inspired.

I have read so many articles lately about how parents in today’s world feel an amazing amount of pressure to be p.e.r.f.e.c.t.. This doesn’t mean that my parents or grandparents weren’t concerned with raising healthy, emotionally stable, and intellectually sound individuals; it means that they weren’t obsessing over it ever second of the day while in constant (real-time) comparison with their peers (curse you Twitter and blog-o-sphere!).

So, I’m breathing.

I’m taking a step back and telling myself that not every toy in my daughter’s room needs to be organically sourced, hand-made, rotated, purchased, polished, and seen on ever top learning site. I am re-training my brain that playing with a coffee can and milk tops is beneficial to my daughter’s development while also inspiring her creativity-didn’t have to cost money- and is acceptable.

My Bible Study is currently reading Elizabeth George’s Putting On a Gentle and Quiet Spirit; and while this is an area that I am working on within myself (my mindset and heart), I also feel that it is a whole area of parenting that is often time overlooked. I feel this constant push and fight against time to cram everything that my daughter will need in order to save the world- before she even has breakfast (slight exaggeration, but you get the idea). And that is what is wrong with our generation; we have this constant fight and competitor’s spirit to push and prune our children into ultimate intelligent machines, never relaxing because that would make them idle. That would be so utterly, devastatingly bad. YIKES!

So this month I am working on savoring the quiet moments. Here are a few things I am trying:

  • letting my almost 2-year-old daughter guide quiet breaks during the day. After about 15-20 minutes of intentional activities, I am letting her feel the break and silence and decide for herself what activity is to follow. Then we ‘go with the flow’. Letting her decide how to fill her time will help her executive functioning and calm her spirit when there is a break; she doesn’t always need to be running this marathon of activities!
  • building a ‘quiet time’ library. I actually decided to host a small get together with three other neighborhood moms and we will build our own (budget friendly) bags to help our kids have independent and quiet time during each day. While these bags are very easily filled from the dollar store, GOOGLE quiet bags and you will see that many bags/ideas are things you already have around the house. (Think Popsicle sticks, Velcro, stickers, clothes pins and rice!)
  • finding Bible verses that remind me of patience, peace, and love- memorizing them, and practicing them when my daughter is around. If I don’t demonstrate to her how to incorporate the Bible into our lives and actively involve God in our every day, how else will she learn it? More importantly, how else can I expect her to if I don’t live what I teach? {Looking for some printables? Try these: Free PRINTABLE ABC’s of Scripture, Beginning Bible Verses for Toddlers, Easter/Christian Printables}
  • creating a single lesson or moment that I want to be the goal of the day. By only making a single, isolated topic or lesson my goal, I am not overwhelmed with writing skills, fine motor, muscular development, manners, ABC’s, numbers, grooming, chores, responsibility, etc..One goal makes me take a break and delegate other lessons to other days- while providing her time to really absorb a single idea. (And hopefully helps her attention span focus on a single task before bouncing off to others!) Case in point; instead of focusing on ABC’s and numbers, this week we have worked on numbers. The pay off: she can count up to 20!! (seriously!)

Relax fellow Mommies. Meaningful moments of instruction far outweigh scattered activities just to fill the time. Unplug yourself from the outside world and it’s demands and today just sit with your kid and let them direct the play. Let yourself relax and enjoy the break from the rushing of our world. Let yourself be inspired by your child and discover the world around you together.

Side note: in following this theme, I have taken somewhat of a hiatus lately from blogging and my Etsy shop. While I am LOTS of ideas and plans for the next few months, I am taking my time posting so that my priorities and time are delegated appropriately. While I am not listing an inventory right now for my Etsy storefront, I AM accepting custom orders and will respond to messages sent via Etsy.

Keep following!

‘click’. ugh-oh.

There are very few things that can send you gut plummeting through the Earth’s strata quicker than the realization that your car just got locked. With the keys inside. And your child.

Yep, that happened.

