7 of ’em

Linking with Jen and this is gonna be fastfastfast because I wasn’t even planning on posting and I really don’t have time.  And if THAT doesn’t say, “I love you dear readers” I don’t know what does.  So let’s make this a linky list instead of the usual. (I tried to say “uszh” but I’m not sure how to spell it….)

  1. This blog post is one of the BEST I have ever read.  Even after she had to remove her hilarious pictures (sob!) I still love it.  I don’t talk about it often (ok, maybe I do) but I am a huge breastfeeding supporter/promoter/believer and it’s awesome to hear so much support and also so much humor that I TOTALLY get. And since I won’t be getting 1.5 million unexpected views on my blog, here is my favorite picture she had that she later removed:

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  2. Books I want to read: Fight (A Christian Case for Nonviolence) because it is veeerrrrryyyyy interesting (for lack of a better term) being a usually-anti-war (but always pro-troops!), anti-death-penalty, mostly conservative Christian in the south.  Wow, I’m revealing all sorts of new stuff about myself today.  Also, the author of this book co-authored a book with Francis Chan that I dearly loved, so.  There’s that.  I also want to read Grace-Based Parenting because that concept was rolling around in my head verbatim since I had my first child and it’s something I aspire to and fail at daily.  I’d love some perspective and clarity.  And on a much more shallow note, Death Comes to Pemberly.  Because I am a Jane Austin addict but she is dead and I need SOMETHING to fill in the gap.  Book donations always appreciated.
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  3. Ok, number three and I’m already out of links (and brain cells). Speaking of being out of brain cells, I almost forgot about Malachi’s pre-school orientation today but thankfully I DID remember and it was great. I think he’s going to love it but I dread the crying leave-taking that I KNOW is coming. He starts Tuesday so, prayers for myself and him and also myself much coveted.
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  4. For the 98% of you who linked over here from Facebook, this is old news (yawn) but I’d like to just point out that since my daughter started solids less than two weeks ago she’s eaten an entire butternut squash, 2 sweet potatoes, a whole pear, a whole banana, 2 jars of peas, 2 jars of prunes, and 2 jars of blueberry applesauce.  And she’s heeeee-yuuuuge.
    naomi eats.
  5. Maybe blogging at 9:45 at night when I should be getting ready for bed and a 4-hour trip tomorrow is not a great idea after all.
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  6. For some reason this week a lightbulb turned on and Malachi has figured out how to pronounce things correctly(er).  For example, he now says “ba” for ball instead of “dee.”  He can say “Fo” (four) and “dah-puh” (diaper) and “chich” (church). This is a big leap for him and it makes me really excited.  If he can say “music” soon instead of “da-sich” I will be one very happy mother.  He’s been pretty behind in his development all along, so it was also encouraging today when the preschool teachers talked about focusing on a color a month and I’m like, “My son KNOWS his colors and is VERY familiar with ye-yee already, thank you.”  He also is really, really interested in letters and reading and is watching Wheel of Fortune with even more rapt attention than usual.
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  7. If you’ve lasted this long I feel like I should reward you so let me send you on to happier and funnier pastures.  If you like to make fun of dumb Pinterest pins, this is your new best friend.  If you want to feel really old when you’re not that old, check out this one.  Refreshing perspective on dealing with curse words here.  And trust, me this is a good idea.  I know because I said the mother of all curse words once, was told not to repeat it, and promptly asked my other parent what it meant who was so taken aback that that was the day I got THE talk.  The birds and bees talk.  And on that note….. Bye.
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7 Quick Takes Numero Seis

