Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Feel a Rant Coming On

I'm sitting on my living room floor, folding laundry and watching the most recent episode of What Not To Wear. You all know how much I love WNTW... but guys. I feel a rant coming on.

As they often do, Clinton and Stacy are making over a poor, sloppy mom. It happens to be "Blossom." I can't seem to remember her real name just now. I never watched Blossom, but I like the way the actress talks. She is very well spoken and uses nice, big words.

But what is making me want to rant is that she keeps saying, "I don't have time for me." "I'm such a busy mom."  Blah blah blah!!!!


I can NOT stand this refrain that is sung over and over and over to, and from, moms. I am a mom. I get messy. My clothes get ruined. I get tired some days. I spend many, many hours with a baby in tow. But it does NOT mean that I only think about me as a mom and it does not mean that Jack is my ONLY consideration when I get dressed and it most defiantly does not mean that I order my life to accommodate every single whim of the small person in my home.

Where is the balance? How did it come to be that moms are expected to be 100% about their kids, but at the same moment are bombarded with magazine articles and makeover shows helping them "fix" their "it is all about the kids" attitude?

I know we are getting into sensitive territory. Motherhood is very personal. 

In addition to wadding through all the media stores, cultural expectations and church stigmas, moms also face the physical effects of sleep deprivation and hormonal fluctuations. The combination of these factors make it so hard to make decisions that we are proud of or even feel like we have a choice in how we do things. 

But doesn't something seem amiss?

I've pondered for the last few weeks now about writing about how I've come to view motherhood and the things I've been learning as a whole woman in this season. I am finding that I have strong opinions.

However, the timing doesn't seem quite right yet.  And, truth be told, it is frightening to put my thoughts about parenting out there to be criticized and questioned. I don't want to add to the mountain of information that is really just opinion.  I KNOW that what works for me will not work for someone else. I KNOW that what works for our family this week will most likely not work next month.

But I also know that I am doing my best to listen to the Holy Spirit and am trying to approach each day with a big perspective. Letting "mother" be an appropriate part of the whole

So maybe some day I'll work up the courage to publicly put to paper where Andy and I are coming from, and more importantly,  what we're moving toward, as parents. But for today, I will simply turn off yet another show that tries to tell me that all mothers must surrender themselves, fashion and soul, to their children. 

And I will pray for the moms that I know.

Pray for courage, for peace, for freedom from lies that have worked their way into family dynamics. 

To all of you moms, and yet to be mothers, I'm cheering for you. Our roles ARE important. You ARE a great mom. And you most defiantly can be the most stunning and fresh version of YOURSELF while you parent. 


Friday, May 29, 2009

Bum Genius

Our family made a huge leap this week.

We are now officially cloth diaper users.

When Jack was first born I never even considered cloth diapers. I thought they were difficult, bulky and uncomfortable for the baby. 

But did you know there are so many other options?! 

A few weeks ago I began to consider cloth as a viable option for our family. I was so sick of buying diapers only to throw them in the trash. I was appalled at the amount of money we were spending on diapers and sorry to be adding so much waste to those darn landfills. 

So I started to look at my choices. A pregnant friend of mine previously had said she was considering cloth and showed me some of the brands she was looking at. I went back to those websites and started my research.

Then, while shopping with a friend in Seattle, I found one of the brands I had been exploring. I bought a single diaper with the idea that I would just try it out and see if it would even come close to fitting our family's lifestyle.

I tried it and I loved it!

When I told Andy I wanted to switch to cloth diapers he said pretty much exactly what I expected, "Sure! But it means I'm off diaper duty." 

On Wednesday, this came:

I pre-washed them all and yesterday we spent all day in them. By "we" I mean Jack of course. 

In the evening, after his bath I invited Andy to try out the new diapers. I got one out, showed him how to do it (exactly the same as with a disposable) and when he had snapped Jack up he said, "That's it?"


In addition to being ridiculously cute (I can now have solid colors that I adore instead of cartoon characters that I couldn't care less about) and financially smart AND environmentally friendly, they also give Jack super powers. He now can climb up on things without batting an eyelash. I'm just waiting for the day when he pushes the chair up to the kitchen counter and grabs the knives out of their block. 

Oh dear.

