Monday, January 31, 2011

Paradox

This past Sunday morning was a slightly surreal experience. Unlike what conditions are currently (we've got a potential ice storm predicted), the physical morning was beautiful. Warm, sunny, absolutely gorgeous. As we sat in church service, however, there was a deep pall that hung over everyone. Saturday morning we had learned of the sudden death of a member of the church. Nathan was only 25, married for 3 years, and he died on Saturday, technically of pneumonia but really from a battle with leukemia.

We had not gotten to know him very well. Had hung out at a few church events, but a lot of the events we had gone to, he had wound up not being able to attend because of the risk of getting sick while he was in the middle of chemo. What little time we did get to spend with him, he was such a cheerful person to be around. We always walked away saying, "We want to get to know him better."

And now he's gone. Just like that. 9am Saturday morning I open up my email and find the announcement. His life is over. Finished.

Sitting in service was so paradoxical with the brilliant sunshine blazing outside and the majority of those attending under a dark shroud, trying to deal with the grim reality of Nathan's passing.

And yet even in the midst of the blackness the presence of the Lord was there.

It's such a cliche to ask why it is that we have to undergo hard times to feel the need to draw closer to God. And yet the question still remains. We depend so much on our strength and wisdom when life is going well and we're on top of the world. And yet when the shadows come and we face mountains, we suddenly remember God.

My life has not been as tragically touched by Nathan's passing as many others I know of. I knew him, liked him, admired him for his incredible attitude and great spirit. But he wasn't an integral part of my existence nor me in his.

And yet I still find myself thinking of him--evaluating those things in my life that I am frustrated with or checking myself when I get tired because Blueberry just won't take a nap the last few days and has taken to screaming at the top of her lungs at me when she's hungry. Or when I look at our budget and see that the numbers just don't quite match up and I'm annoyed because I haven't gotten paid for work I've done, or I can't do as much work as I would like/need to because I'm trying to care for a cranky, overly-tired child. Or the dogs traipse mud in through my just-swept floor, a glass breaks creating extra work, and I forgot a good friend's birthday and feel bad.

Tomorrow every bit of it could be gone. My life as I know it could vanish in the blink of an eye. And even these frustrating moments would be precious in memory.

Times like these bring me back to the original thought of this blog:
living intentionally
holding each moment as the precious gift that it is
being not just doing.

It's so easy to forget the vital essence in this existence I have been graced with. And the paradox of life. For every sunny, happy day in my life, there is a dark blackness in another's life. And for every black moment I have, someone else is rejoicing in a perfect moment. All I can do is try to live with intentionality. Focusing on the one thing that matters above all else.

Of that, may Nathan always be a poignant reminder for me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daybook - January 27

Outside my window...is a blue sky and not as cold of temperatures as it has been the last week. Meaning, it's in the 40's (or going to be later today) as opposed to the 20s or 30s. I will take this small relief. Blueberry and I might even brave the cold for a walk today.

I am thinking...that going grocery shopping is probably not going to happen today. It needs to very much so, but I just don't think it's doable.

I am thankful for...income to pay bills with. Even if the actual bill paying part isn't any fun.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...It's been a weird sort of week. She had a growth spurt in the last few days. This was definitely established by the fact that I put her in one pair of footed pajamas last week (0-3 month, the only pair in that size that still fit--runs a bit bigger than some of the others she had) and then put her in them a few days ago and Blueberry couldn't even straighten her leg out! She's been not wanting to nap very long, very clingy, randomly fussy. I chalked it up to the growth spurt originally, but I think she's teething as well as copious streams of drool will spill out of her mouth occasionally, making rather large puddles on my nice clean clothes. And she's back to biting on everything (not just sticking everything in her mouth but actually biting it) and coughing again (she had a weird little cough for a couple of weeks before the last tooth popped out. Apparently normal--caused by too much drool!). The frustrating thing is that teething seems to really trigger her acid reflux, so we've been dealing with that quite a bit as well. Poor baby doll.

From the kitchen...it's a no cook day. Well, mostly. I tried to make enough food earlier in the week so that we would have leftovers to eat up tonight, so I wouldn't have to try to cook before going to the studio. Success! Barely.

