Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Day in the Life Of:

4:11ish--Baby starts fussing. Morning feed. She goes back to sleep. So do I.

Some-random-morning-hour-after-that-but-before-7--Baby starts wiggling in the bassanet beside the bed. I'm not really conscious. I try patting her back. She relaxes as long as I'm patting her back, wakes up as soon as I stop. End up nursing her again.

7:00 Hubby is up. I wake up. Want to be in bed. Decide I should be up. Get on FaceBook for awhile as my protest to being awake ("I may be up, but I'm not going to do anything useful!")

7:30--I decide to do A Day in the Life Of. Maybe that will motivate me to make it a good one.

7:53--said goodbye to hubby. Ignored the munchkin banging on the bedroom door for about 10 minutes while I picked out 5-6 recipes to freezer cook from a shopping trip to costco. Fed the dog and put him out. So not ready for today to begin.

8:20--got the tot up, went in singing to hide the fact that I'd rather be in bed. I think she thought I was playing when I pretended to fall asleep on the floor. BUT singing got us both in a cheerful mood. We cleaned the kitchen while I was warming up leftover oatmeal. Tot put silverware away. "Good job! You can do it--wait, no! You put the silverware away in the drawer--don't take what's already in the drawer out! Okay. Good--that's right! There you go!" First tantrum of the day--"I want to listen to music on the TB!"

8:55--ate breakfast (sort of. Legos were more interesting. We didn't really eat breakfast,  I just made the tot sit at the table for 5 minutes and eat a few bites before going to play). Sorted 2 loads of laundry, but didn't put them away since the baby is still sleeping in my bedroom.(at this hour sleep is questionable, but at least she's entertaining herself quietly and I'm hoping she might still be asleep). I even swept the floor in the playroom--with the help of the toddler. Third tantrum of the day was her thinking I WOULDN'T let her help with sweeping.

Umm--toddler just packed her bags and is standing by the door. (literally. Bottle sticking out of tiny purse hanging from one arm, baby doll in the other, hand grasping half a recorder--the non-noisy part, thankfully) Maybe time for the costco run?

9:44--Got the baby up (she had soaked through her pajamas and her sheet. Changed the diaper. Threw the sheets in the washing machine). Tirza discovered window blind strings while I was nursing. Changed everyone's clothes--or at least made sure everyone was wearing them. I informed Tirza that "ladies don't go out in public with no pants on! You have to wear something over your diaper." Tirza was delighted at the prospect of going shopping, many exclamations of "We're going shopping!!"

I feel gross and want to take a shower, but I'm freezer cooking with a toddler using tomato sauce today. No way there's time for two showers, and I'll definitely need one later. Will deal with it till this evening.

9:55--finished the last 10 minutes of Pimsleur German lesson 10 while driving.

10:09--Did a co-op pick up, or attempted to. Apparently forgot to communicate that I was picking up, so wasn't able to get it. Oh, well. On to Costco.

11:05 Wore the baby into costco, let Tirza be in charge of showing off the costco card to the checker while we went in. Tantrum #9 today was because Tirza wanted to do more shopping. Maybe I should be worried about a 2 year old that likes shopping so much?

11:45--My suspicions on the tantrums were correct. Tirza ate nearly 2 1/2 hot dogs and a banana when we got home. Skipping breakfast in favor of legos didn't agree with her mood at all. Baby fell asleep in the swing. Won't try to keep her up till we all can nap as I usually do--I have energy and need to get the freezer cooking done.

12:30--well, that was a short nap.Elizabeth's eating now. In the last 45 minutes I got (almost) 6 meals prepped. Tirza was genuinely helpful with putting the food in bags. Eventually she got tired of that and started playing with toys in the playroom. Without being told she cleaned up her last box of toys before requesting a new one. Mommy win!

12:43 Still nursing. Doorbell rang for a delivery--it was an amazon box. Find it interesting that the pandora station went from bouncy silly kids songs to lullabies. I'm starting to question my decision to not try for naps happening at the same time today. *yawn*

1:33--Went back to cooking. Scolded Tirza for getting into the "medicine" keeper (just vitamins, nothing harmful for kiddoes, but still). I saw she had stolen a fish oil softgel, and let natural consequences take place. She now smells like fish oil, but maybe now she'll believe that pills are nasty and not candy? She definitely wasn't expecting THAT flavor when she bit down! Baby has started shrieking--not just crying--in the last few days if I don't get to her quickly enough.  Tirza started crying too and announcing that "Baby needs milk! Baby needs milk! Diaper change?" I nursed her again, and put her down to bed. Hopefully she will sleep while I finish up the meals.

