Friday, March 27, 2009

Ah, This Will Fill All That Free Time

Someone is coming to look at our house tomorrow!

Which is awesome timing because I just didn't know what to do with all the extra time on my hands this weekend.

It's nice to have some cleaning to do when I'm supposed to be working, so I can work on those multitasking skills. And to need to clear every living creature out of the house in the middle of the day without leaving any rubble behind is divine.

(Sarcasm about timing aside, this is very good!)

This Life Is Kicking My Life's Butt

Once upon a time I was going to write a post about how hard it is for me to catch up and keep up on things right now. That was yesterday. And Monday. And last week. And three weeks ago.

Ha ha ha ha ha, said my life.

I love all (well, almost all) the parts of my life, I really do. I love face wiping and hair doing and story reading. I love dodgeball and rides home and spirited discussions with teenagers. I love reading and re-reading and feeling like a manuscript is better now than when it came to me. I love helping our church move forward, helping my husband fulfill his call, and helping pay the bills.

But sometimes I don't love how all those parts all pile together, all the time.

I hate that my blog is all pictures and no words because I have so many words that it would take days to get them out and no days during which to do so. I hate that when I get behind on things, it takes weeks to feel caught up, if I ever do. I hate that I should be working on being proactive on many things but I'm just keeping up with the here and now.

This life, this schedule, is kind of kicking my butt right now. It's kicking the butt of the life it's supposed to add up to, because it's just a bit too much of a good thing sometimes. And I hate to say that, because there may be no more spoiled rotten kind of complaint in the world than "I have too much of a good thing." But it can feel that way sometimes--like I want all these things in my life, but I can't quite handle them all at once, all the time.

In theory and on paper it's all quite manageable. Sometimes I think about other people with more kids and Real Jobs and Big Important Things to do and I actually feel like quite the royal slacker. Then of course that theory of relativity goes out the window when something comes along to throw off schedules and we all get tired and someone skips her nap and I think Child, if you don't stop shrieking and get off that floor, I'm gonna throw YOU out the window!

(Dear social workers: I would never really throw my child out the window. There's a screen.)

All this to say . . . I'm really glad it's spring break right now. We've had a little bit of a break from the activities. But it is a big, busy weekend for our church search committee (please pray!), and Monday I realized it is going to be miraculous if I can get all the work I need to done before I go to Denver next week--and I need to, because I really need for that to be a vacation.

Our friend and Aaron's old boss would often say that youth ministry is not rocket science. But it's hard. That's how I often feel about what I do: parenting is not rocket science, but it's hard. It's hard because it's constant. It's not hard to understand; it's hard to do, hard to keep up with.

That's how all of life is sometimes. With all these things in my life that I love doing but sometimes still don't want to do, it's not the thing itself that sometimes seems like too much; it's the getting started and the keeping going. It's not the doing, it's the discipline--the doing it even when you don't want to part. That's true of everything worth doing: parenting, marriage, creating, working, being healthy, mentoring, praying, listening. Getting started or pushing through the mundane or difficult parts can be hard, but once you break through, there's a zone of deep reward, satisfaction, and joy.

So I'm digging deep for a little more gumption for the next six days: enough to work hard so I can enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done; to be present in the lives of the teenagers who come to our event and ride in my car; to listen to Spirit guidance above my own desires and fears; to be attentive and loving to my husband and daughter so we are family, not just people living in a house; to not just do but live this life.

And waiting on the other side of this week: Rocky Mountain High. I can't wait.

How do you dig deep and keep going when the constancy of life catches up to you?

P.S.: Sorry this is so long. Finding enough time to edit it would take me another three weeks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Travel Question

I'm going to Denver in a couple weeks, as are my parents, to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Me, a two-year-old, an airplane--two and a half hours. The question is: to bring car seat or not to bring car seat?

I'm thinking it would be easier to strap Anna in and tell her she can't get out, just like in the car, than to have her wiggling everywhere. Last time she slept two hours one flight, which I doubt would happen with no seat. A contained and possibly sleeping child would probably be much nicer for the poor person in our row than Queen Wigglesworth demonstrating her hopping abilities on the seat.

On the other hand, I will have to get the seat, the suitcase, the backpack, and the child from parking to luggage checking by myself. Once I check the suitcase it won't be quite so bad, and thankfully it's a direct flight, so no problems hauling it through another airport. But I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble or not. My sister-in-law can borrow one for Anna to use if I don't want to bring it, so it's not a must.

I'm thinking the deciding factor may be whether or not I can find some way to strap the seat onto my suitcase for the car-to-luggage-check portion of the trip.

What say ye who have traveled solo with toddler?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday: God's-Eye View

From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;

from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth

he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do. . . .

The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

Psalm 33:13–15, 18

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Overheard in Youth Work

Student 1: What’s a commodity?

Student 2: Your mom.