But I think that day would have come anyway. The incredible powers of the diapers only sped up the process.

I feel so savvy now. So swanky, so hip.

And Jack has the cutest bum on the block now, that's for sure! 

You Should See the Other Kid

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Budding Artist

Jack has discovered coloring.

I LOVE it!

He was playing with Ellery yesterday, and she was coloring a picture. He seemed very interested in the activity, so I put him in his high chair and let him loose. 

He was very serious about it. I am used to seeing this face when Jack plays:

But his face maintained this expression almost the whole time: 

Do you notice the ink on his face and hands? Don't worry, it washed right off in the bathtub.

Now that Jack is creating these masterpieces, I am faced with a difficult parenting decision. Do I become one of those moms who saves every single bit of artwork that my son makes, and then unload it on him and his future wife when they move to their first house? Or do I callously throw it away with total disregard for his creative endeavors, possibly stunting his self-expression and scarring him emotionally? 

Maybe I'll just mail it to a grandma and let her make the decision.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


At this exact moment I have two boys sleeping.  Andy is crashed on the couch and Jack is out cold in his crib. 

I've been pondering all day why I don't do the things that I know I SHOULD do. Really, most of the time I even WANT to do the things that I know I SHOULD. 

The fact remains though, that I don't.

For example.

While both boys are sleeping, it would be the perfect time for me to get a long workout in. But it would also be an ideal time to take a little snooze. 

Rather than doing either of those productive (yes, I count naps as productive) activities, I am sitting here catching up on my blog reading and basically doing nothing. 

Most likely avoiding the choice of nap or workout until there is not enough time for either.

And my fingers still smell a little like the sandwich I had for lunch (it was garlicy) and like the stinky perfume Ellery asked to try on while I was giving her a piggy back ride.

That is very gross.

I guess I know the first thing I'll be doing.

Washing my hands.

Who knows what useful or wasteful thing I will do after that. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Number of beaded bracelets broken: three

Number of earrings that have lost their partners due to being pulled out and tossed to an unknown location: two

Number of earrings that have lost their partners due to running at high speeds, chasing a toddler, thereby causing the earring to bounce from its safe perch in ear: one

Number of shower puffs to be pulled loose from the central binding, creating an extremely impressive pile of jewel-hued mesh: two 

Number of beaded necklaces broken at target, scattering the beads all over the closet organization aisle one day after receiving it as a gift: one 

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Spoonful of Sugar

I'm happy to report that the woes of earlier today were solved by:

  • A 20-minute power nap
  • A long shower and freshly shaved legs
  • A husband-arranged night of babysitting 
  • A bright pink dress
  • Dinner at a favorite restaurant
  • An early birthday present
The dishwasher is still acting up, the toys are still scattered about the house and will remain there until tomorrow night, family drama is still underway, but I am clean and well fed and have shared a few dreams with Andy. 

What a fickle woman I am. Now, instead of needing to kick someone, I am ready to eat a few bites of coconut ice cream with my hunky husband and get into bed for a full night's rest. 

This day ended much better than it began, that is for sure! 

I love it when that happens!

What Sleep-Deprivation Will Do To You

Today is one of those days.

The ones you hope you don't have often.

The ones that you don't want to look at yourself in the mirror because you know you will look like you have just been dragged, old western style, behind a horse through a dusty desert. 

I don't know why it is that kind of day.

My hair is flopping all over the place. My eyelids are droopy from insufficient sleep (ding! I think we found a reason!).

My teeth are gritted and my jaw is set against the grating sound of whining babies that refuse to be consoled.

My tee-shirt is baggy from being pulled on too many times and my pants have both banana slime and nose drippings ground into them.

In addition to the exterior mess, my mind is a little ugly as well.  I'm irritated, stewing over insults, imagined or intended, I can not tell. I am praying that my spirit triumphs and I behave in a godly fashion, but my energy is almost spent and I want to lay down on the floor, kicking and screaming. 

My usual state of serene acceptance (at least I like to think that is my usual state, please do not correct me if I am delusional) has been marred by a day of wanting more, more, more.  I need bigger, I need better, I need anything that isn't what I already have.

