Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cathedral of Trees

This past Saturday found us confined indoors, holed up against the perpetual wind and rain that had continued without mercy for days and days. Eating an impromptu supper with our friends Jason and Melissa, we all concurred that the rain must not beat us…it was high time we go adventuring whatever the weather. We were all intensely in need of some rejuvenation from God’s creation. So, despite the pessimistic internet forecast for the following day, we decided our Sunday would be spent tromping about Stanley Park (not really your typical park…more of a giant rainforest that dominates central Vancouver.) We planned to create our own sanctuary for worship amidst the trees by stringing up a big tarp.
As it turned our, the tarp was unnecessary: Sunday dawned bright and clear, for the first time in what felt like ages. With a packed lunch and Cora on our backs, we set out, first taking a bus into downtown and then, exchanging the towering buildings for almost equally towering trees, disappeared into the silent and empty paths of the forest. We walked until we emerged on the other side at a high lookout point over the bay. A violinist serenaded us with Handel, Pachelbel, and Bach as we found a little spot with a grand view for our picnic. Cora happily chewed on a carrot stick, having barely made a sound the entire morning except to chatter to herself a bit on the walk.
Mapping out another route to traverse back across the park, we set off again on another quiet trail. Midway, we foraged off the path a short distance in search of a little clearing in which we could hold our "church service". Sitting on plastic bags on still soggy logs, we began a meditative and worship-filled time. Reading portions of Scripture each in turn, punctuated by our four voices lifting up praise or prayers, or just simple periods of tranquil silence, we revelled in our cathedral of trees and in our creative Lord. It was beautiful: the sun gleaming down through the magnificent hemlocks and redwoods, our hearts tuned to His praise, and His presence more clearly felt than in even the grandest cathedral. At one point, we were surprised by two bald eagles soaring over our heads. Glorious. But then Cora decided it was time to get a move on, and she would have no more of this sitting in one spot after an entire morning of perpetual motion and stimulation. So, we packed up our Bibles and books and tramped back to the trail. Finally reaching the south side of Stanley Park, we began walking along the beach, the southern edge of the peninsula that makes up West Vancouver, and ended up walking all the way home, not arriving until after 6:00.
Dave and I made ourselves a pizza for dinner; a warm bath and Cora was out, leaving Dave and I to relax with a movie. We watched the BBC’s North and South, which I had borrowed from the library. After a few scenes we realized it must be filmed in Edinburgh, and soon a panorama from the top of Calton Hill over the whole city confirmed it. The rest of the movie, which we enjoyed immensely, it was fun to point out the different parts of the picturesque city we know so well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jumps and Laughs

Cora loves her Johnny Jump-Up! Here she laughs at mommy while they both do some jumping.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cora's 7 Month Stats

We just returned from Cora's first doctor's visit in Canada. We were on a waiting list for a good family doctor recommended by some other Regent moms, so now that we're finally on board, we had to continue with her vaccination schedule. She seems like a fantastic doctor; I'm very pleased with her after our one meeting. Very efficient--we were immediately shown in to a room, a moment later the doctor was there, and we were back home within half an hour of the appointment time (the office is just around the corner). Now that's never happened to me before in the States! As a GP, she will be the one doctor for all 3 of us, including my ob/gyn. Crazy to go to one doctor for everything! But certainly handy.
So anyway, back to Cora...she's a wee little munchkin! Dave and I took a bet this morning on what her weight would be--she hadn't been weighed since 4 months old. I guessed 17, and David guessed 18. Turns out, she's only 15 and 13 oz! That's about the 25th percentile, same as before. Her length is almost 27 inches, a little over the 50th percentile. So she's long and lean. Hmmm...definitely her daddy's daughter.

I was dreading it, but she took her shots like a pro. She only had two. The first went in and she simply looked quickly around like 'what was that?' The 2nd went in the other thigh and she let out one little cry, but no tears. That was it. No sweat. What a tough chick.

However, she has had some tears for other reasons the past couple days. She seems to have hit the attachment phase. We have left her almost every Sunday for church and Tuesday for Regent chapel in a nursury with absolutely no trouble. However, this past Sunday, the nursury worker actually came and got me out of the service saying, "I think Cora needs a mommy cuddle." I went in and Cora was sobbing in the arms of one of the workers. She immediately calmed down and was very happy, enough so that I could even bring her in with me for the rest of the service. So this morning at chapel, I warned the workers about what had happened and to just get me if the same thing happened. And they did. After only 15 minutes. Again, Cora weeping huge tears, and completely smiling and happy after I came. She doesn't at all have a problem with strangers holding her, and I don't have any trouble leaving. But it seems after I'm away for a little while it upsets her. I'm very pleased she's properly bonded to's a significant step in development I suppose. But it certainly is the beginning of a challenging new stage!

