Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bunk Beds!

With both of my babies, I decided to wait on their birth day to find out their gender. I wanted a surprise, and thought gender neutral clothing and baby stuff would be more economical because we knew we might have 2 or 3 babies. And the fact that it bugged my family and most everyone else was an incentive for my silly personaltiy as well. So when Sophia was born, Matt declared her a boy. I am guessing that in all of the messiness of birth and his lightheadedness-ready-to-faint act he pulls when I am pushing our babies out, that he confused the umbilical cord for some manliness. When the doctor corrected him, that it was indeed a girl, the name Abram Elias fell away and we knew it was our Sophia Mae. One of the first things I said to Matt was, "Oh good, we can get bunk beds!" My children sharing a room has always been a dream of mine. I guess I have always been determined to teach my children that the world doesn't revolve around them, and sharing a room is a pretty intense way to impart that principle. We wouldn't have minded at all if Sophia had been a boy, but if she had been, my dreams of my first two children sharing a room would have been dashed. That probably would have been incentive enough for me to try for a third child just so that somebody had to share a room! I know, I know ... when they are little, it doesn't matter if they are a boy and a girl sharing a room together, but at some point, privacy will become an issue and the whole thing wouldn't seem worth the effort to me.
Well, Matt and I decided that even though we have both a toddler bed and a crib for our girls, and those beds certainly can't be bunked yet, that it would be a fine idea to go ahead and put them in the same room. So yesterday I set to work. I set a record time for disassembling and reassembling the crib. Forty five minutes, and that included a diaper change and some refereeing a squabble between Ruth and Sophia.
Their first nap time together didn't go so well at first. They kept laughing and giggling, so I had to set up a chair in the hallway to keep an eye on Ruth so she would stay in her bed. It was one of the rare moments I had priviledge to watching my girls go to sleep. It was the best ten minutes I've experienced in quite awhile as a mommy. Listening to both of the girls "thuck thuck thuck" on their thumbs, and Sophia's hiccups ceasing as she fell asleep, and their deep heavy sleepy breathing ... so precious!
Nighttime went great also. I didn't even have to set up the chair, but they were both really exhausted. How do you know a two year old is tired? She spends the better part of the day crying. Fake crying, whining, real crying, she cried all kinds of cries, constantly! Time out, hugs, a spanking, drinks, diapers, distraction, ignoring her, attentive to her emotions, it didn't matter. Her world was falling apart! Just a glimpse of the drama I have to look forward to when she is a teenager. She was sitting at the table and burst into tears because her place mat was messy. Nothing about that day worked out for that girl! And you know how fun it is for the mommy to listen to crying all day.
So anyways, they woke up this morning bright and early at 7am and giggling. Greeat, hope they can still sleep in every now and then! I've tried telling Ruth that when she wakes up, that she should sneak out quietly and come into my room when she wakes up. I know she heard me because I heard her instructing her babies on this very issue. But it didn't happen. Actually, I couldn't tell who instigated the morning giggles because they both sound quite alike in the monitor. I know, one can talk and one can't, but it's funny how it takes me a minute to discern which kid is crying or laughing when I'm listening to them through the monitor!
Well, the rest of my weekend I shall be in reorganize and redecorate heaven. Organizing toys, clothes, diapers, closets. Moving decorations around.
And counting down the years when I can purchase beds that can bunk (and unbunk for those teen years should they not care about the floor space).
I'd love to know how you instill a sense of sharing and caring for others in your children. Or plan to, if your children are young.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apples of Gold

Okay, so today I decided to bake. Well, I decided four days ago I was going to bake, so I went shopping for some groceries to include the ingredients needed to bake these muffins, and after my whirlwind of a weekend (including one full day of not feeling well) and catching up on the dishes, I have finally arrived. Part of my ingredient shopping was kitchen accessory shopping. I did not own a grater, and was sick of avoiding recipes that required, well, grated ingredients. I’m attending a mentoring class at my church, and alongside lessons about kindness and loving our hubbies, the older women are showing us how to cook.
