We just returned from a long car trip through Minnesota and Wisconsin seeing lots of old friends and some family. Some folks we hadn't seen in 5-10 years and maybe won't see again for that long. The kids were champs in the upwards of 1700 mile journey. Asher even began sleeping through the night, right at eight weeks like clockwork. The picture of us is in Duluth, MN at Lake Superior. Posted by Picasa


Bum Genius? Part II

So, I promised an update on using cloth diapers. (You can check out my original post here) Now that Asher is 7 weeks old, I can honestly say that I am thrilled I made this choice. I can't deny that the greatest enjoyment is the lack of diaper transactions on my credit card! The Bum Genuis diapers are easy to use and I don't do a bit of toilet bending, dipping or scrubbing. The diapers run through a hot/cold cycle twice (only once with detergent) and then the terrycloth inserts go in the dryer while the outer shells hang dry. The hang-drying issue does require some thinking ahead because you need to have a few clean diapers for the lag time before the newly-washed diapers are ready to use. I originally bought 12 diapers, which I worked with for the first few weeks but ended up having to occasionally use a disposable because I couldn't keep up with the washing. I received three more as a gift and used 15 quite easily until just this week when I was given 6 more. With 15, I was still washing them every 36 hours or so (keep in mind this is a newborn who has to be changed every three hours). I'm looking forward to spreading things out a bit more now. I haven't had any problems with staining of the diapers either, though I suppose that gets worse with solids.

Asher hasn't had a bit of diaper rash and has had much fewer blowouts than I remember with Bridger. The diaper holds quite a lot of liquid with the fleece covering next to baby's skin staying dry, but at a certain point I know he feels wet. This is probably going to make for more diaper changes, even as he gets older, but it also will bring out the other benefit of cloth diapers which is early potty training.



I finally captured some smiles on film. I love these digitals, but the lag time can be frustrating!


early boyhood comparisons

i know we shouldn't compare our kids but i've been telling everyone that asher is the spitting image of bridger as a baby. upon further reflection, this is quite untrue. although the resemblance between our boys at this age is pretty striking, they are actually quite different looking. You can see more comparisons by clicking here.


The Kite Runner

I just finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini last night. I've been glued to it for the past three days and its images have been in my mind when I'm not reading it. It is an amazing story on so many levels. The story is of two boys growing up in Afghanistan--one servant (Hassan) and one master (Amir)--who grew up like brothers. Hassan would do anything for his friend and ends up suffering unspeakably because of Amir's cowardice. The rest of the book is Amir's guilt and quest for redemption. In a word, this book is heartbreaking. Hassan is a pure Christ figure--servant and savior. Amir is the purely human figure--flawed, selfish and guilty. It is a story about loss and mistakes set brilliantly with the backdrop of a childhood in a stable Afghanistan which turned into a wartorn rubble just as the children's innocence disintegrated.

Of course, this is set in a Muslim context with Muslim issues permeating it--in fact the reason Amir is the master and Hassan is the servant is because of the strain of Islam their people practice. Though Allah is turned to a few times, Islam does not provide the redemption that Amir searches for. The book is so true to life in its images surrounding what Amir does with his guilt, trying to atone, trying to punish himself. Amir's mentor tells him that "redemption is when guilt turns to good" when he is trying to prompt Amir to face his demons and finally do the right thing. I thought about this a lot because I think it is the world's idea of redemption--turning the bad things you do into learning experiences and making up for them somehow. This is not a bad thing in itself, our mistakes should teach us, but when can our pennance ever be enough? Only through Christ can we truly be redeemed and guiltless.

Though the plot twists can be a bit implausible at times, this book is a must-read. Perhaps it was not the best choice post-partum as the story's poignant sadness was often overwhelming, but it is the best book I've read in a long time. Has anyone else read it? Anyone have any suggestions for my next read?


The Canadians are coming!

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from the Heiberts this last weekend. They live about 6 hours straight north of us in Manitoba and we so enjoyed having some friends this summer (especially friends who talk theology for Ryan!). Here we are looking a bit tired on the last morning before they left--the previous few days had included 4-wheeling, sandboxes, campfires, baseball, waterslides, parks, ice cream and much more. I'm still recovering since I wanted to stay up late with the adults, but Asher had other plans when I wanted to go to sleep! Posted by Picasa



Here's a picture of Asher with his great-great grandma. She turned 100 this February so they are a century apart in age. Ella is my father's father's mother and is still living on her own, playing three card games a week. Bridger was pretty amazed by her and after a few minutes of asking her questions, he looked thoughtfully at her and said, "you have a tiny head". She just chuckled and we all tried to hold in the laughter. Believe it or not, Ella's not the oldest relative I've known. On my mother's side we've had several over 100. My great-great aunt Mabel died in 2000 at the ripe old age of 111. She was born in 1889, came across to Nebraska in a covered wagon and had lived in a sod house as a child. She then lived to see cars, planes, computers--even bought herself her first microwave at the age of 90. I'm not so sure I want to spend as many years on the earth as these ladies, but if I do, I hope I can pull it off as well as them.