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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

That Unforgettable Shopping Experience

I have a little confession to make..

I hate shopping.

But I love buying.

It leads to an interesting anxiety breakdown when I just want to leave the mall but I haven't found anything to buy yet. It has even ended in tears on one or two occasions.

Maybe that's why Ian really prefers we don't go to malls, you know, for the sanity of his wife.

I'm no stranger to odd store experiences either.

Like that time I found out Michael Jackson had died while I was in Target.

Or that time the cops rushed in and arrested the man in line in front of me at a shoe store.

But, usually, I'm just an observer in these strange incidences.

Not the last time though.

Oh, no, I was front and center of this weird escapade.

Luckily, it was in the privacy of a dressing room, so really no on had to know about it if I didn't share with you.

But since I want to be real with you, here is a little account of that fateful shopping day...

It was about 8 weeks after Grace was born. We were across the border for her two month appointment and my postpartum check up and had stopped off at a mall to eat at Chili's and for me to find a few new shirts, since I was down to 3 that fit me.

Ian took Grace and sat with her in the food court while I headed to one of my favorite stores here.

I had picked out several shirts that I liked and in several sizes, since I wasn't sure of what my European size was.

I was alone in the dressing room and had chosen a cute short sleeve v neck blouse with a sewn in (non stretchy) empire waist.

I had fit it over my huge head (trust me,) and gotten my arms and shoulders (I have wide swimmer's shoulders,) in.

Suddenly I realized that it wasn't going down any further.

*cough* *cough*

Due to having Grace, my chest was a little larger than I remembered and I couldn't get the empire waist over my chest.

Mind you, my arms are stuck straight up in the air and my face is covered by the shirt.

But the shirt?

Yeah, it wasn't going anywhere.

Not down, into the right position.

Not up, you know, off of me.

So there I stood, trying to figure out how to get this thing off of me.

A good 10 minutes passed and the nice Phillipino lady came to check on me.

"Hi ma'am sir (their typical greeting,) can I help you?"

"No, I'm okay, thanks!"

"Okay. Do you need any other sizes?"

"No! I'm Fine! Thanks!"

At this point I was mortified. What was I going to do? How was I going to get it off? I knew the shirt was actually the right size, just the non stretchy waistline couldn't get in the right position.

I REALLY wanted that shirt.

Lots of contorting and wiggling later, and the v-neck came in handy as I could, eh-hem, get one side through at a time, until the shirt was on right.

I braced myself and used my new found technique to get the shirt off and then promptly put it in the "to purchase" pile.

It was cute, after all!

Worth it.

Anyone else have a harrowing dressing room experience? Care to share?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grace Takes on Paris

After the first part of our vacation, we took a train up to Paris for 4 days/3 nights. I had been to Paris before, on a whirlwind of a trip (oh please, if you have never read my post on a fateful trip to the Louvre, go ahead and give yourself a treat. And then my recap of my first visit!)

But this was Ian's first trip to Paris, and was definitely Grace's first trip. And since, as our friend put it "When you've seen one old church, you've seen them all," I think I want to show you the Paris that Grace experienced....

Grace, at the Eiffel Tower. She really enjoyed it when I carried her up over 200 stairs in my arms. What was I thinking? Always use the carrier!
Grace, at Notre Dame Cathedral. Here she was a little perplexed. Ian had given her a mini lecture on the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism and she thought it was a little over her head.
Grace and the Musee D'Orsay, where Grace got to view Renoir, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.

She thought she could do better.
We stopped for a "Gout" or afternoon snack and Grace decided it was time for some food of her own. SO, lemon sorbet it was.

Yes, you read that right. I fed my 4 month old daughter a taste of lemon sorbet.

And it was good.
Grace, at the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.

Grace decided to class the Champs Elysees up a bit and had a blow out explosion. I'm sure the shoppers buying their Gucci and Prada appreciated the colorful work of art that she displayed.
Grace at Les Invalides, where Napoleon is entombed. Grace decided this was a snooze fest and promptly passed out. Ian and I got popsicles. And that is all I have to say about this historical monument.

Grace visiting the Louvre. She loved the history and art that she got to see here. She also loved riding around her stroller, aka her chariot.

Ian tried to help Grace out when she became a little over heated.

Turns out, Grace+Air Vents=Not Happy Baby

Grace dined at bistros and cafes, charming the passerbys and waiters alike. She even elicited advice from a kind (NOT!) french woman who told me Grace's headband was too tight.

Thanks lady, thanks alot.
Grace also got to ride all over Paris on the top of a double decker bus.

That is, until our bus driver drove too close to a tree and, like a scene out of a movie, a branch sprung over the entire 2nd deck, taking out all it could.

Scary moment.

I never thought my life would flash before my eyes on a double decker bus.

But, hey, C'est la Vie!

Grace, if she had the ability to control her small motor muscles, would definitely give Paris 2 thumbs up, and we are so excited that she was such a good little tourist!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The South of France

Last week, we returned from a two week vacation to France.

