Monday, July 28, 2008

hodge-podge, cornucopia, mish-mosh... whatever you want to call it

A little bit of everything and a lot of nothing... but there's always something. My life kinda feels that way these days - so I thought I'd throw in a post that was a reflection of that.
First - an update on my 40 Days of Learning Very Simple Lessons:
1. God's Word is the very best thing for me. Okay - I've been doing much better with this. Still not quite where I want it to be, but I think that's partly because I need some accountability and someone to talk things through with. (see number four)
2. Less is more. I'm proud of myself here. I've cleaned (pretty thoroughly, at least for me) out my closet and dresser drawers, and there are bags (I will not say how many, as I am embarrassed about my clothing habit) ready to be donated. It's liberating to not have so many choices, and to actually be able to fit all my clean clothes into some sort of home. As opposed to letting my clean laundry sit in a basket because it's too hard to put it away. Ahem. I've also tackled the kitchen pantry, and some bits in our guest room. Our house is in a major transition right now (finishing the basement) so a lot of stuff is out-of-place... I can't wait to get rid of more stuff!
3. Structure is good (at least for me) My Home Management Binder is coming along nicely - I like having a place to keep my "stuff" - lists and goals and coupons and calendars... all in one place. I'm still not totally used to using it yet, but I'm getting there.
4. (added after a Very Simple Lesson the next day) We were made for community. Oh, I could probably use some work here. It's hard... right now, the two people I would consider to be my "best" friends live in different states... IL and NY. One or two other people live in MI, but not exactly close - get-togethers require planning and driving at least 30 minutes most of the time. I have a large number of people here who fall into the friend/pleasant acquaintance/still getting to know each other so it almost feels like we're dating categories... but not people I know well, who know me well... I know that stuff takes time, but it's so hard. For me at least. I'm an independent gal, and I like to feel/look like I have it together (a WHOLE OTHER issue for a whole other post...) so it takes me awhile to get to the point where I'm willing to let my guard down and be really honest with someone. And right now, I need a few more people in my life that fit that category. I'll be praying on this one. Sometimes, it's easier just to cover up a little bit.

IF you're still with me... this morning, Hazel and I trudged heaved walked our second 5K... on a golf course... without a paved route... through lush, thick green grass which had been recently watered. Let's just say that I'm totally proud that I finished off-roading a stroller with an almost 6-month-old baby for 3.1(ish) miles in 51 minutes. Without collapsing. And now, I feel kinda like this:

I've also recently become convicted (albeit very slowly - convicted is a word that has urgency to it... mine was a long, drawn-out hearing with a jury that deliberated for days weeks before arriving at a conviction) that I need to ease up. On myself. As a mama. I know many of you have your own perfectionist tendencies, and I know what you're dealing with. This is the toughest job I've ever had, with the most at stake. I want to do it well. But I also want to have fun and enjoy the ride...
And that means that I need to relax in a few other areas... but this post is already waay too long, so that will have to be another chat.
Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I swear I'll post an update on my 40 days very soon, but in the meantime - check out this giveaway!
Get FREE BumGenius cloth diapers! (these are what I use most often, and I l*o*v*e them!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

chance of showers

About two weeks ago, I proudly declared to my husband that I had skills on par with a professional plumber. I, by myself, with no help, ALONE - had installed the world's easiest idiot-proof Very Difficult and Complicated diaper sprayer in our guest bathroom.
Because nothing says welcome like a gadget made to help rinse baby poop down the drain.
Okay, so no tools were involved. And the sprayer came with a delightful set of illustrated & labeled instructions which make everything very simple. But still - there is a sense of accomplishment felt when one disconnects plumbing-type hoses & fixtures and puts them back together in a slightly different way... and everything WORKS.
This morning, I had my first chance to use the handy-dandy diaper sprayer (I was traveling and not feeling the extra laundry last week, so disposables won out until yesterday). It worked well, but I thought it could use a bit more oomph behind its spray. I tweaked the little knobby-doodad on the toilet (don't know what it's called, but I know it adjusts the water pressure) and decided to check the new oomph-level. I was holding the sprayer about a foot away from my face, pointed directly into the bowl.
Or so I thought.
A half second later found me kneeling on the bathroom floor and spluttering, having just sprayed myself directly in the face. Right between the eyes. Seriously, I shoulda been a sharp-shooter in the Wild West.
The oomph-level, by the way, is just fine.
Yup, I'm basically a professional plumber. Let me know if you require my services... my fees are reasonable.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

