Happy October

Crappy Halloween

What could be better to a nearly four year old than free candy?  Wearing a princess “dress-up” out of the house!

 

Halloween actually meant something to MG this year. She doesn’t remember much from our life in our old neighborhood, but the flower costumes definitely made an impact on her.  This year, she finally figured out that she got to choose her costume and of course she was all over that.  “I want to be a Princess!” (without hesitation).  Well, which princess?  “I want to be Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, and Elsa, and Snow White!  Can I do that, mommy?”

Ultimately she chose to be Elsa for our church’s harvest party and then selected Sleeping Beauty for Halloween night.  (funny side note:  she’s actually still not seen Frozen, but those darn princesses are EVERYWHERE and by now MG knows their names and the names of all the characters in the movie.  But when people would say catchphrases to her about the movie, she would have no idea what they were talking about!)

The Harvest Party/Nursing Home party both landed on Wednesday evening.  Unfortunately, Bea was running a slight fever that day which grew worse as the evening wore on.  I could tell she wasn’t feeling well when all she wanted to do was be held at the party.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the costume either.

 

 

When we told MG that the party was at church she kept talking about her friends in her little Sunday school class. There are only two other friends in the class and she kept mentioning them by name saying, “I hope they like my dress” <batting eyes and all>.  She did run into one of those friends, who did indeed, like her dress 🙂

 

The next day, the same viral sickness that was making Bea miserable hit N like a ton of bricks.  So much so that he came home from work early (I think he’s done that once?) and slept the entire afternoon.  MG and I took turns tending to our sick patients.

Finally, it was Friday.  Bea seemed to be feeling a bit better and so did Daddy.  We did have plans to go hang out and do some trick or treating with friends (who live in a neighborhood, because we don’t live in a neighborhood anymore—weird!  And we didn’t have a single trick or treater this year—weird!!).  But due to the ongoing fever we decided to bow out, knowing I could just take MG to some local festivities.  I took Bea to the doctor in the morning just to rule out anything serious.  I let MG wear her costume to the office and for errands later since it was Halloween and all.  She was over the moon!

 

Later that day, during her quiet time she told me she was going to take a nap (which she rarely does and it is NEVER announced) so I thought, “great, she’ll be well rested for our fun tonight!”  I was so excited to wake her up and help her get into her costume which she had picked out hours before.  Only, she woke up with a fever and feeling terrible.  Shaky, achey muscles, no appetite, and all she wanted to do was lay down.  She even said, “I don’t think I want to trick or treat tonight!”.  How pitiful is that?

 

At least she got some candy from the previous parties and our neighbors said they would save her some treats too.

Admittedly, I’m starting to get frustrated at how sick we’ve been this year (and really in just the past three months) and how many fun things we’ve had to sacrifice because of it.

Here’s to hoping for healthy immune systems this winter!

-smk

BLOGtober: A moment in your day

photo

This.

This is the moment in my day I look forward to every single day.  It comes like clockwork in the exact middle of the day and is as ritualistic as afternoon tea.  No matter what the morning brings, whether calm or crazy, it is an afternoon gift of peace.

Bea and I sit together and rock.  She with her eyes closed.  I listen for Big Sis to either fall asleep or create some imaginary world that is only visible during afternoon quiet time.

I catch up on emails, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…in that order.  Most of my blog posts are written with my left arm cradling her and my right single-handedly pecking at the keyboard.

When the paci has dropped out of her mouth, her limbs are still, and her breathing is relaxed, it is time to transition her into the crib.  Usually that is when my moment of peace is broken and I become once again productive.  But not always.  Sometimes a hot bath or a long nap wins.

Our afternoon ritual keeps me centered.  We both breathe deeply during this time and is nice to be forced to sit and be still for a minute or thirty.

That has been her best gift to me.

 

Next up in BLOGtober was supposed to be: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill.   But apparently I have no secrets and have already covered that one here.  So I’ll skip ahead to: what do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life…)

I’ve decided…

fall is overrated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good handful of candy corn , PSL, and pumpkin hunt too, but let’s not forget it is GETTING COLDER and that is really no fun at all.  Jackets and boots are cute, until you have to put them on three bodies every single morning.

dressing a baby is one of the simplest pleasures in life.  They don’t have an opinion and they look cute in whatever it is…especially red leggings where their toes peek out

photo 2

photo 1

I’m going to do an October blog challenge again.  Stay tuned.

