28 January 2015

Five Minute Friday on Wednesday: Share

I'm writing in regard to last Friday's five minute Friday. I hate linking up to link ups and yada, yada, yada. 5 minutes starts...NOW.


I suck at sharing. I really do. I feel bad when I think about all the non-sharing I did as a kid, my poor little sister. Sharing is an uber big sacrifice for me. There is just something about seeing someone else with my stuff that makes me feel all...bleh. I feel like the perfection of my carefully arranged stuff together is ruined. Weird, I know. Anyway, so now I have two little girls and I'm not sure how I want to approach the issue of sharing. I read an article months back (that went around Facebook [after the five minutes were up, I found it here.]) about sharing. I thought the author made a lot of good points, the main one being: why should we force our kids to share what they were using because that's not how the real world works. So I'm still not exactly sure what I want to do. I can't exactly take the "first one to the toy gets to keep it approach" because that's not a way to teach empathy and compassion. My tactic of the moment is to just let Abigail play with whatever toys she wants that wasn't pulled out of Eleanor's hands. Eleanor is too young to care if Abigail takes a toy that was meant for her or when she can't play with a toy Abigail has. So yeah, I'm just kicking the can down the road for now - observing other parents to see what tactics they employ. So far I haven't found any I'm in love with.

Daddy sharing his computer on our old couch.

26 January 2015

Quick Takes all about Me : )

I should be doing the dishes right now, but oh well. I've been focusing on taking pictures of things that do not involve my kids and I can't believe how easy it is! I actually have a decent life outside of my adorable little stinkers. Today's quick takes style post will be all about me, with one take for each girl, but making me the subject and them the object of the sentence, as it were.

1. Date night was amazing. Mexican (my favorite) at a restaurant Matt had been to with some colleagues before - the food was so good that I spent the rest of the weekend reminiscing about how delicious it was - and a trip to browse the bookstore. At the bookstore, Matt surprised me with the announcement that he'd secretly budgeted some money for today and I could pick any book I wanted.

I've always been an avid reader, but I've spent most of my life so far reading the classics. Things by dead, white guys since 1800. In college I discovered that dead chicks wrote good books too, so I read some of those. But I'm a little classic-ed out. I get it, I get it, Victorian Britain was oppressive. So now I'm venturing into modern classics. I found a book I've been wanted to read for a while and snatched it up: The Life of Pi. So far it is deliciously amazing.

I also just finished Poehler's Yes Please and am working through Madame Bovary - I know, I know, dead, white guy - in my bid to read 24 books this year.

My second purchase were some enchanted theme story cubes. I've had my eye on Rory's story cubes for a long time - I imagine they are great writing prompts and I want to get back into story writing.

I forgot to take a picture until we were cuddled up on the couch, reading in our pajamas, make up washed off, contacts swapped out for glasses, but here it is anyway.

2. I crochet a lot, and I don't know how much that comes through on the blog. At least six out of every seven days involves crocheting, almost all of it happening after the girls go down at night. I crochet while Matt and I watch movies, while I'm catching up on Law & Order, sometimes during the day, sitting on the floor while Eleanor plays and Abigail is in school. I always have a bajillion projects going on. Right now I'm making a sweater for Abigail, I just finished some batman scarves I was commissioned to make, I'm about done with a reversible blaze orange/black hat I was commissioned to make, and a rainbow afghan I've been steadily chugging through since October.

Once the commissioned works are done, I'll add "pillow slip covers" for the couch throw pillows to the list.

3. I have friends...who are love experts.
Just kidding. I can't hear words from Frozen without finishing them in my head. "Soup"... roast, and ice cream. "Let's go!" ... kiss Hans! Who is this Hans! "Deep, deep" ... deep, deep snow. You get the picture.

Anyway, I have friends who complain that their kids eat too much fruit.
Well, fruit is expensive! Comes the ridiculous response. 