I am wearing...my nicely hemmed yoga pants. Needed a good pair for teaching. The only workout pants I had were all culottes, and in this cold weather, it just wasn't working for me.

I am creating...some more scrapbook pages. Yes, yes. I'm having fun. Will post some more hopefully today or tomorrow.

I am going...to the studio tonight. And going grocery shopping today in theory.

I am reading.. . The Double Comfort Safari Club of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Love those books. My sister bought me this one a few months ago and I forgot I had it! They're not thrilling adventures or anything, but I love the characters, setting, commentary. Delightful.

I am hoping...to get our taxes done next week. Want to find out how that's going to look now we have a baby to claim.

I am hearing...a bit of fussing coming through the monitor. Sigh. 30 minutes is not a nap. Will someone please tell Blueberry that for me because apparently she's not buying it from me. Be back soon....................................... [later in the day]....................... I am now hearing the jingle of Charlotte playing with her wooden squishie toy thing (hmmm...spell check says that "squishie" is spelled with a "y" and not an "ie." But "ie" just looks so much more squishier than "squishy") .

Around the house...I'm considering some rearranging in order to best accommodate baby needs.

One of my favorite things...is this store that I just ran across. It's called Shabby Apple and I'm seriously IN LOVE. Their dresses are absolutely gorgeous. Vintage look, modest, super stylish. Love, love, love!

Here are some links to some of the tantalizing dresses they have. Hmmm...I need a new dress for my sister's wedding......Must consider this idea more fully.

Cape Cod White Shirt Dress
Boat Neck Pin Stripe Italian Wool Dress
Navy Pleated Skirt Bow Dress
Navy Blue Double Breasted A-Line Wrap Dress
Yellow Pleated Summer Dress
Crepe de Chine Silk with Raglan Sleeves and Tie Back
Crepe de Chine Silk Dress with Full Skirt and Banded Waistline and Zipper Back

Great maternity dress:
Dark teal maternity Dress with long tie at waist

And some adorable little girl dresses!!
Brown Little Girl's Tunic Dress - Sonny & Cher
Red Flowered Girl's Dress with Patch Pockets and Bunched Sleeves- Queen of Hearts
Flowered Little Girl's Empire Waist Dress - Aviary
Patterned Little Girl's Tuxedo Ruffled Dress - Canary

A few plans for the rest of the week: finish paying the bills; go grocery shopping; go on a date!!!; lunch with some wonderful ladies; and of course some serious play time with Blueberry. Who is looking like the concept of rolling over back to front might become a reality someday here.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Blueberry and friend


Why suck on your own toes when you can suck on Raggedy Ann's?


Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tired

Blueberry is either teething or going through a growth spurt. Either way, she's worn her mommy out and it's only 10am! It's a PJ sort of day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Life in Scraps

So I've decided that I'm definitely a big fan of this online scrapbooking business. Less mess, less fuss, and cheaper (although I can see it could cost just as much as regular scrapbooking if I so desire). And just because I can, I've built a new blog to share my pages (and other scrapbook related information)! See: My Life in Scraps.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hmmm...I Forsee This Being a Problem

Digital scrapbooking. Very addictive (yes, yes, Kristi. You were right. Now hush).

My first page. Nothing super fancy, but it makes me happy.



Almamater--I will definitely post some links and info soon!

7 hours and counting....

It's 6:30am, outside my window the snow is falling fast and furious and the world has a beautiful surreal tone to it. And other than the buzz of the baby monitor, I hear silence. Why am I up at 6:30 and writing about silence and snow?

Because my darling daughter has not cried out for me since 11:30pm last night. Actually, technically, she hasn't cried out since 8:30pm--she hasn't eaten since 11:30pm.

For the last few months, Blueberry has mainly slept with us (she would start out in her crib) because she's been eating so frequently, it was exhausting to try to get up and feed her. This past week or so, I've felt like we needed to start to work slowly on transitioning her to her crib all night, as it seemed that she was beginning to wake up at night because I was there not because she needed to eat. In fact, I had a suspicion that she was waking up sometimes because she couldn't get comfortable enough sleeping with me (we only have a queen size bed, so in the space department, it's very cozy. Just one more example of her being her father's daughter--must have space in bed!).