1:51--Told Tirza it was naptime. Another meltdown. Which tells me I was right.

1:59 All babies are in bed. Shouuld be asleep soon?

2:12 Babies all sleeping. Watered the dog. I've done a quick tidy of the kitchen--not perfect, but decent considering the 9 freezer meals I've done in the last 2ish hours. Time for a nap.

2:43--heard the baby waking up, so got up and ate a banana and computer-ed for a few minutes. Fed her again. Now reading a chapter of Wrestling Prayer while she is eating

4:33--Got up a few minutes ago to another snack (raisin bran). Hubby got home from work early, we sat on the couch and talked for awhile before the kiddoes woke up.

5:25 both of the kids are up, dinner is in the oven.

5:40 Tirza spent the last 15 minutes suggesting--and attempting to get for herself--different snacks. She has been given a snack of her leftover lunch--dinner was just not going to be ready soon enough. So many hungry melt-downs! We then opened the Amazon box from earlier.

6:10 Talked to a friend on the phone about some church stuff while getting dinner on the table. Just took away a butcher knife from my daughter which she had managed to get from the silverware drawer. I think she wanted it to open a box? Yay for me.

6:48--finished dinner, and I retired to the bedroom to play with Baby since she was full of the giggles. Suddenly found myself mobbed by Robin, Joker, and Superman. Proceeded to play with all of them and Tirza.

7:06--went outside to check the mail. I got two packages and a wedding shower invitation. I'm exccited about my water kifer grains coming in the mail! Elizabeth watched from the swing while I opened the packages. Tirza then grabbed the scissors and attempted to open a few packages herself. Watched daddy from the front window while he mowed the yard.

8:03---Big kid in bed after normal bedtime routine involving Richard singing both mountain songs (Misty mountain from Hobbit, Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). I then sang an assortment of songs. Played Peekaboo. Prayed with her, and then sang The Baby Monkey Song (from Tarzan). She hasn't wound down at all.

8:28 Both babies are down. Elizabeth went down no problem. She was worn out. T was still crying so I gave her a bottle of water and round 2 of Baby Monkey Song and now she's quiet. Time for that shower. And then a movie with hubby.

9:00 Woke Elizabeth up taking my shower, so she's finishing the second half of Prince of Persia with us.

9:40--finished the movie, headed to bed.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Bloom

Joining Lisa-Jo and others this morning for Five Minute Friday, where we cut the words loose for just five minutes, and see where they fall. No editing, just encouraging the others who play along. The topic today is Bloom.

Five Minute Friday

START
It's Texas, in July, and I'm sitting on our front porch enjoying the weather. It's 67 degrees. How did this happen? Inside my babies are still sleeping at 8:25am. It's a blessing I don't take for granted, this sleeping in they do most mornings. 

This week has been a successful week. Why do I say that? Before my littlest was born, I was afraid of what would happen when I had two babies. I remember how long the "postpartum stage" lasted with my first born. At 3 months I started looking around for the balls I'd been juggling (activities, commitments, basic housework, etc) before baby was born. At 6 months I began to pick them up one by one. At 9 months I awkwardly tried a few tosses. At 1 year I had finally learned to juggle again. It took awhile. Longer than I realized it would, and I was afraid the second round--with a baby and a toddler--would be even more difficult. 

In some ways it has, but in other ways not so much. I don't have to learn how to be a mama this round, and that is a big difference. My toddler is young, but growing to be helpful. In my fearful moments I forgot how sweet it is to just sit and hold a new baby while she grins happily up at me.



Have I learned to juggle yet? Goodness, no! At 2 months postpartum I'm only just starting to re-orient. But that's okay. I can take this one day at a time. Every day I learn and grow, and fear doesn't have a part in that. Motherhood is hard, yes. But this is the place I'm at right now, and I am happy to bloom right here. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The adventure begins

We started school today, and entirely by accident. Though my husband and I have been talking quite a lot the last few months about our philosophy of education, I feel very strongly that the first few years of a child's life should be left free of book-work. Let the child play outside, explore, find bugs watch a flower grow. Children are sponges for knowledge and are learning scads every day--don't make learning boring by forcing book-work too early.