I try very, very hard not to judge other people's struggles by my struggles. Everyone has their own life experiences that set their personal threshold, I get that. For some people, taking their kids to the doctor totally freaks them out. They panic when they have to take their kid in to get bloodwork done. For us, that would be nothing, but for some people, that's intense, I get it. I'm sure my thresholds look easy to someone whose child has cancer.

But the one subject that totally gets under my skin in a heartbeat is parents complaining about their children's eating habits.
"If he could have his way, he'd eat bananas and apples all day long! I have to limit him to one per day!"
Oh, well just knock me over with a feather!
He'd also probably love to eat cookies and candy all day long, but you limit those with no qualms. We live in a country that spends less on food than any other country in the world (cite) and you want to spend your time complaining about how your kid eats too much healthy food? How about you file that one under "Kick ass problems to have"?

Of course I don't say any of that to their faces because I'm an uber controversy-avoider; so thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Eleanor has started a few solids and her eating of bananas and eggs has made Abigail desperately want to follow suit. I'm cautious but excited, hoping that she'll continue to eat things her sister eats, so long as they eat them together. I wish my kid's problem was that she ate too much fruit instead of not eating.

4. After one glorious week of harmony, Eleanor has resumed not sleeping alone. Her teething pain is through the roof and I think it's ruining life for the poor dear. She's up all night (I'm up all night) and then doubly miserable during the day because her teeth hurt and she's tired. Teething gel is spectacular - for 20 minutes until it wears off and Tylenol doesn't seem to help much. Matt is going to swing by a baby boutique after work today and pick up one of those amber teething necklaces. It's worth a try at this point. I understand now why people used to rub rum on baby gums before teething gel was invented.

5. It has been forever since I blogged about cloth diapers, which is obviously a happening topic. Hehe. From my perspective, cloth diapering is going fantastic.

But from a bottom-line perspective, we spent $300 on cloth diapers when Eleanor was three months old and are still spending the exact same amount on disposables every month as we did before she was born. Woo-hoo. I can't imagine how much fun it would be if we didn't do any cloth.

Matt and I talked it over and identified a few weak points. We bought another $100 worth of cloth diapers so that when "set A" is in the washer, I'll have a "set B" to use instead of disposables. I stuff Eleanor's overnight diapers with an extra insert so they'll last the night instead of using disposable. I keep the girls in cloth when we run short errands. And we buy Luvs instead of Pampers now. Hopefully this will help us see more savings - I'd love to start funneling the money we budget for diapers into another category. Abigail has to wear a disposable to school and I have to supply the school with diapers. It's a bit frustrating because they have a routine where everyone gets their diaper changed everyday - whether they need it or not. So Abigail is in two disposables a day (four days a week) no matter what I do.

Random note: We have 22 cloth diapers and 3 dozen cloth wipes now (I use cloth wipes with cloth diapers and disposable wipes with disposable diapers. I also use cloth wipes as face wipes after meal time).

6. The kidney doctor kept telling me that to help prevent more stones from forming, I need to drink more water. He was driving me nuts with all the "drink more water" talk! I do drink a lot of water! About 60oz per day! How much more should I be drinking? I wondered in annoyance. One night I Googled, "hydration calculator" and founded a pretty detailed one. I put in my age, height, weight, activity level, breastfeeding status and it churned out a number: 100. 100oz of water per day, and that's for someone without kidney issues! So right then and there I resolved to shoot for 100oz of water (plain, flavored, and tea) per day.

Things I learned about increasing my water intake:

- It's not that hard. I was able to increase it to 80oz without even trying. The last 20oz does require some more conscious I need to finish off this water bottle before the end of this hour, but it's definitely tougher to convince myself to finish off the green beans than a bottle of water.

- I just plain feel better. I have more energy and am more alert during the day. I have how this is true, but my blood sugar is more stable when I drink more water.

