Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Little Transparency

I've been thinking a lot about my identity lately. It started when I finally eked out a three mile run this month (it hasn't happened again since thanks to Teething Tiny). I told the Man that now I felt that I could legitimately call myself a runner again instead of just saying I was "trying" to run. He said that was ridiculous. I couldn't disagree, but it felt that way.

It got me thinking though about who I am and how I see myself (and how those two things are not necessarily the same thing). The truth is if anyone had told me I would be an Air Force wife and stay at home mother of two at 25 I would've told them they had the wrong girl. When they reassured me that they didn't, I would have informed them that at least I would have written a New York Times bestseller with all the free time I would have staying at home. Yeah, about that... I don't even manage to blog weekly, much less write a novel.

I would never have imagined myself in the second round of taking off 50 pounds of pregnancy weight or that my stomach could be mistaken for a road map thanks to all the stretch marks. I would never have imagined that my housekeeping Super Power would turn out to be baking and definitely not cleaning. I would never have imagined that I would have an SUV but make my baby food from scratch, buy disposable diapers but use vinegar as my main cleaning product. I would never have understood how much I could love my husband and my kids and yet still struggle with being who and where I am.

But then I think, maybe it's not about me at all. Maybe it's about the moment-by-moment obedience that in and of itself is Pure Grace when I think about it, because I don't have the strength to be obedient when looking at the big picture but saying Yes in the small finds me with an incredible husband and two awesomely hilarious sons. Saying Yes in the small brings life long friendships and growth, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Saying Yes in the small teaches me lessons and gives me gifts that I would not have understood or appreciated five years ago.

I'll close with this. Madeleine L'Engle once journaled, "I talk to people--oh, people I respect, people I like--and yet I never feel any sense of terrific excitement in their own lives about Jesus, in the way that the early Christians must have been excited so that they were transfigured by Jesus. In no one, no one, no matter how loudly they talk about salvation being possible through Jesus, do I find this great thing showing in them, glowing in them, lighting their lives, as it must if it is to make any sense today at all." I'm challenged. And humbled. Because it doesn't matter if I'm a SAHM in the middle of Oklahoma or a missionary writer in a third world country, this is the end goal: to be so in love with Him that there is no other option but to overflow with Him. And when that happens, it stops being about our identity and starts becoming about His.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

That Day (with extra fun pictures)

Os and I feel the same way.
Today has been That Day. You know what Day I'm talking about. That Day where I wake up and in the first minute out of bed I discover that my oldest son has a) dismantled the diaper genie and b) dropped the crib rail on his little brother's bed (I think that if Tiny had decided to roll over he would've bounced, he's so pleasantly pudgy). After averting disaster, I drag my groggy self to the garage to put the trash out and discover a massive spider hiding behind the bin. It died. Not terribly swiftly since it took me a while to smash it for real as the bottom of the Man's running shoe is all curvy and weird and I was still half asleep. Don't tell the Man that's what I used to kill the beast though... Not sure he'd ever wear those shoes again.

This has been my face today. Just kidding, this was Tiny's face at his first taste of cereal.
Things progressed from there. By 9 o'clock I heard these words for the first time ever: Mommy, I'm angry at you. Little Man was quite sincere. Time out has that effect on him (sincerity and anger). However, hitting Mommy has the effect of time out. Funny about that... We continued with tantrums on the hour, but I did get him to pee standing up for the first time--so he's become a real man. I also discovered that since I can successfully throw a foam softball through a basketball hoop, I have all the skills necessary to be a mom to little boys.
Yeah... They're conspiring against me.

Anyway, my eye has been twitching all day, I forgot Tiny's spoon at supper, Little wanted to go to Braum's--not Sonic--I told him it was Sonic or no milkshake, the pets were at each other, Tiny refused to eat peas for lunch, I didn't have time to shower, our one sippy cup broke, the car wash made Tiny cry... I think I should move to Australia? (And yes, I really feel that I've written this post before.)

This is my usual Tiny.
Does this say nakal or what?

But I have to say that I had a great time laughing about it all with the Man over bbq tonight, while I sat back and let him be the parent--and it's not complaining if you're laughing about it, right? Right? And if I can ever get these boys to go to sleep, I can say that tomorrow is another day and we get to start over. But at this point I'm considering going in there with a roll of duct tape and forcing the issue.

Little has taken an interest in canine photography. This is the best in a series of pictures of Trigger from random angles.

See Tiny. See Tiny pop out gleefully from under the bed.
Little is styling: Elmo pajamas, ski cap, and a tie made out of a belt.