And then this morning my daughter pulled out her Einsy Weency Spider book and sat down on the couch while I was looking after her little sister. A moment later I heard a quiet, "Eight.... Seven.... Nine...." I tiptoed over to the couch and peered over her shoulder. She was pointing at all of Einsy's spider siblings and counting them.

I had to laugh a bit at myself as I sat down beside her. "Look how many spiders there are!! Would you like to count them?" A few minutes later she was counting from one to five without much trouble at all. Sponges indeed.

While I probably won't be buying curriculum any time soon, school is officially in session. Let the adventure begin.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Grateful

Joining Lisa-Jo and others this morning for Five Minute Friday, where we cut the words loose for just five minutes, and see where they fall. No editing, just encouraging the others who play along. The topic today is Grateful.

Five Minute Friday

It's Mothers day weekend. Saturday, and the house is quiet as I'm writing. "puppy tuan" (as my daughter calls him, his actual name is Huan--without the descriptive prefix) is curled up in his crate beside me, the rest of my family is enjoying the one day of sleeping in they get each week.

Pregnancy, of course, is on the forefront of everyone's mind. I'm nearly a week past the sonogram due date, and tomorrow is my official 40 weeks. Yes, this time my due date is on Mothers day. Is there a more perfect day to be due than Mother's day? I've started collecting guesses for when this little one will make an arrival, none are farther out than a week from today (though with a cobbler cookoff at church a week from tomorrow if this little one is going to hold off a week, she might as well hold off a week and a day so her mommy can get some tasty cobbler and ice cream!). The guessing process has been fun.


Life itself has slowed from the frantic pace that I described a couple months ago. Yes, sometimes a hard stop is needed simply so that we have a chance to savor the gifts God has given us. And He has given me so many gifts. Here are a few that come to mind on this quiet Saturday morning:

--Rest. I have slept so well this last week. Every night my head hits the pillow and I sleep the sleep of one who has earned it. Solid, refreshing, rejuvinating sleep. I have started taking magnesium, and while I'm sure that has helped tremendously, solid nights of sleep at 39 weeks of pregnancy can only be a gift from God.

--Comfort: I mentioned in my only pregnancy post a few weeks ago that I'd had increased pain levels this pregnancy. I started seeing my chiropractor regularly, and that (when combined with faithful execution of the at-home exercises she gave me) has made a tremendous difference. I thank the Lord moment by moment for the gift of being able to move without pain.

--my daughter has become a tiny little mother. I have neither encouraged or discouraged imaginative play, and yet to my great surprise she has decided she is now a mommy to her collection of baby dolls. She changes diapers, puts their shoes (and socks) on, brushes their teeth, bathes them in the sink, and pushes them around in her tiny shopping cart. She makes sure that they ride along in the newborn carseat (which is now in the car), and insists that they also should be properly buckled in. I would not be surprised to see all these actions in a few weeks--as she models them after my own actions with her sister. But for her to start nurturing her babies now? Without watching on? And just before the tiny one arrives? It makes me smile every time.


--a clean house. No, no. It isn't perfectly clean. I've chosen that hard-stop, grateful, focus-on-my-family life, remember? *smile* Looking around I see a few toys on the floor, a mug my husband drank out of as we sat on the couch together and read in the evening hours, and dirty dishes in the sink that remind of entertaining dear family members last night. While it certainly isn't perfect, I've been at the "20 minutes to company ready" state for a couple weeks now. It feels nice to know that whenever this little one arrives we'll have a tidy house to welcome her into.

There are so many other things that bring me joy on a daily basis--things that are harder to quantify.

The early morning light now streaming in the bay windows.
Our playful puppy cavorting with my daughter on a sunny afternoon.
My husband--in so many ways, my husband.
A well stocked freezer, allowing me a 10-minutes-and-done dinner when I need a restful evening not focused on the kitchen and cooking.
My little orchard in back, a birthday present, all trees growing well.
A slower, more peaceful pace of life.
My pre-baby check-list--all the tasks done, even if I did choose a few weeks ago to hand it all to God, to choose rest and trust instead of frantically rushing. Is it possible that God had it all under control all along? *smile*

I don't know when this little one will arrive. Perhaps it will be tomorrow, but I suspect I have a few more days at least, and that is fine too. Due dates are only estimates--and babies don't generally care about calendars or estimates.

