The Mother’s Day Gift from Babykins

On Tuesday, the girls and I made our weekly trek to the library’s storytime. The craft for that day supposed to be a card for the children’s mothers. I’m not sure why the craft was making a Mother’s Day card since it’s generally mothers who attend storytime, but what do I know? I strapped Sweet Pea into the baby carrier and started to help Babykins make my card.

Admittedly, the card idea was cute. The children were supposed to fold a paper in half, trace their hand so the thumb and pointer finger rested on the fold, and cut the traced hand out. Then they would have a card in the shape of their hand.

Once the hand card was cut out, then the children’t were supposed to decorate it with crayons and stickers.

However, the card idea didn’t transition well into reality. First, Babykins is tiny. Her hand card was about 3 inches at its widest part. Secondly, Babykins’s favorite part about making storytime crafts is destroying them. She immediately tore her hand card in half. She then proceeded to make a scribble and stick a sticker on it before cheerfully announcing, “All done!”

I could really feel the love she put into my card. ūüėČ

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Question of the Night

How long does it take before watching the live stream of Call Night before you no longer have a very vivid flashback to your husband’s Call Night? The intense feeling of nervousness was still plenty strong tonight even though we’re 3 years out.


Keeping It Real on Good Friday

Yesterday I took both girls to a midday service for Good Friday at another church in our circuit. Generally I try not to get too worked up about circus act that comes with bringing two little children to church. However, Good Friday services are so somber and quiet that the girls’ inevitable antics seem especially jarring even in the most child-friendly churches. Why? Because while people are reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death, things like this are going down in our pew:

  1. 4 month old Sweet Pea grinning like a fool in the silent sanctuary.
  2. 2.5 year old Babykins slamming her water bottle against the pew.
  3. Sweet Pea needing to eat during the sermon.
  4. Me realizing that Babykins is pooping right before communion (I left her in the pew to finish her business while I went up).
  5. Babykins loudly annoucing, “All done pooping!” as the rest of the congregation silently leave the sanctuary.

Needless to say, the feeling of piety was pretty low after that. At least the children keep me humble.

 


Witnessing Childhood

A lot of dealing with parenthood–at least with parenting babies and toddlers–is gallows humor. The daily work of raising these little people is¬†hard and there are no guaranteed breaks. So when parents face a crappy day (figuratively or literally), they seemingly have 2 choices: Cry in a corner¬†or laugh about it. Consequently, there are lots of jokes about things like chronic sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums.

I have nothing against this humor. A fair share of my content here is laughing about the absurdity of motherhood. Frankly, humor is a good way to stave off despair and it would be difficult to learn how to give up my selfish desires without a chuckle here and there.

However, I’ve recently discovered a new joy in motherhood: Watching my toddler play. I’m not talking about stacking blocks or throwing balls. While it is fun to see those types of skills develop, it’s not going to hold my attention for long. But Babykins has recently begun imaginative play and creates her own worlds with Legos, dolls, or whatever else strikes her fancy. It’s enthralling to watch her little stories play out, oblivious to the reality around her.

For example, the other day we were eating sliced peppers with our lunch. After she had devoured a couple of slices, Babykins picked one up. Her pepper then walked across her placemat and hopped back across. Next, the pepper leaped off the side of the table but was able to fly back to the plate. It then walked across the placemat again, only to have its legs bitten of by Babykins. She then apologized to the pepper and gave it a hug.

This little play had nothing to do with me. I certainly didn’t suggest that she anthropomorphize the pepper slice; she’s learning to use her imagination without specific direction. I was amazed at the hilarity and sweetness (and slight creepiness due to the violent “leg” amputation) of the pepper’s story. What a joy it was to see Babykins play like this.

While there is still plenty of gallows humor in my daily life (after all, we haven’t even started potty training yet), I’m beginning to find more and more enjoyment in simply seeing my sweet Babykins grow. Every person has a childhood, but it’s a parents’ privilege to be able to witness their children’s childhood as well.


Baby Sleep: A Tale of Ecstasy and Woe

Sweet Pea is 4 months old, which means we have already cycled through many sleep phases in her short life. Despite this being my second child and despite the fact that Babykins now sleeps through the night even though we let her sleep with many “bad habits” (Nap in the swing? Check. No schedule? Check. Nursing to sleep? Check. Nursing in the middle of the night? Check.), I still find myself subject to the roller coaster of emotions relating to baby sleep.

Sweet Pea will go through a few days that she sleeps “by the book”. Her awake times are predictable, she goes down for naps without a fight, and she drifts off to sleep at night in a timely manner. Then I feel like a sleep master–I unlocked the magical door to my baby’s sleep!

