April 30, 2009

The dreaded update post…

Posted in What's Going On tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:55 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I do believe that I’m the world’s most inconsistent blogger. As much as I love to write, it seems like it should be no big deal for me to write a few words every day about what’s going on in my life. And I mean to do this – I just forget. When I remember, my inner perfectionist pipes up with “hey, if you’re not gonna do it right, why bother?” (My inner slacker LOVES this.) And then I hear the long-suffering mommy voice reminding me – you’re going to regret this when you start forgetting the little things…

So here we go. It’s been a month and a half, and I’ve surely already forgotten some of the things I would otherwise have written here.

Rachael is much the same – she changes so slowly now that they’re nearly imperceptible. Although I know she’s getting taller (she outgrows her clothes as quickly as I can buy them) and her hair is getting longer (nearly to her waist now, and in need of a trim), there’s no more of the sudden “hey, that’s something new!” that there is with a toddler. We’re wrapping up our “school year” and I just think I might pass her on to first grade next year. 😉  We’ve been much more lax about school this year then I meant to be – so much so that I think I’m even going to chalk her kinder year up to being “unschooled” just to say we’ve done that! We’ve very much followed her interests this year, but it’s served her well – I downloaded the Virginia Standards of Learning for kindergarten and was able to check off (and very quickly) most of the list – more than half of it being absolutely absurd for her. Predicting the next shape in a pattern? Please. That is so three years ago for her. It’s so sad that there are parents who work so little with their children that they might not otherwise figure that out until kindergarten…

She’s joined Girl Scouts in the last month – I’m the proud mommy of a Daisy! We even got in on the tail end of the cookie sale – she sold a dozen boxes in two days, which earns her the cookie patch for her new blue uniform. She’ll be going to a day camp with her troop at the end of May, and a weekend camp in July – I’m thinking that’ll be a long weekend, as she’s such a big helper to me…but we’ll manage! She’s beginning to work on her music patch now, which means ten hours of instruction on a musical instrument. Thank goodness for Grandma, who will be starting piano lessons in the next week or so. Rachael’s first choice was the saxophone, but she’s just not quite big enough yet. We did go to see a local high school jazz band play yesterday, which was pretty awesome and reinforced her instrument of choice for her. And I got to sit and relive it all for a while, as I was the soloist in my own high school’s jazz band, once upon a time… Rachael was appropriately horrified at the preschool groups that were bussed in for the concert – at the teachers barking at them to get in line and stay in line and hurry up and sit down and be quiet. She was not at all impressed, and commented several times how glad she was that she wasn’t one of them…

Milly has definitely had more noticeable changes. She’s also growing like a little weed, although she’s getting taller more so than heavier at the moment, which makes her look more like a little girl than a baby, and I just hate that. Still not much hair, though, and I’m grateful for that. It’s getting longish in the back, and even curls up a little, but she won’t have to worry about bangs for some time yet! She is a fearless climber (the couch is no problem for her now) and runs and plays with the big kids. She has eight teeth now, and is working on a couple more. And she talks…oh how she talks, and I love it. In addition to the usual hi, bye, mama and dada of last month, she says:

sissy – no more “giggy” for her 😦
achewl – Rachael
bed – bed or breat
ni-night – good night
nack – snack
I uh you – I love you
got choo (sometimes I got choo) – got you / I got you (said to people as well as food)
tash – trash
shoo – anything dirty or otherwise offensive to her little person, not to be confused with…
shoes – her favorite thing in the world
cheez – a favorite food, as well as what she says every time the camera comes out
poopul, lellow, red, boo, peek, ahnge, geen – colors!
A, B, C, D – she’ll get the rest eventually
gasses – glasses
cub kak – cupcake
Ahka – Annika, her best friend (that’s my theory, anyway)
I poop! – self explanatory
dipee – what comes just after “I poop!”

There are certainly more I’m forgetting right now…she’ll attempt to say most anything, so long as she’s in the mood for it. That’s kind of the story of her life, so far – she can do anything, if she’s in the mood. And if she’s not in the mood – woe unto everyone around her until she is in the mood again!

Her favorite pasttime continues to be emptying my utensil drawer all over the kitchen and into the living room. I haven’t had the heart to put a lock on it, she loves it so much. Yes, it’s a pain in the rear stepping over things that she’s dislodging while I’m cooking, and sometimes I do have to inquire of other family members as to whether they’ve seen the spaghetti spoon or potato masher…but whatever. She’ll outgrow this all too soon, just like everything else.

She’s also discovered the joys of outside, and wants to be outside all the time, and then some. She’s not a big fan of grass, though, so she mostly wanders around the driveway. She also doesn’t like to swing – and I thought all kids loved to swing! She does love balls and bubbles and flowers, and I have a feeling we’ll be outdoors more than in this summer. Probably a good thing for our family all around, even though I’m not at all a fan of the HOT and would much prefer to be anywhere air-conditioned.

She’ll be 17 months old soon – we’re still breastfeeding and co-sleeping and I still love every minute of it. In fact, I get a little panicky when I think that it’ll soon be time to move her into the twin bed that’s waiting for her in her sister’s room. Rachael moved into her own room at 18 months…but once again, she seemed so much older somehow, than Milly does now! So we’ll see about that. For now, I’m enjoying the snuggles. And trying not to be too sad that there will likely be no more babies to snuggle with down the road. Trying to keep reminding myself how nice it’ll be to pull the covers up over my arms and under my chin again. And that there just may be two crawling in with me when Daddy leaves for work in the morning, instead of just one.