- All that nonsense about, "people actually eat when they're thirsty!" is so. true. I'm an avid calorie counter and I can honestly say that I eat 400-500 calories less per day without even trying. Seriously. So far while breastfeeding Eleanor, my body naturally wants to eat a certain number of calories that is almost the same every day. But when I'm drinking 100oz of water, it's totally satisfied at a much lower number.

Seriously, "drink more water" has got to be the best health advice I've ever gotten.

7. I feel like this past weekend was the last outpost before we enter the wild, wild west that is wintertime in the midwest. From the Atlantic to the Mississippi, we had birthdays, holidays, a date night, walks outside, the purchase of a new couch. Now we cross into the Great Plains: sky scrapers and raging rivers tamed by gorgeous bridges give way long expanses of waving grasses. As far as the eye can see there are short days, freezing temperatures, ice storms. After we cross tedious day after tedious day inside four tiny walls, we'll come to Lent: the Great Rocky Mountains of my metaphor. Somewhere on the other side of this I know there is Sunny California whose fertile lands flow with gold nuggets. There will be a first birthday, a family wedding, our anniversary, spring walks among budding trees. But first there are miles and miles of prairie grass. Time will no longer be marked as we pass through great, historic cities, but as we pass through a field of purple flowers to a field of yellow ones. We have to learn to appreciate the beauty of a warbler or a prairie dog. Saturday morning baby swim lessons, Tuesday night girls' night, a deliciously addicting book, homemade nachos on a Friday night. The small, slow, simple life of winter in the midwest.

22 January 2015

Team Humans

I logged onto Facebook this morning to discover that today is the day of the prolife marches in Washington. Whoops. I used to be all "Yes, I'm prolife, but I'm going to be quite because I don't want to enter into a heated debate!" kind of prolife, but then I had her:

her whose like is aborted at a rate of over 90% in America, so now I'm all "Loud and Proud" prolife.

On the recommendation of a friend (technically cousin, or, cousin-in-law), I put together the posters you see here. I also recommend this blog post here by another friend.

Go team humans!

7 Quick Takes and TBT

1. In December I got a note from Abigail's teacher that the county was offering preschool parenting seminars (one a month for three months) for free and I was welcome to attend. I was pretty excited about them, especially the first one "Reasonable Expectations." Abigail is my first kid, so I have a hard time separating what's normal from what's a special need. I don't know what a 3.5-year-old should be doing, so I thought this class might offer some insight.

I do know that playing in a splits position is not normal.

It did offer some insight, in fact. Nothing blinding, but a few insights I hadn't heard before. But the thing? The catch? The class is populated by teachers who need to complete the classes as part of a continuing education certificate and poverty stricken moms with coach purses and bored-looking baby daddies trying to make CPS happy. "Ma'am? Well my son, he don't listen to me at Walmart. He just run [sic] across the parking lot even though I tell him, 'don't.'"

2. My apartment complex seems to take great pride in neither shoveling nor salting. Such pride that they just stick a plastic shovel in the foyer of each building and make residents buy their own salt. Sometime when Abigail is in a funk and refusing to cooperate, I have to carry both girls to the car at the same time, lugging along my diaper bag and any other items we might need at all once. (The carport is across the parking lot and I don't feel comfortable leaving one of the girls in the car alone to fetch the other). Anyway, when it's my job to play pack mule, the thought of slipping and falling is downright terrifying, so I've taken it upon myself this winter to keep the walk well shoveled. I have discovered that I love shoveling. And beating the snot out of ice with a cheap plastic shovel. It's a good way to get out some pent up aggression. I position my little night terrors darlings up in their high chairs and they watch me like an entertaining television show.

3. I am an extremely fair-skinned person with ample freckles who can sunburn in under ten minutes. I hate humidity. My favorite weather is 50s-60s and overcast. It took three years for me to learn to tolerate Florida's weather. I used to love cold weather. I never thought it could be otherwise. But Florida has honestly ruined me for winter. I just can't handle the freezing cold. I hate the dead-looking trees. And the snow? Who cares if it's pretty, driving in it sucks. Oi, I've joined the legions of winter-haters.