  1. Let’s start off with a confession slash funny story and let me preface it by saying: No one got hurt. Naomi has been napping in our bed since she was born because having two kids under three share a room was probably not the best decision I’ve ever made. Anyway, this past Sunday she was napping on a guest bed right next to where I was sitting so I knew I would hear her when she woke up.  I finally heard the mild “I’m frustrated” fuss and went to get her. But she wasn’t there. I couldn’t find her. I could hear a muffled fuss (not really a cry) and walked around the room til I saw one foot sticking out from under the dust ruffle. She somehow managed to fall off and roll under the bed and I don’t know how she did either because the pillow barrier was untouched and the bed isn’t that high off the ground. So yeah. Bed sleeping days are over. Except for today because Malachi was making noise when she was dosing off and so….
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    We are living on the edge.  The very well-protected edge.
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  2. I’m currently the classiest of the classy and watching Wife Swap. Judge me not. This one has a legit Rastafari family (look that up if you want your head to spin). The other is the most controlling family I’ve ever seen. The Rasta family keeps saying things like “The $8,000 you are going to spend on a home theater could buy 800,000 mosquito nets for kids in Africa,” and “Jah will provide,” and they are pro-homeschooling. And they are also crazy, don’t get me wrong, BUT. Never did I ever think I’d see the day when I was more in line with the Rastas than the type-A chore charters. Just call me Rastafallie (get it?). But there will be a chore chart in my home one day. Rest assured.
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  3. Naomi is currently sleeping in the bathroom. Or not sleeping, I should say. She went from being the most! amazing! sleeper! ever! to waking up 1 to 3 times a night. Today the doctor encouraged me to “ignore her” and let her learn to sleep on her own. We’ll see how long I can handle that, but she needs to be not in Malachi’s room and not in our room lest she see me and start doing horizontal jumping jacks and so….bathroom it is.
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  4. Speaking of the doctor, we saw a different doctor today and I’m not a huge fan. I wish I knew why – maybe because she is just loud enough to make Malachi nervous (not difficult) or maybe it’s because no one will ever be as awesome as our normal doctor or maybe it’s her purple lipstick. I’m leaning towards the lipstick.
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  5. I’m sorry to report that my garden does not look good.  Not sure if my tomatoes are gonna make it or not and half of me wants to pick them while they are green and let them ripen indoors and half of me wants to give it another chance because maybe tomatoes come back to life after 70% of the branches and leaves are dead? Maybe? No? Here’s a picture of this week’s harvest:
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    What do you think I should do with the five green beans? Are there any recipes out there that call of 1.3 ounces of pole beans?
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  6. Last week I asked you to like Anderson’s Facebook page for me so I could be the thousandth like. I’ve had their page open on my computer for a week, and I refresh it religiously to see if it’s close yet. Yesterday they were only 6 away and I was being very serious about my monitoring (what I will do for 10 bucks…sad). Then they sent out a text blast reminding people about it while I was putting Malachi down for a nap. And being the boring, responsible, stupid, boring, responsible mother that I am… I finished nap time and by the time I got out to my computer…. 1,004 likes. I was so disappointed I shut my computer lid and come to think of it, I don’t think I ever did actually “like” them. Petty much?
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  7. On a more serious note, I’ve had two things on my mind a lot lately. One that I was grappling with last night is the “trend” or whatever of growing, faithful, ministering Christians cussing like it’s totally normal. The other thing I was thinking about a lot is the vaccine issue. Being a mom and learning about vaccines is hard because there is SO much information and SO many conflicting “facts” and SO many accusations of who is a trustworthy source and who is not… Anyways, yesterday I came across this article about Christians swearing, and today I came across this article about vaccines. And while I am still thinking a lot about both issues, it was like God just said, “I hear you, and here’s what I want you to see today.” He is good like that, isn’t He?

Go see Jen, the hostess with the mostess, for more takes!

Both

Naomi was having a fussy day today. There are times I try to swallow the mommy-heartbreak that happens when you listen to your child cry so that I can focus on meeting Malachi’s needs. I put Naomi in her swing, give her her baby doll and paci, and then pray she calms down long enough for me to read him a story and put him down for a nap without feeling guilty. There are other times when I meet her needs first because I just have to and see the disappointment on my son’s face. Last week he rediscovered an old story and was so, so excited to read it at nap time. I made a big deal out of it, called him over, and Naomi immediately started crying the kind of cry that just can’t be ignored. I quickly said, “Hang on, buddy, I need to help Nani” (which he understands) and then looked over just in time to see the smile fall from his face and his head dip and I thought, This sucks.