But then everything will fall apart and Sweet Pea just. won’t. sleep. Careful observation of her wake times does nothing. Turning off all the lights in the bedroom just means she yells in the dark. Leaving the house doesn’t make her sleepy. And when she does sleep, it’s only for a short time. At that point, it’s fairly clear that I’m a failure as a sleep guru and a mother.

But here’s the secret that all those sleep books and blog posts never fully admit: YOU CAN’T MAKE A BABY SLEEP! Sure, there are things you can do to encourage sleep but babies do what they want, when they want.

Now could someone please remind me of this about every other day? Thanks.


Cooking With 2 Littles

One of the biggest struggles of running a household with a baby and toddler is meals. In this season of “survival mode”, many things can be put off. The bathroom doesn’t have to be cleaned today, the garage can stay messy for another couple of months, and those projects I have pinned to various boards on Pintrest can wait a couple of years. But we have to eat today. To be precise, we have to eat several times today and these people are going to be hungry again tomorrow! It would also be preferable if most of these foods are healthy.

Our family is still small enough that every meal doesn’t need to be planned out. Breakfast is usually cereal, bagels, or oatmeal. Lunch is either leftovers or sandwiches. Snacks are fruit, cheese, and graham crackers. So that leaves supper, that tricky time of day when Sweet Pea is less likely to nap and Babykins is having her pre-bedtime crazies. Fancy dinners that require constant attention and precise timing just can’t happen right now. Consequently, I’ve been relying heavily on two kitchen appliances these past few months: my slow cooker and my rice cooker.

Many people are familiar with slow cookers–throw in your ingredients in the morning and have a meal by dinnertime. My requirements for slow cooker meals is that it doesn’t take a lot of precooking. The point of using the Crock Pot is so that I don’t have to cook! About the only thing I’ll consider precooking is browning ground beef. Anything else means the recipe is a no-go.

It used to be that I wanted recipes that contained the entire meal so I wouldn’t have to worry about making a side dish during the afternoon. This made finding simple and yummy meals extremely difficult. Then I got a rice cooker for Christmas and it has been a game changer! Since I can program my rice cooker to finish the rice at a certain time (and it also has a “Keep Warm” setting), I can prep the rice during quiet time. Easy peasy!

Here are some of my tried and true favorite recipes that helps keep dinner on our table:

Broccoli Cheese Soup: This recipe takes a little more hands on work at the end but my husband enjoys this soup.

BBQ Pork Tenderloin: I put carrots and potatoes in with the meat to make a full meal.

Potato Soup: An extremely simple recipe!

Whole Chicken: The leftover chicken is perfect for things like quesadillas or fried rice.

Make with Rice

Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks

Chicken Curry

Honey Ginger Chicken: Typically I make this in my 3 qt. Crock Pot and cook it on high for 2.5-3 hours.

What are your favorite slow cooker meals?

 

 


Geese in an Uneven V

A couple of weeks ago I was walking into church with the girls when one of our elders met us outside. He pointed to Babykins the flocks of geese flying north high above our heads. As Babykins excitedly watched the birds, the elder asked me, “You know how geese always fly in a “V” shape?”

“Oh, yes,” I replied.

The elder continued his question, “Have you ever noticed how one side of the “V” is always longer than the other?”

“I have, actually!” I said.

“Do you know why that is?” the elder asked in a tone that implied that he knew the answer.

“No, do you?” I asked,¬†curious about the reason.

“Why, yes,” the elder gleefully stated, “It’s because one side has more geese than the other!”

flying-v

I don’t know which is worse: The joke or the fact I found said joke genuinely funny.¬†


That Awkward Moment When the Substitute Pastor Doesn’t Show

My husband gets 3 Sundays off a year. While 3 Sundays off is more than some pastors get, we still have to consider carefully how to best use these Sundays. Last year we used 2 of the Sundays for vacations (because we’ve found that a vacation isn’t really a vacation when he still has to write a sermon) but saved the third Sunday for after Sweet Pea was born. That way he could take a full week off as we tried to settle into our new normal.

Unfortunately, the week Sweet Pea was born was a Sunday that my husband hadn’t lined up an “on call” substitute (it was Thanksgiving weekend and his go-to subs were either already booked or out of town). My husband suggested that he take the following Sunday off but I was anxious to get Sweet Pea baptized on that Sunday. I came up with a different solution: He get a substitute pastor to preach but he would do the rest of the service, including the baptism. My rational at the time (which was just a few days postpartum, so not thinking clearly) was that not writing a sermon would free up time in his schedule during the week and that Sunday could still seem vacation-like. It made sense in the moment. :p

At any rate, the night before the baptism we were under a winter storm advisory. Several inches of snow was predicted to fall overnight and continue until late morning. I spent that Saturday fretting about the possibly of church being cancelled and not being able to get Sweet Pea baptized. I started asking my husband if we could still do the baptism even if church was cancelled. One of the in town elders could witness it for the sake of good order and whatnot. Worry, worry, worry. Fret, fret, fret.