File under: Best Use of Old Joke to Disrupt Speaker

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Speed Blog

This is an exercise in speed blogging, because it's the only way any post is going to find its way to publish. I think I have a good five minutes of energy left tonight. Just enough for some bullets:
  • We had a youth group bowling/overnighter Friday night. I didn't even stay all night and I felt wiped out all weekend. It's weird now that we have Anna because I can't stay the night and the next morning I have to take her somewhere so Aaron can sleep.
  • Confirmed: Wii bowling and real bowling use different muscles.
  • Also confirmed: all my muscles are out of shape.
  • Anna is suddenly in love with the word up and somewhat fond of down.
  • Wednesday an unknown number of real estate agents will come through our house on their monthly "broker tour" of new listings. Guess what I did today? Spackled, sanded, painted, de-littered, laundered. Almost forgot "showered."
  • Guess what I'm doing tomorrow? Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, straightening, sorting, folding, and if I'm feeling really crazy and can remember how, maybe even a little ironing. Also, collapsing.
  • Happy birthday to my adorable nephew Tobo and to my brilliant sister-in-law Picsis! Anna and I are going to visit them and that guy they live with in Denver over the first week of April, as are my parents. I am looking forward to the vacation, because as always I am delusional enough to think a trip with a toddler might be a vacation, provided we survive the flight. I am sure reality will come crashing down on me in the form of nap refusals and all manner of tantrums, but for now please just let me focus on the concept of a hotel bed and free waffles.
Brain's starting to wander = speed blog's up! And I'm shutting down completely in 3 . . . 2 . . . Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Overheard in Youth Work

Student: Except for the three houses right by us, we don’t have any neighbors.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Burning Question

Shouldn't seminary financial aid worksheets have a line in the budget for tithing?

Or are we off the hook on that for three years?

Just wonderin'.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Midnight Wanderings, Bathtime Pottyings

Anna has surprised me with a couple of tricks this week.

Friday morning I stumbled downstairs to exercise (yes, miraculously this is happening pretty regularly) and looked at the couch on my way through the living room. What is that? said my sleepy brain. It was Anna--sleeping there! Just lying there with her baby doll, face on a pillow. I was so surprised I said something and woke her up. I'm not sure she knew what she was doing there either. We have no idea when or why she migrated; she never cried or called for us and presumably didn't try to come upstairs to us either. But apparently she figured out that she can indeed get out of her bed at night. She hasn't done it again, though. Even now as she's having a hour-long conversation with herself and her animals instead of falling asleep for her nap, she's staying in bed.

And file this one under Great News on the Horizon (Maybe): this morning she peed in her little potty! It's upstairs so we really only attempt this when we do baths, although occasionally she wants to sit on the big toilet (and get right off without trying anything). I'm not sure if she just got lucky or really did learn from last time when she scared herself by suddenly peeing as she stood naked next to the potty and I tried to throw her on there. Hopefully she is putting together how to make that happen and that we will get all excited and tell the all world. Or at least all the Internet.

I would love for Anna to be potty trained before we move this summer, but I'm not worried about it either. I think I would be a lot more anxious to get it done if we were buying diapers, watching all that money get thrown away. Cloth diapers = way less pressure.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Face

Thursday, March 05, 2009

EI Update and a Quote Come to Life

The Early Intervention crew returned Tuesday. Really, it was a crew this time: three people. Dr. Jill; her cohort Marion, the speech pathologist, who was sick last time; and Judy, who will be our very own very special specialist.

Anna was quieter this time, with three of them here, but did sit right down and play and read with Judy while Marion observed and Jill talked with us and reviewed her evaluation from last time. Anna again demonstrated that her receptive language is more than fine by tuning in to one conversation between adults while playing with Judy. We were telling Jill how Anna likes to help with the dishes and Anna got up and headed for the kitchen. Let's do some dishes!

One part of the evaluation summary shows what percentage of items she should be able to do by age three she can do right now in six categories. Social communication, which encompasses speech, is only at 47 percent (although that's really not terribly low). But gross motor skills: 95 percent. (That's our Tigger!) Fine motor, 92; social 84. So she's really doing great in most areas. It may be that she's so busy learning in these other areas that she just hasn't really focused on putting together the speech piece yet.

The plan is for Judy to come twice a month for about 45 minutes of learning play with Anna (and, I'm sure, teaching me how to teach her). The goal is to get Anna to use fifty words and two-word phrases regularly, and within that they look for the use of different kinds of phrases using different parts of speech, like "Anna drink," "hot water," "go out." Some of them I think she's close to starting but others, not at all. But I think we all think she'll catch up quickly. Jill said she warned the others she thought Anna might have learned more words since last time already because she does seem like she could have that "language explosion" at any time.

And sure enough, right before they arrived that morning she told Aaron "football hat" (his Lions hat). That goes along with her new fluency in two-word phrases, not just copying but saying on her own all variations of hi/bye+Mama/Dada/Baby/Kitty/Woof (dog). She loves saying these phrases now and runs around shouting "Hi kittyyyyy! Hi kittyyyyy! Byeeeeee!" (as the cat flees the area). It's amazing to see her transform from baby to communicating person.

It's all just like they said on Scrubs:
Turk: Why do you want to have a baby so bad anyway?

Carla: Dr. Cox says having a baby is like having a dog that slowly learns to talk.

Turk: Awesome . . .

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Yearly Ritual

This is how I sort and file my papers:


and with the help of cats.

Happy tax prep season.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday: Discipline

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. . . . Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.

Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.
Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey