October 2007


It seems appropriate that I pay tribute to a professor I had at Trinity because Trinity seems to be coming up so much lately.  The strange lateral pass video clip, Chris helping out at Westside’s college fair for Trinity and Meg and Danny having just been to campus. 

Dr. Frei passed away while I was at Trinity.  I always found it a little strange that he was so pissed about being diagnosed with lung cancer because, after all, he was a Biology professor.  He smoked before every class; the correlation isn’t that hard for me to see.  He was a great professor and, aside from my own grandparents, his is the only memorial service I have attended.

Chris knows firsthand that I didn’t always take all my classes at Trinity seriously (sorry mom and dad!).  If I was interested in the subject, I was an A student; however, if the class was a bore (take genetics), I seriously struggled to make myself study.  I loved Dr. Frei’s class.  It was the second semester of my freshman year.  I don’t remember the class name (Chris probably does or could look it up in his handy dandy courses of study), but it’s probably why I actually stayed a bio major. 

In this class, I took away two very important things that changed my outlook on life.  I should also quickly interject that I became a Christian again during this first year at Trinity.  A science major at a liberal arts university.  How did that happen?  Biology.  I could not dismiss the beauty, the intricacy and the absolute wonder of life.  It was all too perfect and I was able to embrace God again. 

So, the first lesson I took away?  Abortion is taking away life.  Dr. Frei convinced me in a lecture that, “you are kidding yourself if you don’t think life happens the moment the sperm and egg meet.”  I was completely moved by his lecture and believe that he is right.  I do still think that there are reasons to have an abortion and definitely don’t think abortion issues have a right in politics, but life is triggered upon conception.

Second, we are all imortal through our children.  I remember another lecture where he laughed and said, “who cares about finding the fountain of youth, we all live on through our children.  Our unique genetic code is carried on.”  I had been reading through the trashy Ann Rice novels that concentrate heavily on immortality issues, so I think this is why his comment cemented in my memory.  

Having two children of my own now, I often think of this immortality belief because of how often people like to play the “she looks so much like ____” game.   I really should start keeping a poll of people who believe Elise and/or Joelle look like me vs. Chris (or any deriviation of any family member.)  This game is so important for people to play – Dr. Frei was definitely right about the importance to humans to carry on that genetic code.  As for myself, I am truly happy if the girls look like Chris.  I think the majority of votes would go to the girls looking like their daddy.  Many people often think I should be sad about that, but I’m definitely not.  I love Chris, why wouldn’t I love for my girls to remind me of him?     

I know I’m not writing as much as I did at one time.  Some readers are missing this (ok, just my dad) and I apologize.  Although it’s true that I’m busy juggling my two chickies and work on the side, I think the underlying reason I haven’t been writing much is Joelle.  I adore my life and there have been many good times in the last couple of months, but Joelle has been in a funk.  She’s a source of a lot of blog material!  Without her good natured humor and smiles, what could I possibly have to say? 

I do have other things to say.  If nothing else, I have Elise!  It doesn’t seem right to write about all the cute things she does when I think it’s the underlying issue for Joelle.  Elise is so darn cute.  When she was first born, Joelle didn’t have too much to complain about.  Sure, she lost a little mommie and daddy time, but Elise just slept and ate.  Now, she’s the Gerber baby.  Absolutely adorable.  Joelle hears how adorable she is everywhere we go.  Like Joey says about me as a baby, Elise attracts a following.  What Joelle doesn’t realize is that she did, too.  She was just as cute. 

Was just as cute.  I have a lump in my throat just thinking about how hard it must be.  How do we react?  With bad moods and some yelling.  Joelle throws temper tantrums again.  I’m embarrassed to admit, that I have also thrown my share of temper tantrums over the last couple of months.  I pray for patience every day… and for Joelle to finally realize that she can get attention (and does get attention) in her own way.  When she reads and knocks our socks off with her witty intelligence.  When she smiles and lights up the room with her charm and twinkling blue eyes.  When she makes Elise laugh, a special laugh Elise saves just for Joelle. 

Baby girl, we love you more than you know.  I hope the old Jojo is back soon.  I miss you.

