Friday, July 27, 2012

five minute fridays: beyond

This week the Five Minute Friday prompt from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama is:


Most of my days see me existing in a state of beyond-ness. I am beyond tired. Beyond frustrated. Beyond stressed. Beyond exasperated. 

My baby won't stop grabbing my fingers for even the five minutes of writing this post. It is beyond aggravating.

I woke this morning to my stomach grumbling: beyond hungry.

I look around our apartment, boxes piled everywhere, flat surfaces covered in detritus I haven't yet sorted, having not yet decided what to keep, what to trash, how to pack it: it is beyond chaos.

My food sensitivities continue to confound us. I am beyond perplexed. When I eat something I should not, the reaction is beyond uncomfortable, beyond painful. My post-partum depression/mood symptoms have returned. It appears nut butter is an offender. I had cashew butter for breakfast. It has rendered me beyond the limits of my patience.

I cling desperately to the last shreds of sanity and patience, thoroughly unwilling to concede defeat.

I am not yet beyond hope.

Because I look at my family, in the moments when I steel myself and breathe deeply, seeking peace, seeking grace, and I am beyond joy. In the midst of the screaming entropy that is this life most days, my heart expands.

Because yesterday, as I went to lay my sleeping baby down for her nap, she turned, curling her body onto mine, throwing her arm across my chest, pinning me down and I took it as the divine invitation that it was. To rest. To take ease. To rejoice in the singular beauty that is a napping child, soft and warm and breathing, all goodness and innocence and total abandon.

Because I was beyond tired, beyond frustrated, beyond stressed. 

And She gave me rest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

mairzy doats and dozy doats

A few months back, Peanut decided she wanted to eat oatmeal. I had made some for myself and for Bubby and then, unexpectedly, Peanut The Picky who had never before countenanced a food so sticky or lumpy wanted to try it. I was very, very happy indeed, and she hasn't looked back since. Almost every morning she starts her day with several bowls of oatmeal porridge topped with maple syrup.

As I said, Bubby eats it, too. And while I am deeply appreciative of all the advantages of oatmeal porridge as a breakfast - it's quick and easy to prepare; it's very affordable; it's a healthy whole grain; it's naturally gluten-free and free of refined sugar or corn or other additives - I have to admit that, lately, I'm not feeling the oatmeal love. Because as quick as it is to prepare the breakfast, the clean-up? Well, that's another story.

oatmeal everywhere


It. gets. everywhere.

Little globs of sticky, gluey, oatmeal.

On the table. On the underside of the plate. A thin film all over her cup. On the floor. On every part of the high chair. Caked onto every item of her clothing. In her hair.

On the floor.

On the dog.

It is getting to be more than a little challenging not to absolutely loathe the stuff.

neverending oatmeal

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

all through the night

Sleep my child and peace attend thee
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are keeping
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I, my loving vigil, keeping
All through the night

We haven't been getting nearly as much sleep as we'd like around here. Jon and I, busy and mildly stressed as we are in anticipation of the move, are often up late, packing and planning. The girls sense that stress, undoubtedly. And Peanut, old enough to understand the constant countdown to Moving Day and the huge paradigm shift that will come with it, is pushing back a little. I can hardly blame her: I moved once as a child. Once. And I hated it. This will be the poor kid's third move into her fourth home. The fact that she's anticipating this change with anything approaching happiness is, frankly, pretty remarkable in my eyes.

And then there's Bubby. Perhaps it's teething, or her ever-increasing ability to run and climb everything, or her expanding vocabulary, or one of any other developmental changes she is experiencing that is causing her sleep to become so troubled. Or it could be that - as happened at this age with her sister before her - my milk supply is tanking, leading to her incessant need to nurse at night. Whatever the case, I am not feeling particularly well rested lately.It wears thin. Nerves, already frayed by a month-long heat wave, are simply snapping under the strain. Our attempts to maintain a peaceful - I mean relatively, of course - home are coming up short more days than I'm comfortable admitting.
Lately, Peanut has been telling us about her dreams. She dreams vividly, this imaginative soul of ours. Most recently, she has been dreaming of dolphins. When first she told me this, I responded saying, "Oh, that's a nice dream to have."

"No," she replied, "it was a bad dream." 

Apparently she seems to have missed the bit about dolphins being fairly peaceful, non-threatening creatures and her dreams are about water near our home and dolphins swimming up and down, up and down and then eating her

No, not a nice dream to have at all.

She does have good dreams, too. She recounted to me a few days ago that Jesus visits her in her dreams and takes her for walks. It was so sweet and sincere, the matter-of-fact way she told me this, as though Messiahs often visit the sleeping and take us all for a stroll at one time or another. She tells me He takes her to visit her cousin. 

And I wonder: how much is imagination, and how much is her childhood wisdom, her sight - unhindered by jadedness, uninhibited in her innocence - looking clearly into the mystical world of dreams, veiled by night?

Does my four year old know something I don't? More importantly: does my four year old know something I should?


