31 January 2009

Baby party!

Clara met her Unrelated Birthday Twin, Joshua, in Minnesota. He is the son of our friends Seth and Jeanie, who graciously hosted a dinner for us. Clara and Joshua were both born on August 1st. They also are both the third child in their families.

Hello. How do you do. Wanna chew on each others' faces?


Maren was there too. She is more than three months younger than the other two but as you can see she is not struggling in the growth area.

Clara is small for her age. Lily knows and loves that at birth: "I. was. HUGE!" She has always been tall, and Soren was just the chubbiest little dumpling. So I always thought that being on the taller/bigger side made them awesome, smart, beautiful, perfect, etc. Now I have a Little Miss Petite, and the veil has been lifted. I now understand that being on the small side, too, is so awesome, smart, beautiful, and perfect. Part of it is just that motherly sense of one's children's amazingness, but part of it is that I am so enjoying her babyness and I am glad to have her stay baby-sized longer.

I hate to post a photo of laidback, beautiful Maren in the only moment of crying I recall from the evening, but I love the look Joshua is giving, wondering when an adult is going to rescue him from these girls.

29 January 2009

Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister (and cousin)

I have a few more photos I wanted to share from our U.S. trip. Ruby, ever the thoughtful older cousin, bought Clara matching pajamas.

They are so close in age, just five months apart, but at Christmas time that meant Ruby was twice as old as Clara. They seemed so different, with Ruby crawling and eating solids already.

Grambie and Pops got matching outfits for all three girls, too.

Matthew is one of two boys, as are his dad and grandfather, and neither Matthew nor his dad had any cousins, male or female, on the Jacobs side (I'm not sure about Grandpa Russ). When Lily was born, I think she was the first girl in ninety-some years. So all these girl cousins -- pretty fun.

28 January 2009

The Drivers

Let me take a moment to belatedly salute our friends the Susis, who drove from Nashville to spend a day with us when we were in St. Louis.

I told you we didn't do great with photo documentation -- so there are no shots of Chris actually looking at the camera. But Leah's cute as a bug as always.

You know them! They are frequent commenters on the blog.

Five hours both ways in twenty-four hours. Also, eating at Chipotle for dinner instead of a place where you actually get served, after we drove past it and Matthew and I both said, "Oh . . . Chipotle . . . "

That's some good friends there.

23 January 2009

Grandma J

Matthew's last surviving grandparent, Gladys Jacobs, passed away in late November in Houston. She was buried next to her husband in Chicago before we were home, but Matthew's parents put on a lovely memorial service in St. Louis shortly after Christmas, and we were able to celebrate her life with them and some of their close friends.

Grandma Gladys was such a dear woman and so upbeat. Even as her health was failing last autumn, she barely uttered a complaint in our phone conversations with her. Grandpa and she did lots of traveling in their later years, internationally even, documented their adventures in many photo albums, and sent their grandsons unique souvenirs. She was quite a correspondent, sending cards for all birthdays and just about every holiday on the calendar, usually well in advance. She wrote sweet, loving messages on the cards in her beautiful handwriting.

Matthew shared this story at the service: One evening last year he was walking around Paris while there on business and was under the Eiffel Tower when his phone rang. He was shocked to hear his grandma's voice on the other end. This ninety-year-old woman (91 when she passed away) had wanted to talk to her grandson, so she just went for it, figuring out how to phone him internationally, something not many of our other (younger) relatives have done.

Grandma J left a legacy of selflessness and gratefulness in her descendants, as Matthew's mom Debbie remarked at the service. It is evident in my father-in-law and my husband, and I pray it for my children too.

22 January 2009

Kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you'll wait for me

Here's Clara on one leg of her North American tour:

Ms. Jellybean got to see, and in most cases meet for the first time: all her grandparents; all her great-grandparents (including the two namesakes featured in the previous post); all her aunts and uncles; her cousin; three great-uncles and one great-aunt; two first cousins once removed; and lots of friends. When we got back here and downloaded photos, we were disappointed that we didn't do a great job getting pictures of most people we saw. The exception was my sister (shown above), of whom we have enough photos to justify a sitting fee.

So, I can't give you a pictorial documentation of our trip, but, let me summarize it for you. We were treated like visiting dignitaries. People took us to dinner, made us meals, hosted not just our family but others too so we could see lots of people, let us stay with them, gave us gifts . . . Good grief, our presence was announced at church and people clapped! How are we going to deal with being treated as normal folk when we move back home? (Which we now know will almost certainly be after three years, so around September 2010, although Lily will start kindergarten that fall and I hope to be home before the school year gets underway.)

A downside was that I got the flu, not the stomach flu but influenza, which I don't know that I'd had before. Slight consolation to feeling tired for about half the trip was that I was seen in urgent care by a Dr. Atkins, so I got to make "bacon cure" jokes for a couple days.

A big "Thank you!" to everyone who made time to see us and made us feel so welcome and special and loved. You were so kind that you made us miss you more, dangit.

Oh, and can you believe this? Just as we were pulling into the airport in Minneapolis, "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul, and Mary came on the radio.

19 January 2009

Worth a little jet lag

Clara Irene meets Edith Irene

and Mildred Irene.

18 January 2009

A little blue

Our schedules are still a little off, but we're all more rested now and very thankful for that. We're not really feeling settled back here yet -- more of our normal activities resume this week (Lily heads to school tomorrow, e.g.) so I'm hoping that will help. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" -- I don't know; maybe -- but presence reminded us why we miss people. I don't feel like sitting down to write about who we saw and what we did because it's going to make me sad, so I'll wait on that until Belgian life rhythm picks up again. ("Belgian life rhythm" sounds like a Flemish new age musical experience.)

Jet lag and the post-visit blues. Uff da.

16 January 2009

Really lagging

Last night Matthew and I again didn't get to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m. Clara seemed unaffected when we traveled west, but she has not gotten into a rhythm this way and is the worst off of all of us. She naps during the day, but at nighttime she falls asleep only to startle awake in about half an hour with a shrieking, painful cry. No fever, but maybe she's teething. I drove her around at 1 a.m. until she fell asleep, but she woke up when I opened the car door to bring her into the house. Matthew and I then alternated trying to bounce (him) or nurse (me) her to sleep.

Soren took a while to fall asleep last night but seems rested and had his typical good nap yesterday. But Lily is obviously quite tired still, and Matthew and I are trudging through today and praying for substantial sleep for all tonight.

This is a harder adjustment than we've dealt with when we've done the seven-time-zone-switcheroo before. If you have a hot tip for helping an infant adjust, please do share. Also, if you're free tonight from about midnight to 4 a.m., we've got this really cute baby who wants to hang out with you.

15 January 2009

Lagging behind

We left Minnesota on Monday evening and are still in the throes of jet lag. We arrived in Belgium early Tuesday afternoon and went to bed early that evening (5 p.m. for the kids; 7 p.m. for the baby and us) since no one slept more than three hours on the flight. Then all of us were up for some or all of the time from midnight to 4 a.m., and the kids and I slept until 1:30 in the afternoon.

Bedtimes last night (this morning) were midnight (Soren); 3 a.m. (Lily); and Matthew, Clara, and I all fell asleep in the four o'clock hour, I believe. Today we forced a normal wake-up hour to get ourselves onto Belgian time, and we have a beautiful blue sky to help reset our clocks.

Once I am thinking more clearly I will write about our trip. Happy new year!