Monday, July 29, 2013

No More Crib

We took the crib down a little over a week ago. We bought the kids matching beds and bedding. And aside from still being in diapers, using a pacifier when he sleeps, and needing a little help eating his Rice Krispies in the morning (because they make a BIG mess if he doesn't have help), B is turning into quite the little boy.
 The whole "no more crib" thing has left me rather reflective over the last week. The transition was a smooth one. We started out lying down with B until he fell asleep. Gradually, we've backed off to the point where we only lie with him for a few minutes before leaving the room. He's stayed in bed all night, every night. Such a good boy!
 But "no more crib" means no more babies in my house. Of course, I tell C and B all the time that they are my babies, but most mommas know what I mean when I say "no more babies." No more milky breath and tiny cries and little one piece rompers and rattles and whirs of the breast pump and glass jars of baby food. But it's also no more getting up four times a night and the constant sour milk smell on clothing from spit up and lugging a diaper bag every where and doing laundry all the time and checking the floor for the older kids' toys that might be choking hazards.
Are we done? I don't know. We're selling the crib and many of our other baby items. Some that are out on loan will probably be sold once our family and friends are finished with them. Things that can't be sold are being donated. We're keeping around our papasan seat, high chair, a smattering of baby toys, and pack n' play for family and friends to use when they come to visit. It's more a space issue than a finite decision. We lack the storage to keep all of this "just in case."

I had baby fever bad back in the winter and spring. We thought it was what we wanted. But then One Ordinary Dad went back to work and summer just got easy. I recognize that every parenting stage shares its own challenges, and we've had our share-- example: C and B play well together, but the age/maturity gap does rear its ugly head once or twice a day as they get frustrated with each other; it's a gap that will close with each passing year, thankfully). It's been nice to have two kids who sleep 10-12 hours uninterrupted at night. It's been nice to sit and leaf through a magazine while they play. It's been nice to spend time coloring with them both or putting together a puzzle or taking a walk where a stroller just isn't necessary.

The baby fever has dissipated in the last few weeks, and as I've been reflecting, the whole "be fruitful and multiply" idea has been a struggle. Of course the world would love more of our curly blonde haired, piercing blue eyed, tall, lean children. But as I've prayed and spent some time reading my Bible, I've also felt a sense of reassurance. Being fruitful and multiplying doesn't mean I have to have a half a dozen children to populate, what is, quite honestly, a heavily populated earth. Being fruitful and multiplying means I can teach my children to be Jesus to other people and to multiply His kingdom in others.

And I pass no judgement on those with 3, 4, 5, or more kids. I love our friends with big families. I was one of 3 kids. And if we end up with a third kid, it'll be okay.

But right now? Right now I'm pretty good with two. I've often heard moms describe their desire for more children as feeling like someone was missing from their families. I don't feel that way right now. Right now I feel like we are complete. But right now I also feel like our hearts are open, and so we're not quite at the stage where we feel like any sort of permanent solution is necessary. And that's a pretty good place to be with "no more crib" in our house.

~One Ordinary Mom

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Better Story

 Not too long ago, I read Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I knew the basic premise of the book and have had several friends read it and loved it. I knew I'd probably love it too, but I also knew that I'd probably find it a little convicting. And maybe that's why I put off reading it.

For those of you who haven't read it yet, the general idea is that as humans, we are created to live in a story. Our lives are stories-- with exciting parts that would look amazing on the big screen with a swelling soundtrack along with moments that are so mundane they'd never make the Hollywood cut.

Some people are living amazing stories, but most are just living mediocre ones. Spoiler alert: you can change your story. The ending isn't finalized (well, other than that whole we can't live forever, so yes, everyone's story eventually ends in death-- not to be morbid though).

We've been living a pretty good story lately. One Ordinary Dad and I spent some time in California sans kids.
 Later, we headed to Myrtle Beach.
 But there's more. There were times when I got a little ticked off reading the book because I thought, "well, sure, if I had written a New York Times Bestseller and had a ton of money in the bank and lots of time off, I could certainly make sure I was living a better story." But it's not necessarily about money or time (though those are nice things to have). It's about the little changes. It's about the legacy I want to leave. It's about setting the stage for the stories my kids will live once their father and I are gone.

And so while yearly vacations, monthly date nights, and other events that take a little more money or time will remain on our calendar and as parts of our story, there are small things happening too:
  • we say "I love you" a lot more and raise our voices a lot less (hard to do with little ones, but worth the effort)
  • we turn off the TV (and Candy Crush-- I was addicted for a bit) and get lost in books and magazines
  • we play with Legos and we play lots of games and we put together lots of puzzles (One Ordinary Dad and I occasionally stay up late on a weekend with some wine and a 1000-piecer)
  • we have more impromptu dance parties
  • we say "yes" to going to the park or going for a walk/hike or going to get ice cream-- even when it's not quite what we want to do
  • we choose to be generous without judging-- whether it's a dollar to the pan handler at the highway exit or volunteering our time to help others or teaching our kids how to sort out toys they don't play with anymore so that they can give them away
  • we don't count things-- hours of sleep, calories, number of times we've read the same book over and over again, who did the dishes last, who cleaned the toilet last, who made all of the beds last, number of loads of laundry, pounds on a scale, etc. 
  • we do count blessings though-- every night we name them with the kids before bed
We've basically chosen to embrace our one wild and precious life. All stories have conflicts too, and we embrace those too (everyone loves a story where the good triumphs over the evil conflict).

We want to live a good story. I know it sounds cheesy, but we want to honor God by getting the most out of the earthly time He's given us and by leaning into Him in both the good and the bad.

Changing directions in our story's "draft" if you will, has been a blessing for our little family. We're so thankful that God gives us the grace to change our story, to live a better one.

~One Ordinary Mom