Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dry cereal is genius. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.

This morning I (rather groggily), asked Lexi what she would like for breakfast. The conversation went something like this. 

Me: Lexi, would you like toast for breakfast?
Lexi: NO! 
Me: You don't want toast?
Lexi: NO! I want Bacon! 
Me: Bacon? I don't have any bacon.
Lexi: [with lots of excitement and enthusiasm] NO! I WANT BACON! And EGGS! And PANCAKES! With BLUEBERRIES!!!! 

Not able to win this one and definitely NOT intending to make bacon, eggs and pancakes with blueberries at 6:30 in the morning, I changed my tactic and decided to take a more specific approach.

Me: Lexi you have two choices. Toast or cheerios. That's it. 
Me: Ok.
Lexi: NO! TOAST!
Me: Toast?
Lexi: NO! CHEERIOS! NO, toast. I want toast.
Me: Good. How about toast with peanut butter?
Lexi: NO! NO PEANUT BUTTER!!!!! JELLY!!! TOAST WITH JELLYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! [keep in mind that coming from Lexi's mouth, jelly is actually pronounced as "JEWWWYYYYY!!!!"]
Me: Lexi, please ask politely.
Lexi: May I please have toast with jelly please? [the two pleases make it extra polite]
Me: Ok. Toast with Jelly. 

And then I gave her toast with peanut butter and a tiny smear of jelly on it. And she ate it all without question. 
Kids.... sheesh.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lots of lovin'

The stroller of our dreams has arrived! 
Actually it arrived on Friday, but I didn't get to use it until Saturday, and then of course, writing about it had to wait until Monday. But here it is and we LOVE IT! (don't pay any attention to the girls' faces...they do really love it). Really. I will MAKE them love it. 

The day it arrived, Lexi sang happy birthday the entire time I was putting it together. With a present this big, it had to be someones birthday, right? Goal met. Happy Mama. Now I just have to start implementing the exercise part along with Lexi's squeals that she has to go potty every ten minutes... I'm thinking some short, brisk walks are in order.

Speaking of Lexi, we have been struggling the past few weeks with some extreme behavior on her end. Terrible Two stuff. Lots of discipline. Lots of frustration. Lots of exhaustion and not knowing what to do. Trying to implement new things, but doubting the outcome (yes, mom, I am reading the books). But even with all the trying, difficult days, I still love this girl with my whole heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obeying is hard. Even for adults.

There is something to be said for stepping out in faith and walking in obedience to what God call us to - to make disciples. I have been feeling a nudging in my heart since moving into our home with this big city yard that God wants to use this place and us in this particular location. Which is why we decided to buy a house here in the first place. (more on Albany Park - our neighborhood - later) Today I was at the park with Lexi and Lyla and found myself talking with a couple of the other moms there - one Romanian, and one Burmese. As I was asking the Romanian woman some good questions (thanks to this awesome blog that our good friend writes http://aswearegoing.com/post/27916819509/want-to-get-to-know-someone?og=1) she opened up to me and started telling me how hard it is for her to be here in this country, to be alone all day with a two-year-old, and how discouraged she is in being a mom. As she went over to put her daughter in the swing, I heard God telling me so clearly "This is what I want you to do. This is why you are here. You are going to start a play group that these Moms and their kids can come to. They are hungering for community just like you are. And they need to hear the Gospel. This is what I want you to do."

Just because God speaks, doesn't mean we always obey. I actually sat there and was like, "Well, that's cool. I'll just go home and keep thinking about it." And then, believe it or not, I LEFT THE PARK.

Fortunately, God loves me a whole lot more than I deserve. Because as I was walking away, heading home, thinking that I would never see that woman and her daughter again, God told me to turn around and go back.
I stopped walking.
And here's where the story gets good.
I went back.

