Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Contemplating Her World

It is a wonderful experience to behold my daughter interact with her world. Today, I walked in on her intently watching the dog eat one of her stuffed bears. Usually, she gets rather upset and takes every opportunity to tell him that he is bad. They have quite the love-hate relationship. But, she very closely observed for a bit as he pulled stuffing from the nose. Then she nicely grabbed him his toy and made an exchange, saying, "This one, buddy."

She has been a little more contemplative recently. More observant. Sometimes quieter. The last few times we were in the truck she was very silent and gazed out on the road. One trip saying nothing at all. The next, briefly pointing out a train and telling me to stop at the light. Usually, she is non-stop. On the way home today she sat quietly in her seat while I fueled up the truck, giving me a little wave.

I asked her what she did today, to try to get some conversation. She told me clouds, spiders, and... um... cupcakes. I love to ask her about her day. She matter-of-a-fact announces a list, with a few ums here and there. Often she will revert to the latest exciting memory. She always declares that it was today. Every day she tells me she went to the pumpkin patch and went on a train today. She really wants to go again.

Another thing that has changed is her ability to play alone. Maybe it is because of my jaw surgery and the bruising on my neck. She seems to be okay with dancing alone instead of always needing me to dance with her. She'll read in her room with the door closed and ask me to leave if I come in. I seriously did not expect that before two! My little girl is becoming independent!

She even went to the neighbors to play without me. A dog had ripped open a garbage and as I cleaned it up she went and played ponies. She didn't ask me to follow. She just left me with my task. And she wasn't happy to be asked to return, either. "Play ponies later. Later!"

Soon, she'll be walking the dogs alone. Having a sleep over. Getting her own snack. It's crazy how helpless she was just yesterday. Time is passing too fast. I plan to enjoy every interaction with my amazing little monkey. Her curiosity is intriguing. Her compassion is adorable. The way most of her play revolves around singing lullabies and putting her dolls to sleep is so sweet. Her love for the outdoors is refreshing. 

I'm excited for our future conversations. Her upcoming revelations. The adventures we have on the horizons. What an amazing blessing to be her mother.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

To Boo Or Not To Boo

Even though I see many wonderful costume, craft, snack, and decorating ideas, I refuse to create a Halloween board on Pinterest.

What is my problem?

For some reason, I have never been a fan of Halloween. Maybe my history of fear issues. Or maybe growing up insecure. My own memories are of walking around freezing cold to strangers' houses and then analyzing the goods for tampering.

I was so worried my daughter would be born on Halloween day. Which would have been perfect, with her beautiful orange hair. My adorable little pumpkin. Thankfully, she came into this world a few days after, in a completely different month. But still, I am a mom. And every year this comes up. What are we doing, or not doing, for Halloween?

I know people who've been adamantly against any involvement. Some have their reasons that they can explain. But many just oppose because they do. It is how they grew up or what were told they should do. Likewise, others see no problem at all and love every aspect. The majority have purely innocent, fun intentions. 

So, personally, I have to figure out my choice for something I'd be okay without. Every day I'm bombarded with things I find unnecessary. Television. Really stupid music. (Seriously, why do you like those words? Because someone else does?) Slutty magazines at the checkout. Fast food. My daughter has many influences.

And Halloween is one of them. Last week play group had a jack-o-lantern craft, witch and ghost play-dough cutters, and Halloween themed books. Every time we go out she points at the skeletons. As we entered the dollar store she was apprehensive about the big decorations and whether they were scary. I wouldn't be keeping it secret, that's for sure. 

I love dress up but hate how half the people want to dress around the theme of pain and fear and the other half wants to be slutty. Okay, it's not that bad. There are many cute bunnies and monkeys out there. My girl has been a winged unicorn repeatedly this last week. She loves her costume. 

