I can't help but feel like God is working on me. I have to admit, I am not very good about spending time reading scripture. I absorb quite a bit from being married to a
theologian, of course, but I recently made a commitment to start actually reading, you know, the Bible. I have been reading Psalms, mainly because they are easy to read and all fun and flowery.
But yesterday, I leaned over to grab my Bible, and the bookmark wasn't in place. The seconds of quiet time and potential nap were counting down, so I just flipped it open at random and started
to read. I landed on 2 Samuel, Chapter 12; a sad story about a poor man with nothing but a little ewe lamb who he treated as his own daughter; and a rich man who took that poor man's little
lamb and cooked it for his guests. I dozed off.
So, today, I was cleaning my house and making a real effort to de-clutter. I decided to photograph the clothes Joanna has outgrown and list them for sale. I spent half the day on Tuesday cleaning and de-staining them, so they all look pretty great. But as I start to take the pictures, I feel... guilt. Weird, huh?
While cleaning, I had found a Veggie Tales CD from some long-forgotten Chick-fil-a combo, and V.V. asked to listen to it. I put it on as I continue to sort of photograph the baby stuff. Guess what? The story is based on 2 Samuel 12! They use the exact same story about that poor man and his baby lamb.
So, after listing the stuff for sale, I still felt unsettled, and prayed about it. I felt like God was using this passage to tell me something. Like maybe since most of this baby stuff came to me as gifts, that I should find someone to give it to, rather than profitting from it further. I already have so much — by his grace, and not because I deserve any of it — and I was seeking to turn that into even more for myself.
So, I asked Ray about it after dinner. He said that I should keep praying and be ready to do whatever I feel like God is telling me to do. My phone chimes to tell me I have email. It's a girl asking me if I could take less than my asking price for the baby clothes, because she is pregnant and alone and living in a shelter.
I imagine you know how the story goes from there. Isn't it amazing that the Creator of the Universe will go to so much trouble to get our attention? And isn't it amazing that His word lives and breathes and guides our paths — if we let it?
Today was, without doubt, the best day I've had in recent memory. We didn't have big plans or a special destination. No events or big spending. But it was perfect.
Worship was amazing and I was able to stay tuned in the whole time (I distract easily, you know). My kids looked and behaved like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting; no crying or whining or tantrums or bodily functions gone awry. The weather was amazing. My husband was relaxed. There was great coffee, free Qdoba, the best salad ever, and farm-fresh double chocolate ice cream. There was a mall trip of nearly two full hours with friendly salespeople, a singing preschooler and awesome new makeup. There were long, peaceful naps had by all. There were smiling faces in photos. There was hair that bowed to the will of the flat iron. There were belly laughs, by all of us. And a goodnight Sarsaparilla after the kiddos went peacefully to bed.
I needed today. Praise God.
My blog dashboard always tells me how many days its been since I posted anything. Thanks for the guilt, blog, I needed that.
I've been super busy of late. Too busy. I'm taking on a lot of design work... and these kids are trying to kill me. They are belligerent and numerous. I'm only kidding. Aside from V.V.'s heartbreaking hourly meltdowns and Joanna's unpleasant biting, we have fun. We are new to Nick Jr, and at first, I was sure that dude on Yo Gabba Gabba was making fun of me for having to watch his ridiculous show. As the first few days passed, I came to enjoy the almost grotesque cavalcade of absurdity.And now, I have some of the songs on my iPhone and I desperately want to go to see the Yo Gabba Gabba Live! show. I'm impressionable, that's all. The "Rain Is Falling" song is dope—- I don't care who you are.
I am trying to be more intentional about activities with V.V. (you know, when we're know watching weird looking monsters sing about dancing). We paint. We read. We bake desserts and then eat them for lunch. I've started to teach her the different types of car nameplates, too... which tickles me to death, though I doubt knowing a Ford from a Toyota will add value during her kindergarten placement tests in a few years.It is mind-blowing to watch her grow up. Her thoughts are so complex, and fortunately for me, she never has a thought that she doesn't immediately vocalize. It is both touching and hilarious to listen to an intensely sensitive three-year-old process the world.
Joanna is another matter entirely. There is no being intentional with Joanna. You just do what the heck she wants and nobody gets hurt.Well, usually. She does bite. And if she isn't actually crying, she just kind of moans to let you know that she could blow at any moment. And she is always in a hurry. I can't see my current laid-back parenting style working out so hot with Joanna. She's going to need someone to reel in that temper and take her intensity level down a few notches. But that's what preschools are for, right? =)
Anyway, I should be asleep.
