I’m sitting here this Christmas morning, just had a prayer time, coffee in hand, and the house is quiet (except for the sound of this keyboard), and slowly filling with the scent of maple syrup and cinnamon as a blueberry cream cheese french toast bakes in the oven.
There’s nothing quite like the rage I felt in those first few months, when he was a wee babe, when she refused to climb the stairs. He was wailing (or sleeping), she was balking (or being loud).
It reminds you of what more than one person shared while we were pregnant with #2: ‘John Paul II said that a sibling is the best gift you can give your child’. I understand better, and am more comfortable with, mortality since having a child. It’s inexpressibly comforting to know that they will have each other once we’re gone.
There’s nothing quite like the smile she has for her older brother. It’s a smile that’s just for him. And she reads often to herself. Then I catch her reading to him. Except she doesn’t want me to see her doing it. It’s just between them.
Then there are the times he giggles for no apparent reason, but she knows and they laugh together. And the way they can converse without discernible phrases. It’s rather caveman like (lots of grunts and squeals), but charming none the less.
You aggravate more but you joy more as well. And the joy is stronger.
And it’s rather ironic. I went from an engaged 30 year old my-biological-clock-is-ticking-like-a-big-loud-bass-drum to, very surprisingly, being in no particular hurry to have kids once we were married, to suddenly having two from out of nowhere, to feelings of whiplash, to watching the two of them. And suddenly, I deeply wanted another. (This is not a pregnancy announcement!) It’s simply sharing a movement of the heart concerning what it’s like with two.
I remember when I brought my son home from the hospital 2 1/2 years ago, one of my biggest fears was that I would never be able to cook dinner again. How could anyone cook while having to tend to a fussy, hungry baby? Cooking seemed like an impossible task at the time.
And then it happened. He grew up into a toddler. While my hands are free from baby holding, my attention is undoubtedly divided while trying to put on a meal. But getting a meal together happens much easier. This is a luxury that I know I will only enjoy for a few more months since baby brother is due in March.
Once I got back into being able to make meals again, I planned meals… well loosely. I sort of thought about what we’d have that week, but then when it came time to make dinner that night, I would either have trouble deciding which meal to make or if I did decide I couldn’t locate the recipe (usually that I found online) but failed to save. Defrosting meat at the last minute, looking at tiny recipes on my phone, and trying to get it done quickly were not working.
I decided to be more deliberate about planning the meal and preparing for it ahead of time. Based on my personality type, planning and structure are not my tendency. I like going with the flow and spontaneity. I love trying to improvise, BUT toddlers are creatures of structure and predictability so I realized for the purpose of peaceful meal prep, I needed to get more organized. Now, when I plan my week of meals, I assign a specific day for a certain meal. Some shifting does occur at times, or if we decide to go out at the last minute, I can try to adjust the plan. But this is not the usual.
The night before I remind myself what’s for dinner tomorrow and take any meat or cheese out of the freezer to defrost. I try to locate the recipe and have it ready and print it if need be. In regards to remembering recipes, I have found that Pinterest helps out the process. If I am using a Pinterest recipe, I can either Pin it to one of my boards or like it. It took me a long time to realize that liking a pin allows you to find it again without actually pinning it. I also realized that on my iPhone app, if I click on the word PINS under my name I can see all of them, so I don’t have to click from board to board looking for recipes I’ve pinned I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out this trick. I’ve also found it is helped to write cookbook name and page number by the recipe plan so I can find the recipe again without page flipping.
And where is all this written? I write my meal plan out for the week on the back of my grocery list. I tack my list/meal plan to the bulletin board in my kitchen for reference. My next idea for organization is to write out a list and reference for my favorite recipes so I can find them easily during meal planning for the week. I think now the hardest part of all this is deciding what to plan for meals each week.
I know that having a baby and toddler in the house may take me back to square one where I may feel as if I will never be able to cook again, but I now know that organization and deliberate planning can make the process less daunting.
Note: for those like me who say “just gimme the answers quick, please, I’ve got better things to do than read a thousand words.”, look for anything that’s underlined in bluein this post.
I don’t know about you, but in our home I’ve gone full circle from needing my kids to have specific developmental toys and books to feeling we have way too many. We have more than they play with on our main level, 2+ boxes in storage that we rotate through, and a couple of bins in the basement family room. As Christmas approaches and a generous plethora of gifts from family members – and from us as parents – is on the horizon, I have been wracking my brain for alternative gift ideas to pass on to our families. To be completely forthright, I also tense up quite a bit when I think about even “one” more toy cluttering up our small home. Because, we all know, “one” toy really means 34 small pieces to pick up or trip over (give or take 20).
Just look at my dining room floor! See what I mean? Well, guess what?! I came up with some ideas that not only cut down on clutter, but are also space savers and value-oriented gifts!
Health and Wellness Gifts for Kids who Like to Move (and don’t they all?)
Since I feel my kids’ toy needs are more than met, I got to thinking about other types of needs. So I used gift money from baby boy’s birthday to buy a cool mist humidifier for their room. I had spoken with a dear friend Laura about our many illnesses, and she suggested this very thing as something that may prevent some of them. It felt a little boring to go to Walgreens and buy a humidifier as a 1st birthday gift, but I hope that it could be the best gift ever, one that keeps on giving! Health is definitely a need I want to support! Continue reading →
Some sweet family times. I’m attempting discipline: sitting down AND relating to my family WHILE leaving my phone in my pocket. In other words, when I do all these things at the same time, such sweetness ensues that I am compelled to take OUT my phone to snap a picture. Continue reading →
Author’s Note: I wrote this post earlier in the week while at a lab having a 3 hour glucose test done.
I’m sitting at a clinic in town waiting for my third blood draw for my three-hour glucose test. I’ve been here for a few hours already. I’ve done this before with baby number 1, but this time it’s different… in a good way.
With the glucose test for baby 1, I was scared and nervous. I had a friend come with me because my husband was at work. It was great having this friend there. She really showed the Lord’s love to me that day.
Today looks different. I am not scared, just tempted to be negative. I rushed to get myself ready and get my two-year old out the door to a babysitter, who graciously agreed to watch him with less than 24 hours notice. She knows who she is. Thank you!
Going out the door, my son had a tantrum. He refused to put boots on and then refused shoes only to ask for boots. Huh? He threw his sippy cup into the dirt out of protest and then whined because his sippy was dirty. Frustrating.
The babysitter met us at the car, per my request, and took him inside her house. I later received a text he was happy. Great!
Now back to the waiting room. This time around, I am relaxed as can be and enjoying free WiFi on my laptop and an endless cup of water so they can get a good draw of blood. I will have four uninterrupted hours all to myself (with a few breaks for blood draws.)
So now a little background to today. Last night when I was struggling with having to come in yet again for this test, a friend suggested I look at this as an opportunity for some time to myself. That was such a great suggestion. It helped me to change my attitude about having to take this test…again.
I am also using this experience as an opportunity to be thankful for the ways God is taking care of me today. It would be easy to go down the road of negative thoughts today. No one likes a whole morning of getting poked and going without food, but God has given me grace today to stop negative thought patterns and find ways to be thankful.
Author’s Note: Since writing this blog post, I found out that I passed the three-hour glucose test!
As December begins, I find myself waiting for childbirth, Christmas, and the second coming of Christ. Of these three, only Christmas will come according to schedule! Baby will come whenever she is ready – maybe today, maybe three weeks from now. And of course, “you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. 5:2) Continue reading →