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Archive for February, 2011

Proud.

This is Grayson Robert Baker. He graced this world with his presence back in September. Isn’t he cute?

Grayson belongs to Elizabeth (Dave’s sister and my sis-in-law) and Ryan. He is a rock star for sure.

We love him very very much, and we hate that we’ve only been able to spend a limited amount of time with him.

The real reason I wanted to write this post though, is not about Grayson (sorry little guy). It’s about his mum (or mom… tomayto, tomarto), Elizabeth. To be specific, it’s to brag about her.

I’ve always thought of Elizabeth as a very capable person. She knows how to get the job done. And she does it well, whatever the ‘job’ may be. When Elizabeth had Grayson back in September, she (and we) had no clue about the journey her family was about to embark on with this bundle of joy. It is a complicated journey that would take me many posts to explain, so you can read more about it on her blog (linked above).

Since the beginning of that journey back in September, I’ve watched (or heard about from a far) Elizabeth go through some of the scariest challenges a mother can go through. Being told at a newborn checkup that your baby needs to be rushed to the hospital due to dehydration isn’t something that you’re trained how to react to. Watching your tiny 5-pound baby go through a spinal tap procedure doesn’t appear in many of the parenting books these days. But Elizabeth managed. It was very very hard for her, but she did it. You can read about everything they went through in the first couple of weeks here.

We visited shortly after Grayson’s arrival back in October, then we visited at Christmas, and we also saw them in Charlotte back in January. Each time I’ve seen Elizabeth and heard about everything they’ve been going through (the good and the difficult), I’ve been struck by her tenacity, her honesty, and her unwavering love for G. I’ve heard that there are many expectations that come with motherhood. Expectations of how those first few months will unfold, how everything will be happy and (though not always easy), filled with joy, love, and bonding. After going through the countless trials and tribulations that no mother should have to go through, I’ve seen Elizabeth put many of those expectations aside in order to be the mom that Grayson needs.

Although that is a tremendous feat in itself, what I really admire is the honesty, transparency, and humility that Elizabeth has shown in the process. I tell people all the time that I don’t know how she does it, looking after Grayson, 4 dogs, and for a while an immobile husband (Ryan had 2 knee surgeries in the the first couple of months of G’s life).  Elizabeth is completely open with people about how much of a struggle the last few months have been. She is transparent about how it has made her feel and the daily struggles that come with putting many of the expectations aside, while also sharing the joys and privileges that she experiences with G. In a world where competition and pride runs rampant, even in (or especially in) motherhood, seeing someone actually embrace the struggle not as something to just get through and do well, but as a lifetime of learning, loving, and being patient, is admirable and inspiring to say the least.

On this Wednesday morning, as I’m miles and miles away from Elizabeth, Grayson, and Ryan, I guess I just wanted to brag on them. To say that I’m proud of you. To say that you’ve inspired me (and many others) as I’ve watched you step into a motherhood that maybe looks a little different from what you thought it would be. It’s interesting that people always say “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle”, but that’s only because God designed you to handle it. God designed Elizabeth with strength, capability, creativity, unceasing love, and lots of patience that she probably didn’t know she had until now. Grayson is so lucky to have you, Momma. And we are very proud of the Mom you’ve become.

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Best friends.

Milton adores Dave. Now, we all know their relationship started out a little rocky, but I’m glad to report that I often come into the room and see things like this. I’m starting to think Dave loves Milton too : )

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These Days…

These February days in the Kline household are full of paper writing, family skyping, Big Love watching, church preaching, Sunday school leading, half marathon training, house rearranging , babysitting, group project-ing, and squirrel chasing (for Milton).

This semester has turned out to be a very busy one for me. I started a new job back in December which I’m really enjoying.  However, the addition of 20 hours of work a week to my three-class load proves to be quite a lot. No complaints here though, I love this job and I still can’t believe I’ve been given this opportunity. A couple of my professors hired me to work with them on a project. Basically, we are creating online training modules on healthy marriage and relationship education for Child Welfare workers to use in their work with families. The basic premise is that children are greatly affected by the state of their parents’ relationship. Therefore, we strongly believe that child welfare workers would benefit from being trained in marriage education, as well as child development and parenting. We will be conducting face-to-face trainings this summer, and we will be presenting our findings at the National Counsel for Family Relations Conference in November. We are also creating a summer course for students in the Family Life and Youth Development department (my classmates!) to take. It’s all very exciting and I’m getting lots of great experience.

I’m also working with an organization here in Durham called Welcome Baby. This nonprofit provides parenting education and support to families in Durham County. They offer parenting classes, a giving closet (they give away baby clothes, maternity clothes, and other baby equipment), a monthly developmental newsletter, and many other resources for new parents in need. It’s a really great organization and I get to work with them to design a program for one of my classes. Also very exciting!

Last semester I wrote a 20 page paper on fostering parental involvement in limited-resource groups. This is a topic I’m becoming more and more interested in and something I think is very important. I also had to create a fact sheet to educate parents on a topic of my choosing. I thought you might enjoy having a look! The fact sheet was on parental involvement in early education (not specifically limited resource parents). It is a pdf file so if you click the link, it will download and open in acrobat reader. Enjoy : )

FinalParentFactSheet.JPG

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Photo Update

Here are some photos from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other happenings over the last few months.

The fall was beautiful here in NC. It’s my favorite season here for sure.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. Peter, Megan, and Rebecca came to stay and we spent the week eating good food, drinking good wine, and making random photo booth videos. I think the beagle cousins had the most fun of all!

We ate baked brie for Thanksgiving brunch, it was delicious!

In early December my parents came to visit and see our house for the first time. They left sunny 80-degree temperatures in Austin, Texas, and were greeted by snow when they landed in Durham.

Grammy made Milton a sweater cape to keep his little self warm in these winter months.

Suddenly, the Christmas season was upon us. So what did I do? I made Christmas cookies : )

Also, I decided to be crafty and make my own gift labels. I used several photos I had taken of the above Christmas cookies and Christmas tree decorations. Then I got them developed into wallet-sized photos, glued them on different colored paper, used sticker letters to adorn them with “Christmassy” words, punched a hole in them, then tied them with ribbon.

We traveled to Texas for Christmas with my family in Austin, Dave’s family in Houston, then a New Year’s day celebration with Andrew, Laura, Kate, and Jack in Sugarland. Lots of good times were had! Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from our time in Houston, but enjoy these of our Austin and Sugarland Christmas.

Andrew made us toad-in-the-hole on New Year’s Day! Then we all exchanged gifts. Jack got some new Cars attire (no pun intended).

I made cake balls, of course.Then we spent a good 20 minutes trying to get a family picture. We finally got one!

We celebrated my 25th birthday early with cupcakes (made by mum) and singing.

Then I had my real 25th birthday back here in Durham. Dave surprised me with flowers and a night at the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill. We also celebrated with friends at a wine bar in downtown Durham.

Shortly after, Dave turned 29!

We celebrated with an americano.

Last night we went to a Super bowl party. In an effort to get into the spirit, or to pretend I cared at all, I made these little guys… you guessed it…. cake balls!

Phew! THE END.

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