 In this stage it is easy to understand the attitude of patient expectation I am to have toward the return of my Savior. I do not know the day or the hour He will return (or my baby will be born), but I do know it will be soon. I can rest in peace and joy, knowing that the hour God has appointed is perfect--whether thinking of the return of my Lord, or the birth of my babe. In the meantime my task is to welcome each moment that God has given me in the interim with joy--as a gift He has graciously bestowed.





(And no, that wasn't 5 minutes. But I started writing, and today just seemed to need longer than that. Which is okay. Slowing down, remember? )

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pregnancy update--38 weeks

It's hard to believe that this pregnancy has passed almost un-noticed on Ruby in the Rough. On Sunday I'll be 38-39 weeks pregnant (depending on which due-date I go by, we generally stick with the farther out one). In some ways this pregnancy has flown by. It doesn't seem possible I could be at the point now that my little girl could be here any day.

In other ways I feel like I've been pregnant forever. The other day my husband bent over to kiss Tirza, and the first thought that entered my head was, "how in the world was he able to BEND like that?? that must have HURT!" And then I realized that he wasn't pregnant. I watched an action movie recently, and the entire time I was grimacing as I watched the characters run, jump, and climb walls. Movements that would be painful or impossible for me, the characters were doing just for fun!! I've been pregnant long enough that it's hard to remember what it was like to have full mobility.

It has been a good pregnancy, but different than my previous two. Different enough that before the sonogram we were certain it was a boy. Apparently there is a lot of variety in each pregnancy, regardless of whether I'm pregnant with a boy or a girl.


Here are a few differences:

  • Tirza's pregnancy I had a serious food aversion to ground beef. I could eat beef, just not ground. Even the smell or thought of ground beef turned my stomach. My poor hubby had to get hamburgers on the sly when I wasn't around.  This pregnancy? No aversions (thank God!), but I have had a few random cravings, especially in the second trimester. The most memorable one was for the Rhoades Family Broccoli/Rice/Cheese casserole--properly made with instant rice and highly processed cheese product (which meant an emergency run for my husband to the store to obtain ingredients I never use). 
  • I had awful heartburn with Tirza pretty much from the start of the second trimester on. Thankfully, this pregnancy it has been minimal. 
  • On the flip side, last pregnancy I had very little pelvic girdle pain--and what little there was concentrated at the very end. This pregnancy PGP has been a constant companion since 20 weeks. There are things I am able to do to keep the pain manageable, but it is always present. 
  • I don't remember huge energy slumps last pregnancy. I know I slept more, but I was also fully able to keep up with two jobs through most of the pregnancy. This round my energy levels have been noticeably lower throughout.
  • I gained a lot of weight with the last pregnancy, this round I'm staying pretty close to on track with the "recommended" amount. I'm not sure what I've done differently, since both pregnancies I was fairly conscious of eating well--without stressing the small things. I think last time I simply ate more than I needed to, because I thought I was supposed to "eat for two." When one of those two is the size of a pea, grape, or banana, the "eat for two" mantra is somewhat misleading. 

I go back and forth between excitement at meeting my new little one in just a few days time, to wanting to stretch these last days out as long as possible. Sure, pregnancy isn't always a comfortable thing. I'm sore, slow and tired. But I sleep more than I will with a newborn, and this season of pregnancy has been a season of joy. I want to savor each moment I have left to focus on just Tirza. Even though my love for her will only grow, my attention will be divided when her sister arrives. I don't want to rush these last few moments with her as an only child.

That said, I'm also eager for my second daughter to be born. I want to meet her, learn her personality, start savoring the moments I can spend with HER. And Tirza is at an age that she will get a lot of enjoyment out of a sibling. I am genuinely excited about their meeting. And, although the newborn stage is intimidating and exhausting, I also remember how much joy there was in those first days with Tirza. I know there will be multiplied happiness as I get to experience those same moments a second time, in addition to the joy my first daughter already brings. Watching them interact will be a gift to remember.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hard Stops

I've been learning the same lesson over and over the last few weeks, and I didn't realize it till just now when I sat down to write about it. It isn't that I'm not learning the lesson, or that the exact same lesson is on repeat. It's just that I I graduate to the next level. I make it through first grade, and move on to second grade.  Today was one of those graduation moments.

