At the beginning of this month, I decided to unofficially participate in NaBloPoMo and committed to posting on my blog once a day during November. I am happy to say that I did achieve my goal and there are now 29 posts logged under “November 2015” (this will be number 30!).
Not every post is a marvelous piece of writing (and I’ll admit that the last week I’ve been scrambling to get anything posted). However, I did learn some things about my blogging the past month.
1. I can be more a more prolific writer than I thought. Ever since Babykins arrived, I’ve struggled to produce blog posts. Exhaustion is partly to blame, but most of the reason is that I really didn’t think I had the time. Obviously, that is not true. I can find time to write if I commit to it.
2. I have limited time throughout the day for personal activities. While I do enjoy writing, I also have other things I like to do. On the days I try to create a full blog post, that leaves very little time for my other enjoyments. I suppose this should have been obvious.
3. I have certain times of day that I write better. I found out that if I wanted to write a full post, I needed to start in the morning and finish during naptime. If I waited until the evening, my creative energy was spent and I couldn’t write. This wasn’t a huge surprise since I’ve always been a morning person.
After participating in NaBloPoMo this past month, I’m seriously considering making a posting schedule and sticking to it–not every day, but perhaps a couple of times a week. However, I wouldn’t implement a schedule until the new year because I’m not a (completely) crazy person. Getting through December is the priority right now. 🙂
My father-in-law is working on downsizing his house, so he gave us his Christmas tree. We set up our “new” tree today. The cats lost no time trying to destroy it. In less than an hour, one of them managed to bend half of the lower branches.
Now we’re working on cat-proofing our Christmas tree.
On the bright side, now the tree is also baby-proofed.
Since Thanksgiving is one of the few major holidays that my husband doesn’t have a church service (our church has a Thanksgiving Eve service), we traveled to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. These trips are always a bit of a whirlwind since we try to see both of my siblings/spouses, one of my husband’s sisters and her husband who lives about 20 minutes from my parents, and some of my friends from high school. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to see so many people, but my introverted side is always ready for another break when we get home. Consequently, tonight is another short post.
Well, once again I didn’t shop on Black Friday. How will my Christmas shopping get done now?! Oh, right, sometime in the next 4 weeks.
“Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All be safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.”
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” LSB 892:1
Today was a busy day. My husband was busy at work, so Babykins and I were on our own most of the day. I needed to pack for our Thanksgiving travels but that feat is next to impossible with a toddler in tow. Naturally, because my husband had a service tonight and I needed to continue packing, Babykins gave bedtime a good fight for over an hour.
I had just gotten Babykins to sleep when my husband arrived home. Groaning, I informed him that I hadn’t written a post yet today. He thought for a moment, started laughing, and said, “You could draw a picture of a post for your post. Or is it faster to write something rather than draw something?”
“It’s faster for me to write,” I replied.
Since I still don’t have any ideas for today’s post, I’m now writing a post about my husband’s post suggestion of drawing a post.
Babykins is a toddler. She does toddler things like move constantly, yell at random times, and destroy things. She does not stop being a toddler when we go to church. Consequently, Sunday mornings can often feel like an exercise in futility as I try to keep her quiet and still during the church service.
However, the last few weeks Babykins has started to surprise me with her behavior in church. She’s gotten a little less loud and a little more interested in watching what is happening the service. So what changed?
1. Sitting up front: Despite past failures, we gave sitting up front another try. I realized that a lot of her antics were attempts to see people and things better (this wasn’t always the reason for her squirming in the past). Plus, we were getting blinded by the morning sun beating through the stained glass window in our pew in the back. So, despite my solid Lutheran upbringing to avoid the front at all costs, Babykins and I now troop up to the second pew on Sunday mornings. She still does toddler activities like yell at random times, walk on the pew, and toss her toys in the pew behind us. Likewise, she still freaks out sometimes because she wants to go to her dad, but we’re learning to deal with that.
2. Letting go of Babywearing: I finally gave up on the ring sling in church. Babykins was making it clear to everyone that she was not happy being confined and the sling wasn’t making it any easier to hold her with all her thrashing around. Some people are able to wear their children in church throughout the toddler years, I am not one of them.