The names of our “next” child…I’m pretty sure.  True to form, I could not rest until the name of our next is decided when our previous is 4 months old.  I had MG say the top two names for me and hearing them from her lips (especially the girl name) confirmed it.  N is totally on board with the girl name too.  Don’t worry, folks, to find out #3’s status, read this.

I’m having a hard time staying put.  Nate’s new job, while wonderful and an opportunity I would never want to give back, has put a huge crimp in our schedule.  We are fumbling around, adjusting things here and there as we can.  In the meantime, I have been distracting myself with dreams for our future.  I have my feet firmly planted here, but my mind is miles away.  God has been so evident in our lives lately and has been speaking so clearly to me.  There are few other times in my life where I remember His presence being so literal, but one was last summer after our miscarriage.  I sense that He has something rich planned for our future and I am so excited to see it unravel.  I feel the story is already being written.  Sometimes I try to read through the pages extra fast because I really can’t wait to see how it ends.

 

Happy October: In Conclusion

So today is the last day of October and it is time for my little October series to come to an end.

This little experience has been an overall good one but challenging as well.
I didn’t realize it would be so hard to come up with things to talk about.  I mean, there are a lot of things that make me happy.  But it is really hard for me to not lump things about my child in that mix.  Mostly because that’s what I do.  I’m a SAHM.  And I spend about 90% of my waking time with her.  So I guess it’s a good thing that I am fond of her, right?
But the point is, I wanted to divert away from the norm and try something new.
Even though some of my posts were borderline silly, I tried to balance those out with some artistic, sweet, and serious ones too.  I wanted a range. I did have one Mommy-related post, but that one lept at me and side-line what I had originally planned to talk about that day.  And because of that, I felt that it was meant to be.
To be completely honest, because I am so out of my normal element, I don’t think this was any of my best writing.  Probably not the posts I will want to go back and re-read in the future.
But the overall greatest surprise and joy from this experience was the comments.  When I first began this blog, I promised myself that I would never end posts by asking a question…or at least not a question that is not rhetorical.  Why?  Because I feel like no one ever really answers them.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t ever really answer them so I was projecting my feelings onto this idea.  But I gave it a shot.  More so out of lack of a good ending (which is another pet-peeve of mine and why I really don’t like ending with questions in the first place because that is what they signal to me).  But then you answered.  Both in person and on the blog.  And I looooooooved reading and hearing your responses.  From the silly to the serious, they made me smile and tear up and laugh.  So thank you.
On Friday I will return with the regular stuff.  Or maybe even tomorrow.  Because I know you are all dying for a Halloween recap.  (MG is a cat, btw.  Again.).  Especially if something this epic happens again:
We are already placing bets on whether or not he will show up at the house again this year.  Apparently a certain family member lives in the neighborhood.  Should I ask for more than a picture this year?  Maybe a  t-shirt?  Already planning ahead.
Thanks for a great October, friends!

 

Happy October: Day 12

I’m a fan of all 5 (or is it 6?) senses, but one of my favorites has to be the gift of smell.

(image from here)
I inherited my sensitive nose from my father (who gets headaches just walking by a Bath & Body) but fortunately mine didn’t translate the same way.
For me, smells are a complete and necessary part of my life.
I’m sure N probably gets annoyed by the question, “Do you smell that?”…followed by “It smells like something’s burning”, “I think they must be making Thai food”, “I looove that perfume”, or “Is that our car?”  Usually his response is a no.   That is why I think that God gave me such a sensitive one, to smell things for both of us 🙂
(and related: I sort of think that I have some form/s of synesthesia so that might explain why I find scents so enticing)
For my wedding day, after sniffing multiple counter samples, debating for hours, and asking others for recommendations, I finally picked out a fragrance.  A brand new perfume that I had never worn before and had no association with.  I wanted it to be a permanent and powerful reminder of my wedding day every time  I wore it thereafter.  And it worked.  Just a brief whiff of it brings back a flood of memories.
I tried to do the same for MG’s birth by picking an essential oil.  Unfortunately, the smells were not doing it for me.  So you know smell I attached to?  The smell of the (clean) diapers they put on her in the hospital.  They have a very strong odor that I’d never noticed before, but now to me they scream “the first blissful days in the hospital with our newborn.”  To this day, I exclusively buy Pampers for that very reason.
Coffee; wintergreen tic tacs; pumpkin-anything; hot asphalt (which always reminds me of the roofing mission trips we went on); N’s homemade bread; our laundry soap; fresh pine oak, and cedar for different reasons;  B&BW’s “clean cotton”;  scratch ‘n sniff anything; Atti’s fur; my leather boots; the fragrances that I wore in exclusively in high school and college; oil paint and turpentine: I love and attach to anything that has a strong aroma and pleasant memories.
This time of year is a pure delight to my nose.  From all of the flavors of fall I referenced earlier, to the home-baked smells of Thanksgiving, to the lovely shades of Christmas.  I could almost get high sniffing our pine-scented Christmas candle.  Which is magical itself because it has its own short-lived time on our table that always reminds us of this truly magical time of year.
So, what’s your scent?