As we lay together in bed this evening, easing her into night, into rest, we read stories and then turned on a cd of lullabies. "Talk to me, Mommy," she said. "Tell me through the song." And I did as I had first done last night, and likely will each night for the foreseeable future. I guided her into sleep, meditatively, soothingly, calmly. Voice pitched low, I recounted her day, and led her into rest. Slowly telling her how her body longs for rest and stillness, we used words to ease her flesh and her mind into stillness and dreaming.

"Your arms and legs are tired. They are heavy and still. Your body wants to sleep now, so you can rest and grow. Tomorrow you will be ready for more fun. You will be ready for another day. 

"Breathe slowly in....and out. In....and out. 

"You are going to have good, wonderful dreams. And tomorrow you will wake up to the sun."


And she slipped off into dreamland, quickly, quietly, in my arms. Breathing in...and out. Carried into rest on the wings of her mother's words and her conviction of Grace.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

family handprints

The running joke about Pinterest is that we're all pinning things - particularly craft ideas - and then never, ever doing them. "Oh, what a great project! I have to do that!"

I'll admit: I'm largely guilty of this. Which is why I am so pleased to show you this:


I saw a similar idea on Pinterest using traced handprints cut out of paper and stacked and wanted to do it on stretched canvas with paint. And then I actually did it.

It was super simple and very cheap: a stretched, gessoed canvas and acrylic craft paint from the dollar store. I painted the canvas a pale blue, let it dry, and then painted our hands in descending order of size and pressed them on the canvas. The only thing I would do differently is put a small book inside the canvas stretcher to keep the canvas from moving when pressed and enable a better print.

I foresee an annual memento in the making.

moving into richness

I talked about richness

And we looked. We looked and looked at listings and different apartments. We started looking at listings in March. March! And the snow fell, and melted, the leaves budded on the trees, the grass grew, tulip season came and went, the summer heat came on...and still we looked. 

boxes make good thrones

Occasionally I despaired a little. We knew that we needed - both logistically and financially - to move before the snow was on the ground. But as June pressed on and with it the deadline to give our two months notice and be out of here by September 1.

Then one evening I went to the grocery store.

In a new fit of budget-conciousness, I drove to a grocery store I don't normally visit. Driving home, as I approached a particular neighbourhood in which we've considered living. It was early evening, the weather was nice, the girls were at home: the timing was ideal and I thought, on a whim, "I'm going to drive around and see if there are any For Rent signs." 

And there were.

Some looked more promising than others. I was fairly certain - and correct - that several would be out of our price range. But then I came up Bank St and saw a sign on the verge in front of a building where dear friends of mine used to live.

the girls' books make their way into boxes

wanted it.

Because I already knew the apartments in the building were big and bright and airy and affordable.

The wait to call the next morning was long, the week-long wait to see the unit even longer, and then the wait to hear if our application would be approved was almost interminable. June ended. July began. The deadline to give our notice for July 1 sailed past: we were now looking at giving notice for October 1, but knew the unit was available for August 1. We fretted. We looked into how one goes about assigning a lease. I started biting my nails again.

We escaped up to camp for the long weekend. It was a welcome distraction, but even so, I found myself wondering in quiet moments, "What if...? What if we don't get it? What if we can't assign the lease? What if this place I have my heart absolutely set on doesn't become ours?"

Scarlet's grin
roasting "smushmellows"
dear friends
campfire songs

A week later we got our answer. 

We got it. It's ours. 

We emailed our landlord. And she, kind - and wise - woman that she is, let us out of our lease. 

No assigning the lease. No looking for new tenants while trying to pack. We simply cut ties and move on.


empty cd shelves
packing our music collection

So we've been busy: sorting, packing, donating, trashing. Divesting ourselves of the excess that weighs us down and endeavouring to bring only that which has value, either sentimental or utility. We've donated 6 bags and several boxes of clothes and dishes and glassware and miscellaneous items to a local charity. We're donating five boxes of cherished - but neglected - books to the public library. We've contributed to the wonderful, self-sustaining urban ecosystem, setting out a bookcase and a dresser on the side of the road. And we've trashed things that no longer have use to us or to others. 

releasing the library

Slowly but surely, our home is emptying and the boxes are filling. Piling up. Making ready for another transition, hopefully our last for a long while.

a growing pile of boxes

We're feeling hopeful. I am feeling hopeful. Hopeful that our new apartment - larger yet more affordable, located in a green, family-friendly yet urban community - will be a place where we can settle in, make a home, own our space. 

sleeping Scarlet

We have plans, so many plans, to claim our space and make it ours. If you follow me on Pinterest, several of my boards are dedicated to the ideas I have brewing to make our new place a home, a home where we can be comfortable and - dare I hope it - organized.

For now, though, we pack. 

And what left us feeling a sense of richness? A little more space for playing and growing. A little extra cash in hand. No more terrible baseboard heaters.
Sunny windows. 
A tree-lined street. 
Children playing nearby. 


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