Category Archives: daily life

The hardest thing

I’ve determined what the hardest thing about being a parent of young children is.

Diapers? No. Wiping noses? No. Wiping bums? No. Wiping sticky residue from faces and floors? No. Settling skirmishes? No. Settling the same skirmishes over and over and over again? No. Instilling manners? No. Molding hearts? Teaching and showing the love of Jesus every day, all day? No.

Wait for it.

The hardest thing about being a parent is watching children “craft” by gluing layer upon layer upon layer of paper scraps, tissue paper, cloth scraps, yarn and gems WHILE RESISTING URGES to straighten everything out AND sweep everything into the trash.

Hardest. Parenting. Non-move. Ever.

 

A lovey that isn’t so lovely

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A fuzzy photo of someone else’s Patty the Penguin, because LO’s is currently napping.

Kids become attached to the darnedest things: a ragged blanket, an over-tired teddy bear, a torn sweatshirt, a stuffed Patty the Penguin giveaway from La Senza Girl? 

I was hope-hope-hopeful that LO would skip over the phase where she’d want/need to be in constant contact with a “lovey” (I think parents call them “loveys” because somehow that makes germ-infested items more palatable in our minds).

So much for hoping. About five months after she first saw the years-old stuffed animal used to entertain her during a baby-sitting session with her cousin, LO realized the “awesomeness” that is Mr. Penguin, and she looooooves him.

Pets him. Snuggles him. Bites him. Holds him out for people to kiss. She loves him so much that Momma and Daddy have determined that he* is a VERY sleepy lovey that must stay in her bedroom and catch up on sleep while she goes about her day.

So far she hasn’t complained. But, really, what choice does she have? I think she looks forward to her nap/bedtimes knowing she’ll get to hang with her very best pal.

Her very mangy, very best pal.

Praise the Lord for the handwash cycle on our washing machine!

*Oops. Penguin is a girl? Should’ve read “his” butt tag before we started calling him Mr. Penguin.

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Glorious attitudes

So, doing “mom things” can be rather boring.

Diapering? Rarely exciting (and sometimes scary). Outfit changing? Semi-exciting. Feeding? More exciting (now that LO is eating some solids). Cleaning? Meh.

Every day, while completing these tasks and others like them, I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Kinda puts completing mundane tasks into perspective.

Diapering the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Changing the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Feeding the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Cleaning up after the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check.

Since I’m usually listening to tunes throughout the day while completing said tasks, I smile every time I hear “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Here’s the first verse and chorus:

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today … matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away … you put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door … and while I may not know you I bet I know you … wonder sometimes does it matter at all … well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you …

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you … cause He made you to do … every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face … and tell the story of grace … with every move that you make … and every little thing you do

So true.

How’s your attitude?

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So, let’s talk about postpartum feelings

Some of you have read this post before. If you’re in my circle of family and close friends, you’ve already seen this. I’m sharing it again in this medium because I think I think all moms and moms-to-be benefit when other moms share their real after-birth feelings.

I wrote this a few months back when my kiddo was 3 weeks old, because my DH (dear husband) said it might be cathartic to do so. He was right.

While I’m feeling 110 percent better, maybe my thoughts will help some of you.

I’m quite sure LO (little one) did some growing this week along with other cute things, but I was stuck in some weird emotional state that left me crying one moment and worrying about the dumbest thing the next.

So, let’s talk about postpartum feelings.

Namely, how much they suck. I can cry anytime, anywhere. Don’t believe me? Try me. Go ahead, call me up and try me. One moment I’m happy as a clam and loving on my sweet LO. The next moment I’m weepy and wondering what the heck I’ve gotten myself into. I can cry while changing a diaper. I can cry while looking at my LO. I can cry while looking out the window.

I’ve done all three. Separately and simultaneously.

I remember the births of my girlfriends’ children and how everything was sunshine, lollipops and teddy bears. I heard about how much they loved their child. How wonderful mommyhood was. How they could hardly wait to think about having more children.

No one talked about feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. About the uncertainty of what to do with a newborn. Of the boredom that ensues. Of the bloodcurdling screams and the inability to get any soothing mechanisms to work. Of the lack of control.

That’s what I miss the most. Being in control. No one controls a newborn. You can read every baby book under the sun and gain all sorts of examples of how to care for your kiddo, but the author never shows up to take your child off of your hands for an hour, allowing you to go back to bed or do something non-child related.

While speaking—sometimes in tears—with my girlfriends recently, I’ve learned their entry days and weeks into mommyhood weren’t as sunshine-filled as I had previously thought. They, too, shed tears, shared doubts, felt overwhelmed and were certain they’d never again gain control. In sum, raising a newborn was the hardest thing they’d ever done.

The hardest and most worthwhile. It’s just sometimes hard to see the worthwhile part while riding a rollercoaster of emotions on the way down from a hormone high. Stupid hormones.