I can deal with the mess of my appearance, but I truly despise when my mind and emotions run away with me. I like to pretend like I'm always kind and always self-controlled and always generous. But the sad, sad reality is that I am not. I am flawed. I am a yucky person some times. Greedy and discontent. 

Luckily, there are only 24 hours in a day. Just a few more left and I can move past this flop of a Friday and get onto a less stinky Saturday.  (If you are translating this post literally, that last sentence means, "I really just want to kick someone and then go to bed, but I have to wrap things up with a nice, pretty, it-is-all-okay bow.")

In the perfectly timed order of the universe, I must go attend to both my stinky mood and Jack's reeking pants. 

Don't you just love it when things are perfectly timed?

And don't you  just wish there was a font called "sarcasm" that you could use to imply that tone of voice so people will always know what you intend to sound like when you type things?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Word Games

We at one time had two sets of alphabet magnets, with one of each letter in each set.

Very few letters remain.

I keep them in a tupperware in the kitchen cabinet and pull them out when Jack is bored, or when I'm cooking and he needs something to entertain himself. 

The usual way we play with them is that I put them all on the fridge, saying each letter (and sometimes the color).  Then I put together simple words and just talk about the nothing-type of things that moms talk about with their children who can't talk back.  Then, after about two seconds Jack eagerly swings at the letters, knocking them off the magnetic surface. Sometimes he tries to stick them back on, sometimes he just slides them under the fridge (hence the limited letter options), and a lot of time he piles them back in the tupperware to be dumped out again and again.  

So here is my challenge to you: How many words can you make with our limited magnets? The longest word gets a gold star! The person with the most words will also get a gold star!

Here are your letters:

Your vowels: 

Your blue and green consonants: 

Your yellow, red, orange and pink consonants: 

And, if you don't have any moral objections about lying to a 14-month old, you may also use the two sevens upside down as "L."

Ready?  Let the game begin!

Remember, gold stars are on the line people!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Don't Hate Swimming

First, let me tell you what an incredible husband I have. 

We're down to about 13 weeks before the triathlon, which means I'm kind of freaking out.  It is always a struggle to try and get to the gym, especially when I know I'll be there for more than an hour and especially when Jack is being extra clingy (which he really, really is right now).  So Andy comes home from work and sends me right off to the gym, tells me to take my time and hugs me when I get home, even though I'm all sweaty.

Oh man, I'm so lucky.

Second, wait, I'm not done with Andy.

On Saturday, Mother's Day Eve, ANDY MADE ME DINNER. Not just a frozen meal that I bought so that he could make. He sneakily went shopping, planned the menu and served me a plate of salmon, mashed potatoes and veggies (he only made greens for me, but he made them because he knows I like them). Not only did he make dinner. He also set the table with a shrimp appetizer before hand and after dinner had settled, he pulled out some delicious creamy dessert in yummy chocolate cups.

Oh man, I'm SO lucky.

Third... op! Still not done.

As if dinner wasn't enough. On Sunday I slept in, a good two hours later than I have in, oh, say, about 14 months. When I finally roused myself and walked out into the living room, I discovered a huge bouquet of peach roses and yellow lilies and two, TWO, cards. I got the lovey dovey one from Andy and then I got one from Jack with really wobbly handwriting. I looked at it for a little bit and then realized that Andy had put the pen in Jack's hand to write it. 

So cute!

Speaking of so cute, look at these legs:

And this little boy who wants to be just like dad already:

Three and a half: I should also mention that he made me a delicious breakfast of blueberry waffles, strawberries and scrambled eggs. When I commented on how yummy the waffles were he proudly and somewhat sheepishly said, "They're whole wheat!" 

That's how you know a man loves you. When he buys you whole wheat waffles. 

Really, SO LUCKY!

Okay, fourth - what I wanted to tell you all along - I don't hate swimming. 

I'm kind of amazed by that. 

I went to the gym tonight and ran a really slow two miles and then went to the pool. I got a late start, so I only got to swim about 20 minutes, but the whole time I just kept thinking, "I like this." 

I even thought that after the really weird dream that I had about swimming that involved horses sticking their faces in the pool, forgetting Jack in the water, swimming with my bike seat between my legs and getting tangled in a net and narrow lane... hmm...