 Last week I shared a bit about learning to say "no". I've discovered that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to recognizing boundaries. It isn't that other people pressure me into doing things I don't have the stamina for--I pressure myself into projects and plans. At any given moment my mind is going on a half dozen different projects. I research, plan, organize, and execute as time and finances permit.  While the creative energy is wonderful, it has been a true weakness the past few weeks.

Not only do I have the normal creative energy, but I also feel an immense internal pressure to get everything done in the next eight(ish) weeks. I am at a point where most of my life is balanced. My little girl is increasingly more independent, verbal, and even helpful. I can do things now. I remember too well what the newborn stage was--and how long the postpartum recovery period lasted. I fear that if I don't get these projects done RIGHT AWAY they will never get done.

I forget that the addition of a new and beautiful member of the family won't change the woman I am. I may need to take a break, but the drive to create will be a part of me till my dying day (and, I firmly believe, beyond that. I am made in the image of a creative God, when I create it is part of my reflection of Him. The day I stop creating is not just the day I loose my identity--it is the day I stop reflecting my Savior).

That said, sometimes a reminder is needed and this is one of those times. It is time for a "hard stop." The kind of stop that says to God, "I trust you with all my dreams and projects. I trust you to carry me through the difficult, physically demanding stages of life. I receive with joy everything (even the rough postpartum period) you have given (and will give) me. Instead of worrying about what I will or won't accomplish in the next two months, I choose to rest and see to the immediate needs--the today needs--of my family and body."

Hard stops are hard. It's hard to choose rest when the mind wants anything but stillness. But God himself said, "Be still and know that I am God." In the frantic pace of life we can never simply sit quietly at His feet and appreciate God for who He is. So, for the next couple weeks my theme is, "Trust. Be still."

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is Joy?

Joining Lisa-Jo and others this morning for Five Minute Friday, where we cut the words loose for just five minutes, and see where they fall. No editing, just encouraging the others who play along. The topic today is Joy.

Five Minute Friday



"Joy.... I think it is when you know with every fiber of your being that things are in their proper order, the way things ought to be." It was a different definition than I expected my husband to give, but sometimes coming at something from a different angle helps. Everything is in it's proper order, it's proper place. 

That means, God is in control and I accept and submit to that. I don't fight and struggle against the things I don't like, because I can choose to trust Him even when there are difficult hard things.

That means that I choose to live my life in harmony with the sphere He has given me. I am a wife, and that means I have certain obligations to my husband. I am a mother, and that means that I have certain responsibilities toward my daughter(s). I can choose resentment, or I can choose acceptance. Only one of those options is the path to joy. 

This explains why it is possible to choose joy in the midst of sorrow--why joy and sadness can exist at once. Sadness may be the opposite of happiness, but it is not the opposite of joy. I can be sad, I can grieve the loss of my son, Christian William. I should  be sad, I should grieve. The loss of a child is something that ought to bring sorrow. But there is joy in that sorrow as well. I know my son is happy, with Jesus. I know never meeting him on this earth was part of God's sovereign plan. I know the separation is temporary, a few years, and then our family will be together again. While my mother's heart still grieves, I can find peace in trust and submission. 

So while there is sorrow, there can also be joy, because--as much as is possible in a world of sin and the curse--things are in their proper order. God is in control. He is a good God, a kind Savior, a gracious Lord. He is worthy of trust. As long as I choose to believe and submit, as long as I choose trust, there is joy. 



Monday, March 17, 2014

The Mom-Fairy


No one ever prepared me for the amount of uncertainty in parenting. When my daughter was born I had about 5 books that I constantly referenced. One or two in the bathroom, one or two in the bedroom, one or two in the living room. I picked each of them up at least once or twice every few days, often more depending on which book was closest and which questions I happened need answers to that particular day.

I distinctly remember a few (okay, many) occasions when I'd toss the book down in frustration, unable to find an answer to the very specific issue I was dealing with. How was I supposed to know why the tiny person was crying? I'd tried everything!

All I wanted was an awesome mom fairy to sit on my shoulder and tell me exactly what my daughter needed--or a book that always had the exact right answer for that exact situation. I wasn't prepared for the serious learning curve of motherhood. I don't think anyone ever is.


The last couple weeks have been another learning curve. My sweet little girl, who has slept through the night for well over a year now, has been up more nights than she hasn't in the last couple weeks. First it was teething. Then a growth spurt. Then nightmares. Then allergies or a cold. I'm sure moving to a new home and totally disrupting her schedule--oh, and time change--hasn't helped. Toss in a couple nights where the new puppy was also dealing with the toddler issues of teething, growth spurt, a new diet, and a new home (and letting us all know about it in the middle of the night), and you have a recipe that would make even the most committed two year old sleeper wake up crying a few times.