The hosting mentor’s home is at least double the size of our home, and her kitchen is large enough to accommodate 10 of us younger women being mentored, plus most of the mentors and the kitchen helpers! It’s incredible. But she is so gracious; you don’t feel overwhelmed by your surroundings or that her home is showy, you just feel welcome and comfortable. Alongside this grand first impression, is the fact that all of the cabinet doors in her kitchen were off. I thought, “Wow, she even went to the trouble to take her cabinet doors off to show us some hints about organizing our kitchens!” But it turns out they are in the middle of remodeling, so it goes to show no matter how far we are in life, there’s always something torn apart and being rebuilt. Even she hasn’t “arrived” and isn’t perfectly together. What a relief. One other note about our host: she shared a tid bit about life as a young mother and mentioned that her husband used to work two jobs and/or long hours so she could stay at home.
Really? This woman I so respect and just thought she always was where she is now? It’s hard to think that the families I so respect started off small and with nothing, just as Matt and I are. That they didn’t always have the amazing jobs they have now, or the beautiful homes they’ve worked so hard to build or pay a mortgage on, or some of the families I know even own their homes paid in full. Now that’s what I’m talking about, that’s peace!
Ok ok, so back to the baking. What was I thinking concerning the baking? Oh, how it’s taken me nearly three hours today amidst the snack, lunch, diaper changes, fifteen minute play breaks, run to the grocery store for that last ingredient I had forgotten despite having made a list (drat!), more dishes from lunch and snack, and oh, maybe I should forget the whole thing and get ready for my date with my husband! A five minute make-up session and a spritz of hairspray would do wonders.
This is why a mother’s mind is always running in circles and never feeling quite accomplished. Or that anything has been accomplished. Either/or.
Well, the whole baking thing, and my general incompetency concerning not having the right kitchen tools, not able to organize myself for a grocery shopping trip, and then making a complete and utter mess of grating carrots (and which side do you use? why aren’t all the gratings going neatly into the container that fits into the grater? They are every where, I must be doing something wrong!) is just making me laugh at myself today. I love that I was invited to this mentoring class. My mom didn’t really have us in the kitchen a whole lot. My parents are divorced, so my dad did pretty well his self, and actually had us help in the kitchen quite a bit (more if we asked or was interested) but he did much more of the Hamburger Helper and frozen pizza type stuff.
So I never learned stuff like, grating carrots, or slicing apples, or how to shuck corn, or even that it was referred to as “shucking”. I thought you were peeling, and got a few laughs when I referred to it as “peeling” the corn. One day I was at the grocery, and decided to use their handy bins to “peel” my corn. I probably was using about the most idiotic method that you could envision, and this sweet old lady comes up and starts on her corn. I notice, out of the corner of my eye, that she is “peeling” about three ears of corn per my one. I decided to check out her method, and I about blushed when she gave me a pat on the hand and I explained that I grew up in the city and had never “peeled” corn before. “You’ve never shucked corn before?” Me: “Shucked?”
Or when I was over at a girlfriend’s house when she had graciously invited us over to dinner and I was in the kitchen with her daughter and helping snap the green beans. Snap green beans? Here I was watching her tween snapping beans so I could know how to do it myself. I had always taken a little paring knife (I know, probably the wrong knife) and cut off the ends, two or three beans at a time, which takes for. ev. er.
*sigh* She was gracious to me when I giggled about my methods and that I had never snapped green beans before in my life.
Feminine initiation … the women in my life … strangers at grocery stores, my amazing aunt-in-laws (I have a favorite from both in-law sides), my girlfriends, older women at my church, and of course this very purposed mentoring group, sharing of themselves and leading me by example into what was (is) for me, a very curious world of mothering, friendships, loving, and using my abilities and my mind to learn new things. There's a way for this wild and curious heart of mine. Maybe learning to care for my children, love my husband, and learn my way around this whole home making bit, is a great calling on my life.
Well, I suppose I should stop avoiding my kitchen and get to it, huh?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

When "staying at home" really means trying to get out of the house!

I am sitting here writing out a daily/weekly/monthly schedule to get my “stay-at-home crew” – that would be me and my girls – in a routine that involves insane things like, oh I don’t know, GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE!! Sophia is almost 10 months. Her nap routine is very predictable, yet she’s flexible about missing her morning nap. When she nurses, she gets it done in less than five minutes. She eats everything Ruth and I eat. Easy. Ruth is 2 ½, and she is getting into those lovely two year old behaviors like screaming, throwing fits, being defiant, only using the potty when she feels like it, and just general contrariness. It’s normal … and probably exasperated by the fact that I could happily stay at home and clean and organize to my heart’s content. Except that doesn’t even happen because I am too busy trying to keep her in line. Oh yeah, and the poor 10 month old does get cared for every now and then. It’s just so busy! The meals and snacks, the diapers, the playtime, the teaching everyone to pick up their toys, the patience to let Ruth, or rather sometimes, encourage her to do things for herself … it all takes ten times as long as you would think.
