Monday, August 25, 2014

Sweet, sweet morning

I'm enjoying a quiet morning, sipping my coffee and doing whatever I want. My girl is still in bed with Daddy and I hear the garbage truck outside. Today is the start of a new routine, a new "normal," a new challenge.

I am a morning person by nature. I love to get up at sunrise and enjoy the quietness. Chris isn't a morning person and Evelyn isn't an early riser, so I've fallen into their patterns. But today, I'm starting a routine of getting up early and starting the day. This is mostly out of necessity, but also for my benefit. Next week, I start caring for a cute little guy in our home every day. He will be arriving at 7 each morning. If I get up and have my coffee and quiet time before little guy gets here, the morning will go much better! I'm excited for the new challenge.

What makes this morning extra special is that Evelyn has stayed asleep for an hour after I've gotten up. She is a light sleeper, especially as the morning grows, and she typically will wake up as soon as I attempt to get out of bed. But she is enjoying some sweet sleep next to Daddy. Happiness.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Church Mama

I knew this time would come and I've been trying to prepare for it mentally, but I don't think that's possible. I have had my first (and second and third) experience with what I call "Church Mama Syndrome." Do you know what I'm talking about? It's that experience of carrying your child to a long church weekend and feeling discouraged at the end of the weekend. Hear me out....

As I sat with my wiggly and sick toddler on my lap for our fifth church service in three days, I selfishly asked the question "What's the point?' I had barely heard any of the sermons, I know my daughter can't understand the sermons yet, and I really hadn't been able to fellowship with many folks. It probably would have been better for me to just stay home, or so I thought in my discouragement. I had become the person I despised seeing at church meetings. 

So what is the point? Why do we carry our children to church when the kids and Mama are just exhausted by the end? How do I worship when I'm taking my child out for correction 5 times in a service?

I realize there is a major fault in my thinking. Worship isn't about me. Worship isn't about making sure I feel good at the end. Worship isn't about meeting my needs. Worship is about Jesus. Worship is about putting my needs aside and giving honor, glory and praise to my Creator. Worship is about pouring my heart out in praise.

Sure, being fed spiritually is an important aspect of worship, but it is secondary. Fellowship with like-minded people is vital, but secondary. Encouragement and renewing of the spirit is important in the worship service, but that is done through putting the Lord first in our hearts and minds.

But the question still remains of how do I, as a mama, worship while training my child? Honestly, I'm still working that out in my mind. I know it will be a weekly challenge, but one I'm resolving to face with a good attitude. I know that worship starts long before I enter the church building. Worship starts when I prepare my heart and mind to praise the Lord, regardless of how much or little I hear of the sermon. Worship begins when I have a servant's attitude about fixing a meal for church lunch, rather than approaching it as "another meal I have to cook." Worship begins when I admit that I am weak and I beg the Lord to give me the wisdom and strength to be the best parent to Evelyn. Worship begins when I show my daughter love through correction. Worship begins when I commit to carry my daughter to church and let her grow up under the sound of the gospel, regardless of what she can understand. Worship begins in my heart.

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Parent Training

I recently saw this article  someone shared on Facebook and it made me laugh.  The funniest thing to me is that I had been composing a blog post almost exactly like this when I read this one. So I'll just add a few additions to the "parent training" from what I've learned in the past 14 months.

Here are the 11 steps from the article "How to Prepare for Parenthood in 11 Easy Steps" posted on The Huffington Post:
Step 1
Hire an actor to shadow you throughout your day. This person should remain no more than three inches away from you at all times. Pay them extra to sit in your lap should you attempt to get off of your feet. Bonus points if they trip you with their body when you're walking around your home. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., let them jump on your body.
"Can I close the bathroom door?" No. Hire someone you feel comfortable with, because they will be supervising your waste elimination process.
Every 15 minutes, make this person a snack.
Step 2
Call all of your friends without children. Tell them it's been lovely knowing them, but you're going away. Let them know you'll see them on Facebook.
Step 3
It's important that you get used to completing simple tasks while being a parent. Obtain a pair of handcuffs or a zip tie. Affix one hand behind your back. Go about your day.
Step 4
If you plan on driving while being a parent, borrow three orangutans (ask for strong-willed ones) from your local zoo. Put them in rear-facing car seats. Keep your eyes on the road.
Step 5
Cooking is a big part of raising a family. Buy a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Visit your neighborhood specialty market and acquire the ingredients necessary for her famous beef bourguignon. Spend the next eight hours cooking. When the meal is done, quickly bring it room temperature. Throw the entire pot against a wall. Clean it up.
Step 6
Parenting may slightly affect your sleep patterns. To prepare yourself for this, find the most annoying ringtone on your phone. Ask a stranger on the street to set up 2-3 surprise alarms between midnight and 5 a.m. Live like this for months. If you think you'll be tempted to complain to someone, let them know ahead of time that their only response to you should be, "This is somehow your fault."
Step 7
A huge part of parenting is constant worry. Smart parents-to-be will get themselves used to living life with moderate to severe anxiety. Hire a skywriter to spell out your full name, social security number, home address and blood type over the nearest maximum security prison yard.
Step 8
Start watching children's television programming. You might hear a popping, crackling noise in your head. Don't be alarmed -- that's just the sound of your brain melting.
Step 9
You may be gifted a child who wants to sleep with you. Joy! Practice co-sleeping by having a carpenter craft a special bed for you. Tell him you want it one third of the width of a standard twin bed. Don't use a pillow or sheets. If this is too costly, you can also just sleep curled up in your bathtub.
Step 10
Turning your car into a parent-mobile is easier than you think. All you need are:
  • 18 individual non-matching socks
  • 6 clean diapers in three sizes
  • 2 balled-up pee pee diapers (you can find these in your community dumpster)
  • 6 cups of random crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of strawberry jam or any sticky substance
  • 18 broken toys
  • 2 handfuls of confetti
  • 2 empty juice boxes
  • changes of clothes for 10 children
Mix these items together on your lawn, being careful to get the jam on everything, then throw it all inside your car and mix thoroughly. Drive around in shame.
Step 11
Visit your local thrift store and buy 10 large garbage bags of clothes. Dump them in your living room. Bring in the orangutans and start folding. Enjoy.
You're now ready. Good luck.  

