October 26, 2012

i think i need to stop watching the news for a while

First it was the story about a middle school girl here in CO who was abducted from school and soon after murdered. I prayed earnestly for her safe return, but her teenage captor carried out his horrific plans. Then I saw that another girl in NJ was just murdered by two teen boys. Now, this morning, I saw on national news that a nanny in NY brutally stabbed two toddlers and killed herself. I cried on the outside.

Inside I am on my knees, screaming, holding my hands to my ears because I can't bear to hear it. I am also filled with hatred for, and ready to fight and defeat, the enemy - the one who seeks to utterly destroy all of God's children through whatever means possible.

What if my son became someone's victim? What if he grew up to be some innocent child's tormentor?

The heavy, inevitable irony of knowing that I ultimately have no control over my son's fate is crushing. Like every parent, I want to shield my son from the evil that surrounds us in this world. It is horrific, undiscriminating, rampant, bloodthirsty, and ever-increasing. The days truly are evil.

Sometimes I want to come unhinged when I hear about another death, knowing this is someone's dear child and so is the perpetrator. I don't quite know how to sort out this reality in my mind and heart. Yet, suffering and sorrow and the gut-wrenching reality of our world is with us every day, and we still choose to have children and infuse them with all of our hopes and dreams for the future as they continue whatever legacies we clothe them with.

I need to seek God's heart and will in this. I'll post again when I've done so.

October 24, 2012

fashion and the 40-something mom

Okay, now that I'm down 15 pounds, I decided to take a good, hard look at my wardrobe and make some decisions. The fact is, I have a really nice size 12 wardrobe that could be waiting for me a LONG time. Honestly, I'm okay with that. However, a lot of those pieces won't look so hot on me by the time I fit into them - especially the pants. That, and I'm tired of wearing blue jeans to work most days simply because I'm between sizes and can't predict how long I'll wear any particular size.

I will admit right up front that modern fashion is an anomaly to me. Why do they insist on destroying the female figure with... God help us... empire waists? The last time I looked good in an empire waist was before I needed to wear a bra. I was about 10. And then I see what some teenage girls choose to wear (crazy tight stuff on top and bottom), and I think I'm better off looking tastefully plain. Then again, I'm bored with my wardrobe and seriously need some color. Suddenly I was on a mission.

I did a lot of googling and found a couple of blogs by women who are close to my age, not really "skinny" themselves (though curvy and beautiful), and have at least one pinky finger on the pulse of the fashion world. I read up. I got myself schooled. And then I went shopping. I decided to try the dreaded skinny jeans.

First up: Kohls. I grabbed several pairs from different brands, since I know better than to think one size or style will fit. I hit the dressing room. And I found one pair in dark teal that didn't look hideous! Plenty of stretch with a just-below-the-belly-button waist that's actually flattering enough that I don't totally need to restrict myself to mid-thigh length tops. Feeling confident, I went to Old Navy a couple days later.

The super skinnys from Old Navy? Horrendous. Ridiculous. Just plain dumb, making all the wrong things look bigger. Oh, that's right - I can just wear big flouncy tops to balance out the abomination in my midsection! But then I tried on the Sweetheart skinnys, which turned out to be a more generous cut somewhere between a skinny and straight leg that doesn't cut off the circulation in my feet, and I think I can do this. I bought a winter white pair (may as well be daring) and a red pair. Ooooh... I can't wait to wear those with a caramel-colored sweater and black boots. I'm so gonna rock this look.

Or at least I hope I can rock this look, because today I'm wearing the winter white skinnys with a lilac flouncy top and I'm thinking it doesn't look horrible. I asked my husband and he gave me a mild thumbs-up (he's got no problem being quite honest with me). There's hope for me yet.

Special thanks to: The Domestic Fringe and Musings of a Housewife.

October 15, 2012

i'm too old for this sh*t

I found a Meetup group comprised of first-time moms in my area, and it's pretty active. I wasn't really thinking too much about a possible age issue, because I figured if I don't make it an issue it won't be one. The verdict's still out on that.

Today I met them at a park with a small lake for a walk - a perfect outing for us, even if it's close to his feeding and nap times, we can adapt - right?