jiggety jigg

Home again, home again.
The baby girl was a trooper-superstar-angel-sweetheart for me on the drive to and from my parents' house this week. I was so nervous - the trip is usually 3.5-4 hours in good traffic (which you never know if you're going to get between mid-Michigan and Chicagoland), and I've never attempted it Solo With Child before. Those of you that have heard the dulcet tones of my daughter's voice know - that trip had the potential to fry my poor, addled mama brains.
But she was great.
Lots of prayer, good timing, great traffic and some more prayer - and we're back home after 4 lovely days with my family - all in one piece, sanity (relatively) intact.
However, the Hazelnut is in full-blown teething mode... bringing with it a whole new level of motherhood joy. We're back in the Land of Sleep in Three Hour Increments. I haven't been in the LoSiTHI since Hazey was about 6 weeks old... I didn't miss it.
She's asleep now (praise God) and I'm about to go shut my eyes too.
There's more to say - it just needs to wait for a bit.
It's good to be back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


6:45 am
I can feel the warm, summer-morning sun through my closed eyelids - it's pouring into my bedroom like a golden waterfall.
I feel a gentle stirring beside me on the bed, and tiny, warm little feet begin to "walk" their way up my belly.
I peel back my sleepy eyelids and pull my surroundings into focus.
Disheveled covers, no husband (he left for YoungLife camp last night), pillows everywhere and a gentle breeze is billowing the sheer white curtains in and out, in and out. Right arm tucked under my pillow, I see that nestled into the space created between my arm and my body, lies my daughter.
Sparkly blue eyes alight with baby laughter and delight are watching me, and my breath catches in my chest. As soon as our eyes meet, her face breaks into a gorgeous, toothless, drooly grin... and I grin right back.
Today, my baby is 5 months old. It is a heartbeat and it is a lifetime. I pray for many, many more months to come. And I pray that I appreciate the blessing of this little woman in my life. My husband has gone to camp with his young disciples... and I am at home with mine.

(Hazel and I will be traveling this week in the absence of our Man of the House, and probably not posting much!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

made for this

God made us in His image. This, I'm quite sure, brings with it a few very specific character traits/needs/desires. Last night, I was struck by how wired we are for community. How God made us that way.
Standing in our church's lobby, chatting with people as we passed each other by... it was so exactly what I needed. I stood with a couple other new mamas, and a couple more-experienced mamas with new babies... and I found comfort, laughter and community. There's really nothing like standing in God's house, talking with friends - it feels so full.
Some people are naturally extraverted. They don't need reminders that community is good, that being with people can be so. good. for your soul. My dear husband is one of those people. He loves being with people and seeks to fill our days and our home with community. It's a good thing.
Some people, however, are more inclined to introversion - and they need to be sent a memo every once in awhile. Now I'm pretty sure I'm 50/50 - I'm extraverted in the sense that I tend to focus on others, but introverted in that I don't go out of my way to surround myself with groups of people. My relaxing time tends to be quiet and solo.
And thus, I fall into the category of Those Who Need a Memo. Which, I would be willing to bet, is one of the reasons God matched up me and Mark as a team.
Perhaps God is dropping the hint that I need to add Seek Out Community to my list of Very Simple Lessons...