And now my additions:

Step 12
Train for living in an obstacle course of random toys/household items/small children always scattered around the house. Empty everything out of your pantry and kitchen cabinets. Scatter them throughout the house. Make sure to place the colander in the bathroom floor, put your bag of potatoes in shower, and the pots and pans on the floor in front of the sink. Go about your normal routine for the day without picking anything up off the floor. You can kick things around, but don't bother picking them up. If you forget and pick something up, be sure to have your husband come behind you and put it back on the floor in a more annoying spot.

Step 13
Prepare for packing to go to the grocery store. Find a medium-sized duffle bag. Place 2 changes of clothing for each person going to the store, three mismatched socks, 1/2 package of gum, a handful of food crumbs, 8 random objects around the house, 4 diapers, makeup, a pair of shoes, a box of tissues, and a bottle of hand sanitizer in the duffle bag. If you can still close the duffle bag and lift it, gather random objects from around your home and place them in the bag. Once you can only zip the duffle bag half-way and need to hands to lift it, place the bag in the car. Go back inside to turn off the oven and get in the car. Go back inside again to lock the front door and get in the car. Go back inside once more to go to the bathroom, then get in the car. Go back inside to get the car keys and get in the car. Finally, you can leave to the grocery store.

Step 14
Train for "Mommy Brain." Make out a grocery list. Shred it and head to the grocery store empty-handed. Have your spouse write a to-do list, only writing half of each entry, then try to complete the tasks. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Start folding a load of laundry. When the timer goes off, switch to cleaning the bathroom and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, switch to washing dishes and set the timer for 5 minutes. Repeat until all laundry is folded, bathrooms are clean, and dishes are washed. When finished, dump all the laundry on the floor and fold it again.

Step 15
Prepare for your heart to be full. Find pictures of people, places, and events that make you happy. Scatter the pictures throughout your home. Spend the day looking through your wedding album and watching your wedding video. Watch a movie that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Now prepare to experience those feelings in tenfold (and more). There's nothing like the joys of parenting.

***********
While these have all been true experiences for me, I wouldn't change it for anything. I love being a parent, but it is definitely unlike anything I've ever done before. There isn't any amount of reading or training that could prepare you for what it's like to be a parent. I am constantly amazed at what I find myself doing, just for the sake of sanity, productivity, or entertainment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guess what!?!

Once again, this is going to be a bunch of random thoughts. Kind of like my journal from the 4th grade my mom recently found. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it and reliving the exciting events of my 4th grade year. Look forward to that.

Guess what!??! (Apparently this is how I started most of my 4th grade entries, so we'll keep with that format.)

Guess what!?!? Evelyn finally had her 12 month well visit (only 2 months late, thank you Florida Blue). We went to a new pediatrician (again, thank you Florida Blue). Everything went pretty well. I was nervous about meeting the new doctor. I am not the average, go-with-the-flow parent, so there are always a lot of questions on my end. I would say I'm a little more than 50% satisfied with this new pediatrician. I'm learning to just let some things go in one ear and out the other.

Anyway, Evelyn is growing like a weed and doing just great. She is 21 pounds 13 oz (46%) and 31 3/4 inches tall (95%). I already knew she was pretty tall, considering she can now reach things on the edge of the kitchen counter and open the pantry door. It's always exciting to me to see the data.

Guess what!?!? Evelyn and I survived three days home by ourselves. I don't like it when Chris is gone, but it is often necessary in our lives. But, we kept ourselves busy with playing outside, reading books, going to Disney, shopping, and a Starbucks date. We also watched a little more TV than usual even though Evelyn has about 5 minutes of interest in the TV. I enjoyed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. :)

Guess what?!?! With Evelyn's expanding language skills, I've really been thinking about the process of teaching our children. Why is it that we (as a society) are so interested in our children making animal sounds? Who really cares what a cow says? I'm pretty sure Evelyn gets thoroughly annoyed when we ask her 5 times a day. And what about the animals that we don't how they sound? A turtle, for instance. How does a turtle sound? Or giraffe?

It's a big responsibility to be teaching a youngin'. I often think about what would happen if I taught her the wrong names for items or the wrong color names. How do we even know that blue is actually blue? How do we know that Adam actually named a giraffe a giraffe? Maybe we've been doing it wrong all these years.

Guess what?!?! That's all I have to say for now. Maybe I will have more deep and elegant thoughts in the future. Maybe

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lazy, Sunny, Florida Days

Days like today make me want to lay on the beach reading a good book and eating watermelon. It's beautiful, overcast, warm (almost hot), and I'm exhausted from a fun week of traveling. However, when such lazy days at the beach aren't possible with a little one. So instead, we've been enjoying a lazy day inside, I bought watermelon and a load of other fruit at the store, and we're planning an afternoon in the pool for the first time this year.

We had a great trip to Illinois. Evelyn did great on the flights and got way too much attention during the week. We took her to the St. Louis Zoo while we were there, which she loved! The monkeys, fish, and birds were the biggest hit.

My sister's wedding was beautiful and everything went great. It was fun to be with all the family, have all the grandkids together, and watch my sister glow. She was such a beautiful bride. I'll have pictures to post later in the week.

Now I need to dig out my bathing suit and get ready to jump in.