I was pretty proud of myself when I managed to shower, get both the babe and I dressed, fed, and out the door before 10 am yesterday to knock off a few chores. I don’t usually do errands in the morning- there are too many things that have to be done prior to leaving that by the time I have everything ready it is almost nap time again. Nevertheless, I managed to get us out the door and to our second errand destination; the fabric store. We picked up zippers (thanks to Susan, Eileen, Carolyn and Marie for your recent orders!), Fray check, and a few other novelties. A little disappointed in myself that I didn’t remember my coupons, I was pacified when the cashier found a one I could use and finished checking me out. I was in autopilot as I left the store and unlocked the car doors. Placing Baby Bunny’s diaper bag in the back seat, I re-locked the doors to safeguard us against rouge parking lot robbers (enter recent news reports) and left her door open as I was strapping her into her car seat. I usually do this little routine, so I didn’t really think about the doors being locked when Baby bunny threw her shoe, right out of the open car door. I decided, yet again in an effort to save us from rogue attacks, it would be safer for the car door to be shut while I picked up the shoe. (How it wound up all the way under the front bumper is a mystery- that girl can throw a curve ball!)

*Ka-slam*

Shoe in hand, I reached back for the car door handle and gave it a pull. The handle didn’t do a darn thing though. ‘Hmm.’ I thought, ‘that’s odd” as I pulled even harder.

“Oh. My. Gosh”.

I realized in an instant what had happened. The car was locked- and thinking I had the keys still in my pocket- I was nervous, but relieved that I wasn’t so careless to leave the keys in with her. Oh- but no. I was that careless. In an effort to keep the keys out of Baby’s mouth- I had stashed them in the shopping bag. Which was in the back seat. With my daughter. In the locked car.

I really have no idea where the car behind me came from or when they pulled up. But we were the only two cars in that parking lot at 10:30 am. I was frantically looking around (my phone was in the car too) and was trying to figure out how I would relay a message to someone in the store to call help for me, so that I wouldn’t be leaving the baby in the car, outside, alone. Looking in the windshield of this neighboring vehicle- it was two older ladies whom looked to be compassionate enough to help me out. I knocked, explained what happened and (pitifully) begged to borrow their phone. I don’t think they quite understood how borrowing a phone would help get the kiddo out of the car, but they obliged. (Enter perfect marketing campaign geared at older adults)

I called On-star and literally within about 90 seconds, the car doors were all unlocked! Baby Bunny didn’t even notice what had been going on and handed me her book while I rummaged to find the keys and grip them tight. I profusely thanked my phone angels and offered to pay them for their help (should they have taken me up on it I might have had to pay in a few forms of restaurant gift cards)- but they declined. Selfless good Samaritans!

I retreated back to my car, keys gripped ever so tight, and started to cry from relief. I know it sounds like a commercial, but what if I hadn’t had On-star? The husband and I occasionally talk about cancelling our subscription; I don’t drive as much anymore, we aren’t even in the car very often, and it is an extra expense. I can honestly say that I would have paid a small fortune in that moment to just gain access to my locked kid. I can’t imagine if I would have had to worry about the summer sun beating on the car or other bad weather; On-Star gave me almost instant access to my car. I am so glad we kept our subscription up and know for certain we will always have that safe-guard in place.

Many times parenting results in gut wrenching ‘oh my gosh’ moments- I am just glad this one was short-lived and was easily fixed, and hopefully reminds some other’hands full, busy, preoccupied mom’ to verify where your keys are before locking the door. (After all, how many rogue people are out there patrolling fabric store parking lots?? I think we’re pretty safe)

ambition.

Dreams are so curiously intoxicating. Ambition…goals.. drive… they all charge up some part of the tired soul that makes you want to try something, that you have done a thousand times, in a new way. Trying it one thousand and one times so that maybe this time, this way, will be the answer.

I am astonished at the ability of some of my friends, digital and in person, to formulate their dreams so far into the future and yet have this tangible, clear path to get there.

I know I want to sew for profit- mind you my margins are small. very. very. small. But I have my one product on Etsy. Yet from here, it is so hard to see where to go next.  I have spent so much time on my pricing structure- researching the ‘market’ and competitors. I know I need to price my wet bags competitively with other larger sellers so that I can attract my following, but my hopes of wooing desired customers with my strengths in fabric selection, customization,workmanship, and presentation seem difficult to do when I can’t move my product. Wow… Momma’s got business issues and isn’t even a week out!

A business- even a small one- is a huge mountain to climb!! But the dream- and my hopes of reaching my small goals- are so exciting. My shop allows me to reach outside of my small home and impact many people (even if just by showing them what I can create); something I used to love about working in schools or hospitals. I used to have so much contact with people of all kinds- that it would spark my creativity.

My hope: to feel invigorated through this process and find an uplifting outlet for talents and interests God has given me. 

My fear: it won’t get off the ground enough and result in defeat.

For right now? Prep my pretty fabric stash and get creative!

tot- time diaries…

Once a week Baby Bunny and I venture out into the arctic weather to parade around an old school room with other moms and tots. We clap, stomp our feet, jingle some bells, and mainly share the common cold virus. It always surprises me when I look around the room just how different moms can all be. There are some very slender moms in our group, some well dressed, some old, some young, some with one kid and some with multiples, some of them aren’t even moms but caregivers or grandparents. And yet, here we are, making animal noises, singing along to music we wouldn’t readily put on our stereos on a Friday night, and getting excited for an old rubber stamp that we get if we can survive the whole 45 minutes.

We all transition into this room, and parenthood, instantly sacrificing the needs of self for our children. Or so I hope. I am sure there are the few parents in the room that resent some aspect of parenthood or possibly don’t enjoy this season of their life; it can happen. But on the whole I like to think that we are all sitting there, willing to let ourselves look like a fool, for the one second that our child can learn, laugh, or have fun. 

I am reminded of a moment last week when we were traveling where I realized how truly magnificent this selfless mentality of a parent is. While sitting poolside, I met a young couple that was just a few months pregnant. I recognized the confidence and presumptions in the future mom’s voice; I had it in my own at one time. She talked about names, room design, crib selection, registries, her plans for sniffles and vaccines, and birth plans- all with the matter of fact tone that it of course can only go one way- her predetermined, researched, preplanned, perfect way.

She ‘knew’ that they would dress the baby in a certain style of clothing and take the baby to certain classes, because the baby will, of course, want to fit into the mold that they are creating. She was speaking as the ‘future mom’ and not the ‘experienced mom’. All I could think of was how I had been so young, so naive, so unaware of what motherhood and parenting involved. I wanted to tell her that her quest to build the perfect registry wouldn’t matter the week after the baby is born, that printing the perfect ultrasound picture won’t change her love for her child or ruin her nursery. I wanted to tell her that everything she listed to me of the most important plans she had for the baby were really all pointing back to herself; to her dream, to her desires. That soon a baby will enter their world that has ambitions and desires all of their own, and her dream will shift to seeking out her child’s dream and doing everything in her power to bring it to reality. 

I feel like who I was, before Baby Bunny, was so different. SO different. I honestly don’t even know if I would have recognized myself two years ago.

My heart beats for this little person now. My soul flies on the sound of her laughter and weeps in the drops of her tears. I have a tangible feeling of how deep my love is for her; I know the extent I would give of my own life to save or enhance hers. But those are things that new moms have to learn. Pain, sleep deprivation, sickness, healing, steps, scrapes- all of these things bind us to our children and make us so much more aware of how precious of an individual they are. And just as I wouldn’t have listened to someone telling me that I didn’t understand motherhood when I was already pregnant, I know that new moms have to learn on their own, in their own way, in their own time.

Transition back to tot times dingy gym floors and broken toys, when we are all scrambling around our tot time room like a scene from Lord of the Flies, my fellow warriors and I are all chasing our little ones with a plan in mind. Each of us, while looking so different on the outside are all moving about with one goal in mind: we are trying to get ahead of theses toddling dinosaurs to clear their path so they can go farther. Dream bigger. Smile brighter. 

homeownership. the many joys.

Everyone always jokes about the “joys of home ownership”. Sadly it is not joyful to be spending extra money here and there and yet always finding that your home secretly knows when you have saved just a few extra pennies. On one hand I am thankful that our home requires periodic fixing- it means that we have a home. We have a roof. We have heat (typically). We have a stove to cook food. And so on.

But the appreciation for having those blessings and conveniences does not ease sticker shock with things go awry. Case in point- 10:30 pm last night our home starts to feel a bit chilly. It’s that brisk bite on your arms when you realize, ‘hmm. the heat hasn’t clicked on since… not sure’. We check the thermostat- wow, 69 degrees. (Most people might not think this is chilly but we keep the home around 73 degrees for baby bunny) I know that if it is already that chilly in the hallway baby’s room is at least 4 degrees colder. And of course, her normal pajamas were in the wash, so I had her in a summer footed pajama. That will not keep her warm. I know right then we are headed for a long night.