So the last few nights I've been working on getting Blueberry to bed at a good hour (a continual work in progress as it has been since she was born as she is still a reluctant to bed baby), feeding her if she wakes up and wants to eat (so last night at 8:30ish she ate), dream feeding her before I go to bed (i.e. going in and feeding her even though she's not awake or crying for food--saves me a "get up and feed me" cry), and then getting back up again in the night to feed her, and if she woke up more than once, bring her to bed with me then just so I don't lose too much sleep.

I guess 12lbs-ish (not sure on her precise weight right now, but I do know she's grown again and put on a little bit more weight, so I'm guessing she's got to be right around that 12 pound mark) really is the magic number as after her dream feed at 11:30pm, she's been asleep. I heard her wake up once around 1:30am (normally wake up time), but she didn't cry, just muttered a bit to herself. I didn't get up but waited to see if she'd do anything more substantial. Woke up myself about 30 minutes later realizing that I hadn't heard any more from her.

I woke up at 4:30am and have been fitfully sleeping since then waiting for her to wake up hungry because, well, let's just say physically I've been a bit uncomfortable because I'm used to her eating all night!

At 6:30, I finally decided to just get up for the day myself as I really wasn't sleeping (apparently Mummy needs to relearn how to sleep all night!).

So weird. Happy! But weird.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daybook--January 19

Outside my window...the clouds are gray and crabby. As I've listened to the radio throughout the day, the snow predictions keep getting worse and worse. It was 1-3 inches this morning, by later morning they were saying 2-4, and this afternoon I heard 3-6!

I am thinking...it is ridiculous that I can't find an affordable pair of yoga pants in petite length. So I now have two pairs to hem. Yay me.

I am thankful for...my husband who so sweetly took his holiday Monday and gave me a break. Got up early with Blueberry and let me sleep in, went grocery shopping for some necessities. Such a wonderful man.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes a resurgence of rolling over. Toes, while still fascinating, have become a little less absorbing, and so rolling over is becoming more interesting again. Just tummy to back though. Not seen any signs of rolling over the other way. That and practicing sitting on her own. She can do it for a little bit before she topples over.

From the kitchen...comes the smell of bone-broth from the slow cooker. And some turkey meat that needs turning into something for dinner. Not sure what yet. Really need to work on my menus.

I am wearing...a white nursing shirt (thank you Motherwear) and a pair of comfy jeans. One rather messy hairstyle (it was neater earlier, but taking my hat on and off destroyed my hair for the day, and I've given up and dumped it into a clip).

I am creating...a mental list (to be translated into physical list at some point here) of all the things that I would do if I were only superwoman and could do a million things every day.

I am going...nowhere the rest of the day. Went to the airport to buy plane tickets to Arizona. Yay!

I am reading.. . The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Won a Newberry honor in 2009. Cute--reminds me of Caddy Woodlawn a little bit (although, I will admit to it being quite a few years since I read that book!).

I am hoping...to learn how to do digital scrap booking. Have a few links to start me out on, just need to some more reading/studying. We'll see how this goes.

I am hearing...the soft buzz of the baby monitor, the puppies barking to be let in, and Sinatra crooning at me.

Around the house...I feel like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back. Get one thing accomplished, oh look--five new things need doing. Am working very hard on getting into a better rhythm (surprisingly difficult at times).

One of my favorite things...warmth inside when it's bitter outside.

A few plans for the rest of the week: buy another set of plane tickets, continue working on passports, get some writing done, bake some GF bread, and work on menus.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

Charlotte's First Snow Day


All Bundled Up...


Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Daybook - January 10, 2011

Outside my window...snow is falling, as it has all day. Can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning and see the end amount!

I am thinking...that I need to make a definite effort to see some mommy friends of mine whom I haven't seen in awhile. I'm home now--must take advantage of it!