And above picture (of Tiny) is my face now that the boys are both passed out cold. Hurray! Let us celebrate with laziness and quietude!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Little Green about the Edges

I have never been accused of having a green thumb. When I was a child, I entertained myself by pretending to garden but really just killing off the cacti that my loving parents would buy me. How hard is it to keep a cactus alive? Evidently too hard for me. Interestingly enough, I have the same effect on sewing machines: death and destruction abound. But I was determined to turn over a new leaf (haha) when we moved this last time since we actually have a yard now. I had grandiose ideas of going out into the backyard, cutting dew-misted flowers, and bringing them inside to festoon our home with sprigs of springtime. Yeah, not so much.

The backyard got some grass grown in it, mostly thanks to the hard work of my single-minded and yard-work inclined husband. We tried to plant a little garden in the enforced gardening space provided for us, but when we took our trip to Tennessee in April, Trigs went a little stir crazy and dug up all the bulbs the Man had planted--this in spite of the decorative fence put up by aforementioned husband (he tries so hard). Our garden in the front has done much better. Admittedly, the Man did most of it. He left me a little plot to "try my hand" (but mostly to make me feel like I'd contributed something), and for some reason I had it in my head that mine would blossom into this incredible English garden, overflowing with fragrant blossoms, and make his neat, tidy area look bland and boring. Once again: yeah, not so much...

My grandmother has a sign in one of her flower beds that says, "Everything I grow in my garden is tired," which is funny because she's actually quite an excellent gardener--these genes skipped me. I'm thinking about stealing her sign. My gladiolas grew up and flopped over haphazardly. The zinnias (I think they were zinnias...) sprouted where they shouldn't have. And the daffodils never came up at all. It looked like a tornado went through it, to be honest. So then I just left it. For weeks. Until yesterday at which point I decided to man up, go out there, and weed--something I'd never done before in my life. And I have to admit, while I'm a rotten gardener, I do like the smell of dirt and green beneath my fingers. It was...cathartic. Plus, the cute little gardening gloves that I'd made the Man buy me last year--for no other reason than that they were green and I was pregnant and not supposed to be gardening bare-handed (I didn't garden, period)--were still pretty adorable.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happiness is a Warm [fill in the blank]

Today I did things that made me happy, in so much as that was possible (I mean, does it make anyone happy to clean up cat barf or pick up a potty-training toddler's poop or find an exploded ink pen in the dryer?). I took time to write on paper with a pen, not the one that exploded in the dryer. I played flute and piano with a little accompaniment from Little and the dog. I made masterpieces of artwork in sidewalk chalk and crayon. I went to the playground with friends. I baked zucchini bread. And midway through the baking of the zucchini bread, about the time when I was grating the titular ingredient and thinking to myself that this was not fun (grating is a necessary evil), I realized that happiness is sometimes more about the results, not the means. As in: I hate grating zucchini, but I like eating zucchini bread. Or even: I really dislike the feel of sidewalk chalk on my fingers, but I love how happy it makes Little when I draw with him. Or also: practicing flute while Little bangs gleefully on the piano and Trigger howls spasmodically gives me a headache, but it's then or not at all, and I like that I'm still a flutist.

And once I had that incredible revelation I decided to mop the kitchen floor because--you guessed it--I despise mopping but I really do love a clean kitchen floor. And happiness is all about baked goods and artistic accomplishments and clean kitchen floors. Or is it just about liking who we are after a long day of cleaning up everyone else's bodily fluids? Still thinking on this one.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making Friends with Technology

I've never been one for e-readers or kindles or any such thing. I like the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of the letters on the page, the sound of chapters going by. But this week, technology and I have shaken hands and made friends, mostly thanks to my wonderful husband.

Let me explain: when Hubs is home at bed time, he does the night time reading with Little Man while I nurse Tiny. It's a great way to make use of all our time (we are multi-taskers) and manage to get the kids in bed just five minutes earlier, which means five minutes more sanity and quiet for the two of us. Now, I lovingly passed on my addiction to Sandra Boynton to all the members of my family. It's one of the best things I've ever given them. After my blood, sweat, and hilarious wit, of course. Hubs' favourite Boynton book is Blue Hat, Green Hat (he has unerring taste), and it crops up multiple times during pre-bed reading, so imagine his excitement when he realized that Sandra Boynton had created a Blue Hat, Green Hat app available on his phone. He couldn't wait to show it to L.M. last week, and L.M. was pretty thrilled to check it out with him too.

So tonight L.M. was sent to grab his pre-bed book, and to our surprise came back empty handed. Then he sidled up to the Hubs, smiled engagingly, and said, "Green Hat, Oops on phone?" Paused dramatically. Batted his eyelashes. And added, "Please?" And the truth is, they were the cutest thing ever curled up on the love seat together making the silly turkey jump fully clothed into the swimming pool. Couldn't have been more adorable even with a real book.