27 February 2015

Family snippets // Weekend linkage

Time is going by ever more quickly. That's good. It means that February is over (we survived!) and spring is coming down the pike. I am tired of staying inside, tired of the sameness, tired of the cold. We have a park just down the street and the first warm day, the girls and I will BE THERE.

We are gradually discovering Zoe's personality. For example, she's extremely cuddly: whereas by this point Ellie had already been sleeping in her crib for weeks, Zoe often refuses to stay asleep unless she's lying right next to Mama. Sometimes she is very loud, grunting and snorting in her dreams, but for the most part we don't mind having her with us. (After all, it's a lot better than listening to her scream unhappily in her crib.)

In addition to being a snuggle bug, Zoe is less amenable to routine than Ellie was. You never know what the next several hours will look like. Will she take lots of tiny naps, or a few long ones? Will she fuss and stay awake in the middle of the night, or snooze soundly with a couple of eating breaks? Who knows. She is challenging my desire for control, that's for sure. I like to know what's coming up, so I can prepare for it; with Zoe, I can't prepare much at all. I just need to relax, give her what she needs in the moment, and let go of my attempts to plan her life.

The sweetest thing about Zoe, right now, is how tightly she clings to my shirt while she nurses. I think she realizes This is Mommy. This is safe and wants to make sure I don't drift away.

Ellie has added several useful phrases to her vocabulary. "Is mine!" "Did it!" and "Is empty!" for example. She loves to talk and gets so excited when she figures out a new word, especially a complicated one like "breakfast" or "schoolbus."
. . . thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
-Isaiah 30:15
Here's an interesting post (and comments) on letting your kids talk to strangers. I've always thought that my policy will be "go right ahead and talk to people, just don't go anywhere with them."

A Plea for Innocence. "It can be dangerous to assume that we need to have a deep understanding of error in order to hold fast to what is true."

This guy is smart: selling Boston's snow!

All these recipes look great.

This is such a weird story: two babies switched at birth.

20 February 2015

Family snippets // Weekend linkage

This was a slightly odd week. Our house's heating system, which is all fancy and efficient, does not get along with the city's (old and non-efficient) gas lines. When it gets extremely cold everyone else in the area needs a lot of gas too, the pressure drops too low, our boiler throws a tantrum, and the whole system shuts off. Well, it was extremely cold this week, so we didn't have heat most of the time. Fortunately my in-laws have a great guest room. We crashed there, avoided freezing, and had some nice family time, so it wasn't bad after all.

My mom gave me this lovely book to celebrate the four-week anniversary of Zoe's birth. It actually made me cry. For a whole month, I've been doing exactly these things for my girls. Keeping them clean, feeding them, holding them, comforting them 24/7, yet it often feels like I have accomplished nothing. Looking at my work from their perspective, as this book does, was so sweet and refreshing.

The following paragraph is recorded for the encouragement of Future Postpartum Me: the emotional crazies have leveled out substantially. If my experiences with Ellie and Zoe are normative (for me), the first three weeks are the nuttiest; the third week seems worst of all, because my hormones are cray and the baby is not sleeping much at a time, but the adrenaline has all worn off and I'm running on naps and caffeine. Then! Life starts to improve. Though I still cry and things are hard, I can deal with it, and I can laugh and enjoy my babies again.


New Titles for Children's Book Covers. Hee hee.

The Company Man. Super interesting article on Don Thompson, the recently replaced CEO of McDonald's, and the company's culture and current woes.

What Romance After Kids Looks Like. Pretty spot-on, I must say.

How to Survive Winter in Antarctica. In case you are bonkers enough to try it.

New Washing Machine Woes. Or, government regulations are annoying and fruitless.

19 February 2015

pretty happy funny real #15


Cheerful flowers above the sink. I love gerbera daisies and Jared, knowing how glum this winter has been for me, brought these home to brighten up the kitchen.


We're planning the garden. That means spring comes soon!


We discovered that Zoe likes going bare-legged. She had been fussing, so I laid her on the floor and took off her pants. Immediate happiness.

Also funny: some of Ellie's new words, which are recognizable in context but use all the wrong consonants. "Bopper" means diaper, "nock" means milk, and-- my favorite-- "gockly" means broccoli.


The living room today: unlikely to be tidied anytime soon, and the carpet hasn't been vacuumed since who knows when. Oh well.

13 February 2015

Family snippets // Weekend linkage

"So, how rich do you want to be if I croak?"
-Jared gets some life insurance

Oh goodness. What a week. Days with just me, the girls, and the mostly-dark skies. It was super hard and I almost fell over from exhaustion and we all (minus Jared) cried quite often. Look, though, here we are! Alive and well. Every day is a little better because God shows me some bit of truth to hang onto, and I ease a little further into the new reality of our life.

