Archive for the ‘Everyday Life’ Category

The Snowy Day

January 20th, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, we checked out a DVD of Ezra Jack Keats stories from the library. First of them all was the 1963 Caldecott winner The Snowy Day. In it, young Peter goes out in the snow and does the sorts of things a young child does in the snow. He played with his footprints, he made snow angels, he made a snowman, he declined to get into a snowball fight with the big kids. And he hit a tree with a stick so that snow fell from the tree’s branches.

Making tracks

Yes, that’s right. He hit a tree with a stick.

Almost the moment the “show” was over, Louis was asking me if he too could hit a tree with a stick.

I made some tracks of my own

I sadly informed him that we don’t often have snowy days and so it wouldn’t work for him quite like it did for Peter.

Nevertheless, Louis kept on asking. I told him that maybe we’d have a chance to hit a tree with a stick some Christmas when we’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s house (where they more often have snow in winter.)

Tirzah Mae making a snow angel

Grandma and Grandpa told us on our monthly video call that they’d had snow the past weekend, snow that fell in great clumps from the tree branches once it started to thaw.

I felt for our boy, who would likely not have the chance to hit a snowy tree with a stick – at least, not while he would still consider it fun. After all, we’ve only once had a snow that’s stuck around longer than a day in my six years in Wichita.

Immediately post snow angel

And then Friday night, I walked through the dining room after dark and was shocked to see snow on the ground outside the patio doors!

Here was Louis’s chance.

Beth-Ellen loved the snow!

The temperature was hovering around 19 degrees Fahrenheit, but we stuffed the kids into their winter clothes (including their fleece Christmas jammies over their regular clothes – not enough cause here to buy snow pants, so we had to make do!)

Helping papa shovel the patio

We played with our footprints in the snow, made snow angels, and attempted to throw snowballs (the temperature was too low for them to stick together!)

See our pretty snowflakes?

And yes, Louis hit a tree with a stick to see if he could get some snow to fall off its branches.

Hitting a Tree with a Stick

Snapshot: A diaper-folding contest

January 16th, 2019

Tirzah Mae is no longer napping, but in the new year, I’ve decided that my sanity requires mid-day time without kids. So she gets “rest-time”.

I put the younger two down for their naps at 1:30 and Tirzah Mae stays up for the next hour working with me on household chores.

Today, we raced to see whether Tirzah Mae could put away the play dishes before I could put away the play food. (She won, thanks to a tomato that was hiding inside a jacket draped across the little table!)

Then we put laundry in the washer (Tirzah Mae pulled the knob to turn the water on), Tirzah Mae sorted yesterday’s (clean) diaper load, and we had a diaper folding competition.

Tirzah Mae and my piles of diapers

I won, narrowly, having given myself a handicap of snapping and folding all the diaper covers.

And then she went to bed with some books, to stay in bed for an hour until the pink noise (we use this app on one of my old smart phones) turns off.

And while she’s in bed, I blog or do my physical therapy stretches or read a book or eat a piece of chocolate (no sharing!) or knock out a few seams on my next sewing project – or just do whatever. It’s lovely.

The Prayer I Keep Coming Back To

January 14th, 2019

Last year, in an effort to strengthen my prayer life, I searched for lists of “things to pray for your children.”

I dutifully recorded the lists in my prayer app (PrayerMate) and began praying for each of my children in each of the suggested categories.

The app would tell me to pray for Tirzah Mae’s future – and so I would. “Oh Lord, grant that my daughter would have a future among those who fear you. May she know your salvation and cling to you as her only hope.”

The app would tell me to pray for Louis’s purity – and so I would. “Oh Lord, would you grant that my son would be pure in heart – that he would have the purity of heart that can only come by being washed in the blood of Christ.”

The app would tell me to pray for Beth-Ellen’s health – and so I would. “Lord, would you bring my dead daughter to life by your Spirit.”

And on and on.

Character. “Lord, would you draw my children to yourself. Bring them to life through the work of your Spirit and cause them to grow in Christ-likeness.”

Holy Desires. “Above all, would you awaken their affection for you, that they might desire your salvation and recognize their own inability to save themselves. Grant that they might fall upon the mercy of Christ.”

Salvation.

It’s the prayer I keep coming back to. May my children desire relationship with God. May they see their sinfulness. May they see the worthlessness of their own striving. May they fall upon the mercy of Christ. May they grow in the grace of the gospel.

Save my children, O Lord, I pray.

The Problem with Projects

January 9th, 2019

We got home from grocery pickup today just in time for me to put away the groceries and heat up some leftovers for lunch.