 

Happy October: Day 11

One of my favorite things, MOPS, is one bi-weekly activity that I always look forward to.

MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers) is a nation-wide program that meets at churches all over America.
This is my second year in MOPS and it has been a wonderful experience.
Every week I walk away encouraged, enlightened, and renewed.
Prior to having kids, I knew nothing about it other than the name.
In fact, I signed up with a friend to do it last year, but really had no idea what it entailed.

So, if you are in the dark like I was, let me explain it to you.

MOPS runs September-May and meets on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (I prefer bi-weekly because it doesn’t feel like too much of a commitment and they are spread out enough that I look forward to each one).
Ours is about a 2.5 hours long.  (so basically, MG spends the morning playing, I spend it sitting and talking, then we come home, eat lunch and nap.  Perfect).
During that time we open up with a devotional given by a MOPS mentor mom.  Each table (I  forgot to mention that you are assigned to a table of about 9? other moms for the entire year.  This year they placed us according to where we live so almost all of the moms at my table are practically neighbors.  Except that I have two real neighbors that attend that aren’t at my table.  Hmmm) has a mentor mom.  A mom from another generation that helps gives us advice.  Mine is really good about checking in with prayer requests.  I love her for that.
Next we eat breakfast that is provided by 3 tables each week.  You sign up in advance for what you want to bring and they even provide recipes if you’re not much of a cook.  (Or you can skate by the whole year by bringing doughnuts and juice.)  Either way, there is always tons of delicious eggs, bacon, muffins, fruit, and coffee to go around.
This is followed by the main speaker.  So far we have had a Dads/Husbands panel, a lesson on life transitions (because we are always coming up on, working through or coming out of one), and a veerrry interesting speaker tell us about her journey of surrogacy.  I probably cry at every one.  In my defense, the waterworks haven’t really stopped since I became pregnant about 2.5 years ago, but still, this is moving stuff.  Plus, you are in the company of fellow moms.  So you don’t have to look up at the ceiling and think about something funny your child did and pretend like you are scratching an eyelash like you do in front of your husband so he doesn’t think you are a hormonal wreck.  Not that I’ve done that…:/
Finally we do something crafty and all laugh about how we don’t have a single artistic bone in our body and how we are terrible at crafts.  Unless you are a former art teacher and you spend all of your free naptime catching up on Pinterest.  That’s always when things get awkward.
Afterwards, we pick up our children.  Some who are so bereft that you left her that she runs to you with open arms and will not let you put her down.  It is magical.  Because she really doesn’t normally do that on a given Friday morning.
Because we meet every other week, on our off weeks we are encouraged to have a playdate with our table. The nice thing is since that almost all of the moms at my table have one kid 2 and under, so playdates work really well.  AND since we all live close, it makes getting together very easy.

Can you see why I’m such a big fan?  I’d love for you to join me next year, whether it is in spirit in another church/state, or with your physical presence*. Or are you already a MOPS attendee?

*I want to mention that while at MOPS we read the Bible and pray together, you do not have to have any sort of religious background to join.  There is a wide range of backgrounds/beliefs in attendance.  Also, I am in no way affiliated with the MOPS organization, nor did I receive any compensation to write this.  I’m just an avid fan!