I have good, happy, healthy kids. I can’t imagine what families go through who have a special needs child among their lot. But sometimes it’s hard to choose one need over another. It’s hard to ignore a crying baby who doesn’t understand and it’s surprisingly even harder to make an excited child wait while you rock his sister in his chair during his story time.

But what I love about having two young children is the ways they surprise me. Like yesterday when I tried to get Malachi down for a nap while Naomi fussed in her crib. I tried to just focus on him, focus on reading his story, but he wouldn’t let me.

“Uh-oh. Nani! Uh-oh.” He wouldn’t take his nap until she stopped crying. Today when she skipped a nap and fussed and fussed and fussed and fussed on his own accord he stayed by her side the whole time I did dishes handing her one toy after another after another trying to make her happy.

A few months ago we had the most discouraging doctor’s appointment. Malachi’s iron had dropped again, which was just incredibly disheartening for me. Then I learned that his speech is of concern and I needed to watch his development in that area. Then he had shots. Then Naomi had shots.

I’m not a mom who cries with my kids when they get hurt. Believe me, I cry, but they don’t see it. I try to stay as calm and composed as I can for their sake. But watching my son get his finger pricked to test his iron and then get two separate shots all the while saying, “All done! All done!” is incredibly hard. I hate it. After his shots were over and he was finally calming down a bit the nurse came back in to do Naomi’s shots. And Malachi started crying and panicking as soon as he realized what was happening. “Nani! All done! All done!” and when she lost it, so did he. As a mom, that might have been the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moment I’ve had.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. I guess just to say that I know there are people out there who think I’m crazy for having my kids so close together (not that close, in my opinion, but ok). There are probably people who would think it’s “unfair” to them both and that I asked for it. But the truth is, they are precious. They love each other tremendously. And although Malachi is very 2 and he sometimes throws toys at Naomi’s head or “helps” her roll over or tries to feed her with the salad spoon I didn’t know he had, the truth is he adores her and he protects her. He worries about her when she cries in the middle of the night and tells me when she drops things and mimics her sounds and laughs when she laughs and excitedly says “Nani!” whenever she wakes up. And of course she practically worships him and will continue to do so for a while, I think and hope and pray.

And there are moments. There are moments when having two tiny people is hard. The hardest is when they are both hurting or both tired or both whatever and I can’t help them both at once. But the best is when they are both cuddling with me, both listening as I read a story, both touching each other’s face, both laughing, or both sleeping in the backseat. They already have their own relationship apart from me. Malachi already takes care of her when he thinks I’m not doing enough. She already looks for him whenever she hears him and tries to crawl toward him when she finds him.

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They are everything I hoped they would be and more.

7QT again

It’s Friday!  Linking with Jen.

  1. My garden is a constant source of frustration for me.  My tomatoes were doing KILLER – so exciting!!!  Then stinkbugs started eating them.  No biggie – I looked up solutions and dealt with that problem.  But now they seem to have some kind of disease.  It’s either a wilt or blight, if you are interested.  And from what it sounds like there isn’t much I can do about either.  I am going to be devastated if I lose my tomatoes – all 20 or 30 green ones out there.  Not to mention the nonstop frustration that is my strawberry plants.  Better luck next year, I guess.
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  2. Well, that was a pretty negative note to start out on.  Let’s try again!  I made my first baby food for Naomi today.  I can’t believe she is that old already.  Plus it brought back memories of when Malachi was that little.  The slimy butternut squash all over my hand, not being able to get all the meat out of the peel, turning off the food processor to discover the baby is screaming in terror at the noise and you didn’t realize it… been there, done all those.
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  3. Ok, take three.  Think positive!  Tonight we are going to a baseball game with Jeremy’s coworkers.  There is going to be free food and the kids (well, the kid, realistically) get unlimited access to the bounce house and the bounce house and the bounce house, because I don’t think the batting cage or the fast pitch station are good choices for Malachi at this point.  Anyways, it is beautiful out (just what you came here for! another commentary on the weather!) and I’m excited.
    If Malachi could remember this, he would be excited, too.

    If Malachi could remember this, he would be excited, too.

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  4. Just got back from getting Naomi up from another spectacular 20-minute nap.  If I had a penny for every time this week that I’ve said “I’m not gonna fight with you, honey, I’m just not” I’d probably have enough money for a bouncy-ball from the Wal-mart lobby.  The lesson here is, don’t try any more dairy “just to see if she’s better yet” ever again ever.  Ever.
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  5. Because putting a humor pin on your blog is NEVER a cop out, let me just give you a couple from my narcissistic board called “Sounds Like Me.”  Here’s one that describes my life pretty much all the time:
    funny-sarcasm-point-kiddingHere’s one that explains why I never feel like I have anything together:

    And here’s one that pretty much describes what’s going on right now:

    And when I say I have no shame, I really do mean it.
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  6. Wanna help me win ten bucks?  You know you do.  There’s an awesome country market nearby and whoever is their 1000th “like” gets a gift card.  I haven’t liked them yet because I’m waiting for precisely 19 more people to go first.  Help a mutha out.
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  7. Let’s see, what else can I bore you with….  Jeremy took Malachi to the playground the other day and when Malachi lost his footing and Jeremy responsibly left him hanging, Malachi figured out how to hang from stuff.  And now we walk into various rooms and find him hanging from his crib, the sink, the upstairs balcony (kidding! for now…) and yelling out “HA ha! haHA!”  I really really wish I had a picture to show you but I don’t and while I’m nowhere near beyond re-staging a past moment to look natural, Malachi is sleeping and I like to let sleeping monsters lie.
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    Hasta.

A Conversation with My Children about Going Outside

Key:     Ja-Ja = outside    Haish-ee = shoe     Na-Ni = Naomi     Da-Dee = doggie

Allie:  Malachi, do you want to go outside?

Malachi:  Ja-Ja!

Allie:  Hang on, we gotta get some shoes on first.

Malachi:  Haish-ee!

Allie:  Come on, let’s get your shoes.

Malachi:  Ja-Ja!

Allie:  We’ll go outside after we get your shoes.  Oh, and Na-Ni needs a new diaper, too.

Malachi:  Na-Ni.

Allie:  Ok, come here.  Let’s get your shoes on.

Malachi:

Allie:  Put your foot in.

Malachi:  Haish-ee!  HAISH-ee!  Haaaaiiiiisssshhhh-eeeee!!!

Allie:  Buddy, let’s get your first shoe on and then we’ll get that one!  I won’t let you go out with just one shoe, don’t worry.

Malachi:  Haish-ee.

Allie:  Ok, let me change Na-Ni’s diaper.

Malachi:  Haish-ee!

Allie:  No, buddy, you already have sandals on.  You don’t need to wear your sneakers, too.

Malachi:  Haish-ee!

Allie:  Naomi, stop rolling over so I can change your diaper, baby girl.

Malachi:  Haish-ee.

Allie:  Naomi honey, hang on a second, baby.

Naomi:

Allie:  Naomi.  Just a second, baby girl, then you can roll over.

Malachi:  Na-Ni.

Naomi:

Allie:  Ohmyword.  Naomi, honey, please be still!

Malachi:  Ja-Ja!

Allie:  Ok, buddy, let’s go.

Malachi:  Ja-JAAAA!!!!!

Allie:  Oh wait.  Let me get Na-Ni in her seat.

Malachi:  Na-ni.  Ja-Ja!

Allie:  We’re gonna go outside, I just have to put Na-Ni in her seat so I have a free hand to pick vegetables with.

Malachi:  Na-Ni.  Da-dee.  Mama.  Ja-Ja!

**Five minutes later.**

Allie:  Malachi, it’s really hot.

Malachi:  Hot.

Allie:  Let’s go back inside.

7 Quick Takes “I’m So Busy Tomorrow I’ll Write This a Day Early” Edition

Linking with Jen!