Ah, sleep.I remember you. It's nice to see you again. Please, do stay a while.
Joanna is sleeping through the night. Of course, having typed that, she will almost certainly be squawking at 3am. But for the last 10 days, she's been snoozing solid from 8pm to 6am. And still naps 4+ hours a day. I would like to thank Dr. Harvey Karp, for without his swaddling technique and assurances, we would never have gotten her to sleep at all, much less through the night. She's a stubborn one, that Joanna.
V.V. is only slightly less delightful than usual, and I need to remember how stressful her life is. Just like me, she had to endure life in limbo, moving, leaving her friends, and gaining a screaming baby sister all at once. And she's only three. V.V. is going through the fear/anxiety phase, and it rips my heart out (and frustrates me more than I care to admit). I don't know if the monster under her bed is a product of burgeoning imagination or cumulative anxiety, but I wish he'd go live under someone else's bed. I imagine some of it is feeling separated from me. Overnight, she went from having all of my time and attention, to not having much at all. I always joke that Joanna requires so much of my attention that V.V. has gone feral. She roams around the house naked all day, scavenging bits of old trail mix from the rug. (I'm only half kidding.)
I have a notepad on the fridge that has three sections: To Buy, To Do, To Remember. Under "To Remember," I wrote:
1. Joanna is not out to get you.
2. Be nice to V.V.
Good reminders, both.
Ray and I made a ton of progress getting the house decluttered and packed up before I went in to the hospital, so everything looks great at home. And later today, when given the clearance for discharge, Joanna gets to ride home in the super, duper sweet Toyota Sienna XLE that Ray bought me on our anniversary (boy, was I wrong about him forgetting).
It has been nice to be at St. Francis for a few days, with the on-demand nursery drop offs, hand delivered Percocet, and room service; but, I am lookiing forward to getting home. I've only seen V.V. for a total of about two hours this week, and I miss snuggling my big girl.
Looks like my last made-to-order hospital breakfast has arrived, so Ima wrap this up. I have a healthy, gorgeous baby nursing flawlessly while draped across my lap, and a huge tray of hot french toast and fruit that need my attention and adoration. Life is good. God is good.<< MORE >>
We are worefully behind on the packing front, but the SmartBoxes are here anyway. And, I managed to sell my PT Cruiser with shocking ease. I can't say I'm any less panicked than a few weeks ago, but crippling kidney pain has certainly narrowed my focus. I was in the ER on Monday with a very enlarged, infected kidney thanks to a stone or two, but even that has its silver lining: namely that morphine is awesome, and my prescribed dose of two gallons of water per day has sparked a love of water in V.V. as well.
On an unrelated note, V.V. is now three years old, but if you ask her, she denies it and insists she is still two. I tell her it's okay; a lot of women lie about their age. I decided at the very last second to have a party for her, since we won't be in Virginia next year, and it turned out surprisingly well—plus I only spent $80. I am so great. She had all her grandparents, two uncles, several cousins and us, plus the piece de resistance: DQ ice cream cake and dozens of balloons (read: instant party).
I just remembered that Ray and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary tomorrow. I imagine he will forgive my lack of planning... maybe my gift can be that I forgive him for forgetting, too. =)<< MORE >>
All these recent revelations combine to make staying at home seem like a ridiculously amazing gift. My sweet child is a true delight (and yes, she's two), and I am humbled and so grateful that I get to be her mama full-time, every day.
By the way, she is out of Early Intervention. She had a speech assesment a few weeks ago at 27 months old and... drumroll... she scored at 30 months for both receptive and expressive language. No one involved, myself included, can believe how far she's come. I am so proud of my little stinker.
I'ma stop now. I am practically gushing with gratitude. ... << MORE >>
I have taken up running. I find it boring and I'm in constant pain, but until I finish that 10K, I run. I guess I find it satisfying on some level that I am meeting a goal I set for myself, and that I am more physically able than I thought... but I doubt running is going to be an enduring pasttime for me.
What else... we moved to Bon Air several months ago... and LOVE it. By far, the best area of Richmond we've lived in. It's got style and charm like Westham or The Fan, but it's still in Chesterfield, so it's just more... or maybe less... it's just cool. We chose Bon Air because it is as close to Ray's office as we can get while staying in the county, so we can keep receiving amazing services from Chesterfield's early intervention program.
Which brings me to the vastly more inportant update: V.V. can talk. She is still well behind what it considered normal for her age, and we have a long way to go, but neither fact diminishes my joy. I actually well up a little when I hear that little voice. She can talk. My favorites so far are apple (pronounced ah-poool), ice cream (i-keeeem), and elbow (pronounced correctly, which is even more adorable).