Happy October: Day 10

Taylor University

(my alma mater) still makes me happy when I go back to campus or even just think about it.  Especially this time of year…the best time to be in Indiana.
It will always hold a very dear place in my heart.
It is, afterall, the place where we met.
Where we dreamed about what life would look like together.
Where we learned so much more than acadamia.
Where we bonded by living life in a community.  And that community has been extended into much of our lives now as we still connect with TU alumni whether we knew them or not on campus.
Where we were encouraged by daily Bible verses in the bathroom stalls and by all life stopping for weekly chapels.
Where we both grew up.  A lot.
Where I changed my major.  Twice.
But finally figured out what I wanted to do in life.
Where I learned the importance of living closer than 30 minutes to the nearest Wal-mart.
Where I truly learned to appreciate my mom’s cooking.  And so much more than that from both of my parents.
Where I felt myself truly blossoming into an adult.
Where I broke so many responsibility codes and stayed up way too late, went out for midnight snacks from the gas station, and probably didn’t dress warmly enough 90% of the time.  Which is also probably why I got mono sophomore year.
Where we first learned about the depth of immense loss.
Where we met our bridesmaids and groomsmen who became lifelong friends.
Where we hope our MG will one day desire to go (but, shhh…she doesn’t need to know that until she’s already been registered for fall classes)

What do you miss the most about college?

 

Happy October: Day 9

Motherhood is the weirdest, wildest, most challenging, but happiest ride I’ve ever been on.

 

When someone affirms this, or speaks to my heart.  It lifts me up and fills my heart with happiness.
This article spoke to my heart.
Favorite quotes to entice you:
“Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.”
“Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.”

“Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. {…} If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully.”

Being a mother IS a mission field, a picture of Love, a deep and sweet calling.

My favorite thing about being a mom is watching MG do things that she has never been taught but has simply observed: talking on her made-up telephones, putting on make-up, dusting with rags, changing her baby’s diaper.  Each one is so little, but brings me so much joy because it reminds me that I am making a difference in her life.

That’s my favorite things about being a mom, what’s yours?

 

Happy October: Day 8

Wayne Thiebaud’s artwork

 (image from here)
(image from here)
(image from here)
(image from here)
Just makes me happy.
He was an American painter during the forefront of pop art in the 50’s and 60’s.  Most of his work is similar to the above: pastries, cakes, desserts and a few shiny objects are what he is best known for.
I am drawn to his paintings for a few reasons:
1) I’ve been privileged to see a few of his works in person and I love the way he uses thick paint (impasto) so that if you would run your hand over the painting (not that I did that, but I was tempted 🙂 :)), you could feel the texture.
2) I taught art for about 4 years before MG came along and my students always loved his work as much as I did.  They didn’t care that it doesn’t have a message or agenda.  It is basically just a still-life with a particular style—of something that we all know and love: desserts.  There is something to be said for a simple presentation.
3) I love the era of his paintings.  I love learning about the 50’s and 60’s and I do love a lot of the artwork that came out of those decades; along with the bold colors, artistic advertising, and mid-century architecture.  Mr. Thiebaud has actually inspired a lot of my own artwork, which if you’ve ever been in my house, you’ve probably already recognized this 🙂
4) My Mom figured out that he taught a few classes at University of California-Davis, so when we were in the area, we tried really hard to meet him.  Alas, his son was very ill so he was taking a leave of absence that semester.  We did end up writing him a letter to his home address…of which I am sure he is still working on his reply :).
(image found here)
A lot of his work is on display in the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), amongst other museums in California since they are so near to his home.  It was at the SFMOMA that I purchased a board book for MG of his work, entitled, Counting with Wayne Thiebaud. Each page has a different number of his painted desserts from 1-10.
It is no exaggeration that it’s one of her favorite books. Only 2 and already a sense of art appreciation 🙂
So what do you think?  Are you a fan?  Or do you have a different favorite?

 

Happy October: Day 7

This picture:

Original Photo Credit: Andy Wofford

 

makes me both happy and sad.  Happy because it is the site of many, many happy memories.  It is a picture of my grandparents’ house with a view from the driveway.  A place I have visited at least 2x a year since I was born.  A place that has changed only in scenary and landscape and is so familiar I could navigate it in my sleep.  The decor is the same, the smells–the same, the noises—the same.  After having moved four times in my life, I appreciate even more their house being the constant.  It is and has been the gathering place for many family reunions.
Sad because it won’t always be a part of my or MG’s future.
But I don’t want to think about that right now.  Deep down that thought is there, but it is suppressed by all of the good times of the past and the immediate times we look forward to in the near future.
Where is your happy constant?

 

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