Monday, March 19, 2007

All good and perfect gifts...

Thankful this evening for...
  • a fire in the fireplace as the chilly drizzle swirls outside
  • a baby sleeping peacefully in her crib now after moments ago falling sound asleep in my arms after her warm bath
  • a funny little raccoon ambling up the sidewalk to Cora and I on our walk today, as if he were just a wandering cat
  • my husband, animated about the things God is teaching him in his Monday evening ministry class, soon to arrive home to a latenight supper of (leftover) salmon and pesto pasta we'll share at our little table together
  • new friends that came for dinner last night--a couple from Hong Kong that's expecting their first baby
  • the new discovery of a remarkable poet, George Herbert
  • an encouraging e-mail this morning from my girlfriend in Scotland
  • fresh veggies from the market today
  • an hour long talk with my best friend tonight
  • Bebo Norman singing from my Ipod
  • a mug of Yogi Nursing Mom organic tea, gifted to me from my mom-in-law
  • taxes almost finished!
  • an exciting book I'm in the middle of for Books, Children and God class...speaking of, I'm going to go get my nose in it right now

Just a short smattering... :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"God's Baby"

"Of God's gifts, a baby is of the greatest."
-George MacDonald, At the Back fo the North Wind

I have been enjoying Cora so incredibly much. Yesterday, during her long afternoon nap, I was actually anxious for her to wake up so I could see her and play with her. She brings us more joy than we ever expected.

Last night she slept a record 12 hours! 8:30 to 8:30. I like this schedule. I think she was worn out from all the playing outdoors and the sunshine yesterday. It was a gorgeous day here, so we took a long walk to the veggie market, and then on our way back stopped for at the park. She laughed and laughed each time she swang up to Mommy's face. She walked all over the park (very slowly) between my legs, and loved watching the other kids run around. She explored the grass with her fingers as we sat on a blanket on a hill overlooking downtown, the bay, and the mountains beyond. One of the other mom's commented on what a happy baby she is and asked if she was always like that. Yes, she is, so happy and good. Hardly ever out of temper. She said, "I bet she sleeps well too." Oh yes!

The whole Babywise and scheduling philosophy is considered evil here in this ultra-natural city. Attachment parenting: cosleeping, demand feeding, keeping them slung to your side at all times, only putting down to sleep after they're already asleep in your arms, is the only way to go and other moms can't imagine that Cora's been in her own bed and on about a 3 hour schedule since she was born. I feel a bit fretful at I doing this all wrong? They make me feel so guilty by their indredulous looks. But then I listen to their struggles: I was up half the night last night...he wouldn't go back to sleep! How do we gradually get her moved into her own crib after all these months of cosleeping? He never naps longer than 45 minutes at a time. I know Cora is an easy baby...the lady at the park left me with no doubts about that as she shared stories of hers and her sisters. But I'm also so thankful for the godly wisdom from experienced moms in Atlanta, from my pastor's wife to my bookclub friends, that taught me that in the long-run, this method is so much easier for the parent, and more stabilizing for the baby. Most of all, I'm grateful for my sister, who was a constant source of knowledge and support (and books) that she has gained through her own 4 dear children. If Cora turns out as healthy and sweet and enjoyable and obedient as they, I'll be happy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Snow days

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing.

And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.
A. A. Milne

Two days ago I was singing this poem to myself as my toes went numb out on the slopes of Whistler. But today, back in Vancouver, it is spring. No jackets required! David and I are out sitting on our balcony in the clear fresh air with a quickly disappearing pot of tea, each typing away on our laptops. His requires a bit more brain power I must admit--a book report on philosophical theology; I'm just quoting A.A. Milne poems. It's absolutely lovely.
So, I'm just reporting in on the skiing. Whistler is amazing. Absolutely huge--the ridiculously long runs have you bushed by the bottom. Having Grammy Shelli to take care of Cora left Dave and I free to ski to the point of exhaustion, wander about Whistler village, sit in the hottub, and even take in a movie for the first time in ages. We saw Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. The big pop star chick in it is named Cora....not a good role model for our Cora though to say the least. Just thought that was interesting since it's a more unusual name these days. It was a very enjoyable little trip, confirmed by the ache every time I move my muscles. But at least my toes are warm now.