The saying, ‘Don’t blink or your kids will be grown before you know it’, has never rung more true. We’re in that group now.
Though most days, honestly, the reality of having a child still hasn’t really set in. Pregnancy, labor and delivery are all a blur in retrospect. An amazingly precious time in our married life, but a blur considering we are now 15 months post-partum and experiencing the early signs of life with a two year old. Life is beautiful. Life is wonderful. Now we ask ourselves, ‘Is she really ours? Do we really get to keep her?’ Sephira is just that cool! We have been mightily blessed.
We are finding the joy in celebrating Christmas as a family, as Sephira toddles around the Christmas tree helping us hang ornaments. (She actually did hang a few, stretching the cord just the right way to hang it over the tip of the bough.) We even designed and made our own stockings this year!
We have much to be thankful for. We finally finished our major backyard project this summer, designing and building the patio, trellis and garden boxes ourselves.
We experimented with our vegetable plantings and had an abundance of summer and patty pan squash, wonderful onions and leeks, chives and green tomatoes (great for stir frying). We’re already looking forward to next years garden, and put various bulbs in the ground in November.
Though juggling the baby and working from home part-time is harder than Effie anticipated, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. Through Sivecki & Associates (Effie’s web development and support business with partner Aaron Parecki) Effie continues to provide training and support of the Career Pathways Web Tool (Oregon State funded project through Lane Community College). The flexibility allows Effie to devote most of her daylight hours to developing a healthy, active, and educating lifestyle with Sephira. The two of them attend Baby Boot Camp 2-3 times a week for fitness, have play dates with friends, attend story time at the public library, and do all the general running around that keeps us organized and fed.
Sephira also gets lots of quality time with her Nana (Effie’s Mom). If Dirk is working on days that Effie has work commitments, Nana comes in to town. Sephira loves her Nana. They make up songs, read lots of books, explore and play all day! We're blessed that we've been able to keep our childcare within the family. Nana has also been gracious to care for Sephira all day on several occasions to afford Effie and Dirk some quality time out: dates to Belknap Hot Springs, romantic dinners, massage and matinees. These opportunities have brought us home sooo refreshed! Thank you, Nana, and Papa too, for the entertainment value you provide Sephira, and your support of Nana in supporting us!
Effie took to walking 5K races in April with the Walk for MS, and finished six 5Ks with Sephira in stroller or carrier; four of which Nana walked with us, and the last of which Effie ran with Dirk at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest Road Race. To Effie’s surprise she is becoming a runner - something she never dreamed she would have had the desire or physical conditioning to achieve. Now she claims that life “after 30” and baby are the best years of her life, all thanks to the cardiovascular conditioning from Baby Boot Camp and the support, encouragement, and walk/run training from Dirk. She lost all her baby weight, plus an additional 20 pounds in 12 months.
Our other greatest thankfulness is Dirk’s semi-new job as Critical Care House Float at the Sacred Heart University District hospital in Eugene. He took the job just two months before Sephira was born and it has been the best change for us as a family. His stress (from being the ICU Charge Nurse) has significantly reduced, and now he gets a “weekend” in cycles of every 2-3 days. This is such a great thing! We go swimming (Sephira is a natural), we play at the park, we cook, we play, we laugh, we sing, we take mini-trips to the Aquarium or beach, or go to Bend to see some of Effie’s family and friends.
Dirk is teaching himself to play the acoustic guitar – learning styles and strumming, and memorizing cords – making and creating beautiful music. Effie occasionally plunks at the piano. We even try our hand at guitar and piano duets. Efforts we all enjoy as a family, with a hope our musical meanderings will inspire Sephira.
Dirk has also been challenging himself physically, completing the Albany Sprint Triathlon in personal record time of 1 hour and 21 minutes, and running two 5Ks. His desire to compete in more races was waylaid by a stress fracture in his right tibia, which took 12 weeks of NO impact to heal. After recovering from the fracture he thought he’d give Cyclocross racing a try. BMX for adults – it’s a blast!
And that’s it for sports news.
Something we’re very proud of is that since birth we have been teaching Sephira the Baby Signs® Program. By signing with her consistently we have developed communication before she can talk. Her first sign, and word, at 8 months was “book” (“aboo”). Now at 15 months she has over 60 signs that we’ve documented, and is picking up new signs and sounds daily – her new favorite being “help” (“howww” ). It truly feels like there isn’t a thing she can’t tell us, and if she doesn’t know what something is she asks “waahsdis?”, which only gives us more opportunity to see the world from her perspective.
Experiencing this, and feeling the relief of communication in a usually frustrating time for parents and infants, Effie and Nana decided to start a business teaching the Baby Signs® Program to parents and caregivers in our area. Their business is called Tot2Sign, LLC (tot2sign.com), and they hope to begin offering classes in February 2010. Sephira will be their testimony and poster child.
And there you have it! Our crazy, wonderful, ‘don’t blink’ world in two pages. We look forward to reading your news, and hope the New Year finds you healthy, joyful and in the company of your loved ones.