3. More interest in books: Babykins has developed a love for books in recent weeks. This means that she’ll actually look at a book during the sermon, cutting back on her chatter and wiggles. My favorite book to bring with us is My Church Words Book. This book is printed by Concordia Publishing House, which means that many of the pictures inside are from LC-MS churches. This makes it easier to connect what is happening in the service to the pictures in the book. It’s fun to point to the pictures of things like the hymnal and pew Bible in the book and then point to the actual hymnal and pew Bible.
4. Practicing with a hymnal at home: A couple of weeks ago I was attempting to play some hymns on our piano. It didn’t go very well since Babykins is very insistent that she plays the piano with me. However, during this time I wound up letting her look at my hymnal on the floor. She surprised me with her gentleness with it! No torn pages, very few crinkled corners. Consequently, I decided to let her have a hymnal during church. For the last couple of weeks, she has contentedly flipped through the hymnal throughout the service. She’s not always perfectly gentle with it–I’m seeing a hymnal donation to the church in a couple of years–but she stays quiet!
I’m not expecting Babykins to keep up this behavior indefinitely. Babies and toddlers grow too quickly for any routine to stay around too long. What has worked for us the last couple of weeks may very well not work this coming Sunday. But for now, I’ll enjoy another sweet spot of Sunday mornings.
Babykins likes to eat Cheerios. Specifically, she likes a small bowl of Cheerios on the floor. Then she can dump out the bowl and eat them off the floor. We call them Floor-i-Os.
I bought Babykins a fancy snack container that allows a child to grab food from the container while leaving the lid on. I actually bought the container for an upcoming road trip, but I thought it might help with the Floor-i-O issue. Consequently, this afternoon I put some Cheerios into Babykins’s fancy new snack container. This was the end result:
We still wound up with Floor-i-Os.
As of late, Babykins has been sleeping better at night. Sometimes she even sleeps through the night. Since her nighttime sleep has been settling, I’ve been trying to get up early to have some time to myself before Babykins wakes. However, after a year of extreme sleep deprivation and still getting up with Babykins several times a week, I find myself on the tired end of the wakefulness spectrum. Part of this is the fact that I’ve been pushing my bedtime back later and later. Of course, by “later” I mean “10 p.m.”
Nevertheless, a logical way to counteract tiredness is to go to bed earlier (I suppose I could also eat better and exercise more, but that sounds like a lot of work). So last night I told my husband that I wanted to start getting ready for bed at about 8:30. When the proverbial clock struck that time, I softly walked down the hall to check on the quiet Babykins who had been asleep for over an hour. I cracked open her door slowly, only to see a pair of small, but very awake, blue eyes staring at me.
Naturally, Babykins started crying because she saw me. My husband went in to try to soothe her but after a few minutes it was apparent that Babykins wasn’t going back to sleep with him. I relieved my husband of the sobbing Babykins and started nursing her.
Fortunately, Babykins went back to a full sleep fairly quickly. Unfortunately, by the time this was all done I wasn’t going to bed any early than I have been.
But you know what they say, “Early to bed and early to rise means diddly-squat when a toddler is involved.” Wait, that’s not how the saying goes?
It’s one of those weeks when extra duties for the church and a holiday crash into one another. An elderly church member died Thursday night, so my husband has a funeral service tomorrow afternoon. He also has an extra service this week on Wednesday night for Thanksgiving. We’re traveling a couple of hours on Thanksgiving to visit family. And then Sunday comes again and all the preparations that come with it.
Yes, it’s one of those weeks where my husband is busy at work and thinking about work when he’s at home. It’s one of those weeks where the majority of travel preparations fall on me. It’s one of those weeks were quality time for my husband and me is limited. It’s one of those weeks that the upcoming chaos of Advent and Christmas looms over our heads.
But you know what? This is okay. Not ideal, but okay. We will get through this week. We may be a little more tired than normal and our patience may be a bit short. Our routine may not operate as smoothly as usual. But we will live.
Being able to have this perspective is one of the advantages of being done with my husband’s first year in the ministry. I know now that there are just going to be weeks like this. Most people have them, even if their husbands aren’t pastors. Likewise, I understand that most likely it will be over a month before we can catch up on rest and relaxation, but there will be a quieter time eventually. It may not be when we think it should come and we may have to purposely set aside time, but it will arrive. That is the ebb and flow of our parsonage life.
P.S.–Lest you think I have this whole pastor’s family thing figured out, feel free to check in on my attitude in a few weeks when the craziness of Advent is in full swing. My guess is that I’ll still have a breakdown or two. 🙂