What's even cooler is that she can read... and spell. We've been doing the Your Baby Can Read program for over a year, and she can and does read about two dozen words. And she spontaneously started pointing to and identifying letters about a week ago... a feat so astounding I force her to repeat as often as she is willing.
She is still painfully shy, which often hurts the feelings of some very sweet people, she still flips out every now and again and flings herself backwards, she still doesn't understand everything we ask her to do (or at least she pretends not to), and shopping with her is still a bit like shopping with a caged raccoon... but I'm not sure that you couldn't say the same about most two-year-olds.
Which reminds me... V.V. turned two! I bought her a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Okay, I bought me a PT Cruiser, but for the specific purpose of transporting her Radio Flyer. All my car dilemmas were solved by a car that looks curiously like a guinea pig.
And there you have it. Let's talk again soon.... << MORE >>
I find myself car shopping again. Nelson (my 1991 Escort) is trying to hang in there, God bless him, but he's old and tired. And now, you can crank him only with the help of a flathead screwdriver. Both hilarious and terrifying. I still love him endlessly, though. For his 15 years by my side, I should probably reward him with a long nap in a green pasture somewhere... but I do so love to see his eager face when I walk out my front door. Like an old soldier, despite his failing body, he is always willing to serve.
But the reality is that I need a reliable car for me and the toddler, and I have about $2,000 to do it with. If I were a sensible creature, I'd get a Cavalier or a Hyundai made in this decade with as few miles as I could find. But I, dear friends, am not a sensible creature.
I want a station wagon. And it has to have a sunroof. I originally had my sights set on a Volvo 850 or V70, but the more I read, the more scared I get. I have, on occassion, been tempted by a Mazda MPV thusly equipped. But I think that to satisfy my wants for waggony goodness and a hole in the roof AND my need for reliability and safety, there is only really one choice: the 1997 Honda Accord EX wagon.
So, if you see one or if you have one, and it can be mine for $2,000 or less... please tell me. I promise it will get a name, and no one will love it more than me. =)... << MORE >>
Top 10 Baby Things I Can't Function Without
|1||The First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat, Casino||BEST CAR SEAR EVER! Highest crash test rating ever given by the NHTSA, rear-faces to 35lbs. Forward-facing to 65lbs and 50 inches tall. Built-in seat belt lock-offs make installation a breeze for older pre-LATCH cars.|
|2||Your Baby Can Read: Early Language Development System||My 22-month-old can read! This system is expensive, but really works.|
|3||The First Year's Newborn-To-Toddler Reclining Feeding Seat||This was the best thing we got as a shower gift (we didn't register for it either). She still uses it every day.|
|4||Boon Frog Pod Deluxe with Bath Toys||The little foam dealies stick to the shower walls... which V.V. finds endlessly entertaining. =)|
|5||JJ Cole Diaper & Wipes Caddy - Green Stripe||This is one of those things you don't know you need until you have a baby.|
|6||Caillou - Caillou, The Everyday Hero||We have five Caillou DVDs, actually. If you're kid is a fan, get DVDs from 2006 and up; otherwise you get creepy puppets and dancing kids with bowls of fruit.|
|7||Playtex Insulator Cup 9 oz. - 1pk.||V.V. throws things, like, a lot. After much trial and error: a truly spill-proof cup! And it keeps milk fresh for four hours.|
|8||Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling||This is the only carrier my little miss would tolerate. I actually still use it (most recently, when I was home alone with her and needed to de-ice the car).|
|9||Kid Knex Footed Friends||Sure, it says not intended for kids under three. But it is my child's favorite toy in the entire world.|
|10||Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pound and Roll Tower||Give a toddler a hammer, and they're sure to have a great time.|
2. The cotton soakers snap on and out of the diaper shells, so you only need 2 or 3 of the shells and enough soakers to get you through the day (versus needing a whole days worth of all-in-ones at like $40 each).
3. They are ridiculously cute, and I get a sick thrill out of showing them off.
4. The soakers and doublers (for naps or overnight) are humanely priced.
I have been using them for almost two months, and I love them. I have two shells and eight soakers (and one doubler... the other is MIA), so I have to do laundry every 1.5-2 days. Sure, I'd love to have more... but I'm pathologically cheap.
If you're thinking about making the switch... do it. It's worth $100 to try it (you'd spend that on Pampers in 2 months or less).
Learn more here: http://www.thenaturalbabyco.com/grobaby%E2%84%A2-ic-11_16.htm
And here's the lil' miss sporting her GroBaby in Kiwi.
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Both seats have a convenient single strap...<< MORE >>