There is a pileated woodpecker in that tree.

4. Last week was kind of a long one, where Matt had to cover two bedtime shifts and I had the kids by myself a lot over the weekend. So on Monday we decided that if we could survive the week, we'd reward ourselves with a little "end of the weekend" bowling. We made it to Sunday night, and off we went.

And holy smokes, my friends, the cost of bowling has skyrocketed since my days in high school. They charge a three-year-old and an adult the same price and the cost of shoes is almost the same cost as one game. We had planned to eat dinner at the bowling alley - a super splurge of pizza - yet we paid the amount of money I had budgeted for the entire evening just on the shoes and the bowling. Yeesh.

But to end this take on a good note, there was this guy bowling next to us, a young dad with two kids. He was super concerned about the time, so I definitely thought he was divorced or a baby daddy who had the kids that weekend and had to pass them back to their mom. But his daughter was hugely flirting with Eleanor and volunteered that her baby (a brother) was at home sleeping with mom. So it turns out he's the kind of dad who takes the kids out for the evening to give mom and baby a break. Super sweet. And the best part? He looked exactly like a blond Daryl. Seriously, torn sleeves on a sleeve-less shirt and all. (And if you had to click that link, I'm somewhat ashamed of you. Get with the times, my friends ; )

Then the next day at Ikea, we sat in the cafeteria next to a woman who looked remarkably like a cleaned-up Carol.

5. The penance after my last confession was to take better care of myself. No joke. I had already signed up for a deep water fitness class (a local community ed class at the high school) and his words removed any guilt I felt about getting out for weekly me-time (even though the class is after both girls go to bed, I still felt guilty). The charge also renewed my spirit to keep plugging away at night.

Her bed is so cozy, why does she reject it?

The priest lent me to realize that I can't just will myself into being a loving and patient mother when I'm exhausted. I need to create an environment that fosters sleep so I don't flip out on my kids over little things during the day. Letting Eleanor rule the night at my expense is setting myself up for failure, flirting with temptation, what have you.

So after some more experimenting, we've come to a compromise that has worked for the last seven days (although I'm still not holding my breath). I put Eleanor to bed at 6:30pm with a full tummy after a bedtime routine. Sometimes she falls right asleep, sometimes she cries for a few minutes. When she wakes up throughout the night, I bring her to bed and fall asleep nursing. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I shift her back into her crib where she sleeps until she gets hungry again. We've done it enough now that she usually conks back out without much fuss.

She's happier, I'm happier, we're all more loving and patient.

I'm not a very good selfie taker, but this was such a cute face on Abigail's part that I had to post it.

6. Cat's real name is Belle, but I've always called her Baby Cat. Abigail shortened it to Cat, so now we all call her Cat. Cat gets included in the family line up, as does Car. "Daeee," "Mommy," "A-gail" (or "you"), "Eggnor" (or "Baybee"), "Cat," and "Car." She's says "Bye" to the entire lineup when she leaves for school, waving out the window do "Daeee" and "Car," since both are usually at "werk." 

7. Tomorrow is date night. Our second, technically. When Eleanor was four or five months old and we were up at Matt's family's cabin with his parents, we put the girls down and snuck out to a local restaurant for drinks while his parents stayed home. This time we'll be gone a little longer, dinner at a Mexican joint and then we are going to wander around a bookstore. Seriously.

It can't be anything too long yet (I'm not bringing a pump on date night), but wandering bookstores is something we both very much enjoy and is practically impossible to do with young kids.

I don't have a picture for this take, since date night is tomorrow, so I'll end this post with a little TBT, a pre-date night picture from our first year of marriage, pre-kids, pre-law school.

20 January 2015

Big Girl Couch

We bought a new couch. Our first ever new couch.  Our old couch was a sappy old thing we'd purchased at a Salvation Army in Florida five and a half years ago for $99.

I didn't stage those pillows for added effect - this was the natural state of my old couch.

