Modern Day Pilgrims

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

29 Years Young

How does being 29 feel?  Mature.  Sophisticated.  Hip.  I still have my youth, yet I'm older and more experienced at this life thing.  Not that 29 is in any way old.  I quite like how 29 feels so far, though I can't say I'm looking forward to 30!  So yesterday was my birthday, as you probably already knew if you know me, and it was a good day, if you care to hear how a 29-year old's birthday went.  Chris and the rest of my family spoiled me rotten!

My day started off as usual: wake up, go to the potty, and stumble into the kitchen and pour myself a bowl of cereal.  I opened up the cereal box and noticed a white piece of paper inside.  I thought it was some insert that the cereal company put into the box that I hadn't noticed before, so I took it out and saw that it wasn't from the cereal company; it was from Chris and it said "Happy Birthday".  How cute.  I took my bowl of cereal, my prenatal, and a glass of O.J. into our office to check e-mail and facebook, as I do every morning with my breakfast.  Here I saw another note that said "Happy Birthday", and I figured this was a cute little birthday treat that Chris was giving me and that I would find more throughout the day.  Sure enough, I was right.  He placed the little notes on or in everything I use each day.  There was one in my coffee maker, one in the cardigan I usually wear, one under the presser foot of my sewing machine, one in my knitting bag, etc.  It was such a cute, sweet gesture!  Just when I thought I'd found them all, I kept finding more!  I even found another today inside my wallet.  Who knows how many more I'll yet find, but Chris definitely did a good job putting them on or in everything I use each day.  I guess I'm pretty predictable for him to know my routine SO well!

Chris made reservations for us at a Mexican restaurant in town that actually has a Mexican as the head chef.  I wanted to go there since I love, love, love Mexican and crave it all the time and was hoping the food would taste more like what we get in the states since the chef is a Mexican.  It was a very nice restaurant and we enjoyed our food.  We shared a crab empanada appetizer and we both got different types of enchiladas.  While it was good, we both agreed it still wasn't nearly as good as what you can get in the states.  Oh well.  I still satiated my Mexican cravings and it was WONDERFUL to have a date night with Chris, sans Charlotte.  It was weird not having her there with us but also so very, very nice.

I got absolutely spoiled with some amazing presents this year.  I would say the theme this year was "books".  I got books from my parents, Chris, and from my in-laws.  I looove to read, so books are always the perfect gift!!  My new hobby, ever since going to Italy, Turkey, and Israel, is studying church history.  I've already read a few church history and reformation era books, and I'm currently working through Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.  Yesterday, I got a few more church history books to add to my collection and study.  Yay!!!  One of them is a "collector's" copy from the early 1950's on Documents of the Early Christian Church...woot woot!  I also got a new study bible...the HCSB translation.  It's a pretty newish translation that finally came out with a study bible version.  I've been using the ESV translation solely since 2002 and people are hotly debating which translation is better.  Just google HCSB vs. ESV and you'll see what I'm talking about.  I haven't had a chance yet to really look through my new Bible, but I've been impressed with what I've seen from my skimming.  Will my new HCSB replace my ESV?  Well, I think it's probably too soon to tell, but I'm so excited to have it.

I also scored on maternity clothes, and they're all so comfy, timeless, and cute!  I'm currently wearing a new pair of corduroy's I got yesterday along with a black pullover top with an attached hoodie.  I look like a walking ad for comfort and I love it!

I got a few other bits and bobs that I'm so excited about, including all of the Harry Potter books, presented in a case that says, "Delivery: Hogwarts".  You can see it here:  It's awesome!  Now I know some Christians have a problem with Harry Potter, but most (if not all) of those people have never even read the books.  They're just taking another's word for it.  While I certainly don't want to be a hypocrite or inconsistent with my views (such as not liking most aspects of Halloween while loving Harry Potter), I don't really see the difference between Harry Potter and Christian-loved classics like Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings.  There are so many redemptive elements and situations in Harry Potter that it wasn't surprising when I read that J.K. Rowling claims to be a Christian.  Whether it's true or not, I don't know, and she's certainly no theologian like C.S. Lewis was, but I do know that I wouldn't bat a eye at allowing our kids to read the Harry Potter series when they're older.  In fact, I'm looking forward to reading them again with them.  But I'm not supposed to be on my soapbox with this post!