I dislike the focus on candy. Candy has progressed from an occasional thing to an every day over consumption for so many people. And candy isn't what it used to be. It's not just some sugar and flavor. It's a chemical concoction that often pretty much resembles poison. So far my daughter has lived without candy. She knows fruit and whipped cream or a nice baked good make a great treat. I dread all the invitations for candy she will get. And all the people who will think I neglect her if I don't let her have it. Seriously, I'll be ruining her life

Which brings me to my main reason for not loving Halloween. Why do I have to do something just because someone else does? How many traditions and rituals do people follow when they don't want to, just because they want to fit in or not be seen going against the flow? They don't want to inconvenience or offend. We are so blind in our decisions. I dislike how the consumer industry dictates so much of our lives. Really, they do. I don't want to do something just because the candy and seasonal goods industry tells me that I should so they can make money. The big push to buy, buy, buy drives me crazy. I feel like society is a bunch of zombies following trends for the purposes of someone else's pocket book. 

If I want to do something I want to do it because it has substance to me. Because it blesses my relationships. Because I enjoy it. Not because someone told me to. Not because the retail, consumer, and food industries need me to. And definitely not simply because it is what everyone else is doing.

I like carving pumpkins and dress up. I love get togethers. I enjoy planning and decorating. I always appreciate photo ops. I want to be involved with my family and what they do. So, I am not shunning Halloween. We'll participate. And it'll be fun. My daughter will enjoy learning about something that happens every year in her culture. But we'll keep it low key. And every year I will have to revisit this question again. What will we do or not do, and why?

And I decided to start an Autumn Pinterest board.   

Monday, 28 October 2013

Dr Seuss Book Party

I'm excited to share with you the food from my daughter's second birthday. I love themes and she greatly treasures books, so I used Dr Seuss. There were plenty of ideas on Pinterest. I wanted to keep it a little healthy with no pop or chips. I did all the decorations ahead of time, which my daughter found exciting. She kept saying "Wow!" at the balloons and banners. I loved when she looked at my Green Eggs and Ham cut out and declared, "I do not like Green Eggs and Ham!"

"I do not like Green Eggs and Ham!"

I prepped the food that day. I ended up behind because we had an accident and I was at the hospital with her dad that morning. So when guests showed up I had them chopping fruit and slicing meat and buns and icing the cupcakes for me. But it all worked. I just wish that I had more time to print the labels that I was short on, like a Grinch label and Green Eggs and Ham labels that I totally missed. But here are my results:

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas-- Grinch Smoothie. Spinach, banana, yogurt, and milk. It was a hit!

My Dr Seuss food table. Like my homemade cupcake stand?

Horton Hears A Who-- Horton's snack tray. Elephants love vegetables. And there is Grinch Dip in the back.

Hop on Pop -- For my label with the buns and spreads, they have a picnic with Mr Brown and Mr Black.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas-- The Roast Beast.

Green Eggs and Ham-- Minus the fancy labels.

Fox in Socks-- Three Cheese Trees. I saw lots of hanging or tooth-picking ideas, but towers worked (briefly).

One Fish Two fish-- Gotta have fish :)

The Lorax-- Thank you to a friend for bringing the Truffula Fruit.

Yertle the Turtle-- I went to buy blueberries and there wasn't any. Chocolate covered it was! And to the right is my Cat in the Hat banana and strawberry skewers that I didn't get pictured.

Cat in the Hat-- Red Velvet cupcakes (made with beets) with blue icing for Thing One and Thing Two.

The Lorax-- Truffula seeds (raisins).

Horton Hears a Who-- The elephant's peanuts.

And that is my collection of Dr Seuss birthday pictures. There were 10 children. We had a great time, with coloring, crafts, a book walk, and we watched The Lorax with popcorn (Hop on Pop-corn). By the way, my popcorn maker didn't work so I just microwaved the seeds plain in paper bags. Success!

In the end it was a very happy birthday. My birthday girl received many new books that we have already read over and over and over. I look forward to the next party. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Was That Me ?

Sometimes I look back on my childhood and it is like I am looking at someone else's life. Who was that? I see the pain and know I felt the pain but the memory of its severity diminishes over time. I see the stupid reactions and decisions from that pain and shake my head. I am very grateful that it isn't always sharply on my mind because if it was, I am afraid that I would worry way too much for my daughter and her experiences. 

I recall many nights staying up and fretting over being rejected. Crying for hours over something mean that someone said. Going over a scenario and thinking about whether it was my fault and what I should have done. Feeling so much heartache and regret. Agonizing over confusion and not understanding how people can hurt others so easily. Wanting to give up, over and over. 

