raising a mommy

raising a mommy
my little family

Saturday, August 9, 2014

fmf: fill

Here are the rules:
1. Write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back to Kate Motaung's blog with the rest of the Five Minute Friday-ers.
3. Comment on the person who linked up before you.

Please join us!

Today's prompt: fill


We’re moving. Again. This is #2 in two years, with one more a year from now.

I have something to confess: I’m a little bit OCD. (Not necessarily when it comes to the cleanliness of my house, sadly, but) I like things to be in order and efficient. I am that way when I load my dishwasher, when I put away laundry, and, apparently, when I pack boxes. Empty space drives me nuts.

And so, I try to fill in all the little gaps and holes. All of them. Anyone who has ever moved can probably understand what a challenge this poses. Simply filling them in with packing paper is not enough – that’s wasted space.

But really, there’s no way, short of purchasing massive quantities of washcloths and hand towels to use as stuffing, to fill all the holes. And who needs that many washcloths and hand towels, so would that really be more efficient in the long run?

And so today, as I face the beginning of a five day packing marathon (and I’m a runner, so I don’t use that term lightly), I tell myself that sometimes gaps are okay. In boxes, and in life. Gaps allow us room to shift, to settle, and (not so much with books and movies, but in life) to grow.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

wonderful wednesday

This is one of those weeks that I am counting my blessings, and I am amazed at how numerous they are. I'd love to take a couple minutes to share just a few of them with you.

Last weekend, we made a quick trip to the Cities to get the keys to our new apartment. I'll admit, I was less than thrilled when we first walked through the door. The trip up 3+ flights of stairs (it's a funky split level type set up, so we enter the building on first floor of building A and live on the third floor of building B, building B being about a half a story higher than building A) was not a fun start. As you can imagine, the place is pretty small. A two bedroom apartment in St Paul for under $1000 a month? You're not going to get much! But, after looking around, Nate helped me realize that there is a surprising amount of storage space. The kitchen is depressing, but there's a whole row of upper and lower cabinets along one wall of the "dining room," so I should only have to put about half of my kitchen products in storage! Nate was generous enough to give up his designated office for Nugget's nursery. This means that both kids will get their own rooms, which is very nice! Also a bonus, because I don't think we'd be able to fit the cradle, much less a crib in our bedroom with our bed! We have a massively huge closet in our bedroom, though, which will provide a ton of storage and house our dressers. And those 3+ flights of stairs? Bye bye baby weight!

Also, the neighborhood is very cool and the few people I've met so far seem wonderful. There's a family a few floors down with two and four year old girls, so Paige has some built in playmates already! Another bonus? Uncle Adam will be living approximately eight blocks away, and we're directly on his bus route from the Minneapolis campus. With Uncle Eric in Minneapolis and reasonable busing distance, I may actually get to see family members on a regular basis!

On Sunday, we had another great opportunity. Long story short, we got to cook dinner for all of the ELCA bishops in Region Three (one of our top preferences for a first call) and their spouses. Not only was it great to be able to help out, but it was a great opportunity for Nate to meet some important people, one of whom could be his boss next year! Also, in spite of the fact that one of my bars of fancy white baking chocolate didn't make it into my grocery bag and I was forced to substitute substandard white chocolate chips in the white chocolate cream cheese filling for my chocolate cake, it turned out okay.

Monday was one of those crabby days. It was the first day of VBS, for which I had volunteered months ago, not really realizing for some reason that I was going to be almost eight months pregnant and two weeks out from a move. Not ideal timing! However, it actually wasn't that bad. I like the way it's set up, so I only have to lead a couple songs at the opening and one at closing, rather than having an entire 20 minute sectional with each age group, as I have done in the past. Plus, I'd rather spend the evening at VBS with Nate and Paige than at home with just Paige. It's crunch time, so I don't get to see him nearly enough as it is!

Tuesday morning, I fried my last egg for breakfast and (with a crabby face) added eggs to my grocery list. I hate paying for eggs at the grocery store because I've been so blessed past year! We have two sources for free, farm fresh eggs, so I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually had to buy eggs. The farm fresh ones are so much better than the store bought ones, anyways. No more than two hours later, a parishioner pulled into our driveway with a dozen eggs and a bag of sweet corn! Amazing, right? We had the corn with lunch today, and let me tell you, the stuff straight from the garden doesn't even compare with the grocery store stuff. Even prissy little Paige who hates getting her fingers dirty enjoyed an entire ear!