It's an oversized one-person couch or small two-person sofa, but since Matt and I are both pretty small and we were newlyweds, a cozy couch was a perfect fit. It was small enough to fit through doorways and light enough to carry up stairs, and so we carted it around through three states. It would make Matt proud for me to point out that a $99 couch over 5.5 years is $18 a year. That's $1.50/month that we paid for that couch. A good buy, to be sure.

But 5.5 years and three states later, our cozy little sofa just isn't cutting it. The whole family can't sit on the couch at the same time and it's raggedy appearance was making it embarrassing to invite people over. I wanted something less "We're broke!" and more "We're a young and growing family!"

So I researched and we saved up. I absolutely insisted on a new couch for two reasons:
1. Used couches carry a certain bed bug risk. I've had bed bugs before and the experience is definitely on my Top Five Worst Memories list.
2. I once saw an episode of The People's Court where the plaintiff and the defendant were trying to unload their used-but-in-great-condition couch on Craigslist. Someone had peed on it and despite the hiring of a professional upholstery cleaner and a black-light inspection pass, when the sun poured through the front windows and heated up the living room, their sofa still stank of urine.

No, thank you.

We checked out a few furniture store clearance centers and a few discount furniture stores, but I really found the best deals at Ikea. So we penciled in a visit.

While we eagerly anticipated the arrival of last Monday, we started researching new desk options, as our old $15 Craigslist purchase in Chicago was impossible to further baby-proof. Matt found a perfect fit on Ikea's website and we squeezed a new desk into the budget as well.

I really thought that upside-down banker's box was a pretty brilliant fix back when I first did it. Abigail thought it was too as it perfectly corralled all the electronics for her immanent destruction.

Going to Ikea is like taking a field trip as a child. You get to ride in a new vehicle (Matt's brother's truck, which we borrowed for the day), drive a long time (1.5 hours one-way), walk through exhibit after exhibit and it's all hands-on (in this case they were stages of living rooms, bed rooms, dining rooms), when you need to rest, you head over to the cafeteria, grab a tray, and load up with stuff you wouldn't normally eat at home. Ikea is a lot of fun. Matt and I wandering through walk-in closet display after walk-in closet display - "Look at this efficient use of space! Brilliant!" - and sitting in rows of dining room chairs - "This one is so plush and comfy!" We planned to a very exacting extent what our future house would look like, lingering over book cases and wall art like children stalling their bedtime.

After five, yes, five, hours, we drove home and assembled our new purchases.

Without further adieu...before: 


Yes, a chaise lounge! I really, really wanted a chaise lounge. Would you like another take?

Beautiful! We really like it. The instructions advised me to iron the slip cover before placing it, but HAHAHA. That wasn't going to happen. Also, if the chaise lounge cushion doesn't even itself out over the new few days, I'm going to take it out and try again. It is, I now realize, rather obvious that it's the first one I did. Now you probably noticed that it's a white couch, and you probably thought one of three things:

1. You have small children
2. You have white walls and white carpeting
3. You have a black cat

All me to respond.

1. I really like white furniture, but I did recognize the pending disaster that is a white couch and a growing family, so I decided against a white couch. But a month or so ago, a friend emailed me an article from a mom who preferred white couches because...white is bleachable. Adios stains; hello, white couch!

2. I really like white furniture and color on the walls and on the floor. I can't paint or rip up carpet and lay down hardwood in this shitty apartment, but if all goes according to plan, we'll own the couch longer than we'll live here.

3. Oh shit, I forgot I owned a cat. Just kidding. Thank you, Captain Obvious, but I so don't pick my furniture out around the color of my pets.

Now on to the desk...before:


It's a sharp little number that closes up completely, so we just need to add some child locks and it'll be totally Abigail-proof. It has a smaller footprint than our old desk, but actually has more storage space. I'm using it for the first time right now as I blog and I'm really loving it! Abigail can reach the top of our old desk and she was constantly pulling off our laptops when I wasn't paying close attention. But now, when Eleanor needs something or I get up to use the bathroom, I just slide my laptop back, put up the door and presto - all my stuff is safe!