So it leaves me flabbergasted ... we go to church (her absolute favorite place to be) and she is an angel. Grocery? She sings the whole trip. Park? She could play there for hours. I'm the one that gets bored! Simple equation ... leave the house = happy two year old.
I just got off the phone with a girlfriend to plan an every-other-week playgroup. Yes, getting out of the house and hanging out with your girlfriends takes planning. Me not being the cell phone toting, in-constant-contact-with-my-friends kinda gal, it just takes planning. Matt and I are homebodies. We love being at home together, taking walks in our city together, doing stuff TOGETHER. Him working two jobs and being gone all the time has me feeling very disoriented lately. And probably just the kick in the butt I need to get out of the house more. Because his two jobs gig is going to last through mid-December, at least, it’s time to get my own life for awhile. I mean, I felt so utterly lost in my rut that I actually googled “Activities for Stay at Home Moms.” Sheesh.
I’m thinking beyond playdates and on into having girlfriends over for dinner. Every now and then, I’ll be talking with a friend and we realize that both of us are going to be lonely for dinner time. A couple of nights I’ve had a girlfriend and her kids over for dinner and let me tell you … I LOVE cooking when my girls are happily playing with their little friends. It’s amazing how happy it feels!
It’s a bit comical when we have friends over because we have a little cafĂ©-style table with four little bistro chairs, and we usually circle up with high chairs and boosters and folding chairs … it’s a very cozy setting. And we have this nice, large dining room! Oh well. If I waited to entertain until my house was perfectly set up for entertaining … we never would.
Back to the routine. I’m organizing my time for everything I’d like to accomplish. Devotion - after some tinkering with my schedule, I couldn’t get it to work unless I got up at 6:30am. Ugh. But I can’t wait to see how this discipline carries over into making me a better person; I sure could use that! Exercise – my girls love stroller rides, I have no excuse except I don’t make time for it enough. Laundry. Cleaning. the AHA! children’s museum, Toddler storytime at the library, playgroup, MOPS, playtime with the girls - where I’m actually engaged for a whole fifteen minutes instead of just making sure nobody kills each other and everybody is SHARING. Don’t worry, my poor girls have never had an over-involved and indulging mom; they know how to entertain themselves. It’s just amazing if I give Ruth some crafty things and get her started how she can sit at the table forever cutting away or gluing away … and getting carried away (glue on the floor, full body art with the markers, you know)
I want to start my own business, and I’ve had so much trouble making the time for it! So, now that I have this handy dandy schedule, not only will I not work too much, but I’ll make an appropriate amount of time set aside so I can find some success. And Facebook. Yes, I’ve got Facebook on the schedule. Because I’ve so poorly planned my life these past couple months, I get lonely for real people that don’t go around crying and peeing in their pants all the time. There they are, instantly, on Facebook. I want to be too busy to get one Facebook so often! It’s addicting.
It’s amazing when you take stock of your life, you realize all the void and empty activities that can easily take up such gobs of time.
Here’s to a happy fall and more blogging. It’s in the schedule!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That Choking Feeling

I just choked up watching a Walmart commercial. No, not concerning its business ethics. That’s more of a furious, passionate emotion that rises in me; the content of the commercial itself brought my mind fast-forward a couple years: "back to school." As in, Ruth will be 5 years old in two years and 6 months. I am told that time will fly between this moment and that fall when she is ready for formal education. If we send her to a public or private school, she will be there without me. Why does it hurt to think about that? Why does it seem like such a brave thing for a 5 year old? It’s too much.
The voice-over in the commercial talked about not being able to hold her hand while she’s on the bus … and then some junk about at least being able to save money, but again, the content is what got me.
My sister and my sister-in-law both have five year olds that are headed to kindergarten. My niece is anticipating her first day next Monday and my nephew already had a successful first day. I’m very happy for them and I know they will both be successful kindergartners. But they aren’t my children; my heart isn’t breaking! It’s a bit achy, just because I do remember them as babies and how sweet they were.