The emotional torment spilled into my physical being. My digestion, my skin, my muscles, my everything. I remember a specialist told me that if you continuously carried a bag and added some bricks you would get stronger. But if you kept adding bricks it would get too heavy. The bricks of hurt and regret and embarrassment and shame and unforgiveness would add up. Your body would break down under the stress. He told me to get rid of some bricks. 

Those bricks hurt. And some were hard to let go of because even though they were negative they were earned and they were what I was used to. It's easier to hide and pout and sleep than to step out. But over time, with their release, those bricks have brought me the strength of who I am today. Sometimes I might see myself as that weak, burdened person. But truly looking and being aware of the difference, I know I am much stronger. Much more free.

I am not perfect. Very far from it, actually. But I can socialize. Or be comfortable alone. I can talk about others. Or share about myself. I can truly enjoy the successes of others. I can honestly love people. Unimaginable things at one time. Long ago I thought I was going crazy (which I relived a little postpartum). But, now things are good. Even in their bad moments. Like when I get mad at my husband or do something I know is wrong or try something new and scary or forget a promise. 

I so immeasurably wish I could vividly show people the difference inside. I long to impart in others a sample of the feeling of utter change. I know so many live in pain from their lives. So many feel it will never improve. I wish I could show them it can. I had a counsellor once who I stopped seeing because I had a hard time about an experience I'd had and she told me it would always be there. Yes, my past hasn't changed. But my belief in who I am and what I can do has. And I am not controlled by the past (usually... um, a work in progress). 

Where we come from may require some work. Some figuring out. Some forgiving. Some letting go. Some stepping out of our comfort zone. It may require patience, instruction, and love. It may require trying again and again and again. But it is not an excuse. 

We can't choose what has happened to us, but we can choose what to do with it.

Life has to much ahead for us to stay back there. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Acceptable Uniqueness?

Uniqueness. Unless you're some crazy over analyzer like myself, do you realize how many different areas this can encompass? So many things contribute to our make up. Genetics. Upbringing. Environment. Religion. Culture. Relationships. Temperament. Stressful events...

Uniqueness. There are obvious, easy to accept areas. Like what pleases the palate. One may favor basic, like a steak and potato, while another will appreciate something more piquant like an aromatic curry or a fiery salsa. (Frank's Red Hot? I put that sh*t on everything.) One may be indifferent to chocolate while another can't complete a day without quelling the need for a taste of anything containing cocoa. (If you have any tips on subduing the addiction that rages like a chocoholic monster inside me, I'd love to know.)

We are all different in our size and shape, from our height and weight down to the length and straightness of our toes. I remember a Sienfield episode where George stopped dating a Lindy because her second toe was too long.

We all think differently of fashion, television, religion, spending, pets, diet... And even if we find someone who appears to think the same, they still have developed different life filters and thought processes and somewhere along the train of thoughts, their train will take a different track than yours. Even two children from the same home have many dissimilarities. 

I am a people watcher. I am absolutely fascinated by the range of opinions and reactions and self perception people have. (The questions I'd love to ask sometimes, yet I have no place!) At work, I constantly see people who parsimoniously feel the world owes them, no matter who else it takes from. People who have every excuse for not taking responsibility for their own actions. People who aren't afraid to push to get their desires met. Likewise, there are other people who would hate to inconvenience others even just a smidgen, even to their own detriment. Then, there are those who want to know every imaginable detail of the steps they need to take before making a decision, sometimes never being able to come to a resolution. And people who let others push them around with no objections.

Every day there is the opportunity to roll our eyes at the action or opinion of another. Bit if we could get a play-by-play list of all the details that led to the moment (which is quite an extensive path), we may be able to have at least a little understanding. Or not. We can remain pretty closed and focus on the fact that our own reasoning is not being understood. Our self centered thought patterns can make us oblivious to the truths around us. (Ever had one of those discussions where the other isn't listening?!)

For me, my over analyzing can have two opposite effects. I can be critical and jidgemental. I can let first impressions block opportunities. Or, I can keep looking. Keep listening. Keep caring. And give people a chance. 

