Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sooo.... I guess we're here then.

For our entire married life (and truthfully, a long time before that), there has been "something" on the horizon for Jon and I. The nature of that something varied, whether it be finishing graduate school, getting a job, having a baby (or two), or buying a house. The one constancy was the impermanence of the present. There was always something new, some big change, to look forward to.

Well, we had those babies. We bought a house. Jon has a job that looks to be stable for the near future. We are here.

The thing is, I haven't really been here before. And lately, I've found myself thinking about what it would be like if Jon went back into academia or I went back to school. As I was packing up maternity clothes, I felt sad that I would not be wearing them again. (And yah, I won't be wearing them again. That ship has sailed.) There are upcoming events and challenges on the horizon, of course. Like our upcoming drive to see my parents this summer (18 hours! in an Accord! ack!). Or like solving The Mysterious Case of Anna's Allergies. But these are not big things. They are medium-sized regular-life things.

I'm not discontented. I like my life and I like staying at home with the kiddos. I feel strongly that God has put us here and has blessed us immensely and I am happy to be where He wants us to be. And lest Betty Friedan haunt me, I do have a sense of purpose and meaning in my life. What I'm saying is that the underpinnings of my occasional desires for a third child and/or a paying job and/or going back to school are resulting from the desire for another "big thing" in the distance. I've gotten used to the stress and framework that upcoming life changes bring with them. It's staying put that I am unschooled in.

So that's my challenge. I need to learn how to be where I am. To think more about the present and not the unknowable future. To enjoy my kids where they are right now, instead of thinking about how things will be when they're older. To think about painting my walls instead of changing my house. To use the education I have to serve the people around me, instead of going back to school for more. To embrace my home as my office (to use a friend's phrase) instead looking for employment.

What I'm NOT saying is that I will never do these things. Maybe we will adopt. Maybe I will get a job. Maybe Jon will change jobs. Maybe we will move to another city or even another country. But I'm not going to look for those things or expect them for awhile. First, I need to learn how to be here and now. I need to find contentment in this place in this time, because sometimes further growth and maturity can only happen when we're standing still. Just ask a tree.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Springtime in January

It's in the upper 50s today, the snow is melting, it's windy, and the air has the smell of springtime about it. But of course it isn't spring time, it's still winter and snow could happen anytime. [Theoretically. I am not holding my breath for snow.] These freeze-thaw cycles are still something I'm getting used to; the thawing always messes up my seasonal mind.

I actually have a few resolutions for this season, but first I wanted to take stock of the ones I made in the fall. The biggest success has been making my own bread. It's fun to experiment, and is a good way to introduce more complex tastes to my kids, in a somewhat subversive way. Cardamom raisin bread went over well. Orange cumin bread, not so well.
The rest of my autumn resolutions have been a mixed bag. I was going to cook one leafy green each week for the kids, but there's only so much rejection a person can take. I at least try to introduce a novel veggie, but that's been up and down. Thank goodness for frozen peas.
Instead of eschewing child sitting at my gym, in favor of getting up early, I got a family pass and the kids are there at least twice a week. BOTH of them have been getting up at night ($*@*?!), so I'm just too wasted for that 6 a.m. bugle.
Isaac's scrapbook documenting his first year is completely and utterly not finished, and only occasionally do I pull off the "not bag lady" look. What's a girl to do when it's chilly outside and those warm fleece pants beckon?
I've been better about being hydrated, and my knuckles have only cracked a couple of times. Sanity has also been maintained, although I did have Anna tested for whopping a cough. In my defense, she had been exposed, was coughing, and her preschool asked that all kids who tested positive (regardless of immunizations) go on antibiotics. Getting the test was yet another odyssey into the hell that is health care. We had to go next door to the hospital, went to three different departments before we were directed to the correct one, and no one at any point knew how much this was going to cost. The best answer I got was "The billing department will be able to help you after the test is complete." No kidding. We are still waiting for the bill.

Isaac continues to climb on everything, but hasn't really fallen. He has a great sense of personal space and fantastic balance. Anna went three weeks without a cold, but has contracted something once again. We've been giving her Zyrtec for allergies, which seems to be effective, but also knocks her flat at full dosage. She's down to a quarter dose, but I can't tell if it's still effective in reducing her congestion, because of the aforementioned cold. I suppose it would behoove us to figure out exactly what she's allergic to. Eventually.

Moving on to Winter/Spring resolutions....
(1) Having Anna pick out her clothes in the evening and get dressed before coming downstairs in the morning. We've done this for a couple of weeks now, and things certainly go more smoothly.
(2) Isaac's scrapbook. I have just got to get that done.
(3) Trying new hair colors. Streaking it with gray worked pretty well (although the texture isn't great). Going to try dark blue in a couple of months.
(4) Reading my bible more consistently. Last semester I wasn't very good with keeping up with the readings for our community group bible study, or my women's bible study. I want to do a better job at reading, retaining, and mulling the passages over. I also think it's important for the kids to see me read scripture.
(5) Date nights. More are needed. Many more.

Isaac resolves to do more talking. He is entering the verbal explosion stage, and is thrilled to be able to say Anna's name. A new past time is walking around, holding objects up, and declaring ownership. "Daddy!" "Mama!", "Annnnaaaa!!!!" He is also into stuffed animals: hugging them, throwing them, occasionally feeding them. This week, Anna's panda bear is the object of choice, which does not always go down well with Anna.
Anna resolves to do more crafts. Her coloring and drawing have improved, and she has a greater desire to complete specific projects. This is good news to me, since make believe is soooo hard.
We are doing play-doh right now, so I am off to create an imaginary devil's food cake with pink candles. Yummy! In an imaginary sense, of course.