I am thankful for...unexpected opportunities. I've had two different potential editing/writing jobs pop into my life completely randomly today. I'm excited to see if both/either pan out. Has required me to do some digging into old academic papers and personal writing for writing samples.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes another tooth! OK, OK, so she didn't learn it, just grew it. But still. She had a fussy night last night. Couldn't figure out what was going on, and lo and behold, she bit me again today. Upon further inspection, I discovered that she was just practicing with her latest tooth. That's two now! Only 22(?) more to go.

From the kitchen...comes a working microwave!

I am wearing...a very blue, very comfy, very warm outfit. Ah....nothing like a snowy day for comfort!

I am creating...some brainstormed ideas on some creative writing I want to do. Digging through my old stuff has inspired me!

I am going...to bed. Very shortly. As soon as I finish writing this.

I am reading.. . back issues of Mothering magazine (thank you Almamater). Really enjoying them. Oh, and my latest Living Without magazine. Interesting article on corn.

I am hoping...for something great to happen. Can't give particulars on what. But I'm still hoping it nonetheless.

I am hearing...silence. Blessed silence. Never mind. The heat just kicked on. Now I'm hearing heat blowing through the vents.

Around the house...I feel accomplished. I've been managing to get stuff crossed off my list, and it's giving me hope for the future!

One of my favorite things...is watching my husband and daughter play together; they're just both so cute!

A few plans for the rest of the week: keep working on my "to do" list; introduce Blueberry to snow (probably from a window!); buy plane tickets...

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...


I know this is my picture from my profile, but I just had to comment on it. Every time I look at this picture, the bits and pieces of Blueberry that are so mine just stand out so much that it kind of baffles my mind. In so many ways, she is her father's daughter. But I look at a picture like this, and I realize how much of me is in there as well. Frightening. That adorable creature grew in me. Still can't quite grasp it, and I lived it!

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Daybook--January 8, 2011

Outside my window...this evening....was this beautiful sunset. Deceptively cold outside today. Brilliant sunshine but very sharp air. Snow is supposed to be coming over the next few days--first real snow of the year (at least for us).



I am thinking...of plans for the next few months. They're beginning to fill up quickly with big events. Trips, baby dedication, wedding and shower...so much to do!

I am thankful for...Blueberry apparently figuring out nap time. She's been taking regular naps (textbook timing!) the last few days for several hours each nap. Such a blessing. Praying this is not just a fluke. Now to master bedtime, and we'll be in heaven.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...Blueberry has been mastering the art of grasping. Which is dangerous because now everything within reach is fair game. She's also been learning how to drink out of a sippy cup (we've given up on bottles with her). Tooth appears to have successfully broken through. Much less fussy and way less drool.

From the kitchen...I am trying to develop the habit of wearing an apron while cooking. I'm tired of getting grease and various other substances (like flour--I can't come anywhere near flour without getting it all over me). I have two full-length aprons and one half-apron (thanks to my talented sis-in-law); now to utilize them consistently.

I am wearing...comfy PJs. Had a bath, chilling with my husband watching weird people torture themselves for $50,000 (Wipe Out) or millions of dollars (football).

I am creating...a new budget. Oh joy. It's taken a few months to get a better idea of our needs/financial status now that I'm home. Few things to still get straightened out, but so far, by the grace of God, we're making it.

I am going...to work on getting the application for Blueberry's passport started. Figure better start now as it's good for five years and it's safe to have it than not (especially knowing my family).

I am reading.. . several books (what else is new, I know). Finishing up a fascinating book on survival in disasters called The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why. Lots of food for thought there. Am also in the middle of The Tanglewood's Secret, probably my favorite Patricia St John book. Also just finished a cute young adult book called The Mysterious Benedict Society about the unusual adventures of some brainiac kids--new series for me. Over Christmas read a book called Mere Churchianity, more on that later.

I am hoping...that once we get our microwave fixed, nothing else will break around here for at least a little while. Some days it seems like never-ending breakages.

I am hearing...some new songs my husband downloaded recently.

Around the house...I have realized that I love my microwave. I hope to never have to be in a situation where I can't use a microwave. Our current microwave has been broken for about a week now and it's driving me crazy.

One of my favorite things...dancing with Blueberry. She just laughs and laughs and laughs. Delightful.