Friday, July 11, 2008

food for thought

I generally view myself as an intelligent woman. I "get" things, know some stuff, and have a decent memory.
Or so I thought.
Lately, I've been struck again and again at how often I am re-learning Very Simple Lessons. Why do they not stick the first second twelfth thirty-second time I come across them??
Because my human-ness takes over. I let it take over.
My ability to lay around and twiddle away an afternoon overpowers my desire to get my home organized...
My tendency to procrastinate when a job is less than desirable beats up on my sincere wish to get things done...
And my selfish, what-about-me? mentality has an uncanny knack for stepping all over my craving to spend time with the Lord and seek His face.
I've been taking baby steps (ever since my rant about the house closing in on me) toward conquering (or at least minimizing) some of these tendencies. I know that I can do it. I've kicked the snot out of bad habits before.
Here are Three Very Simple Lessons I want to "get." I mean really GET.
1. God's Word is the best thing for me. I know this already - I just don't always live like I know it. So I'm going to put my Bible on/near the couch (my usual nursing spot) and pick it up every chance I get while feeding Hazel.
2. Less is more. My house is full of stuff. So much excess... it's starting to make me sick. Not just because it's cluttery, but because it's so material. I don't want things to be the focus of my days - and it's much easier to achieve that when there are fewer things to manage/clean/pick up/take care of. I'm going to go through, room by room, and purge. At least a surface-level purge.
3. Structure is good (at least for me). I need concrete tasks. I love lists. Goals are great. I've started putting together a Home Management Notebook (thanks, SimpleMom!) I need some time to get it fully-functioning and organized, but I think it will help me keep track of some of those goals, lists and concrete tasks I relish so much.

And so, I'm committing to 40 days of focusing on learning these Very Simple Lessons. Starting today, July 11th, and ending on August 19th. I'll try to keep you posted on the progress as I go along - not so much that anyone out there cares that much about my inability to grasp Very Simple Lessons, but that it helps me to feel accountable.
Thanks for listening, internets.
Oh, and yes, that is my Very Grown-Up Daughter eating rice cereal for the first time. She's still a little iffy on the whole concept, but for a variety of reasons, we need to get her comfortable with eating cereal by, oh - about August 19th. More on that later.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

where to start?

I feel as though my house is closing in on me.
When we moved in 4 years ago, we were coming from a one-bedroom, graduate assistant apartment in a residence hall. It totalled maybe 550 square feet. There was NO WAY I'd ever be able to fill the rooms and closets of this gigantic, enormous, monster-sized, almost-1,300 square foot house!
Fast forward to today.
Closets = Overflowing
Bedrooms = Overflowing
Basement = Overflowing
Garage = You guessed... overflowing. With creepy, dirty garage things.
I want so badly to get organized around here. I want to donate the things we don't use but someone else could. I want to scrap/throw away/recycle the stuff that we don't use and no one else could either. I want fewer things, less clutter.... and I have NO IDEA how to start.
That's not true.
I have dozens upon dozens of ideas on how to start. I just need to figure out where. The task in my head is mammoth. I need something smaller than mammoth... something more like squirrel or pygmie goat.
Right now, my head is swimming with menu planning, closet organization, recycling systems, clothing donations and coupon organizers. I want to do it all. Immediately. (Not a good idea, I know). I've visited fabulous blogs and websites with great, practical tips. I just need to pick one and run with it for a bit.
This is what happens to my head when my baby wakes up at 4:20am and doesn't go to sleep again until 7:30. When Mama is wide awake.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

anyone seen a circus nearby?

If you HAVE seen a circus, and they're looking for a Bald Woman, let me know. My daughter has made it her personal mission to pull out of my head every. single. hair. that is within the reach of her oh-so-sweet-and-innocent-looking but pincerlike chubby hands. As I prize wads of hair out of her little fists, eyes watering, I figure I could at least turn my newest physical, um, attribute to my advantage by joining the cirucs.
I jest. I'd totally settle for a county fair.

Seriously, the girl, she is full of tricks these days. She wakes up (usually a bit before Mama wants her to) sing-screeching happily in her crib (until she deems she has waited long enough, then the sing-screech turns a bit sour). ANYthing that comes in range of her hands is grabbed and shoved into her mouth, along with her fingers (on which she often chokes)... and the sing-screeching continues around objects and hands. The toes are new favorite playthings, and although they haven't quite made it to her mouth yet, they do provide hours minutes of entertainment.

She has had her first dip in the pool - and did great. We're thinking the 2028 Summer Olympics. Mark your calendars. (Ignore the faceless Mama in the picture. If her hair wasn't half gone, she might consider appearing in the picture. In her bathing suit. On her blog. Okay, not true - she's totally glad you can't see her face.)

We'll be on a little hiatus for the holiday weekend. Enjoy yourselves, stuff yourself silly on jello, potato salad and hotdogs, and try to dodge any rogue fireworks.