Friday, October 28, 2016

Goodbye October

This month has been so intense, but very good. I realize this as I look over the month's pictures. We had Davy's baptism, which was amazingly beautiful, but kind of stressful. It was one of those almost out-of-body moments where you realize God is with you and your life is not that bad after all. You are actually very blessed. Like childbirth. Which is fitting because, as the priest said during the homily, baptism is not a birth in the flesh but a birth in the spirit, to be God's son.

Then four days later, barely recovered, we went back to the Algarve for four days to the same hotel... it was the third time this year. I feel like I know all the workers and they know us. My in-laws were supposed to come to help (because my husband was there for work), but they got sick and I was ...all.... alone. It went okay though. Tiring, but important.

And this week after getting back I decided to potty train the oldest kiddo (going really well) and sleep train the youngest kiddo (not going well at all) because... well, I guess I have massochistic tendencies. That is a cake with underwear and a bow on it, in case you can't tell.

I discovered how to make white frosting (see potty training cake) a week AFTER the baptism, which was super frustrating because I had imagined these nice white cakes which I wanted to make and got store-bought frosting, ran out of it, and they didn't turn out as I had wished. Oh well. NOW I can make a great white frosting!

And even though the little one isn't sleeping so well and hates pacifiers with a passion, I feel like I am really happy about our day-to-day and priorities. I have a little more peace. Last year I was soooo worried about our socialization and not having enough playgroups and playdates. My spiritual director was probably so tired about hearing me whine about not having any friends. He even introduced us to some really nice people who put up with us occasionally. ;) This year I was worried about what to choose as priorities. Worried as in, it was keeping me up at night. So we quit the government-run playgroup and I'm really happy about the friends and neighbors we have this year to cultivate. And I have a better idea what to invest in.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Toddlers at home

I have been having a hard time doing the "basic", physical things such as cooking, cleaning, feeding and bathing our kids and get frustrated about not getting to the more "spiritual" things, such as our kids' "education", ordering liturgical books, doing fun things as a family, visiting friends, etc. I put all these things in quotation marks, of course, because Jesus's Incarnation and Theology of the Body teach us the physical things are spiritual too.

But when I get frustrated with my lack of ability to get to things, the first thing I start feeling bad about is Addie at home. Modern society tells me she is bored and needs to be constantly entertained... either at a daycare or with TV, games, coloring sheets, etc.

So I have been constantly reminding myself of Auntie Leila's concept of "collective memory". We shouldn't copy things exclusively from the past, because modern things are good too... but it's not a black and white "modern things are better than old things". There should be a continuum with the past, a connection. And I really think this thing of "entertaining", "educating" and especially sending toddlers to school all day is an exclusively modern thing. It helps me to think, as Auntie Leila suggests, "what would Ma do?" And in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books toddlers stay at home with Ma, being watched by older siblings and playing by themselves.

I watch Addie's little friend interact with his grandma, who takes care of him during the day while his parents work and think: yes, maybe he would be more "entertained" at daycare with all the educational activities (and where everyone thinks he should be), but for sure the workers wouldn't love him like his grandma loves him. And really, what kind of "education" are we talking about? Being and feeling loved is the most I could want for my toddler or any toddler. I think this while I watch his grandma kiss him as she takes him out of the swing.

And I try to cut myself some slack. Addie seems bored sometimes, I get frustrated... a lot... but we're in this together. And that's what family is.
...By the way, we watched the movie Little Miss Sunshine yesterday, which is about family, and loved it. Have you seen it?

Friday, October 07, 2016

Article up

An article at Catholic Stand:

The Nature of Woman is Gestational

My biggest fan (my husband) thought it was my best yet! But the comments are already starting out pretty negative..!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Babies and humility

I had initially written a post entitled "10 things I'm learning about baby sleep" and scheduled it to post tomorow. However, I had a really nice lady with eight kids come visit today and the whole day I kept thinking to myself, I need to delete that post! It was smug. And I really shouldn't be giving advice to anyone. Especially unsolicited advice. Especially about babies' sleep.

This lady has eight kids and her mom had nine. She gave me a piece of advice passed on by her mom. It shook me up and I got all depressed because I felt like I was doing it all wrong. But then throughout the day I tried it and felt some hope that it would work.

What a treasure of information there is in large families. What a pity there are millions of couples out there without children "but they have a dog" as my neighbor says. And a pity the majority of people are parenting one kid and are overwhelmed by that and don't give or get advice from anyone because everyone else is parenting one kid or none. Books are not the same as real life relationships. Neither are blogs.

Anyway, maybe in a few months when my baby is sleeping better I will feel all smug again and write about how to get your baby to sleep. But until then I'm feeling pretty humbled, pretty vulnerable and like I'm hanging on by a string. And pretty thankful for all the help and real-life advice God sends my way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The best things in life are free

The best things in life are free. And the second best things are cheaper. We went on a mini-vacation this weekend and I was even more convinced of these truths. Our two-month old baby seems to hate cars and carseats with a capital "H" so we decided to take the train down to the south of Portugal, the Algarve. It was so much better than taking the car, even if we didn't have a baby... or two, which is the case (she doesn't like cars either). And it was cheaper! So there you go.
We stayed at a chain of hotels called Inatel and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there. I cannot express my love of buffets enough. I've heard Las Vegas is the place for me (I guess there are millions of cheap, delicious buffets...). At Inatel there are simple buffets, but I love being able to pick what I'm going to eat and how much of it. And our toddler loves choice too, obviously.
Our days were really simple: beach in the morning (well, baby in the baby carrier for me), a nap after lunch, pool, mass, dinner, bed. The nap was for Addie... she slept in her stroller with her pacifier and was asleep after two minutes of walking. We weren't expecting it to be so easy. See picture of her feet sticking out above. She turns herself over on her tummy in her sleep... it's kind of weird. And I am completely head over heels in love with my Graco Roomfor2 fully-reclinable stroller. No, this isn't a sponsored post. I just wish I could buy this stroller for everyone who has two closely-spaced kids. And an ergo baby carrier for everyone who has a baby.