Monday, January 27, 2014

Confession is Good for the Soul

OK, I have to make a confession about an internal conflict I've been having as a mother. It goes something like this.

Baby Q, who is sweet and wonderful in most respects, has been a rough sleeper the last few months. Few naps went to no naps. Nursing all night, but not restfully so we could just co-sleep and be done with it, but wiggly and awake, so I'm awake half the night etc.

Finally, we've gotten back into a rhythm of naps and good sleep at night--like regularly 6 hours in a row.

And then we hit Sundays.

And what happens? Missed nap in the morning leads to poor or missed nap in the evening leads to  poor sleep that night leads to missed nap the next morning, poor nap the next afternoon, and a cranky, screaming child that night, etc.

And just when it finally settles back down and both of us are getting sleep, we start over again on Sunday.

I confess to a growing, gnawing dread knowing that no matter how good the service is on Sunday morning, I know what I'm going to be facing for the next 24 to 72 hours. I dislike dreading going to church. It doesn't feel right. But this is what I deal with right now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Daybook January 22, 2014

Outside my window...has been the usual variety of weather. 65 on Monday, and much colder yesterday and today. It's hard to know how to dress around here; you just never know what you're going to be dealing with.

I am thinking...that it is time to buy a new rice cooker. My old one is leaving one gross, soggy wet patch of half-cooked rice every time I use it. However, as we've had the same rice cooker for 12 years of marriage, I think we got our money's worth out of it!

I am thankful for...lessons in properly managing all my Liberian girls' hair. We have had a lovely lady volunteer to come help with all their hair and teach me some much needed information about proper hair management for African hair. I've gained bits and pieces the last few years, but I feel like I've had a full heavy-duty crash-course that is great. And hearing my words about healthy hair come out of her it!

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...It's official. Baby Q's first non-Mama-Dada related Thai: Jat Ai! (peek a boo!). Complete with actions.

From the kitchen...came Rogan Josh made with the leftover lamb roast I made the other day. Yum. Yum. And more yum. And super easy.

Lamb Curry w/ leftover lamb and the Indian spices.  Very good and quick to make!

I am wearing...the usual nursing top and jeans with my uber comfy black boots. Have I mentioned my boots? I saved up money for several months and bought myself two pairs of boots this winter. Not cheap, but incredibly comfortable. You'd be amazed at how difficult it is to find really comfortable, well-padded, cute boots. I don't tend to go through shoes very quickly (i.e. I wear them until they're dead...very dead...and then sometimes past the point of deadness because I just hate to go shoe shopping), so I knew this would be a good investment for my money. Haven't regretted it a bit. One or other of those pairs of boots have been my constant companions this winter.

I am creating...lots of scrapbook pages. Yay! Will start posting one of these days.

In my mailbox today.. .came two boxes. One contains Baby Q's birthday presents (only three more weeks and my baby turns 1) and the other was a beautiful quilt, hand-made for Blueberry by her great-grandmother. Lovely.

I am reading.. .Jane of Lantern Hill. I've been on a Montgomery kick again, and enjoying some happy stories.

I am hoping...for something I'm not going to get. A shift without new kids to settle in. So far we've gained one new this shift, and we're only on day three! And supposedly having more changes yet to come. Sigh. I guess that's the tricky part of opening up a new cottage--it takes awhile to settle in not just physically but also with people.

I am hearing...blissful silence as the girls are all at church with Chris, and I stayed behind to put a very cranky Baby Q to bed. He's quit taking naps--gone cold turkey--driving me crazy!

One of my favorite things...the never-ending imagination of my Blueberry.

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

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Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 31)

#1 - I've been immersing myself in the language and thoughts of Madeline L'Engle again. Specifically, Walking on Water. There's just something about how she writes, how she sees the world, her call to worship through the creative gifts God has bestowed, that moves and inspires me. And I've been feeling the need for creative inspiration lately. Not even just creative inspiration. After all...

The questioning of the meaning of being, and dying and part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all of God's creatures.

This ache, this question, is one for which I feel I have been hunting down an answer for years. And still do not have a full understanding of it.

However, what she spoke here, gives me a glimpse, perhaps, to understanding the why of this answer alluding me:

Plato spoke of the necessity for divine madness in the poet. It is a frightening thing to open oneself to this strange and dark side of the divine; it means letting go of our sane self-control, that control which gives us the illusion of safety. But safety is only an illusion, and letting it go is part of listening to the silence, and to the Spirit.

Letting go of self. My control. Making way for God's control. Now that truly is frightening.

