Expectation vs. Reality: Art Time

When my siblings and I were children, my mom always had us put together a little craft around major holidays for our aunts, uncles, grandparents, and godparents. It’s something from my childhood that I would like to repeat for Babykins. And now that she is 17-months old, I decided she could do a little project for Easter.

I thought I was so smart. Easter still a month away, so we had plenty of time to finish. Likewise, I set my expectations for a project extremely low. No Pinterest searches for me! Instead, I drew a little Easter egg picture on the computer, typed “Happy Easter!” underneath, and printed off some copies for Babykins to color. Since Babykins has been playing with crayons for many months now, scribbling on some cards wouldn’t be too difficult for her.

I expected the project to go like this:

expectation

We would easily kill 15 minutes as she “colored” the cards. She wouldn’t be able to finish all of them in one sitting, but that’s way I started the project a month early. We would have fun!

This is what really happened:

color

waiting finished

you color

Something tells me a hand-colored card from me won’t be the same as from Babykins. *Sigh* Maybe we’ll try again at Christmas.

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The Question

On Wednesday, Babykins and I made our weekly trip to the local coffee shop. We usually go during its quieter hours, so the employees know our names and enjoy watching Babykins toddle around the shop.

Babykins started getting restless before I finished my mug of coffee. I encouraged her to look at the flowers in the cooler (because the local coffee shop is also the local florist shop, obviously). As I pointed out the daffodils and tulips to Babykins, one of the employees suddenly asked, “Are you going to have more children?”

She meant no harm by her question. Some news doesn’t spread, even in a small town. How was she to know about the baby that I only knew existed for a few days before he was gone? And I’ve been asked many forms this question both before and after Babykins was born.

 

However, my typical answer of, “We hope to have more children someday” failed me on Wednesday. It was the phrasing of the employee’s question–my mind processed it as a “Yes” or “No” question.

Am I going to have more children? I don’t know. Statistically, I’m not any more likely to have another miscarriage than I was before last month. But statistics are just probabilities, not certainties. I can’t say that I will definitely have another child now that I have experienced first hand the fragility of life. What I want isn’t always what I get.

Am I going to have more children? Only God knows the answer to this, I’m done trying to predict the answer.

 


That Time We Bought A Piano From a Catholic School

Last June, my husband and I were looking for a used piano to buy. I perused Craigslist for a couple of weeks and found an ad for a piano that would meet our needs. I contacted the seller and found out that he was the activities director for a large Catholic high school about 30 minutes from our home. We decided to go look at the piano.

The day we arranged to look at the instrument, my husband had some visits to do in the bigger city. Consequently, he arrived at the Catholic school dressed like this:

pastor

Essentially, he looked like a Catholic priest. A Catholic priest who was bringing a woman with a young baby to look at a piano. We were an odd sight within a Catholic community.

family

At any rate, the activities director let us into the school and introduced us to the band director. We chatted about the piano for a couple of minutes. At some point in the conversation, my husband tried to subtly hint that I was his wife and Babykins was his daughter. He assumed this would let the band director know that he wasn’t a Catholic priest. However, the band director responded to the revealing that we were my husband’s family with this:

north

Which begs the question: What is going on with the Diocese up north?!

We did clarify that my husband is a Lutheran pastor. And we bought the piano from the school–it now makes a good table for miscellaneous things.  Maybe someday we’ll use it as an instrument! 


Easy-Peasy Ice Cream Cake

My husband asked for ice cream instead of cake for his birthday last week. Since I’m a birthday purist, I couldn’t stand the thought of not having cake for a birthday. Ice cream cake was the obvious solution for this dilemma. However, buying ice cream cake is expensive, so I went in search of a simple ice cream cake recipe.

Guess what? I found one! Betty Crocker’s Brownie Ice Cream Cake was exactly what I was looking for: simple and delicious! Because the brownies have to cool and the ice cream has to set, it does take some planning ahead to make the cake (I made it the day before my husband’s birthday). However, actual hands-on time isn’t any longer than it takes to whip up a box of brownies and throw some ice cream on it. My husband also loves caramel, so I used caramel sauce instead of hot fudge sauce.

Mmmmm. . . ice cream cake.

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Dust to Dust

cross

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the penitential season of Lent. I plan on taking Babykins to church tonight. Since we missed last year’s Ash Wednesday service, this will be the first time the ashes will be put on Babykins’ forehead.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday’s namesake, there is an imposition of ashes on congregation members–typically smeared on the forehead in the shape of a cross. The ashes remind us of God’s promise to Adam after the fall into sin, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” (Genesis 3:19b). Likewise, being covered in ashes is an ancient Christian practice of repentance.

Truth be told, I’m not looking forward to Babykins having the ashes put on her forehead. It’s a terrible reminder that she is a sinner just like me and will someday die.

But it also reminds me that my fervent prayer for her isn’t simply for her physical health and comfort, it’s that God keeps her steadfast in the Christian faith–the faith that Jesus Christ died for those sins and that she is covered in Christ’s sacrificial blood.

In 47 days, I will sing of Christ’s resurrection and victory over eternal death. However, tonight I will mourn of my sin and my daughter’s sin and cry out to God to have mercy on us poor, sinful beings.

Kyrie Eleison.


Parenting Hack Test: Baby Chain Links as Cabinet Locks

Our wonderfully spacious kitchen full of cabinets is extremely tedious to childproof. The cabinet handles are designed that simple childproof locks won’t work. The only locks that can be installed need to be attached with screws.

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Ain’t nobody got time to install locks on all these doors!