Because I don't care how absurd someone is in their ideas. They all have something to offer. I can learn from each one. I can probably enjoy each one if I give them a chance. 

So can you. You've probably missed many opportunities for a great interchange.

Or, maybe you are easy going and love all. Good on yah!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sleepy, Sleepy, Best For Me

Earlier this month, I attended an informative talk about stress management. Some things were an obvious reminder. Some information was refreshing. But one fact kept jumping out at me, accusing me with very good reason. Something I brushed off as acceptable for my life. 

I need more sleep.

I've blogged before about my decision to rank all other things before sleep. There is so much to fill into a day. (How on earth do people get bored?) Once everyone else is asleep I get in cleaning mode. Or reading mode. Or writing mode. Or work-out mode. Or just enjoy myself mode. I've made an attempt to cut out some stuff so that I don't put off sleep too much. I left Facebook groups, like my November 2011 babies group. I stopped playing games like Sudoku and Words With Friends and Scramble. I sigh at the idea of wanting to paint. To learn to sew. To bake my own bread. Not now. 

But, sleep still gets pushed back repeatedly as the final prerogative. Even when I have to drag myself through the afternoon and tell myself I won't do this again! I will go to bed early! Yah right. Time just ticks away. Then, days when I do get to bed earlier, something interrupts it, like my daughter having a bad dream or my dog having midnight diarrhea (I'm not talking small here). These inconveniences aren't as bad in an otherwise optimal schedule. 

But I've let it get out of hand. I totally missed a stop light and nearly caused an accident. I forgot something extremely important. Many times. (Like driving three hours each direction and having no wallet for gas!) And I am not investing in my health. 

I am very aware of our actions and how they influence our health. I've turned my life around with positive thinking, relationships, spirituality, diet, and exercise. But in this busy life it is so difficult to keep the balance. How many times have you ever said, "I'll never go back?" Just to find yourself asking, "How did I get here again?"

I would cut down on sugar and love the results and then have a moment, like a movie theatre pig out (family bag of m&ms for one?) that would result in continuous cravings that pulled me back to old habits. Or I would feel strong in my core or my running and be determined to continue but then suddenly excuse after excuse would lead to missed workouts. 

Over time I have become more perseverant. (Goals are helpful.) But I will always be aware that I am never immune. Temptation will always loiter in its sneaky way. Distractions will evermore pop up. I am a human and must religiously keep on guard. 

And I need to start guarding my ZZZZs. I'm very, very bad at this! Just today I was going to nap as I had jaw surgery the other day and I only slept until 5am this morning. But what did I do instead? Looked at photos. And more photos. Always something! 

For me, being aware of the reasons is a motivator for action. It'll still take time to develop good habits, yes, but with educated mindfulness, success is more likely. I know it hinders my concentration and memory. I know it influences my food choices. I know it lowers my ability to be patient. I know it increases the chance of injury, from things like car accidents and falls. (And I know it does these things to my husband too. We have a household epidemic!)

These should simply be reasons enough. But looking into the long term is something that I need to do to push my proper decision making when faced with each day to day opportunity. Really, as a society we aren't as good at focusing on long term affects as apposed to short term gratification. 

Sleep deprivation is detrimental for the heart. I could tell myself this doesn't apply to me. I run. I have a low pulse. So much that warning beeps accusingly alarm whenever I have my blood pressure and pulse checked at a clinic. But taxing it heavily in one area isn't necessarily erased by good habits in another. It helps. But only helps.

Continuous lack of sleep can damage the brain. These foggy, tired moments don't want to become permanent. I want to age well. Bad sleep habits can increase insulin resistance, even for a healthy eater. I don't want to make this effort to eat properly be all for nothing. Lack of shut eye makes it harder for the body to prevent and battle many things, like other stresses, colds, cancer, osteoporosis. 

Sounds like good enough reasons to give sleep antecedence. I'm not just living for today. For this week's to do list. For this moment's pleasures. For the people in my life now. I am living for the future. For my children and grandchildren. For the issues my loved ones will endure down the road. For many things that I can't even imagine. And I want to be healthy enough to experience all of them physically and mentally to the utmost fullest.


