Friday, January 30, 2009

Gratia - Gratus


Although I'm not particularly thankful that I'm awake at 3a.m. (because of a certain sweet little 1 year old who will remain nameless), the thought of gratitude has been rolling around in my head the last couple of days, and after such a long period of ingratitudo, I'm compelled to record something new. Hence, the picture at the left of the Thanksgiving Turkey in January.

Yesterday, I actually felt fully thankful and appreciative of my life - right here and now. In Hyde Park. In the middle of Mike's grad school. At an uninspiring job. I try to articulate my thankfulness each day, and in my head I know we are blessed, but it's rare that I've really felt it lately. So here I was, mulling over a conversation I had just had with a friend, and browsing a stranger's blog, and it hit me. I am truly blessed. I have my hands full with two girls, but I don't get lonely or bored because I have so many wonderful friends, neighbors and acquaintances that we see and play with regularly who are my constant source of support. We live in a tiny apartment, but we live in such a rich and full environment and neighborhood. We don't have much extra money for traveling or entertainment, but for the moment, I have a job that allows us to pay for what we need. I'd rather not leave my girls for 20+ hours/week, but it's a flexible 20+ hours. No commute. I'm a little sheepish that this all hit me after comparing my situation to other moms - one who lives in a lovely house in suburbia with no mom friends around, and the other who gets to stay home with her babies, but is wondering how they will pay for food this month. But I often look at my situation in light of others' situations, and it usually doesn't matter. I still think about how things could be better, different, in my life. Anyway, it just feels good to finally experience in my heart and emotions what I know to be true in my head.

I love reading other mom's blogs when I get a chance, which is not nearly enough. Some I enjoy for their writing style, or their sarcasm, or because they are friends who I don't see enough and I just want to keep up on their life. Two mom-friend blogs that I've been enjoying have each, in their own way and style, dedicated 2009 to focus on a particular word - one chose passion, and one chose gratitude. Both are refreshing, honest and focus UP.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby!


Has it been a year already? This morning, Nourit burst into the room where Avi was just waking up and shouted, "Happy Birfday, Avi!" and was greeted with Avi's delightful version of 'Good Morning.' Avi is now walking everywhere - she took her first 'no-hands' steps 5 days before Christmas. She is showing signs of big sister adoration - just yesterday, I found her heading toward Nourit's room numerous times while Nourit was napping. She finally pushed in the door and woke her big buddy up before I could stop her. She and Nourit enjoy baths together now, and I even observed Avi initiating hugs with Nourit yesterday. It's been quite a year - wow, what a year - but she is really rounding out this family and I couldn't imagine life without her.

Nourit is excited and wants to make presents for Avi. She wants to make a cake because that's what you do on birthdays, right? Unfortunately, we've found that January birthdays get short shrift in this family, so the birthday party is postponed for now. Soon, though, we'll be eating pizza and cake and toasting our baby-turned-toddler and thanking God for her wonderful smile.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Emerging

After a week of negative numbers on the thermostat, sickness and pain in the apartment, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed by it all, we are, finally, emerging. A couple mornings playing with little friends brought some lightness and laughter, and two evenings of meals made by big friends went a long way to instill a feeling of warmth and calm at dinner time. Without the extra prep time and dishes to manage, we were all able to get to bed a little earlier. Our colds are going away, and the weather has been nice enough to play outside again. We even ventured out Saturday for Music Together, and then again today for story time at 57th Street Bookstore with our neighbors. Afterward, we had an impromptu picnic at Kyla's for lunch before I rushed off to work.

Nourit and Abigail - Monet and Renoir


Arms and fingers are part of the canvas, too!


Making cookies with Viola and Kubi

It's surprising, too, how the air feels just a bit lighter now that we have a new commander-in-chief leading us. It feels like our country is ours again, and not completely out of our control.

