Insert witty title here?

You know what blog readers LOVE? Another rambling update about our lives! I knew it!

Last week, Mary and I did VBS at a sweet local church that we will probably be joining soon? Maybe? Michigan, you have so many Catholic church options in a twenty minute radius and it’s a lot for a pregnant mama to handle when trying to select a church for her family to attend for the next 50 years!! (Deep breath. Ok.) So we did VBS and it was mostly awesome. Mary hung out in the nursery where they have copious toys and tiny babies (we had several talks about how those are not toys). There were also enough teen girls so each toddler pretty much had his or her own teen to boss around for the week, a perk that Mary took full advantage of. I almost felt sorry for Mary’s teen when I caught sight of Mary ushering her outside for another round of  bubble-blowing or playground-hopping. Almost, but not quite. I exchanged freedom from my tyrannical toddler for responsibility for twelve third graders. They were a pretty good bunch, but their combined energy level far exceeded my toddler’s and Mary and I enjoyed desperately needed naps every afternoon last week.

hot dog

Seriously into the post-VBS-picnic hot dog offerings.

 

On Saturday, Matt and I attacked the remaining boxes in the apartment with great fury and now our place looks much more livable. Mary made her suffering known with loud whiny protests as we went through box after box of books in our storage unit. Hmm, I thought, her nose is running a bit. Probably all the fake crying.

Veteran moms know what’s coming next. On Sunday we all fell ill with the post-VBS head cold of doom. We turned down doughnuts after Mass because we were feeling so bad. Mary and I took naps, Matt went out on a twelve mile run (we have different definitions of discomfort) and when he came back Mary was laying on top of me on the couch watching Sesame Street. The couch-laying and Sesame Street binging continued pretty much through Monday night, when I collapsed into bed for a heavenly 12+ hours of sleep. Today I’m feeling much better and so is Mary. Matt continues onward with his takes-more-than-a-cold-to-get-me-down attitude. When I woke up this morning, I found that he had done two loads of dishes, a load of diapers and straightened up the kitchen. All while sick. That man’s a keeper.

Pollywog, the internal baby, is still doing well. I’m starting to wear maternity bottoms because I got tired of tight waist bands, but I don’t really look pregnant yet. I had my first person ask me when I was due, which was a nice affirmation that I don’t just look like I’m putting on extra pounds. I’m starting to flip out a little at the idea of having two little people to care for. Life is pretty comfortable right now with the one-to-one ratio Mary and I have going on. We’ve got our little routine and she’s old enough that we can do lots of things during the day together. I’m nervous about upsetting the status quo. Mary’s newborn phase was NOT my favorite so that’s making me anxious too.

turtle

On a recent mommy-daughter outing to the Matthei Botanical Gardens. She climbed up there all on her own and she was SO PROUD.

I can just feel it in my bones that this is going to be awesome, though. The best thing you can give a kid is a sibling, right? They’re going to have so much fun growing up together. And Matt and I will have another bundle to love and adore and obsess over. Did you see that thing the baby just did?! Yep… we’re blessed.

That’s what we’re up to, friends. What’s new with you? Tell me all of your grand summer adventures!

Seven Posts in Seven Days: An Homage

7 day blog challenge 7 posts, 7 days

Jen of Conversion Diary fame has set out to write seven posts in seven days and she’s invited anyone and everyone to play along. My first reaction: Yeah! I should do that! My second reaction: Um- how long does it usually take me to write seven posts? Seven months would be a generous underestimate.  Third reaction: What on earth could I write about for seven days?

Oh bother.

I pondered long and hard while my wee one ran out her energy in the mall playground. Well, let’s be honest- it was more like think, start to have an idea, jump up and mediate a toddler scuffle, think, recover spot in previous train of thought, remind my kid to wait her turn on the slide… etc. etc. But at long last, I had an epiphany. I enjoy reading many excellent blogs every day. My seven posts should each be an homage to my favorite bloggers!

Homage (n.): Shameless rip-off of better writers’ ideas, disguised with sincere praise of their blogging prowess

First up: Grace of Camp Patton. I doubt Grace needs an introduction, but just in case, she’s a fantastic Catholic mama to four darling kiddos (one’s still an internal baby) and she writes about their shenanigans with a heaping helping of honesty. Her husband is in residency and his schedule makes my husband’s look easy, especially since residency lasts a whole heck of a lot longer than launching a vehicle. Grace is well-named because every time she describes another toddler escapade, she handles the situation ten times as gracefully as I would have (and she finds a way to laugh about it, too).

One of the things I really love about Grace is that she’s isn’t afraid to be honest about motherhood. It’s hard work. Rewarding, of course, and fun most of the time, but really, really hard. In Grace’s honor, I’m going to make myself a little vulnerable and be honest too.

Here’s the truth: I had no idea what reserves of patience I carried within me until I had a child. Every day she reminds me that we humans exist to love and serve God and one another. Without her, I would still be so wrapped up in myself that I would never be able to spot the road to Heaven, let alone fit through the eye of the needle one day. In her own tiny tyrannical way, she’s making me into a saint.