Fast forward, baby wakes up- she’s cold- and doesn’t want to be bundled up like it is sledding time. Furnace company tries to push us off until tomorrow, but get an ear full from a worried (and chilled) mommy, and finally arrive around 1 am. Short end of the news? Furnace is 20 years old and needs more money invested than it is worth. Decision time.

And so here we are. We were just rejoicing, and breathing a sigh of relief, a few weeks back when Husband got a new job. The bump in pay was the answer to our prayers; our grocery bills wouldn’t seem like such a blow to the bank account, we might go out to eat a few times, enjoy Valentines presents for each other, and we could spoil Baby Bunny a bit. I saw all the ‘extras’ in a new light: appealing and available. But I think God has a more ‘practical’ approach to needs and finances.

I have a hard time learning His practical approaches.

A new furnace, while warm, isn’t fun to shop for. Install. Play with. Or even look at. It hides in my cold, cluttered area behind my sewing station. But it is the major appliance in our home during this arctic hell of a winter we are in.

So we are price shopping and learning about BTU’s, variable speed motors, and gas exchangers. And… I am trying to train my brain to accept that God provides for what we need, and sometimes that means saying goodbye to things I like, and being more wise with our gifts.

A new fridge would be so much more fun to shop for. But let’s hope that keeps working for a while longer. The whole family greatly enjoys our food not spoiling, almost as much as staying warm.

bruises and bumps…

Apparently the frigid temperatures that have yet again started blowing outside, have made their way in. The floors must be frozen- because Baby Bunny is sliding around like a deer on the ice- sans skates. While it can be quite amusing, when she is padded in her winter coat and cushioned diaper, it is quite terrifying at other times.

Baby Bunny is asserting her independence in more ways and as she does, I am starting to become accustomed to her attempts at discovery. I know that she likes to walk with one foot on the threshold and the other on the floor, while carefully balancing a toy in one hand. She tried to ‘chest bump’ against the crib, sometimes so forcefully I am afraid she’ll knock the wind right out of herself. She stops mid-way on the stairs to change directions and tries to descend (something we haven’t quite mastered). At times I feel so ‘on top’ of her adventures that I think nothing could surprise me and ‘Super Mom’ will react before anything happens because, “I know her better than anyone”.

Sigh.

6:45 am: I hear Baby Bunny playing in her crib, starting to fuss, so I go into her room and rock her for a bit. She will have no part in this relaxing start to the day, so we grab a few toys and go back into our room. Baby Bunny thinks our bed is the best place ever: pillows, fluffy comforter… all the goods for space launches and good books. So as we are both in bed, I do not think much about her flopping around on the pillow, crawling around, and eventually winding up about two feet from the edge of the bed. I had that conscious moment where I thought, ‘She could fall off’ but my ‘Super Mom- I know her better than anyone’ inflated ego told me that she wouldn’t try to go closer to the edge and I could grab her in time.

Literally while I was finishing that conversation in my head, marveling at how big she has grown, i see her flop on her back on to the pillows but with a much larger force than I’ve ever seen, and her head (being like a large, unstoppable melon in motion) catapulted her straight off the bed.

THUD. Right. onto. the. hardwood.

Head first.

My heart panicked, I yelled for Husband- luckily still home, and immediately tried assessing the damage. Limbs attached, check. Blood, negative. Full range of motion, check. Visible bump or bruise, not yet. Eyes tracking and is she listening to me, kind of in the middle of her panic.

Fast forward: monitoring from Doctor and the ‘all clear’ from a trusted Mommy and skilled Nurse- we are both breathing a little easier. But with one interesting protrusion on the noggin (she must have landed onto of my gripper socks and the cable cord).  She is fine.

But where do I go from here as a Mom. As the (feeling) guilty party. Do I always bubble wrap, helmet protect, and baby proof everything with in her grasp? Do I become her shadow and new best friend checking out everything before it can approach her? I could certainly give the term heliocopter mom a new depth. But what kind of life is that? Bruises and bumps have to be apart of her life experience so that she learns. I don’t think I will put her on a bed again any time soon (or couch, ottoman.. anything higher than an inch for that matter) but I would hope she hesitates now before being near the edge. I hope that my pain through her fall prevents me from putting her in situations that I feel too confident in. I want her to learn, she sometimes will need to feel pain, but I want to keep that risk small.

I love seeing my baby grow. But I hate the hurt that comes with learning.