But still, I cannot wait for spring.

I'm listening to music (mostly via Amazon Prime) almost nonstop this week. This, this, and this have been represented heavily in the rotation. Also, I've decided that Bon Jovi must have written "Livin' On a Prayer" specifically for the mothers of newborns.
"No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."
-Romans 4:20-21 
Want some links? I got links.

Absolutely beautiful wedding pictures.

This seems appropriate: "Three Truths for the Tired Mother." Good comments too.

Giggles from xkcd: "Apollo Speeches."

"God as Mission, Worship as Expendable."
A Church that is always busy on mission is in a perilous position in an even more fundamental way. The Church is always, first and foremost, a group of receivers, not doers. In all our emphasis on being Christ’s hands and feet in the world, we may forget Christ’s hands and feet on the cross. We often functionally forget the gospel in our practice: that faith is God’s action, a Divine gift; that Christianity preaches Someone to receive, not something to do.
From The New Statesman: "Before We Give Doors and Toasters Sentience."
It's becoming more and more common for everyday appliances to have features we don't expect, and the implications for privacy and freedom can be surprisingly profound. We should be sure we know what we're buying into.

06 February 2015

Weekend linkage

I haven't posted links for ever so long, and thus I have a collection that should keep you busy alllll afternoon.

"Sneaky exercise." Mine is deep knee bends while cleaning up Ellie's toys . . .

Speaking of exercise, here are some Biblical dance moves. I laughed so hard. My favorite is "Lot's wife."

"If Disney princesses had realistic hair."

Paper and Salt, a delightful blog with recipes from or related to classic authors. Each post includes great stories about these writers and, of course, great food.

And now for lots of articles!

"The Jennifer Epidemic."
Beginning in 1970, Jennifer was the top female baby name in the U.S., a position it would hold for a solid 14 years. The run was mirrored in Canada and, to a lesser extent, in the U.K. All before the Internet, before there was any readily available list of popular baby names from province-to-province or state-to-state. Sure, lots of names drift in and out of popularity; but Jennifer was more than just a common baby name, it was a bona fide trend, a phenomenon.
"Henry VIII's Horticultural Manual Revealed."
Written between 1304 and 1309 by Petrus de Crescentiis, a lawyer from Bologna, the Ruralia Commoda contained advice on how to grow giant leeks, how to produce cherries without pits and growing different coloured figs on the same tree. It tells gardeners that “cucumbers shake with fear at thunder”, while a squash will bear fruit after precisely nine days if planted in the ashes of human bone and watered with oil. To get the tastiest lettuces, the manual recommends planting lettuce seed together with a radish, nasturtium and colewort inside a ball of goat manure.
"President Obama Pushes Pre-K and Free College Because He's Got Jack for K-12."
Institutionalizing children earlier and longer won’t lead to more creativity and innovation, which are the real stimulus of economic growth. Real-world experiences—whether it play when young or entry-level jobs when they’re teens—are being taken off the table while politicians mandate more isolation and testing within the confines of public school.
"No, You're Not More of a Real Mom Because Your House is Messy."
I see women encouraging each other to air their dirty laundry and share the not-so-pretty parts of their lives from time-to-time on social media and I get it. We all just want to know that we’re not alone and that other women and moms out there don’t have it all together either, but the thing is: there's always going to be someone out there who does something better than we do.
"The Passion of Pregnancy."
Privately, we can do better at validating the struggles of the pregnant women we know. Flowing from this, in our public discourse, too, we should begin to validate the difficulty of pregnancy instead of simply enumerating its merits . . . Yes, we have had awful pregnancies. Yes, there were times we wished we weren’t pregnant, but we are very glad we didn’t give up. Maybe the arsenal of pro-life bumper stickers could be fortified with a slogan as simple as “Pregnancy is worth it.”
"Love Looks Like . . . 2:07 AM."
We swore we wouldn’t become those tired ones in the middle of their life, living just a regular sort of life . . . Love would look like this for us forever. Like we were somehow above or better than the minivans and mortgages, the tub scrubbing and sheet washing, like our clock would always be made up of bright mornings and late nights. But here’s the truth: lifelong love is actually most built throughout the hours of the day, all twenty four of them, in the ordinary moments of our humanity.
"Kids, the Holocaust, and 'Inappropriate' Play."
. . . children bring the realities of their world into a fictional context, where it is safe to confront them, to experience them, and to practice ways of dealing with them. Some people fear that violent play creates violent adults, but in reality the opposite is true. Violence in the adult world leads children, quite properly, to play at violence. How else can they prepare themselves emotionally, intellectually, and physically for reality?