But as I turned the lazy susan to put away the dried beans, I was suddenly done. I couldn’t take it any more. Those lazy susans were driving me mad. I didn’t want them in the first place, but I forgot to specify that I wanted an ordinary corner cabinet, so I got them by default. They’ve been my kitchen’s Achilles heel from day one.

Cupboard 1

And now I was done. I couldn’t handle my food falling off into the unusable wasteland beyond the turntable. I couldn’t handle the horrid scraping that indicated that the weight of the food had (yet again) caused the tables to slide down their center pole.

Then the idea hit me and I was off.

Cupboard 2

I would move my less frequently used baking pans down to the lazy susans and keep all of my foodstuffs up above.

I began to reorganize my kitchen.

The Cupboard above the stove

The children got fussy because I wasn’t feeding them.

I put food on the table and returned to my project.

The kids finished eating. I continued projecting.

Cupboard 3

I projected until an hour after naptime, when it became obvious that I really, REALLY needed to put the little ones to bed. When I did, Beth-Ellen slept poorly because she was overtired.

And then I had to clean up the detritus that had landed on my (previously clean) countertops. And then I spent the rest of the day trying to frantically catch up on all the normal daily tasks that weren’t getting done while I was doing my spur of the moment project.

Cupboard 4

That, my friends, is the problem with projects.

But…my kitchen cupboards look nice :-)


An aside: Also, the problem with spur-of-the-moment projects is that you don’t get “before” pictures. And the problem of desperately-catching-up-on-everyday-tasks-you-ignored-to-do-projects means I forgot to take any pictures of those dastardly lazy susans that now hold my food processor, colanders, salad spinner, cake pans and pie tins, patty pans, and the like. The new contents are used less frequently, are bigger (and therefore less likely to fall off the tray) and are lighter (and therefore less likely to mess up the “spinny” mechanism).

An Apt Description

January 8th, 2019

Thomas More, in Utopia:

“I am out practically all day dealing with others, and the rest of my time is devoted to my family, and so I leave nothing for myself, that is for writing.

When I get home, I have to talk with my wife, chat with my children, confer with the servants. All this I count as part of my obligations, since it needs to be done…. As I am doing such things, as I said, a day, a month, a year slips by.

When do I write then? And as yet I have said nothing about sleep and nothing at all about eating, and for many that takes up no less time than sleep itself, which consumes almost half our lives. The only time I get for myself is what I steal from sleep and eating.”

An apt description of why I blog so much less frequently than I would prefer.

A Rather Pathetic Story

January 2nd, 2019

I made grand plans for 2019. I’ve already told you that. I started making them far in advance, as I always do.

But, as I usually do, I spent plenty of time putting finishing touches on said plans (and the accompanying documents) in the final couple of weeks and days of the year.

Which meant I arrived home from our Holiday trip to Lincoln (a whopping 12 days away from home!) with all sorts of things that needed printing.

Now, we have our printers hooked up to a wireless print server located in a closet away from our main computer. So when I started printing, I didn’t have any immediate feedback to tell me that my print jobs weren’t going through.

In fact, I didn’t realize until I got to the very last document (out of about a dozen) that the printer was not working at all.

See, the print server was set up using our old internet provider – and we’d had new internet installed the day before we left town. I needed to set up the server again on the new router.

Except we’d changed the default password on the print server and not saved it in either of our respective password managers (Daniel’s or mine). And my attempts at forcing a factory reset resulted in little more than numb fingers from holding down a little button for five minutes at a time (multiple times in a row), waiting for little lights to blink (which they never did.)

After a morning nearly wasted, I gave up and lugged the printer into the living room – and, lo and behold, the print server shows up on my computer dashboard having mysteriously undergone a factory reset.

So the print server works now, and my stuff has been printed and maybe tomorrow I’ll be perfect as planned. (If only pesky REAL LIFE doesn’t get in the way!)

Scratching a Nine-Month Itch

October 3rd, 2018

Beth-Ellen is nine months old now.

She’s increasingly independent, crawling and pulling up and standing by herself. She’s able to go longer between feedings, able to eat table food instead of just breastmilk. At the same time, she’s in the midst of separation anxiety, all too eager for her mama to stay near by.

I am nine months postpartum now.

Which means I am starting to realize that I’m something more than a mother of a little baby. I am ready again to be a woman, not simply a mother.

I look in the mirror and I care again that my face is blotchy with the acne that never left me after pubescence. I start to long for clothes that fit and flatter, not just ones that are accessible for the tasks of motherhood.

I realize that I’ve felt this way every time I’ve neared the nine-month mark.

With Tirzah Mae, I think I bought new bras. Having some that fit did wonders for my self-image.

With Louis, I went through my wardrobe and tailored outfits to my current size.

With both of them, I got pregnant not long after.