  1. Every mom will tell you that silence is not golden but instead is whatever color suspicion is. Naomi goes down for her nap during Malachi’s lunch time, which seems like a great idea because he is a prisoner of his high chair and I can spend however long it takes to get her screaming, arching, razzing, flipping person to just reLAX and go to SLEEP. Today when I walked back out to the mess hall Malachi had been saying “uh-oh” for a couple minutes which is code for “I did something bad and I’m trying to pass it off as an accident.” Upon closer inspection I realized he was SOAKED in milk. Since Naomi was napping I couldn’t access his closet so I grabbed the first clean shirt I could find in the laundry pile and he wore this gem of an outfit for the rest of the day:
    hot messHot mess.  Don’t blame me for the 1 sock which somehow doesn’t match either his green stripey shirt or blue camo shorts in this ensemble – he picked them out himself.
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  2. Yesterday at approx 2 in the p.m. I went out to pick some veggies from my garden and my oft-drunk neighbor was possibly enjoying the happiest hour of his life ifyouknowwhatImean.  He was standing on his front porch, shirtless, drinking a can of beer, pointing at nothing in the middle of the street, and singing “Drop it Like it’s Hot” at the top of his lungs.  When I got up on our deck within eye-shot of him I nervously scampered inside because I didn’t want him to see me and try to conversate because…no.  I did briefly consider dropping it like it was hot in the confines of my yard where no one could see but the stink bugs, but I decided against it. Especially after he switched to the next song and started screaming “I’m a gangsta! You don’t want me in yo neiba-hood!”  There might be some truth to that…
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  3. On Wednesday Jenny asked us to find out our personality type and since I love love love love love all manner of self-analysis multiple-choice stuff (LOVE), I did it.  I am INFJ and though I didn’t put much stock into it at first, when I read this description I was blown away.  Blown. A. Way. Quiet exterior, deep convictions, good with languages, writes better than they speak, has tons of opinions that they only express to a few people (!!!), comes across standoffish….seriously this might warrant another post in the future.  Take yours and tell me what you are.  Really!
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  4. I’m writing this on Thursday night (cheater). That stupid butterfly that I kicked the other night is now going off ON ITS OWN. I can hear it through the monitor. I’ve never liked butterflies (except real ones) and maybe it knows and it’s out to get me. I’m afraid it will wake Malachi up. And all this is significant enough to me that I am sharing it with the web-i-verse.  Get a life, Allie.
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  5. So this right here?  DISGUSTING.  In case you are too lazy to click the link (I know you are), here’s a picture:

    Naomi has a cold and I can’t clear her nose for the life of me, but now I think maybe I should just stop trying. It seems my only other options are battery-powered aspirators (too expensive for Mrs. Coupon Crazy) or those snot suck things which, I mean, I KNOW that the “straw” (ew ew ew) has a blocker doohicky but… It just creeps me out too much.  I wonder if my laziness would actually pay off though, because I only ever wipe off Naomi’s blue thing (which Malachi calls “Nee!” which means “Nose!”) – I don’t actually wash it out.  Maybe it’s not moldy because of that? I don’t know, but I kind of want to cut it in half now to check.
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  6. I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 at the library this week (and yes, the library is my second home, thanks for asking). I’d never seen it either and I actually cried. Like, more than once.  I have a pretty good poker face and ability to hide my emotions (feel free to psychoanalyze that however you like) at first I thougt, “No. NO. I will not cry. Don’t be stupid. This is a kid’s movie.” By the second time I’m just thinking, “This is SO embarrassing.  I need to get my junk together before they turn the lights on. Geez.”

    It did make me feel a wee bit guilty though.  I had so many stuffed animals as a child that they filled about 10 large outdoor black garbage bags.  Over the years I whittled it down to 5 bags, then 2, and now I have most of my stuffed animals in a toy hammock in the kids’ room because I can justify keeping them “for my kids!” even though they can’t even reach the hammock, much less tell what’s in it. Pathetically, though, I have another bag of animals upstairs in a storage closet that I love too much to even share with my kids and they are MINEallMINE!  I need to give some of them away. What’s the best place to give them to?
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  7. This weekend we’re off to visit my dad’s family in their new house which we haven’t seen yet.  I’m excited but also dreading the whole Malachi-clinging-to-my-body-like-a-leech thing that happens when he is in an unfamiliar place. Say a prayer for us!

