letter. anyway, i am guilty too, i guess. except for the fact that neither of us are celebrities, and I gave us the nickname and not a gossip columnist. and we don't have bentleys. old volvos, yes, but not bentleys.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

shots and snots

so the hardest thing i've had to endure since being a mom is watching my baby in pain. and since she doesn't really move enough to hurt her own little body, it's been when she gets shots. it's horrible. she's just laying (lying? i never remember) there on the table all happy and smiling, and then, she looks confused, shocked, and somewhat betrayed. that sweet little mouth of hers lets go of the pacifier and she lets out a howl. i never really got differentiating my baby's cries until she received her first shot. then it all made sense. her cry when she's in pain is the worst thing i've ever heard. not that it's obnoxious, or really even that loud; it's just pitiful. of course the first time she got her shots i was crying along with her. but it's amazingly seeming to hurt less each time. maybe it's because she's getting chubbier. and i like chubbier.
in other exciting news, baby ella had her first fruit today...wait for it...pears! i've never really been a huge fan of pears myself, but i think she's digging them. i think i can tell when she likes the food of the day. as i'm scooping up a new spoonful, she'll bang her right arm on the high chair tray. she also uses her right hand to "help" feed herself. a right-hander, perhaps? i, myself, am a proud southpaw (um, i've never called myself that before, but there it is).
well, i was going to write some more about our breathtaking events of the day, but i'm just too plain tired. however, "the tiny" (as i often refer to ella) has had her first stuffy nose tonight. it's very sad. i just got over a nasty cold, so i figured it would just be a matter of time. i will say, the tiny does NOT like her nose being messed with. usually i'll just pick her nose (which i find way more fun than it should be) and she hates it. she balks. there are sometimes drama tears. but tonight the big gun came out - the nasal aspirator. oooo, she was mad. but it was effective. for now, at least.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

And so it begins

Here I am, the 800 billionth online journaler, and I'm sure I will say something incredibly important that no one has ever conceived of. Perfect, I end my first sentence ever with a preposition. I'm off to a good start. And I don't ever type with capital letters, but this being official and all, I thought I'd give it a whirl. It might last to the end of this entry if we're lucky.
I truly don't have that much to say - well, I'm sure I have a lot to say, but nothing I've ever thought worth sharing with the entire world. But I won't think of it that way (for the most part - don't worry, I'll do my best not to do too much soul-sharing, that could get scary). I'm here more because I have a crazy life right now, even though most of every day is spent in my house, and I want to be able to remember things that are happening. My husband has written an amazing song that speaks to me - screams to me, really. "These days, they are a river we're all floating down...Let us not take this for granted, let's not waste this second hand."
So as I go through the daily ritual with my husband and baby girl, I want to capture every moment and keep it close. I've learned in just a few short months that even the most subtle of changes adds up to almost a whole new person. I'm speaking mainly about our 6 month old, Ella. Of course, we've gone through some pretty major changes ourselves. So here is where I hope to document the exciting, mundane, and everything in-between.
A word of warning: if you stumble across this and have no interest whatsoever in reading about an incredibly squeezy baby and her goings on, I'd suggest moving on. There are no promises, but most of what I write about will most likely be filled with amazing adventures where we find our hands, stick feet in our mouths, work on cutting teeth, and are still trying to figure out what the heck that seat hanging in the doorframe is supposed to do and why does my mom keep putting me in it and looking at me with excitement and expectation?!?!