Nap time. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Greatest Conversation

I have had a few opportunities to be away from my daughter this month. Earlier was to attend a ladies conference overnight and just recently I was out of town for an operation (I had my jaw moved for comfort and bite reasons and look forward to good results after 30 years of issues). Of course, each time I was away I missed her immensely. But, having spent so much time with her I'd never before had the opportunity to talk to her on the phone. 

And the experience made me giddy like a child.  

At the conference, I called her in the morning. She immediately announced, "I love you, mom!" My heart melted. The rest of the conversation consisted of me asking questions and her copying word for word. 

"Are you with Daddy?"
"With Daddy."
"Are you having a good day?"
"A good day."
"Are you going for a walk?"
"Going for a walk."
"Are you going to the bottle depot?"
"The bottle depot."

Even though she just repeated, I loved this new experience of talking to her over the phone. She knew I wasn't there but that I was talking to her. And she was happy. She has such a loving, amazing, devoted daddy. And she ended the call with a few more declarations of I love you.

Yesterday, I talked to her from the hospital after she returned from supper at Grandma and Grandpa's. She mostly copied but told me a little bit more, with Daddy's help. Then I asked her if they were going to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She became very excited. "Chitty Bang Bang! Chitty Bang Bang!" She wants to watch it but only makes 10 or 20 minutes before declaring she's done. It has given her a new favorite lullaby. "Hushabye Mountain." Currently it is the only one she wants.

Her phone ability has greatly progressed. It seemed to take forever that to convince her to actually place it near her ear. She would hold it on top of her head. But she was making her effort to do what he saw we were doing. One step at a time. 

Right now I have returned home and I am relaxing before my little chatter box gets dropped off by my mom from her day care. I love listening to my curious girl's commentaries. Her excited recollection of events. She often brings up the fire alarm that happened at the school last week. It meant, "Everybody out!" I'm frequently explaining to people, even strangers, why she is animatedly, with a bit of seriousness, talking about fires.

I miss her muchly. And even though I am tired with a sore jaw, as one trip to the pharmacy required explaining, through gritted teeth, my situation to a dozen people, I look forward to seeing her. Maybe tonight I can get her to read her books to me

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Facing the Task, For the Win

I imagine everyone else has it more together than me. That they can accomplish things easier with less uncertainty. That they don't struggle with fear of failure or lack of confidence. I know, this has come up frequently. 

As I grow in the roll of mother I've realized that, of course, those busy mothers are not having an easy time all the time. The women I looked up to as Super Heroes or Martha Stewarts were actually average human beings just like me. Maybe they had a head start in the area of grappling with life, thanks to roll models or necessity, but they all have their struggles too. They do things with apprehension. They wonder about their choices. They have exhausted, brain-dead moments. They get mad. They have to let things go. They have to wing it and learn while doing. They make mistakes. And they have times they don't think they can. 

I've come to realize that many things that appear formidable, that give me a feeling of being incapacitated, are actually not all that hard. They just require my time. With such a selfish, lazy, insecure past (and don't tell me that's not true, because it is), that can be difficult to follow through. I struggle finishing a single chore without getting distracted, let alone accomplish a whole day-consuming task. But, necessity, along with wanting more, breeds growth. 

It starts with begrudgingly cleaning poop out of the tub at the end of an exhausting, long day. Scrubbing the food-fight look of the dining room when I wish she would just not throw. Washing the floors again and again and again. As I get more proficient in doing these things when I don't want to, I grow in my ability to choose to do a more involved task. Maybe I'll choose to follow through laundry to completion one day. I know this is an obvious weakness when my husband can't find pants for the toddler because he wouldn't think to look in the drawer instead of just the basket. 

The other day I did accomplish a feat. For me, at least. Thanksgiving, my husband bought a turkey. The day before our thanksgiving feast, we decided to invite people and it suddenly turned into dinner for eight (ten, but two didn't show). Usually my husband would help, with frozen appies, stove-top stuffing,  packaged gravy, and a store bought dessert (and many Italian influenced comments to make more, more, more). I was determined to serve a dinner that didn't have the processed and the high salt. So I took the whole day alone to cook and occupy our toddler. 