Erring on the side of compassion

Today the moment we all dread happened to me. In the semi-sketchy parking lot of the downtown library, steps away from the bus station, I got hit up for money. I was in the middle of trying to get both kids and all their accouterments out of the car while making sure that Malachi didn’t run into the middle of the street. A skinny, young, shy, black kid with the absolute quietest voice I have ever listened to approached me and I knew what was coming. “Excuse me, ma’am?  I’m not trying to bother you or nothin’ but I just got out of jail and I’m trying to get somethin’ to eat.”

I used to always say no. I’d shake my head and say “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything,” which 90% of the time was not true. Not once has anyone asked me twice – they just thanked me and walked away. My heart would kick a bit and I’d drive away feeling awkward and a little guilty and mostly just unsure of myself and ready to move on with my day. And I would.

Growing up my Pop would drive people to restaurants and buy them meals and I always really admired that. He didn’t want to feed a drug or alcohol habit but he also didn’t want to leave a hungry person without food in their stomach, so he met the need. Men would thank him, eat a hot meal, and hear the truth about a Jesus who loves them. I’ve known of people who carry McDonald’s gift certificates with them to give to beggars.

Once I heard a story about a man who bought value meals for an entire family of visibly hungry people. The father was so angry he wasn’t given money that he threw it all in the trash while his children cried and asked if that was their dinner and why they couldn’t eat it.

There’s always a risk.

I’ve heard so many Christians talk about “being good stewards.” About how we need to be generous but we also need to be responsible with our money and take care of our families.  About how they didn’t work hard for their money to give it to someone who might “waste” it. I agree we should care for our families, but I disagree that generosity and responsibility are on separate ends of the pendulum.

Where in the Bible does it say to care for the poor as long as we know they aren’t drunk? Where does it say to give food to the hungry as long as we’re sure they have really tried to get a job first? When did God make us responsible for what happens to our money after we let it go? When, in fact, did God ever tell us it is “our” money?

I live in a small town, so it’s easier for me. I don’t walk home from work and pass countless dirty, shoe-less people asking for spare change.  I might get asked for money 3 or 4 times a yearI live in a bubble, and I know it. When Jeremy and I were in Seattle we walked down the “wrong” street and passed about 10 beggars in a block. If I had given something to all of them I wouldn’t have had anything left. I don’t have an answer for the bigger problem.

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But the inability to help everyone does not exonerate us from the responsibility to help someone.  Have you ever read the story of the man throwing star fish back into the sea? The beach was covered with them and left in the sun they would surely die. Someone told him to stop because there were thousands of them and he wasn’t making a difference. “It made a difference to that one,” he said.

At the end of my life, I think it’s far more likely that God would honor any generosity I managed to show than to reprimand me for it. “Well done, my good and faithful servant, except I wish you wouldn’t have given so much money away.” No, just…no.

I do believe in responsibility. I believe that long-term solutions are preferable to short-term ones. I think dependency and the white-savior complex are dangerous and I believe in sustainability and interdependence. I also believe in compassion. And when faced with a difficult choice, one in which there may not even be a right or wrong response, I want to err on the side of grace. I want to err on the side of hope. I want them to see Christ in me, and I have a feeling he wouldn’t tell them he didn’t have any change and then drive away to meet his friends at Starbucks. I’d rather give and hope than hold back and wonder.

I couldn’t very well take the young man to McDonald’s with both my kids and buy him a meal. I didn’t have any gift cards on me. So I gave the young man, who looked the age of my oldest brother, the last 2 dollars of my clothing budget for the month. I smiled at him and said “You’re welcome.” I wish I had said Jesus loved him, that he could be free in his soul like he now was in his body, that I cared about him, but I didn’t say any of that. After I got my kids out of the car I turned to see if he really had walked to the McDonald’s or not.  I saw the choice he made. And you know what?

It really doesn’t matter.