#2 - We are on day four of our week off. It is an amazing thing this having seven days off in a row. I've become used to the 6 on / 3 off schedule of our previous employment. I got to the end of our third day off here, and was energized and could be back on if I had to. Now I am basking in the beauty of time to just be, to focus on my two little ones without craving some aloneness that I so rarely get. I feel like I don't have to so jealously guard my ability to sleep in and have a purely lazy morning when off because there are seven beautiful mornings to chose from.

#3 - In a similar vein of though. I must speak of how surprised I've been by my enjoyment of our 21/7 schedule that we are now on. When I first heard of 21 days on, I was, truthfully, afraid. And, in all honesty, if I were trying to work that schedule in the atmosphere/structure that we were in before, I wouldn't make it. I was always exhausted after just six days there. But here, we just did 21 of the craziest days (constantly having kids home, sickness, holidays, adding new kids in regularly, major kid battles, etc), and we went off duty Sunday night, tired, and ready to be off, but not exhausted. Not falling apart at the seams, can't handle one more conversation, ready to curl up and do nothing but sleep for three days. Rather, we were energized, tired, but looking forward to doing things in our time off. Seeking out adventure and experience. Even me, Queen of the Introverts, have not sought only solitude by hiding in my house. It's amazing how the difference in environment can change so much the energy and ability of the worker.

Now to translate that into the rest of my life where I have that control...


#4 - So what have we done with these days off? Well, I've blogged for one. We've explored Charlotte (the town, not the daughter) a little bit--going to the Whole Foods there. We've tried a new restaurant. I've edited. I've worked on our supposed-to-be-Christmas-cards-but-turned-into-New-Year's-greetings-cards-instead-because-Christmas-cards-didn't-happen cards. Blueberry and I have baked.We've run errands. We've slept. We've watched movies. I've ready to my children. We've gone for walks. We've played. And we put clean sheets on the bed. Which is one of my happy things. It has been good.


#5 - Baby Q's birthday is coming up in three short weeks. How is that possible? My baby boy turning one? Really? I've been trying to decide how to celebrate. So far I'm leaning towards a brunch type celebration (so that we don't run into nap time crankiness). And I'm envisioning a lot of pictures being printed off. But we'll see.

I admit some sadness that none of our family will be here, but we will survive.


#6 - Blueberry, Christopher, and I went on a mommy/daddy/kid date to go see Frozen. I have to admit, it was really good. A very beautiful and surprising cartoon. I love the fact that they defied the norm throughout the whole story. Nice change of pace.


#7 - I posted the following on facebook recently, but found myself rereading it again just today. This article speaks so clearly to me of where I am now, in my journey of mommyhood and beingness.

Mom Exhaustion

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Charlotte/Concord/Kannapolis - Gluten Free Restaurant Reviews (not chains)

Updated: 01.14.14.

1. Chef Thai - despite the fact that this restaurant advertises as a Thai/sushi joint, it is not the shady Thai food one might think given the mix of food offered. I have only tried the Thai food, so I cannot speak beyond that. But let me say, the Thai food made here is amazing...probably the best that I have ever had in the US. And did I mention it has larp and somtam and sticky rice available at all times? Happiness.

2. Passage to India - went for lunch. A small, hole in the wall, college joint. Pretty good. Not a hugely diverse menu, but tasty nonetheless. And nicely near to Ikea.

3. Maharani - Indian Cuisine - most recent adventure. Honestly, it had had pretty decent reviews online, but I was not super impressed. Think we'll keep searching.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Daybook 01.13.14

Outside my is dark outside. The bitter cold is gone, replaced by a not unpleasant coolness that allowed me to be out some of the day without a jacket on. Really, the weather is even more temperate here than it was in Hot Springs. Which is nice because it shouldn't be quite so miserably hot in the summer making it difficult to do anything.

I am thinking...about the unexpected meeting I had today with another MK in the Sprint store. It all began thanks to the airplane necklace gifted to me from my sister. Attached with the Springfield, Missouri address, he mentioned his parents were AG missionaries. Which of course led to the typical TCK sharing of life stories. Comforting to know that I can find my "other family" at unforeseen times.

I am thankful for...a working phone. Since about December 27 I've been struggling with getting my phone to charge. Apparently the Samsung Galaxy S2 has a common issue with this charging problem. End result, I am now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S4. And happy to be able to text and call again. I shall mourn my lost 304 levels of Candy Crush however.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes so much change. Blueberry is growing like a weed. Her imagination has exploded and she is turning into the most charming of little girls, combined with an infuriating stubbornness at times :)  Baby Q has also grown. I finally had to change out his wardrobe to 12 months. He still isn't walking, but he's letting go and standing and will truck along at a speedy pace holding onto a wheel toy.