Oh, how I miss feeling normal.

Their advice? Go create a new “normal.” Get out of the house! Go for a walk! Meet a friend! Join a mommy group! Just go! Do something! Do anything!

Most importantly, talk about how you’re feeling. Because admitting you feel off is the first step toward feeling right again. And, you know, what? They’re right.

While I miss being in control and sometimes find myself in tears wondering what exactly is it I’m crying about, I know that I’ve been blessed with a beautiful LO. And LO is continually teaching me that I don’t need to be in control of all things all day long. It’s OK to have a messy living room (ugh!) and a pile or two of dirty laundry (egads!). It’s OK to not straighten the bed every day. Didn’t wash my hair? Not a problem. And—a big one—couldn’t get to the gym? That’s OK, too.

Really, it is OK.

Because tomorrow is a new day with new adventures. The hormones aren’t for forever. But the love I have for my LO is. And knowing how much I love LO (and LO’s daddy) and look forward to watching LO grow makes it all worthwhile.

Every last annoying tear.

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It’s a toy’s world

Similar view in your playroom?

In 1950, a 5 year old owned, on average, five toys. In 2000, a 5 year old owned, on average, 250 toys.*

It’s 2012, and I have no idea how many toys a 5 year old owns these days, but I have a feeling it’s more than 250.

What the heck does a 5 year old do with 250 toys or more anyway? Star on Hoarders: Toddler Edition?

I’ve been participating in a weekly Bible study on parenting, and today’s lesson was “Guarding a Child’s Mind: A godly mother chooses her child’s environment wisely.”

What does this mean? As Christian parents, it’s our responsibility to instil in our children God’s Word and its absolute truths. After all, we are in a spiritual battle for our children’s hearts and minds. God’s way and the world’s ways are two different ways, and we are to help our children “grow” their faith in Christ so that they will one day stand on their own convictions and choose right from wrong on their own.

One of the aspects we touched on is materialism and how we view our belongings and, in turn, teach our children to view their belongings.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 reads, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” Hebrews 13:5 reads, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you.’”

Living in Canada, my kiddo has been born into “wealth.” Anyone with some dollars in the bank and his wallet and spare change in a cup on the counter is in the top 8 per cent of wealthiest people in the world.*

But what are we teaching our children about this wealth? Are we teaching them that ALL we have comes from God? Do our children have attitudes of gratitude and thankful hearts for His provision? We are called to be content and grateful. Are we as parents showing contentment and gratefulness for our belongings to our children?

God provides for His children. He always has, and He always will. We need to teach our children to be thankful and grateful for all they have and to focus on what they can give and share with others.

Most importantly, we need to teach them to “set their minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

No small task, but a rewarding one indeed.

Who needs 250 toys anyway?

* Taken from Entrusted with a Child’s Heart: A Biblical Study in Parenting by Betsy Corning

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Canadians are a happy lot

Last Tuesday, Yahoo! News (Canada, of course) posted a story about a study done on the happiness of Canadians.

The Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards, in tandem with the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (why hello, tax dollars), found that 92.1 percent of Canadians age 12 and older consider themselves satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

The single direct quote in the story from the centre’s executive director: “This will surprise some people, but Canadians in general are pretty happy.”

Thank you for that critical analysis of the data.

Additionally, the study named Canada’s 15 Happiest Cities, drawing on data collected by Statistics Canada through its annual Canadian Community Health Survey, which polls Canadians about health issues and quality of life.

You know something’s a bit fishy when Brantford, Ontario, comes in at No. 2.

You can read the full story here. It’s worth the click just to read the comments people leave. Really.

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I didn’t mean to not post

Dear Blog,

I’ve neglected you, again, but I see you’re getting much use from individuals who are searching for information regarding full-body scans at airports. There are a lot of angry people out there—not that I blame them—and I’m happy you can provide them with an entertaining cartoon, which I attributed to someone else, because, well, I don’t create the best cartoons.

Although, I like drawing stick figures.

But, that’s beside the point. Neglect. That’s the point. I’ve been doing a lot of things. Namely, working a full-time job. Which is good. Good for me. Bad for you. I still love you; I’m sorry it hasn’t been showing.

Today, I played volleyball for the first time in, oh, forever. You would’ve been impressed. I played. I did not die. Success!

Yesterday was Black Friday. I did not participate. Canadians don’t care about Black Friday. They’re waiting for Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Although, a week ago, I heard an ad for a Boxing Day sale on the radio. Canadians advertise like Americans: “Hey, it’s July! Christmas is almost here! Ornaments on sale today only!” Awesome.

You should know that I have thought about you a lot. And, people in my inner circle have asked about you. They care about you. Read you. Love you.

What? Those are only words? Oh, I know; I know! I’ll try harder.

