Thinking about Painting with a Toddler

I’m not terribly motivated when it comes to home decorating projects. In fact, our living room currently stands as a sad testimony of my lack of skills in decor. We inherited gold curtains from the previous pastor’s family when we moved into the parsonage. Even I can tell that they clash horribly with our blue couch and ugly pink armchair. But there they still hang after 2 years because hey, they keep the sun out in the afternoon and curious neighbors at bay at night.

Despite my disinterest in decorating, even I have to admit that some improvements keep the house from a slovenly hovel. Painting walls would be one of these things. Sadly for my unmotivated self, the congregation didn’t have time to paint the parsonage before we moved in (there was only a week between the previous pastor moving out and us moving in, so they barely had time to clean the carpets). Consequently, several rooms in the house need a fresh coat of paint.

Apparently I’m only truly motivated to paint when I’m pregnant because we did manage to paint the nursery right before I had Babykins (by “we”, I mean my husband and parents painted 3 days before I went to the hospital to have Babykins). Now my new goal is to at least get the hallway painted before Sweet Pea’s arrival.

Unfortunately, I’m envisioning a logistical nightmare of painting with a toddler and 2 cats running loose in the house. How do we keep them out of the paint when there isn’t a door to close off the area? Not to mention the fact that I can’t really paint because of fumes.

Thankfully, our wonderful trustee immediately offered to help when I mentioned wanting to paint the hallway soon. At least my husband doesn’t have to do all the work himself. And for a foolish minute, I thought I could actually accomplish the bulk of the prep work. I told my husband that I could patch the little holes and put the painter tape down.

Then I had a clear vision of me carefully putting tape along the door frames and baseboards with an ever curious and “helpful” Babykins following behind, carefully tugging up the tape. And with that, my can-do attitude quickly changed to defeat.

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I can’t believe that people actually paint their houses for fun.

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Due Date

My due date is today. Not for Sweet Pea, but for Theodore.

There’s a mix of emotions of becoming pregnant soon after a loss. We’re excited for Sweet Pea and talk about her often. We don’t talk about Theodore because there isn’t much to be said. We hardly knew him–no baby kicks, no ultrasound photos, not even a hint of morning sickness. I know it’s easy for some people to assume that we have forgotten little Theodore, but I haven’t.

Tucked in our closet, there is a shoe box.

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There isn’t much in there–some sympathy cards, some articles and sermons about miscarriage, a photo of the pregnancy test, and a few little gifts given in Theodore’s memory. These are the things I have to show that he existed and that he was loved. Earlier this month my husband and I agreed to give a little bit of money to the local crisis pregnancy center in Theodore’s memory.

Even with his sister’s impending arrival, we haven’t forgotten Theodore. And, because life is often complicated and there are things we cannot begin to understand on this side of Heaven, I can celebrate the life of Sweet Pea that I currently carry while mourning the death of her brother.

“The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 2:21). Amen.


Watermelon

Most of the time being a Stay-At-Home-Mom isn’t the most exciting job. Daily tasks seem to fall into 2 categories:

-Keep the household running another day (this involves cooking, cleaning, errands, child wrangling, etc.)

-Teaching my toddler to become a functioning human being (while important, usually involves repetitious and tedious activities like reading a beloved story for the millionth time in an hour).

Admittedly, some days it’s hard to see the worth of working in a dizzying circle of tasks to get the smallest chore or activity completed. It also doesn’t help when a peppy, young college student calls asking for financial support for your Alma Mater and the following conversation ensues:

Student: So what did you get your degree in?

Me: Sociology.

Student: And what job do you currently have?

Me: I’m a Stay-At-Home-Mom.

Student: . . . Um. . . Huh. . . How did you come to do that? I mean, did it just kinda happen?

To be fair to this poor kid, I know he has a script to follow and it probably didn’t have a scenario for tying my degree to being a SAHM.

At any rate, some days are long and hard. But most days have a little taste of pure joy, moments that make this gig wonderful.

Yesterday after nap, I cut up a huge watermelon that a member have given us. I took a bowl of slices outside so Babykins and I could enjoy the late summer sunshine while eating our snack. Watching Babykins happily devour her watermelon was marvelous. She danced around the driveway with juice rolling down her cheeks and chin. We then sat on the front steps and watched the school buses drive away from the school. Babykins excitedly jabbered about the buses rolling past our house. Still eating her watermelon, she then sat next to me on the steps for a few minutes, her sticky arms resting against mine. She was having the time of her life and her happiness brought me contentment.

Of course, moments like these could still occur if I wasn’t home all day, every day. There would still be time after dinner or on the weekends to eat a watermelon outside. But it was such a simple piece of bliss to feel the warm sun, taste the sweet watermelon, and watch my toddler’s joy on a ho-hum Monday afternoon.

 


Popcorn Balls and Keeping it Real

We’re going to our friends’ house for dinner tomorrow night under the guise of a “Corn Festival” (they weren’t able to go back to their hometown’s Corn Festival this year, so I think this is something for their kids to look forward to). Consequently, I had the bright idea to make popcorn balls this morning.

The thing about making popcorn balls from scratch is that you essentially have to make caramel from scratch. That takes time. And since making caramel pretty much involves a million pounds of sugar and heat, Babykins couldn’t “help” me much.

The good news: I made the popcorn balls this morning and they are edible (although some of them have started to come apart since I took the picture).

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The reality check: I pretty much gave Babykins anything to distract her while I was stirring the caramel and she was still tearing around the kitchen, yelling with boredom, by the time I was done.

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The cat also enjoyed finishing a bowl of oatmeal and milk that Babykins had started eating.

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In our world of Pinterest and DIY blogs, it’s good to remember that this whole scenario is most mothers’ reality.

 

 


Ominous Toddler Fortunes

Tonight we went out for Chinese food. This was the fortune in my toddler’s fortune cookie:

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It reads, “Today means action. Carry out your plan.”

Anyone else find the fortune hilariously dark when considering toddler’s capabilities?


It’s a Season

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make an honest effort to create a solid housekeeping routine. Housework had fallen by the way-way-wayside when I struggled with morning sickness and I decided that if I couldn’t get my act together during the second-trimester “golden period”, our house would never survive with 2 kids running around.

I know enough about creating habits to realize that I needed to start my goal small. So I mentally made a weekly checklist of everything that needed to be done: Clean the kitchen counters, sweep and Swiffer the kitchen floor, vacuum, clean the bathroom, and laundry. I would also try to complete a sprinkling of deep cleaning throughout the week. I felt so pleased with myself that I even acknowledged that I probably wouldn’t regularly dust and left it off the list.

It sounded so manageable. Apparently it wasn’t.

To be fair, last week we had a vicious summer cold run through our family, so my low energy and attempts to comfort a snotty toddler certainly didn’t make for superb productivity. But this week hasn’t been any better–cleaning still seems to constantly get interrupted by pressing errands (apparently people around here like to eat and that requires a trip to the grocery store) and unexpected short naps.

In a fit of frustration, I asked my Facebook mommy group how they managed housework while juggling the needs of their families. It turns out I’m not alone in my struggle. For the most part, the season of life involving young children just doesn’t make for pristine homes. It calls for keeping things just above complete chaos and ignoring things like dust in the closets.

Likewise, a friend gave me this dishtowel a few months ago:

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My mom always says that they wouldn’t make things like this unless it was true for numerous people. So here’s to our messy, happy homes!