I discovered, like I said, that it wasn't impossible. Just time consuming. Especially with the moments I would say, "Just a  minute, sweetie, I'll come look/ play/ cuddle/ read as soon as I get this in the oven/ finish mopping this floor". I got the turkey in the oven. I made pie. I prepared potatoes and chopped up a salad. I made sausage apple stuffing. I whipped up cheese sauce for broccoli and cauliflower. I baked brown sugar squash. And, worried the whole time that it wouldn't work, I made gravy. After dinner I made whipped cream. It wasn't perfect. The stuffing was soggy. The cheese sauce runny. The gravy was thin. But it was good. 

And, of course, while I cooked for guests, I scrubbed bathrooms, cleaned floors, washed dishes. And cleaned up at the end of the night (we have a tall, bad dog who requires a clean dining room and kitchen or he will try to help, and chew up dishes in the process).

There were other things I couldn't do that day. But the reward was worth it. A day was totally eaten up beginning to end. But as a result we had a nice dinner, with great company to talk with and cute entertainment from my little flirty singer.  I love having people over for dinner. I wish I could get myself over my issues of busyness mixed with laziness and anxiety that results in not being hospitable. A while ago, my husband and I decided we would have a dinner party once a month. That maybe happened once. But, it is still always in the back of my mind. 

I think the biggest thing is to change my focus. Concentrate on the results. Enjoy the learning. Live in the moment. Not in fear of failure. Fear of people cancelling. Fear of people being uncomfortable (because seriously, I've never found an acceptable temperature). Fear of being judged. Fear of ending up ready too early or late. Fear of forgetting something important (I still vividly remember my mom crying once when I was a child because she made a big turkey dinner and forgot a major component). Instead, I just need to enjoy the now

My toddler is helping me take advantage of each opportunity. To stop and smell the roses (though I think she still blows instead of sniffs). She impels me to see the new and exciting in everything. She had a blast climbing the clumped chairs while I mopped. She loves to taste test and stir as I cook. She loves to go through the utensil drawer and identify everything she finds. She'll pull out a ladle and declare, "Soup!" Or pick up something else and say, "What's this?" Then repeat my response over and over. 

She loves the kitchen. And she loves company. My husband loves company, too. Another reason to push through what makes me uncomfortable so we can indulge in what we love to do together.

So, who's coming for dinner next?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thanksgiving and Habits

My last day of work before the weekend, everyone was talking about their thanksgiving dinner plans, drooling over the idea of turkey dinner and grinning with the anticipation of gathering with loved ones. Each comment made me pout a little more inside that we weren't having a thanksgiving this year. And the more it irritated me the more it was brought up. 

I love family get togethers. But some have moved away (and are dearly missed). Others have decided to wait until another time to visit. Our usual hosts, who spoil us so, are out of town. Everyone is doing something else. And so, for the first year in a while, I'm left with just my household to celebrate. 

As my weekend progressed, though, I came to quite enjoy the idea of thanksgiving anyway. The gorgeous colors are still on display. The pumpkins are begging to become pie. The frost is starting to show its bite in the early morning. The snuggly sweaters and trendy scarves and cozy blankets are being put to use. 

Maybe it was the uplifting church meeting we had Thursday night. Maybe it's the extra cleaning and the tapping into my creativity to prepare for my daughters second birthday party (so excited). But I've come to see I have many reasons in my life to give thanks.

The one thing that tops that list, of course, is my darling, amazing daughter. Her personality is starting to blossom. Her nurturing as she talks to her stuffed animals, asking if they're okay and putting them to bed. Her tattling as the dog tries to sneak in the dining room. Her joyful, constant singing of a wide range of songs I can't believe she knows. Her organizing and cleaning up. And her desire to be on top of things. 

The other day I silently did some push ups. In the past I have always counted to encourage her to remember numbers. I didn't this time, as she was busy playing. As I finished and went to get up, she promptly dropped what she was doing and assumed the position next to me and told me to do it again as I forgot to count. Silly me.

It's crazy how easily things form into habits. One supper, in an effort to get her to eat, I said, "What's that noise?! It's your tummy saying feed me!" This instantly progressed into an exuberant, every meal occurrence with some interesting repeats. "It's my heart, saying I love you" (oh, I just melt when she puts her hand on her chest and says that to me). Or, "It's your armpit, saying tickle me."