From the kitchen...I have bread in the oven. Lamb roast is sitting in my fridge, and ready for a succulent meal tomorrow. We had to go shopping today as we came off duty to an almost empty fridge. 21 days of cooking primarily out of one kitchen leaves rather lean pickings in the other!

I am wearing...a saffron yellow nursing top that I'm super happy I bought. I was wearing a rather pretty ankle-length, A-line jean skirt that I got for free (yay!), but I've changed that out for comfy, soft sweatpants and cozy socks. And my airplane necklace, gift of my baby sister.

I am creating...our Christmas (aka New Year) greeting card. Didn't quite manage to get them sent out before Christmas, so they will be a welcome to 2014 card instead. Got to update our address sometime, right? :)

I am go see Frozen tomorrow. Chris took all our girls during Christmas break, but since Blueberry was still recovering from the flu at the time,  we did not go. Chris came back and informed me that we have to go to see this at the first chance possible. So we will. Blue is very excited.

In my mailbox today.. .nothing when I checked. However, I was very pleased a week ago to receive the most gorgeous quilt, handmade from Baby Q's great-grandmother. Just waiting for the promised one of Charlotte's to also come. We have one of the first quilt's she made in our room...a wedding gift.

I am reading.. .as always, multiple books. I finally picked up the Divergent series and have been devouring that. Am also reading, To Live is Christ by Beth Moore. 16 of her books were available for free Kindle downloads, so I'm enjoying reading through these.

I am have a talk with a friend tomorrow. It's been too long.

I am hearing...peace. Blissful peace. Baby Q is sleeping, Blueberry is sleeping, we are off duty, and I am alone temporarily and enjoying it greatly.

Around the house...things are a little messy. Mainly because I have an almost toddler (gulp!) and a toddler who greatly enjoy playing hard. And that's okay. My pride will survive.

One of my favorite things...boot socks. They're just so cute!

A few plans for the rest of the week: 
  • Sleep
  • Get my cell phone fixed
  • Explore Charlotte by going to Whole Foods and possibly elsewhere
  • Bake bread
  • Bake brownies
  • Make Roast Lamb
  • Eat Thai food
  • Eat Indian food
  • Work on a story with my husband
  • Catch up on my blogs
  • bills/Budget
  • Talk to some dear friends
  • Plan a birthday party
  • Go see Frozen
  • Wash diapers
  • blog
  • change the sheets on my bed
  • research a ballet class for Blue
  • and more I'm sure....
Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

He's just so darn cute.

 Jat Ai (Peek a Boo)....favorite current game.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Verses to Live By

Happy New Year! Across the web this new year, I've found references to people's word of the year. Things like Listening and Home and Encouragement and even simply Jesus are being picked out as the word for individuals to live by in this year.

I've considered this concept, and while I like it, I hadn't particularly felt drawn to any specific "word" as my theme or goal or live by point for 2014.

However, stemming originally from some discussions with the girls in our cottage along with several different blog posts, I've found myself with a scripture verse for the year that I really feel God gave to me, which has kind of morphed into my 2014 phrase.

Psalm 33:3a is the specific verse that stood out to me; however, the entire chapter has significance in my thinking. 

"Sing to him a new song..." declares the scriptures. And it is this concept of a New Song that has stood out to me. 

The passage talks about how the Lord has created all things, and how His eyes are on those who fear, wait on, and hope in the Lord. He has a purpose for us, and our salvation is ever in Him. 

The original concept of having a new song came as we have had to put some rather strict boundaries on the types of songs the girls in the cottage were singing. While there is secular music out there that is good, and some that is even uplifting, there is much that is trash. And it is this trash that these girls have come into the cottage with. At first we were willing to correct and guide, but with the arrival of yet another girl, the songs became more inappropriate and the girls were less willing to take any guidance. End result, we've finally banned all secular music for the time being, and we're working on developing self-control and consciousness of action. 

It was this concept of developing new habits and thought patterns--right in time with all new year's resolutions, etc--that got me to start thinking about

I shared with my girls the other day how, no matter your "spiritualness", God is always wanting to put a new song in your heart. Forever stretching and molding and bringing us closer to Him. 

I want to consciously seek my New Song to the Lord this year.

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...