Now, before you start thinking we're fancy pants and rolling in the dough, just know that we have never taken a vacation in our 3 years of marriage and that we had free lodging/food for the first 10 days, ha!

We have some friends who live in the south of France, who invited us to come stay with them. We took two flights and a train to get to them, (Grace did great flying!) but then we enjoyed the simplicities of being outside of an Arab speaking country.

My goals for vacation were simple:
1.) Hold my husband's hand in public
2.) Kiss my husband in public
3.) Wear short sleeves in public
4.) Eat copious amounts of pork

I'm happy to report that I met all of my goals.

Check, check, check, and CHECK.

I may have had to borrow a short sleeve shirt from my friend because I realize I no longer own one, but other than that, my goals were easily accomplished.

I could easily break down each and every day for you, but I'm not going to do that, because right now, my plate is full and my bed is calling my name, so instead, here are the highlights.

We toured the city of Montpelier, France, with it's beautiful downtown and largest open plaza in all of Europe....
Took our friends' girls on a carousel ride....
Went on alot of walks around their neighborhood (you'd be surprised at the simple things that made us happy- there are so many things we can't do here that you don't think about!)
Took Grace on her first hike...
Tried our best to snap some good family photos...
Went to a French beach. Modesty had no place here and I was pretty uncomfortable. I think I prayed for protection over my husband's eyes, heart, and thoughts the entire time I was there.

Grace wasn't a fan either. She thinks that the only time those things should be out and about is if she's about to get a meal. I agree.
We went to an amazing aquarium...
And I lost all shame when I gave Grace her first of many public diaper changes.

When explosions occur, the casualties must be contained. That's one piece of advice from this Momma to you.
We babysat our friends' girls while they got a quick lunch date in. We set up a kiddie pool and made it into a water play table. The girls played for over 3 hours straight without getting up! Amazing!
We spent one afternoon just walking around, eating crepes, looking at French bookstores...
And had to get creative in how we carted all three girls back to the car. Turns out, a stroller meant for one infant CAN actually whole a 2.5 year old and a 4 year old!

We had late nights filled with Speculoos, Killer Bunnies, English television, and lots of laughter with their family.
Their girls let us love on them, teach them songs, play with them, and we loved being Uncle E, Aunt Brittney, and "BabyGrace" (one word, must not be separated.)
We ate fresh French bread, croissants, had ham sandwiches, pork chops, fresh bacon, and enjoyed the deliciousness of a Magnum Ice Cream bar several times.

The days were wonderful, but as the sun began to set, my stress level began to go up. Grace was sleeping in our room with us, for the first time ever, and she did NOT do well. She became instantly dependent on her pacifier, and would wake up every 20-30 minutes all. night. long. I'm not sure if it was from the lack of an AC, which provides cool air and white noise, or from us being in there with her, but it was very stressful.

I begged Ian to get a job transfer to the South of France and he just laughed.

I totally wasn't kidding.

Our time ended and we headed out for Paris.....


Friday, August 26, 2011

Topsy Turvey

Things are all topsy turvey in the Galloway household.

We returned from a two week vacation to France (oh-la-la!)

Grace has found her feet, has learned how to blow a raspberry, can sit up in the tripod position, and stands assisted for 3 minutes at time.

Oh, and we started her on rice cereal.

Our school starts back in one week and we will be starting our 3rd semester of full time Arabic. I'm excited for the challenge but am nervous about balancing all of life.

We are also finishing up some major work assignments that we started long ago but it is now crunch time.

I've set major goals for myself for the year and am trying to organize my weeks better so that I accomplish more than just go to school and exist at home.


Unpacking, cleaning, reorganizing has almost all wrapped up.

Grace is the opposite of all wrapped up.

In fact, she is very unwrapped (and unraveled!) as we have begun the swaddle weaning process. We knew this day was coming, and we talked about it all during our vacation. We just had no idea how hard it would be. We are only on day one of what I have read could be a 5 to 7 day process.

Awesome.

Grace is currently hitting hour 12 without any significant (30 minutes or longer) amount of sleep. We expect a long night and are prepared to be awake in shifts.

Prayers are appreciated.

No, seriously.

Would you take a second to pray this over our Grace "God, please lull baby Grace to sleep, help her stay asleep, and if she wakes, help her learn to soothe herself back to sleep. Also, give Brittney and Ian rest and the patience to deal with what comes their way."

Thanks!

Wouldn't you know it, but it has been 18 days since I blogged last? I might be a little rusty and discombobulated right now, but it will come back to me. Ironically enough, before we left I had a blog post scheduled for every other day for the next 30 days! I canceled them all and decided to take a technology break for awhile though. It's been a nice restart and has opened my eyes to how much time we spend in front of the TV and computer screens.

It may take me awhile to get caught up on all of ya'lls blogs, and I may never. So if any of you got engaged/married/pregnant/quit your job/started a new job/moved or had any other life changing event, could you leave me a little note?


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Favorite Author- Suspense

Everyone has a favorite author, even if you don't realize it.

It's that author you reach for when you just want to read something that is _________.

Exciting.