A few plans for the rest of the week: church, watching the Packers tomorrow at a friends house (aka--the boys watching the game, the girls watching three small children, catching up, and other far more interesting things than football), and the next round of shots for Blueberry (poor girlie).

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

My bookworm in the making



(Our future baby sitter? Problem--she's only six).

"
I love reading!"


"Tastes so good..."


"Oh my. I never dreamed they made books so big!"


Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reflections

As I (and many others) frequently do near the end/beginning of the year, I've been reflecting back on the happenings of the last year. And more importantly, my role in those events. Am I becoming more the person I want to be? Am I accomplishing those things that I want (or sometimes feel I should!)? Am I growing ontologically or am I simply running to keep up with the rest of the world?

This past year, I have had a lot of ontological lessons. In particular, the first month of motherhood felt like an almost constant lesson in ontology--being, existing, in the moment. Not planning for the future or dealing with the past, not busying myself with what must be done but just existing, reflecting, gazing, and worshiping. Studying the soft features of my darling daughter, feeling her fingers wrap around my own, the trust in her eyes, so many lessons to be found in those quiet moments.

As life has settled into new rhythms, and more of the humdrum routine issues of "the real world" have snuck back into my life, I've found those moments of just being have become farther apart than I would like. And I find that, other than the sleep deprivation portion of the earlier days of Blueberry, I have a strong desire for a return of those moments. Not just a desire, but a need. Because it was in those moments that I felt I was beginning to grasp some aspects of my Lord and my life that have always alluded me in the past.

I have found myself consciously trying to slow down, not for the sake of selfish pleasure but for the purpose of living, growing, breathing, praying, meditating, and thinking.

My world has been turned upside-down, inside-out, and become all around topsy-turvy this year. Not necessarily a bad thing, as I'm discovering many areas that had become unnecessarily large in my life and other things that had been pushed aside, lost, that need to be a larger portion of my life.

Those roles that have always been mine to fill have shifted around as I became full-time mother, more homemaker, less career-woman, and have tried to find the balance between maintaining being a good wife and filling the needs of a child.

My routines are a jumbled mess that I've been slowly sorting out one piece at a time. Trying to determine the things that really are important vs those things that are not actually necessary (no matter how much my pride may beg to differ).

Even every relationship has come under scrutiny this year. Some relationships that I've just accepted as is in the past might need some pruning or fertilizer. Some relationships I've sought after in the past have lost some value. Other relationships I've let slide have become more important. I've found unexpected love and joy from people I'd never really considered in the past. And I've found unexpected hurt and pain from others.

I find myself more forgiving of some things and less forgiving others. More understanding of some actions and choices of individuals and completely baffled by others.

And overarching all of this is the conscious thought that I can no longer put off some things in my life. I can no longer just accept the status quo in other areas. I must push myself in some ways beyond anything I've wanted to do in the last few years. There are two little eyes watching my every move. A little mind already imitating my actions. And a little personality growing and developing and already becoming opinionated and growing tendrils in certain directions, ready to be influenced by who I am and what I do.

And I find myself praying that I will be up for the challenge.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year

So 2011 has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start for our household.

First, both Chris and I got a 24-hour stomach bug which started on the first and knocked us both out through Sunday night. Nothing super horrible, just enough to make us both feel gross.

Blueberry might have had it as well--hard to tell. She definitely was a little fussier than normal. Although that might have had something to do with what we discovered yesterday (after she'd been substantially more clingy/fussy and not wanting to take naps hardly at all)--she's got her first tooth coming in! I can see the little while patch and feel tiny little ridges on her bottom gum.

I'm really glad that we finally figured that out as there had been a couple of things that had been really concerning me the last week, and this answers all of them. Namely, her acid reflux has been exceptionally bad this last week and she had also developed this dry little cough that kept increasing in frequency. Apparently teething can be a particularly rough time for babies with acid reflux as the extra saliva can stimulate additional acid. And the cough is actually just a response to that. Phew.

So, on the fourth of January, we have two cases of stomach bug cleared up, one Blueberry mystery solved if not cured. If we can just get our microwave fixed and figure out if we truly have gremlins in our electrical wiring or if the weird electrical happenings going on around here the last month are just coincidence, we'll be heading into a better start of this new year!