I’ll chase a rabbit down a trail for a moment and share one vivid memory I have of each child.
My memory of Alyssa is the most vivid; it involves all of my senses. My sister Anna and her husband, Matt, were renting a duplex in Columbus. I believe my other sister, Becky, was renting the adjacent side, so it was very easy to get my “sister” fix to visit both of them in one place! Alyssa was a little over one year old, and she was playing with a plastic toy with wheels in the front yard and feeling the grass with her fingers. She was so beautiful, and we were so excited about her discovery of the grass. It was all so new to her! The grass was very green, as it was spring time, and the air was very clean-smelling that day.
Joshua has always just touched my heart. I can just close my eyes and hear his contagious giggle and see his perfect blue eyes. Just this past week, he caught a moth in some clear plastic cups that the kids were playing with in the pool. Can you picture the patience and skill that takes for a five year old? When he was a baby, he was always so happy. It was such a joy for all of us to lavish our attention on him because he was the only baby for awhile there!
Back to that choking feeling I felt as I watched that commercial: It’s just completely unimaginable to me that Ruth would be without me, for five days a week, for a couple hours?!
That’s all it is; unimaginable. I’m not saying I’m unwilling. I’m not saying I don’t trust the foundation of discipline and love that we have been building since her infancy through this completely trying and unnerving trial called “I’m two and have a new baby sister.” We are deliberating what education would best fit Ruth: public, private, homeschool? I won’t homeschool simply because I can’t imagine life without her.
Parenting is really about what’s best for your children. That’s my job … to bond with and get to know both of my children, and find ways to nurture all the potential that is inside of them. And they both will need different things to become the individuals that they are. In some ways, they will fulfill or surpass any expectations that I might dream of. They will probably be interested in some of the things that Matt and I are interested in. They will value many of the things that we value. But they will also have interests that I would have never thought possible (from a child of mine?!) And they may value things I never would have thought valuable. But if they become who they are, then we will have parented well.
Why didn’t anybody tell me that being a parent would be so horribly emotional?
That I would be mostly incompetent? Or feel that way when I can’t figure out how to best handle Ruth’s “twoness” or even Sophia’s needs as a baby?
That it would take every ounce of creative energy I have, and that it would not be about me at all, but that it’s beyond me?
That it would force me to grow and mature in ways I never would have conceived possible?
That my life as a parent looks totally different than I ever would have imagined it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Blog

Even though I have no followers, I have fell into blogging today. I just want to win a free cloth diaper and these sweet soft-soled shoes, matching and etsy! Vilate is the adminstrater for a cloth diapering community on Circle of Moms, a Facebook application, and I found her Nifty Nook through that community. I haven't ordered from her yet (after all, the point of cloth diapering is saving money, right? Riiight)
So anyways, when I tried to follow their blogs, which is part of entering to win the contest, I had to create an account with Google, and then it prompted me to start my own blog! Like I don't waste enough hours of my day on the internet. I'm hoping to get more disciplined about essay writing and some poetry, thus the name of my blog, because I am really so undisciplined about using my mind like I should.
The soft-soled shoes can be found through this blog: ... way cheaper than robeez and looks like better quality than the Target knock-offs. From experience, the Target brand soft shoes are way cute, but won't last beyond one kid. The paint on the leather wears off. Still functional, I guess, but those were all Ruth wore when she was little, so they look very shabby. I might order a pair for both of my girls, some slippers for this winter for Ruth and of course, because I believe in soft-soled shoes for my early walking babies, Sophia's pair will be for all the time. And I have a couple friends that are pregnant or just had babies ... at this price, they would be a perfect, thoughtful baby gift! Though I am always tempted to gift my friends with cloth diapers, but I hate to be pushy. That's a bit like giving your unsaved in-law or other extended family member a Bible or devotional for Christmas. Just not my way to convert people!!
I'm pretty excited about this blog, and can't wait to see how it develops and if anyone is actually interested in reading my essays, thoughts, and poems. Might post a couple old poems on here from college. My husband at least better be one of my followers! With all the free time he has, not!
To follow, you can click on the "Follow with Google Friend Connect" and you can use your current e-mail address, and that way you recieve an e-mail when I post a new entry. I think that's how it works. I promise that I will not inundate you with multiple blog entries per day, for my Facebook friends who might be worried that my Facebook habits will translate into how I blog.
Cross your fingers that I will win the contest!