A season of preparation, and finally, Easter

The past few seasons have been like a whirlwind. I got married and had a baby in the same week. My in-laws stayed with us for an extended visit to help after James was born. Lent started, we worked on getting the house cleaned and organized. My country focused on who would be the next president. My toddler adjusted (or is adjusting?) to life with her new brother. I am adjusting to being a new wife. I had my first hours, days, and weeks as a stay at home mother of two.

And through it all, I’ve had these feelings, these unshakeable intuitions. I didn’t want to talk about them at first, because… well, I felt like they were whisperings of the Holy Spirit and that those precious, mystical intuitions were something to keep hush about. And not just because people would look at me like I’m crazy if I went around talking about how God was nudging me.

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So starting this winter I had this intuition, this whisper inside me saying: prepare. I didn’t know what I was preparing for. I tried to prepare mentally, spiritually, and outwardly. I tried to live simply and minimize my life, get organized, donate old clothes. Change can be big and scary, but since I had this gentle and comforting warning, I felt at peace with whatever Big Change might come next. I wondered what it might be. I didn’t take myself too seriously, because you never know how reliable these kinds of intuitions are. But it felt reliable. So I watched, I waited. It was Lent, so I prayed and I spent less time on social media and more time with my children.

On the eve of the terrorist attack in Belgium, I had a nightmare. I don’t remember the details but I knew it was big and bad and that everything would change and my nightmare gave me the day: Easter Sunday. I woke up sort of skeptically terrified. I knew that it was just a dream. But I feared there would be a huge terrorist attack, or that a loved one would die, or that something would happen to me or Bodie or my children. Have you ever had a dream like that? Where you know that it’s just a dream and yet you can’t shake the feeling of, “What if it isn’t”?

So, I tried not to obsess. I stared at my babies beautiful faces more and spent even less time on the internet. I cried and I prayed. (Postpartum hormones anyone?) I told myself, it is just a dream. After a day or two I moved on and worried about it less often. Then I read this article and realized: these feelings and intuitions are about this liturgical season. My children weren’t going to die, Jesus was.

No giant worldly change was coming. It hit me like a ton of bricks, Lent is supposed to be a season of spiritual preparation. Good Friday is supposed to be big and horrible and tragic and devastating. My heart broke for Mary, who must have known what was coming for her son. Who had to watch her baby be strung up and crucified and ridiculed and tortured and killed. But then I was filled with the peace and joy of the resurrection, of Easter Sunday coming, and because of this, we are safe. Saved.

Realizing this all made me think wow, is this some kind of liturgical seasonal affective disorder? Some bad postpartum anxiety? But I think not. It isn’t a disorder, it’s a blessing. It is something that I’ve prayed for — to be closer to Jesus and experience his experiences, even those that are painful.

God is good, and when we pray to be close to Him, he draws us near in unexpected ways.

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7 Ways My Toddler Helps Clean

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I was happily going about our day and I realized, my kid helps me a lot. Sure, it sometimes makes the work harder, but much of my housekeeping is done with toddler in tow. Kids can clean, and kids SHOULD clean, since it helps the family and they will one day have to do it for themselves.

So here’s my list of seven ways that my toddler helps me clean up around the house:

1. Fetching something

My two year old can fetch diapers for her brother, her shoes, my water bottle if I’m stuck on the couch nursing… you get the gist of it.

2. helping unload the dishwasher

I take the knives and sharp things out first, but I do let her (carefully) help even with some glass items. If she has a stool to stand on, she can sort the silverware by herself.

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My 1.5 year old helper. In the past year, she has learned the art of sorting!
3. wiping up a spill

Lots of spills around here. I usually come help or make sure that she’s done a good job. Miri knows where the paper towels and napkins are, and can usually get one herself and clean up.

4. straightening up

Probably our least favorite chore, but my toddler can definitely help straighten her toys and other household items. Especially if I tell her where to put them, and she gets to hold things that don’t belong to her. She likes fetching and putting away things that belong to others more than she likes to clean her own stuff, and I get it, other people’s stuff is cooler and more exciting.

5. throwing something in the trash or recycling

Goes along well with straightening up. We have full sized trash and recycling cans, but she’s mastered the art of stepping on the little lid flipper. I do still tell her which objects need to go in the trash can, and which need to be recycled.

6. assist in sibling care

I know people have lots of opinions about whether big sister or big brother should be allowed to help care for their younger siblings. My short answer is: yes, definitely, it’s great practice and we work and play as a family. It is hard not to squelch this little desire to help, but I’ve read about a million articles saying you shouldn’t, so I let my daughter do as much as she can.

This looks like assisting with onesie snaps or zippers, doing the velcro part of the diaper change, helping put baby’s socks on or arm through the arm hole. Sometimes I let her bounce the bouncy chair (with supervision, so she doesn’t bounce her brother across the room). Speaking of which, we love this bouncy seat. (Amazon Affiliate Link*)

7. help make a bed

Not that we make our beds every day at this stage of life, but when we do, my little one can help. She can take the pillows off and put them back on, and pull on or off one corner of the blanket. This actually IS helpful, and means I don’t have to do all the work on both sides, just go over it quickly when she’s done.

So that’s it! How do your little ones help around the house? This post is linked up with Kelly over at 7 Quick Takes.


*as part of the Amazon Affiliates program, if you buy something after going through my link, I get a small commission. All thoughts, opinions, etc. are honest and my own of course 🙂

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Bedrest, burgers, and baby’s first ornament

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Saturday

Healthy foods! My OB wanted me to start eating healthier, so I sauteed some chicken breast and put it in one of those southwest salad packs. It was actually delicious, and we will likely be having this again. Unfortunately my healthy eating kick sort of dwindled this week as other health problems popped up *spoiler alert: I’m very, probably, totally fine* and I am glad to have a chicken over salad dinner “recipe” that we all like in my arsenal.

Sunday

Got very dizzy and short of breath in church, and had to stay seated most of the time since I was afraid I’d get worse and pass out. Made it up for communion and then dodged out of there before I got too bad to drive home. Made it home, and Bodie came down and got Miriam and I out of the car. Laid around trying to recover, but had several more dizzy / short of breath spells and so Bodie ordered some take out for dinner.

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Annunciations about enunciation, 7 quick takes

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Moving. Moving, moving, moving. Everything is quiet around the blog because I’m in a pregnant flurry of many loads of laundry and packing. We’re moving Nov. 1, to a house that is so many kinds of perfect.

I am a little sad to leave our apartment; it’s been our home for a few wonderful years, and though it only has one bathroom and requires that I walk down an outdoor flight of stairs with toddler everytime I want to go somewhere, it has been a great home.

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Respecting children’s hair choices: where I drew the line

A question that comes up a lot in unschooling / freedom minded circles is: Would you let your child cut their own hair? What about washing or brushing it? If it is their body, doesn’t that mean that it is their choice? What if they don’t want their hair cut? Well I won’t say our family tends towards absolute and total freedom for children, or that my version of homeschooling is all unschooling (although it does include plenty of that)… but we do try to respect our children, respect the ideas that bodies and property belong to their owners, and make peaceful choices.

For a long time I wanted to let Miriam’s hair grow until she asked me to cut it. I thought, well, there’s a possiblity that she’ll never want to cut it and that should be her choice, not one that I make for her. I let it grow to about this length before I decided that wasn’t working for us:

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Maybe you can see why, eh? Bangs in the face, in her eyes, alllll the time. I was a kid her age once, I had bangs, they grew long. I remember just how well you can see out of long bangs. That is, not well at all. Miriam absolutely refused to keep hair clips in, or let me do side pony tails, or anything other than a quick brush.

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