It's so wonderful, being able to finally set up shop. Create a real home. Transition away from grad school furniture to stable life furniture.

Many times I feel like going to law school was like hitting the pause button on our economic advancement. Matt and I have talked about this before, so it's not like I'm alone in my observations. We spent money on Uhauls, books, and rent instead of buying a house and taking vacations. When we were surrounded by other students in law school or in the environment and space conscious city, no one cared or judged or demanded an explanation. It has been very frustrating for me since we moved "back home" to explain over and over again when we think we might buy a house, why we only have one car, and that, no, I don't have a Costco membership because there is no place in an apartment for six bottles of ranch dressing.

Every choice has consequences and we are glad we made the choice to go to law school, even though it has the consequences of renting, small couches, and sharing a car. But when I am surrounded by people who seem to have forgotten that we paid for law school (scholarships don't cover books, rent, food, clothes, obvious to me but not to everyone), the parts of OPEN HEART SURGERY ON AN INFANT that insurance didn't cover, and moved across the country three times, I find myself having to talk about the negative consequences ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It gets old, really, really damn old.

And so you guys, if you can believe it, understand more than my own relatives how much this couch means to me and how hard we worked for it. (A vast majority of my friends and relatives refuse to read my blog. I guess what they say about prophets and hometowns is true about everyone and hometowns). The road less traveled is definitely lonelier.

Anyway, the space isn't complete yet, we'd love to get some colorful pillows, a few small baskets for the desk cubbies, maybe sell the now over-sized coffee table and get something smaller, but good things come to those who wait. Like brand-new couches without monthly payments.

Nothing makes a black cat happier than a white couch.

14 January 2015

Posting Photos

A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend (and real-life acquaintance) posted online that he was tired of only seeing pictures of people's kids. As you can imagine, it was a rather huge controversy for him, one in which that cost him several (Facebook) friends. His position is one I've been meditating over lately, as I half agree with it! I agree with the initial premise: I'm friends with you so that I can stay in touch with you. Not your kid. Ever since I joined Facebook, I've tried to keep my profile picture one that always includes me. I'm not running Eleanor's Facebook page, so it's odd if my profile picture is only of Eleanor. But that being said, thinking about his point the last few weeks made me realize that the pictures I post on my wall and on my blog here tend to be mostly just my kids. So I guess I am guilty of posting too high of a percentage of kid pictures.

It's a fine line, the kid-posting pictures line. The all-consuming factor in my life right now is my children, who are still so young that there really isn't anything else going on. There are no date nights, there are no women's retreats, there aren't even any real vacations. What else would I post pictures of? The dishes? The cat? The snow?

The very honest state of my kitchen right now.

Cat a few days ago.

My front yard as of fifteen seconds ago.

Does anyone on Facebook really want to see more than one of those a month? Should I be posting more pictures of me? Me without make up? Selfies of spit-up on my shirt, my bangs too long, my waist still too flabby?

And the truth is I like seeing pictures of other people's kids. My friends have really cute kids. But I also like seeing pictures of them too. They always look better than they think they do. And their kitchens. And what their front yards look like. Those are the things I'd see if we were likin' each other's lives in person instead of just online.

So maybe I do need to post more pictures of the few teeny little other things that squeak in between the adorable Cubby Buns.

Oh gosh, Chubby Cubby Buns even make her screaming more bear-able.

I'm constantly wondering in my head if I'm over-exposing my kids online. I don't want to tie on the baggage of having a "blogger mom" to their childhoods. It leads me to wonder I'm over-exposing my personal life online. What are the long-term consequences of this blog? Will I regret anything I've posted in ten years? Am I even contributing anything to the world?

All that from a complaint that a friend posted about too many kid pictures.

I don't know the answer to any of those yet. But I do know that I'm going to become a more conscientious photo poster. I think that's a good place to start.