We have our, "Hey! I love you!" yelling matches. Our bazillion excuses to have a tickle match. Our silly dances around the kitchen. Our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang snuggles. Our fun grocery store trips (minus the occasional break down when we leave). Our favorite lullabies and running my fingers through her hair. I wouldn't trade motherhood for anything

I am very thankful for the opportunity to be healthy and raise a child post-leukemia. I am honored to have a dedicated and loving husband. I am grateful for my friends and family. For my sometimes-behaved dogs. For my church. And for the fact that I live in such an astoundingly beautiful place.

My daughter and I can safely enjoy explorative outings surrounded by peaceful forests and majestic mountains with our dogs. Or we can randomly walk about quaint coffee shops and smiling faces just a few minutes away. And soon, she'll be awed at the coming of fluffy, throwable, pile-able (and shovel it again and again and again) snow.

What blessings I have. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Oh, Interruptions

Every day has it's fleeting interruptions. Situations not planned for that need to be dealt with. I know that there are some interceptions I handle well. But there are other things the average person would roll their eyes at or grumble about and continue while I can have a little fit of frustration. Oh, so mature. 

Some things just wouldn't happen to another person. My lack of planning in a life with two large dogs, a kinetic toddler, and a busy husband combines to create some unique situations. 

Fervently searching through the laundry basket for a matching pair of socks as the clock ticks closer and closer to tardy, only to step in puddle of something in the hallway with the two black but different cut socks that were finally found. Lesson I refuse to learn: Put the laundry away. 

Patiently trying to rush the visit to the post office while the curious toddler plays on the stairs and then touches everything possible, only to find, when she eventually asks for the keys in helpful anticipation, that they were forgotten at home. Lesson I refuse to learn: Check for keys before embarking on a post office adventure. 

Responsibly preparing lunch and washing little hands and struggling to get a busy little girl to agree to come to the table, only to discover that the high chair tray is not quite usable as it is still covered with the explosion that was intended to be breakfast. Lesson I refuse to learn: Promptly clean up what will frequently be needed. 

Consistenly being sure to clean up the beloved toys when going to bed or leaving the house, in order to avoid another tragedy like the cherished monkey back pack being devoured, but finding the dog decided to eat (or attempt to eat) another random item, like cans in the recycling bin or a bible that was sitting on the couch. Lesson I refuse to learn: Anything can be used to tame a large dog's boredom. 

Comfortably sleeping in freshly changed bedding without taking the time to launder the removed set and becoming victim to a leaky diaper in the middle of the night and no clean sheets. Lesson I fail to learn: From bed to washer (or buy more sheets).

Watching the joy of learning expressed in a child's face while ignoring inner warnings of safety of said discovery item, until something ends up broken in sharp shards all over the floor. Lesson I fail to learn: Listen to the voice in my head that says to get the breakable away from the miniature analyst. 

And what will tomorrow bring? A generous poop just as we load in the car? A scramble to remember everything while forgetting the obvious, like my purse? The desire to get everyone else ready resulting in the realization that I didn't eat or I didn't brush my teeth? Blindly driving past my destination in a zomby state in the truck?

Hopefully none of the above. Instead, maybe surprise kisses and unsolicited hugs. Finding what I need and remembering all my tasks. Having clean laundry and an empty laundry basket. 

Don't push it. The laundry will get done when it gets done. If ever

Monday, 7 October 2013

Do More... Or Not

Two nights ago I went to bed I feeling powerful and hopeful and intentional. I was going to get up in the morning and make some positive changes. I was going to tackle all the insurmountable things that were bothering me. I was going to do something about it instead of complain about it. I had just attended a woman's conference on the weekend with my church. I was determined to dispel the stress I'd been feeling lately by taking action. I was going to dive into the places in which I have fear and walk forward knowing that I can do anything. 

Then I discovered I couldn't. 

I woke up very early in the morning with a very sore back. I don't think it's ever been that sore before. A nerve must have been pinched or something because it was spasming all the way around to the front. 

Needless to say, I am currently not very productive. My zealous intentions have turned into relaxing and stretching, ice and massage. Not only have I not got to the list of productive ideas that I had made, I haven't even done the bare day to day stuff that needs to be done. I still don't know what we are eating for dinner. 