So what’s a lazy busy mother to do? A few months ago, I read one of those lifehacks lists that suggested using baby chain links to lock drawers and cabinets.

Recently, Babykins has been getting into the cabinets and drawers more when I work in the kitchen. I already set up a drawer with her plates, bowls, and cups, as well as some toys. However, like a typical toddler, Babykins knows that whatever I willingly give her can’t be as good as whatever I keep trying to distract her from. Last week after continually saying, “Babykins, stay out of there. Babykins, no. Babykins, STOP!”, I decided to try the chain links on a few cabinets in an attempt to stop her from pulling out everything within reach.

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Surprise–does actually work!

I wouldn’t use these as a way to keep Babykins away from extremely dangerous items like chemicals. I figure it’s only a matter of time before she figures out how to unhook the links. Additionally, Babykins can still get the doors open wide enough that there is a risk of smashed fingers. However, this solution is perfect for keeping her out of cabinets that hold annoying things to clean up (things like 500 paper napkins). It would also be an easy way to bring “locks” when visiting family and friends who don’t have babies or toddlers.


Theodore

I knew what was happening before we walked into the exam room. The multiple positive pregnancy tests the week before and the heavy bleeding over the weekend foretold that this appointment wouldn’t have a happy ending. Yet I cried as soon as the midwife said, “Miscarriage.”

At 6 weeks pregnant, there wasn’t any more that could be done. My body was clearly doing the work of clearing out the baby that had died and there wasn’t any risk to my physical health. The midwife did her best to explain how this might emotionally effect my husband and me, but she had other patients to see–Patients with big, round bellies and living babies. I know this because I saw them as I sadly sat in the waiting room.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It strikes with very little warning. One moment a woman carries life, the next moment she carries death. There is no magic formula to prevent it from occurring, there is often nothing that can be done to stop it. And as common as miscarriage is, it’s an isolated grief.

My husband and I named our baby Theodore, which means “Gift of God” (obviously we have no idea if the baby was a boy, so the name will be Theodora if the baby was a girl). It reminds us to cling to the promise that children are a gift, even the children that we only know about for a few days before they are gone. Our pastor came Thursday to do a private memorial service for Theodore. He reminded us that God knew and loved our child before we did. He told us that as Christian parents, God heard our prayers for our baby and we can trust in His mercy. In God’s mercy we have hope that we’ll see Theodore in Heaven.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

God created Theodore, to God we entrust Theodore. “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 2:21). Amen.

 

 

 


It’s One of those Weeks Again

The last funeral my husband had occurred the week of Thanksgiving. And can you guess what happened a few days ago? Yup, another member died, meaning there’s a funeral Saturday, church Sunday, and the start of Lent next Wednesday.

I hope this isn’t the new trend for the start of midweek services.


Noisy Power Outages

We’re getting a lovely winter storm–snow, ice, and wind–so it wasn’t surprising that we lost electricity for a bit. Unfortunately, my plan to sleep in this morning (a.k.a.–sleep until Babykins woke up) was thwarted by a power outage early this morning.

I don’t think the outage itself was long enough to wake up any of us. The house was still tolerably warm and the eerie silence didn’t disturb our slumber. However, certain pieces of equipment apparently feel it’s necessary to let us know that there isn’t any electricity.

First off, we have a battery on our sump pump. Whenever the power goes out, it emits a high-pitched eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee until someone pushes the reset button.

sump pump battery

Then there’s the baby monitor. If the monitor piece in Babykins’s room looses access to electricity, the receiver starts beeping. I understand that perhaps the manufacturers thought parents would find it useful to know if the monitor wasn’t actually working. What I don’t understand is why the transmitting piece has to be manually turned on again even if it is still plugged in to an outlet. I can’t imagine that any parent wants to sneak into their child’s room to reset the monitor while the child is sleeping.

monitor

Finally, there is Babykins’s noise machine. The handy little device has several setting options, but we keep it on “White Noise” since it is close to the same noise that the space heater and the box fan makes. However, it doesn’t return to the setting I chose when it turns back on after a power outage (because unlike the baby monitor, it can figure out that it is still plugged into an outlet). It instead automatically goes to the creepiest setting: Beating Heart. It may be soothing for a newborn, but it’s jarring for a toddler who has been outside the womb for 16 months and eerie for an adult who has read The Tell-Tale Heart.

noise machine

Consequently, I was woken at 4:40 a.m. to an obtrusive Beep Beep. . . Beep Beep. . . Beep Beep as the monitor receiver told me that the transmitter wasn’t on. I tried to just turn off the receiver, only to hear the faint Thump-thump thump-thump thump-thump coming from Babykins’s room. As I started to open the nursery door, I heard the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee from the sump pump battery’s whining that it needed to be reset.

I tried to quite everything as quickly as I could. Slipping into Babykins’s room, I pushed the “White Noise” button on the noise machine and found the power button on the monitor. Alas, Babykins still woke up despite my stealthy maneuvering. Thankfully, she went back to sleep without much fuss.

Once Babykins was back in her crib, I went downstairs to reset the sump pump battery.  I was fairly alert by the time I made it back to bed. Still, I settled under the covers again in hopes of sleeping a little bit longer.

I must have dozed off for a moment, because I was jolted awake again by that obtrusive Beep Beep. . .Beep Beep. . . Beep Beep. 

again

Yup, the electricity had flickered off again and the process of quieting everything needed to start over. It was clear that sleeping wasn’t going to be an option after this round of fiddling. The good news was that I had made it to 5:30 a.m.–the time I normally try to get up.