I still don't have a mom-fairy to sit on my shoulder and tell me what my daughter needs, or a book that always has specific advice for that specific night's waking ("She's hungry, Sophia, take her a snack." or "It's a bad dream--she just needs a hug and to know that she is safe and everything is going to be okay"). And I have to admit, in the middle of the night I still think those things would be nice.

That said, God designed parenting the way He did for a reason. If I had a magic answer book, I wouldn't be quite as quick to plead for His help. I wouldn't be quite so fast to recognize my need for His wisdom. I probably wouldn't direct my daughter's attention to Him quite as naturally. And I certainly wouldn't learn nearly as much. Magic books and fairy-moms sound great in the bleary-eyed exhausted morning hours, but the training in trust and wisdom God gives me in the boot-camp of pre-dawn parenting is more valuable than any quick-fix that gets me back to sleep faster.

I'm not sure how long this stage will last, but while it is here I'm going to enjoy the extra time I have with my eldest daughter--the only child for just a few more weeks. I'm going to treasure her sleepy hugs, and the press of her body curling into mine. I'm going to thank God for the extra time we have together, no matter what hour of the night it is. I'm going to keep asking for wisdom and grace in every moment. I'm going to choose joy and thankfulness.

And I'm going to sleep in, as often as possible.


Meeting other homeschool moms, a little (or a lot!) farther down the path than I am
Getting ALL of the laundry done AND put away
Spur of the moment time with family
A fun game night
Great deals at a new-to-me store
Learning that "no" (even to myself) is the most freeing word in the English language

An early morning with my hubby
Sleeping in
Enjoying a good audio book while cleaning
Dreaming
Technology that allows me to join in on church services, even when I'm miles away with a sick little one
Birds, singing in the morning
Puppy pounces
A completed hand made table!!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Crowd of Dreams


Five Minute Friday


My Sister in Law, Grace, challenged me in our accountability call to start writing again. "If you don't want to write your own blog post, at least join in on Five Minute Friday. You can do that."  At her prodding I agreed, although hestantly. Five Minute Friday has come and gone at least once since then, but here is my addition, late though it may be.
Here are the rules:
 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you and leave an encouraging comment.

 Life has changed tremendously--gone places I could never have foreseen just three months ago. We have a backyard now, and a dog, a sweet not-so-little playhouse on stilts and nearly an acre of land to call our own. And then there is the baby--a sweet little girl due to make her way into this world in May, sometime around Mother's day (wouldn't that be a great day to celebrate her birth!).


I've had so many thoughts crowding through my mind lately. Dreams that used to be out of reach are solidly within the realm of possibility. Projects I've looked forward to are now achievable. My mind goes a mile a minute jumping from one thing to another. A garden? Some animals? More quilting? A mini orchard? Permaculture? Having company over just because it is more convienant now? Maybe even a tea party or two?

It all feels urgent as the countdown to baby begins in earnest. About 10 weeks left before my life takes a permanent change, before I have a newborn to take up most of my attention. If I want to start something new, it is either now or not for awhile. I felt the pressure of dreams waiting to be released into reality, dreams I'd waited so patiently for now begging to for freedom.

I wrote them all down--these thoughts crowding through my head. I took each one captive with a pencil and bound it with lead to paper. It all seemed so reasonable as each dream spoke to me--I can do all of this! Was my thought as I researched and studied. And yet, there are a dozen things on that list. More than one a week to do before the baby comes, and the smallest thing on the list involves potty training a toddler (and house training a puppy? I should put that down also...). Ha!

So, the crowd of dreams and thoughts are held at bay, chained to their paper. I step back and realize that even making just two or three of them a reality in the next couple months will be a major accomplishment. I am free to say "no" to the others for now. Or, perhaps, not "no" but simply, "be patient for just a little while longer."

As I think on these dreams, this crowd of self-drive and enthusiasm that I've just said "no" to, it occurs to me:

Perhaps the most freeing word in the English language is "No."


(definitely more than five minutes. There were diapers. And meals to put away. And two toddlers--of the human and canine variety--that needed naps. But! I did it. And that's the most important thing.)