Now I'm off to do some baking, a little bit of packing/cleaning, and getting ready for tomorrow morning. After months of last minute cancellations and conflicting schedules, I am finally getting together with a friend for a granola/tortilla making date! (Nerds? Maybe. Well-fed nerds? Yes!) Tomorrow is also the last day of VBS, concluding with a pool party, on Friday we have nothing on the schedule (wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!), and on Saturday my mom is coming to start a four day packing marathon.

Yes, life is good.

What's the best thing that's happened to you this week?

Friday, July 18, 2014

fmf: bloom{ability}

Here are the rules:
1. Write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back to Lisa Jo Baker's blog with the rest of the Five Minute Friday-ers.
3. Comment on the person who linked up before you.

Please join us!

Today's prompt: bloom


Those of you who knew me growing up know that to say I was a bookworm would be a bit of an understatement. One of my favorite authors when I was in middle school was Sharon Creech. I was introduced to her by my English and Lit teachers during our "literature circles" time, and I was hooked after the first book. I read everything I could find by her as quickly as I could. (Which, at that point in my life, was pretty quickly. I had the 16 digit number on my library card memorized in sixth grade.)

One of the first books of hers that I read was called "Bloomability." It's the story of a young girl who is given the opportunity to study for a year at an international school, staying with relatives. You learn about her adventures being away from her family, meeting people from all cultures, and learning how to break down language barriers.

One of her friends frequently forgot or mixed up some common English words, so he made up his own. One such word was "possibility." Rather than using the word, he came up with an arguably more appropriate word, "bloomability."

Planting some bloomabilities

I won't get into any analysis about why this is a great word mash up or what other words would have been more appropriate. I will simply let it sit with you.

What are the bloomabilities that God is showing you in your life today? New friends? New challenges to conquer? New seed to sow, literally or figuratively?

Another thing I love about Sharon Creech is how is has different stories about all different characters, but, if you pay attention, she ties them all together. My friends, I do not believe that six degrees of separation can possibly be correct anymore. Our lives are all so intertwined in a complicated and beautiful web that, even if I don't know you, I probably know you. (Not creepy - beautiful!)

We moved into our new home at the end of summer last year having no idea what any of the multitude of plants surrounding our house would become. There were plenty of weeds, sure, but there were also some beautiful surprises, including rhubarb, mulberries, blackberries, raspberries, and a wide array of beautiful blooms.

Expand your web today. Say hi to your barista or grocery store cashier or mail carrier or an old friend with whom you've lost touch over the years. Ask their favorite color or the best thing that's happened to them this week or what they're most looking forward to this weekend. Words are powerful, and you may never know the lasting impact of yours.


More than five minutes, but when you get on a roll, why fight it?

This round is closed, but if you're looking for the bloomability of expanding your network of supportive, Godly women, consider joining up with the next round of #fmfparysnailmail. These ladies make my day several times a day.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, July 14, 2014

diaper stripping 101

A few months ago, we started having issues with the kiddo leaking out of her diapers. Not fun. We hadn’t had any major problems with it before, so when she suddenly started leaking at least a couple times a week, we figured something was going on. We hadn’t started changing her less often, and she hadn’t dramatically increased her fluid intake, so our best guess was that it had something to do with her diapers. I decided it was about time to strip her diapers.

I read several articles online and consulted a number of friends who also used cloth, and here is the method I decided to try:

Step 1: Order more Charlie’s Soap. This is the detergent we originally used to wash her diapers, and it worked great. There’s nothing unnatural, artificial, or even remotely offensive about it, so I bit the bullet. It was terrifying to spend $120 on a tub of laundry soap, but I know I won’t have to buy it again for a long time. The big tub says you’ll get 1250 loads, but I know I will get more, since I don’t use the full amount for a load of diapers.

Step 2: Start with clean diapers. I washed them using the homemade detergent I had on hand, since my Charlie’s Soap hadn’t come yet. I usually send my diapers through a soak cycle, then heavy wash with hot water and detergent, then rinse again in cold. This time, I stopped after the wash. At this point, I also pulled out all of the covers, since they didn’t need to be stripped, just leaving the inserts.