So anyway, I just wanted you to know. I like my husband. And I like swimming. 

Not to be confused with loving to slice cantaloupe. 

Just joking.  I LOVE Andy.

That reminds me. Have I told you about how we first exchanged "I Love Yous"? I'll have to write that one out some time. It is always good for a laugh.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Better Bite


The Biggest Loser finale is in just a half hour!

I'm so excited.

I've kind of been looking forward to it all day. Does that make me totally lame?

You know what does NOT make me lame?

The fact that today, was one of those days where I just felt like I got it right. Probably because my house was full of friends and family ALL day (from 9-5 ish) and because I ate tasty, though perhaps not nutritious, snacks all day (thanks Cait!).

Speaking of snacks, let me tell you about my cookies. 

So you all probably know that I am not a cookie maker.  

But lately I've been seeing the benefit of baking snacks at home. I especially love muffins.  I feel like I can stuff them full of good-for-me ingredients and they still taste yummy.

So last night, I got a hankering for some oatmeal cookies.  In my head the oatmeal cookies were going to work sort of like the muffins.  A little fudging on the recipe to take out the "bad" stuff and add in some "good" stuff. No big deal. 

Unfortunately, as cookies, they were a bit disappointing. 

However, as a breakfast bite, they were pretty passable.  I served them to two different people and got fan reviews,  so won't give up on it yet.  Perhaps with a little more trial and error, I will perfect a yummy and body-friendly oatmeal cookie, or at least a better breakfast bite. 

If you want to try your hand at making a better oatmeal cookie, I'll catch you up on what I tried and you can keep me up to date on what you try.  Together we can save the world through a better bite.  Or something like that.

Original recipe:

3/4 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
2 Cups rolled oats

mix, bake (375 for 10 minutes), yahda yahda yahda

What I did:

1 Cup canned pumpkin
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 Cup whole wheat flour
3/4 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Cups oats
1/3 Cup flax seeds
1/2 Cup raisins

The results: a little dry and not very sweet. I thought the pumpkin flavor would have been stronger, but it was pretty unnoticeable. I think I actually needed a little salt to make all the flavors "wake up." I made half a batch w/o the raisins and flax, and the half with the addition was much better than the half w/o.

I have heard that coconut oil would be a good substitute for the butter and that using a portion of tapioca flour instead of so much whole wheat flour would lighten them up.

So go ahead friends. Give it your best shot and let me know what you come up with. Better yet, bring them over for a chat and let me try them in person! You know I love a good visitor!

I also love the Biggest Loser, so I'm off to start my tivoed episode and cry over how good all the players look.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fulfillment Reading

Today, I was at MOPS and the speaker, a woman who is on the other side of parenting young children and is now enjoying her grandchildren, was talking about perspective in mothering.

She made a very brief comment that she thought that she "was taking her fulfillment reading too often" as a young mother, and I was totally struck by that concept.

I get discouraged on the days when I am messy and tired and feel beyond inadequate to parent. I wonder why I am not totally in love with each day I get to be Jack's mom. Some days I struggle to show the joy and gratitude I have that I get to stay home with Jack. But I know, that despite the frustrations and disgusting things I touch, I really do love my days as a mother. 

It may be that I am just "checking my measurements" a little too often. In the same way that if I stepped on the scale every hour of the day, I could see huge fluctuations in the number based on what I've eaten, when I last used the bathroom and what I'm wearing, my mood and the filter I see my life through, is going to change daily, even hourly.  It is probably going to change based on those very things that make my weight bounce around. 

My perception of my life and myself is imperfect. While I like about myself that I am introspective and ask questions of my motives, emotions, and thoughts, I need to remember not too put too much stock in ME. I will fail.  That is a given.  I will be overcome with joy. I will get the giggles. I will cry. I will overreact. I will enjoy simple pleasures. I will make great discoveries and forget lessons I thought I had learned. 

My sense of fulfillment is going to change each moment.  It just is. So I need to learn to not gauge my life by my senses. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Where I am fickle, he is steady.  Where I am ignorant, he is wise.  Where I am overwhelmed, he has overcome. 

I know that I am emotional and erratic and illogical on occasion.  Thank goodness I serve a Savior who is steady and solid and trustworthy. 