Sunday morning arrived and while the roads weren’t great, members who lived in town could still safely get to church. The service was still on!

We arrived at church about 20 minutes prior to the service. I rushed to get Babykins settled and Sweet Pea dressed in her baptismal gown. However, since family members were there to help, we were actually settled into the pew in time for the pre-service announcements. As my husband read through the announcements, he casually mentioned, “Well, Pastor M. hasn’t arrived yet, so let’s hope he gets here in time for the sermon. Otherwise, I’ll be preaching off the cuff!” Since I have a terrible poker face, my husband glanced at my face and stated,

sub-sunday

If you read the title of this post, you can already guess what happened: Pastor M. didn’t make the service. So my husband preached a five minute sermon without any preparation. I missed most of the sermon because I was feeding Sweet Pea but apparently the congregation liked the content. Definitely not a Sunday off for him, but it made for a memorable service!

Note:¬†Pastor M. was fine and had a legitimate reason for missing the service (as could have been assumed since pastors don’t just forget to go to church). His car had slid off the snowy road and got stuck in a ditch. He had texted my husband to tell him this but my husband had already locked his phone in his office.¬†

 

 


How Toddlers and Cats are Alike: Giant Sheets of Paper

My husband’s birthday was last week. In order to kill time add to the festivities, I thought it would be fun if Babykins and I made a birthday banner. So I hauled out a long piece of banner paper, dumped out some crayons, and went to work.

I outlined the words “Happy Birthday, Daddy!” (inspired, I know) and told Babykins that we were going to color the paper. She colored for about 30 seconds and then proceeded to gleefully roll around on the paper. Then one of our cats joined her. The toddler and the cat, both enjoying a giant sheet of paper in the same unhelpful way.

babies-and-cats-birthday-banner

I never did finish that banner.

 


The Diaper Drying Experiment

Our dryer has recently had the audacity to break on me–during our bought with the stomach flu, no less.

0123170853

It couldn’t even break in a decent way like the heat going out or the tumbler malfunctioning. No, it had to do something stupid like have the “Start” knob snap off. You’re a jerk, dryer!

Once upon a time, I thought I could easily get by without a dryer. What an ignorant lady I was! I’ve been frantically trying to keep up with our laundry because hanging everything to dry adds a fair amount of time to this chore. A big part of the problem is the cloth diapers.

I do a load of cloth diapers every other day since we have 2 in diapers. This load takes up almost all of the space on my drying racks. Additionally, the diapers take well over 24 hours to completely dry (and that’s with a fan blowing on them). That means other loads of laundry can’t go through the wash until the diapers are finished drying.

However, a couple of years ago I read a blog post about line drying diapers even in the winter. I didn’t save it, so I can’t reference it now, but it seemed to claim that diapers on the line could be a year-round endeavor. Generally I have no motivation to hang up diapers when it’s freezing outside, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I was a little skeptical that the diapers would dry but the only way I would know is by trying.

The Experiment 

It was sunny, windy, and a high of 22 degrees on the day I tested this theory. I hung up the diapers at 11:15 a.m. and took them down at about 5:30 p.m. They were in direct sunlight for a good chunk of this time. I use prefold diapers and I’ve heard those generally take less time to dry than all-in-one diapers.

img_1210

Dry, diapers, dry!

The Findings

The diapers were frozen stiff on the line when I took them off. When I brought them inside and they thawed a bit, they were almost as wet as when I initially hung them outside. People with half a brain probably could have predicted that outcome given the fact that other sources of water remain frozen on cold, sunny days, but I was hoping something magical would happen when the sun’s rays hit the cloth diapers.

And no, science wasn’t my strongest subject in school.

Conclusion 

Almost complete failure.

In hindsight, the half remembered blog post may have been talking about¬†sun bleaching diapers year-round, not actually drying them. And I will admit that my diapers do look significantly brighter. However, line drying outside wasn’t the space saver I was hoping it would be since I had to rehang all the diapers inside. Ain’t nobody got time for that with a toddler and infant to tend.

Bottom Line

I need to get the dryer repaired ASAP.

 

*Update on 2/9/17*

So a bit of research has shown that you can line dry clothes in the winter. . . sometimes. I think it was too humid the day I tried.

But at any rate, I fixed my dryer a few hours after I posted this! ūüôā