Psalm 30:5

"...across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter." --Psalm 30:5

Friday, December 16, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

And as soon as I do, at least one (if not all) of the following will invariably happen:

  • I will realize that I need to pee.
  • My child will wake up from her nap.
  • The phone will ring.  Or someone will text me.
  • I will remember one of the many things I have to do NOW.
  • My dog and cat will start "playing" (ie: chasing each other and knocking into furniture)
I'm so incredibly blessed to have a sleeper for a kid.  My mom tells me I was this way, too, but I'm still somewhat amazed by my daughter.  She sleeps from about 5PM till 7AM every night (~14 hours), and still takes two ~2+-hour naps during the day.  It's amazing.  There are times when I wonder if she has time to do anything learn to walk or talk.  But she seems to be fine, and every mother I worry to tells me I'm really lucky.  So I'm thinking she's alright.  And it won't last forever. 
I'd give you a more recent sleeping picture, but she wakes up whenever I try...
and that's just not worth it.  Enjoy her during the first few months...

This sleep schedule has its down-sides, though, too.  We really can't do anything in the evenings.  We tend to milk our weekends, 'cause once 5:00 hits each night, somebody's gotta be home with the kid.  And with money as tight as it is at the moment, it feels stupid to pay someone to watch a sleeping baby too often.  

So every once in a while, we try to keep Sierra up a bit longer.  Say, till 6?  Maybe even 6:30?  The result: she falls apart.  She gets fussy.  She gets aimless.  She wants everything, and yet nothing satisfies.  We put her down to sleep, and she wakes up SO happy.  So, in general, we just let her sleep.  Trying to do otherwise just makes us all miserable.

I think I need to learn from my darling daughter.  I so often think of sleep as a luxury--especially naps.  I think that if I get everything else done, then I can sleep.  For Sierra it's the opposite: if she doesn't sleep, nothing gets done. She needs her sleep.  She needs a LOT of sleep.

I once read that perhaps God created us with a need to sleep so that for at least 8 long hours every day, we would have to leave things in His capable hands.  We would learn that the world keeps spinning without our constant care.  I think I need to be better about this.  I need to consciously disconnect from the world--turn off my phone, close the computer, put away the "to-do list", and relax into the loving arms that created and sustain the world.

"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves."
Psalm 127:2

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Encouragement when least expected

Yesterday was an awful day.

I woke up tired and grumpy even though I'd had a decent night's sleep.  I didn't feel very well for most of the day.  Sierra and I spent 2+ hours in the shop waiting for the car to be repaired.  (If you've never spent a couple of hours with a crawler who wants to walk and wants to eat everything in sight and needs to sleep after being up for 2 hours....I can lend you mine sometime.)  We came home, I got Sierra to sleep, and then the phone started ringing.  3 phone calls which all overlapped.  Wonderful conversations, but I really just wanted to eat lunch.  I managed to sit down with some food, ate, and then started packing up for a trip to the doctor's!

I woke Sierra up from her nap, got all ready to get out the door, but I couldn't get the dog into his crate.  I finally put Sierra down (which, of course, got her to screaming), terrified the dog into some form of obedience, and headed off to the doctor's office.  I got there late...and I wasn't prepared for all the lab appointment involved.  As I'm trying to finish all this up before Sierra's appointment with the pediatrician, she's taking plastic wrapped cups and tossing them around the room.  Thank God that Mike met me there for some back-up!  An hour and a half and three shots later, we headed home, put the baby to sleep, and finally had a chance to rest for a bit!

This morning, I woke up to the phone ringing.  Mike had taken his car (the one I got fixed yesterday) to work, had driven about 1/2 a mile, and then the "Check Engine" light started flashing.  From what I know, a steady check engine light isn't great, but a flashing one is really bad news.  So Mike turned around, came back, and took my car to work.  (At least that answered my debate as to whether we could go to the gym today or whether Sierra needed some down time at home...)  It also means we start thinking seriously about going down to one car....

So, today, we brought the car back to the shop, my mom picked us up, and then we headed to "Grandma's house" to play for a bit.

After lunch, we're all back home, Sierra's down for a nap (supposedly), and I'm finally able to curl up on the couch with the dog and cat and rest for a few minutes.

I just checked my e-mail and got a message from a friend saying that she'd been touched by something I wasn't even sure anyone had noticed.  God moved while I was unawares.  I love that about God.  He just does what He does.  He doesn't need us, but it's so awesome to get to be an occasional part of what He does in others' lives.  And just by telling me about her thoughts, my friend managed to make my whole day--my whole week, really!--lighter.  Thank you, friend!

So, here's my encouragement for you today: tell someone they've made a difference in your life.  Tell them that something they did meant something.  Tell them that God used them to bless or teach you.  You never know--it might just make their week!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sierra!

Dear Sierra,

One year ago, you came into our lives.  Daddy and I could never have dreamed what wonderful joy you'd bring to our home and our family.  It's been an honor to watch you grow and learn and become more and more of the brilliant young lady I'm sure God has planned for you!
                                                                            Mommy & Daddy

December 11, 2011

January 2011--1 Month

March 2011--3 Months

April 2011--4 Months

May 2011--5 Months

Mother's Day 2011--5 Months

May 2011--6 Months

 Father's Day 2011--6 Months

July 2011--7 Months

Dedication Day--August 14, 2011

August 2011--8 Months

September 2011--9 Months

October 2011--10 Months

November 2011--11 Months

And almost a year're still growing!