If only all the good things happening in my life weren’t so personal. Maybe then you’d get more attention. All I can say is that Husband’s attempt to grow an avocado is, so far, just that: an attempt. He’s hopeful. And, I’m a supportive wife, so I’m hopeful, too.

I’ll try to do a better job of keeping you informed.

Really.

For real.

Yours truly,

Jill

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Whistle while you work

Nothing says "happy" like whistling a tune.

There’s a whistler in the office. And, every so often, a ditty floats in my door. Which makes me smile. Why? Because, whistlers are happy people. And, working with happy people is a good thing.

Remember Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Snow White made working way cooler by mixing in whistling.

Just whistle while you work
(humming.. whistling)
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune (humming)
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you get the pay

And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom
Is someone that you love
And you’ll find you’re dancing to the tune

When hearts are high
The time will fly so
Whistle while you work

So whistle while you work…

That Snow White. What a woman! She mixed in a whistle, and the boys cheered right up. Even Grumpy. Also, a menagerie showed up on the doorstep to help her clean. Which makes me wonder: Is my co-worker’s whistling a cry for help? A call to action?

Hard to say. Either way, whistle away.

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Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work I go!

Hello, brake lights, my newest and most-oft-seen companions!

I started a new job yesterday, working for a small, Christian nonprofit just south of the city. And, that’s really all the more I’ll say about that, because I’m not one to blog about work-related things.

However, I’m more than happy to chat with you about the commute. Because, it’s awesome. Awesome in a ridiculous sort of way.

I drive approximately 31 kilometers door-to-door. That’s the equivalent of 19.3 miles. Seventeen of those miles are on the highway. The three-to-four-lane-sort-of highway. Which means, in theory, that my drive to and from work takes 40 minutes round-trip.

Sounds fabulous, eh? Well, of course it does. Most theories do.

In reality, it takes me 35 to 40 minutes to get to work and 50 to 60 minutes to get home. This is because every last person living near me also drives in the same directions to and from work, creating massive traffic snarls and delays. And happy drivers. Lots of happy, happy drivers.

I realize two days is probably too soon to comment on the commute, but that driving was done in perfect weather conditions. No misting. No pouring. No snowflakes. No blizzards. Which means I have much to look forward to in the approaching winter months. Much indeed.

I’m now looking back on my two-lane, NW Ohio-driving experiences with fondness. Fondness and lamentation.

Good thing I’m enjoying the job.

On to Day Three.

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The day the door wouldn’t open

Of course, I love you, honey. Just open the door already!

Once upon a time, we lived in a condo that had a front door that did not like to open. The deadbolt lock, which always latches, was crotchety, cranky and, sometimes, downright temperamental.

Because of this, getting into and out of our pad was at times a chore, one that required much wrestling, cajoling, jiggling, banging (not our heads, although, occasionally, our heads) and praying.

Yesterday, around 5 p.m., Husband and I returned from running errands, separately. I came in first and had no issue opening the door, but I struggled to lock it again. About 10 minutes later, I hear the lock jiggling and what I thought was the door opening and closing and some more jiggling. Three minutes later, I decided to investigate Husband’s progress. Only, the foyer light wasn’t on. Odd that he didn’t turn on any lights, I thought.

It turns out that it’s hard to turn on lights when you can’t actually get in the door. Husband was still standing outside the door trying to get the deadbolt to respond, and he was having no luck.

Oops. Sorry, sweetheart.

“Honey, why don’t you want me to live with you?” he asked through the door.

“I don’t understand why you won’t just come in,” I replied.

For the next 30 minutes, we tried everything to get the lock to give. Husband had wrestled the door to the ground a time or two before, and on his own, and he was certain he could do it again. This time, however, the deadbolt was not budging. And, we were causing so much ruckus that the neighbours began to investigate. None with any great advice, unfortunately.

Finally, Husband had me take the faceplate off the door from the inside. I was able to wiggle the deadbolt out of the door jam with a screwdriver, thus allowing the door to pop open.

Hi, honey!

For the next 30 minutes, Husband dismantled, re-mantled and dismantled again the entire deadbolt. Each reconstruction saw the same sticking happen, even after the entire piece had been soaked in solvent. Stupid deadbolt!

Time to call the superintendent. The super, who had re-worked a deadbolt a time or two in his day, noted a pin was missing and left to hunt down a new one. But not before following the proper bureaucratic avenues, making sure the “right” individuals were notified of the malfunction. He returned only to have to go looking for something else. Upon his third return, just before 9 p.m., the lock was fixed for good.

Hooray!

For a minute or two, Husband and I thought the broken lock might be an asset, keeping people who like to try living with us from getting in. But then we thought about how the two of us would enjoy being able to get in from time to time.

So, in sum, all’s well that ends well.

The end.

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