It started out well enough. Six of us women, each with a baby boy under a year. Cool. Then we started walking. Normally, my son is the get-along guy. Today he decided that his stroller is a torture device made exclusively for him by a specific demon in a corner of hell. He wailed. I picked him up and carried him, trying to wipe away the ooze of snot running into his mouth. I put him back down and he was cool. For about 10 minutes. And then the wailing and the carrying and the wiping and the mommy thinking her arms aren't made for hauling a 22-pound baby around the lake resumed. Then, near the end of the walk, I finally figured out he was starving and so I went about feeding him the second we got to the pavilion. After his bottle, I laid him down to change him (before burping him - what the hell was I thinking??)

He laid there nice and calm, and after changing his diaper I noticed spit-up had dripped down his cheek, into his hair, onto the changing mat, and into his ear. Yeah. I was that mom today. Oh, the ladies were cool about it and understanding, but with the exception of one person they all seemed to be talking to themselves.

Oh yeah. And they were all about 15-20 years younger than me, none of whom worked outside the home. Exactly what in the world did I have in common with them besides the under-year-old baby?

Complete unequivocal disaster!!

So what did I do? I went to my mom's house. Thank the Lord she was there and had nothing better to do than hang out with her daughter and entertain her grandson for a while so I could regain my sanity and find my bearings. We had good conversation, I had half a glass of wine and lunch, the boy had a nap and a good lunch (that kid can eat).

I finally got home just before 4:00 and promptly took a quick nap while DH played with the boy. I live to fight another day.

favorite quote on getting older

"Society has little to do with it. You throw your own self away. You decide that you're irrelevant. The trick about getting older is to find something you don't know how to do - something you want to improve on. And since I write, I want to get better at that. It has to become about the next thing to do, your passion, something that comes out of yourself. Without passion, we're all sunk - we're just consumers who go out and buy another toaster." ~Abigail Thomas

October 12, 2012

sleep (and the pursuit of rest), part 2

So I went to see a doc (I don't really have a primary - I just see whomever they suggest at the clinic I go to) about my sleep issues. After a brief back-and-forth, he gave me a prescription for a mild sleeping pill. I took half of one that night, half the next night. I guess I slept a little better but felt like I had a groggy hangover the next day. A few days later I took a whole pill. Slept okay, but really not any better than when I drink half a cup of hot milk - and the milk gives me calcium and vitamins that the pill does not. Plus it's just more wholesome to me; I like the idea of feeding myself something completely natural that just helps me calm down, rather than taking a chemical that forces my body to do the same. Part mind over matter. So, I've decided to stick with the milk and I think I'm making more out of this than I should. Ironically, I've slept really well the last couple of nights - probably because the boy has a horrendous cold which makes him miserable, which gives us both a lot more to do, which takes a lot of energy, which exhausts me all the more. So I'm tired but at least I'm getting a solid 7 hours of sleep a night. And that is acceptable. Until I had him, I always knew that I thrived on 8.5 hours of sleep a night and that's probably still true. One day, that sleep will come back to me. Until then, I'm leaning on God to give me just what I need every day.

I'm convinced that what I really need is a better way to rest within my mind and heart. I can't always just stop what I'm doing and chill out (yoga helps, but it's only once a week). I remembered Jesus' invitation to "take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29 NIV) but I just didn't understand it. I wondered if 'taking up a yoke' was an expression in that day, but an expression for what? A burden? That's what it sounded like to me. I wondered what kind of burden Jesus has, and why it would be so light.

Then one day a friend posted this on her Fa.ceb.ook wall:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." http://bible.us/Matt11.28.MSG

Ohhh.... that's just what I needed to see. "Yoke" doesn't make any sense to me, but "unforced rhythms of grace" definitely does. A little gear in my soul clicked into place.

So now, before bed, I read that passage and consider each part. I am meditating on it. Every time I read it, God reveals something else to me bit by bit, angle by angle. And it occurs to me that all I really want is to be closer to Jesus. His life is the key to mine.

At our small group this week, one of the leaders asked us each to answer the question "What do you love about Jesus?" I immediately had a picture in my mind of an ocean with turbulent waves, dark clouds, swirling winds.. and in the middle of this a small island: no waves crashing on it, no rain falling on it, no clouds covering it, just perfect sand and stillness. Since I was near the end of the circle I had a few minutes to consider putting it into words. I said what I love about Jesus is that he is always an island of calm and peace, no matter what storms are going on in my life. I am finding rest for my soul, even if I constantly have to keep swimming back there.

