Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hello spring

Some (*normal*) people think of food to accompany events they're planning. I sometimes think of events to accompany the food I want to make. I saw this cake on pinterest and knew I had to make it for Spring. So I invited some neighbors to a picnic at the park on Monday and it was special.

The cake didn't turn out like I had dreamed. I have a serious case of perfectionism I guess. The grocery store I online shop at didn't have blueberries, cherries or mint leaves which I think would've looked really nice. But it was still ok. And the inside was delicious. Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake, of course. Next year I will get those blueberries and mint leaves. ;)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Preschool


I am always feeling like I should be doing more for Addie, so I have been happy to reinstitute a little bit of "preschool" in most of our mornings. I have this How to Draw Dinosaurs book from Usborne that I thought would be for when she's older, but she really likes doing it with help. We do a page a day and sometimes another wipe-clean book of draw on the line and she's thrilled. It really helps me to have a physical book to follow. I can't deal with random ideas on pinterest that I never get to.

We also started hiking again. I still want to go Sundays, but it always seems like we have someone to visit or something to do on Sundays. So I decided we'll go on our own on Fridays too and invite our neighbors. It started out lovely (sarcasm) with Addie running away in the woods, poo in her underwear and me changing it with Davy in the baby carrier. :) :) :) But then our neighbors got there and it was really fun and really worth it. The park seems boring when you can have the forest.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Progress v. perfection

It seems as if the more good things we do, the more obstacles rise up to meet us. The messiness of life. However, I will say that the more good things we are able to do, the more vision I have. The more I see how it's good to cling onto those few good things we do every now and then, amidst the turbulence of life's messiness and our weakness/laziness.

We have been getting to some weekday masses more often, we played pictionary as a family which was really fun and Addie has been painting more and watching fewer youtube videos (guilty as charged). But the pushback to these few good things is imense. The house, and especially kitchen, is constantly out of control, we got our car wheel clamped when we parked at the wrong place for the pediatrician, and yesterday all three of us were stuck in our apartment building's elevator for about 20-30 minutes. Which seemed like much, much longer.

January Donovan's video "Focus on progress" inspired me to be less of a perfectionist. You can't get perfection as a mother. Our house will never be clean because WE LIVE IN IT. It's not a museum. I feel like I need to write that somewhere and look at it everyday.

Instead, focus on progress. When I get stressed out, I try to think we are progressing. A lot. I am progressing. A lot. I feel bad about not praying enough but I pray more now than I did a year ago. I prayed more a year ago than I did five years ago. I prayed more five years ago than I did ten years ago. Really, it's astounding progress. I feel bad about my lack of self-discipline to read a book or practice piano (and just eat chocolate or go on facebook instead). But I waste less time now than I did a year ago. Etc. Etc. So I'm no where near the perfection I have envisioned in my mind. And our family is far from the perfection I dream for us. Progress, my friends, progress is the answer. Two steps forward, one step back.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Front row seat

Davy started pulling himself up in his crib last week, which is exciting to me. And Addie started going head-first down slides (to the horror of bystanders).

One of the things that most "trains" you, I think, as a parent is how fast their development is. I remember when Addie started crawling I wasn't expecting her to be ready for it. First she started creeping (dragging herself on her tummy). Then all of a sudden she got up on her knees. She would fall forward and hit her head on the floor really hard for the first few days... which would terrify me... but then she got the hang of it. I had no idea that would happen. Then she started walking and would fall also but then got the hang of it. Potty training was also adventure-like. I wasn't really sure if she was ready, but we all felt like trying, and it was terrifying to have her in underwear where accidents could happen at any time and at any place... on top of the couch, in the post office... but within a few days she got the hang of it.

I feel like this is being a parent. They grow. You adapt. It's this intense, powerful process you are never a step ahead of. Always a step behind. Always trying to figure it out. Never ready. But you have front-row seat. And that's what life should be like. We just get comfortable and try to control our circumstances and situtations. If you are truly answering God's call though, you won't be comfortable. Or if you have kids. I liked what January Donovan's husband says to their kids (I heard in one of her videos): "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Don't let them get to you


I went on a three-day silent retreat this weekend. The ridiculous picture above is the only photo I have. I was trying to take a selfie of us. And Davy is wearing a burp cloth on his head as a hat because I forgot to take a hat for him and it was cold and windy outside. I guess I'm that kind of mom.

I had to take the baby along, as you can tell. So I participated as much as I could, but was mainly taking care of him. There were good things and bad things, as with anything in life. A good thing (other than all the spiritual insight and deep prayer... ahem) was that Davy behaved very well. He slept and ate well and was the generally cheerful baby he is. A lady confided to me at dinner, "I am David's fan." "So am I, I confess," I replied.

There were four other babies at the retreat, which was kind of funny. And which also leads me to a bad thing I can't help but commenting about. How catty women are... ESPECIALLY mothers. What is wrong with us? I guess it's just our sinful nature and woundedness. It was a silent retreat but there was a lot of communication of judgment going on. And comparison of babies. All babies in this social circle must be parented the same way. They must sleep in their car seats all day and have pacifiers stuck in their mouths all day. For some reason baby carriers are taboo. I'm not sure why people deny an objective moral order but then with parenting... which should be totally subjective and personal... there is ONE WAY OF DOING IT. Anyway. Luckily, my baby is older and we already have our groove and habits going on, but my heart goes out to mothers who are constantly judged and women who are scared of being mothers because of the immense pressure and scrutiny suddenly added to your life.

There was one baby who didn't use a pacifier and he cried more than the rest, especially when he was sleepy. I saw some looks and comments about the way the mother would try to get him to sleep. But the worst was when he was crying at the dinner table and the mother finally got up and left with him. A woman mouthed "phew" to another, and actually gestured wiping sweat off her forehead. What is that? Terrible.

I want to affirm every mother out there and every mother I come into contact with in the future: you are doing a great job. You are trying your best. And you have the hardest job in the world. Enjoy it while you can. Focus on your baby and not on the "advice" given to you.