Keep going, little girl!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things that never seem to change...

No matter how tired she is, how little she's slept, how long I’ve left her alone in her bed [we’re in the middle of battles over morning naps], Sierra always greets me with the happiest smile, usually a bunch of excited bouncing, and sometimes a funny face.

My parents are enraptured by their granddaughter.  They’re local, available, and they love to spend time with her.  I’m so incredibly grateful that my daughter gets to know her grandparents…and I get the occasional break!

Mike comes home from work every day.  And no matter what he walks into, how (frequently) frazzled or (occasionally) put-together Sierra, Magnet, Rio, the house and I are, he always seems happy to be home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And then...

....I'm totally humbled...

It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads.
One round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night.
I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m at the door, one hand on the doorframe, resting in the light of the hallway, I turn to close the door a bit on the dark.
He stops me with just one question:
“What does Jesus get for His birthday?”
read the full post here.  I promise you won't regret it.

A Different Kind of Christmas

Photo by Rebecca Ferguson-Ondrey
Each year, we have a debate in my family about what we'll "do" for Christmas: Do we buy gifts for everyone?  Do we pick names? Do we donate whatever we can towards a "goat" (one year we did a family contribution to Heifer International)?

Photo by Rebecca Ferguson-Ondrey
Last year, Mike and I were feeling poor and tired.  Sierra had arrived 2 weeks prior to Christmas, and she'd decided she was going to be a very fussy baby for about 2 months.  We were transitioning from a two-income household to a single-income household.  And despite our best efforts, we hadn't planned for that transition as well as we should have.  So we announced that we were giving everyone a granddaughter/niece.
No presents.  Which turned out to be really wise, 'cause I never would have had the time to go shopping for them anyway!

And despite the wisdom of the decision, I still felt a bit bad opening others gifts to me that year and not having anything to give in return.
 This year feels different.  We're still poor, and Sierra has recently decided she no longer wants to take her morning nap (though I'm hoping she'll go back to it in a couple of days/weeks!)  But I've been planning a bit.  In July, my friend Robyn got me started on Swagbucks.  For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it's basically a site where you do a lot of the activities you'd normally do online (searches, surveys, polls, games, watch videos), and you get "paid" for them in swagbucks.  When you accumulate enough of these swagbucks, you can redeem them for $5 Amazon gift cards.  I've cashed a few in over the last few months, but in general, I've been stockpiling for December.  Mike's birthday is the 20th, Sierra turns 1 (oh my goodness!) on the 11th, and then, of course, there's Christmas.  In all, I've had about $100 at Amazon to spend for people this year!

I've also had the fortune of coming across a few other really good deals which have also helped substantially (thanks, Money Saving Mom)!

  • I was able to get (2) free American Express gift cards ($25 each) courtesy of Fedex for Small Business Saturday.
  • I signed up for Plum District at a time when they were offering a $10 credit for sign-up (it's currently $5).  I held onto it until recently when they offered a code for another $10.  I used the $20 (free to me) to purchase a $40 credit for The Little Seed.  Got $40 worth of free stuff and paid about $5 shipping.
All in all, we've been able to buy the gifts that we want to give for everyone without spending anything out of our everyday-budget.  It's been an incredible experience for me.  I feel like I finally got something right!

How do you pay for holiday gifts in your family?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mary Poppins

"Once begun is half done."  I've always been a fan of Mary Poppins.  I like musicals in general, but Mary Poppins has always been a favorite.  But I don't know that I've ever really appreciated this particular truism until today.  I guess I kinda knew it was true, but still...

One of the things I remember pretty distinctly from my childhood is hanging laundry out to dry on the clothesline at my mom's.  She had this window that opened from the back porch, and the clothes line was strung from the porch to a tree.  Each summer, we'd hang laundry out to dry in the semi-sun.  I loved pulling the laundry in (I'm not sure I liked putting it out very much, though).  The wheels would squeak in the pulley; I'd take the clothespins off the sheets and shirts as they'd fly towards the window.  I like that memory.

I have a clothes pole in my backyard.  Not a line, per se, and it doesn't have a pulley with squeaky wheels.  But in my quest to save a bit of money, I bought some clothespins a week ago, and I've been intending to hang some laundry out to dry--particularly the cloth diapers we have to wash every 3-5 days.

I've been procrastinating.  I mean, I always have a great reason not to: sometimes I can't wait for the clothes to dry on the line.  Sometimes it's dark.  The line on the pole needs to be cleaned.  Sometimes I just don't want to walk out to the backyard.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful morning.  I got the diapers out of the washing machine and thought that I'd give the line a try.  I juggled laundry baskets, took the diapers outside, cleaned off the clothesline, and tried out my new clothespins.

"Once begun is half done."  So true: the laundry is in progress, chicken is brining, dishes are done, meat is cooked for Thursday's lasagna.  The sun is out, my baby is down for her nap, and my clothes pole is finally in use.