October 8, 2012

how to spend time with a baby

Today my husband took the day off as a comp from his job for his birthday (which was over the weekend). So we decreed today "family day." Not that we had any specific plans. I mean, with a baby you can only get so far with making plans.

Morning was rough. The boy woke up shortly after 5 and we laid in bed waiting for him to go back to sleep (which he usually does). Finally at 6 something it was time to call it a day so we made coffee, and he was way too crabby/hungry to wait for that 7 a.m. feeding so I fed him at 6:30. Naptime was at 8 as we slogged more coffee, trying to decide on an agenda for the day. We thought of some errands to run and packed up. In a fit of desperation at our perpetually dirty home, we also did a bit of housecleaning. Not too much though - this is family day, remember? LOL

That sounds easy. It's not. It's pretty damn exhausting, getting ready to get out of the house with a baby.  Formula? Dispenser? Bottles? Blanket? Towels? Diapers? Extra toy? Jackets? You need to have your shit together if you're going to be gone for more than an hour or so - a lesson every parent learns the hard way at least once.

So we ran some errands, chilled out at my mom's to feed him (which is really nice to be able to do now that's she's retired, not to mention giving her a little extra baby time), then headed to a park to give him his noon nap while we walked around a lake. That was a good walk - just not long enough for his whole nap. Then again, I don't think I could have walked for two hours. One was acceptable. Acceptable enough, in fact, that I was lucky enough to get this pic from the boy:

Stopped at Ta.rget (my second home now that I have a baby) for formula etc., then came home and fed the boy again. Sat on the couch with a beer, the three of us, and just watched him play with his bottle lid. Played peekaboo with one of his little towels. Before I knew it another half hour had passed.

Sometimes I get nervous, wondering what we'll do between the afternoon nap and his bedtime. The good thing is, he's ridiculously easy to entertain (and is fairly good at entertaining himself) and my worry is for naught.

Oh - now it's almost 5 and we'll give him some solids. Nighttime bottle is about 6:15, bedtime by 7, happy hour at 7:01. Yup. That's about the size of it.

October 5, 2012

hurry up and sleep, me!

I'm tired. Tired of being tired. I'm guessing that being tired is just one reason why I've come down with my third cold this year (the other would likely be daycare).

At first, sleeping was easy. Not because I slept a lot after the boy was born, but because I became a master at sleeping whenever I had the opportunity. Not so anymore - he's been sleeping through the night for months, while my own sleeping habits have gone from "light" to "abysmal." Most nights I'm able to fall asleep, but I wake up 4-6 times a night (yeah, not very restful). Occasionally I will lay awake for hours with some stupid song in my head while my brain refuses to settle down. God has given me supernatural strength to perform well at work and do good parenting regardless of how little sleep I've had, and for that I am really grateful.

I know the bedtime routines to follow. I've been drinking warm milk just before bedtime for a while. But it just. Keeps. Getting. Worse. So I went to complain to a doctor, who gave me a prescription of something very mild. I took half a pill last night. I slept reasonably well until the boy woke us up about 5:20. He went back to sleep right away. I did not. Sigh...

Maybe it's the gunshot race-pace of daily life, the ever-present knowledge that No Housework Is Ever Done, making sure the boy is well-fed and well-rested, efforts to maintain relationships with my husband and the world at large, trying to stay productive at work, going through Weight Watchers (down 12 lbs so far), squeezing in at least a couple of workouts a week, shopping for and cooking food, trying to round up the papers so we can close on a mortgage re-fi, checking Fac.ebook - you know, the usual.

Insomnia with a child that sleeps 10-12 hours a night is so completely unfair. I'm trying to pray into this more and let God show me why this is happening. I'm going to a lifestyle coaching session in a few weeks to see what they say about it. Otherwise, I'm kind of stumped. I can't really be less busy - the boy's needs will only increase as he gets older. One thing we definitely need to do is hire a cleaning service. Then at least I wouldn't have that albatross hanging on my shoulders every day. Now if only I can remember to find one and hire them!

I asked the doc when I might find that rhythm again - a new equilibrium. He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.