And not a day goes by where I don’t resent her for it, at least a little bit. 

Toddler behaviors I could do without, among many:

  • Kicking and screaming in the car for no apparent reason except maybe because she sensed I was enjoying my moment of quiet in the front seat
  • Sudden dislike of food that was acceptable, even loved, quite recently
  • Constant “Uh? Uh?” asking about something in the house or drawing my attention to something
  • The need for my attention all. the. time.
  • The carrying on that takes place every time I announce she needs a diaper change

And if her shriek could come down a few decibels, that would be lovely, thanks.

A C. S. Lewis quote comes to mind. I’m paraphrasing because my books are in storage in Michigan, but essentially he writes, “My life is like a poem that God has written. He will keep erasing and rewriting me until I am perfect. I just wish he wouldn’t work at it so hard.” Serving Mary (and my husband too) will be my path to Heaven- but it’s going to be a long journey.

Day 1- in the books. See you tomorrow for a Day in the Life ala Ana of Time Flies When You’re Having Babies.

Onward March

This is not going to be another post in which I complain about how tired I am.

Even though I am. I really, really am.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit A: Me, five seconds after I laid Mary in her crib for the night.

Yep, I’m worn out, lonely, and bummed that it’s 9:23 in the evening and my husband has no idea when he’s going to be able to come home from work. He’s been there since 7 AM. Usually he gets to come home a little earlier. If he walks in the door at 7 PM, we exclaim over how “early” he is. Sometimes I give myself permission to be upset about the unfortunate aspects of this season of our lives. I have thrown many a one-woman pity party in recent weeks. That’s all fine and well and part of the process. The next step, though, is moving past the woe-is-me sighs and onto something more fun- for me and for those around me. Push forward, retreat, WOE, push forward, retreat, WOE- push forward. Gradually, things will get easier.

In case anyone else is in the new-to-being-a-stay-at-home-mom, new-town, husband-works-all-the-livelong-day boat, here are some blues-battling strategies that have been working for me:

(If you need help with your hyphenation overuse problem, I clearly have no answers for you.) (You should also move right along if you need to reduce your parenthetical asides.)

  1. Follow up new contacts with a (personalized!) email. Mary and I have been going to a lot of meetup.com events with tons of moms and babies in attendance. I meet all these women and their offspring at once while trying to keep up with my wily toddler. I have found that all these little acquaintances have a MUCH higher chance of leading to further interaction (mom second dates, I call them) if I hop on my laptop during Mary’s nap and shoot some emails thanking my new friends for their time and effort. Meetup.com lets you post greetings to attendees’ profiles or send private emails. I try to highlight something I loved about our interaction (“So great our kids are the same age!” “Thanks for your tip on teething!”) and offer an idea for a future outing (“We’ll be at the story time at the library next week- hope you can make it!”) So far this strategy is working wonders towards building Mary and I a group of mom and baby friends.
  2. Jump into unexpected chances to socialize. I introduced myself to another mom and toddler duo at Mass on the feast of the Assumption, even though that goes against all my introvert tendencies, and they are now some of our favorite Louisvillians. When I went to get the mail tonight, Mary and I noticed a new resident meeting going on in our apartment clubhouse, and even though I didn’t look great (ha! understatement) and hadn’t brought anything for Mary to amuse herself, we went inside. Met some sweet neighbors (with kids!), got invited to a regular playdate, and scored a free pasta dinner. Spontaneity, FTW.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. I am throwing my intimidation out the window and teaching myself to sew (on the sewing machine Matt got me for Christmas two years ago… about time!) I’m using a lovely learning to sew tutorial at Craftsnob by Retro Mama. I’m partway through the coasters project. Crafting is a way for me to feel productive during naptime while also relaxing and doing something just for me (as opposed to, say, cleaning). Not all anti-loneliness tactics involve socializing, I’m learning. Sometimes I just need to find things that are fun for me to do alone.
  4. Reach out online. I read blogs all the time, but until recently I rarely commented, even on blogs I’ve been reading for years. I’m making more of an effort now to reach out to my favorite bloggers, even if it’s unlikely they will have the time to respond in kind. By interacting with online content instead of just passively receiving it, I further incorporate community-building into my life.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. I look for moms groups online, and as far as I could tell, most of the Catholic churches in the area didn’t have any organized groups. But after reading Jennifer Fulwiler’s post about building their village and several other posts like it, I realized I needed to do more than scour parish websites for mom group info. I emailed every single parish in Louisville asking if they have any activities for moms… and I got several good leads! We are going to a women’s scripture study tomorrow with childcare provided.

So that’s where we’re at now. I’d love to find a way to volunteer with Mary, but I haven’t had any great ideas about that yet. I’ll have to keep thinking. What about you? How are you doing, bloggy friends?