I’m so esctatic that Poppy got to see one of Elise’s firsts.  He’s always so vocal about not having seen most of her other firsts.  Poppy and I were with Elise in the play room.  She’s started cruising a bit, moving from one piece of furniture to another for support.  She did that, moving from one item to another.  Suddenly, she just let go.  I was right in front of her when she did it.  You could see the realization of her action sink into her eyes.  She had a brilliant moment of, “I did it.”  Then, “Crap, I gotta go down.”  Plop, she landed down on her bottom.  This was on Joelle’s birthday last week.  It’s only a matter of time before she craves that adrenaline rush again…

Meanwhile, I took her to her first Little Gym class on Friday.  She adored every minute of it.  She knew it was for her and reveled in it.  Second babies are usually just go babies – everything about their older sibling.  So, I’m grateful to get to do this with little Lis.  She held on to monkey bars, jumped on a mini air mattress, climbed a foam mountain, did a wheel barrow, etc.  My favorite moment though was during the last circle time.  I sat her down in the circle and she immediately started to crawl off.  She thought, “mommie, stuff to see.”  Then, the teacher started singing and bringing the bells out.  She turned and started crawling back with purpose, hitting the mat hard with her tiny hands.  “Oh, I can’t miss the bells.” 

Chris came home from the soccer game today and said to me, “well, after five weeks, the official moment when I knew my daughter would not be an athlete happened today.”  He continued on, saying, “Joelle and Claire held hands the entire 4th quarter.”  “The specific moment was when a ball, not even coming very fast, was right in front of Joelle.  Instead of kicking the ball (even the wrong way would have been ok), she ran to go hold Claire’s hand again.” 

I can’t say I’m surprised.  I haven’t made all the games, but the ones I have made have proved what a social butterfly we have.  She’s way more concerned with who on the opposing team she knows and what color their costumes are.  Yes, she also uses mommie’s terminology for uniforms.  Oh, she also likes to discuss the team’s name.  On the field, she’s literally checking out everything around her, except the ball. 

The game before this one, Poppy gave Joelle  a pep talk.  “Remember, keep your eye on the ball.  That’s where the action is.”  At that game, Poppy and I noticed that Joelle had taken his advice.  She watched it go right by her. 

I think we’ll definitely be skipping T ball in the Spring!

I had my first conference of the year with Joelle’s pre-k teacher.  In the three weeks since school has started, she has already pegged my daughter.  There were some things to work on, like, “Joelle tends to dominate the conversations at circle time, but at least they are always appropriate.”  Our conversationalist does like to dominate any and all chats and she is usually on topic.  She said to Nana one day, “So, who do you like on dancing with the stars.  I like Julianne.  She has the same color hair as me.” 

Ms. DeeDee also remarked on Joelle’s incredible reading ability.  She had already told me during one drop off, “Joelle knows how to read.”  I said, “I know.”  Ms. DeeDee has seen a lot of kids in her 23+ year tenure as a teacher and I get the impression she’s impressed with Joelle’s reading.  For her part, Joelle is getting a little shy about all the attention.  For my part, this is one part about being a mom that is so cool.  I am proud.  I’m very proud. 

Elise, well, she doesn’t like to read as much.  As a very tiny baby, Joelle would lay perfectly still, smushed between daddy and I listening to story after story.  She always loved it.  I also remember one particularly LONG afternoon when I was very ready for Chris to be home because Joelle was so cranky.  I must have read to her for over an hour to appease her.  However, Elise has always managed to avoid most reading scenarios.  I have found a few tricks though.  She likes repetition and onomatopoeias.  So, she has about 3-4 books that she’ll listen to.  Actually, she crawls up to them, picks them up and hands them to us to read.  It’s so adorable.  Have I mentioned that she is the cutest baby? 

You know how many kids holler for candy at the checkout lane of grocery stores? Actually, it’s not only grocery stores that do the candy on the way out bit, even department stores have candy at the cash register now. A very frustrating fact for most parents.

No, this blog isn’t about Joelle. She had her share of meltdowns and tantrums, but, thankfully, she usually doesn’t even ask any longer. This blog really isn’t about candy either. Elise has now come to expect the wallet at the end of a grocery trip. As we enter the checkout lane, it isn’t the candy she clamors for (another day, mommie, another day), it’s my wallet. It has this nice leather tag at the end of the zipper that is just so hard for Elise to resist. She gnaws on it the whole way home. It’s ok, right?

OK, life really is flying by now.  With my new job (yes, I decided to work again) and my newly mobile baby, fun computer time is back at a minimum.  Her favorite place to get in trouble is at the computer in the study because we haven’t found a way to conceal these darn cords.  I’m torn.  On the one hand, I want to just hide them from her to let her have free reign in the house (excluding, of course Joelle’s play room and the bathrooms, in no particular order).  On the other hand, she almost needs something to “get in trouble” with.  Otherwise, she won’t learn, “no,” and when we go out and about she’ll not be used to hearing it.

Joelle is definitely liking telling Elise, “no.”  She’s stern.  Last night, I said, “let’s give Elise something new in her crib tonight.”  Joelle straightened up and with bright eyes said, “oh, she’ll need to trade something out for the new stuffed animal.”  She hopped up and grabbed something from the crib before inserting in the new stuffie.