And there's that word again. After a couple weeks of good conversations, prayer, and doctor's visits, the knot is loosening and things don't seem so bad today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Michael

It's Monday, January 12 and I'm wishing my husband a happy birthday. I'm also wishing him a yummy, homemade cake, and a really cool present (maybe something for the kitchen or electronic.) After that, I'm wishing him a full and speedy recovery from his knee injury, and that his cold woudn't progress. Then, I'm wishing him a wonderful night out for dinner with moi, maybe at Topolobampo (since we had to cancel our reservations for last Friday night.) I'm wishing him angelic children who don't cry, scream or hit each other (at least for one day!) and I'm wishing him a day without deadlines, obligations, and requirements of him to be anywhere but home.

These are my sincere wishes for him, but they may have to wait for a date in the future because today:
-I have something that looks like conjunctivitis and need to skip work to go to the doctor
-I have no plans to bake a cake with puss oozing out my eye
-I did not preplan and purchase a present and unfortunately, all his birthday checks just got rolled into the savings account
-I cannot do anything about his knee, and the reality is, it will take alot of PT before it feels better
-It's cold season, and I can't do anything about that, either (although I did buy alot of citrus!)
-School is in session, so Mike has to teach, be a student, and finish a gargantuan piece of music before he can put his feet up. Both feet up.
-Can't do anything about the children. Cries and screams are just part of the territory.
-And dinner will have to wait until...???

So, my darling, 30 something husband, when ??? arrives, I hope all these wishes come true. Or at least the one about going out to dinner.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Control

I'm sitting at the computer way too late because of a late-in-the-day-caffeine buzz. My brain is spinning with the events of the day: a break-down during bible study, deeper relationships emerging, an impromptu meeting at work, the discovery that my bosses are fighting to keep me in my job, the realization that like it or not, my job is getting busy again, thoughts about whether God is fighting for me in the spiritual realm, racing back and forth to teach piano lessons, the idea to start a blog for praying moms, and fragmented time with my girls, my husband and my thoughts.

What deserves time and what doesn't? How do I choose what's best? Should I even think about choice? or just accept whatever rolls my way? The hovering topic of the day has been control. How much can we let go and still lead a disciplined, responsible life? When is it time to be Mary, and when is it purely necessary to be Martha? (I'm not talking about Martha Stewart.) Can we really experiment with our lives like this? Funny, for me, it's also been about birth control lately. How much of this chaos of emotion is from synthetic hormones? Would I feel like less of a disobedient child (of God) if I weren't so emotionally charged, frustrated and angry all the time?

On another note, so far, I've been pretty good about flossing, I've worn my hair down a couple days this week, and I did play about 10 minutes of piano and practiced yoga for another 10 minutes. Date night, however, has been canceled until further recovery.

Good night.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Rest of the Resolutions

So here's the fun list. Anything and everything I've wanted to accomplish in my lifetime, both past and future, to be attempted in one year - 2009.

In no particular order:

1) Finish knitting the hat I've started 3 times, and other stuff.

2) Organize the nursery (ie, put up more hooks.)

3) Recycle more. Meaning, throw less in the wastebasket next to me and more in the recycling bin all the way across the apartment.

4) Find ways to consume less.

5) Buy a composter. This conflicts with #4, but ultimately will help us waste less.

6) Begin our garden sooner this year. Before June.

7) Take more time with my appearance. Do my hair, iron my clothes, try to look less tired.

8) Intake less sugar. That means no more birthday parties!

9) Practice yoga. Find a parent-child yoga video or class. Find a class to go to once in a while - alone.

10) Date nights. Regularly. And refer to #7 on that particular night.

11) Plan Christmas presents long before December. And maybe actually make some nice things.

12) Continuing the Christmas theme: plan Advent activities long before Advent begins.

13) And organize my computer address book so I'm ready to send Christmas cards on time.

14) Play the piano.

15) Listen to more music intentionally. Watch Die Zauberflote (since I've only had it for 2 years now and haven't watched it.) Watch more opera on dvd.

16) Floss more.

17) Organize photos and videos on computer.

18) Frame the family pictures that have been waiting in my drawer for 10 years for this very event.

19) Listen to Mike's music - score in hand - really listen intentionally. (There's that word again!)