Mysterious.

Educational.

Stretching.

Humorous.

You fill in the blank.

Being the bibliophile that I am, I have several favorite authors for different genres. For fiction, specifically Suspense/Christian Fiction that would, hands down, be Terri Blackstock.

I became hooked on her writing when I read the Restoration Series, books set in modern day America where a freak solar flare (if I remember right,) wipes out all things that run on electricity. She shows the resourcefulness that our people are made of (no refrigerator, or AC! no access to ATM's and no running cars!) and uncovers the darkness that would emerge in a society that becomes lawless overnight.

God must have known I would be in need of more reading material, because one of my friends here has almost every other book she has written. I plowed through 3 more of her series this Spring and just read Intervention, a book about a drug intervention gone horribly wrong, and Predator, a book about how social media (fictitiously) led to the stalking of young women.

If you are ever looking for a thrilling (clean) read, look up Terri Blackstock's work!

What is your favorite Suspense or Christian Fiction author?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

De-Swaddled

So far, I'm pretty happy with the choices we have made as new parents. We're flexible, she's sleeping through the night, she's happy and healthy. What more could a mom ask for?

But as most of you know, the bane of my existence is her swaddle.

That darn swaddle!

It is SO important to alot of babies, because of the under developed nervous system, to be swaddled tight and secure during their sleep time, however, as they grow stronger, they are able to wriggle out of it, which wakes them up, and makes the parent have to swaddle them again, and start the routine all over.

Now, if I was in America, I would have just bought a Miracle Blanket or something similar, but we didn't have that option here, so we've resorted to swaddling her and "tying" a ribbon around the swaddle to keep it from coming undone.

It's quite the ordeal.

I had plans on weaning Grace from her swaddle sometime in her fourth or fifth month, and I was not looking forward to the process.

Finally though, we have seen a break through. The other morning, I was getting ready to go out on errands and had to put Grace down for a minute. She was happy and content, so I popped her pacifier in, turned on her mobile, and layed her in her crib unswaddled. I took a shower and when I came out, this is what I found!

Sweet baby girl had completely passed out. She only slept for 30 minutes before her flailing arms woke her up, but I say it's a start! We did it one more time since then and it worked! One more additional time, she fell asleep after I got her dressed for bed but before I had fed her again. Such a difference from just one month ago!

I'm in no rush to de-swaddle her for good, because it makes her seem like such a little baby still, but it will be nice when she is able to soothe herself back to sleep!

It is possible!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Four Months, Grace!


Clothes: Grace is in 0-3 month clothing and will probably be there for another two months! She still has one or two newborn sleepers that we use, but I'm probably about to retire them, as she can't stretch her legs all the way out! Her head is, eh-hm, rather large, which makes it difficult to get some onesies on.

Bless her heart. I live daily with the curse of a big head as well.

Food: We tweaked the schedule slightly this month.Grace is still eating every 3 hours, 7 am until 11 pm. (her last 3 hours is actually a 4-5 hour stretch I suppose, as I do her dream feed right before I go to bed.) She usually eats for about 6-10 minutes per side.

Sleep: I sense the winds of change are blowing in with Grace's sleep schedule. I really think she is close to being able to go to a 4 hour schedule, but when we did a trial run, it wrecked her night time sleep, so we are back to a 3 hour schedule.

Example of a day:

7am- wake, feed, play

8:15- nap time

10 am- wake, feed, play

11:30- nap time (eventually, this would be the nap we'd like to drop, with her wake time extending to a normal lunch time and then going down for an afternoon nap around 1, 1:30)

1 pm- wake, feed, play

2:30- nap time

4:30 pm- wake, feed, play (I let her sleep an extra 30 minutes here,)

5:30 pm- short nap

6:30 pm- bath time

7:00 pm- final feed and then in bed by 7:20

11:30 pm- dream feed

Activity: Grace is on the move! Kind of. Well, not really.

But compared with before, she is really moving!

Grace has rolled over from her tummy to her back many times, but seems to have regressed some this past week. Also, on August 1st, 2011, she rolled over for the first time from back to stomach!

Grace loves her rattles and likes to be pulled into a sitting position by just her fingers grasped on ours.

She also started making some crazy noises on August 1st! At first we thought she was fussy or in pain, but we realized she is just trying out her voice!

Personality: Grace loves to be talked to and likes to be paid attention to. I hope that doesn't mean she is going to be high maintenance!

Miscellaneous:

*Grace really discovered her hands this month. We refer to her now as Big Drool (her rapper name, ha!)
*We also refer to her as Pterodactyl because of the squeaking noise she makes!
*Grace went swimming for the first time in the ocean and pool this month!
*Grace had her first cold in June. It lasted almost seven days and was mainly alot of congestion, sneezing, with two days of (low) fevers. She had a hard time nursing and sleeping because her nose was so stuffed up.
*We finally changed her pacifier from a newborn to a size 3 month one. Anyone know the difference? I compared the two and I could not see one single difference!
*She graduated to a baby tub from her infant sink sponge. She loves kicking and splashing about!