I walked back to the park (I had only walked one block in the other direction), swallowed my shyness and pride (yes, there was that too), and walked up to the lady and invited her to my house for a new play group that I am starting next week (yes, that was a total surprise to me too...it just came out of my mouth and now it's happening). The relief and excitement on her face was amazing. She literally said "OH MY GOD! I AM SO HAPPY YOU TOLD ME! I WILL DEFINITELY BE THERE!" And then I told her to invite her friend with her kids who had left the park a few minutes ago, and she replied, "YES YES YES! SHE WILL DEFINITELY COME TOO!"
Well what do you know?
I was there for a reason.
And sometimes, actually all the time, walking in obedience brings a lot of joy, and a lot of adventure into a person's life. Because now I am starting a neighborhood play group in my yard (thanks for that, God). And I am not just talking about it and dreaming about it anymore. It's happening. And it may just be that these women are hungry for community, hungry for meaning in life, and therefore, hungry for the Gospel.
I'm a little scared.
Extremely surprised at myself and at what just happened today (I am a total introvert, for those of you who don't know that already).
But excited.
Excited to see what God is doing here. Excited to see what his plans are for these ladies and their families.

I'm excited to see our life begin to unfold here, and our house become a beacon of Light for the Lost and Searching. We may not live in the best or most attractive neighborhood in Chicago (lets not even get into the schools here), but God has a plan for the people here. And we get to be a part of it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a little girl who's naps were too short.
Once upon a time there was a mom who sent her adult kids in Chicago way too many cookies and sweets for them to eat and give away so they would stop eating them.
Once upon a time there was a lady in Chicago who ate too many cookies and sweets that were sent to her house because she didn't have enough people to give them away to.
Once upon a time there was a Mom who looked down to find that the belly that had disappeared post pregnancy seemed to be appearing again (blame the cookies and sweets).
Once upon a time there was a thrifty-want-to-be mother who researched double strollers for weeks but couldn't bring herself to buy one due to the feelings of guilt and self-indulgence that comes with spending a lot of money for something that she isn't sure will work well.
Once upon a time there was a 25-year-old girl who had two little kids and needed to exercise. So she went out and bought some appropriate shoes. 
Still no stroller.
Once upon a time there was a woman who had the exercise shoes, shorts, and bra, but didn't have the ability to leave the house during the day without taking along her two little kids. Stroller?
Once upon a time there was a person who procrastinated about buying a stroller (because the one she REALLY wants costs a billion bucks and isn't released to the public until the end of August....stroller snob, anyone?). 
Once upon a time there was a mom who realized that she would be trapped in the house without exercise until she bought that damn stroller. After all, it kind of makes her cry when she thinks about pushing one kid in the stroller while jogging with the other kid strapped to her front in this wretched heat. 
Once upon a time there was an individual who set a goal: ORDER the stroller before the end of the day. Which means she has to decide which one she is going to buy. Her bank and her belly are on the line here. The decision better be a good one. 
Once upon a time there was a lady who decided to stop writing this ridiculous post, and go put her toddler (who woke up way too early from her nap) on the potty.

Good thing this lady isn't me. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Water, Money, and Guacamole

This morning, the girls and I took a trip to the pool with the other Moms and tots in our Monday Moms group. At the pool, Lexi discovered that when you jump into the pool in the "deep end" (only 3 feet or so in the kiddie pool) you go under water. Fortunately for her, I have been her mother for two solid years, which means I was anticipating the jump at some point while we were there. With Lyla under one arm, I jumped into the pool and scooped up a sputtering Lexi, who then proceeded to smile and giggle and wiggle away again. This girl is a water bug. 

After Lexi's nap this afternoon, I noticed that her shorts pockets were bulging and making a familiar crunchy sound. I put in my fingers and dug out a wad of dollar bills. The other pocket was housing a 5 and two 1's. Again, at my discovery, she started giggling and wiggled away. 

While doing laundry in the basement just now, Lexi comes down the stairs yelling "MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!" I kept correcting her with "Call me Mama, Lexi, Mama." (Mommy is too whiny in my opinion...unfortunately, the whole world seems to disagree with me, making for a very confused toddler). The argument went something like this.
Me: Lexi, call me Mama, not Mommy.
Me: No, call me Mama.
Me: ?