So today, I look at my fulfillment reading and instead of saying "full" or "empty" it says:

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

...neither weight gain nor weight loss...
...neither feelings of inadequacy nor feelings of self-importance...
...neither repetitive tasks nor great adventures...
...neither financial fears nor great wealth...
...neither obscurity nor fame...

 Nothing in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. 

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pleasant Learning and Three Side Notes

I'm learning.

This morning could have been disastrous. The door to one of my kitchen cupboards maliciously jumped from its hinges and attacked me.  It now lays (lies?) peacefully on my stove, waiting for Andy or the landlady to return it to its home.  I am out of chai, my morning kick start. The baby I watch on Fridays came over in a grouchy mood. Our car appears to be on its last leg.

I could have sent Andy a text message telling him that the cupboard broke, but what can he do about it at work?  I've learned that if he can't do anything about it from where he is, then it just frustrates him, and I don't get the compassionate response I'm looking for.  So, the door news can wait a few hours. 

I'm out of chai.  I have been for three days. For the first two hours of the morning I pined away.  Hoping that miraculously someone would offer to bring me a Starbucks.  I even considered getting annoyed that nobody had offered.  After all, I posted my plight on FB, shouldn't all my friends come running with caffeinated beverages? No? I'm really not that self-inflated, but don't even try to tell me that you have never found your mind wandering down that path. So, instead of becoming irritated, I whipped up a pretty good imitation of an iced latte to satisfy my need for a sweet, cold, creamy, caffeinated start to my morning. 

The cranky baby (who I love dearly and am glad to have come over once a week) finally went to bed and Jack found his rhythm
Side Story:
That is the first time,
I think in my whole life,
that I have typed or written
the word RHYTHM
without needing spell check.
I love the word,
but for some reason I can
remember how to spell it.
I always want to use a
Spelling is not my strong suit.

for the morning.  He is now playing peacefully in the corner with some blocks. My house is quiet except for the sound of worship playing in the background and my fingers clicking on the keyboard. [Amendment: Before I finished this, the cranky baby woke up still cranky, so my house is quiet except for the music and shrill whining and intermittent crying and Jack talking to the other baby asking him why he is so cranky.]

Jack has his first scraped knee.
He is officially a boy!
He didn't even cry.
What a tough guy!

Our car, our car. A few days ago it started overheating if I drove it more than, say ten minutes. I drive a pretty impressive beater.  I am actually still driving my first car. Since this anyway. It has been a trooper of a car. No real repairs needed.  Or maybe just one.  I can't remember exactly. But it really has just kept going and going and going. But now we are at a place where we need to decide, do we spend our money on fixing our junker or do we spend a little bit more and get our vehicle for the next few years? 

While all of these decisions could have been an opportunity for marital strife or "I'm right, you're wrong" attitudes to settle into our conversations, it hasn't been that at all. I am learning more and more how to trust my husband and his process for making decisions. I know when his strengths are not my strengths and I think he is learning the same. We're learning to show each other courtesy and respect and we are learning together to trust God for his best. 

When our car started overheating I asked Andy if he was worried and he simply said, "No. It's God's car." Oh wise husband of mine. 

I'm learning how to worship and study God's word as a wife and mom (sheesh, how 'bout it takes me a year of motherhood to even start to get this figured out). I'm learning how to love. I'm learning how to make space in my life to hear the Holy Spirit and space to enjoy the life I am living today.

I feel like I say the same thing over and over.  But I am a slow learner I guess. Each day it feels fresh. Each day feels like a new chance to see God's faithfulness or see my own attempts at a "good life" fall short. 

I hope that I am always learning.  I hope that my character is being refined and than my attitudes are becoming more and more in line with the attitudes of Christ. I hope that I don't measure the quality of my life by "happy" but rather by joy, contentment, peace, obedience and love. 

I hope that I remember this all tomorrow when I wake up.

I give you permission to remind me if I start sounding a little cranky or forgetful or selfish. 

Third and final Side Note:
I was talking to a sweet friend
earlier this week.
I think I was complaining.
I was processing.
Asking questions.
You know how girly conversations go.
And she,
with no apology,
no preamble,
told me I was being selfish.
That is what real friendship looks like I think.
Thank you Allison.