13 January 2015

A Hundred Steps Backward

Our nighttime attempts to get Eleanor to sleep alone have completely backfired and now she hates her crib. Not that she was ever its number one fan, but now she won't even nap in it. I guess whose to say this isn't a coincidence - that her mommy-obsessed little self wasn't going to give up the crib anyway. So now she's back in our bed nursing the whole night long.

My desperate attempts to get Abigail to eat food have completely backfired as well. We were seeing some progress using the food chaining technique I mentioned earlier, but she got sick or something a few months ago and cut e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g out. She now eats three things dependably and five things when the stars and the planets align.

-cinnamon sugar toast
-very small servings of oatmeal (as in, three tablespoons worth)
-some crackers some days
-some fruit some days
-some desserts some days
-some fast-food french fries some days

That's it. She doesn't eat Reese's Puffs cereal, she rejected cookies at Christmas, she only eats about a quarter or a half a donut at coffee and donuts after church or half a banana with dinner. No grilled cheese, pancakes, french toast, graham crackers. No fruit cups, occasionally applesauce. Thankfully she'll drink just about anything, so I've been turning to V8s, and OJs for nutrients and peanut butter blueberry smoothies to keep her from loosing weight.

And there are still, of course, Abigail's bully-ish tendencies, of which Eleanor is not spared. Constant vigilance is required and sometimes I wear Eleanor in the Ergo for four or five hours a day. All this has got me feeling pretty frustrated; I'm failing as a mother.

Sometimes with kids consistency is key - you have to do the same thing over and over until it becomes a comfortable routine. But sometimes with kids you have to keep trying new things until you find something that fits. Who knows when you're supposed apply which rule?

These could, of course, be stages the girls are going through. Maybe by next month, Abigail will be eating (at least a little more) again and Eleanor will have enough solids in her diet that she won't need to nurse c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y at night. Maybe by the end of the year, the amazing Ms. N will have worked all the bully tendencies out of Abigail. I don't know which of these frustrating behaviors I need to change and which I need to just be a calm, loving presence through until they grow out of them.

09 January 2015

In The Blizzard of Bad

This week sucked.

Every day of it sucked. Between the poppy diaper that was taken off a toddler tuchus without adult supervision to the screaming, hysterical sobbing coming from two carseats as I fish-tailed through a blizzard for an hour twice, this week has sucked me dry.

Something is really bugging Eleanor and I can't figure it out - nothing seems to be working except carrying her. Constantly. For hours on end. When she's in the car and I can't carry her, she gets really loud. Then Abigail looses it. Which causes Eleanor to escalate the situation. Which makes Abigail worse. The next thing I know, I'm screaming too.

Every day is a struggle to make something good. A trip to the craft store where Abigail picks out her own yarn for a sweater I'm gonna make her, chocolate chip smiley face pancakes for dinner, a little mommy time at a water fitness class, some hubby time with funny comedy shows online after the kids go to bed. And even though things get sucky again, at least we had that moment. That one little break when we smiled and everything was good.

When the kids woke up at 6am this morning, Eleanor sobbing, Abigail bright eyed and bushy tailed, I tried again. We turned on some music. We put on some lip gloss. We used salt spray to make messy buns and take silly pictures.

And even though today is sucking too, at least we smiled during some part of it. But this week has really been a little microcosm of the entire world, has it not?

This dirty, fallen, sinful world where bad things happen to good people. We have to keep trying. We have to keeping showing our kids how to pick ourselves back up. We have to teach them how to find the good, how to keep praying, how to make little moments of good in blizzards of bad. And most importantly, when we make the bad worse, by screaming in the car, we have to show our kids how to confess our sins, accept forgiveness, and move forward. Say we're sorry, give hugs, dance and put on lip gloss.

Yeah this week sucks, but her hair looks really red in that light. That's a girly toddler metaphor for getting a glimpse of Heaven while here on earth. Shake it off, and remember that this world and its suckiness are not our home.