I'm getting the feeling that maybe I misunderstood the message this weekend. God might be shaking his head and saying, "No, Lindy, I didn't say to do more and be more." 

Really? I already feel quite guilty about all the work I saw many of my friends put into the conference while I didn't help at all. I should have. I had no reason not to help. I should be doing more. 

But even though the conference talked about saying yes to what God was wanting us to step out and do, doing was not the theme. It was more about believing in who God says we are and what we are capable of and trusting Him to help as we venture out.

Often, as I stress over what I need to do and how that is going to be accomplished, I definitely focus on the possibility of failure. And if you ask my husband, when I am doing I am not contributing to a pleasant atmosphere. Most of our relationship tension comes from our times of volunteer or helping others. A little task is enveloped by self doubt and questioning. I get tense and he gets the fallout. 

I had planned on being stronger by working harder this week. But the reality is, if I feel anxious being productive, then being more productive isn't going to give me peace. I am a big fan of facing your fears and conquering issues by doing them, but doing something wrong repeatedly isn't going to turn it right. 

I need to ease up. Let go. Believe in myself. Believe in others. Work together. And enjoy the journey.  

Today, the journey isn't that great as I relax my back on the couch and look at my dirty floor and contemplate preparing for winter. But there will be plenty of time for that later. 

Life is really too short to do everything for selfish reasons or simply to get approval. Sometimes you have to let go of what will get you the most accolades so you can focus on what will benefit the future of you and your loved ones the most.

And usually, to work toward the best future you need to stop fearing your own role in that future.

I am capable and worthy. Not because of what I do. But because I'm not in it alone. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

She Has Something To Tell You

As I took my daughter into a store one day, I told her that mommy had to go upstairs and go potty first. At the next person she encountered, she proudly called out, "Upstairs, potty first!" And she told all the other people on our route.

I have to be careful what I tell her. She is now apt to share with any stranger who comes along. Today in the grocery store, she was telling everyone we were there to buy diapers (good thing I wasn't tampon shopping). And she was telling me, too, every time I grabbed another item for the cart, like eggs and milk. Yes, I know, I said we were picking up diapers. We are getting there. And no, that is not diapers, but thank you for your help. 

Of course, when we did find the diapers, she made me laugh. I turned down the isle and looked to the left and told her we were finally at the diapers. She looked to the right at a wall of large bags of dog food and exclaimed in amazement, "Oh, look, doggy diapers!"

Her discovering and learning is entertaining. I love how she is starting to recall things and talk about them. Right now she is repeatedly sharing with anyone who will listen (and understand) how she went and watched Planes (the movie) with Dad. She'll often include that it was scary. Then there is the story about how she was in a train. Or the frustration when she informs, "Buddy eat!" Her dog has lately taken a mischievous liking to her toys. As a result she is often blaming him for anything out of place. 

Other times, she rambles on and on and I only decipher the odd word in her tale. She'll tell me how things scared her and other things were fun. She'll recount her day or recall a story in a book. Sometimes she'll stop and laugh at herself before continuing her narrative. 

We enjoy relaying our day's adventures to her dad. Before we know it, her father and I will be sitting at the dinner table asking how her day went and what she learned in school.  I'm glad she's developing a desire to share. Now I have to figure out how to encourage it but also steer her away from wanting to tell everyone without shutting her down. Today she invited a stranger walking by to join her on the next "horse" as she sat on a bike rack 

I recollect being young and having adults give me the response that proclaims that's great, but why do I care? I ended up very shy. I don't know if it was in my make up or if it was a shutting down as a result of feeling ignored or unappreciated. As a mother I am very aware that my responses are taken seriously. My little girl doesn't know how many distractions or stresses I have in that moment. She just knows she has something to say and I'm right there. 

And so are many passersby. As she says hello or announces our purpose, many times I have to say, "He didn't hear you, Honey." Or, "She's busy, Sweetie."

But, many other times there are people open to hear the goings on of our day from an energetic little toddler who finds everything exciting, from our to do list to our shopping list to the list of distractions getting in our way. 

So far, she hasn't embarrassed me.