Step 3: Grab your Dawn blue dish soap. I don’t know if it actually has to be Dawn and has to be blue, but that’s what I read, and that’s what I had on hand anyway, so it worked out well. Mine was the advanced power scrubbing stuff. Squirt some Dawn into your washer, onto the diapers. I did two really quick circles.

Step 4: Rinse.

Step 5: Rinse.

Step 6: Rinse.

Step 7: Rinse.

Step 8: Rinse.

Step 9: Rinse.

I think I rinsed about six or seven times. I rinsed them until I saw no more bubbles at all at any point in the cycle, then I rinsed them two more times. I think the advanced power might make more bubbles than the regular dish soap, so if you have the regular stuff, you might not need to rinse as many times!

Step 10: Since it was April (and still most definitely winter in Minnesota) I sent the inserts through the dryer. Now that it’s warmer, I dry them on the line.

Since doing this, I haven’t had any more issues. I’ve been using Charlie’s Soap on all of our laundry, and it’s been great. She still leaks out occasionally, but only when I let her go too long. She’s usually so good about telling me when she needs her diaper changed that I forget about it sometimes! (Yet she shows no interest in potty training. Little stinker.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Paige Eileen Mae: 29 months

I'm a few days late, but better late than never, right?

I can't believe another month is gone already. And next month, my baby will be two and a half. And the month after that, she may not be the baby anymore. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

One of the highlights of the past month included a visit to see her great grandparents in North Dakota. If it's possible, I think Paige enjoyed their company almost as much as they enjoyed having her! We got to see some other aunts and cousins, too, and we even managed not to drive off the road in the downpour on the way home. Success!

Paige has turned into a bit of a picky eater. We have trouble breaking her out of the pb&j/grilled cheese/macaroni rut. Luckily, her favorite "sides" (which she sometimes turns into meals) include broccoli, peas, and just about any kind of fruit. This evening, there was a tootsie roll and an apple in front of her. She asked me to slice the apple and get her some peanut butter. How can a mom say no to that?

She loves telling people how old she is. Lately she's even expanded to: "I'm two, and on my next birthday, I'll be three!" Then you ask her when her birthday is, and she usually remembers. Awesome!

She is so excited to be a big sister. She calls her baby brother "Nugget," which is what Mom and Dad call him right now, too.

Enjoying the sunshine with Great-Grandma

She was so intrigued by the owl...it didn't do much to keep birds away, but Paige sure liked it!

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a toddler and a baby to pose for a picture? Paige and cousin Elle

Apparently it's difficult to get a good one of the toddler and a kid, too! Hanging out with cousin Emersyn

I went to run some errands, leaving Paige with Great-Grandpa. This is what I found when I got back.

Throwing toys all over the floor must be exhausting!

Paige loves working out with mommy

And stealing mommy's feather duster. I hope her fascination with cleaning supplies continues as she gets older...

I think McDonald's should pay me to use this picture as an ad. Does it get any cuter?

Fun with Grandpa and Uncle Adam!

We went strawberry picking. She was a bit tentative at first, but once she figured out that she could eat the strawberries, she settled right in.

 Big smiles and a red stained face!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Today's blessing:
Snail mail.

I'll be honest, I've been missing the real mail since this last round of #fmfpartysnailmail ended. Since what, you ask?

You see, there's this lovely group of writers who gather every Thursday evening or Friday to share what's on their hearts: five minutes on one word, no editing. Read all about it. It's a different group every week, and there's no shame if you miss a week. Or three. Only joy when you return. How often do you get the chance for that kind of community?

Then there's this lovely young lady named Kaitlyn who decided that she wanted to move that fellowship into the real world. All you have to do is sign up, and she'll put you on a list with several other lovely ladies. Spend five minutes writing a note of encouragement to one of them each week, and they'll do the same for you! That's right - real, handwritten cards in your mailbox, each week, just for you.

Now, I'll be realistic. Some weeks, even five minutes is hard to come by. And you know what? That's okay. Among this lovely community, there is always grace. The first round, I sent out maybe 25% of my cards "on time." But they all got mailed eventually. And I received maybe 50% of my cards "on time." But I received them all eventually. (At least, I think I did. I didn't really keep track. If something came up and someone didn't send me a card, I figure there's a reason for that. No hard feelings.)