Because that’s the other way nine months makes me feel.

Like I’m starting to get the hang of this many kids. Like it’s time to add another member to the family.

I’m doing something about one of those feelings this time.

I’ve learned my lesson that clothing sizes are still in flux in this season of life – I’m not doing anything extravagant with clothes unless it can easily adapt to the ups and downs of pregnancy and postpartum.

But makeup.

I can do makeup.

So I rub on a little foundation in the morning. I color in my lips.

I think whether I have a scarf or something I can add to my “uniform” of skirt and t-shirt.

Three minutes worth of work each morning and I’m feeling like a someone again, not merely a substrate for milk.

And it feels good.

Living by the list

September 26th, 2018

We were already running late and several of the kids were resisting hurrying, so I picked them up and carted them off to their car seats. One young person was missing shoes, but I knew the shoes would probably come off in the car anyway and I didn’t have time to put them on twice. I’d grab them and put them on when we reached our destination.

But when we arrived and I unbuckled the shoeless child, I realized I’d left the shoes at home.

There was nothing to do but to soldier on, carrying the shoeless child when necessary, apologizing profusely to all those whose rules we were breaking by being shoeless.

I swore it wouldn’t happen again – and when I got home, I made a checklist.

The checklist

Every time we leave the house, I check the laminated list that lives on the console of my car.

Almost every week, we stop in the driveway to get that one last item, to complete that one last task.

We didn’t get medicine this morning before we left the house. I forgot the TULA at home. Our packed lunch is still in the fridge.

The list doesn’t keep me from forgetting things – but it helps me catch them before it’s too late.

And so far, we’ve not had any repeats of our shoeless errand day.

First Day of Prairie Elms Preschool 2018-2019

September 12th, 2018

Since there’s no time like the present, Prairie Elms preschool reconvened for the 2018-2019 school year on Monday.

Our preschool class 2018-2019

I planned for two students, expecting that we’d do preschool while the little girls were napping –

The rest of our preschool class 2018-2019

but, so far, neither girl has cooperated with anything more than cursory morning naps – so four students it is!

Tirzah Mae first day of school 2018-2019

We do action songs and fingerplays and rhythm sticks and singing lessons. We check the weather and sing the days of the week. We sing the alphabet song and count a little. We read and read and read some more. We do ice cream cone math. And when we’re all done with “school”, we scrub potatoes (sensory win!) and fold laundry (life skills and fine motor). We decorate papa’s birthday cake (Happy birthday, Beloved!) We watch the garden spider on our door. We explore the leaf mould in the herb garden. We harvest basil and dry it. We watch caterpillars and birds and rolly pollies and all sorts of things mama later discovers are pests that she should have killed :-P

Louis first day of school 2018-2019

And when the day is done, we snuggle on the couch with papa and do our family worship.

It’s not much different than regular life, really.

But whatever it is, we’ve declared the preschool year to have commenced!

Sick days pre- and post- kids

August 20th, 2018

Pre-kid sick day

Snuggle up in bed with a book. Sip and nibble whatever you can keep down. Sleep whenever you feel tired. Take the occasional trip to the bathroom to vomit.

Post-kid sick day

Vomit into toilet. Wash hands thoroughly. Pick up baby who wants to breastfeed.

Baby vomits all over your front.

Hold baby at arms length so she’s not steeping in her own vomit while trying to remove her clothes and yours so you can shower.

Shower baby and hand her off to husband. Rinse yourself the rest of the way off and dress.

Grab baby back because, of course, she still wants to breastfeed.

Baby vomits on you again.

When it’s clear that the entire family is down for the count and you’ve already cleaned vomit off the floor in three rooms of the house, sweep everything out of the living room and roll up the rug.

Lay down vinyl covered toddler matresses and settle in to sleep between two preschoolers.

Wake up to one or the other child whimpering. Hold them in your lap while holding a bucket under their mouth to catch vomit.

Clean it all up, rearrange the children in the bed so you can attempt to lie between them, drop off to sleep.

Half an hour later, awaken to … a child whimpering for mama, a baby crying to breastfeed, or a baby crying for a bottle.

Once the family has been vomit-free for 12 hours, get out the bleach and bleach every surface in the house, including the twenty dozen toys that were on the floor when the vomit started to fly.

Spend next several days changing children’s clothes when their diarrhea diapers blow out, worrying that you should be bleaching everything again, and thanking God that your diarrhea phase is miraculously not urgent.

Get sleep in half-hour segments for next several nights, as the seven-month-olds are switching off waking you up and the foster baby is NOT happy with Daniel giving her a bottle.

Your husband goes back to work Monday morning.

You turn on worship music , decide that laughing is better than crying, and write a blog post.

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