Here's some photos of me opening presents.  To the grandparents, I'm sorry there's no pics of Charlotte in this post.  She was at our friend's house when I opened presents.  She loves opening up gifts, and we didn't want the gift opening to turn into a fiasco.  She is quite the handful lately.  It's amazing how a naughty little switch is turned on when a child turns 2.

 One of my comfy new maternity clothes.  Chris was "all done" taking pictures by this point, so we didn't get any more pictures of my other maternity clothes.

 Harry Potter

 I'm still teaching myself piano so my mother-in-law bought me level 3.

 Church history books
 smelling my new Bible...I love the smell of new Bibles.  Weird, I know.

 Ah, how could I forget to tell you about this!  I'm sooo excited I got the Joy of French Cooking by Julia Child!!!!  Yesssss!  The only thing is that Chris said I have to make him sweet breads...not going to happen.  And no, I don't mean real bread.  Look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about.

 A novel called Madman recommended by my friend, Stefanie.

 another church history book!

 Here's the 1950s edition of Documents of the Early Christian Church that my beloved got me

 Francine her!

All of my presents.  For some reason, blogger downloaded all of these pictures opposite of what they should be, but I don't really feel like going through and putting them in the right order.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Potty Training

This past Saturday, Chris and I embarked on one of those parenting milestones that every parent has to go through but doesn't necessarily look forward to: potty training.  Thanks to a long Muslim holiday, Chris had a 5 day weekend.  We knew we wanted to wait for a long weekend for when we'd try and potty train Charlotte, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity since we both thought she was ready.  A couple of days before we started with the potty training, I went to a discount store here in Bahrain and bought lots of little prizes to give to Charlotte whenever she pee pee'd or went poopy on the potty.  I also bought poster board to make a little potty chart for her.  I wanted to make it as fun as possible for her and for Chris and I!  I'm glad we decided to go this route with potty training, because Charlotte has really taken to it and loves to put stickers on her potty chart whenever she goes on the potty.

On the first day, she pee pee'd in the potty 3 times.  On day two, she pooped once and peed twice.  She did have a few accidents and both the first and second day.  By day three, however, we had no accidents and we haven't on day four or five, either!  She has really learned to control her bladder and she has even been waking up from her naps and in the morning dry.  We are having problems with Charlotte holding her bladder as long as she can before she finally decides she has to go pee.  She'll tell us every few minutes she needs to go pee, and so we'll take her into the bathroom, put her on the potty, and then a few seconds later, she says, "no pee pee" or "all done pee pee".  We're trying to explain that she needs to go when she feels the urge - not to wait until her bladder is completely filled up to the point of exploding!  When we know she really has to pee, we'll sit in the bathroom with her for a 1/2 hour to an hour until she finally goes.  Today has been a little better and shortly before her nap time, she said she needed to go potty and she went as soon as she sat on it.  Yay!  Progress!   I am so proud of her and am surprised at how well this is going.  It's still not fun and takes a lot of time and energy, but I know it will be worth it when Charlotte is truly and fully potty trained, hopefully before her baby brother arrives.  Did I mention we're having a boy?  :-)

 Here's the potty chart we are using with Charlotte.  I ended up using it differently than I planned to initially.  At first, we were going to offer a cookie and a reward from the basket if she she achieved 4 stickers.  I decided I wanted to reward her every time at first to help encourage her to go potty.  We bought mini shortbread cookies and 100 calorie oreo stick packs and we gave her either one shortbread cookie or one oreo stick (2 come in a pack) each time she went potty, plus a sticker on her chart, plus a prize from the basket.  This technique has worked well, and of course, the more she gets the hang of going potty, the fewer rewards she'll get and we'll transition from cookies to raisins or at least something healthier that she likes.

Here's a view of her prize basket before we got started.  Charlotte loves stickers, so the sticker sheets have been a big hit!