Round two went much better. I got every single one of my cards mailed out within two days of the time I was supposed to. And it sure felt good to know that I was providing consistent encouragement!

Round three starts in just a few short weeks. Won't you consider joining us? I can tell you for a fact that I will not get all of my cards mailed out on time. With a move partway through and a baby due at the end, I have no delusions about my organization. But I know I will get the encouragement that I need when I receive cards, and I know I will receive the grace that I need when I send them (however late).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paige Eileen Mae: 28 months

These Paige updates are getting more and more sporadic. It's not that she's doing fewer awesome things, it's just that I don't notice as much anymore because they seem more normal. Or something. I'm not sure. Also, Paige would rather be outside than anywhere else, making it difficult for me to finish up all of my inside chores and still have time to blog. I'm not complaining about this at all - I love it, in fact! However, we may have to raise our budget this summer for sunscreen.

As always, Paige is talking up a storm. Though mind-blowing at times, her speech has also been one of the saddest developments for us lately. She is continues to say more words correctly that she used to say in endearing toddler ways. Luckily for us, we still hear "pan-yo" instead of "piano" and a few others. She's also getting better at consonant clusters to begin words. She doesn't quite say them together yet, so words come out sounding like "b-read" and "p-ray." So darling!

Letter recognition has really taken off lately. At last count, I would say she knows just over half the alphabet. I credit this to Sesame Street, her letter puzzle, some Baby Einstein letter books, and a really annoying little caterpillar that she pulls around the house that sings it's ABC's. I wouldn't say we "work on" letter recognition with her, but we'll ask her what certain letter are when we're reading or coloring.

This kid has a crazy good memory. I didn't think two year olds were supposed to have too much in the way of specific long term memory, but she sure does! It's usually little things that I don't even remember until she brings them up. Last fall she decided that clothespins should be called "owies" because they can pinch you. Then the clothespins went away all winter, only to be brought out a few weeks ago. What do I hear? "Mommy, do you have the owies?"

Bedtime routine has been expanded to include flossing. She loves it. We even caught her flossing with a piece of thread that had frayed off her sock one time. Gross, but pretty darn resourceful.

We have yet to make any headway on potty training. We do, however, have a bath time baby with a strategically placed hole that may aid in this endeavor. It sure would be nice to have her solidly trained before the next little one comes along, but I'm certainly not concerned about it. I can handle two in diapers for a little while!

As stated earlier, there is nowhere this kid would rather be than outside. She loves to play in the yard, practice riding her trike, and go down her kiddie slide. And walking. And running. She LOVES to go walking and running. And by walking and running, I no longer mean riding in her stroller while mommy pushes her. She wants to walk and run by herself. She gets very upset whenever I tell her it's time to turn around and go home. One of these days I'm going to pack food and water and walk until she tells me to turn around. Our record so far is five miles in one day.

The other day (I am not making this up) she ran a half mile all by herself. Now, I won't say there was no stopping. She is her mother's child and gets easily distracted by things like planes, puddles, and piles of dirt. However, she covered the full half mile before she walked any distance. Obviously, I won't love my children any more or less if they do or don't share my interests, but I'd be lying if I said this wasn't one of my proudest parenting moments so far.

Favorite phrases we've heard recently:
"I want to snuggle with your face." Then she wraps her little arms around your head and nuzzles her face against yours. She is shockingly strong.

"Can I use your hands?" Meaning: "Hold my hand, pat my head, let me hug your hand," or basically just "give me any kind of physical contact!" This is especially fun when she's her car seat in the back seat of the car and I'm in the front. I've lost count of the number of times my arm has fallen asleep.

Me: "Paige, do you want ice cream with strawberries and chocolate?"
Paige: "No, just strawberries."

I was working in the kitchen, when I heard, "Look Mommy, I colored a D!" I'm sure it was 100% by accident, but still. How cool is that?!

Helping mommy fold socks. Look at that concentration.

Reading to baby

Playing her new horn. I can sacrifice my dough hook for that kind of creativity!

We spent the morning at the park a couple weeks ago, and she had a blast. More pictures here.

Paige's (and daddy's) new favorite toy.

You may have seen this one before, but I just wanted to reiterate how much this child loves to run.

Taking daddy for a ride on the mower

Paige just had to help me build her new storage shelves!

The flossing. Cute, right?