As I write this, (not really paying attention to said toddler), I look over to see Lexi sitting at the kitchen table with me, wearing my nursing cover, and squirting soap (from the bathroom) all over herself and then rubbing it in her hair with a spoon. Clearly, this kid is going to change the world. 

And of course, while Lexi continues to steal the show, Lyla just sits back, relaxes, and continues to be the best, happiest baby ever. She even laughed for the first time today. :) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Always learning

I have learned so many things in these past three months. In case you are ever in need of my new found wisdom, I made a handy list of all the things I should have known prior to this slightly ridiculous season of life. 

Number One
A new job for the husband, birthing a new baby, terrible two's, buying a house, moving, and having your family in town at the same time (all within the same three months) is just a little too much. Crazy actually. More like completely insane. And this whole time I have been trying to be an effective wife, mom, artist, and friend. I'm sure you can imagine how well I am succeeding, given the ridiculous circumstances. Let's just say we have been eating a lot of Kraft Mac and Cheese. I know. Gross and pathetic. But necessary. 

Number Two
Moving from our apartment into our house with a Minivan, a Subaru Outback, and a little tiny car that I don't remember the name of, is not enough. Also, we moved during the hottest week of the  summer. Again, not the smartest idea. A wise woman (who is also a Crino, go figure) told me recently that one of the true signs of adulthood is hiring movers. In that case, I wish that Eric and I had become adults prior to our move. 

Number Three
Never trust a two-year-old. Scrubbing toddler poo off of the bedroom walls and crib for over two hours is not fun. Trust your adult instincts, not the toddler's. Thank goodness that happened before we moved since there was a horrific smell that I couldn't quite scrub out of those walls even days later.

Number Four
Settling into a new home with two little ones is really hard work. As in, when do I get anything done? Thankfully, unpacked boxes make good climbing for little legs.

Number Five
Painting the walls with babies. Need I say more? At least we have until forever to get the rest of the house painted. 

Number Six
After four obnoxious years, I have learned how to obtain uninterrupted sleep at night. Lock the cats in the basement. Hallelujah. 

Number Seven
Never again will a litter box disrupt the smell of my pantry. Again, basements are wonderful inventions. 

Number Eight
Never judge someone with a horrific southern accent until you get to know him. He may still sound absolutely ridiculous every time his mouth opens, but it doesn't mean he's a lame guy. He's pretty great, actually. (Good choice in a fiancee, Alli!)

Number Nine
Just because the IKEA website says they have a certain table, doesn't actually mean they have it. If we had known this, five hours of our day would not have been wasted driving to the two different IKEA stores out in the suburbs. Also, every trip I have ever made to IKEA ends with tears (those would be mine) and babies completely falling apart. Thankfully, there are cinnamon rolls and frozen yogurt at each store exit. (I'm pretty sure this is the only reason I keep going back)

Number Ten
Sitting around a table lit with candles in mason jars with my family in our own yard fills me with so much joy. My family fills me with joy period. This has been a wonderful July. Miserably hot, but fun all the same. 

Number Eleven
Being married to a man that is a dreamer and visionary is an awesome and fun adventure. Every day is something new. My life will never be boring and will always be blessed.

Number Twelve
Plants will die if you do not water them. This is a simple fact of life. Thus, most of my plants are as dead as door nails. Fried. Starved of life-giving sustenance known as H2O. Shriveled up and dead. I am hoping that gardening is something that one can grow into. Otherwise, I'm screwed.

Number Thirteen
Being the mom of a toddler who copies everything I do can be wonderful and scary at the same time. This morning I caught her looking at herself in the mirror and singing "I'm sexy and I know it." Scary. This afternoon I caught her cleaning the toilet with the toilet brush and a sponge. Awesome!

Number Fourteen
Having good friends makes all the difference in the world. 

Number Fifteen
Chocolate chips in the freezer. Delicious. Indulgent. Perfect.