Speaking of Daddy, I seldom update on him…his being a big boy and able to fend for himself and whatnot. But I’m pretty proud of him at the moment too. After years of “I should”, he is finally going back to school! He applied and took his placement test and met with a counselor, and plans to go and register for his summer classes tomorrow. It may take a while since he can only attend at night, but he’ll be majoring in Industrial Electronics – which is basically reinforcing and expanding upon what he already knows. Naturally, we’re praying that this will lead to a much better job for him down the road. The sawmill has definitely played itself out for all of us, and the sketchy work hours of late are killing the budget as well. Things have never been this tight for us financially, and it’s very obviously wearing on us both…but we’ll muddle through. Things always work themselves out…and really, what’s the alternative? Life doesn’t stop because there won’t be a big vacation or many luxuries this year. Maybe next year will be better.

He is also considering (as if he doesn’t have enough on his plate already) volunteering with our local fire department. This comes following a brush fire that took about about five acres of our woods last weekend, and got too close for comfort to our storage shed. You could tell just by watching him that he was itching to get down there with the firemen and do something to help. It took him several days to broach the topic with me, but I can’t say I was terribly surprised. Rachael and I baked several dozen brownies for the firemen (we love to say “thank you” with food) and I picked up an application for him while we were there. I went to school with the fire chief, a super nice guy, and he assured me that they’d keep him safe…and looking at the department’s stats online also helped, as the vast majority of their calls are responding to either vehicle accidents or smoke alarms (not necesserily fires.)  Structure fires were the least common of their calls, and those are the ones that terrify me…the mental image of him rushing headlong into a burning building, which is probably based more on movies than on real life. I know he’d be well trained, I know he’d be cautious…but I’d still worry. And probably be irritated at how little we got to see him. But on the other hand, I’d be awfully proud of him at the same time – and who wouldn’t like to look at her husband through a “hero” filter? But we’ll see what happens – nothing is definite just yet.

And now, it’s nearly time for him to be home…time for a quick sweep of the downstairs, to make the house look a little less disastrous when he walks through the door – not that it ever stays that way. Not that it matters at all. I’ve pretty much given up on housework anyway – you just have to redo it all the next day anyway. 😉

December 5, 2008

A post inspired by song lyrics.

Posted in Things I Think About tagged , , , , , , at 5:51 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I just walked down the street to the coffee shop –
Had to take a break, I’d been by her side for eighteen hours straight.
I saw a flower growing in the middle of the sidewalk,
Pushing up through the concrete like it was planted right there for me to see.
The flashin’ lights, the honkin’ horns all seemed to fade away;
In the shadow of that hospital at 5:08, I saw God today.

Atheism is a difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around. I understand why some people turn their backs on God – this isn’t an easy world to live in. There’s so much evil, so much loss, so much sadness, so much hurt. Even if you’re reasonably privileged, even if you’re a really good person – no one is exempt from the hard knocks that this life has to offer. There have certainly been instances in my own life when I’ve questioned God, when I’ve been angry with Him, when I’ve told him that something was horribly unfair. I’ve had to remind myself that He is in control, that He won’t give me anything that I can’t handle. That despite the hurts, I have been incredibly blessed.

But for someone to believe – really, truly believe, that there is no God, that just boggles my mind. To believe that this entire planet is the result of a freak explosion, a random occurrence, a mishap – entirely unintentional, just happenstance. To view a breathtaking landscape and think that no one had a hand in it. To gaze into the heavens and not know that you are just a tiny piece of something greater.

I saw a couple walking by, they were holding hands –
Man, she had that glow –
Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice she was starting to show.
I stood there for a minute takin’ in the sky, lost in that sunset
A splash of amber melted into shades of red…

It especially baffles me when it’s a mother who doesn’t believe in God. The very physics of pregnancy is amazing…one day, you’re just you – the next, you’re you plus a living, growing human hidden deep inside. You watch your body grow and change, you see this child on the ultrasound screen, eventually you even watch him or her moving around beneath your skin. And then one day, given the chance, your body does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and you’re holding a brand new person that wasn’t there before…

I got my face pressed up against the nursery glass –
She’s sleeping like a rock,
My name on her wrist, wearing tiny pink socks.
She’s got my nose, she’s got her mama’s eyes,
My brand new baby girl –
She’s a miracle…
I saw God today.

This part of the song chokes me up every time. Twice in my lifetime, I have been fortunate enough to carry a pregnancy to term, to dream and hope and wonder about the little person growing inside me. Twice I’ve held tiny, pink newborn baby girls, damp and sticky and perfect, and marveled at their little faces, fists, feet. Twice I’ve looked at brand new people, full of all of the possibility this life has to offer, and known a love that I have never, ever known before. And twice I’ve known that I was allowed to take part in a miracle. A cell from my body and a cell from his may have been used in the mechanics of it all, but I could no more create a beautiful new life of my own doing than I could jump up and grab a piece of moon.

How could any mother – especially a new mother, holding her brand new baby – not look into that child’s eyes and not know that she was looking at the face of God?

I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book,
I know He’s here but I don’t look
Near as often as I should –
Yeah, I know I should.
His fingerprints are everywhere,
I’d just slowed down to stop and stare –
Opened my eyes and man, I swear,
I saw God today.